Leaving the house, I tried my best to reconcile all of the strange feelings Sookie managed to conjure in me.
As easily as any fabled roman sorceress, it would seem.
Seeing her in my clothes – smelling my scent both on and in her – brought out more than my natural vampiric possessive traits.
It stoked the dying embers of a man who’d lost his warmth a thousand years before.
But unable to make sense of anything – in spite of her verified deadly powers or her supposed heritage – I fought against the ridiculous emotions. Emotions that would likely see us both killed.
It was more easily done without her presence, tempting more than just my fate.
However, out of everything I’d learned in my one thousand years, it was the one truth I couldn’t deny. Being a slave to one’s emotions of any kind could easily bring about your end. Good or bad, it didn’t matter. What mattered was being able to control them – to hide them if at all possible – if you wanted to survive.
And survival was what I was best at.
So I willed away all of the foreign sensations brought on by my willing captive and by the time I made it to Bon Temps, I felt relatively back to normal. Searching the area surrounding her farmhouse from the air above her land, I found everything appeared as it had on my previous visits.
Nothing looked disturbed or out of place, so once I did my due diligence in checking the neighboring vicinity for perhaps a magical cupboard that could lead one to a fairy-Narnia – or the end of a rainbow, with a lepre-fairy-chaun shitting on a pot of gold (the queen did love shiny things, no matter how shitty) – and finding neither, I made my way back to Sookie’s house.
Checking all points of entry, I confirmed her doors and windows were still locked up tight, with no foreign scents to alert me she’d been sought out by anyone. Her earlier words – that no one would miss her – tickled at that newly carved out space labeled ‘Sookie’ inside of me – but I wasn’t in the mood for frivolity.
A mood only a maybe fairy/human/venefica could conjure.
It was the only explanation I cared to entertain for the presence of a ‘tickle monster’ to be found in me at all.
But at least I’d had the forethought to take her keys before sending her car to its watery grave, so I wouldn’t need to break in.
Now, if only I could form any thought that would sufficiently explain the reasons behind why she could affect me in the way that she did, in ways that had nothing to do with the maybe supernatural side of her.
It was absurd.
Even more so because it was true.
My usual modus operandi had been working for me for the last thousand years.
I fucked. I moved on.
What I didn’t do was chase after a woman – one I’d already had, mind you – like a starry-eyed fool, whose only crime was her absence from my bed.
Only for me to then be sucked into submission.
Who was the fucking virgin in our pairing anyway?
But thoughts of how well she’d sucked me weren’t helping to clear my head. If anything, they only caused my smaller one to fill with something other than lucid thoughts. So I forced the memories of her warm wet mouth away and concentrated instead on entering her house so I could gather some of her things.
Denying, even to myself, the reason for my haste was so that I could revisit all of her warm wet depths that much sooner.
She hadn’t thought to rescind my invitation when I’d last left her there, so I was able to enter the house with ease. Finding a suitable duffle bag in her hall closet – as well as a shotgun that I gathered as well – I found her bathroom first and grabbed her toiletries. Moving on to her bedroom, I went through her closet and drawers, stuffing the bag full of her things, without giving any conscious thought as to what I was packing for her.
My child could learn a thing or two from my example.
And thinking of my child for the first time since I’d been at the bar the night before, waiting for the queen and her entourage to arrive, I pulled out my phone and called her.
As soon as she answered, without any preamble, I informed her, “I won’t be in for the next few nights.”
Sounding bored, but feeling anything but, she asked, “Does your absence have to do with her visit or are you busy making that tasty little lamb scream?”
While I didn’t want to reveal Sookie’s true nature to her, Pam needed to know to be cautious about both topics. The queen wouldn’t rest until she’d found Andre’s killer and that she would mention Compton’s mission at all, with her favored child newly ended, spoke of her obsession with obtaining the supposed fairy weapon.
While I appeared to be immune to her known deadlier effects – her blood and saliva – if Sookie was indeed the weapon left behind by the Fae, I knew I wasn’t completely impervious to her powers.
The proverbial fork I’d discovered stuck in my craw upon rising, discovering her disappearance from my bed, proved I was done in more ways than I’d known.
And while it would be much easier on me to blame her venefican influence than to admit perhaps it was just the woman herself, I wasn’t ready to concede to that either.
To myself or my child.
For now I would only admit to Pam that I would be taking the time to fuck my tasty little lamb even though the queen was nosing around. It was enough for her to know, from my one word reply, both topics were to be kept between us.
