I woke up tight in Eric's cool embrace, and I relaxed back into him. I'd dreamed about him, as I normally did, but this time he was really here on waking. I felt protected in his arms, and I closed my eyes once more trying to memorize his feel. I wasn't going to let him go. His cold body was soothing on my over-heated skin, but I felt better for having had his blood. And not only that, the relief of actually seeing him again took a dark cloud from above me. I felt so much lighter in his presence; he soothed me and I needed him.
I had to admit that there were many times in the previous months where I'd feared that he'd never come back to me. I knew he was still alive – or not finally dead – as I could feel his every-present hum in the back of my mind, but I had been constantly scared he would do something stupid like meet the sun. All I could do was trust that Pam would do everything she could to keep him alive, but I knew as well as she did, that if he really wanted to do something he would command her to leave him.
There were also times that I'd been so angry with him for abandoning me. I'd shouted and cried, and thrown things. I'd cursed him and sworn that I would never take him back. Amelia had been with me by my side during some of my lowest moments, and she'd been my rock, really pulling me through my dark times. She agreed with me that he was an asshole for leaving me the way he did, but then her opinion of him had always been worse than mine.
However, the simple fact was that he was in so much pain. If I could feel it nearly five thousand miles away, I didn't even want to think what it must have been like for him.
And I couldn't truly hate him. I loved him, after all.
Amelia had accused me of being a doormat for staying and dutifully waiting for him. She knew that I would accept him back with open arms, and that didn't sit well with her. She didn't even try to hide her thoughts from me, and let me know that she considered me an idiot for not walking away from him. I respected her opinions; they were hers, after all, and she was entitled to make up her own mind.
But Eric was my other half, and he was suffering and in pain. I wasn't going to abandon him when he was at his lowest – what kind of wife would that make me? Essentially, he was depressed and he needed help. I didn't like that he had pushed me away, but I hoped that he would recover enough to come back to me and let me help him.
So when I woke up to find him sitting there, I didn't rip him a new one, or shout at him for leaving me in the first place. I was better than that, and I wasn't going to act like a petulant child and place all the blame at his feet. I could feel the guilt and remorse coming off him in waves despite that fact that our bond hadn't been renewed in four months. Quite simply, he already felt like shit for abandoning me, and he didn't need me making him feel any worse.
What was more was that he genuinely didn't realise how long he'd been gone. He was surprised when I said the word 'months' and his shock was evident when I told him that he'd been gone for four months. I assumed that he'd maybe thought it was a few weeks at the most, and I wondered quite what had happened to him for him not to realise the passage of time. But he needed me to be strong for him, and that was what I was going to do.
I knew that I was going to need him soon enough.
I looked over at the alarm clock and saw that it was early afternoon. I actually felt hungry for the first time in a long time, and I was also rather desperate to go to the bathroom. So, regrettably, I extracted myself from his embrace and walked slowly towards the bathroom. I didn't shower as I wanted to keep his scent on me, but I brushed my teeth and washed my face before pulling on a light-blue satin nightdress and a warm towelling robe.
It took some effort, but I walked slowly to the kitchen and cooked a ham and cheese omelette, surprising myself when I ate it all. I even finished it off with a bag of salted chips and one of the special high-calorie milkshakes Dr Ludwig had given me, along with the few tablets I had to take every day.
But I wanted to be near Eric, so once I'd cleaned up the few dishes I'd dirtied, I headed back downstairs. Of course, he was laid in exactly the same position I'd left him in and he looked so peaceful and at ease. It was such a contrast to the pained look on his face when I'd told him he'd been gone for so many months.
I decided to get my laptop and sit in bed with him. I'd been doing a little light research into whether Eric and I would be able to marry, and I'd found that Finland was the first country to allow such marriages. It had been bittersweet when I discovered that, and I had immediately contacted Mr Cataliades to find out whether our marriage would be legal in the US as well.
Surprisingly, it seemed the Lawmakers hadn't written anything to say that marriages wouldn't be recognised if they happened abroad, and I was willing to exploit that loophole. Of course, when I'd discovered that piece of information, I was on my own and facing the immediate prospect of Christmas without Eric. But now he was back, and it seemed he was still interested in marrying me.
I resolved that I would mention this to Eric when he woke. I knew that he was going to have to put in a public appearance in Louisiana now that he was back, as although Thalia and I had seemingly done a good job in keeping enemies out of the State, we both knew that the sharks were circling, and if Eric hadn't shown up soon we would be under attack. Luckily for us, Eric had returned just in time, and he needed to shore up his authority soon.
