I had just finished cleaning up the kitchen when Eric walked in with a curious look on his face. I looked up from wiping down the counter and I knew I had a big smile on my face.
“You cooked?” he asked.
“I did. I found my Gran’s cookbook and I made biscuits and ate them with honey and butter. It may have taken me ten times longer than it should have, trying to find the ingredients and figuring it all out but I did it.”
Eric had a big smile on his face, “I’m happy for you. Are you done in here?”
“I am. What’s going on?” I asked him as I followed Eric into the living room. I could feel that he was determined to tell or talk to me about something.
I sat quietly as I watched Eric make us a fire. I could tell that he had done this hundreds if not thousands of times before. It seemed to settle him. Each move relaxing him a little more. Once he was done, he came and sat beside me on the couch. He angled his body toward mine and reached out to hold my hand.
“Are you ready to tell me what’s wrong?” I asked him. The more relaxed Eric became while making the fire, the more stressed I became.
“Nothing’s wrong,” he said with a shy smile. “I wanted to talk about this last night when we got home, but I wanted you to have a clear head when we discussed it.”
“I’m clear headed now so what do you want to discuss?” I asked wondering what he could possibly want to talk about that would make him nervous.
“About some of the things that Alcide mentioned last night and something we learned about when we found out that you’re part fairy.”
“We don’t need to discuss anything that Alcide said. I don’t care about those things.”
“You may not care about them right now, but you may in the future,” he said before using the hand that wasn’t holding mine and ran it through his hair. “When we met your great-grandfather, after your cousin died a little over a year ago, we found out that you’re part fairy and that when our bond became permanent our lives became connected to one another.”
“What does that mean?” I asked looking from his face down to our joined hands.
“It means that our lives are tied. You will stay looking exactly like you did the day that our bond became permanent and will live for as long as I’m alive. You may be alive for another two hundred years or two thousand.”
“What about you?”
“If you die then I’ll die as well.”
My eyes snapped up to his. “What? You couldn’t possibly want this. I don’t know much right now, but I do know that I’m only human. I could die at any time. I almost died just a few days ago,” I said. I sat back on the couch, turning my body toward the fireplace. I pulled my knees to my chest, wrapped my arms around my legs, and placed my chin on top of my knees.
I stared off into the fire for I don’t know how long. I had almost died and if I had then Eric would have died as well. This was in no way fair for him. I was stuck in a weak body that could get hurt or sick easily.
“Kära en, titta på mig (Dear one, please look at me),” Eric said. I turned to look at him to see a worried expression on his face. “Talk to me. Tell me what you’re thinking.”
“I’m thinking that you got the short end of the stick,” I replied. My voice laced with apology.
“I don’t see it that way. You can live an eternity without giving up all the things that you love about being human.”
“But I’m only human. I’m weak. I could get sick or in another accident and die tomorrow. You would die and I don’t want that,” I said as tears welled up in my eyes.
“All of that is a possibility or I could get staked. We can’t live out our days worrying about if we are going to die or not.”
“I don’t want to be the cause of your death,” I said as a tear escaped.
“And I never want to be the cause of yours,” he replied before extending his arm out to me. “Come here,” tugging on my hand until I was sitting beside him with his arm around my shoulders and my head was laying on his chest.
“How can you not be upset by this?”
“I’ve had longer to get used to the information. Even if I had known that our lives would be bound together by bonding I still would have done it,” he replied. His cheek was laying on top of my head while he rubbed up and down my arm with his hand.
“With or without our lives being tied together I would meet the sun if you were to ever die.”
“Why would you meet the sun?” I asked turning to look in him the eye. I hated the thought of Eric ever dying especially if I was the cause.
Eric sat there staring at me without blinking for a few minutes before he spoke. “Even without the bond that we share, I would not want to live forever without you in my life, but with the bond if we were not bound the way that we are, if you were to die it would leave a void where our bond resides. It would cause me such immense pain and sadness that would continue to increase until I would finally met the sun.”
“Did I know this when we created this bond?”
“Yes,” he firmly replied. “I hide nothing from you.”
His gaze and words were so intense that it left no question in my mind that they were anything but true.
“This is a lot to take in,” I said while I rubbed my eyes with the heels of my palms before moving back to snuggle against his side.
“I understand, Sookie, but know that you are not alone in this,” he assured me. “I’m with you and I’ll give you anything you need or want. I’ll answer any questions you may have. You can come to me for any and everything.”
“What was our plan? Were you just going to watch me age and die and then meet the sun?”
