Eric kissed me long and hard and when he finally pulled away, my lips swollen and tingly. What affected me the most, however, were the feelings coming through the bond. Closing my eyes, I rested my head against Eric’s forehead as I tried to catch my breath and absorb the happiness and love that were flowing out of him. I had never felt him this elated before.
He pulled me onto his lap, our chests pressed tightly together as my breath steadied, and he held me as if he thought I would fly away.
“Eric,” I said as I cupped his face with my hands. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“I know,” he replied quietly, nodding his head.
I leaned in planning to give him a simple kiss, but once our lips touched, Eric cupped the back of my head with his large hand and deepened the kiss. Our kiss intensified until I was ready to rip his clothes off but, once again, Eric stopped us from moving forward.
Pulling away, Eric sat me back down on the bed before he gave me a small smile and took both of my hands in his. I looked at him, questioning why he stopped us from going further.
“I’m sorry, Lover. Your gift and words have left me unable to control myself, and if we had continued, I don’t know if I would have been able to stop myself. I need a few moments to calm myself down,” he said with a pained smile upon his face. “How about I tell you of a memory of us? What would you like to hear about?”
“Are you sure?” I asked. He didn’t feel out of control to me. Was it only an excuse? Did he not want me like that anymore?
He scanned my face with furrowed brows then asked, “What has you feeling this way?”
I moved to lie down on the bed since that was how we normally talked when we were in here. We’d both lie down and faced the other with only a few inches between us.
Eric reclined beside me, pulled my hand to his lips, and gave me an expectant look.
Not wanting to look at him, I lowered my head before I spoke. “You don’t seem out of control to me,” I whispered, keeping my head down.
Letting go of my hand, Eric quickly wrapped his arms around me, pulling me closer until our bodies were flush.
“I’m very old and it took centuries for me to gain the control that I have, but you, my dear wife, can make me lose myself with only a look,” he said with his mouth against my ear. “If you were to feel how much I want you right now, you would be tearing my clothes off.”
I could feel his lips spread into a smile as they brushed against my ear lobe.
“So you’re blocking me from what you’re feeling for me?” I asked, getting upset. He had told me that he would only block it if he were close to bloodlust or in pain. Surely kissing me hadn’t brought him to bloodlust…
I felt him nod against my head before he responded. “I don’t want you influenced by my feelings.”
I pulled myself out of his embrace so that I could look at him, but before I could reply he said with a sexy smirk, “At least not your first time with me.”
“But…,” I wanted to rationalize that it wasn’t our first time but before I got a chance, Eric shushed me with one of his long fingers.
“It will be a first for you,” he placed a kiss on my nose. “Now what do you want to hear about?”
A huge smile flooded my face as I decided what I wanted to hear about tonight. “I want to hear about our wedding. I’m finally ready to know about it.”
We settled into our usual places on the bed before he started to retell our wedding night.
“You’ve seen the pictures around the house,” he said as he brushed some hair off my face and tucked it behind my ear.
“What did you think was underneath?” he asked with a smirk.
I shrugged the best I could while lying down. “Nude photographs.”
Eric let out a deep rumbling laugh that always put a smile on my face. “I would never have the nude photographs I have of you on the walls for others to see. Those are only for us.”
My brain stopped in that moment with his words. There were naked pictures of me somewhere? I must have been lost in my own thoughts for too long because I started to feel worry coming from Eric and him lightly shaking me by my shoulder.
Blinking a few times to clear my head, I looked at Eric and saw the worry that I had felt reflected in his eyes. I gave him a smile and watched as his eyes softened with relief.
“If it bothers you that much I will burn every last picture. You only have to say the word,” he stated earnestly.
“Do you have a lot of those types of pictures of me?” I asked worrying my bottom lip.
He gave me a half shrug, “We’ve been together for a long time. It wasn’t something you were unwilling to do and they are all tasteful. Nothing for you to be embarrassed about.”
A blush spread across my face and to the tips of my ears before I could ask my next question. “Are there pictures of you too?” I asked, looking across the room instead of at him.
“Do you want to see them?” he asked with a smirk. “All of our pictures are in the safe in the closet,” he said motioning his hand toward our closet.
“No… No, I don’t,” I said shaking my head. “I may never want to see them, but you don’t have to burn them on my account. I just don’t want to see them.”
“If that is your wish,” he said with his dazzling smile before he got serious. “Do not worry, no one else has ever seen them, nor will they ever. Just as my body is yours, your body is mine. Our bodies are only for each other’s enjoyment, no one else’s.”
We were quiet for a few moments and I knew that Eric was probably visualizing each and every one of those pictures of me.
I cleared my throat to get his attention. “Tell me about our wedding. Did you want to get married the human way?”
“I never planned to get married your way. I knew that at some point in my long life that I might marry a vampire, but that would have been for political reasons only.”
I couldn’t help it. Jealousy and anger flared within me thinking about Eric being married to anyone but me. I hated the thought.
