Sookie suddenly felt like she was way in over her head. It wasn’t the first time she felt that way when she was talking to a vampire, especially with Eric, but it wasn’t his fault. The way Eric was looking at her told Sookie that he was mentioning something she should already be aware of. She felt a knot form in her stomach as she waited for Eric to explain.
“Bill never mentioned a blood bond to you?” Eric’s features had schooled themselves and his tone maintained its usual blend of boredom and annoyance.
“No… should he have?” Sookie asked nervously.
“It’s surprising given that he has asked you to be his mate, but hasn’t suggested the idea of bonding himself to you,” Eric said with a hint of nonchalance that irritated Sookie a little.
“Maybe he was waiting for my answer before mentioning it,” Sookie suggested.
“Or maybe he knew he would be giving you to the queen, therefore making a bond with you would be impossible if he didn’t want to defy her orders,” he countered.
Sookie’s eyes filled with tears at the suggestion, and once again she felt like a fool. Why hadn’t she listened to her gut when it told her to run the first time? Was she really so desperate for companionship and silence that she was willing to ignore the danger she was in so she could have those things? Her decisions and actions would certainly seem to point to the likelihood that she was.
“To answer your question, a blood bond happens when a vampire mutually exchanges blood with a human three times. The bond allows for the human to feel, locate and share feelings with the vampire they are bonded to. Can you feel Bill’s emotions or sense his location?” Eric asked and Sookie shook her head. “Then you aren’t bonded to him. That’s a good thing, Sookie, because a bond is permanent. The ties you have now to both Bill and I will fade in time if you aren’t given a fresh dose of our blood.”
“Is there a way to break a blood bond once it’s done?” Sookie asked.
“I don’t know. I have never bonded to a human. In fact, the last human I gave my blood to was Pam, and that was only because I turned her,” he said.
Sookie considered asking if Pam had wanted to be turned, but decided against it. There were more pressing matters to address at the moment. Not to mention that was a highly personal question that Eric might not feel the need to answer.
“Are you bonded to Pam? I mean is she your bonded child?”
“No, she isn’t,” Eric answered. “I have actually released Pam, but I called her to my side when I decided to open Fangtasia. She has stayed on voluntarily, although I suspect it’s mostly because it means having constant access to my credit cards.”
Sookie laughed quietly and said, “Pam isn’t exactly low maintenance, is she?”
Eric chuckled as well and said, “No, she isn’t. I imagine it has something to do with the human lifestyle to which she was accustomed. She didn’t enjoy sleeping in the dirt in the old days. If she ever figures out I forced her to go to ground for much longer than necessary it won’t go over well.”
Sookie laughed some more, and it felt good to do so. “I can’t imagine Pam sleeping in dirt. I can’t even imagine her sleeping at a Motel 6.”
“She does have expensive tastes,” Eric smiled and turned into Sookie’s driveway.
“Maybe Jesus would know about breaking blood bonds,” Sookie suggested when the thought occurred to her.
“Good point. We’ll ask them tomorrow,” he said and began to slow the car.
“If it’s possible, I want them to figure out a way to get the vampire blood out of me,” Sookie confessed as the car came to a complete stop. She chanced a look in Eric’s direction and she saw just a flash of something in his eyes, but didn’t know what it was.
“I want to know that my feelings are my own. Bill told me that you would use having your blood in me to your advantage, that you would try to sway my feelings,” Sookie looked into Eric’s eyes. “My feelings toward you have changed, but I don’t think it’s because of the blood. I saw a side to you on the roof that showed me you aren’t just cold, hard stone. I saw the love you have for Godric, and… the important thing is, I see you better now. From the first night I walked into Fangtasia Bill has done nothing but tell me how dangerous you are, what a threat you are to my freedom because all you want from me is the use of my disability, my blood and sex.”
Eric smirked and said, “I do want to have sex with you.” Sookie tried not to smile at that, but lost. Eric continued, “Do you believe him?”
“I used to,” Sookie admitted, feeling slightly ashamed of herself for it. “When I first met you, you didn’t really give me a reason to think otherwise. But now I have to wonder if Bill just didn’t want me to choose another vampire over him. I feel like if I didn’t have his blood in me I might be able to see things more clearly.”
“That’s reasonable,” Eric nodded.
“So does that mean a vampire can control or influence a human who’s had their blood?”
“It doesn’t quite work that way. A vampire cannot create feelings in a human. For example, I couldn’t dose you with my blood and then force you to suddenly feel a sexual attraction to, say, children,” Eric said, and Sookie emotionally flinched at his choice of words.
