A/N: This is officially it. The last chapter of What it Means to Forget. I doubt there will be a sequel. I think everything wrapped up nicely here. I want to thank chiisai-kitty for all her hard work fixing my all too common mistakes. I want to send a big thank you and tons of kisses to you amazing readers who stuck this out with me. We had our ups and downs, but that's what makes a story memorable.
Just a reminder: I'm part of the Support Stacie Auction. Information can be found in my profile. The auction runs from March 26-29.
Disclaimer: It's not mine
I was sitting in front of the mirror in my freshly renovated bathroom. Eric had installed a huge tub for us, and a gorgeous vanity for me. I was brushing my hair out, reminiscing about the year that was. I couldn't believe that just over a year ago, Eric held me in his arms and told me he loved me. We had come so far in such a short time.
I'm not saying there weren't bumps in the road. Louisiana was taken over by the King of Nevada after he brutally killed Sophie Anne and Andre. It was only fair, she had killed off the King of Arkansas. This led to some tension between Eric and I, since he was putting in extra hours to insure a spot in the new regime. We barely saw each other for almost two months; that puts a serious strain on a relationship. I was slightly bummed since Hadley also met her final death in the melee. She and I had never gotten close, but she was still family.
Speaking of family, Jason had gotten Crystal pregnant. She gave birth to a beautiful baby boy they named Corbett, after our dad. He couldn't shift, but that was the purpose of forcing Jason into that compromising position. Hotshot needed fresh blood and Corbett Norris Stackhouse was as fresh as it got. I prayed he inherited his dad's wild streak so Jason would know what it's like to worry about someone being out all hours of the night.
Alcide and Debbie almost had a baby, too. I say almost, not because of the all too common shifter miscarriage, but because she had lied to him about it to get him to marry her. He was smart enough to have the union annulled because of the fraud. Now he was dating a nice werewolf named Amanda, the same were who owned La Luna Llena. Eric and I had never gone back after that date from hell, which was a shame since the food was delicious.
The weres had announced their existence, following suit from the vampires. The reaction was generally the same; some were shocked and horrified, others were accepting. It didn't hurt that unlike vampires, the two-natured look and act just like humans, except under the full moon. The Fellowship of the Sun expanded their hate to all supernatural creatures. Arlene, who had joined their annoying little group, quit the day after the announcement. Sam was hurt until a sweet little shifter named Daphne came looking for a job. No one even missed Arlene anymore.
Everybody was having babies or pretending to have babies, but not Crazy Sookie. Nope, I had to go and fall in love with a vampire. A vampire who just last week took a knife from my hands and became my husband in the eyes of the vampire community. And in a few minutes, he would be my husband in the eyes of the state of Louisiana.
Our pledging ceremony was the talk of the Supe community in the South. The affair was huge. Eric had booked a hall at a Supe owned hotel and had hired an exclusive Supe party planner, John Quinn from E(E)E, to coordinate our pledging ceremony. Since he was a Sheriff, it was a huge deal that he was pledging himself to a human.
He said it wasn't necessary for me to get a big wedding dress, but if I wanted the pomp of the big ceremony, we could take our night that direction. I never dreamed about the big wedding with the big princess dress. In fact, I had never dreamed of getting married. After realizing what my disability was, I resigned myself to the fact that I would never find a man who would want to marry me. Pam took me on a road trip to New Orleans to do some "serious shopping." She said we would never find anything appropriate in Northern Louisiana, we had to head to the big city. I didn't mind, since it would give me a chance to see Amelia again.
The three of us had a blast going shopping. Pam took us to some big designer store, and I spent hours trying on dresses ranging in style from ballgowns to simple slip dresses. The moment I put on the dress, I knew it was the one. It was floor length, strapless with sweetheart neckline and an empire waist. It was simple, understated, clean and most important, looked amazing on me.