Eric chuckled and wrapped his long arms around me. “That’s my Sookie,” he said before he planted a kiss on my lips. He pulled back before it got too heated. “You have nothing to worry about. For the rest of my days, you will be the only wife I will ever have.” He gave me a gentle squeeze before he continued, “I was only speaking of what might have happened before I met you and we married. I always knew it was possible that one day my maker could force me to marry against my will.”
“You never talk about your maker,” I whispered. I didn’t like the feelings that would come from Eric when he mentioned his maker. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to know about him or not.
“I do not,” he said, his jaw tense. “I didn’t have the same relationship with him as I do with Pam.”
“You care a great deal for her,” I replied, wondering how different he was with Pam than his maker was with him. His only response was a nod of his head. “Did you tell me about your maker before?”
He took a deep breath before exhaling forcefully, never once looking away from me.
“You knew of him,” he paused, looking over my shoulder and out the window for a few moments before his eyes settled back on me. “A vampire must always follow any commands his or her maker gives them. You know this.” I nodded my head. “I was not released from my maker until I was a little over three hundred years old and they were the worst years of my undead life,” Eric said with a sigh as he ran his fingers through his hair. “The things he did to me…” Eric paused, struggling to find the right words. “Everything he forced me to do – Sookie,” he looked away taking another deep breath before his eyes found mine once again. “He found so much pleasure in my pain and destruction. I— I never want you to know.” His eyes begged me to understand.
“You don’t have to talk about it,” I said, shaking my head as I reached forward and cupped the side of his face. “Maybe someday you’ll be ready to tell me.”
Eric started to interrupt me until I placed a soft kiss upon his lips.
“Like I was saying – maybe someday you’ll be ready to tell me, and maybe someday I’ll be ready to hear it, but that day is not today. Maybe in a couple hundred years,” I stated once I pulled back from his lips.
“Yes, maybe one day,” he said taking another breath. “We had exchanged blood for the second time.”
“When was that?” I asked.
“The night you agreed to marry me and be my wife.” He smiled brightly at me for a moment, almost as if he had forgotten he was talking about his maker, but that smile soon disappeared. “He had stayed in Europe for all those centuries and after that night, I felt him starting to move closer. My happiness was something that he strove to see never happen, and he could feel that I was happy with you…that I had found my happiness. He may have also been able to feel you slightly through the bond. I didn’t know and I never had any intention of finding out.”
“Is he dead?” I asked scared that I might find out that this horrible man still walked the earth.
“He is no more. When I felt him getting closer, I knew that I had very little time before he would find me and I was afraid of what he would do once he found me.”
Snuggling closer to Eric, I tried to give him comfort. “What did you think he would do?” I asked.
“Command me to kill you, make you watch as he made me do unspeakable things in front of you, or even worse yet make me watch as he raped and tortured you before he killed you in front of me,” he said with his jaw clenched. “I couldn’t let him take you away from me so I called a friend of mine who was just slightly older than my maker. I told him all that I knew and asked him to end him before he reached Shreveport.”
“And did he?” I asked, engrossed in the story even though I already knew he was dead.
“He did. I owe him a great debt, one I may never be able to repay.”
“I’m glad we don’t have to worry about your maker anymore,” I stated with relief.
“Me too, Lover. Me too,” he said before squeezing me tightly.
“What’s your friend’s name? The one who ended your maker?”
“Godric,” he replied with one word.
“I’m sorry to bring up such bad memories.” I laid my head against his chest as I held his hand tightly in mine.
“You have nothing to be sorry about,” he said as he placed a kiss on the top of my head.
“So you never planned to marry a human,” I stated to get us back on a happier topic.
“No, but once I met and fell in love with you, I wanted to do the right thing by you, and that was to ask for your hand in marriage. Never in my thousand years had I been as nervous as I was that night,” he said with a shy smile.
“Why? Did you really think I’d say no?” I couldn’t understand why I’d say ‘no’ if I loved him.
“I was unsure of your answer. There are many things that I cannot give you because I am a vampire…things that others could give you.” He hugged me tightly to his body while he continued. “I cannot be out in the sunlight, therefore, to be able to spend time with me, you had to give up most of your time in the sun, which was something that you greatly enjoyed.”
“We share that here in this house,” I responded.
“That is somewhat true. We’ve only been here a short amount of time, but we can never have a picnic lunch by the lake.”
“I don’t care about that,” I stated, a little agitated that he was feeling so guilty over something that didn’t bother me.
“And for that, I will be eternally grateful.”
“There’s something else that you feel guilty about. What is it?” I asked when I still felt a large amount of guilt and fear coming from him.
I felt Eric slide his hand slowly down the side of my body, then felt his large palm press lightly against my stomach. I looked up into his eyes where I saw immense sadness and regret looking back at me.
