Quick Update: Eric is hanging on the phone, waiting to speak to Beth, while remembering their time together when he first learnt she was Queen of The Ural Mountains.
Leaving her the second time was incredibly painful. Worse for me than for her I believed, she had her children to comfort her now. Once I left I travelled East, it was time to revisit China and Japan and everywhere inbetween.
I did not hide my hurt, or the fact that I was missing her and lonely without her. She did not hide her feelings either. I could feel her pain through our bond, which was stronger than ever. That was difficult to deal with, but I felt better knowing she was safe and that she could call me if necessary.
I was brought back to the present day by a voice I recognised calling down the phone, which I had left on the spare pillow by my head.
"May I confirm who is calling?" The voice asked in Russian.
"Sam! It's Eric."
"Ahh! It really is you."
"It's good to talk to you Sam, but I really need to talk to Beth."
"She knows, do not worry. Not long now. My Queen is just saying goodbye to the journalist who wants to interview her on television."
"Samuel!" I laughed, happy that Beth was close. "You are supposed to keep her safe from the horrors of the popular press."
"This will be a very short, very Vampire-Friendly interview. I am sure My Queen can take care of herself. Although I would like to take care of this journalist. She's a pretty one, Eric. All legs, with curves too."
I always enjoyed chatting with Sam, somehow I felt as if I had spoken to him just a few nights ago, not decades ago.
"Is she all real?" I asked, referring to his journalist.
"Those legs certainly are, not sure about the curves. I'll let you know when I get my hands on them!" Sam laughed, then stopped abruptly as a door opened.
I listened intently as I heard Beth asking Sam to escort her guest out of the building. Beth's voice sounded excited, I hoped that was at the thought of talking to me and not the journalist.
"My North Man?" She whispered into the phone.
"My little witch." I replied, with a big grin.
Beth laughed, then sounded very official. "I need a moment to get to my private office, could you hold, please?"
I tried to object, but too slowly. Beth pressed something on her phone and 'Strangers In The Night' began to play. My child had put me on hold.
The last time I had seen Beth was in the latter half of the 19th Century. I was back in London in 1851, an interested observer of the Great Exhibition. This display showed me just how much the world was changing. I actually toured the exhibition with Londinium, who having existed at least twice as long as me must have seen many more changes.
The King of London himself had also changed, his bushy hair and beard were neatly trimmed that night. Both of us wore a suit and the top hats that the wealthier humans wore, as we explored the Crystal Palace just after sundown.
For several months I had been thinking of travelling to America, it was that night that convinced me. It was time for a change, if I was to see everywhere, then I had to cross the Atlantic.
Londinium laughed when I told him. "Viking! Why leave the most wonderful city in the world to visit some new land that is barely established. You will have to travel by boat for nights and days."
"Please, your Majesty. A ship not a boat! I am a Viking, I travel by ship." Obviously, I knew Londinium well enough by now to know that I was not offending the King by speaking to him like this. "The journey has been accomplished by many of our kind now."
I had already to spoken to several Vampires who had made the journey to the Americas and back. It was not easy and I certainly would not have attempted it a hundred years earlier, but now it seemed possible. An adventure.
Londinium was shaking his head and smiling. "When you return, you must tell me your stories."
"I will. If I return." I said confidently, but in reality, this was the first time I had considered never returning to Europe. The next words I spoke were, "I must visit Beth."
I reached her home in the Ural Mountains a week later. I had visited several times in the past two hundred years, never for more than a couple of months, but I always left when the urge to move on became too great, or when the strange looks I got as the maker of a Queen got too irritating.
Beth was settled into her position now. The Monarchs of Moscow asked her advice, no one questioned her position and she had a stock of favours owed to her that made her place amongst Vampire royalty higher than I could have ever imagined.
Back then the humans had an Empress Elizabeth, who was generally disliked by her subjects, as the Vampire Queen of the Ural Mountains, my Elizabeth was universally adored.
I arrived at the chained front gate, quite surprised that I could not detect more activity in the Palace. I did notice a change to the façade of the building, the garden wall had been rebuilt again, possibly by Luca who was at the other side of the gates to greet me.
