I promised to explain what a blood bond was as soon as we got back to my house. Bill called to inform me he didn’t smell anyone other than Pam near Sookie’s house and the scent of werewolf was faded. I knew Evol had arrived at the bar when I heard Thalia complaining all the way from the back alley. Thalia didn’t like anyone, really, and she definitely didn’t date outside of the human race. I knew I was going to owe Thalia a favor for this but it was going to be worth it.
Sookie called her boss to arrange to take the following evening off as well so she could meet with Patrick. Having the Shifter in on what was happening wasn’t a bad idea, since he would be able to sniff out anyone who didn’t belong in the area. I offered to send a waitress to cover Sookie’s shift, which he respectfully declined, citing other employees who could use the hours. The Shifter was polite, but clearly unhappy that Sookie was taking yet another day off.
“I can’t keep doing this, Eric,” Sookie sighed when she hung up the phone. “I know it’s for the best but I feel awful and it’s not fair to Sam.”
“So quit,” I said casually with a shrug and sat beside her on the couch.
“I can’t quit, Eric. We’ve been over this already. I told you I wasn’t going to quit my job and be a kept woman and I meant it.” Sookie glared at me like I had suggested she take up clubbing baby seals or pushing tiny humans into oncoming traffic.
“I wasn’t suggesting you become a kept woman. You have a gift, Sookie. One that you could charge large sums of money for others to use.”
“I can’t do that,” Sookie shook her head.
“Why not? The talent you have is no different than someone who can paint, sing, write or cook. Why shouldn’t you get paid for doing something that comes naturally to you the way it does them?”
“Because my talent could get someone killed. It could get me killed, Eric. When’s the last time a painter got killed for using the wrong brush or a singer got killed for singing the wrong note?”
“Lover, you’re the one who keeps saying you want the Supernatural World to take you seriously. Not hiding your gift is a good way to start. If you establish yourself as a business woman who knows what she’s doing, you’re going to be much harder to fool with. You will make allies in this part of the world who will stand up for you should the need ever arise.” I pointed out to her. “It’s not a decision you have to make now, but you should consider it.”
Sookie leaned against my shoulder and said, “It feels like everything is changing.”
My hand covered hers and I enjoyed the warmth that radiated up from it. When her heartbeat slowed and her breathing became deep and even, I moved her gently so she was stretched out on her side. I covered her with a jacket I had in the closet and then went out to the front of the bar for a bit. I hadn’t put in an appearance in a few days and word spread when I was gone for too long. It turned out that being gone could actually be good for business, since it meant customers would come in hopes of being in attendance when I returned.
Thalia sat with Evol and she whispered a very unladylike curse under her breath and the barely detectable change in Evol’s face told me he’d heard it as well. All the same, Thalia sat there pretending to listen to his advances, while glaring and hissing her discontent at any of the fangbangers brave enough to look at her. It was a wonder they didn’t turn to stone since it was like staring into the eyes of Medusa.
I sat for a little more than an hour before deciding it was enough. Sookie was still asleep in my office but I wanted to make sure there was plenty of time to discuss the option of a blood bond before the sun rose. I stopped to check in on Thalia and thank Evol for his service before going to retrieve Sookie. She was still curled on her side with my coat draped over her. The darting of her eyes under their lids told me she was dreaming. I didn’t want to wake her but I didn’t think I could move her without doing so.
“Sookie,” I whispered quietly, trailing my fingers against the warm skin of her neck. She whimpered quietly and shifted. “Lover, wake up.”
It took a few more quiet calls and gentle touches before she was brought out of her dreams. Her eyelids fluttered open and she looked dazed for a moment before her eyes met mine. She smiled faintly and said, “I was having the nicest dream. I was on a beach somewhere warm soaking up the sun and drinking margaritas. There were no witches trying to curse me or werewolves trying to blow me up.”
“And where was I?” I smiled at her.
“You were resting for the day in an underground hammock,” Sookie giggled and sat up slowly, handing over the jacket I’d covered her with.
“Sounds like we were having a nice time,” I put the jacket back in the closet while she straightened out her dress.
“We were. I can’t remember the last time I took a real vacation,” she stretched her arms up over her head, her body twisting and bending as she did so. “The last time I went anywhere was when Gran decided she wanted to drive over to Mississippi to see some battleground she’d been researching for her DGD meetings and we were only there for two days. All we talked about was The War and where to get the best barbecue.”
“That doesn’t sound very relaxing, lover,” I grabbed her coat and held it out for her.
“It wasn’t,” Sookie sighed and slipped her arms into the sleeves of her coat. “But if I don’t work, I don’t get paid and my bills don’t pay themselves.”
I didn’t want to get in another argument over money so I said nothing. The drive home was uneventful but I knew Sookie was still rather exhausted. We walked into the house together with Sookie heading to the kitchen to get something to eat while I went to the collection of old books I had hidden away in my closet. I knew I had one somewhere that discussed blood bonds. It was a journal, of sorts, where I had written down the things I’d learned about my kind over the years. I found the old leather-bound book hidden where I left it in the floor safe and brought it to the kitchen with me.
