Chapter 13 – Back Home Again
Eric drove us back east at break neck speed in my little car, he parked next to his corvette in Shreveport with a good 3 hours before dawn. I was dog-tired and beat-up; a bath to soothe my bones and sleep was what I needed. I asked Eric if we would be going to his house, he said we could but he told me that he, Jason and Sam had been taking care of the upkeep on my family home.
Eric took care of the bills and Jason and Sam took care of the house and garden. It was just waiting on me coming back. I was very touched by that. He had also paid to make some changes and improvements to the old place, including remodelling the downstairs sleeping areas. Apparently instead of 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs, I now had one large bedroom which could be made light-tight and a large bathroom and walk in wardrobe downstairs and a larger bedroom and bathroom upstairs with drastically improved heating and plumbing all over the house.
“But Eric. What if I’d never agreed to come back? What if I’d gone away for good?”
“We did speak of that. If you hadn’t returned within 6 months we would rent the property on short term leases, but since you have only been away for a month we won’t even need to consider it again” He smiled at me, taking his eyes of the road for the first time since we got in the car.
“I’m looking forward to seeing it, even though I could sleep for a week, I think I could stay awake to see what you’ve done to the old place. Can I ask you some questions about the bond before we do the last exchange?”
“Of course Lover, fire away.”
“What would the bond mean for me? What would I need to do exactly?”
“You would be connected to me for the rest of your life; you will be able to feel my emotions without using your gifts. You would also have to defer to me in public, especially around agents of the Queen, and seem subservient to me. We would know it was an act and when alone or in the company of trusted friends we could behave normally. You would be expected to take care of my every need. Would you be able to that Dear One?”
“I guess so, as long as the subservient routine was just an act. Would I have to call you Master?”
“Only in the public situations I mentioned before”
“What does it mean for you?”
“I would be expected to ensure your behaviour is fitting and to take care of your needs. Your welfare would be my personal responsibility. No-one speaks well of a vampire with a starved bonded, dressed in rags.”
“So you would feel it your responsibility to feed and clothe me?”
“Yes. The way you act and present yourself would reflect on me, as the bonded of a Sherriff you would be expected to be most ladylike in your behaviour and appearance. Unfortunately it’s all about making me look good.”
“Sounds like I’d be a trophy wife from the 50’s!” I snorted
“Actually that’s not a bad description. I would be the breadwinner and you would keep house and look pretty” I gasped at that “except, you would be able to continue to work for me in your current capacity. I have staff to keep house for me, I would never expect you to clean up my mess. I would, however, ask that you stop working for the Shifter, having my bonded waitressing in a redneck bar would make me look like I do not respect you or care for you.”
“To be honest, I’ve been gone for a month, I’m sure Sam has replaced me by now. Besides the money I make at Fangtasia is plenty to keep the bills paid. If we didn’t live together it would make you look pretty stupid too huh?”
“You catch on quick little One” he winked at me then and I smiled for a moment before I asked him the first of the last big questions
“What happens when you get bored?”
“Bored of what Lover?”
“Bored of me. I know you’re used to having any kind of sex you want with any kind of woman you want. I can’t keep you interested for the next 40 or 50 years.”
“There are no rules to say that a vampire has to be faithful to his bonded, of course you are expected to be faithful to me. I am aware that monogamy is important to you and I will continue to be monogamous with you, that said, if at any point I feel my interests are waning I will discuss it with you before making any rash decisions”
“Oh so you’ll tell me before you take home a skanky fangbanger?” I was starting to feel my rage bubble up and tempered it. Losing my rag in a small sports car wouldn’t be a smart move, especially at 100mph.
“You misunderstand Lover. When I say ‘discuss’ I mean ‘discuss’, I would give my opinion on the situation and would listen to yours, then we would attempt to come to a conclusion together. I doubt that would ever happen, I have much to teach you” another wink. He had a point; he had 1,000 years to accumulate experience and knowledge. I’m pretty sure he could spend the rest of my shelf-life passing it on and still have lessons left over.
“Okay. What happens when I get old and saggy?” for the first time when talking about us, he looked troubled.
“My blood, if taken regularly, will keep you looking younger than you actually are. You said earlier we could be together for another 40 or 50 years but there is a good chance that when you are 50 years old you may still look to be in your mid-thirties” he looked at me and I tapped into his feelings, he was very… nervous? “Also, Lover, I was hoping you would consider letting me turn you” I glared at him “Not now or even in the next few years but sometime in the future. You are someone I can imagine spending forever with and you would make a magnificent vampire!”
“Okay so it’s a ‘we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it’ scenario then?” he nodded “Well we’re almost there. Will we have to live together?”
