Catalyst Ch. 15

Chapter Fifteen: Memories

Jason’s POV:

“Your ride’s here,” I mumble at Pam who’s lyin’ in bed next to me. I can hear Eric’s Corvette in front of the apartment.

“Mmm,” she purrs with a cat-like stretch before givin’ my chin a saucy lick, “thanks for dinner.”

“Thanks for dessert,” I turn on my side and kiss her mouth. “Now get outta my bed and dressed before Sooks comes up here.”

Pam laughs, hops outta bed, and starts puttin’ her clothes back on. I pull on my sweat pants and tug a shirt over my head to hide the bite mark she decided to leave this time on my shoulder.

When we get to the living room, Sooks is just comin’ in the front door. Her make-up’s more than a bit mussed, her hair is wild, and she has the goofiest look on her face. Aw, hell.

Pam grins at Sookie as she walks past, bumping my sister with her hip like a girl version of a high-five after scoring. Fuck my life.

Eric’s standin’ in the doorway, and I do my damnedest not to glower at him. When Sookie turns back to the door to kiss him goodnight, I give him the finger while she ain’t lookin’. Eric sees my gesture, winks at me, and then pulls away.

“Good night, Sookie,” he whispers and she blushes. When she turns to close the door, he fuckin’ slaps her ass, and I almost lose my shit.

Once the door closes, my fists are clenched.

“Jason,” Sookie turns and stares me down, “please don’t start.”

I suck a deep breath in to my lungs, put my hands behind my head, and let the air out slowly. “Ya gotta realize how screwed up this is for me,” I plead.

“I understand that,” she nods. “The thing is, Jason, you do gotta get over it. Eighteen or thirty, I was gonna find someone at some point.”

“I know, I know,” I nod. “At least it’s someone I can stand… Well, more than stand. I like Eric. I like Pam. I’m cool with it, I swear, I’m just…”

“Scared?” she hints.

“What if he takes you away from me?” I ask sullenly.

She smiles at me, “I think Eric knows we’re a package deal, Jason.”

“Are we?” I pout.

“Yes, we are,” she nods and hugs me. “Where you go, I go. Where I go, Eric goes. Our family’s just gettin’ bigger, Jason. That’s not scary, right?”

“I guess not,” I admit. “Although you make it sound like you’re gonna marry him.”

“I am,” she announces all nonchalant.

What?” I swear I’m not tryin’ to shout.

Sookie shrugs, “I’m gonna marry him some day. I’ve made up my mind, so has he, but we’re gonna wait. He thinks until December, but I don’t know if I’ll make it that long.”

“Oh my God, just fuck him for now! Don’t go gettin’ married all the sudden!”

She actually laughs at my outburst, “Jason, sex has nothin’ to do with why I wanna marry him. I love him. We’ve been datin’ almost half a year. Lots of people get married in less time than that.”

“Yeah, well that’s only until death do you part, this is an eternal commitment!” I point out.

“I know,” she nods. “We’re gonna wait, I’m just tellin’ ya now, so we can start gettin’ used to the idea.”

“Ugh! I’m gonna be sick!” I moan.

“And I’m spendin’ my birthday weekend at Eric’s.”

“What!? C’mon, Sooks! We had plans!” I bitch like a little diva.

“For my birthday,” she reminds me. “The weekend after my birthday, I’m spendin’ with Eric.”

I scuff my foot against the floor and pout some more. “Fine.”

“C’mon, Jayce, don’t pout,” she leans in to kiss my cheek, stops, blushes, and starts walkin’ down the hall.

“Aw, really!?” I shout after her. That’s exactly how I wanna figure my sister gave a blowjob and hasn’t brushed her teeth yet.

“Both our clothes stayed on all night, Jason,” she laughs her way to the bathroom, “but I’ve still been kissin’ on Eric all night. You want his spit all over your face?”

Can’t argue that logic none, “I guess I should say ‘thanks,’” I call, goin’ to my room and flopping onto the bed. She’s makin’ some really good points.

Maybe I gotta let some of this stereotypical, big brother shit go. She doesn’t need me looming over her back, vetting her boyfriend, questioning her every move or motivation. Sooks isn’t just a good girl, she’s a smart girl. Nothin’ about this feels wrong, it just feels weird. Mostly ’cause for a long ass time, we were the only two who could make each other happy. Thing is, she’s not the only one happy right now. Used to be the only time I was remotely content was around Sookie. Now, I’m just happy all the time. At school, with the team, with Pam… That’s the way siblings should be. Happy to be around each other, not needing to be around each other to be happy.

Holy hell! Are we finally gettin’ it all right? Is our codependency finally bein’ resolved?

