Whew, where to begin?
First and foremost, thanks for reading! I never expected the response this story received. It started out as a relaxing hobby and grew into an obsession.
Your comments (both good and bad) were knowledgeable and helped me stay on track. Both Eric and Sookie ended up vastly different characters than what I imagined when I started. Turns out you guys like "good" Eric...which surprised me to a certain extent.
I can't address each review individually but I would like to share some of my thought processes so you understand how the story developed.
Sookie decided early on in this story to give it a go with Eric. Some of you thought too early. I think that Sookie, a young woman raised by her grandmother, found the strictures of her life confining after Gran died. She had several life altering events in a very short period of time. My Sookie felt that life was too short to waste any more time; as such, she made a conscious choice to "take a walk on the wild side". Like it or hate it, that's my reasoning.
Glad you appreciated the witness protection program explanation of her disappearance. The whole "vampire business" as used in the show really annoyed me.
Several of the negative comments focused on the sex acts between Eric and Sookie prior to the board meeting in New Orleans and after he rescued her from Bill – some of you considered them degrading and inconsiderate. In New Orleans, Eric did not rape Sookie...he fucked her senseless, left his mark and forced her to attend the meeting in disarray...partially for her protection and partially because he is, after all, a 1,000 year old Viking with commitment issues who doesn't really handle emotions well. He's getting better, but in my mind, he had jealousy issues after watching Sookie try to entice Bill's attention away from him and Jason after the abduction. Sookie accepts this part of Eric because sometimes, when you love someone, you indulge their fantasies. My Sookie is just coming into her own sexually – her relationship with Bill was "normal" (taking into account he is a vampire...) and Eric is definitely more demanding in that department. Finally, even though Eric loves Sookie, you have to remember that for about 1,000 years, he had no use for humans at all. It's hard to change that mindset in the space of a year or two...personally, I give him credit for treating her as well as he did throughout the story. Sorry if anyone was offended but I write where my characters take me (yes, even us amateurs are controlled by the characters...)
Admittedly Sookie was a brat in the days leading up to the wedding. I remember those days well, I was Bridezilla myself and I only married a "normal" guy. To go from being a waitress at Merlotte's to the Queen of Louisiana would surely cause a girl to lose it a little, right?
Why didn't the bodyguards hustle Sookie from the ballroom following the attack? They were vampires...concerned with one of their own. For all the talk about bringing humans and vampires together, it seems to me that the vampires of the series (well, maybe except for Bill...) still feel a sense of superiority to humans and likely continue to hold that bias, albeit subconsciously. Fair? No. Did Sookie get screwed? Yes...all in the name of advancing the plot.
Bill simply went crazy. Unfortunately, it happens. He wasn't a total bad guy...he just struggled to readjust to life in Bon Temps and when he fell in love with Sookie, then lost her through his own actions, his mind snapped. He thought he met someone who would love him and he couldn't handle it when the relationship ended. Sadly, there are too many newspaper articles out there about domestic violence that document this type of mental free-fall. If you, or anyone you know, is at risk...please seek help!
I didn't find it surprising that Eric went into the house to save Sookie without any backup. My reasoning was two-fold:
a. In his mind, he will always be a 1,000 year old Viking warrior – he doesn't think like a king, he thinks like a ruthless enemy and will do anything necessary to protect those he loves
b. He didn't want to risk anything happening to Sookie. He didn't know what he was going to find when he entered that house. He felt it safest to go in alone.
Finally, I do not write to push my political or personal agenda on anyone. Having said that, I am grateful that some of you recognized the correlation between the fight for vampires to marry and the fight for gays to marry in this country. It is a cause I believe in.
Hard to know where a story should stop. I considered going a couple more chapters...but realized the longer you go, the more it becomes a never-ending story. In any event...thanks again for reading. You guys were really great and I truly appreciate all of the feedback. Some health issues have arisen that will make writing a little difficult for a while and I wanted to finish this so I didn't leave you all hanging.
Fair warning, I already know what I want to write about next. It will be my version of the relationship between Eric and Sookie, written from Eric's POV. I say warning because this Eric will be nothing like the Eric of "The Redemption" – if you don't like possessive, domineering, manipulative, slightly evil Eric or you didn't like the sex scenes in this story, you won't like the next one I publish.
Blessings to you all...