A/N- One of our fellow Fanfic followers PM'd me, asking me to write this story. She read my fic, "The Quiet is Calling", and was inspired to take it a slightly different route. She set up the outline, and has a very clear picture of how she wants things to go. The story takes place after D&G, starting about a month or so after Sookie is rescued. Sookie is still as stubborn as ever, and Eric is still as persistent as ever. Neither one of them are willing to budge, surprising, right? Hold on tight, it's going to be a very bumpy ride!

Huge thanks to the best BETA ever...Southernlady23. She sure knows how to make a girl feel good, even when we're trying to get all kiddies ready for the start of school. *sloppy kiss*

Charlaine Harris is the owner of all of these incredible characters. I unfortunately have no right to them. I just like to pretend every now and again.

"Not tonight Eric, I'm just so tired and worn out. I'm not back to my old self yet. Can you understand that, please?" I can't count the number of times that I had fed Eric this excuse in the last month. I was telling the truth. I was tired, and I was worn out. I was also not ready to face him just yet.

I held the cell phone to my ear, listening to him try to convince me to meet him at Fangtasia. We hadn't really had much alone time since Bill and Niall rescued me. After Bill and Niall came for me, after the blood bath at the hospital, things just hadn't been the same.

"Maybe next week. I will most likely be feeling better by then, and we can talk all you want. No, I won't make any promises to you. I hate it when promises are broken, and I won't be the one to do that." I couldn't help but feel a little irritated as the words came out of my mouth.

Hadn't Eric promised to protect me? Hadn't he promised to keep me safe? Even though I didn't have the whole story, I knew for a fact her had not come to my rescue. I knew this was why he wanted to speak to me. He wanted to try and explain his reasons for not showing up when I needed him most. I wanted to know, I really did, I just wasn't ready.

"Listen, Eric, I'm real tired. I'm going to take a hot shower and go to sleep. We'll talk again later, ok? Have a good night." I hung up the phone before he could contest my words and was more than irked that my body became calm and serene. I hate the fact he can manipulate my feelings this way. Stupid blood bond.

I really was going to take a shower. I had worked a long night at the bar and my body was still in the recovery process. My legs and arms ached, and I looked like I hadn't slept in weeks. Probably because I really hadn't slept in weeks. I walked to my bathroom and started the shower, setting the water at an unnaturally hot temperature.

As I stepped inside the tub, I couldn't help remember my time with Eric in my shower. It was a memory that replayed itself over and over in my mind. I couldn't escape it. The vivid memory was now a part of my bathroom, a permanent fixture, like an extra faucet or a second vanity I would always think of when I entered it.

The steam encircled me, washing over me like a blanket, and I thought about his strong arms being wrapped around me, holding me. I looked down at myself, painfully aware of how alone I was. I saw the scars that plagued my legs, arms, and breasts. Suddenly, the pain of being alone was replaced by the fear of being left alone. It had never occurred to me that Eric would forsake me, but that night- he didn't come for me. What could have been so important that he didn't come to me when I needed him most? The possible answers sent chills down my spine. Did I really want to know?

I sank down and sat, bringing my knees to my chest as I rocked back and forth. Maybe he didn't care enough to help me. This huge important bond that everyone is so impressed with, it is for his benefit. He gets to decide how and when to manipulate my feelings. He gets to decide when it is convenient for him to act upon them. He gets to hold all the cards and I just have to jump. Maybe….

I could feel my anger, confusion, and loneliness consume me. I felt all of the blood in my body pool to my toes, and it was like the water went cold. I began crying, unable to stop the sobs that were escaping my mouth. It just wasn't fair. All of my life I had been independent and capable of taking care of myself. Now, all of a sudden I found myself being controlled by a vampire's bond.

As I sat there crying, I began to shiver. The water was still warm, but the feeling of emptiness had turned my insides to ice. As if on cue, I began to have a feeling of calm wash over me. That could only mean one thing, Eric was close. I was even more irritated that this serene feeling was taking over my breakdown. Again, another thing I was not controlling.

I heard nothing, no doors opening, no footsteps in the hallway. I simply watched the shower curtain being peeled back, and Eric standing before me, confusion in his eyes.

"Sookie, are you hurt? I could feel your pain, your confusion. Please, let me help you." He bent down and scooped me out of the tub, not caring that he was now being showered with water. I didn't fight him, as my knees were still weak and I just didn't have the energy at the moment.