“A child,” he softly whispered. “I cannot give you a child and one day I’m afraid you are going to regret that the man you’re married to cannot give you this precious gift,” he said and then closed his eyes. Feeling his guilt, anguish, and misery broke my heart. I kissed his closed eyes first and then moved to kiss the corners of his mouth before placing a soft kiss on his lips. I sat up beside him and cupped his face in my hands.
“I can promise you right now that I am never going to leave you. Never. If I want children one day, you will be a part of that process. I don’t know – maybe we can find some distant relative of yours or… who knows what kind of technology will be around in a few hundred years and maybe they can do something to your sperm then,” I said with a laugh. “What I do know is that you have nothing to worry about.”
“You can’t promise me that,” he said quietly.
“Why not? Am I not still the same Sookie? That’s what you’ve been telling me. Did I not promise you this once before? Did we not discuss this?” I asked, my voice getting louder and louder with each question.
His brows furrowed, Eric sat up and took a deep unnecessary breath before he spoke. “Of course, we talked about it, but it has always been something I was afraid you’d want later in life.” He looked at me with a deep amount of sadness radiating from him. “Things have changed between you and me and I don’t expect you to live by promises that you no longer remember.”
“I’m promising you based on what I know and feel now, not by what I promised you years ago. Can you not feel my sincerity?” Startling Eric, I jumped off the bed as a thought came to me.
“Is this because you no longer want me? Have you changed your mind?” I asked as tears welled up and threatened to spill.
Maybe this had become too much for him, I thought as I paced the room. Maybe he realized that his Sookie, his wife, was gone and that he no longer loved who I was now. I gasped as the thought took hold, and my body started shaking, as I could no longer hold back my tears. Slowly I started sinking to the floor with the thought of losing Eric.
I had only just come to the realization that I loved him, and now it was too late. A sob broke through as I let my body go, no longer caring what would happen as my body crashed toward the floor.
Long, strong arms enveloped me and pulled me against a cold, hard chest before I crashed. Eric cradled me against his body as he walked us to our bed. Once he sat down, he rocked me back and forth while caressing my hair, back, and arms as he tried to calm me down.
After what felt like hours, my tears finally dried, and I was left hiccupping every once in a while. Once I had stopped sobbing, I could hear that Eric was humming the same song that he had hummed while we were in the bathtub together after he had been shot.
“Sookie,” he whispered soothingly from the top of my head. His arms loosened slightly as he shifted my body so that we were face to face. Eric placed a kiss on my forehead and looked at me incredulously. He wiped the tears from my face as his mouth opened and closed a few times as he shook his head.
“My dear beautiful wife, I cannot even fathom how you could think such a thing. I want you so badly it hurts,” he said pressing one hand over his unbeating heart. “I’m never going to stop wanting you; loving you… Never… I can’t even express how much I love you. You can feel it. You’ve told me it’s the best feeling in the world and I will wait forever for you to love me again. I’ll wait until the sun and stars burn out then die and still…”
His gaze moved to over the top of my head and out the windows.
“I will wait,” he said barely above a whisper.
“Eric,” I interrupted him. “Are you afraid I could never feel the same for you? Do you think it would take forever for me to love you?” I asked incredulously. This time, I was the one not believing what was coming out of his mouth.
“I have not always been a good man, Sookie,” he said quietly, returning his gaze to my eyes. “You don’t know my past sins. I don’t deserve someone as good as you.”
“No, I don’t and unless you plan on repeating them it doesn’t matter. I know you – the vampire sitting before me. You are a man who loves me so much that he would let me go if it would make me happy. You are a man who has been nothing but kind, patient and loving toward me from the second that I woke up in this new life. You deserve love.”
“I think we will have to agree to disagree,” he said giving me a sad smile.
“Do you know what I think, Eric?” I asked him. He only shook his head as he stared at me as if he was looking into my soul. My hands made their way to cup his cheeks and I took a deep breath. It was time I told him how I truly felt. I couldn’t let him think he was unloved and that he didn’t deserve it when I had witnessed for myself that he truly did deserve it more than anyone else.
“I think that forever is a long time to wait,” I told him.
“For you, never,” he stated with conviction.
I felt my smile take over my entire face as I felt the truth of his statement and his love for me. What I wanted to tell him just added to my joy.
“It’s a good thing you won’t have to wait that long.”
His lips parted and his eyes widened.
“Sookie,” he asked, covering my hands with his own. His eyes were hopeful, but I could feel that he was holding himself back.
“I love you, Eric,” I said softly, but it felt as if they were the loudest words I had ever spoken.
His eyes fluttered closed for a moment as if he were savoring my words.
“Tell me again,” he said, snapping his eyes open again. I was almost knocked over by his beaming smile along with the flood of his happiness and love.
I quickly straddled his lap and wove my fingers through his hair.
“I. Love. You.”
His lips were on mine before I could return his beautiful smile, and my world disappeared. There was only me and Eric, and nothing mattered but our love.