A/N: I usually write on the SVM side, but I'm a huge True Blood fan and, frankly, I couldn't help myself. I know that Sookie's dream sequence last week, when she proclaimed loudly that she loved both Bill and Eric, was supposed to be fun and sassy and sexy, but it just peeved me off. So I decided that I would give her another dream. I hope you like.
I just have to give a HUGE thank you to my beta, Sheknitsnicely. I wrote this on Saturday and she was kind enough to beta this and the latest chapter of my current SVM fic all on her very hard earned free time! I love you!
Disclaimer: I don't own them, if I did…well, there wouldn't be a choice to make!
When I open my eyes again, the first thing I do is brace myself to feel the horrible burning pain in my stomach. But it isn't there. Looking down, I'm completely shocked to see that the bullet wound is gone. Even more shocking is the fact that the bloody hole that had been in my t-shirt is also absent.
"Bill is giving you his blood as we speak. When you wake you will be completely healed." Turning my head in the direction of the voice, I'm startled to see Claudine standing over me.
Claudine is dead! I watched Eric drain her. How can she be here? Where is here? Bolting off the couch to put as much space as possible between us, I rush over to the fireplace, ready to pick up an iron poker at a moment's notice if needs be.
Claudine watches all my movements from her original place in back of the couch, doing nothing more than frowning at my obvious display of fear and mistrust towards her.
"I'm not here to hurt you Sookie." She says, holding up her hand.
"Then why are you here? Where is here? Am I dead?" My questions all come rushing out, but I don't have a chance in heck of making them sound anymore calm or coherent. This place looks like my living room, but the sun shining through the windows is brighter and more brilliant than I've ever seen it anywhere but Faery, and of course there is the problem that my dead Fairy Godmother is here as well.
"You're not dead Sookie, you're just dreaming. As I said, Bill is giving you his blood right now, to heal your wound." I'm not quite sure that I believe her, but so far I have no reason to fight her about it, so I move on to the only other question I can think of.
"Okay…but why are you here? How are you here? You're dead!" I ask again in a flurry. Claudine smiles, but it's a very sad smile.
"I'm here because you have a choice to make, and I hoped that I could help you make the right decision. I came to you this way because it's the only way I can come to you anymore." Part of me wants to apologize for getting her killed. I really do feel bad about that, even if I'm relieved that she won't be coming to try and drag me off to be part of the Fairy/Human breeding program. But instead I just look at her, puzzled.
"What choice?" Claudine smiles again, and this time I can tell that it's because she's happy I'm not about to fight her.
"As I said, Bill is giving you his blood. When you wake up you will have both his blood and the Viking's coursing through your system. It will lead you to believe that you love both of them, and so you will need to make a choice." I know that I'm probably looking a bit stumped right now, and I can sure feel my irritation rising to a whole new level.
"Is this really the most important thing going on right now? Eric is missing, Marnie is trying to kill all my friends, Tara just betrayed me by joining forces with her, and if Bill doesn't figure out how to fix things we might all end up dying. Is my love life really that big of a deal?" This time Claudine laughs, and I have to say it's not doing a dang thing for my annoyance level.
"There are many, many things going on right now, you are right. But they will all be taken care of. The witch will be defeated, your friends, Human and Vampire will live. Bill will continue to be King and Eric will regain his memories. The only question remaining is who you will choose. As your Fairy Godmother, my job is to see to your happiness, not the greater contentment and well-being of the world."
I know there are probably a million more questions that I should ask, but Claudine's words stop me dead in my tracks. Everyone will be fine: that's wonderful! I feel like a giant bolder of worry just got lifted off my back!
Eric will get his memories back: that one not so much. I know that I've said over and over again that I want Eric to have his memories back, but the truth is, in my most selfish moments (and I've been having a lot of them lately) I don't want him to have them back, not if it changes him, or changes him back. Eric said he could never be the same if he remembered, and the thought of losing the man I've fallen so deeply in love with in the past week is just excruciating.
I don't want it to end between us. I don't want to have to let him go when I feel so deeply, so truly, but I told him the truth: I could never have let the old Eric into my bed, or my heart, so where to does that leave us?
"I suppose if Eric becomes himself again then there isn't much of a choice, is there?" I say with a choked sob, before deciding that I'd rather be pissed off than sad. "And why do I have to make a choice between Eric and Bill, anyway? What, are there no other men in this world? Why can't I choose someone else, Alcide for instance, or no one at all? Why do I even need a man?" I nod my head at the end of that little speech, proud of myself for remembering that I'm a strong, modern woman. Claudine only sighs dramatically though, and begins to explain things to me in a very slow manner, as though she's trying to make a simple child understand her.
