Once I'd had my cry – it was a short one – I dried my eyes and tried to repair my makeup. I didn't want to show up in the arena looking like I'd been crying. I knew I needed to look confident and proud. When I had finished repairing myself there was nothing to do but sit and wait for the knock. I didn't have to wait long.
Three burly Weres – members of the Memphis pack angry about the new laws and chafing under a tough vampire Sheriff loved Quinn – escorted me to a box seat in Quinn's little fight club. Fantastic. Not how I wanted to spend my evening.
I looked around and people were dressed like they were going to a boxing match in Vegas. I never got that. You get dressed up in jewels and furs to watch two men beat the hell out of each other? You could come to Merlotte's parking lot during football season in cut-offs and a t-shirt and watch that for free.
My guards escorted me to my seat and stood around waiting for the action to start. One of them seemed distracted and I noticed he was talking to a pretty blonde girl; she looked kind of like Taylor Swift, long curly blond hair, sequined dress, thin. There was no way she was twenty-one so obviously they weren't too concerned about carding. She was texting someone on her phone and laughing holding it up to show him. As she did this she turned slightly to look over her shoulder, right at me. Her eyes pinned me like she'd known I was there the whole time and she didn't look like a girl to me, but a scary predator dressed like teen. Jesus Christ Shepard of Judea, it was Pam.
How had she gotten her hair to do that? Man, Eric was good, but he could take some disguise lessons from Pam, because she looked nothing like the girl that had come to see me the other night and certainly nothing like the Pam I was used to. She looked like she belonged on the cast of Gossip Girl.
She smiled up at the Were and he motioned her into the box. Could he not tell what she was? He pointed some things out around the arena. She giggled. He whispered in her ear, she looked shocked, but intrigued. The perfect ingénue. This guy was an idiot and he was probably going to end up a dead idiot before the end of the night. She asked for something to drink and he hopped to get it.
And that's when she headed for me. "How de do," she said in a perfect imitation of my own accent. I found myself literally unable to speak. Finally, I choked out, "Just fine thank you. You?"
"Just fine thanks. My name's Ashley." Ashley? Really? Her eyes were twinkling. She was having a blast. She prattled on and on waiting for her Were and midway through a whole lot of sentences about nothing she said, "So I'm just waiting for my friend Sara Weiss to come meet me."
Sara Weiss? Hold the phone. Agent Weiss. Pam had called in the FBI. I had to say I wouldn't have thought of that. But it was freaking brilliant. Although how Agent Weiss was going to pass for Pam's BFF, I had no idea. I didn't see how you could make her look like anything other than a career-mom, not that there was anything wrong with that, but really she'd do better coming in pretending to be Pam's angry mom. I didn't have much time to wonder about it because just a minute later, Pam's Were-honey came to drag her forward, "It's starting."
She popped right up like it was the most exciting thing she'd ever heard – not that I'd ever seen her excited about anything other than a good fight, but I suppose that was still true, after all this promised to be a hell of a good fight – and next thing I knew, teeny-bopper Pam was grabbing my hand and pulling me forward, "C'mon. You don't want to miss when they walk in."
Well, I'd never been to anything like this before, but for certain I did not want to miss one second of Eric. I was up out of my chair and pressed against the railing, just like Pam, before you could say sexy vampire.
There was an announcer prattling away about something, but I wasn't hearing any of it. Because I could see him now. Eric was watching me from the entryway to the arena. It wasn't like a boxing match more like a gladiator-style type thing. He was in one of the doorways and had not yet entered the "field of battle." We were above in a circular configuration. A lot of the seating on my level seemed to be private boxes. There was a row below us that was more like bleacher style seats. Probably I should have taken a moment to appreciate the fact that I'd never watched any type of sporting event in this sort of luxury – mostly just the metal benches at Bon Temps high – but I didn't even notice because in that disconcerting vampire-way, Eric looked right at me from the other side of the large space. He didn't have to search; he found me the second he looked up and it was no accident, his eyes were piercing. His expression was blank as he stared, although I knew mine was not, and then he winked. I could feel a tear trickle out of the side of my eye, but I smiled bright as day and could almost feel Pam role her eyes as I waved. Dignity be damned. He was not embarrassed like Pam; he grinned, but of course he didn't wave back. Then playtime was over and it was down to business. He entered the arena.
Quinn came in through the other side. Forgetting that I wasn't supposed to know her, I grabbed Pam's hand and dug in with my nails just to have a place to release the tension. What the hell, no one was watching us anymore. She looked at me a little surprised and then patted my hand awkwardly with her other one. "It's fine," she whispered. "It won't get anywhere." I couldn't bring myself to turn my head and ask her what she was talking about. I was too scared of what might happen if I looked away.
