A/N: Final chapter finally. Hehe. Over two years. This is probably why I'm so scared to try and publish something original. It'd take me too damn long to write it. I hope you've enjoyed the ride. Thank you so much for the comments and support and favorites along the way. You've all been amazing.

Special thanks: EtheHunter is especially wonderful. This one is a doozy and she whipped it into shape. Any remaining mistakes are all my own, since I enjoy fiddling with things before I post.

Disclaimer: Isn't it obvious by now? I don't own them. Please don't take away my toaster; it's the only thing I own.


But her message had got me thinking. Was I being just as much of a stubborn ass as Eric? Could the answer to my broken heart be something as simple as a trip to Fangtasia? Not that I was just going to waltz in and "fuck him already" as Pam'd suggested.

But maybe, just maybe, I could be strong enough to take that first step. It took me another few days to talk myself into it, and then I could hardly wait.

One way or another, I was going to know for sure if my feelings were reciprocated. If Eric wanted to give us a try. An honest-to-God try. No more of the pussy-footing we'd been doing around each other since we'd met.

I was mature enough to make the first move. I just hoped Eric didn't slam the door in my face, breaking my heart for good.

It took some doing, but I convinced Sam I needed some time to myself, so he'd given me the next three days off. I figured, if it all went well – hell if it all went bad – I'd need a couple extra days.

If it went bad, I'd spend those days crying and putting myself back together. But if it went good? I smiled to myself. If it went good, I'd spend the next three days in bed next to Eric.

I was going to get him back.


I took my time getting ready.

Not just on the outside – though that consumed hours too – but on the inside as well. The latter had taken days, or if I was being honest, it took me three and a half weeks. Too long, really, when I thought about it. I wasn't immortal.

But I wanted to be prepared for rejection too, which took up the majority of that time. Especially when I had to repeatedly convince myself this was something I had to do. I couldn't let Eric go, not without a fight. It wasn't in my nature to just give up.

Bull-headed, Gran had called it. I tended to agree.

I'd showered and shaved, moisturizing my skin enough to make it soft as a baby. I set my hair in rollers, which I never did because it took hours to get the perfect amount of curl and bounce. The trick was rolling your hair when it was wet then letting it dry naturally. After my hair was artfully tousled, I did my make-up.

Thanks to the vampire blood, even if it had been weeks, my complexion was still bright and glowing. It didn't take much. A little eyeshadow, a little mascara, a dusting of blush and then a bit of lip gloss and I was done.

The dress?

Well, the dress I'd splurged on. Plus the matching underthings. More accurately underthing since I couldn't wear a bra with the dress. It was such a rare thing to treat myself to something nice, but I figured if ever there was an occasion then that would be it.

My dress was brand new. Red too.

I got new shoes also, and a shade of nail polish that matched my dress perfectly. I'd taken Pam's advice. Red dress, red panties, red nails and red lip gloss. Hopefully it wasn't overkill. The shoes were black satin with a decorative red bow that laced up the back of the heels. If all went well, Eric wouldn't be paying much attention to my shoes.

By the time I was finished I looked... Well, I'd like to say the result was devastating, but I'd never been pretty enough for that. I'd always been, and always would be, one of those girls that could manage beautiful but never stunning. I was pretty, I was vain enough to admit that, but I was no Megan Fox.

I gave myself a final once over in the mirror, smiling slightly. I did look beautiful.

The dress was a halter that tied around my neck and framed my breasts, making the best of my cleavage. It fit through the waist and hips, flaring a bit around my thighs and ended a couple inches above my knees. I think, aside from the cut, I loved the fabric most. You know how, when you were a young girl, you used to pick out dresses based on how they looked when you twirled around? Well, I'd done that with this dress and it spun around me in a beautiful flutter of red and satin.

The effect was feminine and sexy without looking trashy. It was the best I could do. I grabbed my purse and left.

The drive to Shreveport made me even more anxious. I'd made it through the day on my excitement alone, but my fear settled in once I realized I was minutes away from putting my heart on the line. I tried to sing along with the radio to keep myself preoccupied, but it didn't help much. I had to convince myself not to turn around at least half a dozen times.

