Let Love In
By Terri Botta
Disclaimer: I don't own the Southern Vampires. Sole copyright belongs to Charlaine Harris. I'm poor so don't sue.
Rating: M for later chapters.
Timeframe: Post-From Dead to Worse
Summary: Eric decides that it's time for him and Sookie to come to an understanding.
A/N: This concludes LLI, but please look for the LLI companion stories Best Laid Plans and Kodak Moment. See my author profile for the links. There will be more added to the series as times goes on. Thanks everyone for your fabulous reviews. :)
"What would you have done if I'd told you everything after Hallow's curse was broken, and said that I loved you and that I wanted to be with you?" she asked curiously.
They were back at their Ruston nest, and it was early Sunday morning. The last time she'd looked at the clock it had read 3:38am, and she knew she needed to get some sleep because she was working the Sunday lunch shift, but somehow she just couldn't resist her Viking.
They'd been apart all evening, although both of their shifts had gone very well and neither of them had had any problems at their respective workplaces. In fact, for a Saturday night, things had been pretty quiet at Merlotte's, and she hadn't asked Eric how Fangtasia had been. She figured he'd tell her if there was anything particularly entertaining or important. There hadn't been – or at least there hadn't been anything more important than a session of lovemaking that had made them both very happy. Sex reaffirmed their bond, and she was feeling very affirmed indeed.
Now they were together in bed, the electric blanket warming the sheets, and she was in that languid, contented state that came from very satisfying sex with a beloved partner. Bill had used to make her feel that way, less so towards the end of their relationship, and she welcomed the feeling back with open arms. It was so nice to experience the simple joy of knowing she was wanted, valued, and loved.
Eric had always made her feel appreciated and beautiful; the same Eric who was propped up on one elbow beside her, looking down into her eyes, his face thoughtful. He was quiet for a long time, but she could tell that he was thinking. She politely stayed out of his head while he gathered his thoughts.
"I would have been delighted, of course, because I had wanted to have sex with you for quite a long time," he answered truthfully.
She nodded, not surprised by his reply.
"But…" he continued. "Unless I regained my memories of when I was with you, I would not have been able to fathom the depth of what I had felt for you. I would not have thought it possible for me to feel so strongly again, and to be honest… I don't believe I could have felt that strongly for you if I hadn't been cursed. Hallow's spell stripped me of my masks and allowed me to reawaken the parts of myself that I had buried. If it were not for her booby-trap, I doubt that I would ever have found the courage to let you as deep into me as I have."
"Courage?" she repeated.
He sighed and settled down onto his back, pulling her over so her head was in the crook of his shoulder and her hand was on his chest. He seemed to enjoy that position very much, as if having her cuddled close to him was comforting. She remembered how he had insisted on holding her before he would tell her of his history, and she got the feeling that he was about to admit something that was equally as private. She put her arm around him and sent reassurance through the bond, letting him know that she was there for him and that he could tell her anything.
'Thank you, my lover. You have no idea what a comfort it is to me to know I can trust someone so completely.'
He sighed and nuzzled her before speaking softly, "I have told you before that vampires feel everything very keenly. It is what makes the young ones so impulsive and unpredictable. Over time, we learn to control our emotions, to suppress and dampen them so they don't consume us. For a vampire as old as me, to… to lower his guard enough to feel… that is a very brave thing to do."
She nodded and stroked his chest, telling him that she understood.
"Were you ever scared of me?" she asked.
"Scared of you?" he repeated, amused. "Never. Scared of the emotions you stirred in me? Yes. There were times when that frightened me a lot. It still does sometimes."
"Yes. To allow oneself to have feelings… that can be exploited as a weakness. It is a dangerous thing. It can expose me to my enemies."
"So why did you do it then? Allow yourself to feel?"
"It was that or kill you, and I couldn't bear the thought of your death. The only way I could reconcile my conflicting emotions was to accept my feelings," he admitted, shrugging. "I'd tried denying them, but that didn't work. That only made me more miserable. And I think it made you miserable too."
He gave her a little nudge and she nodded, thinking back on her emotional state after Rhodes and the Nevada takeover. "Yeah. I was pretty unhappy. Lonely. Alone. Missing having someone in my life who thought I mattered."
His fingers stroked her hair tenderly. "You always mattered. Even from the very beginning, you mattered to me."
"Somehow, I think I knew that."
His lips touched the top of her head. "Yes."
She tightened her hand on his chest and pulled herself closer, pressing against his cool, hard body.
"You know that night when Sigebert attacked you and Felipe in Merlotte's parking lot? That was a turning point for me," she said.
"I didn't know you were calling me. All I knew was that I was having a panic attack, and I had to go back. And I wasn't doing it because of the bond, or because I thought I owed you, but because I liked you. That night I made a decision, and I think it's affected every choice I've made since."