Of Beth's boys, Sam was generally the jolliest, it wasn't quite in character for Luca to be grinning so much as he watched me fly over the gates. "Welcome Eric, My Queen is waiting for you."
"Thank you, that is good to know. It seems quiet here tonight."
"Yes. You were expected, so the guests were advised that a storm was approaching, they were encouraged to stay in the nearby towns, or to travel on. The last of them left last night." Luca gestured to the front door and I entered at speed. The fewer guests and subjects that Beth had here, the more time she could spend with me.
They were singing. I could hear three voices, accompanied by one musical instrument, as I entered the house. I followed the sound to a small, comfortable lounge on the second floor.
As I entered, Lilly reacted first. She shrieked my name and jumped into my arms. I was the recipient of a smacking kiss on my cheek, the Vampire Child was most definitely still a child.
Beth and Sabine, Peter's eldest child, greeted me with more reserve that Lilly, but still with warmth and smiles.
"Lilly, we are trying to teach you how to be a lady. You know that is no way to greet a gentleman caller." Sabine objected.
"This is Eric. Not a gentleman." Lilly grumbled, kissed my cheek again and let me put her back down.
"She might be right with that assessment." I admitted. Lilly joined Sabine on the piano stool, which allowed me to turn and greet Beth properly. It was a relief to hold her close, she sighed and seemed to relax too.
As I kissed Beth's cheek and whispered my greetings, I vaguely heard a conversation between Sabine and Lilly.
"Lilly, we shall practise your scales now."
"But I want to sing for Eric."
"I think that Her Majesty and Mr Northman would like some time alone."
"Oh." Said Lilly, in the confused voice of a child who was used to being centre of attention.
"We shall sing for Luca. He will be here soon."
"You always sing for Luca." Lilly burst into peels of giggles, and as Beth and I left the room, I saw Sabine was smiling more than I had ever seen her smile before. She was usually quite reserved.
Beth noticed my raised eyebrow and explained in a low voice. "Luca and Sabine are together now. Their happiness is infecting all of us."
I was surprised, a relationship between a vampire and the child of another sibling was new to me. "And what does Peter think of that?"
"He is rarely here, he spends his time in Moscow, as a go between for myself and the Monarchs. He is a great help to me. I am sure that you heard about Eponine. Peter prefers to stay away from here now, too many memories."
I nodded, I had heard more than twenty years ago that Eponine, Peter's youngest child, had crossed the wrong Vampire in St Petersburg and she had met the final death. I could not imagine the pain of a losing a child, and certainly understood why Peter would want to stay away from the house where he remembered Eponine so well.
I could feel Beth's sadness at the memory and put my arm around her shoulders as we slowly walked the long corridors to her rooms. She continued, "Sabine loved Eponine like a sister. She tried not to but she blamed Peter, for not taking care of Eponine, even though it was Eponine who wanted to travel alone. The relationship between her and Peter was so damaged, they spend very little time together now. Neither of them want to totally break their bond, so I hope they will be able to resolve their differences eventually."
Beth paused. "I apologise, Eric. I don't mean to bore you." She made her voice brighter. "Come see the throne room. We have been making changes."
"Beth, you would never bore me. I wish I had come to you when I felt your pain, but I did not think that my appearance would help Peter." I said as I followed her into the room that I remembered from before. It was now extended at either end, so twice the size it had been, her throne was on the back wall in the centre, from there she could see the garden as well as the whole room.
"Your family is my family. I want to know about everyone." I continued. "Where is William? And Sam?"
"William occasionally goes away for a few nights. Lilly misses her Papa, but he always returns with lots of gifts for her."
I got the feeling that she was worried about telling me something, although it didn't concern Lilly. The concern from her ran into our bond, this was why we were still in this throne room, looking out at her garden, and not together in her rooms. I waited, then realised which question she had not answered. "And Samuel?" I asked again.
"He is well." She replied. "He is feeding in town, but will be back tonight."
I waited. There was more to this, I was sure she would tell me.
"We were together again. Sam and I." She said quietly. "Just for a little while."
It took a moment for me to understand what she had said. "Are you still together?" I asked.
