I awoke to Sookie’s warm body wrapped around mine and it was not something I’d ever let myself believe would happen. Never did I think I would want to fall into my daytime rest with someone beside me, let alone hope for it. That was until I met Sookie. She was the only person that I’d ever let stay with me during my daytime rest besides my Maker and Pam.
If my heart still beat, then last night it would have surely stopped at the words that Sookie had spoken to me, the love that I felt emanating from our renewed bond.
I brushed Sookie’s hair off of her sweet, angelic face and watched as she stirred, awakening. Had she been asleep for the whole day? I couldn’t smell any other scents on her body. Was she that tired from not getting enough sleep the previous night or was it from me taking her blood? I didn’t even know if I should’ve taken her blood last night. What if taking her blood wasn’t safe for her or our baby?
Our baby. The thought put a smile on my face.
That’s what this baby was. It was a part of Sookie and I will love it as if it was my own.
“Hey,” she said while trailing her hand down my cheek. “What’s got you so worried?” she asked.
“Have you been asleep the whole day?”
“I guess so,” she smiled up at me. “You definitely wore me out last night. Is that what has you so worried? I would think you’d like me to become more accustomed to your sleep schedule.”
“I’d love nothing more than for you to be awake while I am, but I was thinking it may not have been a good idea for me to have taken your blood last night. I don’t want to harm you or the baby.” I told her. “I don’t think I should feed off of you until you see a doctor, and I think you should see Dr. Ludwig.”
“I feel fine, but you are probably right about asking Dr. Ludwig. Now that I’m back,” she paused and looked away.
I turned her face back to mine and looked into her eyes. “You can tell me anything, Sookie.”
“I don’t want you feeding off of others,” she said and tried to look away again.
“I‘ll call the doctor to come see you right away, but if it’s detrimental to you or the baby’s health then I will not feed from you. However, I’ve never been unfaithful to you, and I don’t plan to start now. I’m very capable of feeding without sex, but I’ll be fine drinking TruBlood for awhile. I was only feeding on donors to heal. You have nothing to worry about, you should know that I prefer to drink only from you.”
“Thank you,” she said. “I need to go see to my human needs. Can you call and see if Dr. Ludwig can see me tonight?” I nodded.
While Sookie was in the bathroom, I called and asked Dr. Ludwig to come check on Sookie tonight at our home. The answering service informed me that the doctor was with another patient, but we would see her afterward.
After a few minutes, Sookie came out of the bathroom smelling minty fresh.
“The doctor’s with another patient right now, but she’ll meet us here once she’s done.”
“Do you think I have enough time to eat before she gets here?”
I shrugged, “I’m not sure, but you should eat if you’re hungry.”
She nodded and we headed upstairs to the kitchen. I watched her as she moved around, it made me happy to see that she was comfortable here and that we’d finally be sharing a home together.
“Would you like me to heat you up a TruBlood?”
I nodded and continued to watch her as she placed a TruBlood in the microwave. “What are you making to eat? If you need anything else, put a list together and I’ll send Bobby to get it.”
She took my TruBlood out of the microwave, gave it a shake, and handed it to me. “I’m making eggs, bacon, and toast. You do know that I’m perfectly capable of going to the grocery store,” she said while continuing to make her breakfast.
“I know that you can go the store, but you don’t have to. Just think about it.”
“I will, but for now I think I’d like to continue to do my own shopping. I’m going to need to do something besides being here at home all the time or at Fangtasia.”
Home. She was finally here with me.
“What made you get all warm and fuzzy over there?” She asked me with a curious smile.
“That you referred to this as home. I’ve wanted you here for a long time, Lover.”
Sookie frowned and our bond filled with guilt and regret. “I’m sorry for being so stubborn before, and making you pay for all of Bill and Quinn’s mistakes. I never gave you a real chance because deep down inside I was afraid you would break my heart,” she paused and pressed her lips together. “Then it was me that hurt us both.”
I walked over and wrapped my arms around her. She relaxed into my embrace and rested her cheek against my chest. “We have both made mistakes and done things that have hurt each other, but that’s all over now,” I placed a finger under her chin and tilted her beautiful face up to look up at mine. “I don’t want you to feel guilty about it anymore, Sookie.”
“I’ll try,” she said and softly kissed my lips.
After I ate my breakfast and cleaned up the kitchen, I went downstairs and got dressed before Dr. Ludwig arrived. I was a little nervous for the doctor to examine me. I hoped that she wouldn’t tell Eric that he couldn’t feed off of me for the rest of the pregnancy. We had just gotten back together, and I wanted the intimacy of feeding him and to feel as if I was taking care of him.
