"I'm serious, Sookie. You're not listening." Eric scowled at her and she couldn't help but giggle at his expression. This of course frustrated him more. The King was expecting an emotionally distraught woman; instead Sookie was absolutely giddy.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry." She tried to school her features, but ended up smiling at him again.
"Stop." He commanded and she bit her lip trying to comply.

"It's not my fault. You're the one that 'healed' me." She leaned forward and kissed him. She could feel his anger subsiding through the bond and couldn't stop herself from giggling against his lips. He dropped his head and growled.

"I can't explain to the King why you are suddenly on top of the world. We can't let him know about your great-grandfather."

"I know. I'm sorry."

"We're set to meet him in half an hour. You have to… to…"

"Look pitiful?"

"Yes." He gritted. He could feel her amusement and contentment through the bond. He stood a little straighter and turned her by her shoulders to face him.

"I'm trying!" She laughed.

"I didn't want to have this conversation now, but you leave me no choice." Her good mood started to wane. She could see the seriousness in his eyes and she was starting to feel his anger through the bond. "What happened to Andre, Sookie?"

Sookie inhaled sharply and tried to back away. Eric tightened his grip on her arms and waited for an answer.

"He…" She started and felt the emotion clamp down on her throat.

"How did he meet his final death, Sookie? What did you do?"

He felt her start to tremble and he hated having to do this, but her safety depended on it. It had to be done to protect them both.

"Eric…" She pleaded. He released her shoulders and turned his back to her. He heard her cry and he forced himself not to comfort her. He kept repeating to himself that he had to do it.

"Come, Sookie. We are due to meet with the King." He ignored the tears in her eyes as he pulled her by the hand out of the suite. Sookie tried to pull her hand away but he refused to release her fingers. She stared at the floor of the elevator and absently wiped the tears from her cheek with her free hand.

"You need to excuse yourself to the restroom and check your face. You have make-up smeared around your eyes." He commented coolly as he ignored her pleading eyes and ushered her into the suite. The King nodded at Eric's arrival and gave an inquiring look at Sookie. He could feel the tension between them and wondered how his Sheriff was going to control his human. Eric released her hand and pressed his palm against her back. He guided her in the direction of the bathroom and nodded her dismissal.

Sookie quickly retreated to the bathroom. She took a deep breath in an effort to calm herself as she looked in the mirror. She wiped the smeared mascara from her eyes and tried to control her trembling. This was her worst nightmare. Eric knew about Andre. The anger and disappointment traveling through the bond frightened her. How would Eric ever forgive her? She had watched Andre die. Would he understand that she feared for her life if Andre survived? Would he kill Quinn? What would he do to her? She took another shuttering breathe and left the restroom to find Eric.

He was talking to a vampire she had never met. She slipped silently behind him and stood while he spoke. Eric didn't turn to acknowledge she had returned but reached behind him slightly and offered her his hand. She slipped her fingers loosely into his, afraid to squeeze tightly and be refused. He spoke for several more minutes. He could feel her discomfort through the bond. He stole a glance at her face and could see the sadness in her eyes. He controlled his thoughts and tried to keep his emotions in check.

She followed behind him as he mingled through the crowd greeting fellow Sheriff's. Soon they found themselves in front of Sandy and Felipe. The King nodded in greeting to Eric. Eric bowed respectfully.

"I hope you are feeling better, Ms. Stackhouse." Eric squeezed her fingers when she didn't respond right away.
"Yessir…yes, I'm better. Thank you." She stammered and Eric knew he had done the right thing. Her distracted, stricken expression was enough to mislead the King.

"I know your bonded can bring you some comfort. I would hate for you not to enjoy the remainder of your trip."
"Thank you sir for your concern." She couldn't think of anything else to say. She looked at Eric and then at the floor.

"I'm sure she will feel much better soon." Eric assured him while placing a protective arm around her. The King nodded his dismissal and Eric guided her away.

She was silent as they moved through the room. Eric spoke with a few more people before guiding her over to a large sofa. He motioned for her to sit. She sank into the large cushions and watched as he walked away. Her heart sank and she could only stare at her hands in her lap. Most of the guests of the King were vampires. A few had human guests but none made an effort to speak to her. After sitting alone for about ten minutes, Eric returned.

"We can leave now." He commented as he offered his hand. She ignored him and stood on her own. She walked past him and straight out the door.