Eric walked to the middle of the arena and stood, waiting for Quinn to advance on him. Quinn did. He leaped, transforming in mid-air, it occurred to me that I needed to tell Eric that it looked way cooler for real than it had in the New Moon movie. And that was when I heard Amelia think right at me that she was on her way toward me and I needed to take care of the guard on my right. She was going to put wards up around the box. Then I heard her thinking even more loudly, watch for Victor. Watch for Victor. I didn't know if she was thinking that for me or for her, but it seemed good advice either way.
She started chanting softly. I didn't know if that was in her head or if she was close enough to hear now and just as I was about to look around to find out, Pam turned to her Were companion and swiftly broke his neck. He hadn't even hit the floor before she hopped onto the guard next to him and sank her fangs deep into his neck.
As if I had practiced it, which I can assure you I hadn't, I turned in opposite direction to find the one guard left for me and sank my silver dagger into his neck in a motion that mirrored Pam's. The large difference being that Pam had killed two men neatly, while my act splattered blood across my dress and a lot of the box, well, just one more reason to burn this dress.
Amelia was behind me now and I could feel another familiar mind, Sam's, next to her. She was growing louder and more and more people were starting to take notice that all the action wasn't down on the floor. I looked down and saw Eric glance toward us. Pam shouted something in a language I didn't know and he stepped to the left allowing striking Quinn's momentum to carry him past Eric and directly into a wall. But Eric's mind was no longer on the fight it was on our box. He looked up at us and while Quinn recovered from his collision with the wall, Eric sprang and landed crouched, hissing on the railing of the box just as a voice called out, "FBI! Stay where you are!"
And that's when everything really went nuts.
Nuts is way to tame a description for the chaos that erupted in the arena, pandemonium is probably better. Weres were transforming, humans were screaming, FBI members were shooting tranquilizer darts at anything that growled too loudly and vampires were getting the hell out of there by any means necessary, at least the old ones. I noticed a few young ones used the opportunity for a quick snack. I also thought I saw Victor disappear into the melee. I caught his eye for a moment and tried to get Eric's attention, but a vampire that's gone into defensive mode can be hard to reach and by the time Eric turned to where I had indicated, Victor was gone. I was pretty sure he'd tipped his hat to me as he'd left, but maybe that was just my imagination running wild.
A couple hours later I was still sitting in the box, now draped in an FBI windbreaker and had given my statement to several different people. I'd watched Quinn get carted off in handcuffs and felt sad for him and for Madeline, not having gotten her warrior. Eric took that moment to plunk himself down next to me. He hadn't managed to find any shoes that fit, but he had jeans and an FBI t-shit that was a little too small. He watched them lead Quinn out as well.
"I'm sorry for him," he said softly. I'm not positive he was really even talking to me, but I was sitting there so I thought I might as well answer.
"Me too," I said and laid my head on Eric's shoulder. He kissed my hair softly.
"I would hate that," he said into my hair.
I looked at him half-annoyed and half-accepting, "Death before dishonor and all that crap?"
He searched my face for a moment and brushed my hair over my shoulder, "Something like that. I just know I couldn't live in a cage."
And what could I really say. I couldn't live in a cage either. I was just so damn happy he wasn't finally dead. "I love you," I said into his neck.
He smiled. I knew because I could feel the movement against the top of my head, "What are you doing this weekend?"
Okay, random. "I don't know. Stuff with the new house I guess. You've been held prisoner for a week you want to go clubbing or something?" I laughed. Eric never wanted to go clubbing.
"No, I want to get married."
Yeah, that would be better than clubbing. I smiled brightly with not a hint of falseness and looked up at him, "We could do that."
He smirked at my casual response, "Really, you think so?"
I took his hand in mine and linked our fingers through one another then I climbed onto his lap, straddling him. I had to hike my dress up quite a bit and I saw his eyebrow quirk skyward with interest. "Yes, I think so. Assuming you're asking me to marry you, you know, human marry you."
He unhooked his hand from mine and wove his fingers through my hair forcing me to look directly into his eyes. If I hadn't known it wouldn't work I would have thought he was trying to glamour me. I felt glamoured. Like I was drowning in those too blue eyes or maybe that was just love, whatever it was, it felt great. "Will you marry me?" he asked softly.
I nodded my head and said, "Yes."
He leaned in to kiss me and whispered against my mouth, "We'll need the papers you took from my office."
How does he know these things?
I spent the rest of that week running around like a crazed weasel trying to get everything done. Pam was a tremendous help. Amelia, not so much, but she was supportive. Five days and about two hundred frantic phone calls later, found Eric and I driving north to a small, vampire-friendly resort just outside of Bennington, Vermont. Pam, Amelia and Sam, and my brother and Michele would be joining us up there. Tara and JB had begged off. Personally, I thought Tara wasn't too into the idea of toddlers at a vampire-friendly resort. I tried not to be offended by that. It was something I was going to have to live with.
I had a dress, not a completely traditional wedding dress, but more like a white evening gown – hey, there's only so much you can do in that amount of time. Other than that, the resort said they'd take care of everything. It wasn't what I imagined my wedding was going to be like, but it was perfect anyway.