"No, no. It was just after we lost Eponine. We were a comfort to each other." She said, as if she were admitting a sin. I felt her pain, she was ashamed that she had loved her child when they were both at their lowest. I could not let her feel this way, but I was hurting too. Sam had comforted her, her child who had understood her pain. I should not feel jealous about this, I should be grateful that she had someone. I should not feel jealous, but I did.
We sat together, sharing a window seat, looking back at her throne room. My child had a throne. Even after all these years, it was amazing to comprehend.
Our feelings in the bond were muddled, it was difficult to decipher who was feeling what, but it was a relief to sit quietly and and think everything through. She soothed me. I leaned into her a little, she put her head on my shoulder and huffed out a breath as if she was human.
"If only you had been my maker." I said, surprising myself and her. "That would have made everything simpler."
"But who would have been my maker? I needed you to teach me everything. There is no better maker than you." She murmured.
I did not say anything, but through our bond I let her know I was proud and grateful for her words, again we shared a quiet moment, or so I first thought.
"Why are you here Eric? I feel as if there may be a reason?"
"We can talk about that another time."
"Not now Beth." I growled at her, not wanting to explain about my planned travels.
She was hurting. I was hurting her and delaying this conversation would not help. "I have made plans for the future, I came here to tell you."
Beth was quiet, looking down at the floor.
I carried on. "I want to visit America and see that part of the world."
"America! It is so far away."
"Yes, but you could still come with me."
Beth looked up at me, a little surprised and incredulous. Our bond was difficult to read. "I cannot just leave for America. What about my family?"
"They could come too. Luca and Sam, Sabine if she wanted to be with Luca. Lilly and her papa, it might be easier for them there. Even Peter."
"All of us?" Beth sounded a little dazed, but I was thrilled at this idea. I realised I did not want to travel alone. Why should they not travel too?
"We could find a huge house for all of us, or the boys could build again. That would be best, then we can have underground rooms as you have here."
"I have a house, I love this house. You want us all to start anew somewhere else?"
"You have been here five hundred years, Beth. Do you not you wish to see the world?"
"This is my world. It's my area. I am Queen." She stood and moved to the other side of the room.
"I could make you Queen in America. They are dividing up areas, we could claim one." I was offering her everything, but she looked horrified.
Beth was stood by her throne, her hand slapped the arm rest. "I do not wish to take someone's area, I am rightful Queen here."
"You took this area from a Tsar!" I said indignantly.
"He was a troll! Not even sanctioned by Moscow. I am and I have been for ten life-times. I thought you were proud of what I have achieved?"
"I am proud of you." I insisted.
"Why can you not stay here with us?" She almost flew back to me, there was a hint of pleading in her voice.
"Why should everything stay the same? It has been so long, Beth."
"I am happy here. I never thought I would be happy again, after..." She lost her words, but I angrily filled them in for her.
"After I left you?"
The pain that we both felt at the memory was extraordinary. I remembered losing her, she felt that she was losing me again.
I managed to say, "I am sorry I left you."
"It wasn't your fault, you were taken from me. I cannot even blame your maker, in his place I would have wanted you back too." She was mumbling now, I pulled her onto my knee as she spoke. "I should have waited for you." She said.
"If you had waited, you would have been alone, Beth. I would not have wanted that. I know you do not regret your boys."
"No, I don't regret them." She said quietly. "But I will regret losing you again. Please, Eric, order me to come with you and I will. Order me, please, you are my maker!"
"No!" I shook my head vehemently, I had never ordered her to do anything. I would not start now.
"Then tear me in two, because I want to be with you and I want to stay here. Tear me in two, so I can be everywhere." Her eyes were full of angry red tears, I did not know if it was even possible to comfort her but I did try.
How could I make this easier for her? I only had one idea, but I hoped she would decline. "I can stop the hurt, Beth. I could break our bond."
Beth actually took in a breath. "Do you want to?"
"No, not at all, but if you do, then I will break it. Break our bond. It should make our separation hurt less."
"I don't see how!" Beth protested, to my surprise. "If you break our bond and leave, then I'll be missing you and missing our bond. Please do not make me loose both! Not knowing how you are will be impossible!"
"I am relieved Beth, I would not want to break our bond, if you are sure you do not want that, then I will not."
