I watched as Eric stepped into the bathtub and although I knew that he had been shot, who knew how many times to save my life, this was the first I time I saw the blood all over his back, and it scared me half to death.
I knelt down, on a towel that I had placed on the ground, beside the tub with a washcloth in my hands.
“Are you not getting in to join me?” Eric asked.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea. The point is for me to take care of you. What good is there to come from me being in there,” I said pointing into the water, “with you?”
“If you want to take care of me then get in this tub with me. I won’t try anything untoward,” he said earnestly.
I studied him for a moment, weighing both the pros and cons silently in my mind. My need to care for him was an overwhelming presence that I couldn’t shake, but was it necessary to be in the tub with him to do so?
There was no denying that the attraction I had for him was staggering, and I knew that he was my husband but was I ready for such intimacy? Did I want to be ready?
“Sookie,” Eric softly called out to me, pulling me from my thoughts. “You and I are safe and thanks to you, I will heal, but I need you close. I need the comfort that only you can bring me.”
I opened my mouth to speak, but Eric stopped me with a raised hand.
“This,” he said with his hand gesturing to the water, “has nothing to do with sex. And everything to do with being cared for and close to you. To my wife.” He paused and his blue eyes begged for my understanding.
“This is just a bath. Nothing more. Nothing less,” he said. I felt the truth and honesty of his words through our bond, and it felt like a weight had been lifted from my chest.
With my decision made, I gave him a slight nod and methodically began to undress. Thankfully, Eric didn’t watch me; instead, he slid forward in the bathtub giving me plenty of room to slip in behind him.
“Thank you, Sookie,” Eric whispered while rubbing my feet that were resting beside his long, muscular legs.
I responded with a soft lingering kiss on his shoulder then I began to meticulously rinse and wash his back, shoulders, arms, and neck.
“Lean back,” I said as I reached for the sprayer to wet and wash his hair. He was humming as my fingers massaged the shampoo into his hair.
“I’ve never heard you hum before,” I said as I ran my fingers through his wet hair. “What are you humming?”
“A song that my mother used to sing to my baby sister. I no longer remember the words, only the melody.”
“It’s very beautiful.” He nodded his head in agreement as I scraped my fingernails along his scalp causing him to momentarily cease his humming and moan.
“You were the first to wash my hair in over a thousand years. The last who had washed it was my mother when I was a small child, no more than three winters old,” he said wistfully.
“Does it bother you for me to wash your hair?” I asked. I didn’t want to do anything that made him sad.
He turned his head to look over his shoulder while I continued my ministrations on his scalp. “I very much like it when you wash my hair,” he said as his gaze trailed down from my face and stopped for a long moment on my breasts before he continued down until it hit what was under the water. I felt lust spike through our bond. “Normally I wash your hair when we share a bath.”
“Do we often share baths?” I asked him as I brought the sprayer back down to rinse his hair. “Lean back a little.”
He gave me a slight nod before he leaned and tilted his head back letting the water wash away all the shampoo. Once all the suds were out I leaned my back against the back of the tub, stretching out a little more.
“Lay back,” I said. “Just don’t smash me.”
Eric leaned back slowly as if to make sure he wouldn’t squash me. When he was finally all the way back, he placed the back of his head against my shoulder and closed his eyes.
“Are you okay?” he asked me.
“I’m fine. Shouldn’t I be the one to ask you that?” I asked as I wrapped my arms around his shoulders as best as I could.
“Perfect. I’m lying in the arms of my beautiful wife. What more could a vampire want?” he replied, but I could feel his longing for something more between us. It caused my heart to feel heavy every time I saw and felt his longing for his lost wife.
I rubbed my hands up and down his arms a couple of times before I placed a kiss on his shoulder. “Can you tell me about the first time we took a bath together?”
“Of course,” he hummed. “It was the night that we first made love. You had given me the gift of your maidenhead. A very precious gift from you. To know that I was your first, that you trusted and cared for me, a vampire, was not something I was used to.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“I never had sex and the human knew that I was a vampire. I would always glamour them to think that I was human, that my skin wasn’t cold, and that I didn’t bite them.”
“Do you always bite during sex?”
“Before I met you, I did, but with you, everything has been different. You’ve known about what I was almost from the moment we met, and you accepted me without any reservations.”