“It is expected yes, most bondeds live with their vampires so they can be controlled but we simply enjoy each other’s company. I made the light-tight provisions at your farmhouse so we could perhaps split our time between your home and mine. I wasn’t sure you would appreciate being moved away from your friends and remaining family”
“That’s very thoughtful of you Eric. I appreciate that and I think it’s a great idea. We could spend the nights Fangtasia is closed in Bon Temps and the rest of the time in Shreveport”
“Exactly what I was thinking Lover!”
We turned off Hummingbird Road and I noticed the gorgeous new driveway leading up to a repainted and almost brand new looking Stackhouse Residence. It looked amazing. Eric gave me the keys for the new doors that had been installed and I ran inside. It was breathtaking. The kitchen had been updated, but still retained the old family dining table and it had all new appliances.
The cupboard under the stairs had been cleared out and enlarged enough to house a small toilet. The living room had new modern furniture and had been decorated in warm neutral tones. The upstairs suite had a wonderful bathroom with a tub and separate shower, and a large bedroom with soft yellow walls and pale blue carpet and bedding.
I saved my room until last, the first thing I noticed is that the open hallway leading to the two old rooms had a door now, the door required a security code and fingerprint scan before it would open but beyond that door was another which also required a code. Through that door was wonderful sanctuary.
The left side had a wall with two doors leading from it and the rest was open space, dominated by a four poster king-size bed on a dais with white sheets and a cranberry red comforter, three walls were painted cream and the other was pained dark blue, the old floor had been replaced with highly polished cherry wood.
The first door on the left led to the most decadent bathroom I had ever seen, it had marble counters, twin sinks, a make-up area with a stool and lights around the mirror, a Jacuzzi tub big enough for four and a large shower enclosure with 6 nozzles and a wooden bench against one side. The last door was a walk in wardrobe, which I noticed already, had some women’s and men’s clothes hanging up in it.
“Eric, this is amazing! I don’t know how you managed to get it all done in the short time I was away”
“Money” he shrugged “Since there was no-one home and no neighbours to disturb I was able to hire enough men to cover them working 24 hours day, the work only took a couple of weeks”
“How do we make it light-tight for you?”
“This” he indicated a small console next to the bed “controls metal shutters that come down over the windows, the two doors before entering the room ensure that no light will enter the room if you leave it to move around the rest of the house. They will not open at the same time; one door has to be closed for the other to open. The shutters are light sensitive and will automatically close at sunrise, but you can over-ride it if you are ever here without me and wish to see the sun when you wake”
“Okay, well I’m beat – literally! I’m gonna run a bath and soak for a while before bed. Do you still want to do the next exchange tonight?”
“Yes, I will call the Queen while you run the bath and we can do it while we relax. It’s been a traumatic day for you; you will need your rest to recover Lover”
I went back into the bathroom and started running the water. After I had stripped off my clothes I turned tentatively to the mirror, I was a mess, covered in bruises. I hadn’t wanted to look at myself when I showered earlier but looking at the beaten woman in front of me I couldn’t hold back any longer and sank to my knees and cried. I wasn’t just crying for the beating I took, or the rape I was almost subjected to, or the painful death that the Newlin’s had planned for me. It was for everything I’d been through since Bill Compton walked into Merlotte’s.
I’d been strong the whole time while I was planning and executing my escape and revenge but what good did it really do me? I was back to facing the Queen and the consequences for my actions against Andre. I was sure Eric and me could pull off the ‘she was bonded to me to control her’ act, I could even handle calling him Master and sitting at his feet when it was required, I could handle them because they were known quantities. The punishment the Queen could try to impose on me was not and it scared me, it angered me, what was the point of anything I’d done if I let her treat me like I was a disobedient child?
I was so desperate to come home that I lost sight of why I’d left in the first place. I simply refuse to let her have the upper hand.
I got in the bath and the warm water calmed me and slowed the tears and abated my fury a little. I breathed in the steam slowly, evenly, until the sobbing stopped. Eric came in and took off his clothes and slid behind me in the tub, I heard him tearing the flesh on his wrist and it appeared my front of me. I latched on before any blood could drip in the water and felt him sink his fangs into my shoulder.
This exchange was about necessity not pleasure, to be honest I didn’t have the energy or desire for our usual high jinks. I felt Eric’s member twitch behind me but he must have been keeping it in check because that’s all it did and I was glad he respected how worn I was.