After finding amazing gold sandals, we proceeded to just crash at Amelia's apartment. The three of us had a kick ass girls' night. They wanted to take me out for a bachelorette party, but that was not my scene. I was just as happy to hang out on Amelia's couch, watching crappy movies, bashing the lead actresses and crushing on the actors, stuffing our faces with every junk food imaginable.
Amelia came back to Bon Temps with us so she could be there for the pledging. It was so nice to hang out with her and show her around town. She bonded immediately with Tara and Claudine, so we had another girls' night. Pam declined coming out again, as to avoid accidentally killing Claudine. I got super trashed, we all did, and woke up the day of the pledging with a killer headache. The four of us nursed our hangovers at the spa, helping me primp for the big night.
The service started a few hours after sunset. I walked down the aisle, carrying a bouquet of stargazer lilies, towards my Viking. He looked stunning, as always, in a tuxedo, waiting for me at the altar. I looked around the room, not recognizing many of the faces. Members of Alcide's pack were here, as were Jason and Crystal, and a huge contingent of Area Five vampires. Everyone else was invited for political reasons, but they didn't really matter to me. Claudine was absent, again for her own protection, and Tara didn't feel comfortable being there with members of every branch of the Supe tree. I couldn't blame her, honestly.
I didn't really understand the customs, but I followed along pretty well. When two vampires were pledging, they drank each other's blood from a sacred chalice. When a vampire pledged himself to a human, however, they got to drink right from the source. I guess they didn't want to dirty their fancy goblet with human blood. I preferred it this way, even if we'd never exchanged blood in front of an audience before.
Our master of ceremonies, also taken care of by Quinn, handed me a knife which I was supposed to hand to Eric. Eric used the knife to cut a small wound into my neck, which he then drank from. I was grateful I went with the strapless dress, my entire neck and shoulders were exposed. No worries about getting blood on the dress, even though Eric never missed a drop. After he healed the cut, he used the knife on his wrist and gave it to me to drink from. And that was it. We were officially married in the eyes of vampires.
We did the requisite honeymoon to a Supe resort; imagine Sandals with vampires. We were gone for two weeks in Bora Bora. Eric managed to find a resort that we could both appreciate; sunshine during the day, beautiful starlit beaches at night. Every night when he rose, he had to tell me how delicious my skin tasted; how he could taste the sunshine on every inch of me. And he certainly did.
When we got home, something didn't feel right. We fell into the motions, spending time in Shreveport and Bon Temps evenly. I still worked at Merlotte's, he still ran Fangtasia. A little wedding wasn't going to screw up our plans. Eric bought us gorgeous wedding bands, a simple platinum band with a single ruby in each. I was appreciative of the fact that he kept it tasteful while keeping some of his signature style. It helped settles some of the bad feelings but there was something still nagging in the back of my mind.
I started calling him my husband around Supes and humans. People around town looked at me funny, since they hadn't heard about the pledging, or even really understand what a pledging was. And that's when it hit me. I wanted to get married for real. I drove home in my new Saab, a wedding gift from Pam, to tell Eric the good news. He had picked up on my sour mood, but couldn't do anything to improve it since even I didn't know what was bothering me.
He wasn't really my husband; he had just pledged himself to me. I didn't feel married since I didn't have a real wedding. If I was going to be someone's wife, I was doing it the proper way. I ran into the farmhouse, where he was patiently waiting for me. He had hoped spending more time in Bon Temps would help my bad moods, which it did slightly. Now I had the real solution and I knew he would do anything to make it right. As I explained my plan to have a legal human wedding, his look went from perplexed to amused.
"Are you telling me a simple piece of paper signed by a human judge will make you happy? The Shreveport City Hall has night hours tomorrow, we'll do it then."
He grabbed his cell phone and called City Hall. I guess as a business owner, he was used to dealing with their offices. He made us an appointment with a justice of the peace and to get the appropriate paperwork filled out. Five minutes later, we were all set. It really was that simple. The black cloud that had been hanging over my head since the pledging lifted. Knowing that Eric would be my husband in every sense of the word was what I'd really wanted. We made love all night, something we hadn't done since the honeymoon. I'd been trapped up in my head, unable to let go and enjoy the amazing things my vampire could do to my body.
