The Cut

13625d86-86b6-4a14-b182-c584729ae764

 

Part I

“Cut,” Amelia said, handing me the shears.  “And mean it.”

Feeling a little ridiculous and a lot scared, but sure I needed to do this, I snipped the red yarn.

And I lost Eric.

He wasn’t there.

All my senses stretched out to seek him, but there was nothing.

I felt a rush of panic and then there was grief.  Waves of it.  The pain threatened to drown me.

“Undo it!  Put it back!  I change my mind.  Please, Amelia.  You have to put it back!” I yell at her.  I could hear the terror in my voice.  I felt empty without him, almost like I was dying, and it scared me shitless.

She grabbed me hard and then shook me even harder, “Sookie, stop!  You wanted this, remember that.  Now calm down.  Everything will be fine, you just have to get use to being alone with yourself again.”

“I don’t think I want to be alone,” I whimpered.

What did I do?  Why did I think this was a good idea?  He is gonna be so mad, so hurt.  Oh God!  What if it is hurting him, really hurting him?

I tear out of her grip and run to the house, heading for the phone, Amelia yelling at me the whole way.  I have to know he’s okay.  I have to explain.

The phone rings two seconds before I touch it.  I have no doubt who it is.”Eric!” his name rips from my throat, “Please tell me you’re not hurt.”

“Sookie.  Are you alright?  What the fuck happened?  Why can I not feel you?” he asks over top of me, his voice relieved but heavily laced with worry.  More worry than I’ve ever heard from him.

“I’m not hurt, but I’m so sorry.  I wish I hadn’t done it.  Please tell me you’re okay!”

“Did what?  Sookie, what did you do?”

He’s not happy, but why should he be?  I basically betrayed him.  And why won’t he answer me?

“Sookie!”

“Amelia,” I whisper.  I know he’ll easily figure it out.

He stays silent for much longer than I want him too.

“Do. Not. Leave your house.  Lock the doors and let no one in.  Do you hear me, Sookie?  No one.  Don’t even go to the door if someone comes,” he orders me, his voice chilly and harsh.  It sends a shiver up my spine.

“What?  Why?”

“The bond protected you, Sookie.  The marriage only served as added insurance.  You are a sitting duck without it.”

“Shit.  I didn’t think about that.”

“Obviously,” he groans.

Asshole.

“I get it, Eric.  I fucked up.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t do it to hurt you or endanger us.  I swear I didn’t.”  I confess.

“Maybe your gorgeous, stubborn, impulsive ass will think before it acts from now on.  And fucking listen when I speak,” he growls.

I guess I deserve that, but it still makes me mad.  But not mad enough I won’t own up to my mistake.

“I made a mistake and I know it was a big one, okay?  I’m sorry.” I apologize again, even though I know a simple ‘sorry’ is not gonna fix this.

“Are you going to do as I ask?”

He sounds so tired and defeated it almost breaks my heart.

“I won’t leave and I won’t answer the door, I swear.  Are you coming?” I ask, afraid he’ll say no.  I’d feel so much better if I could see him, talk to him face to face.

“No.”

I bite my lip hard, so I don’t fight him.  Neither of us need that right now.

“Tomorrow night,” he says, after a lengthy silence.  “And Sookie, if that witch is anywhere near your house, I will find her and I will kill her.”

Shit.  He’s deadly serious.

I hear him sigh and the phone rattles like he’s about to hang up.

“Eric!” I yell for him.

I get another sigh, “What?”

“I love you.  All on my own.  I know that now.”

I do.  Why I ever doubted it, I’ll never know.

“So you say,” he says, voice hollow.

I sink to the floor when the line goes dead.  I have the sudden urge to lay down and sob for days, but I won’t.  This is mostly my fuck up, I have to own it.  The weight of what I’ve done presses down on me with startling clarity and brings flashes of all the other selfish choices I’ve made concerning him to the forefront of my mind.

Eric can be an ass, but I can be a bitch.