Thoughts of Uncle Bartlett filled her mind but Sookie quickly pushed them away. If she went down that path Eric would feel her shame, guilt and betrayal over the things that happened in her past. Telling Bill about that had been difficult enough, and when she thought about it she couldn’t help but wonder what made her think it was a good idea to bring it up.
Oh, right, I thought I could trust him, she reminded herself.
“So then how does it work?” Sookie asked Eric.
“A vampire can only amplify or mute feelings that are already present in a human’s blood. For example, if you’re feeling extremely nervous or afraid, a vampire would be able to influence you to feel calmer by absorbing some of your feelings,” he said.
“So my feelings can be manipulated,” she sighed, and got out of the car. Suddenly the confined space felt much too small for her liking. She needed fresh air.
Sookie dropped her shields and scanned for brains, but the only one she detected was Eric’s. That was a good thing. He got out of the car as well and followed her up the front steps.
“You should stay somewhere else tonight if you can, preferably another human home,” he suggested.
“The only person I can think of is my brother and I’m sure he’s got company already. My friend Tara would probably let me stay with her but she’s living at Lafayette’s, so that’s not such a good idea. Not to mention, she and I aren’t really speaking at the moment. She didn’t take it well when I told her Bill proposed,” Sookie confessed, and reached into her pocket for her keys.
“Are there any other vampires besides me that have an invitation into your home?”
“Just Pam and Jessica,” Sookie said as she unlocked the door, and Eric followed her inside the house.
She flipped the light on, kicked off her shoes and headed for the kitchen, offering Eric a blood as she went. He followed behind her and declined the blood.
“Suit yourself,” Sookie said and opened the refrigerator to get herself a glass of iced tea.
The answering machine was blinking so she hit the playback button and a moment later Bill’s voice filled the room. “Sookie, sweetheart, I have an urgent matter I must discuss with you. I would like to speak with you face to face after sunset tomorrow. I’ll arrive an hour after first dark. Sleep well, my love.”
“You might want to rescind Jessica’s invitation,” Eric suggested.
“Jessica isn’t a problem. She and I… well, we’ve had our rough patches but we get along alright now,” Sookie said as she erased Bill’s message and crossed the room to sit down at the table with Eric.
“She’s Bill’s child. If he’s figured out that he no longer has the ability to enter your home at anytime he might command Jessica to come here and retrieve you for him.”
“He wouldn’t…” Sookie started, but then thought about it.
The Bill she thought she knew wouldn’t do something like that, but she was quickly discovering that Bill wasn’t quite what he represented himself to be. It dawned on Sookie that she really had no idea what he was capable of, and anger began to rise up in her. So far she had forced herself to remain relatively calm. She had tried to rationalize and put the pieces together, but at that particular moment she just didn’t have that kind of strength. Sookie grabbed the vase full of flowers that was sitting on the center of the table and hurled it across the room.
The flowers were a surprise gift from Bill three days before. She had woken to find them waiting for her on the table. There hadn’t been a card, but who else would have snuck into her house in the middle of the night to leave her flowers? Eric sat quietly while Sookie had a small fit, only moving when she seemed to get a hold of herself and began to pick up the pieces of broken glass.
“Motherfucker!” Sookie shouted when she sliced her finger on one of the pieces. Her blood pooled quickly, and it didn’t surprise her one bit when she heard the click of Eric’s fangs dropping.
Sookie got up quickly to go rinse her finger, but Eric grabbed her hand. Her eyes went to his and he said, “Allow me.”
His grip wasn’t so tight that she couldn’t pull her hand away if she wanted to, but she didn’t do that. Instead she allowed him to bring her bleeding finger to his mouth to lick away the blood and seal the wound. He didn’t try to drink from her at all, but the guttural groan that escaped him let her know he very much enjoyed the taste of her he’d gotten. In the blink of an eye he was on his feet, towering over her.
“Bill is a fool,” Eric said softly, and gently touched her face.
Sookie was still breathing hard from her freak out and there were tears staining her cheeks. He tenderly kissed the spot where her finger had been bleeding just moments before, and then released her. Sookie felt herself shaking, but she wasn’t quite sure why that was. She was embarrassed, no doubt about that. Having was equated to a tantrum in front of Eric hadn’t been part of the plan, but it couldn’t have been avoided either. The stress of the last twenty-four hours had finally caught up to her.
So much had changed in such a short amount of time. It didn’t help matters that she suddenly felt a void quickly approaching her home. That brought Sookie out of her reverie and she said, “Bill’s coming.”