Disclaimer: I own nothing...

"UGGGG where on God's green earth did I put them?" I scream out at the top of my lungs while sifting through my very small jewelry box. Nothing on my dresser seems to have an answer for me and so I continue to open drawers and rummage through the contents in a vain attempt to find my gold hoop earrings. I should just forget the earrings, I'm running late, and I need to be at Merlotte's in like 25 minutes, but for some reason once I start looking for them I can't stop. I'm not usually this disorganized, but day shifts at Merlotte's and keeping vampire hours to spend time with Eric is starting to melt my brain.

Just when I feel like I might overturn the whole dresser in some rediculous beserker rage, a la my Viking Honey, the phone rings. Saved from my own insanity! I run all the way to the kitchen chanting "don't hang up, don't hang up, don't hang up," as though this will somehow impact the decision of the person on the other end to let it ring just a few more times.

"Hello," I speak into the phone trying to catch my breath at the same time.

"Sookie? This is Remy Savoy." Despite my being late and out of breath I crack a smile when I hear his voice. We've been talking about having Hunter come over for another get together for a while now and I've been really looking forward to it.

"Hi Remy, how are you? How's Hunter?" I ask. Remy isn't usually the most talkative person I know- well not that I know him extremely well- but there seems an overly long pause before he continues on in a strangely flat voice.

"Sookie, I just wanted to let you know that I received a job offer in Texas and Hunter and I are going to be moving there within the week. I'm really grateful for all you done for him, but of course it's not really going to be possible for you to see him much anymore." I feel my smile fall and a pain start to form in my heart. I haven't spent much time with Hunter but in the time we have had together I've become very, very fond of him.

I've always known that I would never have a child of my own. Even if I wasn't in love with a vampire, Hunter is living proof of why children are a no no for me. Seeing how hard it is for him to deal with the voices, and remembering how hard it was for me before Bill taught me how to sheild my mind, how hard it can still be when I'm tired or sick, well I wouldn't do that intentionally to anyone. I had hoped that helping Hunter cope with his telepathy and spending time with him would help fulfill some of these maternal longings. Oddly enough, knowing that you shouldn't have children, and repeatedly listing all the many reasons why they're a bad idea, doesn't actually stop you from wanting to have them. To find out that now I won't even get to be an "Aunt", well it hurts, deeply. It's like a door that had been open just a crack being finally shut and locked.

"Oh Remy... congratulations on you're new job. Of course I understand you have to go where you can make the best life for Hunter. But I hope that I can still have contact with him. He'll need help, and honestly the distance doesn't mean anything to me, we can still work something out if your willing?" I throw it out there reaching for one last chance to be a part of this little boy's life and I actually feel it coming just a moment before Remy squashes this last hope under his shoe. I guess that would be the window shutting too.

"Thanks Sookie, we'll have to see. Anyway I have to get going now." With that he hangs up without even saying goodbye. I stand in my kitchen for a few minutes longer. I'm now officially late for work, but somehow it doesn't matter anymore, neither do the hiding gold earrings, or well... anything really right now. I feel tears stinging my eyes. One slips out, falls down my cheek, and lands on the counter top below me. I didn't really realize how much I was counting on being even a small part of Hunter's life until just now. I cry because I know I probably will not see him much or maybe even ever again, but in some way I know I'm also crying because young and healthy as I am, there isn't a single chance that I will be seeing any little Sookies or little Erics to take his place. Again I see that door in my mind slamming tightly shut.

I shake myself out of my stupor, grab my keys, and head out to my car. Gran always said that it was the worst kind of sin to whine about what you don't have and ignore the blessings that you do. I am alive and healthy, I have a roof over my head, a good job waiting for me right now, and best of all a wonderful man. If I must wallow well then I'll do just like that wisest of southern women, after my Gran of course, and think about it tomorrow!

- Two Months Later -

I did think about it tomorrow and for quite a bit afterwards. As I had feared Remy didn't call again. No further goodbyes, not even a forwarding address or phone number. I cried a few more times about it, and put Eric off with endless -I don't want to talk about its, when he would gently ask me what was wrong, but in the end I knew that it was pretty pointless to torture myself like this. It was what it was and I would just have to deal.

I was determined that I would do just as I had originally decided, and count my blessings not my losses. To that end I was in a very happy mood when I heard a key in the lock of the front door, announcing that my Viking Honey had arrived. I finished rinsing my dinner dishes and dried my hands on the kitchen towel just as I heard him walk over the threshold.