He was right when he called me stubborn and impulsive.  I am.  I never think things through and I hardly ever take his feelings into account.  I complain that he doesn’t do the same for me, but that’s a lie, or at the very least a fib.  If I sat down and made a list I know I would see dozens of decisions he has made with my best interest in mind.  And only if he had no other choice would he make one that would hurt or anger me.  That’s what people should do if they love you.  They should put you first as much as possible.  Eric has done that with me whenever he’s able, I think.  If he didn’t have so many others pulling him in such drastically different directions he would all the time.  I truly believe that.

But what about me?  Do I do the same for him?  I dumped Quinn because I knew he would never put me first.  Am I demanding it of Eric without giving him the same in return?  Sometimes, not all, but sometimes I think I do.

Eric loves me.  More than I ever had the guts to acknowledge up until now.  It scared me before, now I have to admit it terrifies me that he’ll stop, that I’ve finally pushed him too far.

“Sookie?  Are you okay?” Amelia asks.

I look up and see her worried face staring down at me, Bob is peeking over her shoulder.  They are the last two people I want to see right now.

I stand up and scrub away a few tears I didn’t even realize I had shed.  “I will be.  I hate to do this, it’s my own fault I have to ask, but you need to leave, Amelia.  Both of you.  We made a huge mistake tonight.  It was mine, you only did what I asked, but he won’t care.  It’s not safe for you here anymore and I doubt it will be for a long time to come.”

I slam my shields up against her silent but screaming outrage while she stares at me in shock for a minute or two before blurting out, “He’ll kill me, won’t he?”

I don’t need to hear her thoughts to know she’s scared, it’s written all over her face.

“Not if he never sees you again.” I tell her honestly.  There’s no point in denying it.

I should be furious that Eric threatened her, but for some reason I’m only mildly annoyed.  Amelia has never been supportive of Eric and I as a couple. The disgust I heard in her thoughts when I told her I loved him earlier tonight should have made me stop and think.  And then I saw the glee in her eyes when I cut the yarn to break the bond.  She wanted this, wanted us to be broken.  It’s past time for her to leave.  I kinda wish she had never come back in the first place.

“You want me to go, don’t you?  And not because he threatened me,” she asks, catching on and clearly offended.

I shrug my shoulders, “I do.  I think it’s for the best.”

That was the end of it.  Neither one of us said another word.  I went upstairs and they gathered their things.  An hour later I heard the door slam shut and their car crank up, then it was roaring down the driveway.

I was alone with myself then.  Completely.

Surprisingly, I hated it.

Never once had I dreamed I would miss him this much.  He had been a part of me for so long I guess I got used to him being there.  I thought I would be relieved to be alone again, to not have his feelings messing with mind.  Now I wasn’t so sure they had been.  I think instead of making me feel things I didn’t, the bond boosted the things I did.  Instead of confusing me like I thought it was, I think it was trying to make clear to me what I was feeling.  That I loved him.  All on my own.

I fought myself from calling him all night.  I wanted to hear his voice so badly.  I understood why he didn’t want to see me, but I would have given anything for him to come to me.  To slip into my window, strip off the clothes hiding his beautiful body, and lay with me.

At some point I fell asleep and dreamed of him.  He came in like a thief in the night and stood by my bedside.  He wouldn’t lay down with me or let me touch him though.  He made me watch as he cried tears of blood over how much I had hurt him.  I cried with him, telling him how sorry I was and begging him to forgive me.  Promising him I would never doubt us again.  He wiped my tears away with the back of his fingers, “I truly hope not,” he whispered.  Then he was gone.

I woke up just before sunrise, my pillow and face damp with my tears.  I swore I smelled him, but the deeper I tried to breathe in his unique scent the faster it vanished.  He said he wouldn’t come last night and I believed him.  I was just wishing he had.

I get up and shower, washing away my tears and hopefully some of the mistake I made yesterday.  I need to decide how I want our night to go once he shows up.  I need to be prepared to deal with an angry, emotional vampire.  I need to help him understand my side of things better than I have in the past and I’m going to really listen to him too.  He deserves that from me just as I do from him.