But that wasn't all I had to tell him. It didn't surprise me that Eric had noticed I had lost weight. He had also felt my tiredness, although I was blocking him to some extent so he wouldn't feel the extent of my exhaustion and pain. I was maybe a little surprised that he hadn't said anything when he drank from me, but then he didn't take much and it was pretty close to dawn.
It had started around ten weeks after Eric left. I started to feel tired and generally unwell, and went off my food. I assumed that it was simply from missing Eric or that I had the 'flu, but I started to feel achy and my limbs seemed to hurt. It was Thalia who noticed that I had a raised temperature while we were working together one day, and she called Dr Ludwig.
To be honest, I didn't really expect the doctor to come and see me being that Eric wasn't around, but she turned up a few hours later.
"You have not had vampire blood recently?" she'd asked me almost straight away. I could see that she was looking around for Eric and surprised that he wasn't by my side.
"No. Eric has been away for over three months."
She gave me a querying look, before she came and sat next to me on the couch in Eric's office. I noticed the odd look that Thalia gave the doctor, but she ignored the vampire.
"Child, I had hoped this would not happen with you. You have enough of the Fae essential spark, and you are obviously very magical. But I fear that your body is at war with itself."
"To be frank, Sookie, you are dying. Vampire blood would prolong your life probably for a few years at the most, and your sickness would come on much slower, but you are dying nonetheless."
"I don't understand. Niall told me that being part-Fae meant that I would live for a long time!" I was almost shouting at her. I knew it wasn't her fault, but she was the one giving me this news.
"I know child." She placed a warm hand on my arm, and I again found myself wondering what she was. "I have spoken to your great-grandfather this evening, as this is what I have feared would happen. There is little he can do for you."
"I don't understand."
She gave me a sympathetic smile. "This is a known phenomenon in those that are one-quarter Fae. Any more Fae blood and the Fae side takes control, any less and the Fae blood is too diluted. You have the essential spark, and it is why your great-grandfather assumed that you would be okay. However it seems that your human side is just as strong." She was still being cryptic. "You are aware that the Fae are affected by iron?"
"Yes. I have been as well, but not as affected as some may be."
"That is because of your human blood. You are aware that the cytoplasm of each red blood cell contains haemoglobin?" I nodded, remembering some biology lesson many years ago. "And, essentially, each protein of haemoglobin contains a molecule of iron. It is this war between your human and Fae blood that is causing your sickness."
I had been stunned and more than a little upset. At that moment I had wanted Eric more than anything, but I had to make do with my new friend Thalia who had joined me the other side on the couch and taken my hand in her cold one. Not that she wasn't great and much more supportive than I would ever would have imagined, but I wanted my husband by my side. I needed his comfort.
"What's wrong with me?" I whispered, doing my absolute best not to cry.
"I do not know. I will have to do some tests." She immediately switched back into doctor mode, sticking a digital thermometer in my mouth and pulling out some needles and vials to collect my blood. Thalia wisely left the room while that was going on, as I didn't need a vampire in full-on blood lust taking me out.
It was two days later that Dr Ludwig called me and told me that she needed to see me in her Supe hospital. I'd been with Amelia and Tray at the time, and they both came with me to my appointment. I'd told them what the doctor had told me, and both were clearly upset by the news. Amelia even found a way to blame it on Eric, although I knew my sickness was not his fault, and maybe it was better that I knew this sooner rather than later.
"Miss Stackhouse, I believe you have infective endocarditis," she announced as soon as she walked into the room and not doing anything to sugar coat the diagnosis. "It is an infection of the inner lining of the heart. I need to do an echocardiogram, and if I am right you will need to start intravenous antibiotics immediately."
I was floored by that news, and I really didn't know what to say. I assumed I had a chest infection or something. "Will I … I mean, can you cure me?"
"That depends on how deep seated the infection is and if the infection has damaged your heart valves."
"And if they are damaged?" My voice was a whisper.
"Then you will go into heart failure without surgery." The doctor was brutally honest; I had to give her that. Her face softened, however, and she placed a hand on mine. "But we cannot be sure until I have run the tests."
She'd done just that, but the scan wasn't great news. It seemed the infection had taken hold quicker than Dr Ludwig anticipated, meaning that my heart was already damaged. The doctor put me on a course of strong IV antibiotics, and a whole number of other drugs I didn't want to think about. She even had one of her nurses come to me twice daily to inject me so I didn't have to attend the hospital every day.