As I walked upstairs, I heard the doorbell ring. At least she didn’t just pop in, that probably would have given me a heart attack. Eric was leading her into the living room when I walked in.
“Well, little girl, you certainly look better than the last time I saw you and I see you have a little something extra, too,” Dr. Ludwig said as she looked back and forth between Eric and me.
“Yes, I want you to examine Sookie,” Eric told her. “She arrived last night and we exchanged blood. When I rose tonight, she was still sleeping. I want to make sure she’s okay and if I’ll still be able to feed from her.”
“So, vampire, you’re okay with your mate being pregnant with another man’s child?”
“This is my child.” I could feel how angry this was making Eric and, unfortunately, this would not be the last time we’d hear this. “I may not be the biological father, but I will be the only father this child knows. Sookie’s not trying to convince me this is an immaculate conception,” the doctor snorted. “Just check to make sure she’s healthy. We would also like to hire you to be her doctor for the duration of her pregnancy.”
“Alright, come over here and lay down on the couch, little girl.”
I walked over to the couch and lay down. Eric came over and stood behind the arm of the couch where I was lying. Dr. Ludwig was at the side of the couch and started her examination. First, she pulled the skin under my eyes down and looked into my eyes, and then she opened my mouth, tilting my head up while looking in. Instead of using a stethoscope, she put her ear to my chest and listened. I could feel Eric starting to get agitated.
Next, she started to pull up the hem of my dress and Eric growled at her.
“Eric!” I said and turned my head toward him.
“Back off, vampire, or you will have to leave the room. I must do this to make sure that she and the baby are healthy,” she explained, and Eric just grunted at her. I hadn’t worn underwear beneath my dress in anticipation of the good doctor needing to do an internal exam. This was the one part that I hated about these exams. She slid my dress up, put on her latex gloves, and put two of her fingers inside of me while her other hand went on top of my stomach. I must have tensed up because Eric growled again and he bent over the side of the couch, leaning over me protectively while glaring at the poor doctor.
“Eric, this is what she’s supposed to do. It doesn’t matter what doctor I see, they’ll all do this, so please calm down. I’m fine. It’s just a little uncomfortable.”
I reached up and grabbed his hand to hold. Once our fingers were entwined, he relaxed somewhat and went back to standing straight at the top of the couch. When Dr. Ludwig was done, she pulled down my dress and started digging in her bag. She pulled out a vial and some needle-type thing.
“I’m going to need to draw her blood. Is that okay?”
“Why are you taking her blood?” Eric asked.
“I need to check her iron and hemoglobin levels, and to check to see if she’s Rh positive or negative. It’s very common to issue these tests during pregnancy.”
“If you must, then you have my permission to take her blood,” Eric stated.
“What are you talking about? Why are you asking him for permission?” I asked. I couldn’t understand why she’d be asking Eric instead of me.
“He’s your bonded mate. Your blood is his,” she answered.
“Oh really? Does that mean that anyone that wants his blood has to ask my permission?”
Dr. Ludwig smiled a small smile at me. I looked up at Eric and he had both of his eyebrows raised.
“That’s not normally how it’s done. A vampire has the right kill anyone who takes the blood of their bonded without permission, but I have yet to hear of a human that has killed anyone for taking their vampire’s blood.”
“Well, spread the word that if anyone takes his blood, I will kill them. If he can, then I can, too.” I felt Eric’s amusement through the bond and I gave him the stink eye.
The doctor smiled again at me. I thought she might actually like me. I didn’t know what had gotten into me, but I couldn’t believe someone must ask Eric if they could take my blood, but it was okay for anyone to take his! I knew that he wouldn’t give his blood to anyone, but it was the principle of the matter! I was the only one that he had given his blood to since he’d made Pam.
“Everything looks good and healthy, and she should be since she had your blood last night. You may continue to feed off of her, but I suggest you exchange blood once a week. Are you comfortable with that?” she asked, looking at me. I nodded. “That will keep her healthy and strong. I believe it will also help you bond with the baby,” she said, looking at Eric.
“You gave her blood right after the fairy attack, and thereafter for a week, so if you keep up the blood exchanges you will have a bond established with the baby once he or she is born. Call tomorrow to make an appointment for two weeks. When you come in, we’ll do an ultrasound and we should be able to tell the sex of the baby,” she said and patted my leg.
“Thank you, Dr. Ludwig, for coming. I’m sorry for the way Eric behaved,” I said as I walked her to the door.