Why did I even choose to do it in the first place?  Was it really only so I would know my true feelings?  Yes, that was the biggest reason, but not the only one.  It was selfish and probably childish too, but I think deep down I wanted to be in control of us for once.  To not be the half that always caves to the other.  Hard to do when your other half is almost a thousand years older than you, but still.  I wanted us to be on more level ground with each other.  As level as possible anyway.  Could we be now?  Being bondless certainly gives us a start I think.  A place to start over from and a way to choose each other freely, without all the political bullshit forcing our hands.  We need to talk, really talk, about what both of us want for this relationship.  I know we love each other, but is that going to be enough?  I really hope so, because I do love him, desperately even.  More than I ever loved Bill, and certainly more than Quinn.  More than anyone else I ever have.  Now that I know that, am sure of it, well let’s just say I’ve made a huge decision.

After finishing my shower I fix a quick bowl of cereal then start cleaning the house from top to bottom.  I don’t want him smelling Amelia or Bob when he gets here.  It won’t help my cause if he does and I want to leave the house clean.  By the time I’m done, every inch of the place is spotless except me.  I’m a grimy, sweaty mess in need of another shower.

It’s four o’clock by the time I’m clean again.

I’m supposed to be at work, but I’m not going.  I should call Sam, but I’m not gonna do that either.  I’ll check in with him tomorrow. He’ll only ask a lot of questions and I don’t need those right now.  Hopefully he’ll be too busy to come knocking on my door.

I’ve decided that I have to make this up to Eric.  To the both of us really.  He needs to be able to trust me again.  A relationship won’t work without it, even I know that.  I’m going to have to put myself out there for him, let him know I’m in this one hundred percent.  He’ll need to assure me of the same though or we’re doomed.  By the time tonight is over I hope we’re completely on the same page, but it’s possible we won’t even be in the same book.

It’s all up to him now.

I can’t do his part for him, but I can do mine. For the next hour I pack the only two suitcases I own full of my clothes, toiletries, and a few personal things, like pictures and books.  Gran’s letter and the Cluviel Dor go in last.  If things go the way I think they will, I’m going home with him to stay.  He asked me just the night before last to move in with him and I felt too unsettled to make that decision then and there, with the Sandra shit that had just went down.  I didn’t trust myself or him.  I had asked him if he would still want me to live with him if he couldn’t feel me, my fear or my anger.  He thought that was a very strange question, but still had no trouble coming up with an answer.  He wanted me with him, no matter the circumstances.  I guess I’ll see if he still feels that way.

I don’t know if I would’ve ever made the decision to move in with him if I hadn’t broken our bond.  Probably not.  After all, I couldn’t get myself to say yes to him the other night.  But being faced with the possibility of losing him?  That saying ‘You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’?  It couldn’t be more true.  I’ve learned that I don’t want to be without him.  Ever.  Like never ever.  The thought truly scares me.  The huge hole I feel in my chest only solidifies that.

No one has ever loved me the way Eric does.  Not Bill, not Alcide, not Quinn, not Sam, not even Gran did.  For all his faults, Eric gets me like no one else.  That’s a rare thing.  I’d be a complete idiot to throw that away without really trying to make it work.  He’s a thousand fucking years old for Pete’s sake and he’s never loved anyone in all that time, but me.  Me, crazy Sookie Stackhouse, the backwoods barmaid.  Most women would kill to be in my place.

Actually, I have killed for him, and probably would again, but that’s beside the point.

I’m not proud of myself when I think of how I’ve hurt him, not just by breaking the bond, but the entire time we’ve been together.  I honestly don’t get why he still bothers with me.  I can be a selfish bitch and cause him worlds of trouble.  Of course I can say the same about him.  He’s hurt me too and while he loves me like no other, he can also be the biggest asshole around.  Maybe we’re both crazy idiots that thrive on chaos?