She felt him nod, his cheek against her hair. "Yes. You decided to accept what you were feeling and stop fighting."
She didn't know if she'd put it quite that way, but the concept was the same. "I guess. I guess that's what made me say yes to you when you asked me to go away with you. Part of me knew that I'd already made the choice."
"What would have done if I refused?"
"I would have found another way to have our talk. It would have taken longer, and probably would have been delayed or interrupted, but I was determined that we would have it, and, as you know, I am both very patient and very persuasive," he replied with complete honesty.
She laughed softly. "And I think your abstinence would have forced the issue as well."
He chuckled. "I must admit, it was a… driving force behind most of my motives."
She tilted her head up to smile at him, happy to see him smiling back. "Only most of them?" she asked coyly.
"There was a sizeable part of me that was operating on a higher level," he argued, huffing a bit, but his eyes were laughing and joy was singing across the bond. "I'd already begun laying my plan to bring you to me. As I said, I was putting things into motion before Rhodes, but my plan really began to solidify after the bombing."
"Rhodes changed everything," she whispered, frowning. It wasn't the first time she'd said it, but it was still just as true.
His face grew serious, and he nodded. "Yes. I'd let you slip away from me before; I wasn't going to let it happen again. When I woke after being injured, and I heard about all you had done, and I remembered how you had come to save Pam and me, I knew I would stop at nothing to win you again."
"I did notice that you treated me differently after you had healed. You were… quieter, less arrogant when you spoke to me. You were more honest, too. I appreciated that."
"I knew that my previous methods of wooing a woman wouldn't work with you. You didn't want my wealth or my power. What you wanted was someone who loved you and treated you as an equal. I knew that even before I regained my memories. After I remembered… well… you know what I did."
He gave her a sexy smile.
"Yeah, you all but kidnapped me," she mock-accused.
"Now, now. You got into my car and onto that plane willingly. Most willingly if I remember correctly."
"I was thinking of the great sex," she explained seriously. "You were bribing me with all the lover talk and heated looks. My libido hijacked me and made me get on that jet."
He laughed and stroked her abdomen, running one hand up to fondle a nipple. "Remind me to thank your libido."
She snorted, but leaned into his touch. "You've already thanked it."
"I have not even begun to express my appreciation," he replied, pulling her up for a kiss.
"Eric… I really need to sleep. I have to work the lunch shift…"
"Shh, my lover. You know you sleep better after I've seen to your needs," he murmured, his lips against her throat.
She was starting to sweat, her heart speeding up and her body tingling. "Oh, Eric…"
He was shifting, moving them so he could climb atop her, his cool body sliding along her heated skin. Higher thought was fast flying out the window, but she grabbed onto its tail even as she dug her fingers into the hard muscles of his shoulders.
"Eric… why did you bring me to Isle Elena?"
He paused in his attentions and breathed cool air across her earlobe. Her whole body shuddered.
"I told you. I was tired, and I wanted to go to a place where I knew I could rest."
She shook her head. "There's more to it than that, I know it. There were other places you could have taken me. Izzy told me about them. Why choose that one?"
"Because I knew the only way to get you to talk to me was to take you to a place where neither of us could hide, not even from ourselves. I needed not only to remove you from all the distractions and reminders of everything that had happened between us, but I also needed to bring you somewhere where you couldn't run away, not from me, and most importantly, not from yourself."
Talk about blunt, but he wasn't finished.
"And I needed to be me again. You wanted the Eric who had loved you when I was cursed, and I couldn't be that Eric in Shreveport. I couldn't take the risk of letting down my guard, especially so soon after the takeover. I knew the healing magic on Isle Elena would strip away my masks for me so I wouldn't have to do it myself."
He looked at her, his eyes bright and intense, and he brought up a hand to stroke her face. Her heart caught in her throat.
"You have no idea what it took for me to do that, to let go like that. But I knew that the only way we were both going to survive this bond, was if I dropped my walls and let myself feel for you. The only way this was going to work was if I let you in, was if I… let love in."
He stopped, and if he was going to say more she didn't know, because she kissed him, cradling his beloved face in her hands and letting him feel just how much she loved and needed and wanted him.
'I needed to let love in too,' she sent, tangling her fingers in his golden hair.
His arms came around her, holding her against him as he slid his leg between her thighs and rolled her beneath him. Part of her knew she should stop him and tell him she needed to sleep, but another, bigger, part of her knew that the best way to get to sleep was to let him love her.
She sighed, giving over, and let him in.
There's nothing we can do about
the things we have to do without.
The only way to feel again
is let love in.
Goo Goo Dolls, "Let Love In"
Don't forget the LLI short stories, Best Laid Plans and Kodak Moment. See my author profile for the links. There are more to come. Also, please check out my original fiction fantasy romance novel, The Heart of a Fox. See my webpage on my profile for details. Thanks everyone!