It was a long drive, but that was fine. We had a lot to discuss. Victor wanted to turn me to help him achieve his goal of overthrowing de Castro and that made our world very dangerous. He was an enemy. And of course, there were the hate groups. It's not like they were going to be nicer once we came back married.
Victor and the hate groups and how to protect me from them, it looked like those were our two main problems now. Pam had made her feelings very clear on the topic. I should be turned. It wasn't safe for me to stay human. Sam, on the other hand, was disgusted by the very idea and had flown into a rage at Pam's suggestion, which unfortunately she chose to make in front of both him and Amelia. Eric, it seemed, had no opinion on the subject or at least not one he was sharing, even with me.
For the first time ever, I felt nothing on the topic. I was tired of talking about it. Tired of thinking about it. I just wanted to have one weekend to enjoy the good parts of my life. When I yelled that over Pam and Sam's argument, it didn't stop them. Eric had watched them for a moment longer, taken a sip of True Blood and said, "Pam, shut up." I was kind of frustrated that no one had listened to me, but at least they stopped.
Now Eric and I were driving toward our wedding, not talking about this big issue that would continue to raise itself – ha, raise itself, vampires, that's kind of funny. I laughed out loud at my own joke and Eric looked at me with a smirk. "Amusing yourself?"
I told him what I was thinking and he smiled and then the silence began to stretch between us. Finally he asked, "Is this something you want to discuss?"
I shrugged, "I don't know. I guess we have to talk about it eventually."
He looked purposefully at the road. For the first time in a long time I hated that I could feel Eric's emotions because I could feel his hopes rising slightly before he clamped them down. "What are your concerns?" he asked in the most neutral voice possible.
"Other than being dead?"
"Yes, other than that."
I thought about it. Never seeing the sun. Aging while all my friends stayed young. The eternalness of it all. Would the FBI even want a vampire worker? And what about this relationship, would it stay the same? Finally, I said, "Aren't you the one who told me that relations between vampires are sort of unusual and don't really last."
Now it was his turn to shrug, "Perhaps that would not be the case for us. The passion that I feel for you is certainly unlike anything I have ever felt. Perhaps, it would be your gift." Right, because all vampires got a gift. I wondered what Pam's was? I'd never thought to ask her. Was it rude to ask? Did they even all get a gift or were some more special than others? And if so, had they been more special as humans? There really was a lot I didn't know.
I quirked an eyebrow at him, "You get to fly, but my gift is to have you be passionately in love with me for all eternity."
He smirked, cocky bastard, "Some might say that's not a bad gift."
I grinned back, "Some might."
We drove on in silence for awhile longer, but it was a lot less uncomfortable than the earlier one.
"Do you have questions lover? Things that I haven't told you that would help you?"
Maybe it was rude, but I couldn't help it, I laughed until I choked, "Eric, there are so many questions that you haven't answered it isn't even funny. I stopped looking for answers a long time ago."
He looked annoyed and a little chagrined. I didn't want to ruin things between us on such a special weekend, "That's why I'm doing this you know, getting married." He looked less annoyed now and more intrigued. "I figure that way you can't get away and eventually I can get all my questions answered."
He chuckled, "And I thought it was my dashing good looks that had finally enticed you."
"That too." Really what had enticed me was just that it was time and he'd asked. I'd known he was the guy for so long I couldn't really remember why we weren't married already.
He reached for my hand in the darkness, finding it without a problem, and brought it to his lips kissing each finger softly. "You don't have to decide anything right away dear one. There is plenty of time. And I am a very patient man."
I snorted, "Yup, that's the word on the street – Eric Northman, patience of a saint."
"Anyone that says otherwise, clearly, has not met you," he responded laughing.
I snatched my hand away and glared at him playfully because how could I be angry, it was the truth. I leaned my head back against the seat and sighed, "It's such a nice night and we've hardly had any time, just the two of us, since we came back here. I don't want to think about any of that stuff tonight. I just want to think about the wedding and the wedding night."
And then we were staring at each other making stupid goo-goo, I'm going to marry you, eyes at each other. Seriously, I know there are people out there – Victor to name one – that are all het up about Eric and I as some kind of supernatural power couple, but I wonder what they'd think if they saw us alone together. It will never happen though because I'm safer if they don't know how sappy we can be about each other.
"I can think about all this vampire stuff tomorrow or another day," I sighed softly and stared out into the night.
Eric snickered in the seat next to me and pressed down a little harder on the accelerator, "All right then Scarlett, you think about it tomorrow." And then resting his hand on my inner thigh said softly, "Take all the time you need Sookie, I'm not going anywhere."
I turned and looked at him, taking in all his beauty and how happy he made me, "I'm counting on that."
A/N: So that's it! I know the ending leaves some things up in the air, but I really like it.
I'm back and forth on doing anything more with this story, although I've really enjoyed my time with it. Originally, I'd been contemplating a prologue from Eric's POV explaining why they left in the first place and then a sequel, but I can't decide. I'd love some feedback. Please review…after all…this is your last chance