Sunset is just an hour away so I hurry to make myself presentable.  I don’t want him to think I’m trying too hard, so I settle for one of my casual sundresses and put my hair up the way he likes it best.  He always has trouble resisting my neck.

Two insanely long hours and eighteen minutes later I have chewed my nails to nubs and nearly worn through the floorboards with my pacing.  I have my speech all worked out in my head too.  Just when I think I can’t stand another second of this waiting he drives up the driveway.  I curse myself for the thousandth time in the last twenty four hours when I can’t feel him to know how angry he is.  I wait on pins and needles as he slowly walks up my steps.  I don’t think I’ve ever been more afraid in my life.  Not of him, but of the pain he could inflict on my heart.  My life is going to change drastically one way or the other tonight.

I open the door the second he reaches it, panting as if I’ve been running for my life,
“You came.”

“I said I would,” he says softly, staring into my eyes.  If I didn’t know better I would swear he was trying to glamour me his look is so intense.  He wouldn’t have too, I’m ready if he is.

In a moment of emotional weakness I throw myself against his chest, hugging him fiercely.  I can’t help it, he’s here and he’s so beautiful and I’ve missed him so much.  “I love you,” I whisper, his shirt quickly becoming soaked with my tears.

“I love you too,” he murmurs into my neck as he lifts me up.  My legs automatically wrap around his waist, my arms clinging to his shoulders.  He holds me with one arm and uses the other to shut and lock the door, then takes us to the couch to sit down.  It feels so good to be in his arms.  The peace and happiness I used to feel when he was near is surprisingly still there, maybe not as strong, but still there.  I wonder if he feels it too?  It’s so strange not to know.  We sit in silence for a long time, just holding each other.  After a while he begins to rub my back and play with my ponytail.  Finally he pushes me back so I’ll sit up and look at him.

I start to speak, but he places one long finger over my lips to hush me while piercing me with his eyes again.  He reaches into his jacket pocket, pulling out a handkerchief and uses it to gently clean my face up.

He’s being so sweet, I only want to cry more.

I know he wants me to be quiet, but I can’t hold my tongue a moment longer, “Do you hate me?” I blurt out.

I guess my weak emotional moment isn’t over yet.

His brows gather up over his beautiful eyes and he shakes his head, “No, Lover.  I do not hate you.  We may disagree sometimes, but I could never hate you.  I love you too much,” he says, his voice strained, full of hurt and maybe fear?  “Do you hate me?”

There it is.

I shake my head, “No.  I love you too much too.”

He sighs and I can see the relief written all over his face, “That is very good to hear.  I thought maybe you did not anymore, that you had gone back to the tiger, or on to someone else and that is why you broke…”

“No, Eric.” I stop him, getting up off his lap and standing in front of him.  “That’s not why.  I still love you,” I tell him, trying to keep calm.  He knows good and well it’s over with Quinn and I would never cheat.

“You broke our bond.  Out of no where.  No warning at all, Sookie.  I thought you were dead for fucks sake!” he yells.  “Do you have any idea what that felt like for me?  How crazed I was?  What was I suppose to think after you went behind my back that way with no regard for me?” he says, getting very defensive.  He’s standing up and pacing now, his fists clinched.

I plop back down on the couch to stay out of his way, “Maybe that I had a good reason?” I mutter under my breath.

“Please, enlighten me,” he sneers.

Deep breaths, Sookie.  Deep breaths.

I look him dead in the eye and do my best not to hide my feelings from him.  “Eric, I know I hurt you, that was never my intention, but I’m very sorry I did.  I should have talked to you first, but I knew you would have talked me out of it.  Not that that is a good excuse.  I’m sorry I scared you too, but I promise I had good reasons for breaking it and if you’ll please calm down and listen to me, I’ll explain them.”

He paces around in front of me a few more minutes, but finally settles his long, graceful body down at the other end of the couch.  Before I waste my breath I decide to ask him the most important question, the rest doesn’t matter if he says no.  I scoot over closer to him and reach for his hand, he lets me take it.