Sookie was layering pieces of cheese onto bread when I returned and I watched as she put the sandwich into a pan on the stove. She put a glass lid on the pan and turned toward me. I sat on the counter at the island with the book in my hands.
“What’cha got there?” Sookie jutted her chin toward the book.
“It’s a collection of notes and things I’ve learned along the way and I remembered earlier that there’s a section here on blood bonds. My maker had always advised me against them. While there are definite benefits to being bonded, there are a few potential drawbacks as well.”
“Lay it on me,” Sookie folded her arms, still holding onto what she said was called a spatula.
Without sparing her any of the details of it, I explained what a blood bond meant. I told her how it was done, with the exchange of blood between a human and a vampire. It was hard to say how close we already were to being bonded since she’d had my blood in Dallas and then again in Jackson. I told her if we were to become bonded, she would have the ability to feel me the way I felt her. She would know when she was close to me and I would have the ability to call her the way I did Pam. There was a slight compulsion to answer the call and the longer the call went unanswered, the stronger the compulsion would become.
“So does this mean you can control me?” Sookie was both scared and angry at the prospect.
“I could never force you to my side, but I would hope that if I called you, you would come. This is something I wouldn’t do just because I was bored or feeling lonely, Sookie. I would call you if my life was in danger, or if I knew you were stepping into a trap. This could come in handy when used appropriately.”
“And what about the rest of the time? This isn’t something I can just shut off, is it?” Sookie sighed, then turned and flipped her sandwich over.
“This would be forever, Sookie.”
“Is there a way to break it? I mean, if you and me don’t work out as a couple, do you really want to live with this for the rest of your life? If we don’t work, I don’t want to know if you’re happy with someone else and I don’t want you keeping tabs on me either.” Sookie stared at me.
“As far as I know there isn’t a way to break the bond outside of death.”
“So we’d have to kill each other?” Sookie scoffed, then started to laugh. It was a gentle, tinkling laugh that quickly progressed into a full belly laugh that had her bent over and bracing her hands on her knees. I had no idea what was so funny until she straightened up and said, “I guess I really will be the death of you, won’t I?”
I couldn’t help but laugh right along with her and moved over so I was sitting on a counter closer to the sink. Sookie stood between my knees, listening as I explained the rest of it to her. I was careful to emphasize that while I would be able to influence her emotions, I couldn’t make her feel something that wasn’t already there. I could merely amplify a feeling for her. She seemed confused by the notion and I tried to explain it as best I could.
“If you ever found yourself in a situation where you were panicking and trying to calm yourself down, I could help you with that. But I can’t, for instance, make you forget that you’re angry with me if we ever got in an argument. I couldn’t force you to put that aside and be happy just because I didn’t want to fight with you anymore.”
“Would I have the same ability as you, or is it just the vampire that’s in control?” Sookie asked nervously.
“I can’t say for certain about that, lover. There haven’t been many bonded couples I have spoken to. The ones I have were vampires and their lovers’ bond was superseded by that of a maker and child, although I was able to find a vampire who told me the affects of losing a bonded can be devastating.”
“So if something happened to me…” Sookie trailed off.
“I haven’t spoken with a vampire who has survived losing a bonded; his maker met the sun after losing hers.”
My confession seemed to shake Sookie. She shook her head adamantly and said, “I don’t know if I can do this, Eric.”
“What are you thinking?” I asked since her emotions were jumbled and vibrating altogether in a tangled mass.
“I’m thinking that even though I know you would do just about anything you could to protect me, a time may come when something may happen that neither of us can prevent. If I died, I wouldn’t want you to end your life because of me, just like I don’t want you to turn me because I’m dying. I don’t want to live forever, Eric, and a blood bond brings me one step closer to that. I need more time to think it over.” Sookie said in a very certain tone, her eyes demanding I give her what she was asking for.
“We don’t have much time, Sookie,” I said gently. “I don’t need a decision now, but I will need one soon.”
She pulled her sandwich from the pan and put it on a plate. “Just give me a day or two to think about it, okay?”
I nodded and watched as she bit into her food. She didn’t say much else after that. When she was finished eating she went back to the bedroom and changed clothes to get ready for bed. Dawn was approaching shortly. I sent an email to Bobby to make sure he met with Evol on Sookie’s property and I told him where the spare key for the house was kept.
Once we were tucked into bed together I brushed some hair away from Sookie’s face and kissed her temple. “I know you have a lot on your mind, lover, but I hope you will also consider what I said about being a professional telepath. I could ask around and see if there are others in the employ of vampires. They would be able to tell you what to expect.”
Sookie sighed and said, “Would I be working for you, Eric?”
“You would be under my protection,” I raised her chin and looked deep into her eyes. “You will have that whether or not we are bonded. But no, lover, you would be your own boss. I would merely put you on our insurance plan and act as your liaison to the supernaturals who seek your service.”
Sookie giggled almost drunkenly and said, “Bond to a vampire, get a business manager free.”
I chuckled quietly with her and rubbed her back. She nodded and then hugged herself to me when I agreed with her. I was careful not to hold her too tightly, although I wanted to hold onto her for dear life. Before I knew it, dawn came and I was gone.