But things weren't good. Dr Ludwig essentially told me that I had two options: become a vampire or death. Thalia had offered to give me her blood if I needed it, and I was grateful for her help, but it was Eric that I wanted. We'd both stepped up our search for him, and even Niall had agreed to help.
But now he was back. His blood had made me feel much better, but I had to tell him that I was dying, and considering what he had just gone through with Åsa, I wasn't too sure how well he was going to take it. The one thing I knew for sure was that I had no intention of ending up dead.
I couldn't quite work out whether I was being selfish or selfless in wanting to ask Eric to turn me. There was a large part of me that knew that if – or rather when – I died he would meet the sun not long after, and I couldn't face the thought of him doing that. But I also didn't want to die, and I had a vampire husband who would be more than willing to change me.
I knew it would alter the dynamics of our relationship since I would be his child, but I had observed how Eric's relationship with Åsa had been very different to the one he had with Pam. On more than one occasion I had wondered why that was – whether it was because she was older, or whether it was because of her former relationship with Eric and the love they still had for each other.
But I also feared that in asking Eric to turn me he would feel that I was wanting to replace Åsa. I knew that really this was a case of bad timing, as at any other time I knew Eric would have turned me in an instant.
I supposed that I hadn't really thought too much about how I would tell Eric, so him coming back meant that I had to do some thinking. But he'd realised I was sick, and it was only a matter of time before he realised something was up. I therefore made the decision that I was going to tell him as soon as he woke.
He'd looked so beautiful while dead for the day, and I was enjoying watching him when he woke up. His mood was much brighter than it had been the day before, and I could feel waves of love coming off him. As expected he knew something was up. I started with the revelation that it was possible we could marry in Finland, which he was hugely receptive to and made it known that he wanted us to marry sooner rather than later.
"There is something else?" he asked after we'd been lazily kissing.
I swallowed my nervousness. "Yes. I wish for you to make me vampire."
I didn't know what to expect from him, and I was immediately hit by a cacophony of emotions. His face was one of confusion and surprise, and he sat up in the bed, his back to the wooden headboard. I sat up as well, facing him, but not quite touching him.
"You wish for me to change you?"
I gave him a small smile. "I do."
"This is new?"
"It is. I –" he cut me off before I could finish the sentence.
"Is this because of … Åsa?" It looked like it hurt him to mention her name, and I felt a jolt of pain through the bond. "Please don't feel that you have to replace her. I love you; you are special to me in a different way. So much more." His eyes were pleading with me and he held out his hand to me.
"It's not. And I don't want to replace Åsa. She will always be important to you – you two were in love for such a long time, she will remain a huge part of you." I had tears in my eyes, and I placed a hand on his cheek. This wasn't going to be easy.
I clenched my jaw and swallowed thickly. "Because I am sick and I don't want to leave you."
"You're dying?" I could feel the horror from him, and he pulled me close to him. His arms were wrapped so tightly around me that it was almost painful, but I welcomed his embrace.
When he eventually let me go I told him everything that Dr Ludwig had told me. Tears were shed from both of us as he held me securely in his arms.
"You should hate me," he said quietly once I had finished.
"But you should. I have failed you. I left you alone unprotected … I went and wallowed in my own misery for four months before I even remembered you. You have become sick because of me … what is there not to hate?"
I didn't like this self-loathing Eric. "Stop it," I snapped, slapping him across the face.
I don't really know why I did it, but it seemed like the right thing to do. His fangs shot down and a hard look appeared in his eyes for a split second, but he took my abuse and lowered his eyes.
"I said, stop it!" This time I was yelling at him.
I stood up off the bed and paced before turning back to him. He hadn't moved, but he was watching me intently.
"You think that I have been here pitying myself? Hating you? Eric, I fucking love you. But I know how much Åsa's death hurt you; I felt it from you myself. Hell, you were nearly five thousand miles away and I still had to block the bond because I could feel your emotions too powerfully. I have stayed strong for both of us; I have worked hard with Thalia to keep things running here so that you have a kingdom to come back to. I have kept myself out of trouble so you wouldn't lose me as well."
I ran my hand through my hair and went to sit back on the edge of the bed, but out of Eric's reach. His eyes were rimmed with red and were fixed on mine.
