So we've finally come to the end of our long journey. Thanks to everyone who has stuck by me through this last year. Thanks to all the readers and betas! Without you this story wouldn't have been possible *big hugs*. I thought at first I was going to do an epilogue, but by the time I finished with this final chapter, there was no need for one.
So what's next? I have a couple of one-shots started. I also have another story in the pipeline, but not anywhere near ready to start posting it. I'm also working on getting ready for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) with an original novel. I don't want to make this AN long, so again, I thank everyone who was there for me / there with me every step of the way!
"I still don't understand why you can't tell me where we're going. It would be much easier for me to just teleport us there," Sookie pleaded with him as her anxiety grew.
"Yes, it would. However, that would ruin the surprise, wouldn't it?" Eric replied teasingly. He carried a bemused look on his face as he watched her from a relaxed supine position on the bed, his hands clasped behind his head, his feet crossed at the ankles, and naked as the day he was born.
Sookie had been scurrying around the room with some last minute packing. All Eric would tell her is that she needed to pack very warmly. It had been nerve-wracking enough trying to get her stuff together, but she also had to make sure Hunter's stuff was packed as well. Eric apparently had no problems packing quickly. He had already thrown a few things into a suitcase and placed it downstairs.
It was December twenty-ninth and she still hadn't figured out what the key opened. Nor had she guessed at what the exact meaning of the fluffy cotton underneath was about, although packing warmly probably meant snow was involved. She shivered at the thought, and not in a good way. She had only seen snow once and that had been one time too many for her. It was pretty to look at, but the accompanying cold was not something she wanted to endure for any extended period of time.
Wherever their destination was, they were not going there directly. Their first stop was to Castlebar. Hunter and Sammy were going to spend the coming week there with Amelia and Riley. Although she was reticent to leave him alone for such a long period of time, she had had a long talk with Hunter and discovered he was actually excited to go. Especially since Sammy got to come along. She admitted to Eric earlier in the week that the puppy had been a wonderful idea. Sammy filled a niche in Hunter's heart she and Eric, as parental figures, could not. The dog was easily trainable and Hunter and he bonded instantly. Sammy provided Hunter small but meaningful adult steps in responsibility and care and Sookie's heart swelled each time she watched the loving way they would interact. It was a perfect gift for the small child who had lost so much to now gain a furry friend devoted to him.
Eric's demeanor was calm and relaxed as he continued to watch her. Bastard, she projected to him, as she threw the last of her toiletries into her travel case. Eric's booming laugh sounded in the room, which drove her even crazier.
At least they were going to teleport to Castlebar. That had taken a few hours to explain to Hunter, who seemed to accept it with glee. When he asked Sookie if he would be able to do it too, she told him no, which made him balk. To be honest, she wasn't sure what other powers Hunter might manifest, if any, and could only hope that if he ever showed signs of teleportation, that it would happen when he was mature enough to use it wisely.
Amelia and Riley were excited to see Sookie, and happy to watch Hunter for the week. Too excited, she thought. Sookie got the feeling that Amelia knew where she and Eric were headed, but promised herself not to snoop around in Amelia's head for the answer. Besides, with that amulet she wore, it blocked Sookie from hearing her anyway. God, was it such a huge secret where they were going? She was beginning to think it was a matter of national security and she was the only civilian. Even Hunter had his little whisper-fests with Eric, but she didn't pry into what was doing.
She did not know how they were getting from Castlebar to their final destination. Would they take a plane? How long would it take to get there? So many questions and Eric was being tight-lipped about the whole thing.
Eric casually got up from the bed and wrapped his arms around her from behind, stilling her movements. "You need to relax, love. It will do you no good trying to figure things out. We will be there soon enough."
It was true. She needed to stop and take a deep breath. Of course, the hard length pressing against her back at that moment was doing wonders at distracting her.
Shaking her head, she went down her mental 'To Do' list, crossing things off. Hunter was all ready to go. Eric's stuff had been packed quickly. She was overly fussing for nothing. "Okay, I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be."
Eric finally dressed and when he took her luggage down to the living room, a familiar figure greeted him. It had been decided that Riley would pop over and help them with the luggage, since there was so much of it. It didn't take long for the both of them to take the majority of luggage to its final destination before coming back for the rest.
On their return, Sookie and Hunter were waiting on the couch with Sammy resting at Hunter's feet. "Is everyone ready to go?"
Dressed in his first real winter coat, Hunter clung to Sookie's hand, not knowing what to expect. In his free hand, he had Sammy's leash wound tight around his small fist, while Sammy patiently sat next to Hunter's feet. With a nod, Sookie, Hunter and Sammy were the first to disappear and reappear in front of Riley's house. The coldness hit them right away and they both shivered. Sammy barked a few times and shook out his coat from the cold, tugging at his leash. He was trying to drag Hunter inside the house. Smart dog, Sookie thought. He knows it's warm in there.
Hunter was slightly dizzy upon arrival and with Sammy pulling him, Sookie held tight onto his hand. She remembered the first time she teleported, and it hadn't been pretty. Moments passed as they stood there, and once he was able to focus on his surroundings, he stared in disbelief. One minute they'd been in the living room and the next they were standing in front of some strange house. Any other boy his age would have thought they were dreaming, but even at five years old, he knew realities that others did not.
Sookie walked them inside to say hello to Amelia and waited for Riley and Eric to show. Strange, that she expected them to already be inside. Eventually the pair teleported to the house, but it had taken them more time than it should have and Sookie was perplexed.
"You guys were gone longer than expected. Where did you go? And where is all the luggage?" She gave Eric an exacerbated look.
A low chuckle escaped his throat. "We dropped off yours and my luggage where we are going, so there is no need to worry about hauling between several places. Hunter's was brought over on our first trip."
Sookie shook her head and sighed. While Hunter and Sammy played in another room, the adults spent time catching up before saying their goodbyes. Even though Hunter had the ability to call them internationally on his cell phone if he needed them, it was still hard for Sookie to leave him for a week, let alone one day.
"You be good for aunt Amelia and uncle Riley, okay?" Still, he seemed to be comfortable with the whole ordeal, and she wondered why he was being so calm about everything. Did he know something she didn't?
After bundling up, she turned to Eric. "Now will you tell me how we're getting to wherever we're going?"
Instead of answering her, Eric spun her around quickly and lowered something in front of her eyes. "What the …? Eric what are you doing?"
Sookie gasped as a black silk scarf shrouded her vision and he tied it behind her head. "No peeking."
She was about to lay into him when someone gently picked up her hand and clasped it. "It's just me. I'm going to teleport you and Eric to your destination, okay? You trust me, right?"
Riley's voice was soft and calming, and her shoulders dropped as she nodded. Even with her eyes covered, she could sense Eric moving next to her and holding her other hand. He gave it a little squeeze of reassurance before they disappeared.
One moment they were standing in the living room, surrounded by the warmth of the fireplace. The next minute a rush of very cold air stung her cheeks and instantly turned them red.
Riley let go of her hand and kissed her cheek as he said goodbye, and she could feel the energy around them as he disappeared in to the night. It was nighttime when they had left Ireland, so wherever they landed, it must still have been night. Somehow, she knew something huge loomed in front of her, and could tell a soft glow of light was illuminating her face as the black silk took on a glittery sheen to it.
Her teeth began to chatter and each breath she took drew icy air into her lungs. "Eric … wherever we are, you better hope the heat is on full blast, because I'm going to be a popsicle in about two minutes."
Again, not saying anything, he moved behind her and she could feel him untying the scarf. "Close your eyes and I will tell you when to open them."
Frustration was setting in, mostly because she was freezing and not used to such a cold climate, but if it got them anywhere warmer, she played along.
Once the silk wrap was off her face, he picked up her hand and put the box containing the key in it. "Open your eyes."
She blinked a few times as a rush of wind whipped against her face, and she stumbled back a few steps, almost landing in a huge pile of snow. Her legs buckled under her and Eric caught her before she fell, tucking her into his side.