After he had rubbed some blood into the puncture wounds to heal them he kissed my neck and picked up a sponge and some cinnamon scented body wash and started to wash me. When he was sure I was clean (especially my breasts) he picked up the handheld attachment for rinsing and washed and conditioned my hair for me. I wasn’t used to someone doing all this for me, but it felt good and I was hoping that this was part of the whole ‘Eric taking care of Sookie’ package that was our bond.
I realised that I could feel a mixture of trepidation and affection, I wasn’t even trying to tap into his emotions, that meant the last exchange had made it permanent, there was no going back now. I’ve made my bed. After Eric had made sure we were both dry with some lovely fluffy towels, he helped me into a gorgeous silk nightgown which was sexy but very classy, I dried my hair and we settled down on the bed.
“What did the Queen say?”
“She wants us in New Orleans tomorrow night. We’ll have tonight to plan and leave at sundown the next night, hopefully she won’t keep us so long that we need to find accommodations there”
“Good, having tomorrow night will give us time to call the AVL and contact Niall. I ran away to escape being punished for something I didn’t deserve punishing for. I’ll be damned if I come home to face the same treatment.”
“There’s my little spitfire!” he kissed me and stroked my hair until I was asleep.
I woke up and stretched out as usual, noticing that the aches and pains from yesterdays Fellowship adventure were just a fading memory thanks to Eric’s blood, if only the actual memories would fade then I’d be okily-dokily. I looked over at him, ‘dead’ next to me in bed, he looked like a statue, not breathing or moving at all.
The only way I could tell he wasn’t carved from stone was the feel of his velvet skin, the soft cover over his hard muscles. It was strange to see him like this, defenceless, vulnerable, I guess it spoke volumes about the trust he put in me.
I was distracted by a buzzing noise coming from a panel next to the door. When I was in front of it I realised there was a small TV with a video feed of my front porch, there was a pale, stern looking man surrounded by grocery bags. Another round of the buzzing noise brought me back to the matter at hand, I noticed a green button underneath what could be a speakerphone and took a chance pressing it and greeting the man with the furrowed brow
“Can I help you sir?”
My name is Bobby Burnham, I work for Mr. Northman. He asked me to deliver some goods to this address.
“Thank you Mr. Burnham, you can just leave them on the porch, unless there’s something that I need to sign?”
No Ma’am. I’ll be on my way.
He dumped the last bag he was holding onto the porch and spun on his heel to march back off the porch. I reached out to read his mind, he wasn’t happy at all. He didn’t see why some woman living in the middle of nowhere would need a great vampire like Mr. Northman arranging to have groceries delivered for her.
His brain continued to ramble along the same lines until he was out of my range. I quickly threw on some clean underwear, yoga pants and a sweatshirt before going out to the porch and collecting my delivery. It was all of my favourite things, but mostly junk food with a few basic items, I guess Eric had been paying attention to my snacking habits when he’d been over watching movies before. I made some scrambled eggs and toast and ate it while I waited for my coffee to brew.
I took a mug of coffee into the living room with me and dug through my bag until I found my old cell phone, I turned it on for the first time in a month and put it on to charge. By the time I’d finished my coffee I had received 10 text messages and 15 voicemails, all from Eric, all sent the first few days I disappeared. I deleted them, then figured I should call round and let folks know I was back.
Jason was glad he wouldn’t have Eric on his back about keeping the house nice anymore, Tara wanted to meet up right away so I could tell her of my adventures, Mel was pleased to hear I was safe, Sam was happy I was home but said he knew I’d have to face the music for what I’d done and wanted to know if I really was okay, lastly Fintan.
He wasn’t happy about my bonding with Eric but said he had a lot on his plate right now; he didn’t want to talk long and asked me not to contact him again in case he was being watched. He mumbled something about triplets and that they were trustworthy then hung up on me. Weird.
I still had a lot of time before Eric would be awake, so I decided to check my wardrobe for shorts or maybe even a bikini and lay out soaking some rays. After a couple of hours and two full rotations (I always do a half-hour each side to try and make things even) I headed back inside to have something else to eat more coffee and catch up with the news on TV. I napped a little, waking at the loud intro music of a game show, and noticed it was around an hour until sundown. I felt something click inside my head and realised I had just felt Eric wake up.
He was sitting up in bed with a laptop when I entered the room, I wondered if he ever took a day off. Looking up and smiling at me, he patted the bed next to him and I had to catch myself from skipping over there, what the heck was that all about? I bounced on the bed next to him and leaned over to kiss him
“Mmm… I can smell the sun, how was your day dear One?”
“Productive, considering how little there was of it. I tanned, ate, phoned and watched some TV. I was thinking about showering right before I felt you wake.”