And both our bond and her tone told me she understood, when she carefully replied, “Very well, Master.”
While it might usually take her three nights to pack for an overnight trip, my child was at least swift when it came drawing conclusions on her own.
In these types of situations, Pam was my very own one-woman Rapid Response Team.
It didn’t take long for me to return to the house I now shared with an angelic Hellfire missile of sorts. My blood told me Sookie was still contained within the outer walls, but no matter that was where I expected her to be, my feelings of relief to find her there unnerved me in a way I wasn’t sure how to process, nor was I sure what to expect.
How I would feel laying eyes on her once again, how I might find her, or how the rest of our night would go.
Nothing about her was predictable.
It was both refreshing and infuriating.
So I shouldn’t have been surprised when, as soon as I stepped into the house, she confronted me with, “You said my allure was practically irresistible, right?”
I’m here, aren’t I?
Wondering for a moment if perhaps telepathy was included in her supernatural arsenal, I quickly shoved the thought aside because that was the last fucking thing I needed and instead silently nodded my reply.
With her eyes brightening upon seeing the duffle bag thrown over my shoulder, they brightened even more landing on the shotgun still gripped in my hand. Taking both from me, with nothing more than a grateful, “Thanks!” she walked back to the couch where she placed them on the floor beside it and offhandedly remarked, “I wonder if it works on plain old humans too.”
“Wouldn’t you already know?” I asked, ignoring the way my chest constricted seeing her so at ease in my home. “I was under the assumption your first encounter with supernaturals took place with the four vampire who attacked you at your home. But you’ve surely been surrounded by humans before.”
“Not really,” she remarked with a twinge of sadness that made my chest constrict in an entirely different way. “Not since I was a child. The only time I’ve gone out has been in the dead of night, when normal humans are sleeping and the ones who aren’t, I’ve avoided like the plague.”
Lost in thought of perhaps her life in forced solitude, the sadness in her eyes was snuffed out by the light reigniting in them, just as she smiled, “Except for when I went to your bar. There were a lot of humans there too, but any attention they paid to me was more likely because of the attention you gave me.”
Smirking, I fell back into the easy banter we shared and mused, “I am quite popular with the crowd.”
“And modest too,” she nodded playfully. “But I was thinking, instead of just sitting around here not earning my keep, I should try and get in with Bailey’s group. I found out today that they’re looking for a ringer to lure unsuspecting vamps and if I’m as irresist…”
“NO!” I barked, interrupting her asinine idea.
I didn’t even feel better to learn I wasn’t the only one with absurd notions.
And so there would be no miscommunication, I quickly followed up with, “You should not try and get in with Bailey’s group.”
But seeing her eyes narrow into an angry glare, I attempted to calm myself and her by retreating – in a way – even as my feet carried me a step forward.
Falling back to our more normal way of communicating, I flirtingly joked, “If you want to earn your keep, there are plenty of other things you can do that would be much more pleasurable for both of us.”
If I’d thought her glare was angry before, it was downright murderous then, as she stood up, with all signs of amusement disappearing from her face and our blood tie.
Putting herself right in front of me, she poked my chest and clipped out, “Did you just insinuate I can earn my keep here on my back?”
While I was busy pulling my foot of my mouth – I had big feet, so it was taking a while – she waited all of two seconds before turning around and stomping back towards the couch. But instead of throwing herself down onto the cushions, like I expected, she grabbed the bag I’d packed for her and slung it over her shoulder. Then grabbing the shotgun, she made it all the way to the front door before I could manage to break out of my stupor.
Using a burst of speed, I put myself between her and the door and said, “That is not what I meant and you know it.”
“That’s just it, Eric,” she sighed. “I don’t know it. I don’t know you. Not really.”
Then finally meeting my eyes with her own, instead of a welling of tears or sorrow, I found they were filled with nothing but fire as she squared her shoulders and said, “My life is already damned, but fuck you if you think my only value is between my legs. I’ll take my chances with the queen and go back to living as a hermit. At least that way I’ll be around the one person who knows I’m worth more than that.”
I didn’t think teasing her about how priceless her mouth was would be welcome just then either, but getting angry myself, all of my earlier thoughts came out in a hissed tirade of, “It was a fucking joke, just like how much of a joke my life has become since you’ve come into it. I shouldn’t give a damn about you or your damned life and yet I can’t seem to help myself. I should have done my duty and killed you the night I discovered you’d ended four of my kind, but instead I’ve put my own life on the line by hiding you away in my home away from my queen.”