“Tell me about our first time.”
Eric turned his head so that he could look at me. “Do you want the play-by-play?”
“No!” I yelped. I smacked him in the chest, which caused water to splash him in the face. “No, play-by-play.”
“Are you sure?” he smirked at me while wiggling his eyebrows.
I giggled at him and wrapped my arms around his shoulders once again. “I’m sure. Nothing dirty.”
“Okay,” he said, drawing out the word. “Hmmm. So I guess you don’t want to see the video?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Video!?” I shrieked, putting my face in my hands. Mortified.
“Sookie,” Eric said with a teasing smile as he pried my hands away from my face. “There’s no video. I promise you.”
He turned back around and leaned against me once again to continue with his story of us.
“We had been dating for almost three months. I took you out to dinner and a movie. You had never enjoyed going to the movies with your telepathy, but you had found out that being in contact with a vampire somehow helped block out everyone’s thoughts.”
“What movie did we see?”
Zombieland? “Are zombie’s real?” I asked scrunching up my nose.
“Not that I know of,” he said while shaking his head. “I’ve never encountered one in my thousand years, but I’d also never knew a telepath before I meet you.”
“Are you disappointed that my telepathy is gone?”
“Absolutely not. I was always worried that someone would find out and try to take you away from me. You are in less danger without it and it in no way affects my feelings for you.” He reached up and took my hand in his before placing a soft kiss on the back of it.
The water was starting to get cold, and my body shivered causing my nipples to rub against Eric’s back.
“I think it’s time for us to get out of the bath. You’re cold and if your delectable breasts graze my back much more than we may be reenacting the first time we made love instead of talking about it.”
Once we were dressed in our pajamas, me in a light blue long flowing nightgown and Eric in a pair of black silk sleep pants, we laid in bed facing each other only inches apart. I pulled the blankets up till they were just under our chins.
“You know I don’t get cold don’t you?” he asked with a smirk.
“I know, but it’s comforting and feels nice. Humor me.”
He smiled at me and gave me a nod. “Should I continue about our first bath and lovemaking?”
I blushed but nodded for him to continue.
“After the movie, I brought you to one of my safe houses. I showed you around the house with my bedroom being the last room on the tour.” He wiggled his eyebrows up and down, causing me to giggle at him.
“Was I nervous?”
“You were, but that’s understandable. I did not fault you for being nervous. I was perfectly fine with waiting or doing other things, but you were ready. I did my best to prepare you and to ease your pain. We…”
“I don’t need the details,” I said blushing. I could feel the heat from my blush all over my face.
“There’s no need to be embarrassed. You never need to be with me. We share everything.” He placed a kiss upon the end of my nose before continuing. “I won’t go into details, but afterward, you were sore from our vigorous activities,” he said with a smirk. “I suggested a nice soak in the tub. You sat with your back to my chest, and we snuggled. Very innocent,” he said with a chuckle. “After a while I washed your body and hair before, as you did for me earlier, I put you to bed.”
“Did we sleep in the same bed?” I asked. I had learned that a vampire’s daytime resting place was sacred, and they rarely let anyone know where it was.
“No, I left you in the master bedroom upstairs right before dawn and went to my resting place that was secure and underground. Back then no one knew of vampires, so there were no light-tight shutters. I was lucky to get a house with a basement and set up my resting place there.”
“Do you ever worry that I might do something to you in your sleep?” I asked him. Eric had shown me immense trust from the moment I had woken up from my accident. I didn’t know him or anyone else, and he chose to sleep by me day after day. “Now, that I don’t remember what we had together?”
“No, I don’t,” he said sincerely as he cupped the side of my face. “Do I need to worry that you’re going to stake me during my daytime rest?” he asked with a one of his eyebrows raised. “You’re still the same Sookie you’ve always been. It’s not as if your personality changed when you lost your memory. You’re not a murderer, but you are kind and caring even if you’re a little lost right now.”
“I feel like a burden,” I quietly admitted. “You shouldn’t have to take care of me. You don’t even eat food, and yet you take me to the grocery store and help me cook dinner. I don’t even go out in the daytime.”