"Lover, I'm home." I hear the laughter in his voice, and I smile wide and run from the kitchen. Eric closes the door behind him and turns just in time to catch me in his arms. He lifts me off the ground so that we're face to face, my arms going around his neck and my legs going around his waist. "There's my girl." He says smiling that supremely joyful smile that makes me so happy and so horny all at once.

"Hey Honey, I've been waiting for you." We kiss right there in front of the door for a good five minutes and I'm just about to suggest that Eric move us into the bedroom when he disengages his lips from mine. He's reduced me to such a puddle of goo, mentally and physically, that it takes me a moment to realize that he's not kissing me anymore. When I can think again I give him a puzzled look.

"Is something wrong?" He smiles a little warily, and gives me one more peck on the lips before setting me down on legs I'm not so sure are stable. Once we're both convinced I won't just fall over he runs his hand through his hair and gives an unnecessary sigh.

"Not wrong Lover, but before we get on with our evening we need to sit down and talk a little...business." I feel a completely necessary sigh welling up in me as I turn around and lead us to the kitchen. Gran always did what needed doing at the kitchen table. As I sit there now though, I think that it's a great deal harder to think of this table as "for business" when I remember all of the very "for pleasure" things that Eric and I have done on it. But then again if I want a neutral spot for our discussion we'll have to walk all the way over to Bill's house.

"Okay what's up?" Eric sighs again, and I can feel through the bond that he's bracing for a fight. Great.

"I recieved a call from Sandy Seacrest upon rising this evening. It seems that in addition to her other Girl Friday duties she also plays events coordinator for DeCastro. His Majesty is having a ball in Nevada in one week to commemorate the one year anniversary of his...ascension...to the thrones of Louisanna and Arkansas." Eric says that last as though I just shoved a whole bulb of garlic in this mouth. "As one of DeCastro's sherriffs I am required to attend. As a famed telepath, my bonded, and my pledged your presense has also been requested." He pauses for a moment and then says whatever it is that I can tell he thinks will start a fight. "And by requested Lover, I mean demanded. I cannot go without you or it will be bad for both of us." Yep, when the man's right the man is right, this is gonna start a fight.

"Bad for both of us, as in, bad because you can't control your human, your pet, your peice of property? Bad like that?" I'm up out of my seat like a shot. "Jesus Christ Shepard of Judea I'm sick of this garbage Eric. I'm a goddamn person not a dog, you can't just whistle and have me come. I have a life, a job, bills to pay, I can't just up and leave every time some bigshot vampire snaps his fingers. And frankly I don't owe your damn Vampire King squat! In fact, the way I see it, he owes me for saving him from rape, torture, and final death at the hands of a very large, very enraged, and very stupid Saxon." By this time I'm fairly yelling and the anger I'm feeling seems to be growing exponentially. Suddenly, just as I'm about to throw something, I realize that my anger is this bad because Eric is angry too. We're feeding off each other's emotions again. In other situations this is the not so bad part of our bond. When we're in bed for instance, this looping effect fuels some of the most outragiously,mindblowingly, fantastic sex I'm sure anyone in the history of the world has ever had, right now though, it's definitely not anywhere near as enjoyable as that. Eric takes a deep calming breath and attempts to difuse the situation.

"Sookie calm down. There is no point in our rehashing this arguement. Things are as they are, our goal now should be to keep our heads down and get in and out of Nevada as quickly and quietly as possible." Eric informs me very slowly and deliberately as though explaining a particularly difficult concept to a small child. Yeah, definitely not calming down, not one bit.

"Don't tell me to calm down! I have every right to be upset. Didn't you yourself say the last thing we should do is parade me in front of DeCastro. My GOD, how did I ever get mixed up in all of this vampire shit?" I'm really just ranting for the sake of ranting, trying to expend the anger so that the emotion will simply wear itself out. That would probably work if it was just me by myself, but again that looping thing turns out to have a pretty awful effect on the vampire sharing my emotions with me. Eric is getting keyed up in a major way. Before I can open my mouth to make the situation worse he's in front of me, our bodies not two inches apart.