Her panic at my suggestion subsided, she was quiet again, still on my knee. Still miserable.
"Should I leave? Would that help? I could travel sooner than I intended."
"When did you intend to leave?" She asked.
"I wanted to spend some time here before I travelled, maybe leave in the spring and stay here for a few months first. But I could leave now."
"Please, don't leave now. Stay as long as you wish. I promise I will not be miserable, but pretend that you will never leave."
"I don't want you to pretend!" I objected. "I want you to be happy that I am here. Think about now, not the future, if that helps."
She replied, very quietly. "I'll try." She had curled into my body, her words whispered against my neck.
Now, I could only think of one more way to cheer her and make peace, but for this we needed to be in her room. We needed to be naked and relaxed together, comforting each other, sharing our bodies and our blood. "May I try and distract you?" I kissed her neck, keeping a picture of the two of us together in my mind.
"That sounds very nice." She smiled, ready to make the best of our current situation and together we left her throne room.
Her boys had been working in her rooms, they were newly decorated, more modern for that century than I had ever seen. The furniture was lighter and more delicate than the wooden four-posters and chests I was used to then, her bed had a white and brass frame without a canopy so I doubted she had ever needed to sleep here. The decoration was brighter, quite feminine and floral, I was somehow convinced that she had been the only one using this room for decades.
In front of Beth's mirror, we let down her hair, removed her jewellery and took off her dress, piece by piece. Women's clothing was still quite intricate back then and removing it was an enjoyable process. Beth was not yet entirely happy, so I took my time, hoping to give her time to settle down. As we removed the outer layers of her dress I touched her skin, as always pleasantly warm and soft to my touch. I watched her little smiles and enjoyed her soft sighs, there was no hurry tonight.
When she was finally naked I took a step back to admire her, then led her to her pretty bed. I was still fully clothed, so I pushed her back on to the bed, growling a little. "Wait for me. I want to see you waiting for me."
I turned my back on her for barely a moment, just to place my cuff-links and tie pin next to her jewels, but in that second I felt a blast of irritation from her. I had managed to upset her again. She was no longer laid back, but sitting amongst the cushions and bolsters with her legs up to her chest and her arm wrapped around her knees. I removed my shirt and moved back to her.
"You wish to make a Queen act like a whore!" She hissed. "Is that how you prefer me? How you want me to be now?"
I knelt on the bed beside her, not allowing myself to feel angry. "No, I wish to see how much my child wants me." I said, keeping my voice calm and low.
Her bristly demeanour relaxed almost immediately. "Of course I want you. I always want you," she murmured. One hand reached around my neck to pull me closer, while her other stroked my chest. I had known removing my shirt was a good idea.
"No more fighting." I asked. "Not tonight." This time she made no objections to being pushed down onto the bed. I let the flat of my hand run down her neck and chest, she groaned as I pinched her hardened nipples. I teased, scratching just above her dark curls and her eyes flickered closed for a second.
"No, keep your eyes on mine. I want to see you want me. No matter what happens between us. I want to see you want me. I want to see you come."
She managed to bob her head in agreement, as I slipped my hand down to tease her. I moved slowly to begin with, human pace, then faster as she became slicker. I could see that she wanted to arch up from the bed, which would have tipped back her head and risked losing eye contact, but she kept her head down and her eyes locked on mine.
"Tell me you want me." I instructed.
"I want you!" She snarled. "Don't stop. Please, do not stop." One hand then the other moved to grip my wrist, she was holding my hand in position.
"My child, I have no intention of stopping. Not until you are screaming my name."
Beth became quite incoherent. "Don't stop. Don't stop, Eric! Eric!"
'Strangers in the night' was no longer playing, I was no longer on hold and I could hear Beth's voice coming from the phone on my pillow. She seemed as if was actually beginning to panic because I was not replying.
"Beth, I'm here. I'm here."
"Please Eric. Tell me. Are you well? Something is wrong! How can I help?"
"Am I well? Of course I am well!" I replied, I probably should not have been grinning at how much she was worried about me.
"But what has been happening? Our bond feels as if it has been shaken! Please don't hide this from me."