“He’s a vampire and they’re always possessive. That’s something you need to remember being involved with one. It’s only going to get worse the further along you get. You’re lucky that you got a good one. I have a feeling he’ll protect that baby just as much as he would you.”
I gave her a small smile, and then nodded, “Thank you again. I’ll call tomorrow to make that appointment.”
I watched as she walked out to her car. Her driver got out and opened the door for her before getting back into the car and driving away.
She said Eric would get more possessive than he already was. I already expected him to be possessive since we had been apart for so long. I hoped he wouldn’t get too over the top. Who was I kidding? This was Eric we were talking about! He was still standing at the end of the couch where I left him when I walked into the room. When he saw me, he held his hand out to me.
“Come sit. I have something I want to talk to you about,” Eric said while sitting down on the couch himself.
“What is it? You’re not still worried, are you?”
“No, I’m not worried. I want to talk to you about something you said last night,” I nodded, not having any idea what he was talking about. “Last night you said you couldn’t wait to spend forever with me. I need to know if you were talking about your forever or mine.”
I felt that he was hopeful, but also resigned to the fact that I had always wanted to stay human, but I’d thought more and more about that since he told me all about our bond.
“Eric, you know I’ve never wanted to be turned,” he nodded, and then hung his head. His hair fell down around his face creating a curtain so I couldn’t see his face any longer.
I reached up and tucked his hair behind his ear. Even if I didn’t have the bond to tell me how he was feeling, I would still be able to see the sadness etched on his face. I moved to sit at the end of the couch and Eric looked over at me, looking even more hurt that I’d moved away from him.
“Come lay down, and let’s talk.” I gave him a small smile and patted my leg.
Eric hesitated for a moment, but lay his head down on my lap facing me. My fingers immediately started running through his long, silky blond hair. Eric closed his eyes for a moment feeling content, but when he opened them back up I could see the sadness in them.
“Before I left, I was very confused by my feelings for you and our bond. I was also under the assumption that even if I was turned we would only spend a short time together. For me I couldn’t see any reason to be turned to only spend most of an eternity without you,” he started to interrupt, but I stilled my hand that was in his hair and laid a finger on his lips. “Let me finish,” he nodded. “This was how I was feeling before, but then you came to see me and explained to me about the bond, that we would always be together if you turned me.”
Eric took the hand that was placed against his lips and laced our fingers together.
“Besides thinking that we would be apart, I would miss the sun too much. Maybe my fairy nature makes me like the sun so much, I don’t know,” I said with a shrug. “I also hate the violence and vampire politics. I don’t know if I could ever get used to it all.”
“I understand, Sookie,” he said and I could feel that he had given up hope that I would join him for an eternity.
“When I was away, I realized just how much I love you,” I gave him a little smile. “I thought you wouldn’t want to have anything to do with me if you found out I was pregnant and I missed you so much.”
I gazed down at Eric who was lying in my lap, showing me the vulnerable side of himself that only I got to see. I could see how much he loved me, would do anything for me, and who would love this baby as his own. While everyone else saw a 6’4 Viking, Vampire Sheriff, who’s ruthless, a warrior, a master strategist, manipulator, and so many more things that intimidates all who encounter him, I see the man he truly is.
“I’ve been thinking a lot since you left Maine about what you told me about our bond and how much I love you. I never would have bonded myself to you back then if I’d have known what it meant,” I could feel that I’d hurt him once more by saying this. “But I’m not sorry we did. I only wish it could have happened at a time when both of us knew what it meant and loved each other.”
“I did love you then, Sookie, I just didn’t know what I was feeling, and I know you loved me, too or, at least you loved your Eric.”
“I did love you then, but I didn’t want to. It hurt when you didn’t remember our time together, so I pushed those feelings away,” I breathed in a deep breath. “I can’t leave you knowing that you will meet the sun after I die. I don’t want you to feel the pain of my death if it’s anything like what I imagine I would feel if you died.”
“Does this mean that you’ll let me turn you?”
“Someday,” I said. Eric sat up and wrapped me in his arms while laying the mother of all kisses on me. He pulled back and began running his fingers lightly over my forehead and down my cheek. He ran his thumb across my lips. I kissed it softly and he continued to gently caress me from my head down to my toes. I sat back enjoying the sensation of Eric touching me. When he ran his thumb across my lips again, I cupped his face with my hands and pulled his lips to mine.
He kissed me tenderly while I ran my fingers through his hair and down his back. Without breaking the kiss, Eric maneuvered our bodies to lay down on the couch, his body on top of mine while keeping his weight on his elbows. I spread my legs a little further apart so his hips could rest between them. He continued to kiss my mouth, face, neck, and collarbone.