“Eric, I know you said you still love me and I still love you too, but we can’t be naive and think that’s enough.  We’re both smarter than that.  I need you to decide if you think I’m still worth it.  I’m giving you an out, it will break my heart, but if being with me is too much with all the other shit going on in your life right now, I’ll understand.”

His head jerks up and he looks at me suspiciously, “Have you spoken to Pam?”

“Um, no.  What does she have to do with this?”

“Nothing, never mind.  Please continue,” he says, shaking his head.

Lord help me.

“I’m giving you a choice, Eric.  Let me go or stay with me.  I want you to stay, but if you still want to be with me, we’re both gonna have to do better.  Much better.  I’m ready to put myself out there for you, completely, but I will not do it if you don’t promise me you can do the same.  We can’t keep loving each other only half way.  And one hundred percent honesty with each other, one hundred percent of the time.  No lies and no secrets.  I won’t take any less than that.”

I wipe away a few tears as he stares at me confused.

“What are you asking me, Sookie?  I thought you understood what you mean to me already.  I told you the night you came to Fangtasia to see me when Appius was here.  You are my wife, in the only way that matters to me.  Fuck, why we had to pledge, I wanted it.  I wanted to be your husband and you to be my wife.  I am already yours, Sookie.  Completely.  I have no desire to be apart from you in any way,” he says.  I’ve never heard him be any more sincere.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more relieved, but I still need more.

“What about the honesty, Eric, and the secrets and lies?” It hurts to do this, but I have to.

He’s off the couch and pacing again, “Yes, I have lied to you and kept things from you, but most of the time it was to protect you or because YOU ASKED ME TOO!” he roars.

I jump up and get into his personal space, “Don’t you roar at me in my house, mister!”  I hiss, poking my finger into his chest.

His eyes are nearly throwing sparks and I’m surprised steam isn’t coming out of his ears.  He turns and walks away from me, his hands buried in his hair.  My heart nearly stops when he heads towards the door.  If he walks out, it’s over.

Thank goodness, he doesn’t.

He doesn’t turn around and look at me either, but he does start talking.  “I do not keep things from you for my own enjoyment. I hate it.  I want to tell you everything, but you do not want to hear.  You hate our Vampire bullshit as you call it.  Or if I do tell you, I always wind up having to risk lives to save yours because you have run off half cocked and gotten yourself into trouble.  I am sorry I keep things from you, but you cannot die,” he whispers, his voice cracking.

God, this is hard.

I slowly walk up behind him and slip my arms around his waist, he doesn’t respond in the least.  “If I swear to you that I won’t run off half cocked anymore….”  He huffs, not believing me apparently.  I don’t let it deter me.  “If I promise that I’ll always talk things through with you first, can you stop keeping things from me?  If I know what’s going on I’ll be much less likely to make rash decisions.”

He’s quiet for too long.  “You don’t trust me, do you?” I ask, pulling away from him.

He grabs my arms and stops me, “I want to.”

I sigh, leaning my head against his back, “I want to trust you too.”

He spins around and looks at me, all the anger is gone from his eyes, now they are only filled with hesitancy.  “You do not trust me?”

“For the most part, yes, I do.”

“But not all.”

“You can’t say any different about me apparently,” I mutter, turning to go back to the couch.

This may be hopeless.

He comes and sits beside me.  I crawl back into his lap and hug him tightly, we both need it.  After a few moments he whispers into my neck, “Please tell me why?”

I look at him, “Why what?”

“Why did you break it?”

I lean over and give his cheek a soft lingering kiss before I lay against his chest.  “Mostly I needed to know if it was me that really loved you.  I needed to know my own heart and I think I also did it for you,” I say, confessing not only to him but myself too.  Out of all the thoughts I had today, that was never one of them, but now that I’ve said it out loud I know it’s true.

“That makes no sense.  You know I loved our bond,” he says, incredulously.