I woke the next morning, and Sam was my first phone call. He had skipped out on the pledging, but I wasn't letting him miss my wedding. He was my best friend, the one person I could always count on. He and Eric had grown closer over the past few months. The Fellowship of the Sun had attacked Merlotte's shortly after the shifters revealed their true nature. Eric stepped up, even before I asked him, giving Sam an interest-free loan and offering jobs to the displaced waitresses at Fangtasia. After being a sweetheart and giving me the night off, Sam agreed to come with us. Jason was my next call, then Tara and Alcide. They all agreed to meet us at the courthouse. I left Pam a voicemail, not sure if Eric got in touch with her before the sun rose.
I was buzzing with excitement for the rest of the day. I was getting married completely on the whim, something very out of character for me. I supposed I was confident in spending the rest of my life with Eric and knew that I'd be happy being his legal wife. I made an appointment to get my hair and make up done and then headed over to the tailor. I didn't think buying a new wedding dress was needed, but I wanted to change up the one I had. I decided the easiest thing to do would be to shorten the length; it transformed from a full length gown to just above my knees.
After leaving the dress for its alterations, I headed to the salon. Checking my watch, I noticed I still had two hours until sunset. That left plenty of time for pampering, which was my current indulgence. I had to admit that as a waitress, getting a weekly pedicure was heaven. Before Eric, I would never consider it a worthy use of my hard earned money, but knowing that I had someone who could help take care of me was nice. Don't get me wrong, I was still an independent woman, but I let Eric spoil me with little things every now and then. If sponsoring my weekly mani/pedi kept him from buying me insane gifts, I could let him.
My hair was set in fabulous curls, my make up was perfect and my dress fit like a dream. I got a few things gathered together, knowing we weren't heading back to Bon Temps after the ceremony. I paced the living room impatiently, waiting for Eric to rise. Since we were spending so much time at the farmhouse, he completely transformed the upper level of the house into a light tight room for himself. I'd admit to spending time up there during the day, too.
I heard the door open upstairs, and in the time it took me to turn around and face the stairs, Eric was standing before me. He looked stunning in a classic black suit, tailored to fit him perfectly, and a crisp white shirt. I swear he could make a burlap sack look sexy. I watched as his eyes took in my appearance. His fangs sliding down into place was an obvious sign that he liked what he saw. I tossed him his keys and was out the door before he had a chance to wreck my dress. I knew I looked good, and would not let a quick romp ruin my day's work. He would just have to save that for after the wedding.
We got to City Hall in no time with Eric's lead foot. As we were filling out the loads of paperwork, our friends started to show up. Jason and Crystal were the last to show with my adorable nephew, blaming their tardiness on the baby. Eric signed the last form with a flourish, and since everyone had shown up, we were all set to get started. We were led to a small room and told the justice of the peace would be with us shortly.
For the first time since I had my epiphany yesterday, I was nervous. I knew this was the right decision, but every bride gets butterflies, I suppose. With one glance from across the room by Eric, it all went away. I looked into his eyes, ignoring Crystal rambling next to me, and everything stopped. I was lost in those baby blues, falling in love all over again. He gave me a smile, a smile that was reserved for me, and I just melted. All my nerves flew right out the window. I walked away from my annoying sister in law, needing to be closer to him. I tucked myself under his arm and joined his conversation with Pam. He pressed a kiss to the crown of my head and all was right in the world.
The justice of the peace came in and our friends all sat down. The ceremony passed by in a blur. Eric and I had slipped our rings off before hand so we could give them to each other again when we said our vows. When he slipped the band over my finger, I knew it was time to pay attention so I could say the right words. I repeated my vows, word for word, and I couldn't stop the tears from sliding down my face.