"Amelia says that I should hate you. And I should probably warn you that she really does. But I understand, and I am your wife. I am here for you, Eric. But I need you. I need for you to be the strong one now. I'm tired; my body can't take this for much longer." I felt a tear slip down my cheek. "I love you, Eric. I love you so fucking much. I need you to come back to me, and not hate yourself for something that is not your fault. This illness is not your fault. This would always have happened to me whether I met you or not. And Åsa's death is not on your hands or mine. She knew what she was doing; she wanted to protect me. Breandon is dead, and with his death the world is a much safer place."
I was emotionally exhausted from my outpour, and I didn't feel much better physically either. Being apart from Eric had been very hard, but seeing him back again – in some ways – was just as hard as I feared he may leave again.
"She slipped up," Eric said quietly after a few moments of silence, he was staring down at his hands. "Pam told me that she was distracted by the scent of fairy blood. She should have known better than that." I didn't know how to answer that.
He moved slowly towards me and took my hand.
"I am sorry, Sookie. For everything. I will always be, and I will never fully atone for the way I have wronged you." I tried to silence him, but he smiled and placed a finger over my lips. "There is not a day to come that I will let you down again. I owe you everything. But you are right; I have mourned for long enough. I should never have walked away from you in the first place, since you were what I needed to heal." He leaned down and placed a kiss on my forehead. "Thank you, Sookie."
"Everything. For being so strong, for keeping things running here when I had left without a second thought. For not blaming me."
"There have been times when I have."
"I don't doubt that." He lowered his eyes once more.
I sighed. We needed to completely clear the air. "Eric, what happened? I mean, I understand that you were grieving; I felt your pain. But how could you not realise that four months had passed?"
I didn't mean to hurt him, but it was clear my question had done just that. "I'm not sure I can explain it. I felt like I wasn't in control, I was on autopilot, and all I could see was the image of her dying over and over again. I couldn't think properly."
"It seemed …" I stopped, but Eric prompted me to continue. "It seemed like you didn't care about me. It felt like you had forgotten me again." I felt a tear fall down my cheek.
"I cannot justify myself," he said, his voice thick with emotion. "I honestly don't know what happened. I hated myself for her death, and her loss hurt so much. The pain was consuming, and I lost myself into it. As for how I was gone for such a long time … I honestly didn't realise I had been. I hadn't noticed the days passing, and I even wonder whether I slept at all." He took my hand in his and placed a kiss on the back. "I should never have walked away from you. But it was the thought of you that pulled me back. If I had opened up to you, none of this would have happened."
I wrapped my arms tightly around his neck and pressed myself into him. I understood that he was in a dark place, and although it hurt that he hadn't thought of me, I knew it was his grief for Åsa that caused it. And I knew my next question was going to hurt him more.
"Did you love her more than me?"
"No!" he pushed back from me and met my eyes, a fire back in him. "No. Is that what you thought?"
I shrugged. "At times in the past four months I have done. Your reaction … it was extreme. But I don't blame you, Eric, I know you loved her."
"I have let you down so badly."
He interrupted me. "I have done. And yes, I did love Åsa. Even though we weren't together, I still loved her. She was my child and former companion. We shared so much of each other's lives. But I am so sorry if I made you ever feel that I loved her more. It was not the case. I have … had a deep tie to her."
He looked deep into his eyes, and I could feel his devotion.
He continued. "But what I have with you … you are my light, my world. I would not have been able to survive for one second in a world where you were not. I didn't know myself after Åsa's death, I probably did some stupid things, but I think it was you that kept me going. Your love; my love for you ... And I am sorry, Sookie. I will always be so."
"And I forgive you."
I held him close to me once more, and we stayed that way for some time. It wasn't sexual – which would have been unusual for us in the time before Åsa's death – but it was comforting and healing. I don't think either one of us would kid ourselves to believe that everything was perfect between us, and I knew we'd have to work together. But I was more than willing, and I knew Eric was.
"You didn't answer me," I said after a while.
"What do you mean?"
"You never gave me an answer." He still looked a little confused. "Will you turn me?"
"Sookie, there was never any other answer than yes. Of course I will. I do not want to lose you."
"Good," I smiled into his chest.
"Did you really think that I wouldn't?" he leaned back and placed a finger under my chin to tilt my head towards him.
"No. I knew you would. I still wanted to hear you say it, though."
Eric and I spent the rest of the night together. He looked after me, worshiped me and we made love many times. But I could sense his concern. I knew that at one point when I went to sleep he called Dr Ludwig. I don't doubt that the miniature doctor gave him a hard time for not being around for me, and she told him that I had to have his blood twice a night, with him only being able to feed from me every third night. She also told him that I needed to gain weight, and he went all out to make sure there was always enough food in the house for me.