“Listen.  Please?”  I feel him nod against my the top of my head.  “Would you want me to love you only because you’re rich and powerful, or just because you’re the most gorgeous man there is?” I ask, craning my neck back to look at him.  He shakes his head, but isn’t able to keep the small smile from his lips at my compliment to his good looks.  Eric Northman will always be arrogant, but rightly so I guess.  At least in that department.

“I thought not,” I grin at him.  “So wouldn’t you rather know that I love you for you and who you are and not just because your blood was inside me?  That’s pretty much what I had with Bill, I did not want it to be the same with you.  I don’t want it ever to be that way with you.  You deserve better than that and so do I.  I was duped into loving Bill, I refuse to let that happen with you.  We both deserve to know that our love is real.”

“You are right, we do, but I have always known it was real.  I felt mine for you and yours for me.  The bond could not lie to us.”

“You might have known that, Eric, but I didn’t.  I couldn’t trust it.  I needed to be sure.  I need to choose you all on my own.”

“Do you choose me?”

“I want to,” I say, repeating his earlier words.  I want to say yes, but I can’t yet.

He’s quite for a few minutes, “All of this is my fault,” he finally says, softly.  “If I could go back to the beginning I would do things very differently.  I made too many mistakes with you.  I regret all of them.  I should not have tricked you in Dallas and I wish you had not been forced to pick me over Andre.  It is not the way I wanted us to bond.  And the pledging too.  I could have went about it differently, came to you and explained.  I told myself I was protecting you, and I was, but it was much more than that to me and you had a right to know what was happening and I chose not to tell you.  I am sorry for all of it, Sookie, and for every other time I took your choices away from you,” he says, seriously, pushing me back enough that I can see it in his face too.  “I should have seen this coming.  I think I did, but just refused to acknowledge it.  I will not pretend that it does not hurt, because it certainly does.  I truly think I would have rather you cut my limbs off instead.  So I may not like it, but I understand why you did it.  I am not angry with you either.  It was up to me to help you understand better and I failed you.  I could use my thousand years of being cold and heartless as an excuse, but I owe you better than that.”

Wow.  Seems like I’m not the only one who did a lot of thinking since last night.

“Thank you,” I whisper, leaning over to give him a hug, “But I’m not blameless, Eric,” I mumble into his neck.  “I’ve fought you tooth and nail from the very beginning.  I judged you and your actions before you ever said or did anything.  And the whole time you’ve only tried to protect me.  And even worse?  I don’t think I have ever said thank you for any of it.  Gran would beat me raw if she knew how I had been acting.”  I sit up again and cup his cheeks in my hands, “So thank you for all you’ve done for me and I’m sorry too, for everything.”

“You do not need to thank me, lover.  I love you, it is my honor to protect you and I would provide for you if you would let me.  Nothing in my long life has brought me even close to the love I feel for you.  I love you without reason or reward.  You are my sun after a thousand years of darkness.  I love your soft, vulnerable side, but I love you more when you are fiery, strong, and stubborn.  You challenge me and make me feel alive again. You stir things long dead inside of me, min älskling.  Things no one else ever has.” he whispers, pulling my forehead to rest against his.

I desperately want to cry again, but I know he hates my tears so I hold them back.  Instead I run my fingers into his silky hair and over his face as I whisper to him, “I love you, Eric.  I love you so much.  I love you more than anyone or anything else on this earth and I know it may not make a lick of sense, but I’ve been afraid this whole time.  That’s why I’ve held myself back from you.  I was afraid you were consuming me and there would be no parts of me left.  Because I never knew it was possible to love anyone the way I love you.  Sometimes I feel as if I’ll just split open there’s so much of it.  Even though the bond is gone, you’re still here inside me,” I tell him, pressing his hand over my heart.  “I need you, like my bones, my blood, or the air I breathe.  I don’t know if I can survive without you.  I really don’t want to try.  But we have to trust each other completely, it won’t work if we don’t.”

“Tell me what you need, I will provide it if at all possible.”

“I need to be first for you, all the time.”