It was completely dark when I pulled into the parking lot, and there was a long line around the front of the building. I'd noticed Pam at the front door before I parked, so something told me I wouldn't have to wait with the rest of the patrons.

Not in the line at least.

I shut off the ignition and tried to calm my nerves, closing my eyes and taking deep breaths until my hands stopped shaking. I had to wait several minutes alone in my car before I could move.

What if –

"Fuck it," I said aloud. I shook off the what if's. I was tired of playing that game with my head. I glanced at my reflection in the rear view mirror, stuffed my keys in my purse and opened the door.

The gust of fresh air helped my resolve, so as I stepped out of the car and shut the door, I squared my shoulders and walked with confidence to the entrance of Fangtasia.

I ignored the outrage of the other club goers and the "Who the hell does she think she is?" questions that came from their heads, smiling as I stepped in front of Pam. She looked like a goth princess, with a tiara and all. Well, a tiara made of spikes and barbed wire at least.

"Sookie," she purred as she noticed me. Her fangs ran out and I took it as the compliment it was. Blood, battle, and sex. I'd made Pam think about the latter. "You look like sin."

I curtsied a little. "I hope that's a good thing."

She beamed. "Very. I've always hated confession. I was never repentant of my transgressions."

"I can believe that." I smiled at her.

"Perhaps you could give me my first taste of sin this evening?" she suggested, leering for all she was worth. I doubted it would be her first.

Her stare made me a little uncomfortable, but I forced myself not to squirm as I stepped toe-to-toe with her. She hummed when I traced the lace of her collar with the tip of one red nail. "When hell freezes over," I purred.

Pam let out a delighted peal of laughter and grabbed my hand to drag me through the door. "You're in a mood tonight, aren't you? I love it."

"Let's hope Eric does too," I muttered, tightening up my mental shields a bit. People were broadcasting extra loud that night. Or maybe it had something to do with my own jitters. It was hard to block them.

"Oh, he will. You can count on that." She stopped and twirled me around, not failing to notice the way my skirt fluttered up and exposed more of my thighs. "Definitely. He's on the stage."

Then she let me go and I sort of skipped to keep from tripping in my heels, hoping the move looked graceful and not clumsy. God, I needed a drink. Liquid courage. I swallowed my anxiety and it rested as comfortably as a rock in my stomach.

I walked towards the bar.

I swear I could feel Eric's eyes on me as I headed that way, but when I turned to search over my shoulder for him, I found him staring at the half-naked woman dry humping a stripper pole. I changed course in an instant.

Maybe I didn't need a drink after all. Jealousy seemed to fuel me just fine.

Eric was dressed in black leather. Well, there were the pants and a jacket, but he wore no shirt. I glanced at his boots. Yep. Leather too. He leaned comfortably in that ridiculously gaudy chair of his, one leg stretched out before him; the picture of relaxation.

When his eyes finally caught mine, I made sure he could see my appreciation for the image he posed. He was so beautiful. That beauty was a deception though. I knew he was deadly. And yet I loved him anyway.

I added a bit of extra sway to my hips as I approached. The hand that had been propping his chin fell to the armrest of the chair. Such a small loss of Eric's iron control, but I saw it as a huge victory for me.

"Hi," I said as I came to a stop. Directly between him and the naughty dancer, blocking his view. She cursed nastily at me in her thoughts. I ignored her. My eyes were all for Eric.

His expression was unreadable, and he was doing his damnedest to block the bond. I both hated and adored working blind. It wasn't something I got to do often.

"Finally here to tell me what happened while I was cursed?"

I smiled and put a hand on my hip, leaning into a pose of my own. "Not exactly."

The shift was in the lines around his eyes. He was suddenly angry. "Then why are you here?"

"I missed you." I'd caught him off guard with that one. He wasn't sure what to say; I could tell by the way his lips pursed. That was okay. I wasn't done. "Why didn't you call me?"

Eric made a face. "I am not that man, Sookie."

"I know," I shrugged. "I figured you'd sneak into my house just to scare the piss out of me for your own enjoyment."