In front of her, tucked in the middle of towering aspens and birch trees, stood the biggest cabin she'd ever seen. It was a massive wood frame two stories high with a wraparound porch, a double balcony, and cathedral windows. It was blanketed in snow and Sookie could see not one but two chimneys bellowing smoke.
"Do you like it?" Eric pressed his lips against her ear and whispered.
"It's gorgeous. Where are we?" He pulled her even closer as she asked, trying his best to shield her from some of the cold wind that whipped around them.
Low temperatures did not bother him, but even in this weather he needed a coat for protection. He could only imagine how cold his lover must be, and could not wait to show her the inside … and warm her up properly.
"This land belonged to my ancestors. I reacquired it about two centuries ago, and had this cabin built about thirty years ago. I've made renovations recently. As to where we are, we are about seven kilometers outside of Kiruna, Sweden. Come, you are freezing. Let's go inside so you can warm up and I can show you the interior."
He guided her up the path to the front door. Her face still mirrored shock. "This … is yours?"
"No. It is yours. The house and the land. This is my gift to you. The key you are holding opens the front door." Barely able to move, speech left her as she opened and closed her mouth several times.
Sensing that she might be headed over the edge, from shock or cold he wasn't sure, he took the key from her and opened the door, lifting her into his arms and carrying her to the nearest couch. A roaring fire was already warming the downstairs, which Eric had started when he and Riley brought the luggage here.
It was even more stunning on the inside. The step down living room had a cathedral ceiling, giving a luxurious feel to its plush, comfortable furnishings. The front wall of the cabin was a mass of glass stretching two stories high. The cabin itself stood just below a mountain base, and Sookie could only imagine that the view during the day would be spectacular.
"To the left, past the stairway is a small kitchen and dining room. It isn't actually a dining room right now, but you can make it one. The basement door is off the kitchen and holds a Finnish sauna, another light-tight room, and a rec room with an entertainment center." His voice held a note of pride.
"There are three bedrooms, an office, and four bathrooms. One full bathroom is below and a half bath is around the staircase over there. There's a back entrance around the staircase and the deck leads down to a small stone path that cuts through the woods."
They mounted the staircase to a second floor open area. One side had plush casual furniture against a windowed wall, while the opposite side comprised of a polished wooden railing, overlooking the living room.
Eric guided her to the right and Sookie could see several closed doors, presumably bedrooms. "Three bedrooms, all with light-tight shutters," Eric said, confirming her suspicions. "The middle door is a full bathroom and there is a private bathroom of the master bedroom. The master bedroom has a Jacuzzi and a fireplace," he said and nuzzled her hair. His lips softly grazing the shell of her ear, he whispered, "I already lit the fireplace in it so it will be warm for us tonight."
He took her back downstairs so she could warm herself in front of the fireplace, while he opened a bottle of wine. The feel of the entire cabin was rustic and masculine and the floors were polished wood with rug accents. A marble base was fixed below the massive fireplace, which was situated in a stone wall. Several swords framed it, Sookie realizing immediately that they were authentic heirlooms of Eric's.
Sitting near the fireplace, Sookie took a sip of wine Eric had given her and felt her body sinking into the plush feel of the couch. She never imagined that she would be in a place like this. She could have disagreed with him until she was blue in the face that his gift was too much, that he shouldn't have given up something that belonged in his family and that he'd obviously worked too hard to get back, but he would have argued, so for both their peace of mind, she accepted the gift graciously.
Sookie closed her eyes, basking in the warmth and crackle of the fire. For now, she was enjoying her time alone with him. Tomorrow was New Year's Eve and they had so much to celebrate. Although deep down, a part of her wished that Hunter was with them to see this, Eric assured her that he would get to spend time here as well.
Making sure she relaxed, Eric hustled in the kitchen to whip up something she could eat. He had already made arrangements for more provisions to be brought to the cabin, but there was enough for a couple days already.
Once her stomach was full and she was properly warmed up, he checked his watch and peered out the window. "Sookie, I wish to show you something."
As she smiled contentedly, her eyes hooded with desire. Oh she was more than ready to 'see something'. Sensing her shift in emotions, he gave her a licentious chuckle and his length hardened from the waves of lust rolling between them.
"You will be seeing that as well, but later. Right now, there is something else I wish for you to see."
He pulled their coats out of the closet and her smile faded as she realized that they were going outside. "But I'm all warm and toasty now. Do we have to go back outside?" she protested.
"Trust me. I will keep you warm out there, and we will not be long." He helped her bundle up and whisked her out to the front porch.
Sookie's eyes lit up when she saw the horse-drawn sleigh awaiting them. Such an unusual horse, she thought. She knew a little about horses, but had never seen one like this. Its head was larger than average and its ears bigger. The animal was shorter and thicker muscled. The horse shook its head with a snort of air, showing off the long thick strands of its black mane. The tail swished through the cool air, and she remarked how startling the color was against the light brown of its hide. She reached out to let the horse sniff her hand in greeting and then ran her fingers through the thick hair when it whinnied in approval.
"I've never seen a horse like this before." Eric took her gloved hand and lifted her into the sleigh.
"Nor will you in the States. These are North Swedish horses." He climbed in next to her and covered their laps with a couple of thick wool blankets.
The temperature was cold, but not to an extreme that would have prevented this little trip. He grabbed the reins and snapped them. The horse whinnied and started trotting forward towards a large wooded area nearby.
Sookie linked her arm through Eric's and scooted as close to him as she could. She wasn't sure she'd ever get used to this much cold, but for Eric she would try. Normally, it would have been hard for her to see in the dark, but attached to each corner of the sleigh was a huge lit lantern.
Still, visibility for her wasn't that good … until they broke through the trees and the sky was lit up like a nightlight. Sookie gasped and tightened her grip around Eric's arm as he came to a halt.
Shimmering ribbons of green, gold and white parsed the dark sky, cascading in loops, dipping down to the horizon and back up. The sky was alive with streaming colors. Parts of the lights were stronger than others, and she could see flecks of pinks and purples mixed in. It was the most breathtaking scene she'd ever laid eyes on.
"Are those what I think they are?" Eric wrapped his arm around her and her cheek rested against his chest.
"If you're referring to the northern lights, then yes." Surrounded by the radiant lights in the sky, as well as the secure hold of Eric's arms, suddenly she didn't feel so cold.
I've never seen anything so beautiful or magical," she admitted with awe, and felt his happiness as he tightened his hold on her.
She had no idea how long they sat there, admiring the lights as they danced and played among the stars, but Eric suggested they head back before it got too cold even for him. Upon their return, a dark figure was waiting for them in a large circular cemented area to the left of the house. Sookie nudged closer to Eric.
He called out to the stranger in his native tongue and a light came on above him. It looked like some kind of old fashioned lamppost, but run by electricity. Whoever it was, he was of the night time persuasion, judging from his pale skin and lack of warm clothing.
Sensing her apprehension, he sent calming waves through what little bond was already developing between them. "He is the horse breeder." As the sleigh came to a halt, Eric jumped out and helped her down so she could go directly into the cabin and warm up, while he finished his business with the breeder.
When he finally came back inside, Sookie was sitting on the floor in front of a roaring fire, with a cup of hot cocoa warming her hands. He sat down and watched her stare into the fire and wondered what she was thinking. He liked watching her, memorizing her, studying every move that she made.
"You know, if you were anyone else, I'd think you were a creep, staring at me like that." Her voice was soft, but marked with humor.
He moved down to the floor behind her, fitting her between his legs and wrapping his arms around her from behind. "How else will I remember exactly what you look like every moment of every day?"
Eric assumed his favorite position, resting his chin against the side of her head as Sookie relaxed back into him. "That's easy. I'll give you a picture."
"Hmm, can I choose what kind of picture I get?" His tongue inched out and licked the tip of her ear, feeling a shiver go through her body.