“Lover, you already are.  Everything thing I do, every decision I make, all of it is done for you.  Why can you not see that?  And what about me?  Will I be first for you too?  Because so far I do not think I have been.”

“I know,” I sigh.  “I did not mean for it be that way though.  You will be from now on, if we choose to stay together.”

“If?  For fucks sake, Sookie!  Have you not listened to a word I have said?  I made my choice a long time ago.  In that empty hallway at Rhodes,” he argues, standing up with me in his arms then gently dropping me back onto the couch, staring at me completely exasperated.  “There is nothing else for me but you, woman.  Please get that through your thick skull!”

I guess he means it.

I go to him and hug him tightly, “I don’t think you realize how easily you could crush me without ever touching me.”

“I know that feeling very well, Lover.  I would rather be strapped down with silver and tortured for days on end than feel the sting of rejection from you.”

His voice tells me he has already felt that suffering and it breaks my heart.  I reach up and take his beautiful face in my hands, pulling down to me, then place feather light kisses over it, “I’m so sorry I hurt you, Eric.  I’ve never hurt you on purpose and I’m gonna do my best to never do it on accident again.”  I’m crying again now.

He reaches over and tries to smooth my furrowed brows with his fingers, “Shhhh, no more tears, min älskling.  I know you have never intentionally hurt me.  I have already forgiven you, not that there was much to forgive.  I hope you can forgive me too.”

“Of course I can,” I sniffle.

“I love you,” he whispers, brushing my bangs behind my ear, then lifts my chin so I’ll look at him. “I am yours, Sookie, and I will stay with you for as long as you want me.  The question is; are you mine?” he asks quietly, but I can see the mischief sparkling in his blue eyes. It makes my heart swell.  He’s teasing me, he knows that ‘you’re mine’ crap drives me nuts.

Time to surprise him.

“Yes!  Yes, I’m yours!” I all but squeal, making his eyes go wide.  I throw my arms around his neck and squeeze him tight.  His long arms wrap me tightly against him and I can feel his smile against my neck and the laughter rumbling in his chest, but he still asks, “Do you mean it this time?”

I pull out of his arms, then stare into his hopeful eyes, “Yes.  I’m yours, Eric Northman.  All yours,” I smile and he leans closer to kiss me, but I stop him, “I’m going to make sure you trust me again, no matter how long it takes and I’m going to make up for all the times I’ve already hurt you too. The first thing I’m going to do is let you take me home.”

He’s confused to say the least.  I have to hold back a giggle seeing the look on his face.

“Lover, you are home.  You have not hit your head in the last twenty four hours have you?” he asks, gently rubbing his fingers over my scalp looking for a bump I guess.

That would make sense to him, considering the complete one-eighty I’ve done where we’re concerned.

“No, you silly vampire, I didn’t hit my head.  I just accidentally forced myself to see the truth about you, me, and us.  This isn’t my home anymore.  I’m your wife, my place is with you,” I whisper, looking deep into his blue eyes.

His expression goes from confused to flabbergasted, then to the edge of hurt, “Sookie?  Please do not tease me.  Do not say that if you do not mean it.”

Oh, my poor Vampire.

I reach over and stroke his cheek, turning his face to look at my suitcases sitting in the floor, “I meant every word.  Look, my bags are already packed.  If you still want me to live with you, I want to go home with you tonight,” I whisper, then smile softly at him,   “For good.”

He freezes as only a vampire can, then suddenly he is alive, his eyes turning to blue flames and his lips crashing into mine.

Now, Eric and I have kissed a lot, but never like this.  One moment his lips are punishing, then his mouth and hands turn gentle and reverent, only to change again, making it feel as if he is trying to pull my soul out through my lips.  I want him too.  I want to give him everything I am, taking the same from him in return.

Unfortunately he tries to stop me, “Sookie, wait.”

“No, I don’t want to wait.  I need you,” I pant, kissing my way up his neck.

“Sookie, please,” he moans.  “I need to tell you something.”