I think about all the times I just been super excited this week. Sure, I still got some selfish thoughts about Sookie, like wantin’ to be the one she spends her birthday with. But I ain’t coddling her near as much. I still don’t like her out in the city without me, Eric, or Pam, but she ain’t strong like the three of us, definitely not like Pam and Eric. Other than that, though, I think we’re finally gettin’ things right. I realize now that all this bullshit goin’ on in my head about Sookie and Eric ain’t about them. It’s about
me still clinging to old habits.

After all, Sooks is more grown-up than any other girl her age. She’s been through a lot more, knows the world more. She knows what she wants and doesn’t want. She proved that by the way she spoke to me just now.

Wow, I think, shaking my head, we’re finally healthy physically and emotionally. I laugh at the idea. Well, I guess it’s just down to seein’ how the dynamics change between me and Sooks, and figuring out what all that means from here on out.


I need to find somethin’ to do, I think miserably. No work, no school, no Sookie for another week. Even though her finals don’t start ’til Wednesday, she’s been studyin’ so freakin’ much, I hardly get to talk to her any. It sucks that my semester ended so much earlier than hers, but I’ve been makin’ do.

Yesterday I went out with the team and we all wandered to one of the parks for a pick-up game of football. There were some high school kids who wanted in, and they were stoked to play with a real college team.

My teammates were blown away by some of my deep passes, not havin’ seen my arm at its best since my Freshman year. The first pass I made was over seventy yards, and Aaron, our wide receiver, ’bout shit himself when the ball practically fell into his waitin’ arms. The game stopped, takin’ the youngins by surprise, as my entire team just froze on the field and practically dog piled me with relief. I think they was all worried I wouldn’t be able to make it through my senior year.

Next thing I know, Aaron’s begging me to attempt an eighty-yard pass. I think I threw just shy of ninety, and the team exploded with shouts and whistles. Damn, that was a good time!

The door opens then, and I look up from the baseball game to see Sookie comin’ in. She sets her book bag down by the couch and kinda drifts right past me. My face scrunches into a frown as she goes straight to her room, shutting the door.

Why didn’t she take her books with her? I wonder in surprise that she didn’t sit right at the coffee table and start studyin’. Even if she didn’t want the noise of the TV, she woulda taken her materials with her.

Gettin’ up from the couch, I go to Sook’s door and give it a soft knock.

Yeah?” she calls softly.

Can I come in?” I ask, puttin’ my hand at the doorknob, waitin’ for her to say it’s okay.

Sure,” she sounds real down.

What’s wrong?” I ask as I come in. She’s sittin’ on her bed with a folded-up piece of paper. I sit down next to her.

Someone left this in my locker,” she whispers, handin’ me the paper.

~Go suck your brother’s dick, Orphan!~

Aw, what bullshit is this all the sudden?” I growl, crumpling up the note and shoving it into my pocket. “Just ignore it, Sookie,” I tell her firmly. “It’s nothin’ but words. Whoever wrote that is a piece of shit, and don’t know what the fuck they’re talkin’ ’bout!”

I know,” she mumbles gloomily, tilting her head to rest on my shoulder. “It just hurts in ways I didn’t think it could.”

C’mon,” I pick her up like a baby and carry her to the living room. I plop us on the couch and look for a movie to watch. “You just need to chill a bit, right? Get your mind off it for a little while and then get back to studyin’.”

Sookie nods in a way that makes me feel like I’m bein’ humored. It feels like she’s hurtin’ even worse than she’s lettin’ on, and I just don’t know what the fuck to do! My baby sis ain’t let words hurt her like this before. Hell, I don’t think anything’s pushed her toward this sorta depression since seein’ Gran’s house under renovation. At least then, she’d been reactive. Now she’s all despondent and quiet… I don’t know what the hell to do for her!

Pam’s POV:

Oh, what in the hell is going on now? I wonder as I storm into the Stackhouse’s apartment. Eric has been summoned to New Orleans by Sophie-Anne, and had to take flight immediately at true dark. He is pissed off, and grating on my last nerve all because of Sookie. Apparently, his little girlfriend is very distressed, to the point that Jason called him, and Sophie-Anne has Eric on a damned timer about getting to New Orleans before ten o’clock!

What the hell is going on?” I snap as I fling open Jason’s apartment door and find the siblings curled on the couch together reading that fucking book about children living on a train, or whatever the hell it’s about.

Jason puts the book down, stands up, and comes over to me before whispering, “Some lil’ fucker left a note in Sook’s locker that pretty much called her a white trash orphan.”

Shit, she is upset about this…what do I do? It is only words, so I am not quite certain why she is so upset. I can tell by the fact she has not greeted me that she is very upset by the situation, but she is not even studying for her finals! She must be extremely upset. By words? Why?