"Beth, I am hiding nothing from you. I have been taking a walk down memory lane, as they say. Something brought you to my mind and I have not been able to stop thinking of you since. I was remembering you when I first met you."
"Really? When I was a silly girl trying to live alone in the woods." I could tell Beth was smiling as she spoke.
"Not a silly girl, I remember you as a beautiful woman. Someone who took care of everyone and who bewitched a vampire."
She laughed. "You bewitched me, not the other way around!"
"I know what I mean."
"Well, thank you. That's nice to hear." She returned to her earlier subject. "I was worried that Pam was in trouble, it was such a relief to talk to her. But when I knew it was not her, I was sure it was Ocella that was worrying you. I thought you might have heard from him?"
"No, certainly not. As far as I am aware you are the last to have seen him." I admitted.
Beth had a huge shock when Ocella arrived at one of her first Dracula Night parties. These events were already popular in the first years of the 20th Century, just a few years after the novel was published and Beth's palace was busy with visitors.
I had known about the night as Beth had written to me and Ocella's visit had been the first item for discussion once we had access by phone. Even decades later she was amazed.
Ocella had arrived at her home and introduced himself to Beth and her boys, he claimed he wanted to spend the night with his 'family'. He only stayed at her home for a few hours, and he had told Beth nothing about what he had been doing for the past few centuries. I got the impression that she had not questioned him, but just been relieved that he had caused no problems. Apparently he had not asked after me, but had talked mostly to Peter about the Vampire and human royalty based in Moscow, which was a subject close to Peter's heart.
Beth told me how confused the bond had become between her, Ocella and her three boys. Eventually she had told Ocella how it felt to all of them. He had laughed. "My apologies, little Queen. Is that better?"
Beth said he blocked off the bond like slamming a door, and she and her boys felt peace again.
Although Ocella was unfailing polite to her, Beth admitted that she was relieved when he had left. Neither of us had heard from him since.
"So nothing is worrying you, the bond was disturbed by memories?"
"It seems so, my child. I apologise for alarming you, although I am pleased to get chance to speak to you."
"It is wonderful to speak to you too." I could tell Beth was smiling as she spoke. "It seems quiet there, Eric, are you at Fangtasia?"
"Not yet, I am still in my bed, being lazy for a little while."
Her voice turned quite playful. "Sheriff, that is shocking! Don't you have work to do?"
"I do, but I will need to get dressed first."
Beth laughed. "Are you in the habit of calling ladies while you are naked and still abed?"
"No, I just call my favourite little witch. I have never found pyjamas to fit me, so I really had no choice." I concentrated and pictured an image of myself in old-fashioned stripy pyjamas, way too short in the legs and arms, and even in the body as my stomach showed.
Beth obviously caught my vision and hooted with laughter. "Ahh, Eric, you look much better naked!"
"Thank you, my child, I am pleased that you remember. And what about you? What are you wearing?"
"Well I am working, so I am properly dressed in a pretty, lilac dress. Only the humans wear black here."
"Are you wearing high heels?"
"Yes, lilac too, but not too high, so I don't look like a short girl trying to be taller."
"Yes, very sheer, very expensive..."
I was grinning, and could tell that Beth was enjoying this conversation too. I continued with my questions. "With little strappy things to hold them up?"
"No, no, these are clever stockings. They stay up by themselves, lots of lace at the top. I think you would approve."
"They sound magical..."
We both quietened for a while, until Beth spoke, proving she knew me well. "Tell me, Mr Northman, is your hand on your cock?"
"Oh, yes, but I wish it were your hand. Tell me about your panties, are they lace too?"
"I don't know or care. They are on the floor, they were in the way."
I was grinning so much it was difficult to speak for a moment. "Are you touching yourself?"
"Are you thinking of me?"
"Yes! You are deep inside me."
"Just where I want to be... Will you come for me?"
A shout from me and a high gasp from Beth, followed by a stream of giggles from her convinced me that she had indeed climaxed with me.
"Eric Northman! You are such a bad influence!" She said as she laughed.
"You need a bad influence." I claimed. "I want to see you."
My abrupt request stopped her laughter. "I want to see you. I am still here. You know where I am."
"I could visit."
"You could! Take a holiday, humans do. Why can't you?"