Eric pulled me against his body and enclosed me in his embrace. I wrapped my arm around him and laid my head against his silent chest. I felt safe and loved, which in turned made me feel slightly guilty that I couldn’t reciprocate the same feelings for him.
“I promise that you are not a burden. I don’t mind cooking with you or taking you to the grocery store, but I can understand that you may need to feel more independent or want to be in the sunlight. I think it’s time we hire another day man and get you a new car. That way you will have a human to assist you and can help you with anything I cannot. Would you be agreeable to hiring someone new? Pam can go through and narrow down the applicants, so we don’t have to waste our time interviewing them all.”
“Do you think that there will be a lot of applicants? Pam shouldn’t use her spare time just so that we can get a new day man and I can get out during the daytime.”
“Yes, there will be many and wanting the job for a lot of different reasons. Pam is a good judge of character and will be happy to help you.”
“Pam will do it because you ask her to do it, not because she wants to help me,” I stated and I felt Eric shrug against me.
“No matter. She will help us with the process. I will have her first consult the agency we sometimes use and if we don’t find anyone from there than we can place an ad.”
“What did you mean by people would apply for different reasons?” I asked him, pulling back enough so that I could look him in the face.
“There are many out there that will apply for reasons that have nothing to do with employment. This is where your telepathy came in handy. You could read their ulterior motives which worked better than glamour, but Pam is excellent at interrogation.”
“Why would they apply if not for employment?”
“They may be looking for a vampire to give them their blood. Humans don’t understand that vampire blood is sacred and not to be shared with just anyone. It’s very significant for a vampire to share their blood with anyone no matter if it’s human or vampire.”
“How many have you shared your blood with?”
“Only three. My maker, Pam, and you.”
“Wow. Only three in a thousand years?” he gave me a slight nod. It didn’t escape my notice that I was the only human he had shared his blood with. “Why else would they apply?”
“Many hope to find a vampire that will turn them, some like the danger that is inherently involved when dealing with vampires. It could come down to money as vampires normally pay more than regular employers, or many just want to have sex with a vampire.”
“Why would they work for a vampire just to have sex with them?”
“Mmmm, my sweet Sookie. Vampires are the best lovers,” he said with a smirk. Eric inched toward me as his fingers lightly caressed the side of my body, causing goosebumps to ripple across my skin and a dull ache to ignite between my legs.
“You see, Sookie,” he whispered seductively, brushing the side of my breast with one hand. “I never tire. My endurance and stamina are unsurpassed.”
Eric’s hand drifted down my waist, and a lone finger traced the top of my pants.
“I can love you as hard and fast as you need or as slow and passionate as you want, for however long you want,” he said with a fiery smile that left me breathless.
“You seem to be very sure of yourself,” I stammered, barely above a whisper.
Eric licked his bottom lip, and his blue eyes bored straight into mine.
“I am very confident in my abilities to please, but my talents and desire burn only for you.” He leaned in so close that I thought that any moment he would kiss me.
“My hands, my mouth,” he rasped, brushing his thumb over my bottom lip. “My tongue, my body… everything I am is only for you, Sookie.”
With a wave of relief and utter disappointment, he pulled away and tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear.
“Any other questions?” he purred with a satisfied but pained look on his face.
I shook my head no and looked down at my hands, willing my blush to either go away or to consume me and make me disappear.
Eric slowly and gently pulled me into his arms and my body instinctively relaxed. He cradled my head against his chest and gently stroked my hair. After a few moments of silence, the heat and aching slowly started to lessen, and I felt Eric kiss the top of my head.
“We should rest,” he sighed. “It’s only an hour until dawn, and you’ve had a very trying night and you’re tired.“
“Are you okay? Healed I mean?” I asked him.
“I’ll be 100% when I rise tomorrow night thanks to you. God natt, min vackra fru. Jag älskar dig. (Good night, my beautiful wife. I love you.)”
“Why do you speak in Swedish when you know that I don’t know what you’re saying?” I asked with a yawn.
I felt him kiss the top of my head before he rested his cheek there, “I say it in Swedish because I do not think you are ready or want to hear what I have to say.”
“What are you saying?” I asked curiously.
“Only good things,” he replied. “Good night, my Sookie.” I guess he wasn’t going to elaborate, and I wasn’t going to push it tonight.