"If I'd known you were looking so forward to it, perhaps I would have." There was just the smallest hint of the smirk I adored.

I smirked back. "You haven't even demanded I tell you the truth of our time together. Aren't you just the tiniest bit curious?"

He damn near growled but quickly schooled his features. Tension was apparent in his posture that hadn't been there before. "I could force you to tell me. I have ways of getting exactly what I want that I'm sure you'd find... not of your tastes."

I'm sure he did. I remembered what he'd done to Lafayette. "I'd rather show you," I said simply as I moved closer.

I looked around a bit as I did and realized I didn't have many options. Sighing lightly, I started to go down to my knees, right between Eric's legs. He moved faster than a blink and pulled me into his lap. Well, that would have been a better option but I wasn't sure how he'd take to that.

"Never prostrate yourself in front of me," he whispered angrily in my ear.

I shook my head. "I wasn't. I was just going to show you – "

"Every vampire in this place would have viewed you kneeling to me as such."

While that was probably true, I was fairly certain if I was going to involve myself in his world wholeheartedly, there'd eventually be a time when I'd have to do exactly that. It chafed a bit, but one often did stranger things for love. I was sure kneeling would be the least of the extreme's I'd go.

Eric's arm had gone around my waist and his fingers made idle circles on my opposite elbow. It tickled a bit, but he was touching me and I'd missed that. His other sat on the arm of his throne.

Crossing my ankles, I lowered my eyes to my lap. Black leather, red satin, I liked the way we fit together. "I am not too proud to do something when it needs to be done." Then I lifted my eyes back to his and held them. "Are you?"

This was my life now; I was too deeply involved in the supernatural world. There would be no normal life for me. I knew that; I was certain Eric had been able to draw the same conclusion himself. I wanted him, did he want me? Was he too proud to own up to his feelings? Too proud to give us a chance, naysayers be damned?

The tiny catch in his breath was a triumph I enjoyed only briefly. When the bond finally opened and his emotions rolled over me like a catastrophic tsunami, I nearly sobbed. So many. So much to take in. Too much. It was almost overwhelming.

"I am not," he whispered after a heartbeat. Fear laced his words, and I understood that better than anything.

It wasn't a simple question and Eric had realized that.

"Do you trust me?" I asked and reached for his hand. It took all of my concentration to focus on my task ahead.

Eric and I shared more than just a bond. There was a deeper connection there, something we'd discovered unknowingly while he was cursed. I knew, just knew, it'd still be of use even now.

His eyes narrowed briefly before he nodded.

I clasped his hand in mine and closed my eyes. Eric's almost imperceptible groan was the only indication I had that it'd worked.

It was only a brief memory I showed him. Eric and I lounging in the bed, post-coitus. We were both nude and unashamed. He was leaning over me with a look of wonder on his face as he traced my lips, my chin, drawing a line down my neck, between my breasts before circling my belly button and returning the same path. But this Eric saw it, and that's what I'd wished.

"What was that?" he asked, pulling me back to the moment.

I opened eyes that felt moist, and met his. "I can show you more. If you'd like?"

"I..." Eric paused, aware that I'd meant more with that question, too.

I was asking him if he wanted to know, despite what it might mean, despite what pain it might cause or what problems may arise. I was asking to be his, but also, for him to be mine, damn the consequences. I wanted more, did he? I held my breath.


I sagged and took a relieved breath, leaning to take his face in my hands. I pressed a kiss to his still lips, then pulled away enough to meet his eyes.

They held heat that rivaled my own. But so much more. It was the 'more' in Eric that called me to him, that tethered me to him in ways that would forever be undeniable. Even if his answer had been no, I would have loved him forever.

"Take me somewhere we won't be interrupted," I breathed.

"I have a house three minutes from here." There was no hesitation. Eric stood, only choosing to put me on my own two feet instead of carrying me when he caught the look in my eye. "Flying is much easier if I can hold you, Sookie."

"I'd rather take my car," I said as he led me to the back entrance.