It was difficult to imagine requesting vacation time from the Queen of Louisiana. I blocked that thought pretty quickly. "Why don't you visit me?"
"I could. I could see Fangtasia... I so want to meet Pamela."
"I am sure Pam would want to meet you too. Although she may never admit it."
"It is so far away though..."
Already I knew she would not be visiting. I tried a different option. "We could meet in the middle, somewhere closer? Would you like to see London again? It has certainly changed."
"And I could see Londinium!"
"Yes. He can tell you how proud he is of you." I smiled. My child had always been a favourite of the King of London.
"He will tell me that I should never leave my area."
"He may, but he will still be pleased to see you."
Beth hesitated, already I knew this talk of 'visiting' was a fantasy. The thoughts had probably been stirred up because I had awoken our bond with my memories. She could not leave her area at this time, any more than I could leave Louisiana. Every night I heard of a new issue brought up by the humans, as Queen, Beth probably heard more than me. I needed to stop this talk of visits, but I could not be as blunt as I would normally be.
"I am sure we both need time to work, we should talk about visiting another time." I said.
"Yeah... we should. It has been wonderful to talk to you."
"To you too. Do you have to go?"
"I really should. I'm sorry, Eric. Meetings..."
"We will talk soon."
"Yes, I will ensure I am alone."
We both cut off the phone call, as I listened to her laugh softly.
I relaxed for a moment, thinking fondly of my child, but not knowing when I may see her again. In a few years, or decades, maybe a faster plane would be invented and I could fly to Russia for a weekend.
Enough of the past, I should be looking forward and that began with a shower.
It had taken me more than two months to leave Beth, I spent time with her, her boys and little Lily, enjoying their company and the family life there.
Eventually I crossed Russia and Europe again, arriving in London where I intended to set off to The America's from. However my travels had convinced me that I did not want to be alone, the thought of crossing the Atlantic Ocean with only the company of humans was intolerable.
I joined Londinium's huge nest again, and with his permission considered several Vampires who might want to travel, but never approached anyone as I did not find a suitable travelling companion.
I was on the verge of deciding to leave alone when I saw a girl, just a human, running through a park, with mischief on her mind. Pam. My Pamela. Turning her had been an excellent impulse! My journey was delayed as she learnt her lessons in the North of England, but eventually we travelled to America. Although I desperately missed Beth and my other family, I never regretted leaving.
I was out of the shower, considering my wardrobe when Pam called.
She began with, "You seemed relaxed, so I thought I could call."
"Pamela! You can call me at any time."
"Hmm..." Pam didn't seem too convinced.
"I have just spoken to Beth, everything is well." I answered the questions she didn't ask. "How is Fangtasia? Are you busy?" I could hear the music of the club through the phone, but thought she was calling from my office.
"Quite busy. Will you be here tonight?"
"Of course." I replied as if there were no other answer and that I had not just skipped work for a couple of nights. I felt a twinge of happiness from the bond I shared with her. "I am just deciding what to wear and I will be with you very soon."
"May I suggest black?" Pam sounding more playful than sarcastic.
"Excellent plan." I picked out black trousers and the darkest of grey shirts that Pam had chosen for me on one of her shopping sprees.
"Are you hungry?" She asked.
"There's a new girl here tonight. A brunette, which I think you might prefer at the moment? Very attractive, very short, shorts. She is excited to be here, but nervous too, I'm sure she will be full of flavour. The girl has caught the interest of many, but I am sure she has never been tasted. Shall I keep her safe for you?"
"She sounds quite delicious, thank you my child."
"Oh! And she is called Dawn, can you believe it?"
I laughed at the name. "Perfect! I shall come and meet the Dawn quite soon."
Pam was laughing as we cut off our call. I got dressed and set off to Fangtasia, I was prepared to be entertained and looking to the future.
Or the end of this story anyway! I hope you enjoyed it. So sorry about the huge delay but this last chapter was a pain to write. I wanted to fit everything in, along with a little lemons!
We all know what is next for Eric, but I don't know what's next for me... Shall I try Eric and Sookie? I don't know if I dare!
Tight Viking Hugs to everyone who's read and reviewed – Your comments are amazing, such a help with motivation! Thank you!