“Good night, Eric,” I placed a kiss upon his chest and felt a burst of warmth flood me causing me to smile and snuggle him closer.
Eric and I had been interviewing potential day men for the past week. Tonight we were on our fifth applicant. Pam had done a good job sorting through them and making sure they only wanted the job with no extra benefits.
They all seemed nice and like they could do the job, but I wasn’t really feeling any connection to them. None of them were someone I would want to spend any time with. During the process, Pam had found herself a day woman. I had a feeling that one or both of them were getting some benefits out of the arrangement.
I had just finished with the schedule when Eric came walking in with a slightly pudgy man behind him.
“Take a seat,” Eric said gesturing toward one of the chairs in front of his desk. He came behind the desk to lean against the wall beside me.
I had already looked over the man’s resume, and he looked like he would be a good fit, Eric seemed to like him more than the rest. I was wondering if it had anything to do the fact that he as short and stout. Was he afraid I’d prefer someone else to him? I couldn’t see how that was possible. Eric was by far the most gorgeous man on the planet. His body was perfect, but it was what’s on the inside that only I was allowed to see that I was finding myself drawn to. I didn’t think there was anyone else who could or would ever treat me as good as Eric does.
“Sookie, this is Charlie Davidson. Charlie, this is my wife, Sookie.”
“Hi. Nice to meet you,” I said with a polite smile.
“Nice to meet you too ma’am,” he said as he stood up and stuck his hand out to shake.
As I shook his hand, I replied, “Please call me, Sookie.” I could feel that me shaking his hand was irritating Eric. I looked back at him. “I’m human, so it’s perfectly fine for me to shake hands.”
He looked back and forth between Charlie and I before he gave me a curt nod. “Your duties will start off fairly simple for now,” Eric said while handing him a piece of paper with all the responsibilities he would have. “Tomorrow my wife will call you after she gets up and ready. Be aware this will most probably be in the afternoon.” Charlie nodded that he understood. “You will drive her to the grocery store using her car and help her get the food that she needs. Take her anywhere else she needs to go and bring her home. Bring the groceries in and put them away. If she has anything else for you to do, then I want to do anything that she asks of you. Do you understand?”
“Sounds simple enough,” Charlie replied. “Can I ask a question?”
“Sure,” I replied.
“Is there a reason you can’t go out by yourself?” he asked me and then nervously looked at Eric.
“My wife was in a car accident a couple of months ago and now has amnesia. She no longer has any memories from her life before the accident.”
“No way, man. Really?” he said excitedly.
“Really, man,” Eric replied coolly. “This is a trial run. Make sure you answer her calls and don’t fuck up.”
“Right. Don’t fuck up. Got you, man,” Charlie said to Eric.
“Good. You may go,” Eric said, dismissing Charlie with a wave of his hand.
“It was nice to meet you, Sookie,” he said as he stood up. He raised his arm to shake my hand but thought differently as he looked over at Eric.
“It was nice to meet you too. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow,” Charlie said as he opened the door.
I woke up to Eric’s body wrapped around me. This wasn’t the first time I had woken up like this, but he always waited until I fell asleep before he snuggled up to my back and wrapped an arm and leg around me. The first time it happened it scared the living shit out of me. I had woken up pinned down by an unknown weight. I couldn’t see or move. Eric must have felt my fear through our bond because he made a noise and tightened his hold on me. When I realized it was him that was pinned me down, I squeaked out his name. After giving me one more squeeze, he loosened his grip on me and rolled onto his back.
This time, I slowly extricated myself from his hold. I was becoming an expert at this. I took a quick shower, and once I was dressed, I checked the clock to see what time it was. 2: 00. I needed to call Charlie and let him know that I was up so that we could get groceries. I wasn’t sure why we needed to go today. It wasn’t as if there was no food in the house, but Eric was determined for us to go the store today.
After calling Charlie to let him know that I was up and ready to go, I made my way to the kitchen for a quick breakfast. I put a couple of pieces of bread in the toaster and pressed the button on my Keurig to make my coffee.
I had just finished the last bite of my toast when the doorbell rang. At first, I didn’t even know what the sound was until I heard someone knocking on the front door. I quickly made my way to the door to find Charlie standing there with a big smile on his face.