"Sookie, you have to choose between Eric and Bill because they are the only two men that you have ever loved, or will ever love. Alcide is not a choice, because no matter how much you may like him, or how attractive you might find him, you do not love him, and you never will. And as for being alone, the possibility exists of course, but we both know that you will never be happy without love and, as I said, my job as your fairy godmother is to ensure your happiness. That means you have to choose." Well okay then. I suppose that makes sense, even if it does nothing to make me less upset about the whole thing. I still don't know why I'm going along with this all so easily but then I suppose, if this is a dream, none of it is really happening anyway. I've just been shot, I have no idea if my friends are alive and alright, I suppose I should just go easy on myself this once and take the path of least resistance. I've just been shot, for god's sake. I deserve a break!
"Alright, I'll play, but if Eric is going to be his old self again, then there still really isn't a choice. I can't love him the way he was. I never could. I already know that." I don't mean it to, but my voice drops to a whisper by the time I finish that sentence. I know that I should never have let myself love him. I know that I should have listened to myself and to Gran, but how could I help it? Attraction was never the issue. I might have been with Bill when I first saw Eric, but I would have had to have been blind, deaf and dumb not to have seen how beautiful a man he was.
On the outside Eric is perfection itself, the most exquisitely created example of what a male should be. It's what's on the inside that I could never love, and Eric's inside has always made it easy to remind myself why I have to resist him. Every time those perfect eyes looked at me with desire, or he told me how much he wanted me in that deep and sexy voice, I remembered that he was cold, manipulative, unfeeling, deceitful and, well…evil.
But when the flawed inside was replaced with something sweet and gentle and innocent, when Bill's betrayal made me free to feel the things I'd kept bottled for so long, how could I help myself? Eric without his memories might not have been the real Eric, but he is the man I have always dreamed of.
Now Claudine is standing in front of me, telling me that he'll be gone, if not by the time I wake up, then shortly afterwards. It hurts more than anything to realize that it's going to happen, no matter how much I hoped it wouldn't. But if that's the case then I need to stop lying to myself now. I need to be strong so that I can deal with losing the man I love, and not find myself giving in to the very sinister creature that just looks like him.
"I know that your feelings for Eric, now and before, have always been strong. But has it never occurred to you that they were never your own?" Claudine's answer to my question jolts me from my unhappy thoughts and I look up at her, the puzzled expression back on my face.
"Of course my feelings for Eric are my own. What are you talking about?" There is that put upon sigh again. I'm getting really tired of seeing it. Why do all Supes just automatically assume they know better than me about everything? Especially about my own life!
"No Sookie, they are not. You'd already had a great deal of Bill's blood by the time you met Eric, and in your wish to remain loyal to Bill you've allowed him to provide you with your opinions about Eric. I may not like Vampires, but I like it even less when someone allows themselves to be so easily manipulated by another. It made me truly angry to see how effortlessly Bill was maneuvering you, until I realized that it wasn't completely manipulation. You allowed yourself to believe the things Bill told you and you so quickly adopted his opinions about a person you hardly knew, because it is always easier to pretend that you hate someone than to admit that you feel things for them that are inappropriate. And I believe that your human notion of monogamy renders strong attraction to one person, when you are monogamous with another, inappropriate. Am I right?" I'm sure that my mouth was hanging open. I wanted to tell her right then and there, Fairy Godmother or not, dream or not, to pack her crap up and go to hell. But she stopped me before I could.
"Think, Sookie. Think about all the times that you've allowed yourself to be the one who formed an opinion. The roof with Godric, the night Eric saved you- in this very living room- from Russell's wolf, the kiss in his office, when you saved him from burning with Russell, when you fed him to heal him, the last week with him. At any of those times, when it was merely you and him, removed from Bill, did he ever prove himself to be the monster Bill claimed? It's true, his methods might not always line up with your human sense of gentility, but he has never betrayed you." I don't want to think about any of those things, and so I do the only thing that my hurting heart will let me: I lash out.
"Well, it seems like we know which side you're on! I thought you said this was a choice. I can't believe you're cheerleading for the Vampire who drained you! That's messed up." Sookie Stackhouse has definitely become a meaner person in the last couple of years, but I feel like it's a legit point so I don't think too much about the fact that I just shoved Claudine's death in her face.