Eric grunted but I let him feel my emotions. I wanted him to let me in, to trust me, to bring me into his life. By allowing me to know where he lived – because I sure as hell couldn't retrace my steps if we were flying – he'd be doing exactly that.

"I'll drive," he said finally, holding out his hand for my keys. After tossing them to him, I smiled to myself and settled into the passenger seat.

The drive was more like fifteen minutes instead of the three he'd promised. Flying around everywhere was a convenience and a time saver. We stayed mostly quiet, but I reached over and took his hand in mine. Eric held on just as tightly.

The house we pulled up to looked like every other house in the subdivision. Brick, two-story exterior, stylized roofing with a perfectly manicured lawn which was exactly the same size as the ones on either side of it. It looked like the kind of house that held two point two children, and stable working parents.

Eric pushed the button for the garage door and it closed us in. The space was mostly empty; a couple of cases of Tru Blood set to the side was the only indication that it wasn't what it appeared to be from the outside.

That and the intricate looking security panel screwed into the wall beside the door. I ignored the buttons he pressed, not that I could follow what he was doing at that speed anyhow. As he led me in, I tried to look around.

Eric had other ideas though.

"You are a vision in red, Sookie," he purred as he pressed me against the wall. His body leaned into me and I gripped his arms. His eyes held mine while a series of beeps sounded in my ear as he reset the alarm. "You are like a dream."

"You like it then?" I asked breathlessly. All of his attention was on me, his hands annoyingly absent. The weight of his body, as well as his gaze, kept me still. It was almost like he was trying to decide where he wanted to touch first.

I didn't care as long as he touched me.

He stepped back enough to stare down at me with those intense eyes of his. "I want to rip it off you."

A shudder of desire ripped through me. "But I just bought it," I argued. I didn't care. Not really. I wanted him to rip it off me. I didn't like the dress that much anyway. Pretty twirl or not.

His eyes devoured me. I was a happy little cheeseburger, ready to be eaten. "I'll buy you a new one."

"Okay," I said, pressing my hands to his exposed chest and running them over the muscles there. Eric still wasn't touching me and it was driving me mad.

He stepped out of reach. Damn him. Crossing his arms, he raised an eyebrow at me. "Do you plan on always being this agreeable?"

"I can be agreeable," I said hotly. I righted myself and started walking out of the kitchen, determined to see the rest of his house. I wanted him, but I wasn't going to beg for it. At least, not yet.

Eric stopped me in the entryway to the living area. "Fiery even when you're being acquiescent. There's that sparkling Sookie attitude."

I narrowed my eyes at him, feigning anger, and pushed a finger into his chest. "I'll show you sparkling."

Just as I was about to let lose a flare of light from my finger, Eric grabbed my wrist and pulled me to him. "I hope you do. I hope you're worth it," he growled, fangs out, and laid a bruising kiss on my lips.

The rush of heat was sudden, but the anger I felt was unexpected. I kissed him back, equally as aggressive. "I hated you," I said between one devastating kiss and the next. "I hate you for what you made me feel."

He grabbed the fabric of my dress, lifting me to allow us both a better angle and stumbled further into the room. I ground myself against him. "Feeling's mutual."

Suddenly I was crying. "I hate you for not calling me. I hate that I missed you." I kissed him hungrily, clawing at his jacket to get closer, or further away, I wasn't sure. It was all so confusing. "Why didn't you come?"

Eric halted then, looking as breathless as I felt as he set me back down. His fingers touched my face, wiping at my tears. "I did," he admitted softly. "I did. Every night."

"You did?" I asked, trying to regain control of my emotions. Why hadn't he confronted me? Left me a sign? Something? Eric nodded, and something occurred to me. He was just as bull-headed as I was. "You're not going to be any more agreeable than I will." I palmed his cheek. "This isn't going to be easy."

He smiled and kissed me tenderly. I melted against him. "No," he conceded. "Nothing about us will ever be easy."

I kissed him again, agreeing with him completely. Eric and I were complicated on an even more complicating number of levels. It was just the truth of it. But, I thought, as my tongue danced languidly with his, maybe our stubborn streaks would aid in our success. Neither one of us knew when to quit.