“Come in,” I said as I stepped back.
He took in his surrounds for a moment before he looked back at me. “This place is really cool. How long have you lived here?” he asked and then slapped his hand over his mouth. “Shit. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it,” I gave him a small smile. “It’s not a secret that I don’t remember. I think we’ve lived here a little over a year from what Eric’s told me. Let me show you around.”
I gave him a tour of the house with the exception of our bedroom. There was no way he was going in there.
“I’ve never seen a loft like this before. It’s amazing,” he said.
“I guess. I haven’t seen that many other houses,” I shrugged. “Let me get my purse and the grocery list and we can be on our way. I want to be back here before Eric wakes up for the night.”
We took the elevator down to the parking garage and made our way over to my new car that was sitting in the space right beside Eric’s car.
I hit the unlock button and then handed the keys over to Charlie once I was in on the passenger side and buckled in.
“Wow! This is a pretty sweet ride. Are you sure you don’t want to drive it?” Charlie asked, admiring the car.
“I’m sure. Maybe once I know my way around a little bit more. I’m a little nervous about driving again.”
“I can understand that. It must have been awful to wake up one day and not remember anything.”
“That wasn’t the worst of it. When I went into the bathroom, the left side of my head was shaved from the accident.”
“Well, it’s all back now. Didn’t you say that the accident was only two months ago? How did your hair grow back so fast? Do you have extensions?” he asked looking my hair over.
“No. Eric knows someone who made this concoction that I put on my head and it made my hair grow.”
“Are you sure?” he asked giving me a strange look.
“Yeah, trust me. I remember going and it growing back.”
I realized that I couldn’t tell him that Amelia was a witch. If werewolves weren’t known then, witches probably weren’t either.
He looked around the interior of the car while we waited at a red light. “How long have you had this car? It looks really new. Like it’s never been used.”
“Only a few days. My other car got totaled, so I had to get a new one. Eric wanted to get me an SUV, and it’s one of the safest cars there is on the market. I don’t plan on getting in another wreck, but if I do, hopefully this thing will protect me.”
“Maybe when you first start driving again you should do it with your husband. Vampires have faster reflexes than humans. If anything happened, he could probably stop it. Did you ever see the car you wrecked?”
I shook my head, “No. All I know is that it was totaled.”
“Do you know what happened? Why you wrecked?” he asked.
“Someone from the other lane swerved and hit my car. I hit a telephone pole and then the car from behind hit me. That’s all I really know. A nurse told Eric when he arrived at the hospital. The others were not as bad as me. The man who hit me broke his arm and was pretty bruised up.”
“That’s how it always is. The person responsible always gets the least amount of damage, and the innocent ones get hurt. I can’t imagine how bad the wreck had to be for you to lose your memories.”
“Pretty bad. I almost died. I had broken bones and was bruised and scraped up from what Eric told me.”
“You don’t remember?”
“When I woke up the only thing that was wrong was that my memory was gone,” I replied.
“Were you in a coma?”
“No. When Eric got to the hospital, he gave me his blood to heal me. The only thing it couldn’t heal was my amnesia,” I said with a shrug. I was over it. There was nothing I could do, but make the most out of the situation. I was slowly starting to get my life back.
We pulled into the parking lot of the grocery store. I had paid attention to the directions so that when I was ready I could drive myself here.
“Let me see your list so that we can compile the two list together.”
“What other list?” I asked him as I handed over my list.
He pulled another list out of his pocket. “The list your husband gave to me.”
“What’s on it?” I had no idea why Eric would be giving him a separate list.
“Food. He didn’t tell you?” he asked.
“Eric. No. He didn’t. What was he supposed to tell me?”
“It’s a request to get all the ingredients to make fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn bread, green beans, and pecan pie. Is this something you eat normally?”
“I think I used to, but I haven’t since the accident. We’ve been slowly working my way through my Gran’s cookbook.”
“We?” he asked.
“Eric and I,” I said as I pushed the cart down the aisle.
“He cooks with you? I thought vampires only drink blood.”
“They do, but I couldn’t remember how to prepare food or even what I liked. Luckily, Eric knows what I like and how to make a few simple things. I started trying out recipes from the cookbook I found. It took me forever, at first, to find the ingredients and figure out how to do some of the things it talked about. Thank God for the Food Network. Since I was learning, Eric thought he would learn too.”