“No,” he replied. I could feel him shake his head against my own. “Before we knew that our lives were bound together by our bond, we had planned that I would turn you when you were thirty.”
“Why thirty? Is it because that’s how only you were when you were turned?”
I could feel the vibration of Eric laughter through his chest, “No, that had nothing to do with it. Before your accident you were going to school to become a counselor for abused children. You wanted to finish getting your degree and have your career started.” I felt him kiss the top of my head before he tightened his arm around me.
“What am I going to do now? I don’t remember anything that I learned in school. I either have today or forever to live. I can’t sit around on my butt forever.”
“You can do whatever you want. After you get comfortable in your life again you can go back to school. Start over if you want. You can continue to work with me until you decide what you want to do. We can travel and see the world. Whatever you want. I would like to take you to Sweden someday and show you my homeland.”
“I’d like that,” I said as I wrapped my arm around his torso. I took a deep breath. “I think for right now I want to work with you and get used to everyday life again. I would also like to travel and see your homeland sometime soon.”
“Then that’s what we’ll do.”
I sighed against Eric. It made him so happy that I would want to go see his homeland. I wondered why we had never visited before.
“Can I ask you a question?”
I could feel amusement through the bond before Eric answered me. “You know you can always ask me anything.”
“I don’t want to hurt your feelings,” I said as I tried to pull away. His arms tightened around me as if they would never let me go.
“Don’t worry about hurting my feelings. Ask me anything you want,” he said before placing another kiss on top of my head.
“I was thinking about how you wanted to talk about the things that Alcide mentioned yesterday. I don’t care that you are colder than I am, or that you don’t have a pulse, you seem pretty sweet and cuddly to me,” I said with a giggle.
“Only for you, my Sookie.”
“So,” I said dragging the word out. I took a deep breath in and slowly let it out. “Do you not want children with me?” I asked, ducking my head down. Unsure if I wanted the answer or not. He said he loves me and I could feel his love for me, but why didn’t he want to have children?
I felt Eric take his own deep breath. My body moved up and down with his before I felt his fingers lightly take my chin and tilt it up until I was looking him in the eyes.
“It has nothing to do with not wanting children with you,” he said shaking his head. “Vampires cannot procreate. When Alcide mentioned you having children, he meant with someone else, someone who can give you children,” he said in a dejected tone.
Feeling the sadness and mourning for what would never be, coming off Eric it broke my heart. I rose up on my knees and wrapped my arms around his head as he rested his forehead against my collarbone. I ran my fingers through his hair trying to comfort him. I hated knowing that I’d made him feel this way.
Eric pulled back after a few minutes scanning my face with his sad eyes. “It’s one of the few things that I cannot give you that I regret. If you ever want to have a child or children we can try to adopt, you can get artificially inseminated, or …” he said, but couldn’t continue.
“Or what? What else is there?”
“I told you last night that if you ever wanted to be with a human now that you no longer have any problems with your telepathy…”
I shook my head interrupting, “Stop mentioning me being with another man unless you no longer want me and want me with someone else.”
“I want you with no one else,” he said with a low growl. “It would be the hardest thing I’d ever have to do to let you go, but I would if you wanted me to,” he closed his eyes. “If it would make you happy. I know our situation is no longer what it was before your accident. I don’t want you to feel that you owe me anything. I will help you whatever your decision.”
“Eric,” I said grabbing his face in my hands, his eyes opened. “Right now, I don’t want a child. I don’t even know myself, let alone have to care for a child. If I have hundreds or maybe even thousands of years to live then yes, maybe one day I will want to have a child. If that time comes than we will talk and decide our options then.”
I sat back down on my heels and ran my hands from his face, over his shoulders, down his arms until they reached his hands. I brought both of his hands together in a prayer position and wrapped my hands around them as best as I could.
“I don’t plan on going anywhere. I can honestly say that I don’t love you right now,” I stopped for a moment when Eric let his head hang down.
“I know,” he said barely above a whisper.
“But,” I said and took his chin in my hand and raised it until our eyes met. “I do feel something for you. You can feel that can’t you?” He nodded his head. “It’s been four days since I woke up from my accident and started a whole new life. I do feel a connection with you that I can’t explain. I trust you, you are so sweet and caring toward me, you’re absolutely gorgeous, but I’m pretty sure that I didn’t fall in love with you the first time in only four days did I?”
“No,” he said shaking his head.
“Give me time. Can you do that?”
“Of course I can. I didn’t mean to pressure you, but I wanted you to know your options.”