Eric worked his way back up to my lips giving them one last kiss. “I love you,” he whispered to me.
“I love you too,” I said and gave him a chaste kiss on the lips. I ran my hand over the hair above his forehead and along his cheek and jaw.
“I never thought you would agree to be a vampire. To know that you have chosen me for eternity. I don’t think there’s anything I can do to show you how much this means to me.”
“I only ask that you stay with me and love me for all eternity.”
“I will always be by your side and even if you didn’t choose to, I would still love you until the end of my days.”
I gave him a kiss on his forehead for being so sweet. “You need to know this isn’t going to happen anytime soon,” I said and placed my hands on my stomach. “I want to wait until the baby is at least eighteen-years-old. Will eighteen to twenty years be too long?”
Eric furrowed his brows, “Why would you ask if it will be too long?”
“Will I be too old for you to turn?”
“As you know, age has no factor in being turned so I don’t understand your question.”
“Will I look too old for you in twenty years?”
“You will look the same as you do now if you continue to take my blood. It doesn’t matter what you look like. I just want to be with you,” he said with that sweet smile reserved just for me.
“I’m already older than you were when you were turned. I don’t want to look old compared to you forever.”
Eric chuckled, “I promise you will not. I may have been younger than you when I was turned, but I look older than most do now at that age.”
Eric ran his fingers through my hair and his hand down my back. “You have no idea how beautiful you are, and now that you’re with child you’re even more so. Let’s go to bed.” He stood and held his hand out to help me up and we headed downstairs to our bedroom. “Do you have any plans for tomorrow?” He asked.
“I’m going to call Amelia and maybe Tara to see if they can do lunch at Merlotte’s. It’ll be nice to catch up with them.”
“I only ask that you make it back by sunset. We have an appointment with my lawyer tomorrow night at Fangtasia. The keys to the Escalade are on the hook by the garage door, please take it.”
“I kind of have to unless I want to drive your Corvette, and I certainly don’t want to do that.”
I headed into the bathroom to do my nightly ritual. After washing my face and putting on my lotion, I briefly thought about needing a better lotion for aging, but then thought of how silly I was. Vampire blood beats any lotion, any day.
I walked into our bedroom and Eric was sitting up against the headboard in all his naked glory. I grabbed the shirt he had worn tonight and used it for my nightshirt. Once I’d put all of our clothes into the hamper, I slid into bed.
“If the Escalade is not up to your liking, we can get you a new car. Whatever car you want you can have.”
“It’s fine. I don’t want you buying me a new car. I’ve never even driven it, so how I can say if I like it or not?”
“I think it will be very safe for you and the baby.”
“You’re going to be a great father. You’re already worried about the baby,” I said with a smile.
Eric scooted down the bed and laid his head on my stomach while holding one of my hands. “I’m going to try my hardest, Sookie. It’s so different from when I was human.”
“If you’re worried about being a good father, then you’ll be a good father. Bad parents never worry about whether they are being good parents. What are you doing down there?”
“I’m listening to the baby’s heartbeat along with yours. It’s around eighty beats faster than yours.”
“Yes, it’s very fast. I’ve heard it at the doctor’s office before.”
“Do you want to know the sex of the baby?” Eric asked.
“I think it’s a good idea. That way we can come up with a name, decorate the nursery, and buy everything he or she will need.”
We were quiet after that, and I was almost asleep when Eric came back up the bed and wrapped his arms around me. He buried his face in my hair and whispered, “I don’t want to ever be without you, I know that I will never be able to go on. However, if you change your mind to remain human then I’ll understand and I’ll be with you until you are no more. I will be hurt, not from betrayal, but from being faced with the loss of you. I will always honor your wishes.”
I placed one hand over Eric’s heart and the other on his cheek. “I’m not going to change my mind. I want to stay as I am so I can be there for our baby, that’s the only thing holding me back. It should give me plenty of time to do any human things I want to do. I will be ready, and I promise I won’t change my mind on you.”
Eric rolled on top of me, leaned down, framed my face with his large hands, and swept his lips over mine, gently, caressing them with his own. He nibbled the side of my lips before settling in and kissing me long, slow, and deep, as if his life depended on it, as if he’d never get to do it again.
He stared down at me with so much love, giving himself to me completely; it almost brought tears to my eyes. “I don’t think you realize how much you mean to me and now to have a child with the woman I love,” he said with a sweet and gentle smile. “I’m never going to let you go again.”