“Didn’t it freak you out to wake up and you were married to a vampire?” he asked as he put the milk in the cart.
“I don’t think it freaked me out any more than if he was human,” I shrugged. “I woke up lying next to a stranger, and I didn’t even know myself. There was a lot I had to take in, in a very short amount of time. I was overwhelmed and scared, but Eric was patient with me and has always answered any and all of my questions.”
“You don’t find him scary at all?” he asked glancing at me with his eyebrows raised.
“Eric? No,” I said shaking my head. “I’m not scared of him or Pam, but the rest of the vampires that out there, those I’m scared of. Are you scared of vampires? If so I don’t know why you’d take a job working for one.”
“I think everyone should be somewhat scared of vampires, but I also feel like I have a healthy respect for them as well. When I heard about the job, I asked around about Eric Northman. While I heard that he was scary and ruthless, I also heard that he was a good employer, loyal, and honorable. That for a vampire, he seems like one of the good ones if you don’t get on his bad side,” he said while he placed a bundle of bananas in the cart.
“I’m also working for you and there’s definitely nothing scary about you,” he said looking around. “You seem to know your way around the store pretty well. Do you have any questions or anything?”
“Um… I don’t know. I’ve learned my way around, but if you see anything you think I should try, put it in the cart. I mostly go by what was in the pantry already or what Eric has said I prefer. I want to try some new things, see if there’s anything else I might like.”
“Sure. No problem. As you can see, I have a love for all things’ food,” he said while gesturing toward his round stomach. “I can introduce you to all kinds of foods.”
We went down every aisle in the store while Charlie added new items for me to try. When we got to the checkout and placed everything on the conveyor belt, he looked back at me.
“I don’t think I’ve ever bought that many groceries before in my life. You may not have to go to the store for a month or more. Where does that leave me?”
I giggled at him. “Maybe not, but I’m sure we’ll find something for you to do. We can shop for other things, or I might want to get out of the house during the day. Don’t worry, you’re not out of a job.”
We had so many grocery bags that Charlie and I couldn’t carry them all to the elevator, so he found a cart that we used to transport them without making multiple trips. Charlie had only started to unload the bags onto the counter when Eric walked into the kitchen.
“Holy shit!” Charlie exclaimed. “What are you doing up? It’s still daylight out and the sun’s streaming through the windows.” He looked back and forth between Eric and me until his gaze finally settled on Eric and his mouth was gaping open.
Eric laughed at Charlie’s expression. “I’m a very old vampire. I can rise before the sun sets and our house is equipped with special UV windows so that I leave my daytime resting place.”
Charlie could only nod his head as he took in this new information. It made me smile that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know everything.
“Hello, min älskade,” Eric said after placing a kiss on my forehead. “How has your day been so far?”
“Good,” I replied, looking up at him. “We just got back from the store as you can see.” I pointed to all the bags scattered along the countertop. “Älskade, is new. What did you call me?”
“My beloved,” he said looking down at me before he looked at Charlie. “Did you get all the ingredients to make what I asked for?”
“Yes,” Charlie replied. He still looked stunned to see Eric walking around the house while the sun was still up.
“Why couldn’t you put it on my list?” I asked him curiously.
“If I would have put them on your list, you would have asked questions about why I wanted the ingredients.”
“I’m still going to ask why you want them. Give it up,” I replied.
He chuckled at me, “Very well, dear one. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and I’m going to attempt to make your favorite meal that your Gran used to make.”
“Tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day? Is there some reason that day is more special than all the rest?”
“It’s a day where you’re supposed to celebrate your love for your girlfriend or your wife, husband or boyfriend. We’ve never made a big deal out of it, but we always go out to dinner. I thought we could do something different, maybe start a new tradition where I cook for you.”
“Dude, you’re making all us guys look bad. You don’t even eat, and you’re making her dinner,” Charlie responded before me.
“That’s really sweet, Eric,” I said with a big smile. I stood on my tippy toes and placed a kiss on his cheek. He wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me into him while he buried his face into my neck.
“You’re okay with this?” he asked with his lips brushing against my ear. I could only nod and hug him back.