A delicious heat sluiced through her veins, finding every erogenous zone as he continued to lick and nibble her ear point. "Mmm, keep that up and you might make me agreeable to anything."
He whispered next to her ear. "I shall have to remember that for later, lover. Did you enjoy the lights tonight?"
"Yes. I've seen pictures of them in books or on TV shows, but to see them in real life? They're more amazing than I can even say. It's like a living, breathing light show, constantly in motion and changing colors."
"I am glad you enjoyed them. They are something to behold. I wish to show you more wonders of the land I grew up in."
"Hmm, I knew you had more planned for us while we were here. Care to let me in on those plans?" He shifted her head to the side and pressed his lips to the heated skin stretched thinly over her beating pulse.
"You will just have to wait and see. Now, I believe the fire has warmed you up enough." He removed the mug from her hand and placed it on the marbled hearth. "It is time I warmed you up properly."
Sookie stretched her arms above her head languorously and smiled. Last night had been amazing, the lights, the snuggling by the fire, the lovemaking. She rolled onto her side and slowly opened her eyes.
Although Eric said he had installed remote controlled light-tight shutters, she noticed they were not down yet. Thinking it was not daytime yet, she rolled over to her other side expecting to find Eric there.
The space where he would have lain was empty with nothing but an indent of where his body would have been. Eric was not lying next to her, nor was he in the bedroom. She stretched again and tumbled out of bed, grabbing her robe that was draped over one of the chairs in the room. As she did, a noise from outside brought her to the window.
Eric was outside on the front lawn, walking around in the snow. She couldn't see his face, but she did notice that he had no shirt on. Picking up one of his sweatshirts from a drawer, she went downstairs and watched him from the living room window.
With the porch light on, she could see his face better and that he was truly enjoying communing with his homeland. Sookie leaned close to the pane. Now she was the one staring at Eric, amusement bubbling up inside her as she watched him flinging fallen branches around or kicking at the snow with his bare feet. Sookie wasn't sure how she stood there when her gaze shifted beyond him and she spied a very thin line of light breaking the horizon.
Oh my God, Eric!
Without thinking, she rushed out the door and down the steps in her nightgown and bare feet, screaming his name. In an instant he was in front of her, a worried look darkening his face. "What is it? Are you hurt?"
He was standing there with dressed only in black sweatpants, which were wet and covered with snow. She started tugging on his arm, trying to get him someplace safe, but it was like pulling on a boulder. "Are you crazy? The sun's coming up! You'll be fried!"
He chuckled and pulled her into his arms, admiring her tenacity and protectiveness toward him, until he glanced at what she was wearing and he frowned. "You should not be out here with so little on."
He ushered her back in quickly and tossed a few logs onto the dwindling fire. "Not the point, Eric. You were outside, and the sun is coming up!"
"I am touched at your concern, but I was in no danger. In fact, aside from some of my strength being drained, I plan on spending as much time outside as I can while we are here."
Sookie was dumfounded by his lack of self-preservation, and she couldn't even get the words out to let him know what was on her mind.
"There is nothing to fear. At this time of year, in this part of Sweden, there are twenty hours of darkness and four hours of twilight. The sun will hover at the horizon, but go no farther. At most, I would end up with a tan."
As she let his words sink in, her fingers curled into a fist, and anger boiled up through her veins. She bit back the tears that threatened to spring from her eyes, but not her words. "Don't you ever, and I mean ever, do that to me again. I thought you were going to die out there because the sun was coming up."
Eric did not understand the source of her anger, but tried to assuage her nonetheless. He cupped her face and ran his thumbs over her cheeks. "I would never put myself in that kind of danger, and I apologize if I frightened you. I should have told you that the sun barely rises this time of year."
He rarely apologized to anyone, let alone a human, but where Sookie was concerned, he was learning to make an exception. "Now, would you like to get dressed and come back outside with me or stay in here?"
Sookie's fingers clenched and unclenched several times before she let the anger drain out of her body. It was more out of fear of losing him than actually being mad at him, but she had to believe he was sincere with his words. He would never consciously put himself in jeopardy like that.
"Let me go and change." Before heading up the stairs, she grabbed the sweatshirt that was laying on the ottoman she'd previously had with her. On her way up the stairs, she turned and shied it at him. "Speaking of changing, you need to put something warmer on too. I don't care if you're used to the cold. The last thing I want is to worry about you."
As she showered and dressed, a pleasant smell wafted up from below, and she knew Eric was making something for her to eat. He'd been so concerned about her eating habits since Hunter came to live with them, that he'd actually taken to making meals for her at times.
Truthfully, he wasn't a bad cook, considering he couldn't eat any of it himself. Sure enough, when she came down into the kitchen, Eric was properly dressed and a plate of eggs, sausage, and bacon was sitting on the counter for her. Some kind of peace offering, she supposed.
While she ate, she listened as he told her about the land they were on, and the surrounding area. She found herself fascinated and warmed by the joy in his voice as he spoke. He really did love this land.
After she ate her fill, he took her back outside, and they went for a quiet walk in the woods. In the back of her mind, she was still worried about the sun's effects on him, and could tell he was moving slower than normal, but so far, he was no worse for wear.
By the time they returned, she figured it was about midday. Eric was obviously tired from being up so long, and she suggested he get some rest.
"I have to leave for awhile. I need to finish making preparations for this evening. However, you will not be alone. Someone is coming to help you get ready for tonight."
"This all sounds so mysterious. I was hoping we could just take it easy and celebrate New Year's Eve tonight by ourselves."
"You would deny me my surprise for you?" He looked at her, eyebrows raised.
Her eyes hooded and the corner of her mouth quirked up. "I would think by now you would know I can't deny you anything."
He grabbed Sookie's arm and yanked her hard against his body. "And tonight will be no different. Tonight, you will deny me nothing." Kissing her hard, he had no intention of stopping, except there was a sharp rapping at the door.
Ignoring it, he continued kissing Sookie until the rapping became a pounding that could not be disregarded. Reluctantly, he parted and went to open the door.
"It's about time. I thought I was going to freeze to final death out here while you got your jollies on." Pam was bundled in a pair of jeans, a waist-length white fur coat with matching hat and a pair of wool gloves.
"Are you going to let me in, or what?"
"You will have to ask Sookie. She owns this house now, and will need to invite you in."
Pam rolled her eyes and looked over at Sookie expectantly as she stamped her feet, trying to keep warm. "You can come in, Pam."
Eric stepped aside and let Pam through. Another woman stood in the doorway, waiting to be invited in, and Eric's demeanor changed. He was not happy that she was the one who was sent with Pam, and his back stiffened ever so slightly. He grumbled something in another language and she stepped inside so he could shut the door.
Pam narrowed her eyes. He could have easily invited her in as well, but he loved making her suffer. She knew better than to complain though, considering some of the things she'd said and done to him. But that was how their relationship was as Maker and child..
"Bad enough I'm up during the day. The bags are on the front porch, by the way." She walked over to the fireplace trying to warm herself as best she could, leaving the young woman by the door.
Eric shook his head and smiled as he went for the bags. He could not resist teasing her because he understood how she felt about wintertime in this part of the world.
The young brunette gave Eric a lust-filled smile. "Eric, den har blitt for långe siden sedan dess Jag var i din stuga. Vi hade sådan vild tiden här." (Eric, it has been a long time since I was in your cabin. We had such wild times here.)
"Du skulle göra den välbärgad minas varför du er här, Fetjye , och du vill tala i engelsk foran min älskaren." (You would do well to remember why you are here Fetjye, and you will speak English in front of my lover.)
"My apologies. Hello, my name is Fetjye, but you can call me Fettie." She spoke with a thick accent and eyed Sookie from head to toe, as if measuring her up.
"My, you are beautiful as Eric said. And to have tamed the Viking. That is quite a feat." She cast a sardonic look at Sookie, almost goading her with her fangs half extended.
Eric swiftly grabbed her arm and spun her to face him. "If you cannot behave yourself, you will be thrown out into the snow faster than you can blink."