It was the next night that we finally left the house and went to Fangtasia. Through his lieutenants, all the sheriffs and important vampires of the state had been called to Shreveport, and Eric went out of his way to assert his dominance once more. He held court and dealt with some of the squabbles that had taken place, and he showed no mercy in dealing with any vampire that opposed him or one of his sheriffs.
I was sure that Eric had been fortunate in having such loyal vampires working for him, and he was certainly very thankful to Thalia for the way she had worked to keep the state running. Although she didn't accept it straight away, he gave her time off, an enormous bonus and more power as she'd certainly shown her worth.
Eric's relationship with Pam wasn't so good, however. It seemed that Eric had ordered Pam to stay with him, but not to contact any other being, whether human, were, vampire or other. And she had been mightily pissed at him for that. Sure, she had protected him when he'd had moments of weakness, and she'd stopped him from doing anything stupid. But she was also aware of my predicament, and hated Eric for not letting her contact me.
Eric himself couldn't remember making such an order, and I wondered whether vampires were susceptible to post traumatic stress disorder, as it really seemed that way. I'd spoken to him about maybe speaking to Dr Ludwig about it – something he was hugely against – but he put in a convincing argument that with me by his side he didn't need anything else. I was willing to give him the benefit of a doubt, and he did seem to be okay.
Pam was respectful to Eric in public, and showed herself to be still the competent lieutenant, but in private she was snarkier than ever with Eric, to the point where she openly defied him at times. She made it clear that she didn't approve of me forgiving him so easily, and she wasn't being easy on him.
However, when it became clear that her attitude towards him was hurting him, I knew I had to intervene. Pam, of course, was ecstatic that Eric was going to turn me. She told me she was looking forward to having me as a 'little sister' and would lead me astray in every way she knew possible. Not unsurprisingly, I didn't disbelieve her.
She was also helping me prepare for both my upcoming nuptials and my turning, events that were going to be happening within weeks. In the two and a half months that Eric had been back, I'd put back on the weight I'd lost, and with Eric's blood I was healthier then I'd been in a while. But I wasn't one hundred per cent, and I knew that without my vampire blood diet I would be feeling a lot worse.
"You know that it's hurting him that you're not speaking to him," I announced to her after months of staying out of their affairs.
I was at the beautician having all my excess body hair removed before my turning. I'd already had a hair trim, manicure and pedicure. It was only days until I was leaving for Finland, and Pam had told me of the importance of doing this, something she had not had the chance to do.
"You've forgiven him too easily."
I hadn't wanted to get involved in Eric and Pam's disagreement, but it was starting to really bother Eric and I didn't want to see him hurting.
"You may think that, but that's up to me. I don't blame him."
"You should. You could have been kidnapped or killed while he was away moping."
"He wasn't moping."
"He was. And I know because I had to stay with him for the whole fucking time."
I hissed as the beautician ripped off one of the strips of hot wax in an area I'd rather she was nowhere near. "I know that you were relieved he pulled himself out of it." Eric had told me that.
"Of course. He is my maker; I do not wish him to meet the final death. But that doesn't change the fact that he was an asshole."
I sighed. "Fine, Pam. You're entitled to your opinion. But you not talking to him is hurting him more than he is letting on to you." She scoffed and looked away, but I caught a glimpse of concern on her face. "He's already lost one child; he wouldn't survive losing you as well." I had a feeling that was right as well.
"I just don't know why he was so upset about her death. He was in love with you."
"Their relationship was complex. He did still love her in a way, and she still loved him. I accepted that. It didn't necessarily mean I liked it, and I guess I was jealous of their past, but Eric wasn't himself. He's not normally weak like that, you know that. He was grieving for her, as he would you as well if anything happened. Why don't you just talk to him?"
She gave me a look that said a lot. "Fine." It wasn't a lot, but it was probably a step in the right direction.
When we got home that night I made a point of leaving Pam and Eric alone, spending some time on the phone with Amelia who was just about ready to burst – being nearly two weeks late for her son being born. Amelia had been against me volunteering to be turned initially, but she soon understood the options, and came around. It was going to be hard, though, that I wasn't going to be able to be there for her when she had her son, but she promised to speak often on the phone or via Skype.
For the most part I hadn't told the others. Alcide and Maria of course knew, but my brother didn't even know I was dating a vampire, let alone about to become one. And when it came to him, that seemed to be the best option.