“You felt me wake? Interesting.”He put down his laptop and nuzzled against me “I think we should save water and shower together Lover.”
He picked me up and carried me to the bathroom, setting me down before he started the shower and got both of us naked before I could say ‘I’ve never done it in the shower before’. An hour later I wouldn’t be able to say that again, Eric made showering infinitely more fun than going it alone with the detachable nozzle, feeling the hot water cascade over my breasts while he sucked on my pearl was very erotic and the wooden bench made itself useful as he sat on it and pulled me down onto his lap with his chest against my back.
He spread my legs wide and impaled me on his huge dick, lifting me up and down with his hands on my hips. I had one arm behind me, fisting my hand in his hair and pulling him towards me so I could kiss him, while my other hand pinched at my hard nipples before moving down to rub my clit. I left the cubicle feeling dirtier than I was when I got in.
“I wish I could save orgasms in a jar, because I think I had a few extra” I giggled and threw my wet towel at Eric. He caught it, of course, and smiled at me.
“Well, I think we’ve made an adequate start to our evening Lover. I think we should get dressed right now or we’ll never get any work done!”
I pouted but knew he was right, there would be time to play later. Right now I’m ass deep in vampire business and need to wade to safety. I pick up my phone and begin my plan.
Hello, you have reached the American Vampire league. Press one for Vampire facts and lore, press two for information on and vendors of synthetic blood press three to receive an information pack on becoming a vampire or press four to speak to a representative of the AVL.
I pressed four and hoped they spoke to non-vampires.
Your call is in a queue. Please hold until a member of the AVL is available to speak with you.
There followed a bad musak rendition Annie Lennox’ ‘Love song for a Vampire’. Urgh! I hated automated responses and I hated being on hold.
This is Nicola from the AVL
“Oh Hi there, I was hoping you could help with a Vampire problem I have”
Are you a Vampire?
“Uh… no, I’m human, mostly, but I work for a Vampire”
Mostly human? Uh-huh. So what is this alleged problem you have?
Christ on a bike! Would it kill these vamps to think one of them was in the wrong for once?
“I was accosted by a vampire and defended myself, yet his maker is demanding I be punished. What is the best way for me to approach the upcoming meeting with them?”
When you say defended what exactly do you mean? Is the Vampire finally dead?
“I hit him a couple of times and shot him, he was up and around two to three days later and as far as I know he is very much still walking the earth”
Did this incident take place on human owned property or Vampire owned property?
“Vampire owned. It was outside the base of operations for my area Sherriff, in the car park. I felt my shoulders being grabbed and acted on instinct” They didn’t need to know that I knew it was a vamp “I feel it’s a little backwards to demand punishment for this, I’m just a woman who was protecting herself while walking to her car alone in the dark.”
This is difficult to solve over the phone, can I have your name and address and a rep will be at your home later tonight.
“Um… yes I guess that would be acceptable.” I gave her my details and she confirmed them. “My Employer will be here for the meeting, is that okay?”
The sigh and grunt told me it probably wasn’t but Nicola had hung up on me anyway so I decided not to worry about it. Eric was still on the phone to Niall, I could only hear his side of the conversation but it sounded like he wanted Niall to meet up with us before the trip to New Orleans. I decided to make myself a snack while I waited for them to finish up.
I was sitting in the living room with a glass of sweet tea and a packet of double choc chip cookies when Eric came back in.
“How did your call to the AVL work out?”
“They’re sending a rep here tonight as my problem was apparently too difficult to solve over the phone”
“Hmm… Niall will be coming over tonight too. I know he can suppress his scent so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Why? Does he stink or something?”
“Niall is a full blooded fairy; they have to most delicious scent” he looked quite wistful “they smell almost as good as they taste. Usually a fairy won’t last long in a room with a vampire because the way their scent affects us is similar to taking a chocoholic on a diet into Hershey’s factory.”
“Just can’t resist huh? Well I guess we should get our stories straight. We’re clear on what happened with Andre right?”
“Yes Lover, an unknown vampire grabbed you from behind and you lashed out in self defence” I nodded in agreement “I don’t know what Bill done to deserve his head being disintegrated though”
“Uh… well… he showed up at my door when I was packing my stuff to run away.”
“What did he do?” shit, he didn’t actually do anything, but how could I tell Eric that?
“I was scared of him, he been asking around town about me, where I went who I hung around with, what shifts I worked. I doubted he would let me leave my house while it was dark so I got him out of the way.”
“Did he say that he wasn’t letting you leave?”
“No, he didn’t but in my mind the intent was there.”
“I see, you felt threatened enough by his past behaviour with you to draw that conclusion.”