"Again, my apologies to both of you. I am only here to help your friend get ready for this evening." Funny, Sookie thought, she didn't seem apologetic.
"It's nice to meet you too, Fettie." Her mind was still racing, wondering what was happening this evening that she needed help getting ready.
As if he read her mind, he answered the question. "Fetyje is here to do your hair and nails. Once you are finished with her, Pam will help you get dressed for this evening. I will not be here when you are done, but you will be brought to me."
While Eric was still there, Sookie ran upstairs and took a quick shower. Not wasting a minute, she toweled off and threw on a long-sleeved button down shirt and a pair of sweatpants.
When she came back down to the kitchen, Fettie was already set up with her curling irons, hair dryer, and various other items she used. Eric had some kind of garment bag lying over the back of one of the chairs, as well as a small suitcase.
"What's that for?" She was beginning to dislike surprises that involved him going somewhere with luggage.
"You will see." He kissed her without further explanation and took off for parts unknown.
Thankfully, Fettie was not a big talker, and she set to work right away. She trimmed and dried Sookie's hair, quickly and then styled it, into a simple low bun, adding a few curled tendrils to frame her face.
Sookie did appreciate all the attention, but deep down, her anxiety was causing butterflies in her stomach.
"Do not worry. Eric will take very good care of you." Pam was sitting on the couch, still by the fire, reading a magazine.
"Do you know what he's planning?" She looked at Pam, hopeful.
"I cannot say. Eric has forbid me to tell you, but you will know soon enough. Let the girl finish your manicure and pedicure so she can leave."
Fettie mumbled something under her breath in her native tongue, and quicker than Sookie could see, Pam had the brunette by her neck, speaking authoritatively back to her in the same language.
Fettie never said another word and finished her work in record time. Sookie had to admit that even though she didn't care for her, Fettie had done a fantastic job, especially with her hair. It was obvious that she and Eric had history, but let it slide, considering there were other, more important things on her mind.
Pam seemed elated when she was able to throw the girl out of the cabin, and turned to face Sookie. "It's time to get dressed now. Shall we?" She started up the stairs and Sookie had no choice but to follow her.
Somehow Pam knew exactly where she was headed when they reached the master bedroom. She hit the light and entered the walk-in closet, rummaging around. Sookie was about to ask if she could help her look for whatever it was she needed, when Pam came back out with a large garment bag in one hand, a small box in her other, and a shoebox tucked under one arm.
"What's going on here, Pam? I think you'd better explain what's happening right now, or I'm going to sit here and wait for Eric to return." Sookie sat on the edge of the bed, not moving a muscle.
Pam stood in front of her and held out the large garment bag. "You're a smart human. I'm sure if you unzip the bag, you'll figure it all out."
Those darn butterflies were beginning to thrash around inside of her at an increased speed, and Sookie's hand trembled as she reached out for the zipper. She pulled her hand back momentarily to steady her grip. Why was she feeling so anxious about this? Like whatever was in that bag was something that would change her life irrevocably? When she reached out again, she took the zipper between her fingers and in one fell swoop, unzipped the bag.
White fabric and lace spilled out from the opening and she clasped her hands over her mouth to stifle a gasp. There were no words she could utter that would express her initial reaction to what she saw.
Pam pulled the garment out of the bag and hung it up on the corner of the dresser mirror. She then opened the smaller bag and pulled out a matching headpiece. "I never thought I'd see the day when Eric Northman pledged himself to anyone, let alone a human with fairy blood. I consider you my only human friend, Sookie, and the fact that you are the first person in centuries to make my Master this happy, makes me happy."
"Pam, don't tell me you're going to get emotional on me." Sookie looked up at her, her eyes watery.
"Never. I am just stating fact." She busied herself, opening the rest of the boxes.
Sookie rose from the bed and went over to the gown—her wedding gown. It was the most beautiful dress she'd ever seen. Fingering the delicate material, she whispered with a shaky voice. "I can't believe he's doing this."
As Pam helped her slip into the gown, shoes and veil, Sookie moved as if she was in a dream-like state. Eric had mentioned something in the past about a human ceremony, but now that it was here, nothing felt real.
"Sit down so I can do your makeup." Sookie complied without a word. Her mind was racing with a thousand thoughts, a thousand questions, but she couldn't verbalize or focus on any of them.
"Eric said to give this to you when you were ready to go." She placed a flat wrapped box in Sookie's hands and stepped back to admire her work. "You are a vision. The perfect human bride. Eric will be so pleased."
It took Sookie several minutes before she could remove the paper from around the box. Inside was another box covered in deep indigo velvet, and that could only signify one thing. She braced herself as she opened the lid. Her head started spinning and her heartbeat thundered in her ears. It was just all too much to take in at once and she felt like she was going over.
Hearing the quickening of Sookie's pulse and the rapid cadence of her heart, Pam braced her hands on Sookie's shoulders. "Do not faint. I refuse to let that trash back in here to redo your hair, and I do not want you to ruin your makeup."
She didn't mean any of it, and Eric would have berated her for using such a harsh tone with his pledged, but it was the first thing she could think of to snap Sookie out of it.
Taking the jewelry from Sookie's hands, she carefully fastened the necklace around her friend's slender neck and helped her put in the earrings.
"Stay here while I change. I will not be long." Pam disappeared out of the bedroom for awhile, leaving Sookie with her thoughts.
Of all the things Eric could have surprised her with, an impromptu wedding was not one of them. She thought back to everything that happened over the past week, and wondered what, if any, subtle clues she could have missed. Surely in her talks with Amelia, she would have picked up on something, in spite of that medallion of hers.
Sookie smiled when Pam came back in. She was dressed elegantly in a long dark red gown. The halter top came down the front in a deep V, and the fitted waist was made of lace. It was coupled with long finger gloves of the same color and a diamond collar with drop down diamond-laced chains.
"You look stunning."
"Thank you, but I believe it is a human custom for the bride to be the stunning one, as you put it. You should look yourself over to make sure we haven't missed anything. I do not want to be late because we had to come back here."
Sookie hadn't been able to bring herself to look in the mirror yet. She was sure she'd break down and cry if she did. Taking a deep breath, she rose from the bed and walked over to the full length mirror near one of the armoires.
Her eyes widened and she watched the reflection as it slowly reached up and ran it delicately traced the top of the sweetheart neckline. She couldn't get over how the alencon lace overlay clung to her skin, draping wide across the front and falling off her shoulders in a boatneck effect.
It was the most beautiful gown she'd ever seen, and time stood still as she held her breath. She was unable to move, unable to speak. Was this really her? It looked like her. No, it didn't. It looked more like a fairytale princess.
Pam came and stood behind her, straightening out the veil. "Eric has excellent taste. It fits you perfectly."
She was right. It fit Sookie not only perfectly across her body, but in style. It was just the sort of dress she would have dreamed of wearing to her wedding. Wedding. Oh God, it was really happening, and it was happening now.
The sleeves were a different lace from the overlay and extended to her wrists. She thought maybe the lace would be scratchy against her skin, but it was soft as silk.
She turned from side to side, wanting to see the entire dress. With lightning speed, Pam disappeared and came back with another full-length mirror. "This is from one of the other bedrooms."
Pam placed it behind Sookie, so she could see the effects of the bodice and full A-line skirt and train. Her hands caressed her sides, loving the way it clung to her body in all the right places. The layered skirts showed off more lace appliqué as well as more overlay that gathered into a rose on the left side of her waist.
Sookie reached up behind her and fanned out the veil. It was made of the same lace as her sleeves, but with the beautiful appliqués. It was attached to a Swarovski diamond encrusted comb, placed delicately into the bun on the back of her head.
The jewelry Pam helped her put on made her feel like more than a princess. She felt like a queen. A set of medium-sized hoop earrings in a platinum setting graced her earlobes. She had counted no less than ten diamonds on each one of them. The necklace was a short cable chain of platinum with a single huge princess cut diamond, and when the light hit it, it sparkled bright against her skin.