Instead I pressed my wet face into the crook of his shoulder and continued sobbing. I wrapped my arms around his neck and let him wrap a towel around my moist body. He carried me into my bedroom and laid me on the bed, brushing the hair out of my face.

"Lover, what is it? What has you this upset?" His cerulean eyes tried to read my face, tried to uncover the feelings I was hiding.

"Eric, why are you here? I thought I told you earlier that I was tired and just wanted to go to sleep." I tried my best to tear my eyes away from his piercing gaze.

"How could I not come? I could feel your pain, I knew you were in need of me. Sookie, when I felt how upset you were, I came immediately. I needed to make sure you were all right."

"Really? You needed to come to me, as soon as you felt that I was hurting?" I did not hide the accusatory tone.

"Sookie, if you have something to say, please, just say it." Even when he was demanding his voice still calmed my soul.

"Fine, it just seems awful convenient. I mean, you felt I was upset tonight, so you came to make sure my shower wasn't attacking me? What about when I was really in trouble, Eric? You sure didn't feel the need to come and rescue me then." I glared at him, not believing that I was actually going to have this conversation right now.

Eric took an unnecessary breath and I actually saw his nostrils flare as he pondered the words I just threw at him. If I didn't know the vampire before me, I may have been afraid for my very life.

"Sookie, there are so many things that you don't understand. Too many things that you will never understand about the world I live in…" He wasn't done speaking, but I wasn't going to let him pull the secret, vampire world card.

"Don't even go there, Eric. You promised to protect me, and I called for you. Even when I thought I was going to die from the pain, I kept believing that you were coming for me. I guess that my pain and need weren't as great as they were tonight, alone and in my shower." As much as I tried, I couldn't stop the angry tears that fell from my eyes.

"You actually think I chose to not go to you? You actually believe that I allowed you to be tortured because I felt your need was not great enough?" I could feel how angry he was, and I could see the fire burning in his eyes. "I felt every bit of that pain. Everything you were feeling, I was feeling. I knew what was happening to you, and I was powerless to help you. I felt your call, you desperation, your desire for death to take you. Every second you suffered, I suffered." He had absentmindedly grabbed my arms, shaking me slightly.

"You're hurting me! I'm sure you suffered Eric. That's what 'husbands' do, right? They suffer when their 'wife' is in pain." I had used my fingers to make air quotation marks around husband and wife. "Well you sure looked like you had suffered, all those bite marks, stab wounds, incisions. Oh, wait…you weren't there." It was a low blow, but in for a penny, in for a pound.

"Don't you ever try to understand the feelings I have when it comes to you. Our Bond is almost unheard of. I tried to get to you, I tried to relieve some of that pain. I tried, I tried..." His eyes almost looked defeated as those last words whispered out of his mouth.

"You didn't try hard enough! I wish I had died. I wish that they had killed me when they had me. If I was dead and gone, then I wouldn't be left with the knowing… the knowing that you didn't come for me! This bond, this marriage…this is for your benefit. All it is, is a way to control me. You have wanted to control me since the first night you met me, well this was the way to do it! Congratulations, Eric!" I paused to clap at him with a vehement look in my eye.

"You're a master at manipulation! Was I your final test? Your grandest conquest?" I pointed at my chest in disgust. I needed to turn my body so he couldn't see the pain in my eyes.

"Sookie, you know nothing of our Bond. It isn't always about you. Yes, I failed in protecting you. I failed at getting to you. But know this, I will never fail at making you see the truth." His voice was cold, powerful. I felt his cool lips graze my naked shoulder.

I closed my eyes as I felt the cold touch my skin. Even through my anger and my desperation, he could still send my emotions into a tail spin with just a touch. I turned to face him, and he was gone. I was left alone, with nothing but the feeling of calm that his presence always brings me.

As I sat up and looked around, still naked from the shower, I made a decision. I whispered, knowing that if he was still outside in my yard he would hear me.

"Eric Northman, I…rescind your inv..invitation." The cry that came out of my body was something unlike I had ever heard. It physically pained hearing the words escape my mouth.

I curled my body under my covers and cried myself to sleep, never feeling more alone.

Like I was saying....this is not going to be all rainbows and butterflies folks. Hope you stick with me, it's going to get interesting!

*Hugs to all*