I see,” I finally reply uncomfortably. “I’ll just go call Eric and explain why Sookie is so upset. You can… Take care of this, right?” I gesture at his distraught sister vaguely.

Jason replies with an equally uncomfortable raising of his shoulders. Neither one of us is particularly well-equipped to deal with this level of depression from Sookie. Normally, she is Jason’s rock, and I can see him floundering without her. I, on the other hand, am emotionally ill-equipped to be of any assistance to her. Sookie does not do retail therapy. Therefore, I am out of ideas to help her.

I step out and call Eric’s cellphone. It goes straight to voicemail, as he is in the air, and not even vampire hearing would allow me to interpret his words over the wind. Once I have updated my Maker on the situation, I re-enter the apartment. Jason and I stand on the outskirts of the living room as Sookie just sits there, staring at the blank television screen. Her shoulders are locked, and I can see a strange array of emotions flickering across her face. I can tell she is trying to work something very intricate in her head, but I am unable to determine what it is.

At some point, Jason and I are standing in the kitchen, and he is staring at his cup of coffee looking utterly lost. Like me, he cannot comprehend why his sister is suffering this level of depression from something so inconsequential as a rude letter.

I have been at the Stackhouses’ for nearly two hours when the apartment phone rings. I answer it as Jason is sitting next to his sister, his arm wrapped over her shoulder.

This is Pam,” I snap into the phone.

Put Sookie on the phone,” Eric’s voice commands.

Fuck you, Northm- ARGH!” A shriek of pain and shredding sound comes over the receiver.

Eric, are you in Baton Rouge again?” I hiss into the phone.

You are fucking right I am in fucking Baton Rouge AGAIN!Eric roars and I hear the distinct sound of a vampire turning into a pile of flesh. “I am done coming back here to this fucking swamp, you ingrates! I would have ended you fucking wastes of immortality-”

I pull the phone away from my ear, pinch the bridge of my nose, and sigh. Eric is extremely pissed off and murdering vampires, demanding to talk to his girlfriend whilst he does so. This could end very poorly.

Are you done?” I demand once there is an extended length of time that has an absence of dismembering body parts, curses, and screams of agony.

I am almost certainly finished. There were only five vampires left out in the bayou, correct?” he asks me.

Six, actually. Why did Sophie-Anne call you to New Orleans first if she was only going to permit your request for a purge?” I ask quietly as to not alert the Stackhouses that Eric is currently destroying an entire coterie of Louisiana vampires.

My motivations for François’ disciplining was called into question. She believed it to be unprovoked, when I argued further, she summoned me to justify my request with evidence. Once I proved that François has been taking pay-offs from the bayou vampires, she relented and consented to my prescribed discipline. Hold on.”

I listen to a scuffle, several more shouted curses, and then my Maker’s howl. My jaw tenses when I hear another vampire turning into a pile, but I do not feel his true demise.

And that is six,” Eric tells me merrily.

What was that?”

Silver in his glove. A brief burn. Now, put Sookie on. I will walk to François’ from here and handle Sookie.”

Yes,” I roll my eyes, “good luck with that.” Turning toward the living room, I call to the little blonde, “Sookie, Eric wants to speak with you.”

I hand her the phone when she approaches, and go to sit on the sofa with Jason. When he begins to speak, I hush him. I want to know how Eric plans to defuse Sookie’s depression.

Hey, Eric,” Sookie murmurs into the phone.

Sookie, Pam told me about that idiotic note in your locker,” Eric sighs. “Your brother called me, you are so upset, and you know as well as I do that you are a very strong young woman who does not let words hurt her like this… So, what is the real problem?”

Sookie turns her back to me and faces the phone before whispering, “J-Jason would never use me like that.”

I know that, Sookie,” Eric assures her. “We all know that. I am certain your classmates know that as well. This person knew that you and your brother are close, that you are all you have left of your family, and they accurately assessed that implying such crude things would upset you. It is a psychological attack; one I am horrified an eighteen-year-old could successfully implement!”

It just… The… The implication, it just…it’s makin’ me remember things I never thought I could remember more of, and those things are what hurts… Those things, and bein’ forced to even imagine that Jason… It’s like someone threw water on my candle…” Sookie whimpers.

What things are you remembering, Sookie?” Eric asks curiously.

Hadley and Bartlett,” Sookie whispers back.

I frown. I do not know those names. I take my hand from Jason’s mouth as I quietly ask, “Who are Hadley and Bartlett?”

Jason’s eyes widen immediately, and it is a dawning of so much pain and anguish that I am stunned as Jason leaps from the sofa and lunges for his sister.