Sookie swiped the corners of her eyes with her finger just as Pam held out a tissue to her. "Do not start leaking. I've already done your makeup and I do not want to do it again. Eric would kill me if you arrived looking dreadful." She tugged on Sookie's hand. "Come. It's time for you to get married."
Standing at the front door, Sookie waited while Pam went to grab her coat. Only when she returned, she wasn't holding Sookie's winter jacket. Instead, she was holding out a beautiful heavy fur-lined cloak.
Imagining that they were going to be transported by the same type of sleigh she and Eric had used the night before, she gasped when they stepped outside and were greeted by a gold-trimmed enclosed carriage attached to two Swedish horses. Eric had surely outdone himself in planning all of this.
"I think I need a drink," Sookie said with humor, as the driver helped her and Pam into the carriage and handed them a thick wool blanket for their laps. He shut the door, and mounted the front of the carriage, his whip whistling through the air as he ordered the horses onward.
Now she knew, she was truly Cinderella on her way to the ball.
In no time they were riding through the countryside, taking in the snowy landscapes. It was breathtaking, like something out of a Courier and Ives painting.
"We're almost there." Pam glanced out the window and sighed. "I used to love this time of year. The sun barely comes up, and I could go out whenever I want. Of course, back then, I didn't really care much about the cold."
"I think this is the most beautiful place I've ever seen, although the cold isn't my cup of tea either." She shivered through the cape and blanket.
"Look, over there." Pam pointed out the window and Sookie's jaw practically dropped onto the ground.
"That … is the Ice Hotel. It's built every year from the ice that's cultivated in the Torne River, and every April, it melts, only to be rebuilt again the following winter."
"Are you kidding? It's completely made of ice?" The closer they got the more detail she could see.
"Yes, it is. Eric and I used to stay here once in a while, when they finally put in vampire-safe rooms. Architects and sculptors from all over come to work on it. There is a hotel for those that prefer warmer accommodations, but it's a real treat to stay in one of the ice rooms at least for the night. Over there is where we are going."
Sookie followed Pam's finger as she pointed to a dome-shaped building. The signpost they passed said 'Church' on it. Not only had Eric surprised her with a wedding, but he also surprised her by having it in a church completely carved from ice. She grabbed a tissue from her little purse and dabbed under her eyes before the tears started falling again.
A small growl from Pam warned her not to ruin her makeup and she sniffed, fighting back the tears. When the carriage came to a halt, the driver dismounted and helped both of them down and to the front of the church. A slightly cold breeze caught her and she shivered, wondering if she would be able to get through this without turning blue.
Pam turned and handed Sookie a bouquet of white silk roses, adorned with tiny Swarovski crystals. Unfortunately, it was probably too cold for live bouquets, but silk was perfect.
Pam had a smaller version of Sookie's bouquet in her hand, and as they approached the wooden double doors, two warmly dressed men reached over and opened them.
Each of them removed the women's cloaks, and the moment they stepped inside, music began to swell slowly throughout the space. Standing in the vestibule, Pam straightened her back and began marching through the archway and down the white carpeted aisle.
Sookie fidgeted nervously, scared and anxious all at once. She wanted to move forward, but for some reason, her feet just wouldn't listen to her. She shifted her stance and blinked a few times as the numbness finally began to wear off. She was really going to walk forward and get married to Eric. She loved him; she knew that deep down in her soul. She also knew that he loved her. In his own ways he'd proven that time and again.
She thought about the few relationships she'd had and the realization that of all those in her life, Eric was the only one who had truly never hurt her. He'd always been there for her in some capacity or another, protecting her, guiding her. She thought of recent events and how even though they were just getting their lives back on track, Eric had accepted Hunter as his own, as easily as she did. So why wasn't she moving forward? Something was missing. She knew it. She just didn't know exactly what it was.
"You feel like you are missing your family and friends. Perhaps you were also missing someone who would walk you down the aisle." A male voice resonated behind her, forcing her to jump and twirl around.
Niall stood there smiling and smartly dressed in a black tuxedo.
"How?" The word left her lips with a cold breathless rush of air.
"Let's just say you have a friend waiting inside for you who knows how to pass through different realms. Sookie, my great granddaughter, I would be humbled and proud to walk you down the aisle to your future mate."
All Sookie could do was nod as Niall's hands reached up and gently unfastened her wool cloak. He handed it to one of the guards and turned toward the interior, extending his hand for her to take.
The first thing Sookie saw as they walked toward the archway was the beautiful colored lights ensconced in the solid walls of ice, separated by ornate carvings. She marveled at how this place could run any kind of electricity without it melting. Standing in front of the archway to the main hall, an eerie blue glow beckoned her.
When they entered, she gasped at the subtle simple beauty of the room. Solid chunks of ice, covered in animal fur, served as the seats, and huge columns of curved and etched ice lined the walls.
Not much light came from the space, but the eerie blue illumination came in the form of a backlight at the altar. It was strategically placed behind clear sectioned panels of ice, again etched with a beautiful design. The light reflected off the sections and into the room.
Sookie's eyes were everywhere at once, trying to take it all in, and she had to stop when she saw what was waiting for her down front. Eric was standing there, looking exquisite in a black and white tuxedo, with a blood red cummerbund framing his waist. His hair was pulled behind his head in a thick braid.
As focused on Eric as she was, her eyes settled on other figures that were standing in the first rows on either side of the altar. Niall tightened his grip on her arm, fearing she may faint, as he handed her a linen handkerchief. Many of those she loved had come to witness this union. Jason, Amelia, Riley, Lilith. They were all in on this. They knew what Eric had planned.
Sookie dabbed at the tears rolling down her cheeks and handed the linen back to Niall. Seeing her friends and family wasn't what made her cry. It was the little boy standing next to Eric in a similar tuxedo, fitted for his size. A small pillow grasped in his hands, with what looked like rings. He had smiled up at Sookie and she could no longer hold back the tears.
Niall smiled down at her and nodded for them to move forward. The closer Eric came into her sight, she saw his long slender fingers reach up and finger something around his neck. He was not only wearing the sepharia she bought him as a gift in Faery, but he was also wearing the small vial of her blood she gave him for Christmas.
A vampire dressed in priest's robes came out and asked the time honored question, "Who gives this woman to be the bride?"
Niall cleared his throat and replied, "I do."
Just before he placed her hand into Eric's, he leaned down, kissing her cheek, and whispered. "I told you the vampire was not a bad man. He really does love you."
Eric gladly accepted her hand, and also leaned down, kissing her other cheek. "I knew you would look indescribable in that dress, lover."
"I can't believe you did all this. I don't know what to say."
"There are only two words you need to say." With that, he turned them toward the priest and the ceremony began.
The human ceremony itself was short, both of them reciting traditional vows. Although she would have liked to have written her own if she had known what was happening, everyone understood how she felt about him. There was not much more that needed to be said. She knew Eric was her light in the darkness. He was her strength when she was tired, and he was her protector and companion.
When that part of the ceremony was over, the vampire priest turned around and picked something up from the ice altar. When he turned back, he was holding a ceremonial knife and an elaborately carved chalice made of pure ice. She noted that the red liquid in the cup wasn't the same color as blood, and was too thin. She surmised it had to be some kind of red wine.
The priest held up the cup, blessing it in English and then whispering words in another language. She could only assume they were more blessings. When it was done, he held out the knife to Eric, who graciously accepted it.
"I wish we could do this in private, but I want this to be binding." Eric spoke in as hushed a voice as he could.
Sookie nodded her head in acceptance, and thought that if anyone had a problem with it, they would just have to deal. She was all too familiar with the doings of a vampire marriage ceremony, and held out her arm to Eric. Pam stepped up and helped shimmy one of the lace sleeves up to reveal her forearm.