I could see a smile playing at his lips, he didn’t like Bill anymore than I did and was probably happy he was dead and gone. We sat in front of the fireplace trading anecdotes about our time apart and the people we spent it with for around an hour before there was the sound of tires on gravel. I cast my mental net and found a void.
“It’s the AVL rep; either that or another vamp has my address and has popped by for an unscheduled visit.”
Eric nodded and walked with me to the door. When I opened it there was a very elegant vampiress striding towards my front porch, she was quite short, maybe 5’2”, with shoulder length hair the colour of caramel. She stood in front of me and nodded, then looked up at Eric and done the same.
“Elizabeth De Burgh. You must be” she looked at her palm PC “Sookie Stackhouse.” I nodded “you mentioned your employer would be here, I gather that you are the vampire in question Mr. Northman?”
“You are quite correct.” His mouth twitched a little, I wasn’t sure if he was suppressing a grin or a snarl.
“Please Ms. De Burgh, won’t you come in?”
She stepped over the threshold and Eric ushered her into the living room. Once they were both seated I offered Truebloods but neither took one. I went over my story again, explaining the same things I explained on the phone. Ms. De Burgh seemed actually quite interested, she even asked for more details.
“So, Eric, I’m wondering why Miss. Stackhouse wasn’t glamoured to either forget the whole incident or to think that she deserved punishment without trial.”
“Sookie cannot be glamoured”
“Would you mind if I tried? Just to confirm of course.”
Eric nodded and I felt a pulling on my mind, when Bill and Eric had tried it was a little uncomfortable and required a lot of concentration, but now it was effortless. She tried to glamour me into getting up and walking around the couch, I just sat and focused on her mind-voice but without warning I was tossed into her memories. I saw a bloody battlefield, a dungeon, a heavily bearded man and then I was pushed back out, she seemed surprised that I hadn’t moved and if she noticed I’d looked in her mind while it was open using her glamour she didn’t say anything. Definitely something to scan with my ‘weird-shit-o-meter’ later.
“Well I’m convinced. Now back to this vampire who attacked you and their maker, you say you’ve been called to a meeting with them. What are their names?”
I looked at Eric and he nodded “The vampire I shot was Andre Paul and his maker is Queen Sophie-Ann LeClerq”
Right there I thought Elizabeth De Burgh was gonna have a conniption fit, then she smiled at me. To be honest her smile almost made me mess my panties it was so scary but I guess it meant she was on my side. She explained that basically I was in the clear; the Queen was counting on my ignorance of the vampire world and my own guilt to get me to accept punishment.
It was agreed that the vampiress would attend our meeting with the Queen and represent my interests. I wondered if Niall would even be needed if I had the AVL fighting in my corner, but Eric said we might need him for a different reason.
We told her that my Fae representative was coming too and she seemed very excited to meet him, but would have to wait until the next night as she had things to attend to. We said our goodbyes and as I was watching her car disappear down the driveway there was a popping noise and a very handsome gentleman appeared on the grass across from the porch. His hair was pale gold and he carried a black cane with a gold head. He walked towards me and extended his hand when he got to the door.
“Miss Stackhouse?” I nodded “I am Niall Brigant, I understand you are part Fae and require some help with a vampire problem.”
“Yes sir, that’s correct. Would you like to come inside?”
He smiled and walked inside nodding and smiling at Eric on his way to the living room. For what seemed like the hundredth time that night I divulged the details of my adventures in Fangtasia’s car park. Niall didn’t ask any questions but nodded solemnly through my tale. He looked at me and then Eric
“Is this house secure?”
“Yes, but perhaps Sookie can ‘cast her net’ as she likes to say and check we have to eavesdroppers outside” I nodded and stretched the tendrils of my consciousness outside past the cemetery down to the road and back to the woods. Nothing.
“It’s clear, nothing out there but proper animals and vegetation.” I smiled. Niall stood and indicated that I was to do the same, when I did he pulled me into a tight embrace.
“Blood of my blood. I sensed you were my kin as soon as I laid eyes on you” he must have noticed my scared expression, I remembered how Eric told me that Niall had enemies who would love to get their hands on me “do not fear little one, this knowledge is for us and us alone. Fintan took great efforts to shield you from the other Fae and I will do my best not to undo his good work.”
“That would be much appreciated Niall” Eric was eyeing him warily “Sookie is now my bonded, I would not tolerate her being drawn into any Fae quarrels.”
Niall agreed to join us at the Royal compound the next night, there would certainly be a show of force for my right to defend myself! I found that I was actually looking forward to the meeting rather than dreading it. Sophie-Ann was fucking with the wrong telepath!