I own nothing to do with True Blood. I am just a massive fan.

Just a warning about if you're going to read this, this story isn't fluffy or sweet- at least, not until after a while. Eric is a darker character (think sadistic and predatory in some ways, and gentle and patient in others), he's actually rather duplicitous towards Sookie, but eventually it will all be revealed and work itself out. I'm a big fan of stories like Let The Right One in, stories that portray the darker side and have an eerie feel to them, so that is what I'm trying for here. I've always wanted to write a story about the darker side of humanity, where someone has light inside of them as well (a weakness or soft spot for someone, etc). As for Sookie, she is still ultimately what she is in the show, but her powers only develop and start showing once certain supernatural events occur and are known publicly.

Hope you enjoy.

The Arranged Marriage

The first time I met him, I knew there was something a bit off about him.

I was at holy Mass with my Grandmother, Adele.

My Grandmother was always big on religion, and I suppose I was raised that way, also. I'll never forget the way he stared at me, from across the room. People were filling in, Church was all the rage for people in Bon Temps, and I remember Gran was holding onto my arm so tightly like a blind woman, as we found our seats for the morning's service.

I spotted him before he spotted me. He was trailing down the centre aisle to get to an empty pew. I remember being stunned by how tall he was; He was probably the tallest man in Church that day, a little over six feet tall in estimation. He was wearing a long black overcoat and equally as black trousers, with dressy, polished black loafers. His ashy blond hair was slicked back, brushed below his earlobes, and damp with water artfully for Mass. We all liked to look our neatest for Church.

Truth be told, I noticed a lot of people in attendance giving him funny looks. He wasn't a regular to Mass; I don't think anyone in attendance had ever met him before. He must have liked to keep to himself, and not mingle much with anyone in town. He sat right in front of Maxine Fortenberry, and I could almost hear her when she tapped him on the shoulder in annoyance and told him his head was in the way of her seeing the Priest, up at the stage where he stood. I could almost hear him apologizing profusely to her, as he stood and shuffled out of the pew to find another place where he wouldn't be in anyone's way.

The only empty seat left was the one next to myself and my Grandmother, and I remember praying, Oh God, please don't let him sit near us. God mustn't have answered my prayers that day, because he did anyway. He solemnly marched over to the empty seat in the pew next to me, and I remember him sitting so close to me in proximity that our elbows touched every time either one of us moved; The soft, light material of his coat chafing against the bare skin on my elbow, now and then.

A quiet flew into the entire Church as Father Simon got to the stage. And then, holding my Grandmother's hand, we all stood as he called us all to our feet for first prayer. The tall man in the black overcoat beside me stood awkwardly and shoved his hands deeply into the pockets of his coat. We all uttered it at the same time, and Gran and I had already learned it by heart:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil...

I couldn't help but notice the man standing next to me was silent all throughout the prayer. It was obvious he hadn't been to Church before; He was a newcomer.

When I dared to peek over at him before we all sat again in our seats, I found he was already looking right at me. Our eyes met, and held for a long and silent moment. He wasn't all that bad looking, and it was the first time a man really looked at me like that, with such avid attention and interest. He was looking at me a bit like I was his own personal Jesus. Shyly, I looked away as we were all called back into our seats. I could feel his eyes boring into my cheeks.

The Mass proceeded with readings. One, the Priest told of Shepard's who came to the manger. Same story as always, easily learned by heart. I couldn't help but notice the tall man beside me was jiggling his leg, in a very distracting way, near mine. When I dared to look at him again, he had his eyes closed. He seemed very daunted by Church, or maybe it was just being in the presence of a crowd of people.

And then he leaned over and whispered in my ear, "You're beautiful."

It was the first time a man had ever called me that before. Beautiful. His voice was baritone and compelling, expressing nothing but truth.

And it was a pretty sleazy move of him, attempting to pick up a much younger girl in Church.

I darted him an odd look that told him he was weird. He didn't pick up on that, though. I guess he was far too persistent.

"Are you alone here today? How would you like to accompany me afterwards for-"

I stopped him by shushing him quietly with a finger pressed to my lips, and Gran turned in her seat to fix a stern look on him over my shoulder. He trailed off into silence, either embarrassed or disgraced in himself. Gran didn't like anyone talking in Church. She was a religious fanatic in that way.

He didn't speak to me again. At least, not until Church was over and we all were bid to stand.

"Amen, and may the Lord be with you," we all said back to the Priest serenely, with the exception of this strange tall man, who remained silent.

I turned, and he was blocking the way out of the pew. He slipped his right hand out of his coat pocket, and then took hold of one of mine. I remember his fingers being so cold, like he had immersed them in snow or something a few moments earlier, which was odd. Louisiana was hardly a snowy place. He took my hand in his and gently guided my knuckles up to his lips quickly, holding my gaze earnestly all the while, with a twinkle in his eye. His lips pressed into the skin of my knuckles, and they left tingling aftereffects on them. He had a strange allure about him, something I couldn't quite pinpoint. It was a feeling I hadn't ever felt in the presence of another before, something hard to define. Also, I couldn't believe the gall he had to try this on me in Church.

"I want you," he whispered hoarsely into my knuckles, panting all over my skin like a desperate man.

Gran was not pleased, to say the least. She cleared her throat in a very frustrated way, and I guess he got the vibe she was sending off clearly. Quickly, he let go of my hand, and without warning, he quickly slid out of the pew and stormed out of the Church. I remember my Grandmother's eyes following his back disapprovingly while he did it, and then he disappeared out the door, and it slid back shut behind him.

He was strange, for lack of a better word. And, something told me I would be seeing a lot more of him from that day forward, and I was right.