I hadn't anticipated it being so damned cold when we arrived. We'd flown in Eric's private plane straight to Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland and, luckily for me, my vampire had thought to bring a warm coat for me. He certainly took his time wrapping me up so that I was warm against the chill outside, hands wondering all over my body getting me quite heated all over.
We were met at the airport by two tall blond vampires, who Eric obviously knew, and we were whisked into a warm Range Rover, our luggage safely stowed in the back of the car.
Eric had explained to me that we'd marry the next night in a small, intimate ceremony. The witnesses would be Fredrik, who was the sheriff of the area and an old friend of Eric's, along with Mathieu, Åsa's child, who was flying over to see Eric.
I had to admit to being a little reluctant to see Mathieu, and I worried that he would have a grudge against Eric or me for being involved in his Maker's death. But Eric had assured me that he had been in contact with Mathieu since Åsa's death, and he simply wanted to meet with Eric and me. He was apparently quite honoured to be asked to be a witness.
We were driving at what seemed like far too fast a speed considering there was snow on the ground, but Eric pulled me close to him and reassured me. Not that I really believed him considering I was still a lot more breakable than any of the vampires in the car. After a two-hour drive, we finally stopped in front of a large wooden building. Eric leaned across and did my coat back up, placing a soft kiss on my lips. His eyes were shining brightly, and I could feel his happiness.
"Button up; it's going to be cold."
As soon as Eric had left the car, he was outside my door and opening it for me. He extended a hand to me, before saying something in what I assumed to be Finnish to our former companions. They took out luggage out of the car and loaded it onto the trailer of a snowmobile.
"We're not staying here?" I asked, looking up at the large building.
"No. Although the ceremony will be held here tomorrow night. This is the home of the Sheriff Fredrik, who you will meet tomorrow." He walked up closer to me and wrapped his arms tightly around me. He pulled my woolly hat down over my ears and forehead. "Hold on tight."
Before I really knew what was happening, Eric shot up into the freezing cold night sky, and I buried my face into his chest to protect myself from the wind chill. Luckily, the flight wasn't long, and he was soon descending again in front of a large wooden cabin. Eric quickly flew us inside, and deposited me in front of a roaring open fire. I took the time to look around, seeing that the cabin had all the mod cons you'd expect, with a beautiful open plan living space and kitchen and large sweeping staircase which led to the upper floors.
"This place is beautiful," I mused as Eric helped me off with my thick coat.
"I'm glad you like it. This also belong to Fredrik, but I have a place very similar in Sweden which I would like to take you to one day."
"I'd like that." I leaned up and kissed his lips.
"This place is fully light-tight, although at some times of year the sun hardly even rises. We're not far from the arctic circle."
"So can I meet Santa?"
My vampire rolled his eyes. "You know, the legend of Santa Claus descends from the Finnish Joulupukki who was an evil, goat-like creature and demanded good behaviour."
"That doesn't sound like the Santa Claus I know," I said with a smile, kissing up Eric's neck.
"You can blame Coca-Cola for that," he smirked, his hands running down my now bare arms. "Are you hungry?"
I smiled. "For you? Yes."
"That wasn't what I meant, but I'm pleased all the same." Eric led me into the kitchen and opened up the fridge to reveal it full of food.
"You do realise that I'm only going to be a human for one more night?"
He sighed and leaned down to me, his forehead resting against mine. "I know. But I want to look after you, Sookie."
"I know. And thank you."
"There is nothing you need to thank me for."
We ended up cooking together, and I made a delicious meal of steak, jacket potato and vegetables, while Eric heated himself a blood. After we'd both eaten, Eric led me into the bedroom and slowly peeled off my clothes. He revered me, worshiping my warm body and bringing me to orgasm after orgasm before finally entering me and feeding me his own blood.
After that, he led me into the sauna where we both (well, me anyway) sweated in the heat. When I'd finally had enough, Eric picked me up and flew us outside into the freezing cold snow. He unceremoniously dumped me into a pile of snow, laughing aloud as I screamed bloody murder at him.
It was only a few seconds that I was in the snow before Eric flew me back in front of the fire, but it was enough to chill me to my bones. His reasoning of it being 'traditional' didn't stand with me, but Eric did more than enough to make it up to me.
The next night when I woke, Eric wasn't lying next to me. But instead I found a blue rose with a red ribbon around it and a note from Eric saying that he'd see me at the altar. It was daylight still when I rose, and I took the time to shower and scrub myself down. Eric had arranged for two of Fredrik's humans to come and help me ready myself, and at first dark both women appeared.