As gently as he could, Eric made a small cut on the inside of her arm and allowed a trickle of blood to fall into the cup, before leaning down to seal the wound with his kiss. He handed the knife to Sookie and bared his own forearm, presenting it to her as his gift of blood. Even though she was shaking on the inside, her hand made the cut necessary to allow his blood to flow into the cup and mingle with hers.
The priest swirled the cup around as their blood bonded together amidst the wine. For that was what they were now. Bonded. Indistinguishable. Joined together by marriage and by blood, as they both drank from the cup until it was empty.
When the cup was taken away, Hunter stepped between them, grinning from ear to ear, and held up the little pillow. Sookie's heart melted when she saw the excitement in his eyes and the knowledge that he was a part of it all.
They were plucked off the pillow, and Eric guided him back to his place while the rings were blessed. They each placed a ring on the other's finger, and with a tender kiss to her lips, the priest pronounced them husband and wife. Claps and cheers echoed in the vast chamber.
Everyone came over to congratulate the newlyweds, hugging her and kissing her with promises to throw a huge celebration when they returned home. With a small tug from down below, she bent down and picked Hunter up in her arms.
"We're a real family now, right, aunt Sookie?" Hunter's face was shining bright, like it was Christmas all over again.
"We'll always be a family, Hunter. Always." She kissed his chilled cheek and handed him over to Amelia, so he could put on his little coat.
They were headed back to Castlebar as soon as possible, so Hunter didn't catch cold, as the temperature continued to dip into the mid teens. Between Riley and Lilith, it did not take long for everyone to be taken back to their homes, leaving Eric and Sookie alone near the entrance of the chapel.
Eric traced her jaw with his finger, settling on her chin and leaned forward to kiss her once more. This time, longer and with more passion. He whispered against her lips with a fanged smile. "I think we should retire to our room."
"What do you mean our room? We're not going back to the cabin?" The guard that was holding her cloak interrupted and handed it to Eric.
"We are spending the night here. It is all part of the experience." Fastening the cloak around her neck, he took her hand and walked her outside to an awaiting guide.
They were lead down a short path, illuminated by low lights in the ground. "Here we are. The Hammam Room. Enjoy your stay and congratulations to the both of you."
It wasn't much warmer when they stepped inside, however the interior was about as breathtaking as the chapel was. It reminded Sookie of some kind of indoor bathhouse, except the bed was at the center instead of the bath. The room was lined with beautifully decorated columns, and off to one side there was a changing area.
Fur-lined rugs adorned the floor, surrounding the bed. "This room was inspired by the Arabic bathhouses. I hope you like it." He ran his hands up and down her arms from behind, resting his chin on her head.
"I can't believe you expect me to sleep on a block of ice, no matter how beautiful is looks." There was no malice in her voice, but she wondered how she was going to not turn blue by the morning.
"I asked them to layer the bed with extra reindeer skins. Also, for just this night, there are a couple of space heaters in the room. A bathroom is next door for your needs, and do not worry, the toilet is not made of ice." He chuckled as her eyes widened in wonder.
"Besides, I don't think you will be all that cold tonight." She felt him start to undo the little buttons on the back of her gown.
Eric peeled the lace from her shoulders and arms, allowing the fabric to pool around her feet. He quickly hung it up and returned to remove her jewelry. Finally the veil and pins holding her bun in place were discarded. The only thing that Sookie was left in was lace panties and her heels.
Stripping hurriedly, his clothes were discarded without care on the floor and he picked her up and nestled her into the pelts. Sookie slipped off her shoes as a very naked Eric stood at the end of the bed and watched her.
Cool air floated around the room, and Sookie shivered. Whether it was from the actual temperature or the piercing gaze from Eric's eyes, she wasn't sure. With a salacious grin on his lips, his tongue glided over his lower lip, showing off the gleaming white points of his fangs.
She reached out for his hand. "Warm me up."
"Oh, I plan on doing more than that, my wife." Eric kneeled on the edge of the bed and slowly crawled up her body.
He pulled several pelts up over them, more for her sake than for his. Eric kept most of his weight on his arms, not wanting to crush her. He wanted to take his time and explore her body as if it were the first time. To him, it was the first time. They had been properly mated, not only in the human customs, but vampire tradition. He was no longer going to claim Sookie as only his pledged, but much more than that.
Her fingers stroked his face lovingly, tracing the strong line of Eric's jaw to his ear and behind. He waited patiently as her fingers worked to quickly undo his braid and fan his hair out. It fell softly across his shoulders, framing his face, and she tucked several strands of it behind his ear.
Every stroke of her hands up and down his spine created shocks of electricity, which rocketed through his body, igniting a fire that threatened to burn his soul. Desiring connection more than anything else, their gazes locked onto each other as she urged Eric to move against her. Sookie's thighs fell open for him, and a soft moan escaped her lips as his hardness pressed against the heat and moisture pooling between her legs. Her lips parted, Eric watching as the pink tip of her tongue swiped across her bottom lip.
Eric pulled his hips back and pressed against her core over and over, each time rubbing up and down. He relished watching the arousal playing across her face as her passion coiled fiercely within her and she moaned, parting her thighs even further.
The fragrant scent of her sex swamped every corner of his mind and he inhaled deeply in an intoxicating and heady rush. Closing his eyes, he quickly leaned down to seal his mouth against hers. Writhing beneath him, her moans were cut off by his mouth as their tongues sought each other in a seductive dance.
His mouth watered as he swallowed her desire, and he only wanted more of it. Except for her blood, there was nothing more tantalizing in taste for him than what was glistening between her thighs.
An appreciative growl rumbled up from his chest as Sookie trailed fingers down the roped muscles of his stomach and stroked the side of his cock with the back of her hand. It spasmed in hunger, but he reached down to remove her hand.
"Not yet. I plan on savoring you for as long as I can."
The corners of her lips curled up, loving the thick feel of him in her hands. "Savoring, huh? I'd like to do some savoring of my own."
"Hmm, did you have anything in particular you wanted to taste?" He felt the palm of her hand on the back of his neck, bringing his mouth crashing down on hers again.
Eric licked across the seam of her lips, shooting darts of pleasure as his hips shifted off of her and to the side, his hardness pressing into the outside of her thigh. His splayed fingers slid down between her breasts and circled her belly button, loving the way her stomach undulated responsively.
His hand slid lower, past the patch of soft blond curls to her dampened slit and plunged a long slender finger into her depths. Her back rose up off the bed to meet his probing finger and almost lost it when he added a second finger.
His thumb stroked her swelling nub and she shook her head. "Oh God, Eric."
She reached up and pulled his face down to hers, and a deep muffled moan resonated against his lips as his tongue mimicked the in and out rhythm of his fingers. It didn't take long for her hips to join in the smooth pace.
So slick. So hot. He increased the thrusts of both tongue and fingers until she pulled her face away and crushed the side of her head into the pillows. Sookie's eyes closed and she cried out as her orgasm swept over her and her hot sheath clamped down on Eric's fingers.
She pulsed with a clench and release movement as he stilled his movements, but continued the pressure of his thumb over her clit, rubbing circles over it, drawing out her orgasm, and he reveled in the visual pleasure showing on her face.
A thin sheen of sweat broke out across her body as she shuddered with aftershocks and her breathing quieted. Sex with Eric had always been good, but somehow this was different, better.
Her eyelids lifted, hooded with a heady combination of lust, desire, and love. Yes. That's what was different. This wasn't being with someone who wanted sex from her, who wanted to control her or go all possessive over her. This was her equal now. Her partner in life.
Eric removed his fingers and licked the results of her orgasm off each finger slowly and deliberately, his eyes never leaving hers. Being more aggressive, Sookie fisted her hands through his locks and pulled his lips back down to hers in a fiery kiss, tasting not only Eric, but the remnants of what he had drawn from her body. Well, two could play at that game.
Forgetting where they were or the cool temperature swirling around the room, she rolled over on top of him and straddled his hips, the pelts slipping down to her waist. Snow could have been falling down around them, and she wouldn't have cared at this point.