"I am not on the Viking's side, Sookie. But you said yourself that you don't even feel there is a choice if Eric regains his memory. I'm trying to get you to understand that there is and, as much as I don't enjoy advocating the part of any Vampire, again, I am your Fairy Godmother and my job is to see you happy." If I start arguing again why this choice is so important, we'll go around and around in circles until I wake up. God, I hope I wake up. So I just nod my head.
"So what do you propose we do? Should we make a list of pros and cons? Should we do eeny meeny miny mo? Should I get some daisies and start saying 'he loves, he loves me not'?" This time, it's Claudine whose expression is puzzled, but she doesn't bother wasting time asking me what any of those things are. She just shakes her head and holds out her hand to me.
"No. I have an easier way to help you." I spend a long moment just looking at her hand. The last time I took it, she took me to Faery where I was almost enslaved and forced to participate in their breeding program. Dream or not, how far do I really want to trust her?
"I promise you, Sookie, I am here to help you, not harm you." I can't read Fairies any better than I can read Vampires, so I have no way of telling if she's being truthful with me. But something inside me, a very stupid something if I'm completely honest, is dying to know what she has up her sleeve. Knowing already that I'm making possibly the dumbest move I have all day (I'd say ever, but I'm well aware that there are plenty of other stupid decisions in my past that at least warrant consideration before I crown any one of them the dumbest decision ever), I walk across the room in three short strides and take her hand.
The room is nothing but light for a few seconds and, when it fades, we're suddenly not in my house anymore. We're standing in the entry way of Bill's house, or "new Tara" as I've come to think about it in the past week.
It doesn't look much different than the last time I was here, when Eric and I asked to fight with Bill, except that the place isn't in chaos or crawling with heavily armed guards. There are a few, to be sure, but they seem relaxed and almost…bored. It's also pitch black outside, where before the sun was streaming into my living room.
"It's night time?" I ask Claudine. She just smiles at me again.
"It is nighttime. It's also twenty years from now." I turn to look at her and I'm utterly astonished. I'm about to tell her how much I absolutely don't believe her when I see Bill coming down the stairs followed by a pretty, well dressed, middle aged woman. I gasp and then throw my hand over my mouth to stifle the sound, when I realize that the middle aged woman is me. "Don't worry Sookie, they can't see or hear us. You can gasp all you like." She says kindly, as though she does this sort of thing every day.
The scene that unfolds before us, of a night twenty years in my future, is quite nice actually. I watch as Bill kisses me lovingly on the lips and then walks to his office to conduct business while I sit with Jessica in the living room, in front of a wonderfully warm fire and talk about how things are going for her and Jason. Jason? Really?
If they could see or hear me, the first thing I would do is shake Jessica until her brain re-attached itself to the rest of her body. I mean, I love my brother and all, but Jessica is way, WAY too good for him on her darkest most, Vampiric day! I can't believe that she's with him. I'm even more shocked when I realize, from their conversation, that this is a serious, long term thing. They've been together since the end of the witch war, the whole twenty years!
As Jessica and the older me are chatting, there's a knock at the door. The guards open it quickly and Eric walks in. Part of me feels breathless at the sight of him, something that I grudgingly admit I've always felt; the other part of me is just sad. He is undoubtedly his old self once more; dark jeans, wife beater, leather jacket, necklace, slicked back hair and, of course, the cold, detached artic colored eyes.
He bows stiffly to me, calling me Majesty, and politely and utterly unemotionally enquires if Jessica and I are having a good evening. He also barely waits for a reply before turning and joining Bill in his study, so they can talk business, I guess.
I'm stunned by how utterly unchanged he seems. He's simply Sheriff Northman once more, without any indication that he knows me any better than he knows any other Human. I suppose it's for the best though. As much as Claudine would like to argue, there can't ever be anything more between me and the Real Eric. It's just…impossible.
Claudine and I watch for a long time as I go about what seems to be a typical night for me. Eventually both Eric and Jessica leave, Bill finishes his business, and he comes to join me. Sitting on the couch beside me and taking one of my hands between both of his, he tells me nothing about what his business for the night was and I don't seem to ask. Instead we have a conversation about him taking a few nights off soon, and if I would like to go somewhere. Then we talk about maybe going out to dinner the next night. It's all pleasant and I seem to be contented and happy, as does Bill, who looks at me with eyes absolutely filled with love.