He was driving me delirious with his slow gentle kiss. His hands refused to touch me any place more intimate than my face, no matter how much I taunted him. No matter how I curled and pressed my body against his.

My breasts felt heavy, my nipples hard. Between my thighs was a scorching throb of emptiness.

His control was steel and I was on fire, aching for more.

I was going to crumble that fantastic disciple of his if it was the last thing I did. I pushed away from him, breaking our kiss. "Where is your bedroom?" I purred.

He followed me as I walked backward toward the stairs, his eyes both patient and predatory. God, but I loved him. "What's your hurry?"

I reached for the zipper at the back of my dress, knowing he could hear the sound as it lowered. "I'm ready to see it," I said with a shrug. "You do have a bed, don't you? I'm not sure a coffin is very romantic," I teased.

Then I fingered the tie around my neck. It was the only thing holding my dress up. Eric sensed this. I knew it because his eyes turned black. I shivered with want. I was pushing him. I knew it. I loved it. I wanted him to break.

He slipped the jacket off his shoulders, dropping it to the floor. Forgotten. I held his stare, predatory in my own right. He did that to me. I loosed the knot.

Eric was there before my dress could fall, holding the strings in place with two fingers. "What if I want you now? Right here. On my stairs."

My knees buckled, but he held me around my waist. His grip was bruising there and I knew he was close to losing it. "Eric. Please. I need you."

A sound escaped his throat and his expression changed. Naked and wanting, soft in a way I'd never witnessed. Not even when he'd lost his mind. I dropped my shields, allowing him to feel my emotions. I'd never be able to block him completely.

Just certain things.

Like the extent of my love, how deeply imbedded he was in my thoughts, my heart. He had his own special place right in the center of my soul. I let him feel it all.

"Lover," he whispered and let go.

My dress fell to the floor, pooling around my heels. In the same instant, Eric was there, his mouth, his tongue, his hands, everywhere at once. I moaned and fell backwards, ignoring the press of the stairs against my back.

Take me, I thought. I was his. If he wanted to fuck me on the stairs, I wanted it too.

His hands situated me more comfortably as his tongue did devilish things to my breasts. I arched into his touch, reaching, searching, blind in pleasure as I found him hard and thick against his pants. I stroked him once, just as he slid his hand over my panties, cupping me firmly.

Our voices mingled as we both cried the others name.

I moved my hand to his zipper, pulling it down and reaching in to feel the weight of him against my palm. He pressed his hips into my hand groaning. My panties ripped.

The cool air was a pleasant shock. Then his finger nudged me open and I was greedy for more. He slowed deliberately, teasing instead of entering. His kiss was wet on my lips, his eyes open and connecting with mine. They stayed that way.

Our frenzy had become something else. A renewal of sorts. There was a leisurely pace in the delight we took from one another. I sucked his lip into my mouth, guiding the swollen head of him to my opening.

Eric's eyes were molten as he looked down. His fingers touched mine, the silky heat of my center, and then himself, only to go back and do it again, as if that sensation alone were enough pleasure to him. I thrilled at his touch and the look on his face.

"I do, you know?" I said breathlessly.

He lifted his head after a breath, though it looked difficult for him to do. He had trouble tearing his eyes away from the sight of us so intimately close and still so achingly singular. He'd yet to enter me.

When his gaze met mine, my breath caught. He stared at me as if I were a dream, as if he couldn't quite believe I was really there. I understood the feeling. "I do, you know?" I repeated, touching the tip of one fang with my free hand.

He sucked my finger into his mouth. "Do what?" he asked, confused.

"Love you."

His eyes closed. "Again." Eric moved both of my hands with one of his, pinning them to the step above my head. Then he reached between us. "Say it again."

My pulse raced. "I love you."

He slid home.

I came instantly. He'd toyed with me too much. Or rather, the perfect amount. I'd been coiled tighter than a snake. His mouth fell to mine and I swept my tongue in. He let go of my arms in order to support his weight better. It was what I wanted. I couldn't give as good as I was getting while he was holding me down.