“And now I know my options. Right now, I choose to stay with you and I don’t plan on changing my mind. I have an idea. Since it’s still early can you tell me about when we met?”
“I had put an ad in the paper for a personal assistant. I needed someone who could work for me day or night, but working mostly days. You have to remember that no one knew that vampires existed back then. We knew the reveal was coming, but we didn’t know when. It was getting harder to hide our existence with all the technology that was rapidly increasing,” he explained.
“I had saw close to a hundred applicants by the time you came in looking like the sun. You were so young and beautiful, your long honey colored hair trailing down your back, your golden tan, bright blue eyes, with your yellow dress and little white sandals.”
“You were so innocent,” he smiled as he looked off, remembering our first meeting. “I knew right away that I was going to hire you. The fact that you smelled better than any human I’d ever encountered was an added bonus.” He looked back at me, still smiling.
“After hiring you I was always trying to come up with different things for you to do for me at night, so that we could spend more time together. I had a feeling that you caught on within the first few nights, but you were so excited to have a good job with benefits. I even sent you out to pick me up dinner a couple of times,” he said with a sly grin on his face.
My furrowed my brows, “You had me bring people to you?”
He shook his head as he chuckled, “No, I sent you to get me human food. I was pretending to be human back then. I wanted to spend time with you and I could only give you so many errands to run at night. Back before the reveal, most places didn’t have the hours that they do now to accommodate vampires.”
“Really?” I asked him giggling.
A smile lit up his face as I felt his adoration flow through our bond. “Really. I tried every way I could to see you.”
“How did I find out you’re a vampire?”
“You had been working for me for about three weeks and you came into my office looking worried. When I asked you what the problem was, you wanted to let me know that I had an employee who had been stealing from me. I asked if you could prove it and that’s when you became nervous. For a moment I thought it might have been you who had been stealing. You sat down in the chair across from my desk and put your face in your hands and sat like that for so long that I was getting worried that you had something to do with it. Finally you decided that you could trust me and let me in on your secret that you could read minds.”
“Had I ever told anyone about being a telepath before?” I asked intrigued as to why I had told him such a big secret after only working for a short amount of time.
He shook his head, “Only your Gran, Jason, and a couple of friends that you’ve known since you were a little girl know.”
“What was your reaction to meeting your first telepath?”
“Not as good as I would have liked,” he replied.
“Why? What did you do?”
“My fangs ran out as I moved in front of you, quicker than any human could ever move. As I towered over you I demanded that you tell me if you could read my thoughts,” he said and then lowered his gaze down to your connected hands as he spoke. “I scared you. You were so frightened and hardly able to speak. Eventually, I backed up against my desk giving you some space to calm down.”
Regret filled our bond as we sat silently on the couch. Eric still hadn’t looked up when I squeezed his hand a little tighter.
“Did you ever treat me like that again?” I asked.
Eric’s head whipped up instantly offended. “Never!” he proclaimed adamantly.
“Then why wouldn’t you look at me, why did I feel your regret?” I asked quietly.
“I hate the way I treated you then, that I scared you, but I have never treated you like that since that night.”
A small smile crossed my lips before telling him to continue on with the story.
“You sat there in your chair in front of me with your eyes closed and your nose scrunched up until your eyes popped open and one the biggest smiles I’d ever seen spread across your face. I knew before you ever told me that you couldn’t read my thoughts or you wouldn’t have been smiling.”
“Why? What were you thinking about?”
“That I was going to have to fire you and glamour you to forget all about me. I couldn’t let you continue to work for me if you could read my mind. I couldn’t let you know about vampires and our secrets. You told me you couldn’t read my thoughts with such wonderment in your voice and asked what I was. Humans don’t have fangs and can’t move that fast. I revealed that I was a vampire, planning on glamouring you before you left for the night.”
“Then you found out I can’t be glamoured,” he nodded his head. “What happened then?”
“I think I was in shock for the first time in my vampiric life. I knew I should kill you. No human was allowed to know that vampires existed, but I couldn’t do it,” he said shaking his head. “Best decision of my undead life.”
“But why didn’t you? What made you decide I should live?”
“You were the first human in hundreds of years, if ever that I actually wanted to spend time with. You’re so different from the rest, the way you viewed people, treated them because of your telepathy, but also because not only are you beautiful and smart, but you were already loyal to me. You outed yourself because you trusted me. You had no idea that I was a vampire and that I could either kill you, use you for your gift, or give you to my queen. I didn’t want any of those things, and I didn’t want to lose you from my life.”