Something in me warms when I see that. I suppose that, ever since I found out about the Queen, I've been trying to convince myself that Bill was lying about it all, that he never loved me and never could. But I can see it now in his face. He loves me completely and, even though twenty years have apparently passed since I chose him, he is still utterly elated that I am his.
After a little more chatting and some sweet kisses, Bill takes my hand and leads me upstairs to his…our room and gently undresses me. I watch as we take our time making love. It's all so achingly familiar and I realize that I've missed this with him. Bill was my first everything and the knowledge that we could have it all back, that we could be happy together…well, again I'm wondering where the choice is here?
Claudine looks at me as Bill and the other Sookie cuddle together afterwards, utterly content in their own blissful little world.
"He really loves me!" I say stupidly. Claudine nods her head.
"He does, and if you choose him this is the life you can have. Bill will treat you like a princess: he will care for you and love you, shelter you and protect you and respect your humanity. He will stay with you every day until the day you die, and he will mourn you when you pass." I feel the tears begin to fall from my eyes.
This is everything I ever wanted here, isn't it? Almost everything, I guess, but I've always known that children had no place in my life, even before Vampires came into it and made me a constant target. But everything else- the beautiful home, the loving husband, the close friends- it's all here and I can have it. When I wake up from this dream, all I have to do is say "Bill, I choose you!"
"Do you want to see what your other future could be like?" I've been so wrapped up in the knowledge that my dream of home and marriage is so easily attainable that I completely forgot about Claudine's ridiculous notion that there is some choice involved here.
"I don't see why this is all necessary, but fine, shoot." Claudine and I are once again enveloped in a shroud of white, blinding light.
When we rematerialize, we're standing in the middle of Fangtasia. I try hard not to roll my eyes, but I can't help it. I really, really hate this place. The bar patrons might not be able to see or hear me, but I can still see and hear them and as always, the only things on their minds are sex, Vampires and sex with Vampires.
I turn my head and look at the dais that usually lines the side of the bar and smile when I see that Pam's sitting on it, all stiff and bored on Eric's throne. It must be her night to…what was it she called it? Oh yes, "enthrall the vermin". Her disdain for the people paying for her lifestyle never ceases to amaze me. But then, she is Eric's child. I suppose the arrogant belief in her own inherent superiority was probably transmitted right along with his blood when he made her.
"Do we really need to do this? I can already tell you that the thought of spending a lifetime of evenings trapped in this place is pretty much my idea of Hell!" I yell over the music. Claudine just looks at me with a thoroughly annoyed expression and says, in a quiet voice I can somehow hear without any problem,
"You don't need to yell, I can hear you just fine, and yes, we do." With that, Claudine begins to walk seamlessly through the crowd and, since she's still holding my hand, I have no choice but to follow her.
We walk back to Eric's office, where Claudine and I actually walk through the door without even opening it. I'm still a little disoriented from the knowledge that I just walked through a solid object when Claudine elbows me and I realize that she wants me to pay attention to what's happening inside the room.
I look around and am once again astonished to see myself. It takes a full minute for me to realize that I don't look any different than I do right now.
"I don't understand." I tell her, whispering, even though we've already covered the fact that I don't need to. "You took me twenty years into the future with Bill. Why didn't you take me as far this time?" Claudine looks at me with a raised eyebrow, no doubt not understanding why I'm still using my best indoor voice, and answers me back at a regular volume.
"I've actually taken you father into the future this time, a hundred years from now. I couldn't do that with Bill because, if you choose him, a hundred years from now you'll be dead." She says matter-of-factly, as though it's the most obvious thing in the world.
"How is that even possible? I don't look a day older than I am right now." Claudine continues to stare at the people in the room, who seem to be having an intense conversation, as she answers me.
"I told you that Bill would respect your humanity. Part of that is letting you grow old and die, just as you would as a Human. But perhaps Bill never bothered to tell you this: Vampire blood, when not given during an injury, will bond you to the Vampire whose blood you drink and it will also greatly extend the life of the Human." This time I don't have any words for her, so I just stare, dumbfounded. Claudine still doesn't take her eyes away from the greater room, but she must see my face out of the corner of her eye because she answers my unasked question. "Several hundred years. A Human who regularly takes the blood of a Vampire can expect to live for several hundred years. But blood from one as old as Eric, I have no idea how long it could prolong a life, especially one that isn't completely Human to begin with." Processing what Claudine just said is too much for me and so I decide not to. Instead I finally start paying attention to what's happening in the room.