"I will tell you exactly how you got into this garbage. You're peice of shit cousin, may she rest in peace," he spits sarcastically,"sold you out to her girlfriend before you or I ever met. You're being in this-Vampire Shit- as you call it has nothing to do with me, so kindly stop laying this particular bitchfest at my door. What's more you wouldn't have to worry about taking time off of your job, or paying your bills if you would just quit already and come live with me as I have repeatedly asked you to. You have no need to work, your place is at MY side!" If I were a sane person I would back down at this point. An enraged vampire is a scary, scary thing, and I know personally that for Eric to curse he has to be super enraged. I'm not sane though, never have been if you ask the folks in this town, and so I step one of those two inches closer to Eric, jut out my chin, look him straight in the eye, and make things worse.

"That's really all you want from me isn't it? Just some kept woman who lounges around all day in sexy see through nighties and does nothing but wait for you to wake up so I can give you sex at your beck and call." Eric's eyes widen and his nostrils flare. That last inch between us evaporates as Eric gets right in my face.

"Yes, that's exactly what I want, couldn't you tell? Wasn't it obvious by the way I come running to you every spare moment I can find, taking the scraps of your free time that you'll give me while you childishly bemoan your lot in life, reject our bond, deny our marriage, and continue to lie to yourself and to me about the depth of your feelings for me, that I want nothing but a sex toy. Yes, how entirely repugnant of me to want to have the woman I love at my side, just like EVERY OTHER man on this planet. Do I really need to remind you that if all I want is some golddigger to fuck at my leisure, I don't have to waste the time driving to Bon Temps to find one."

I just stand there utterly shocked for a moment. Part of me, the Stackhouse part of me, wants to keep fighting for the sake of winning the argument. But the rest of me realizes that this is quickly going from "lover's tiff" to a knock down drag out break up fight, and I DO NOT want that to happen. I can almost hear my Gran telling me to breath.

As much as I hate the world of vampire politics that I can't seem to get out of. As much as these intensly powerful and inhuman creatures, ones like Philipe DeCastro and Victor Madden, scare me, the vampire standing in front of me is the love of my life. I have hurt him many, many times since Hallow's curse ended, and apparently I continue to do it even now. But I knew the moment Eric's maker announced with such arrogance and such conviction that I would never be able to keep him, that keeping him was exactly what I wanted to do. Apparently I forgot to tell Eric that though. I take one of those calming deep breaths Eric is so fond of and prepare to injest a little humble pie.

"You're right. I'm sorry, that was entirely uncalled for on my part. I know I mean more to you than that, and I said it just to get a reaction." If Eric could pass out from shock I think he'd be on the floor right now. The look on his face is priceless and if we didn't really need to talk about other things I might laugh at him, and then kiss him, and then take him on the "for business" kitchen table. "Eric I really did not mean to start this argument or say any of those things to you, but I'm scared. You told me yourself that DeCastro wanted to force me to work for him in Vegas. What if we get there and he doesn't let me go?" I look up at Eric just the way I used to look up at my dad when I was a little girl and beg him to reassure me that there were no monsters under my bed. At this particular moment I have a very profound realization.

I used to yearn, even long after my father was dead and I was grown, to feel his strong arms holding me tight and reassuring me, and I realize now that desire has been transformed. When I'm scared or sad or insecure it's Eric's arms that I want around me now, telling me that everything will be fine. I never felt that with Bill or Quinn. I guess it's more proof of just how much I love him, how much I know we're right for each other. One of these days I'm going to have to get around to actually saying all these things to him, but right now we have some more pressing things to work out.

"Lover I know that you are scared. But I swear to you that you have no need to be. You are my blood bonded and my pledged. These ceremonies are sacred to my kind. DeCastro may want you, but he cannot take you unless it is of your own free will." As if he can read my thoughts instead of just my emotions, Eric takes me into his arms and tilts my chin up to look at him. "I take it that it is your will to stay here in your home and remain with me?" Wow, that question makes my heart all melty.

"Yes. I want to stay here and live my life, and be with you." Short, sweet, and to the point but it gets the desired results. Eric smiles that smile again, and suddenly I feel through the bond that we're both happy and horny once again.

"Good. Then we will attend his- ascension celebration- and return as quickly as possible." I nod my head to show that, now that we're all being adults again, I understand he's right and I agree. "Perfect, now I believe we had other things planned for tonight." Eric's happy smile goes to lascivious leer and I have to say it makes me all sorts a giddy.

"I was wondering if you could help me with some...business over on the table?" It's the last thing we say for a long, long time.