She teased him, rubbing her molten core back and forth over his cock. Eric bared his fangs and hissed at the friction and fisted the pelts practically ripping them in his clutches.
Sookie nuzzled Eric's cheek before licking and kissing her way down to his neck. She suckled the spot below his earlobe, occasionally nipping at it playfully. "If you are trying to hurry things along, you're going to be disappointed, älskare. I plan on taking my time with you, until you are deliriously sated."
She paused above his chest and smiled up at him, her eyes bright with anticipation. "I have no doubt that's your plan. However, I have plans of my own, baby."
Eric's eyebrows arched at the pet name she used. "Baby? I hardly think I am a baby." He emphasized his point by raising his hips off the bed and pressing his cock deep into her honey. Of course he was teasing. He did not care what she called him, as it was human custom for couples to give each other nicknames.
"Mmm, Eric." She planted a kiss over one of his nipples, nipping at the hardened bud as she spoke. "Would you prefer pumpkin? Or how about teddybear?" Her tongue laved his nipple a few times and he groaned as she closed her lips over it and suckled the bud, teasing it with her teeth. Pausing, she lifted her head and smiled. "I know, what about honey bun?"
He growled with laughter as he cupped the back of her head and guided her to his other nipple. "I do not care what you call me as long as you do not stop."
She obliged and the wet heat of her mouth lathed his chest and nipples, feeling his pleasure ripple through his body. Her hand drifted down to between his legs and palmed the head of his cock, feeling its slickness over her palm.
She gathered it up and used what seeped out to lubricate the slide of her fist up and down his shaft easier. Her hand twisted and pumped as it massaged over the head, squeezing as it gathered more evidence of his arousal to use against the velvety softness of the skin that covered such rigid steel.
Working her way down his stomach, she shifted her body lower and her other hand came up and cupped his sac, kneading and rolling it gently.
Eric tried to keep it together, and not attack her, as every fiber of his being wanted to do. He wanted to claim her as his own, to mark her and make her his so that everyone knew exactly who she belonged to. But still, he kept his grip on the bed pelts as his hips bucked beneath her hands and body.
He shifted slightly to prop himself up and watch her, but almost lost it as her pink tongue darted out and licked across the head of his cock. More of him leaked out and she licked across again, delighted that it was she who made his cock twitch and dance in her hands.
One look up at his face, and Sookie smiled, licked her lips, and plunged her mouth down onto his cock, the head hitting the back of her throat. Sliding her lips up and down his hardness, Eric groaned and slammed his head back into the pillows from the contact. He was on the verge of coming and fought to hold back as long as he could.
Sookie sensed his struggle, but that only made her push further and harder. She purred as her mouth continued to work him, and the vibrations against his cock made his whole body tighten with the anticipation of his release.
Going as deep as she could, she worked the base of him with her hand, rising up to meet her descending mouth and pulling back as she rose. Over and over she varied the pressure of her mouth and hand, confusing him and giving into the sensations instead of concentrating on the mechanics of her ministrations. Her free hand still played with his sac, squeezing and tugging, urging him to let go. To give up the control.
She lightly scraped her teeth up his hard length and suckled and licked the head of him as her hand worked more of his shaft.
When the small of his back tightened, he knew Sookie could sense he was ready to explode, and she gave his balls one last squeeze as she sucked hard all the way down his shaft.
Eric's roar of pleasure echoed the vast expanse of the room as he filled her mouth with several long spurts of his hot seed. His lips were peeled back from his teeth and fangs as he watched her swallow everything he gave her. She looked up at him, her lips glistening pink with his come, and he lost the battle to hold back.
Grabbing her roughly, he turned her over onto her back and gave her neck a long lick before sliding his fangs into her artery. She gasped and froze at the sting of the bite, but then relaxed into him as he drew her life into him, sustaining him. She'd already known how the effects of her enhanced blood affected Eric, and enjoyed every second of bloodlust it brought out in him.
His still hardened cock lay against her as she spread her thighs to accommodate his size. Sookie smoothed her hand over his hair as he drank his fill, and licked the small puncture marks closed.
Not stopping his momentum, he sidled down her body and licked and sucked at her already hardened nipples. He gently bit and tugged at them, at the same time, reaching down and placing his hand against her mound. The molten heat rolling off of her was tantalizing to his senses. He got off on how hot he could make her, and decided that before the night was over, she would be nothing but pure liquid heat.
Sookie knew that what she did would set him off, and she didn't care. Licks of fire and pleasure and pain radiated from her neck and down her body, and it wasn't going to be long before she lost herself again to the burgeoning sensations he was creating in her.
She practically orgasmed again as he worked his mouth on both of her breasts, and when he bit her nipples, she cried out in glorious agony as electricity sizzled through her body and straight to her core. When she felt his palm against her, rubbing her mound, she finally lost it for the second time that night, and came hard against his hand.
Still not stopping, he ran his tongue down her body, circling her stomach until his face was directly in line with her sex. He reached under her thighs, and gently placed him over his shoulders, pausing momentarily, so she could shift herself into a more comfortable position.
Two fingers parted her already swollen lips, and he blew a stream of cool air against her heated core. She shivered and moaned deeply, her legs jerking the moment his tongue touched her.
Slow long torturous licks up her slit and she was arching her body, tilting her hips to meet him in an endless rhythm. Moaning, sighing, pushing, her climax again approaching like a stormy wave rolling toward the shoreline. Sookie reached down to thread her fingers through his hair, but he grabbed her at her wrists before she could touch him. He pinned them to the sides of her body with just enough force so she couldn't escape.
"Eric, please! Please!" Her pleas fell on deaf ears as he continued his torture of her.
Death by sex, she thought. Better yet, death by sex with Eric. Now that would be worth it. At least she would die with a smile on her face. She hated begging, but at the moment, she was not beneath it.
"Eric …." Frustration laced her voice. He grinned, his white fangs gleaming and his lips glistening with her juices.
His tongue licked his lips clean and with a wry smile, she knew he wasn't going to listen to her. He lowered his head and continued lapping at her, sucking her clit between his lips, scraping his fangs gently over the engorged bud.
Eric alternated between licking and sucking her clit, and burying his tongue deep inside her. The perfume of her sex and the silky taste of her juices, coupled with her fae blood heating his body, gave him an endless heady rush. He could spend all night pleasuring her orally, and never get enough.
The keening sounds she made only spurred him to increase his efforts, and were rewarded when he thrust his tongue deep inside her and felt her contract around his tongue. Her walls gripped at him and he continued to stab at her as yet another orgasm swept over her.
Not missing a beat, when Sookie was coming down off her latest climax, he crawled up her body, mounting her. Her legs slid down his arms and wrapped around his hips, as he thrust into her hard and fast.
"Fuck … you make my blood boil." He slowed his pace and pulled almost all the way out, stilling himself.
With ragged breath, she looked up into his eyes startled that he stopped. "What's … wrong?"
"Absolutely nothing. I just wanted to watch you when I did this."
Her eyebrows knitted together. "Did what?"
Eric counted down from ten in his head, watching her face go through a myriad of expressions, trying to guess at what he was doing, and when he reached one, he trust into her harder and faster than before. Sookie groaned in a deep voice and threw her head back.
"Fuck. Eric!" She groaned again when he hit a particularly good spot.
Sookie reached up and grasped his shoulders, bracing herself so her head didn't hit the beautiful icy headboard. She loved the feel of his muscles bunching and rolling under her palms. Pulling his body closer, she lifted up her head and nipped at his skin.
"Harder." She obliged by biting harder and he climaxed inside of her, hot juices filling her and forcing her own climax to barrel up the steep slope.
He wasn't done, not even nearly close to being done. He was still hard as a rock, and though he began to vary the speed and force of his thrusts, he wanted one more thing from her.
Shifting his weight to one arm, he looked into her eyes and bit down into his freed wrist. No words were spoken, and he didn't need to ask as he held his bleeding wrist down by her head. Sookie turned her face toward the bite marks and latched on, licking and swallowing his offering. Even though the wound started healing right away, she bit down hard, causing more of the thick rich red liquid to trickle into her mouth.