The other me, the hundred and twenty-eight year old version of me, if Claudine is to be believed, is standing next to Eric, her arm draped over the back of his chair and a serious expression on her face. She's been listening intently to the Vampire sitting on the other end of Eric's desk and, though she doesn't betray an emotion outwardly, I can tell she's thinking hard about whatever it is they're discussing.
Eric who sits at his desk, leaning forward, his hands clasped together on his blotter, is also deep in concentration as he talks to the other Vampire. It's an odd thing to notice, but the first thing that strikes me about him is his hair. I don't know why it should be that, except that I always hated how much gel he puts in it, and the week he's stayed with me at my house I've loved how beautiful it is when left natural. It's lighter without all the goop and so soft and it flops in front of his face when he looks down at me. It's one of those little things that I just fell so in love with and it strikes me right away, since otherwise he looks like his normal self.
His hair isn't flopping now, but it's not gelled either. It looks lovely and soft and golden, even in the harsh florescent lighting of his office, and part of me wants to go over and touch it and see if he'll notice the me that is and isn't here, running my hands through it.
I shake myself slightly, trying to tell myself to get a grip. Hair gel or no hair gel, this is the real Eric, and I already know how I feel about the real Eric. I'm not going to let a few strands of beautiful, silky sunshine sway me.
While Claudine and I have been talking and during my contemplation of Eric's hair, it seems the meeting has come to an end. The Vampire talking to us gets up and bows with deep respect, thanking his Sheriff and me as well, I'm astonished to see, and then turns and leaves.
Eric and the other me are alone in the room now and, almost as though it's a choreographed dance, I step slightly to the side, Eric pushes away from his desk with his feet and reaches out, pulling me into this lap and kissing the top of my head with a gentleness that I never thought the real Eric could be capable of.
To my utter astonishment, Eric and the other Sookie begin to talk about the meeting they just had. Why would they do that? The man was a Vampire, so clearly I couldn't read him. I listen extra hard for a moment, worried that perhaps ingesting all that Vampire blood has somehow changed my ability, but after a few moments I'm satisfied that it hasn't and that Eric isn't asking this Sookie for secret information, he's…he's asking her opinion?"
As they sit together, her on his lap, their faces only a few inches apart, their eyes completely focused on each other for long moments, I notice that the ice is completely gone from Eric's eyes. They're soft and gentle and filled with love, admiration and respect. I can't help the gasp that escapes me this time any more than I could the last time, but now it's not for my aged appearance or the shock of being supposedly transported to view a little slice of the future, it's for the knowledge that sitting there with my future self is someone who looks like "my" Eric: my gentle, loving Vampire.
How can that be? Eric, the real Eric, isn't capable of love, or gentleness! He's cold and devoid, manipulative and scheming. How can he, with all his memories, be looking at me like that?
As I stare at them, shocked, I notice that their conversation is becoming more heated. The other Sookie gets up from Eric's lap and begins to pace around the room, while Eric looks frustrated and shoves a hand through his hair. I want to turn to Claudine and tell her "I told you so". It seems so clear that Eric and I could never be happy together.
But just as I'm about to, I realize that they're arguing about what they should do: not what Eric, the Sheriff, should do, but what they should do. They might be disagreeing with each other, but Eric isn't treating the other Sookie as though she's stupid or telling her that she has no right to give her opinion, and it's obvious that he doesn't keep her in the dark about his affairs or his business. Though I never thought it would be possible, it's clear that she's his partner and not his possession: his equal!
I'm about to fall over, when I realize that they've decided on a compromise. When their disagreement is over, Eric stands up from his chair and walks over to her…to me. He doesn't stop until he's right in front of her, causing him to have to bend his neck far down and the other Sookie to have to crane her neck way up. The two stare at each other for a long time, saying nothing, and then Eric closes the last bit of space between them and takes her lips with his.
The kiss starts out sweet, but it quickly becomes passionate and then moves on to the point of indecency. Eric has his arms wrapped around her, his hands under her dress, rhythmically squeezing the globes of her ass and one of her arms is around his neck, in his soft hair, exactly where I love to put it. The other one is less innocent though, as it reaches down from behind into the waist band of his tight, dark jeans, petting and squeezing that most wonderful part of him that I know I've secretly loved from the moment I first saw it.