Without showing an ounce of fear, she closed the millimeters separating our two bodies and defiantly jutted her chin into the air, just as she said, “Too bad for you I’m so fucking irresistible.”
Too bad for her she’d still been wearing nothing more than my t-shirt.
Otherwise she would have had more warning before I had her body pressed against the wall and my body back inside of hers. Our blood tie had given me more insight than her actions or words. And not only could I feel how turned on she was by our disagreement, I’d smelled her arousal growing just as rapidly as my dick during our fight. So her body had already been prepared for my entry and our mouths met in an angry clash of teeth and tongues, just as angrily as where our bodies joined beneath us.
And it was thanks to our angry duel of tongues for how I’d come to taste her blood for the first time.
Nicking hers on one of my fangs, my palate was soon teased with the ambrosia that filled her veins and scented her skin.
If I was to die right then and there, I would have gone to my true death a happy man.
But like everything else between us, her blood didn’t act as a poison and instead only served to drive me mad in the best of ways. Something she must have realized because after pulling away in shock to see if I’d been harmed, when I didn’t explode in her arms – although I was fighting what would ultimately be a losing battle to not explode in between her thighs – she pressed her mouth against my own again and deliberately sliced her tongue on the tip of my fang, feeding me even more of her blood and driving my hips to move against hers even harder.
I didn’t give it any thought before I did the same.
It was the third time she’d had my blood, but only – perhaps – our first exchange. Our blood had mixed once before when I’d saved her life after Andre’s attack, so I couldn’t be sure if this would count as a second exchange.
But the only fuck I could find to give, I was already giving and taking from her up against the living room wall.
Perhaps I should have spoken to her about it prior to taking the initiative to strengthen our blood tie.
Perhaps I should have given her fair warning I would be able to feel her emotions and track her location better now that she’d had more of my blood.
Perhaps we would fight about it when I informed her of all of the implications later on and we could makeup against the wall of my shower.
Now that more of my blood was working its way through her system, I could feel her impending release as if it were my own. So when she tilted her head and offered me her neck, any willpower I may have had in the past was lost.
Sinking my fangs into her pulsing carotid, her blood throbbed from the wound. Hot thick perfection coated my mouth, slathering the inside of my throat, and I knew.
Willpower wasn’t the only thing lost to me.
Vampire learn early on, in spite of our inherent strength, there are some things which we cannot fight and win.
The passage of time. The need to adapt. The pull of the sun.
But only now could I concede Sookie undoubtedly made the list.
No matter what I wanted to believe – no matter how much I prided myself on my ability to control nearly everything around me, certainly my own reactions – I knew now I’d merely been in denial.
Because I could no longer deny the effect she had on me now that I’d been able to experience her in all ways.
And I was done in more ways than one.
Done, denying my reasons for keeping her safe.
Done, denying my needs where she was concerned had more to do with than just the puzzle she represented.
Done, denying my wants for her were selfish in nature.
But perhaps that was a lie.
I wanted her to be happy, but I got enjoyment from that as well.
Before that moment I could have lived in denial for a while longer. Pretended that I only kept her safe because of my need to solve the venefican puzzle that was Sookie Stackhouse. Convinced myself that I could have just as easily taken her back to her farmhouse, emptier in more ways than one, and left her there to go back to the life I’d carved out for myself.
But there was no perhaps about it.
It all would have been a lie.
With the strengthening of our blood tie, I could feel her affection for me as if it were my own.
I knew because it matched what was already inside of me.
Coming from me.
In a thousand years I hadn’t ever experienced anything like it. Were it not for the subject at hand, I would have thought it a feat in and of itself.
But it was apropos, for in my one thousand years, I had never experienced the likes of her.
She wasn’t something I would give up easily, if at all.
But at least I wasn’t alone in either my feelings or my blood and my bite was enough for her to be done too. Enough to finally push her over the edge and with more than just my willpower lost to me, I’d had no choice but to join her.
The aftermath found us back on the couch, with her lying on top of me, idly drawing nonsensical patterns across my chest with her finger.
And even though our tie was indeed stronger than before, I had no idea of what caused either her mirth or her determination until she said, “Now that that’s cleared up, I still think I should try to infiltrate Bailey’s group.”
But – like my undeniable feelings for her – there was no point in fighting.
Not when I had other options available to me.
So I chose an alternative route by flipping her over and ripping my shirt from her body. Pressing my lips against her and stealing the gasp from her lungs, I pressed the rest of my body into hers and smirked, “If you wanted to go another round, all you had to do was say so.”