With a roar, Eric climaxed again inside of her, this time bringing her with him, tumbling over that steep edge. It felt like it went on forever, slowing down, reforming, tumbling over again. She lost count of how many times they climaxed together.
Eric stilled inside of her and waited until her breathing settled. He wanted to stay connected to her as long as possible, and she seemed in no rush to lose the connection either.
Sookie smiled up at him, a purely sated look on her face, before her eyes widened as electric shocks licked through her veins. It felt like she had swallowed a ton of pop rocks and they were exploding throughout her entire body.
She saw Eric's look of concern before the expression on his face mirrored her own. A rush of emotions swamped her brain—lust, possession, protection, admiration, and love. It overwhelmed her, and tears rolled down her cheeks.
Eric was too stunned to move. Much of the same thing was happening to him, his brain getting saturated with emotions. He knew instantly that it was a new bond that had formed between them, irrevocably tying them together. He brushed her dampened hair out of her face and licked her tears away.
Pulling out of her, he quickly ran for a towel in another section of the room, and came back, gently cleaning the evidence of their lovemaking from between her legs. He tossed the towel to the floor, and lay down next to her, allowing her to curl up against him.
Sookie wiped at the tears that were still falling. She hadn't meant for this to happen so soon, although she knew the bond would have been formed sooner or later. She had already told Eric that she wanted it again.
However, what she experienced wasn't anything like what happened the last time, when she was forced to bond with Eric. He had cleaned them both and then wrapped his arms around her, letting her sink into his body. She noted how sweet and gentle he was being with her. Together, snuggled under the reindeer pelts, he smoothed her hair and didn't speak a word. He knew she needed time. Although not alone physically, he allowed her time alone with her thoughts.
Eons passed between them as he gave her the space she needed to absorb the feelings and sensations she was receiving from him. He couldn't help it. He did not want to overwhelm her, but he refused to dampen or close it off.
"I wouldn't expect you to." Sookie broke the silence, answering his thoughts, and he pulled her tighter against him.
"Is this what it was supposed to feel like?" She finally turned over on her back and rested her head in the crook of his arm.
"Yes." A simple answer to a complex question, and she waited for him to elaborate.
"The sensation of bonding is different for everyone. The first bond we shared felt different because it was different. Not all parties were amenable to it, and it was not done properly." He hesitated for a moment to bring up the bond with Felipe, but decided it was better to tell her everything.
"The bond with Felipe was different, again, because it was forced. It was done with malice and deceit." He felt her shiver against him and pushed calm to her.
"What happened between us tonight, again, was different because it was done with care and affection. It was done with consent and love."
It was true. Where once their first bond was a dull buzz in the back of her head, letting her know that Eric was there at all times, the new bond was so much more. No buzzing, no scratching, just pure contentment.
"You may also notice that you have the ability to control this bond more."
Interesting, she thought. But that was something she would have to ask him about at a later time. Right now, she was stifling back a yawn and was about to crash.
Hours later, she rolled over onto her back and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. She was surrounded by fur and male. However, now that Eric's temperature had returned to normal, at least normal for him, she was beginning to feel the effects of the cool air again.
Sensing her restlessness, Eric stirred from his downtime. "You are ready to go back to the cabin, älskare."
It was more a statement of fact than a question and one that she did not have to answer. He knew by her emotions. Keeping her nestled under the fur, he dashed over to the valise and carried it back to the bed. Inside was a change of warm clothes for both of them and her winter coat.
She quickly dressed, feeling better already, but still needing more warmth. "You already know the layout of the cabin. If you wish, teleport over there and start a fire, while I settle up here. I will meet you there shortly."
It sounded like a good plan to her. By the time Eric made it back to the cabin, Sookie was sitting in front of a roaring fire, sipping hot cocoa, flames dancing across a contemplative regard. He set down the valise and garment bags that contained their wedding attire and sat down behind her.
Something was off. He could sense it, but it seemed an inappropriate moment for him to question her. When she was ready to talk, she would. But what could have changed from the time she left the hotel until now?
"I don't want to leave yet. It's too perfect here." He settled back into the couch and waited for her to continue.
"We're never going to have a normal life, are we?" Where this was coming from, he wasn't sure. Something had to have set her off.
When she didn't say anything further, he chose his words carefully. "If you want a simple answer, then no, we aren't. Humans are constantly trying to achieve some kind of false sense of normalcy, but it doesn't exist. At least a concrete, singular version of it."
"I get it. I understand. It's like what you were saying last night about the bond. It's different for everyone, and I have to agree that normal is the same way. I just wish, for once, there was some tangible idealistic version of normal." Sookie paused, taking a deep breath. "Hunter will never have a normal life."
Ahh, the whys of her mood. She was thinking about the little one. He coaxed her back onto the couch with him. "Sookie, I will endeavor to help you give him as normal a life as possible. What are you really worried about? What is weighing on your mind?"
She knew what he was saying. Hunter wasn't normal, and neither were they, but he would try to give them what would be considered normal for them.
"I'm scared. What if someone finds out about his ability? What if we can't protect him? Look what happened to me once the supe community found out about what I could do? Look what happened when the FBI finally figured things out about me. I don't want that for him."
"No one is aware of his ability, so …" Sookie shifted uncomfortably on the cushion, and Eric's brows arched high. "Who?"
When she didn't answer, he forced her gaze upward. "Sookie, I cannot hope to protect both of you if I do not know all the facts. I am not angry, but you need to tell me."
"Well … there's a chance that Remy's ex-girlfriend knew. I'm not saying for sure, but from what I gathered talking to Hunter, she bolted because she was scared of him and his 'weirdness'."
Sookie used air quotes to emphasize her final word and it irritated him. He detested the humans who made it uncomfortable for her to grow up, but to have Hunter already subjected to the same prejudices? That he would not tolerate.
He pulled Sookie into his lap and wrapped his arms around her as she rested her head against his shoulder. In his mind, he was already tracking down this woman and making sure she understood to keep her mouth shut or he would do it for her. If she thought a child with telepathy was scary, he would show her what scary could be.
Wiping the thought from his mind in case she was listening, he kissed her forehead. "Do not worry. I will make sure everything is fine. Now, we only have a few days left here, and I would not like to waste it on sad thoughts. We are still on our honeymoon, are we not?"
True. This was their honeymoon, and she planned on making the most of the alone time they had. She slipped off his lap and headed toward the stairs, swaying her hips suggestively with each footstep. Before she even made it to the first step, Eric swooped in from behind and picked her up in his arms.
Nuzzling his neck as they ascended the stairs, she clung to him, feeling the enormity of her love for him. To say she loved him didn't seem strong enough a word to encompass the pleasure and peace and feelings that filled her completely.
He paused on a step to look down at her, and as their gazes met, he absorbed all the emotions that rolled through her, allowing it to seep into every pore. For the first time in his long life, he felt a sense of rightness and passion that nearly felled him.
It had been a long road leading to this moment, for both of them, and she smiled at him with the knowledge that they would make it work, as long as they did it together. For once, Sookie realized Eric was right. Whatever their problems were, whatever the obstacles that lay ahead, it would all still be waiting for them when they got home, and they would deal with them together, as a family.
Once again, thanks to everyone for coming with me on this long journey! Photos of Sookie's wedding dress and necklace, Pam's dress, the interior living room of the cabin, the Ice Hotel chapel and Hammam room can be found here - http:/s688. photobucket .com/albums /vv241/indigobuni/Bent%20But%20Not%20Broken%20Photos/ (eliminate the spaces)
If you want to know more about the Ice Hotel, please visit www. icehotel .com - It's worth a look. I've seen programs on how it's created and it's spectacular. Something so beautifully crafted and never to be recreated again. If you go under Art & Design, I used the 2007 Chapel and Hammam room as my inspiration.