It goes on like that for endless minutes before they manage to walk, entwined and still fused at the lips, to the couch. Their joining is beautiful, but it's far from gentle, the passion between them is so intense, so much more than it was even between me and the Eric who stayed with me.
I watch in utter awe as they cling to each other as though they're both dying of thirst and the other is an oasis. The way he touches her, the way he kisses her, the way he moves against her and inside her…I can't look away. Nor can I ignore the way she responds…the way I respond.
When they both finally fall over the edge, it's with words of such love and devotion that I'm awestruck. But they aren't finished. Eric takes a knife from his pocket and slices the side of his neck almost faster than I can see and his Sookie, still panting and flushed from her release below him, wraps her arms around him once more and begins to drink.
Eric's hand fists into her hair in a way that is so familiar to me, even though I only remember it happening once, that night in this very office when he kissed me, and he begins to thrust into her once more. He tells her how much he loves her, how much he adores her, how she will be with him always. He tells her that a thousand years together would never be enough, and her answer to such passionate devotion is to cling to him as though he is life itself.
When the wound on his neck closes, he turns slightly, kissing the blood from her lips ravenously and then sinks his fangs into her neck as she cries out. This time it's her turn to speak and she says things to him that I could never have imagined saying, telling him how much she loves him, how she will never leave him, how nothing in the world has ever made her as happy as he does. I may not have ever imagined saying them until this very moment, but I suddenly know that they're true.
I barely see the light this time before I realize that we're back in my living room, during the too bright day. Claudine releases my hand for the first time since she took it and gently kisses my forehead.
"This is all I can do for you, Sookie. The choice is yours, but I thought you deserved to know how it could be for you, either way." With that, she kisses my forehead and suddenly I am awake.
Looking around, I realize that it's still night out. I look down and see that my bullet wound is completely healed, but the bloody mess that is my shirt and jacket are still hanging raggedly off my body.
Did any of that really happen? Was any of it real? I don't know, but the feelings it spurred inside me are. I can feel the turmoil and the upheaval as though they're a physical entity. Before I can think any further though, I see Bill come into the room with a glass of water for me.
I look at him as he hands it to me, my dark haired first love. Something inside me that had been cold and hard suddenly melts. He really does love me, even for all his bad mistakes. Somehow I needed, for my own sanity, to know that.
I remember my dream of not moments before and I'm hit by a realization: it doesn't matter if it was real or not, if Claudine gave me a vision or if my overactive imagination just went into sixth gear with all the Vampire blood I have rushing through my veins. Whether someone was trying to give me an epiphany or I just happened to have one on my own, the result is the same.
I care for Bill a great deal and I always will. I needed to know that he loved me, even if the truth is that I no longer love him in that way. I know now that I could go back to him and that he would love me, he would care for me and treat me like a princess.
And that's the problem. I don't want to be locked in a tower, a beautiful bird in a golden cage, petted, adored, coddled and spoiled, but ultimately never treated as an equal. I don't want to live the life of public first lady, but never have the chance to be completely part of my husband's world.
Bill might have learned not to have thugs beat me within an inch of my life to give me blood, but he will never change who he is: a man deeply at war with his nature, who loves me for humanity that's lost to him and will never want me to be anything more. He will never open himself completely to me, he will never share all of himself, the good and the bad. It's just not who he is.
And I am more. I'm more than a toy, I'm more than a little wife, and I'm more than Human. But no matter what he feels for me, I will never have the chance to be my full self with this man.
Eric can be cold, he can be dark, he can be manipulative. But I've seen him, the real him, be gentle, loyal, devoted and kind, and I've seen him put me and my life above his own more than once. But he also never tried to stop me from fighting for what I believed in, from saying what I felt, or from being myself, my WHOLE self.
Would life with him be the idyllic, country home photograph that it would be with Bill? No, it will be hard, it will be frustrating and it will probably be dangerous. But it will be real, I will be real, and I'll have beside me a man who wants me for everything I am, not just the part that suits him best.
This moment feels so strange. Shouldn't you realize that you're deeply, irrevocably in love someone when they're standing right in front of you? When you can leap into their arms and tell them exactly how you feel without wasting another moment? If I could, I would turn back the clock to that night that Eric and I first made love and I would promise him in no uncertain terms that I will love him, without his memories, with his memories, always and forever, without doubt or fear or regret. But he isn't here, Marnie has him and god knows what she's doing to him, or making him do to others!
I look up at Bill, whose face is so filled with hope and love, and I say the only thing that I can.
"We need to find Eric!"