I stop and look at him, “Eric?  Does whatever it is change how you feel about me?” I ask, abruptly.

“No,” he balks, shaking his head.

“Then shut up and kiss me,” I order him.

He kisses me back as if I’m the only one he ever has, until my lips are full, swollen, and bruised, yet feel as if he drained them of a thousand kisses and still wants more.  More is what he gets.  More of my lips and tongue.  More of my touch.  More of my warmth and more of my love.  He takes it all and gives it back tenfold.

I read once that when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object there will always be a spark, then more often than not, a fire will erupt.  Eric is that unstoppable force and I’m the stubborn immovable object.  I was doomed from the moment I met him.  He is heaven and hell mixed together in cold hard flesh, with a killer mind and a heart as pure as the heavy snows of his homeland.  The life I saw in his eyes drew me to him all those nights ago, but it’s his darkness I have chosen to make my home in.  He consumes me, protects me, and centers me with his strength.  Dominates my body, fuels my passions, and intoxicates my emotions.  I am helpless against him and thankful for it.  Yet this powerful creature submits to me, his heart, his soul, and his strength are all mine for the taking.  Mine to love. Mine to cherish. It’s what he wants most, for me to take him and make him mine.  I will, forever.

Maybe there is a word for this… whatever this is between us right now.  I cannot spare a breath to utter it though.  Our clothes no longer hide us from each other, not an inch of our flesh is being left untouched, and we are one again in body.  I wonder if with one more touch of our skin against the other’s we won’t light up like matches and burn.

Suddenly I’m on my bed, laying under his cool, beautiful body, trapped by it and his scorching eyes.  This is what I want, nowhere else I would rather be.  Beneath him, at the bottom of his dark, delightful madness, knowing he will push me gasping and screaming to the light.

“Here, like the first time,” he says, his voice strained as he holds himself, hard and insistent, against my core. “Once more, for old times’ sake?”

“Yes, and then we go home,” I smile up at him until he wipes it away with one hard thrust.

We make love like devout pagan followers worshiping their gods.  My ears hardly recognize the sounds coming from us, but his touch I will always know just as my fingers know every inch of him.  We are writhing limbs, gasping lungs, and eager souls.  Hunger, suffering, lust, and love contained between us.  To him those all carry my name and to me, his.  Finally, with my urging, Eric loses himself to his need, becoming ravenous.  I let him, giving myself over as his prey, welcoming his bite.  Begging for it.  We both shatter only to come back together to fall apart once more.

An hour later and Eric’s confidence is wavering.  I can see him bracing himself for something, it’s in his movements, in the set of his jaw, and in the shadows of his eyes, though he is hiding it well.

He expects me to change my mind.

He fidgets as we shower, then dress.  His eyebrows lift ever so slightly as he watches me put on my dress.  He had been predicting pjs I’m sure.  I continue my preparations to leave.  There isn’t much left to do since I already said my goodbyes to this house when I cleaned it today.  Surprisingly I’m not the least bit sad.  I have too much to look forward to and I know he’ll bring me back anytime I need to be comforted by its familiar walls.

I hand him my suitcases, turn off all the lights, grab my purse, and lock the door behind us once I push him out onto the porch.

“Sookie.”  My name conveys his concern and surprise, his eyes two big orbs of fragile hope.

It breaks my heart to know he fully expected me to back out on him, despite everything that was said and done between us tonight.

I walk up to him and place my hand over his quiet heart, “Eric, I know it’s hard for you to believe, that’s my fault, but I meant every word I’ve said tonight.  I’m your wife and you’re my husband, we should be together.  I’m ready now, one hundred percent, if you are too.  I’m so sorry I wasn’t before, but I understand if you need time.  You’ve waited for me, I can certainly wait on you.”

He stares at me for a moment, his expression giving away nothing, then slowly he starts to grin and soon it turns to smile so bright it threatens to blind me, “Let’s go home, wife.”

“I thought you’d never ask,” I giggle and run for the car, him hot on my heels.

 

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