I reached up and around his shoulders, the feel of his skin warmer than it was cold, and clasped my fingers around his neck. Then I lifted myself against him, pressing nearer with each of his thrusts. His whispers and grunts were music to my ears.

"I know," he said after a while. "I know you do, and it drives me mad." He pressed deeper, lifting my leg around his hip. My heels slid off. I couldn't even feel the stairs anymore. "I feel you. In me. All around me. I can't shake you."

It wasn't the confession I'd hoped for, but I'd take it. "Then don't. Just accept it. Accept me."

"Sookie. My Sookie," Eric groaned.

He moved more deliberately then, switching from soft and slow to hard and frenzied, then back again. I was just along for the ride. And what a delicious ride it was. When he switched from muttering in English to some other language, I knew he was close.

His hand reached between us, his long fingers sliding to either side of his length. Just watching him, the way we were joined, the erotic sight of us moving against each other, was enough to push me over the edge. When Eric came right behind me it was with a roar. I thought for sure I could orgasm from that sound alone.

Lifting me as he stood, as if I weighed nothing at all, Eric zoomed up the stairs. I felt the slide of him coming out of me when he tossed me to the bed. I squealed a little, laughing as I flipped over to catch his eye.

His boots were tossed aside then he stepped out of his pants. I licked my lips as I drank him in, propping myself up on my elbows. Eric's eyes locked on my breasts as they swayed with the movement.

"You can't just toss me around like that," I argued. "I'm fragile."

"I know," he said, then reached for my hips and flipped me over. When he entered me from behind, I knew it was going to a long night. I relished the thought. "Not as fragile as you like to pretend."

An unknown amount of time, and countless orgasms later, Eric and I were spooning in his enormous bed. His sheets were a mess, and the comforter was long gone, lost to a pile in the floor. We shared the only surviving pillow.

I was a wink away from sleep, perfectly content in the circle of his arms. Eric was still hard. He was also still buried deep between my thighs. He was insatiable.

I knew he'd expended himself; the evidence kept slipping down the curve of my ass. And yet there he stayed. I was strangely okay with that. He was welcome. Wanted.

"What are you thinking?" I asked.

His fingers touched me lazily, my hip, my arm, my breast or nipple, occasionally in my hair. There seemed to be no rhythm to it. No pattern. Eric was just touching where he wanted to when he had the urge to do it. I let him.

"Many things," he answered. "I'm hungry, for one." He pressed his lips to my neck. "Not just for your blood." I felt him swell inside me. Insatiable. "What are you thinking?"

I smiled, my eyes closed. They were too heavy to hold open. "I was just thinking that I wish it could always be like this. This is nice."

"Yes," he agreed.

I grabbed his hand and hugged it between my breasts. I felt him snuggle closer. "But it won't always be like this."


"There will always be danger."

"You are a survivor, my lover. I've known that since the first night I saw you."

I didn't disagree, but... "Someone will talk. Tell someone else what I can do. I can't survive everything."

"You are mine," he said, as if that solved everything.

I pried one eye open enough to peer over my shoulder at him. "You can't survive everything."

His eyes were drooping. It must've been close to sunrise. "But I can survive most."

"The queen will come after me eventually." I sighed and closed my eyes again.

"We will deal with that when the time comes."

"Someone else will come along after her."


I loved that about him. His honesty. That he didn't sugar coat things for me. He knew things were never going to be simple for me if I was going to be involved with a vampire. He also knew that I knew this and was willing to be with him, no matter.

"You'll be targeted too," I continued. The idea of him being harmed frightened me more than the prospect of my own death.

I felt him smile against the curve of my neck. "I look forward to that."


We were silent for a while. I breathed; Eric didn't. Every so often I'd feel him inhale, taking in my scent I think, and he'd curl tighter around me. I never wanted to move. I liked him like this. I also feared for him.

"Some things cannot be hidden, no matter how hard you try," I mused aloud. Eric was very affectionate. Another vampire would notice; I had. "I will be seen as your weakness. They'll use me and whatever you feel for me against you."