They both spoke perfect English, albeit highly accented, and told me about their own lives living with Fredrik. It seemed he was a good sheriff and well respected in both the vampire and human world. It surprised me that the vampires were so open here, but there had been no reported problems of hatred against vampires, which was a vast contrast to some of the goings on in the Southern States. I assumed this was why they were so open to allow human-vampire marriages.
The girls, who were both in their early twenties, helped me into the wedding dress, which had been bought on that disastrous night in New Orleans. I was pleased that it now fitted me again, as when I'd tried it on with Amelia the month before it was still a little loose on me. They helped me with my hair and make-up, and at the allotted time, wrapped me in a thick fur-lined coat to be taken – by snowmobile – to my wedding.
I had to admit that at no time did I ever envisage my wedding would involve a snowmobile, but it was perfect and romantic, and I couldn't imagine a better way of marrying Eric. We arrived at the large house, and I was helped into the building, but only to be greeted by Niall.
"Great-granddaughter, you look beautiful." He helped me off with the coat and handed it to one of the workers.
"Niall … I didn't expect to see you!"
"Your vampire invited me here. I am your eldest male relative, after all."
I couldn't help but tear up a little. "Thank you."
"Anything for you, Sookie. I am sorry that you have been so unwell. I honestly assumed that you would be well."
"I know. Dr Ludwig explained that to me. You are okay with me becoming vampire?"
"It's not ideal, I'm sure you can appreciate that." He smiled. "But I would rather this than your death. We both know your vampire would not be far behind you, and the world needs vampires like him. You will make a great and gracious vampire. Just don't forget who you are."
"I won't. I have no intention of doing all that killing. It's barbaric."
He leaned in and placed a kiss on my forehead. "That's my girl. Ready?"
I was. I nodded to Niall and let him lead me towards my soon-to-be husband. There weren't many in the ornate room when we walked in, but it wouldn't have mattered if there were a thousand as my eyes instantly snapped to Eric. He turned to face me as soon as I entered, his blue eyes blazing as he met mine. He looked incredible in his well-fitting black tuxedo, with a tie that perfectly matched his eyes and his hair wild and loose around his shoulders.
Although entirely inappropriate, I couldn't help the surge of lust that shot through me, something obviously felt by Eric considering the smirk on his face. However, considering the lust I was getting from him, I could tell that he too approved of my dress.
The ceremony was beautiful, simple and absolutely perfect. Niall gave me away to Eric, nodding his head to my vampire in consent, and the human registrar conducted the ceremony in a mixture of English, and, I assumed, Finnish, although Eric had no problems with understanding the language as he translated quietly for me. We signed the register and were handed our marriage certificates to take away.
"I love you, Mrs Northman," he whispered into my ear as we left the venue. Niall had already said his goodbyes and we were momentarily alone.
"I love you more." I stood on my tiptoes to kiss him, my arms wrapping around his neck as I pulled him down to me. I could feel his hardness and I was desperate for him. But we were interrupted by a throat clearing, and my sixth sense told me that it was a vampire.
I turned to see an attractive dark-haired vampire standing watching us. I'd recognised him as being one of the guests, and I assumed that he was Mathieu.
"It is an honour to meet you, Sookie," he said, bowing his head but not extending a hand.
"Sookie," Eric started, "this is Mathieu, Åsa's child."
"An honour to meet you too," I told him, bowing my head to him. I felt my anxiety spike, but Eric placed a calming hand on my back.
"My maker spoke of you often, and I see that she didn't exaggerate your beauty." I wasn't too sure about that, but I simply smiled. "You are a worthy human, Mrs Northman, and you will make a great vampire." He had a gently lilting French accent, and he certainly had something about him. Although I didn't think I would chose him over Eric as Åsa had done. "I wish you all the best, and I look forward to meeting you again someday."
He nodded to me, before eyeing Eric. Both men nodded at the same time before Mathieu walked out of the room and into the night.
"What was all that about?" I asked Eric.
He sighed. "We talked earlier tonight. I told him everything. He had a right to know as Åsa's child what happened to her. He wished to meet you, but I'd say that you thoroughly charmed him." I didn't quite know what I had done. "Just being yourself is enough to win most vampires over, Sookie. And he is right, you will make a wonderful vampire."
"Well, I'd better enjoy my last night as a human then." I smiled up at Eric.
"Come with me," he announced, before taking my hand and going to get the fur coat. Once I was suitably robed, he led me out onto the balcony
My eyes were fixed on him, but he tilted my chin to look up into the night sky. Above me was a beautiful pattern of golds, green and blues above the treeline and illuminating the sky above me. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen, and I couldn't stop the tears that sprang to my eyes.