I growled when I woke the three night later and Sookie wasn’t there next to me. I had greatly enjoyed my wake-up call the previous nights and was looking forward to a repeat. I thought she might be in the kitchen making herself supper but she wasn’t there, nor was she in the living room or the spare bedroom. In fact, she was gone from the house. It wasn’t until I looked around the kitchen again that I spotted the note on the fridge, scrawled in Sookie’s shaky, feminine script.
I called to check in with Sam today and he couldn’t find a waitress to cover lunch so I told him I’d come in. Don’t worry, I didn’t go alone, I waited for Patrick to arrive.
See you later,
I growled in frustration and looked at the clock. It was well past the time she should have been back if she were working the lunch shift at that damn bar. We were too far apart for me to know if she was in danger, although I could feel her life in me. The knowledge she wasn’t dead wasn’t as comforting as it should have been. I located my phone and called Patrick.
“Why is she in Bon Temps?” I demanded.
“Because she was goin’ with or without me. She threatened to have her boss come get her,” Patrick explained. That certainly sounded like Sookie.
“Where is she now?” I asked him while I dressed.
“Filling salt shakers behind the bar. She’s perfectly safe, Eric,” Patrick insisted.
“I’ll be there soon,” I warned, my temper running afoul.
Guard or not, I didn’t like the idea of Sookie being in Bon Temps until we knew who it was that had wired her home with bombs. When I sat down to put on my shoes, I noticed the streak of blood on the bed frame and tried to figure out how it got there. I turned and knelt on the floor. The scent of the blood told me it was Sookie’s. I rewound the night before and my fans dropped quickly.
Her fairy friend, Claudine, had popped up again to congratulate Sookie on being alive. I could tell the fairy had attempted to mask her scent but she hadn’t been entirely successful. I was able to control myself in her presence, but the scent of fairy had clung to Sookie after the boisterous hug she’d received. As a result, I had broken every speed law imaginable in order to get Sookie home and we had just barely gotten out of the car when I tackled Sookie in the backyard.
I was careful not to hurt her but I was rougher than usual. She’d gone with the flow and had kept up easily with me like she always seemed to be able to do. The backyard had just been round one. I had taken her again on a counter in the kitchen after she had eaten a few strawberries in a way I didn’t think most humans ate strawberries. We finally made it to the bedroom after that. We had showered together since she was covered in mud, grass stains and strawberry juice.
I hated to lose the fairy scent but Sookie’s natural scent was intoxicating all on its own. I got out of the shower before her when I heard the ring tone Pam had assigned to Octavia Fant when her number had been added to my phone. The witch was calling to let me know she had assembled her team and they would be arriving in two days time. Things were moving much slower than I would have liked but there was nothing I could do about it.
It was the scent of Sookie’s blood that had called to me and I found her next to my bed, wrapped in a towel with a small trail of red running down her leg. She had cut herself when she was shaving, an accident I was only too happy to remedy for her. Healing the tiny wound had lead to a delicious meal from her femoral artery and another series of orgasms for my lover. By the time I let her rest, she was exhausted and sated.
Now she was in that ridiculous backwater town she called home and I had to trust her safety to Patrick. As much as I would have preferred to fly to Bon Temps, we would be needing a way back to Shreveport and Sookie’s car was in the car port where it had been for days. At least Patrick had the sense to drive her where she wanted to go. I climbed into the Corvette and wasted no time starting the engine. The scent of fairy lingered there, which only increased the need I felt to be near Sookie again.
I arrived in Bon Temps just over a half hour later to find Sookie talking with the Shifter and another waitress. She smiled when she saw me but I could feel the turmoil in her blood. Something had happened and I was guessing she hadn’t mentioned anything to Patrick, based on the way he casually reported there hadn’t been any trouble before taking his leave for the night.
“What happened?” I asked Sookie once we were seated in a private booth.
“There was a man here a little while ago. He was an older gentleman with long, white/gold hair and dressed very nicely. He sat in my section and ordered an iced tea. When I came by to check on him, he started asking questions about my Gran. He said he was an acquaintance of hers some years ago and he was hoping he might call on her. He knew things about my family, Eric. He never introduced himself and I didn’t give him any information, but I got the feeling he’s been watching me. I tried to read his mind but I couldn’t. I got the same feeling from him that I get from Claudine whenever she pops up but he didn’t mention her. I had to excuse myself to fetch a chicken basket for Catfish Hennessy and by the time I got back, the man was gone.” Sookie explained.
“Did the iced tea have lemon?” I asked since I was already pretty sure who it was that had come by the bar, although what he wanted with Sookie was beyond me.
“No,” she shook her head, her eyes and blood equally confused. “Why would you ask that?”
“Because, lover, lemon is lethal to fairies,” I gave her a wry smile.
“You think he was a fairy?” her eyes widened.
“Not just any fairy, a fairy prince. I believe your visitor was Niall Brigant.” I sighed.
I really didn’t need this on top of everything else. What the hell did the fairies want with Sookie?