He flipped me over and pinned me beneath him, sliding back inside before I could protest. Not that I would have. I whimpered, the sensation enough to wake me. Would my thirst for him ever be quenched? I doubted it.

Eric's eyes were hard when they landed on my face, his lips drawn tight. "Are you trying to convince me to change my mind?"

I bit my lip. "Maybe," I admitted.

"It won't happen." He slid out, circling my opening before he slid back in. I watched his eyes go hazy and gripped his arms, pleasure rippling through me.

"I just want full disclosure. I want you to know exactly what it is you're getting into."

"I know what I'm getting into." To accentuate his words, he rolled his hips against mine. I moaned in response. "Do you?"

I smiled and reached up to nip at his chin. "Not exactly."

His eyes were bright, his fangs looked as long as what lay inside me. "And?"

"And that's okay."

I didn't know what life was going to throw at us, at him or at me, but I knew that I didn't want to be without him. He was mine. I wasn't letting him go without a fight. Not for anyone. Or anything.

Eric's lips met mine. If his kiss was sin, I'd never pray again.

He pulled back, even as I held him tight. It was his turn to be a Negative Nelly. "Many will try to separate us."

I blinked up at him. "But you'll fight for me?" I'd made it a question.

His expression was fierce. "I would defy all laws for you." A tear rolled down my cheek as I fought to breathe again. His eyes bored into mine. "Do you understand what I'm saying?"

I did. Without as many words, Eric had just told me he loved me.

"I don't want to be a vampire."

Jaw tight, Eric said, "I know."

I paused long enough for him to hear the seriousness of my words. "But there may come a time when I change my mind."

I wasn't stupid enough to think that would never happen. Sometimes things changed. My mind being made up now didn't mean it would be in five years. Or ten. People, humans especially, were funny that way.

He kissed me again and began to move. Hard, slow thrusts that brought me to the precipice. I groaned in frustration when he stopped.

"When," he began, his voice hoarse with need, "and if you change your mind, it would be my honor to make that happen. You would make an exceptional vampire."

"You've told me that before."

His brow lowered in confusion. "I have?"

In a dream. I smiled. "Sort of."

He smiled back, as if he knew. Something told me maybe he did. "If you change your mind..."

I pulled him down and kissed his pouting lips. "You'll be the first to know."

"Alright," he said. There was no more talking after that. We spoke with our bodies instead.

I remembered something when I awoke the next day. My eyes were on Eric, watching him in his daytime rest.

Vampire's slept differently than humans did. Given, there was no way I could know how I looked while I was asleep, but I had seen others. Even aside from the fact that Eric wasn't breathing, I would have noticed the differences.

He did not stir. Not so much as a twitch in his little finger. His face was relaxed, every limb of his body completely without animation. I knew it was somehow, in some strange way, much deeper than a human could ever rest. No drugs, not even a coma, could induce such a slumber for one such as I.

Eric was completely vulnerable. He'd trusted me enough to stay.

Silent tears, happy tears, ran down my face. My heart swelled, and I knew that with this only being the beginning, it would grow even more in time. I would love him more with every passing day.

I still hadn't given him his memories.

I would. It'd be the first thing I showed him when he rose for the evening, while we made love. My tears fell in a steady stream between us. I wrapped my arms around him. Kissed his face. His chest.

Eric had still chosen me, still loved me, even without the memories. And that was more than enough.

A/N: Can I take a moment to confess how incredibly emotional I was while writing this chapter. Perhaps the names of these characters do not belong to me, but I dared to write about them, think as if in their minds, and somewhere along the way they became MY characters. I love them. I can only hope you do too.

Thanks to all of you for reading, whether it was from the beginning or if you joined in along the way. I'm so glad that you decided to take this journey with me. It was hard and sad and stressful and exciting and full of lots of love. I enjoyed it all and cannot thank you enough for your support and love.

I have had a few of you asking if I have a sequel planned. As of right now, I do not. I'm not crossing the possibility out, but at present I don't intend to write one. I feel comfortable with where this left off, so I hope you all do too. If inspiration strikes, however, feel free to add me to your alerts if you'd like to keep an eye out.