I slid the ring over his finger and we were pronounced vampire and wife. Eric pulled me in a for a kiss that made me glad this was not a church service. At first I was worried about what my friends might think, but I could feel his tongue begging for entrance, and I was not one to deny him. They'd forgive me for a little PDA just this once; it was my wedding night after all. I think our kiss lasted longer than the rest of the ceremony, but I couldn't care. We finally stopped after the justice of the peace cleared his throat so he could hand us the marriage license.
My friends all wrapped me up in hugs, one after the other, in congratulations. Alcide suggested that we all go out to dinner to celebrate, but Eric and I had other plans. We ran from City Hall as fast as we could back to the Corvette. Eric drove as fast as I had ever seen him to get back to our home in Shreveport. He growled when the gate into the community rolled open slowly. I giggled at his impatience, but it was totally understandable. Last night notwithstanding, we hadn't been having the most amazing sex of our lives recently. He was just as excited to get to bed as I was.
I swore he was going to drive through the wall of the garage just to get into the house faster. He scooped me out of the car and in the house in a burst of vampire speed. I was on the bed and naked before I could even blink. I was about to protest about him tearing my wedding dress, when he held it up damage free. He was moving faster than I had ever seen; he undid my zipper without me even feeling his fingers on my skin. He joined me in bed, completely undressed and pulled me into his arms for a nice, deep kiss that made our wedding smooch look innocent.
His hands traveled up my ribs to cup my breasts. I loved the way his cool skin felt against my heated body. I also loved the way his body felt on top of mine, which it currently was. His kisses were traveling down my neck. I could feel the point of his fangs as his kissing got more intense. My body was going into sensation overload; my mind couldn't process everything so I just let it shut down. I let the physical sensations take over; letting my body dictate the pace. Heck, I'd just let Eric take over; he was especially good at that.
His lips found mine again, muffling my moan as he slid into me. Even after all this time, my body was stretched to the limit whenever we made love. Last night was a rush, a hungry need for the other. Tonight was sweet and soft. Whispered words of love and affection in each other's ear, in languages that I understood and some I didn't, passed between us. When words couldn't do our feelings justice, we let our hands and bodies take over.
We were both close to the finish and I was begging for him to bite me. The feeling of my husband feeding from me was what I needed to push me over the edge. He bit down on his own wrist, pressing it to my lips before he bit down on my breast. That was one of his favorites; he loved when we exchanged blood simultaneously. My orgasm was ripped out of me the moment his fangs pierced my skin. He was the only man who could make me feel this way. Of course, he was only the second of two men I've slept with but I was willing to look passed that now.
We cuddled together in a post-coital bliss after another few rounds. I swear, my vamp could go all night if I let him. Some nights I was up for it, last night being a prime example of that, but for tonight, I just needed a good snuggle session. He ran his fingers through my hair, taming the wild sex hair snarls away. My fingers were doing a little wandering of their own, tracing over his chest and arms; basically any available skin I could reach. I could feel myself start to drift off to sleep, perfectly content for the first time in what felt like a long time. Eric, sensing my drowsiness, kissed me softly then kissed each of my eyelids as they closed.
He had called me that before, but now it sounded so much better. I forced my eyes open so I could be conscious when he asked his question.
"Yes, my husband?" Oh, exponentially better now that we're really married.
"You should rest now. I fully intend on keeping you up until dawn. Restore your strength while you can."
How's a girl supposed to get any sleep when guarantees like that are on the table? Who needed sleep anyway? Who wastes time napping on their own wedding night? Not this barmaid, that's for certain. I'd give him a night of passion no curse could make him forget.
A/N2: I'm sorry it took me so long to get out. Little Muse Sookie just did not want to cooperate. I hope it was worth the wait. Same thing applies to Danger in Dixie. I'm hoping to get some time to work on it later this week. Between writer's block, dissatisfaction with the story and real life, Dixie got pushed to the back burner. Now that this epilogue is done, I'm going to go find the love for that story again. If only Pilot Eric from Terminal Attraction would shut up for five minutes...