"Sookie?" Eric queried.
"It's beautiful. Perfect."
I looked back into his eyes and smiled. He was my everything. And on my last night as a human I didn't think that I could be more in love. I was looking forward to my turning. I knew that it was going to be difficult at times and a lot to adjust to, but I wanted to be with Eric.
"It's even better through vampire eyes," he whispered, before wrapping his arms around me and flying us quickly to the log cabin.
Almost as soon as we landed we were pulling the clothes off of one another, and he plunged deep inside me as we both moaned in pleasure. Our lovemaking was slow and emotional as he revered my body, taking in its warmth for one last night. We made love in the Jacuzzi on the veranda, we made love in front of the fire, we made love in the kitchen. But with an hour or so before dawn I sensed a seriousness from him.
"I want this," I reassured him, placing a hand on his cheek. "I want you."
I could see the pink rims of his eyes. "I know. And I want you as well. But I do not want to take your life."
"Eric, I am dying anyway. I probably don't have more than a few years, and that is with taking your blood. If I hadn't met you I may already be dead." Eric tightly closed his eyes. "I love you, and I want you forever." I looked up into his eyes and placed my hands on his jawline as my thumbs caressed his cheeks. "Please, make me vampire."
He paused for a second before wrapping me in his arms, carrying me to the bedroom and placing me down on the four-poster bed. He looked down at me, obviously taking in my form as his eyes were on by heaving chest. He gave me a small smile before taking a seat next to me.
"Forgive me," he whispered.
"I already do. I love you."
He repeated the words back to me before leaning in to my neck. He licked me one, then again, before I felt the slight sting of his fangs sinking into the flesh of my neck. It was as pleasurable as normal, and I writhed around on the bed enjoying his bite. But where he would normally have withdrawn his fangs, he carried on drinking.
I knew I shouldn't panic considering I had asked him to do this, but I instinctively started to hit at his back and try to get away from him. Eric groaned in protest, but pinned me to the bed, taking larger mouthfuls of my blood as I began to feel weaker. As I felt my heart begin to give up, his bloody wrist appeared at my mouth and he fed me his cool blood.
I didn't remember much more than that.
But my body was hyperaware.
I could hear the wind in the trees, owls hooting and a fire crackling in the grate. I could feel the softness of the sheets around my naked body, and I could feel every cell.
And I was thirsty, so absolutely thirsty. And it was odd, as it was different to be hungry, and different to when I needed to drink before. But I knew what I wanted. What I needed.
Eric. His voice was deep and manly, and like velvet to my ears. My eyes snapped open to see him standing at the foot of the bed, and I launched myself at him. I surprised myself with the sudden movement, but Eric held me in this strong arms, cradling me against his chest before placing me back onto the bed.
"How do you feel?"
How did I feel? I felt everything. I was sure that I felt every emotion going. But I was overcome by the most delicious smell, and my fangs suddenly slipped down. The sensation was strange, and my hand shot to me mouth. I looked up at Eric but he simply smiled.
"You are hungry, I can feel it." He took a few steps and handed me a mug full of blood. Where before I may have baulked at such an offering, it was now the most delicious thing I could imagine. I drank down the cup quickly before he passed me one more. And then another three before I was fully sated. "Better?"
"Yes, thank you." I hardly recognised my own voice, and I hesitated, looking to my Maker for guidance. And he was even more beautiful than before. He was so handsome and mysterious, his pale blue eyes filled with emotions as he watched me with as much wonder.
"You are beautiful, Sookie." He picked me up off the bed and held me in his arms. "Thank you."
"No, thank you, Eric."
He smiled, and I felt his large and heavy erection pressing against my leg. It wasn't long before he was deep inside me and my fangs were lodged into his neck.
I was with Eric forever, and I was at home.
So, that's it. I'm not ruling out carrying on, but right now I'm burnt out with this one. And I'm sorry if this ending has disappointed some people, but it's how I planned it. Anyway, I may write more, but not right now.
I'd like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read this, and those who have reviewed. I hope that everyone has enjoyed this ride.
However, I do have another story planned, and it's an idea that's been bugging me for a while. It'll be called Kaleidoscope, and I hope to have the prologue and first chapter up by next weekend, if not a lot sooner. It's AH, but I hope those that don't like AH will give it a go. Personally, I prefer writing it.
Anyway, thanks again, and hope you continue to follow my stories.