“Eric, call her back later,” Jason snaps into the phone and hangs it up. “Oh, Sooks! Oh, Sooks!” He holds his sister tightly, “Oh, God, I’m so sorry. I din’ even think ’bout back then! Oh, Sooks!”

I am completely confused at this point, standing awkwardly in the living room while a brother comforts his hurt, little sister. Her small arms wrap around his waist, and I hear her sobbing into his chest. While part of me wishes to know what the hell is going on, a foreign voice in my head tells me that I am intruding on something extremely private.

Oh my God, Sooks, and you could hear it, couldn’t ya? You could fuckin’ hear him!” Jason sobs into her hair now. “All those things you couldn’t tell police or counselors you saw and heard…”

I leave the apartment quietly and go sit in my van to give the siblings the privacy they deserve. There are a few things I can glean from what I overheard. I do not wish to speculate too far. My experience and imagination at the horrible things humans can do to each other can only conjure the worst of the worst. I do not wish to imagine the worst of the worst regarding Sookie. She has had enough terrible past times without my imaginings of new ones.

Jason’s POV:

How did I never think back when Sooks told me about her telepathy, that maybe she had worse scars than we could have imagined from the Hadley/Bartlett controversy?

Aw, Sooks,” I pick her up off the ground and take her to the couch with me. She’s practically curled in my lap like a kitten as I pet and stroke her hair. “He never touched you, right? That ain’t changed?” I ask desperately.

N-no, he never did,” she sobs. “But-but, it was like my brain derailed when I read that note. I was so angry someone could even say somethin’ like that about you, even if it was just to get a rise outta me! Then I was angry that someone could joke about stuff like that. Then i-it was all these memories I don’t even remember that I remembered about Hadley and Bartlett. All the ways he hurt her and scared her into not sayin’ anythin’ ’bout how he was hurtin’ her. Jason, he hurt her so bad, and back then, all I saw was the fear. I was just too little to know the pain, y’know? I could see the scary stuff, and knew it was scary. But when I saw the painful stuff, I didn’t have no scale for it, y’know? I couldn’t grasp how much it hurt. A-and now I know how things hurt. Then, that note makes all those memories come back, and all the sudden I’m not just feelin’ scared or upset, I’m feelin’ pain and it hurt so-so b-bad!”

Shh, shh,” I hush and rock. I pet her hair and kiss her head and just hush her over and over ’cause what fuckin’ words can I possibly have right now?

I just sit there with her, holdin’ her for a good long time until she finally passes out. Maybe I’m bein’ optimistic, but I think a good, hard cry is what she really needed. The whole afternoon’s been like sittin’ with someone who’s had too much to drink, and you know they just need to sick it all up, but they keep fighting it. Today, Sooks just got too much bad stuff put in her head, and she needed to cry it out. Of course, Sooks bein’ the girl she is, had to go and put on the brave face ’til Eric forced a proverbial finger down her throat.

After I’m sure she’s out for the count, I pick Sooks up and take her to her room. It’s a warm night, so I just set her on top the covers and put her on her side with a pillow under her head. I lay down with her for a few minutes, just to make sure the move didn’t disturb her none, and then I finally leave and turn out her light.

When I get back to the living room, Pam’s back, and she’s sittin’ silent on the couch. I move past her to the kitchen and grab a soda, kinda wishing it was a beer. Comin’ back to the couch, I sit down, take a sip, and sit quietly a minute.

Bartlett was our Gran’s brother. He raped our cousin Hadley,” That’s all I can really say about that part of the story. I don’t know much ’bout the details. Only what Sookie told me she knew ’bout it. Apparently, there were pictures of it all, but that don’t say nothin’ ’bout what Sooks had seen in the mind of an old pedophile. “I guess it was happenin’ a couple years ’til Sooks found out and called the police. She din’ confront Bartlett or tell any of the family. She just saw somethin’ bad happenin’ to her cousin and called the cops. Hadley’s the same age as me. I had no idea what was happenin’ to her. No fuckin’ clue.

Me, Sooks and Hatty- oh, Sooks couldn’t say ‘Hadley’… God, I ain’t called her Hatty in a long fuckin’ time… But me, Sooks, and Hadley was all at Bartlett’s one afternoon. Hadley was inside with Bartlett. Me and Sooks was out playin’. All the sudden Sooks looked back at the house and just walked away.

I figured she just got tired of bein’ outside. Twenty minutes later, there was cop cars comin’ up the drive. No lights or sirens… Just pulled up and Sookie came outside, took one of the officer’s hands and brought them inside. Next thing I know, Bartlett’s comin’ out in handcuffs with one officer. A lady cop comes out with Hatty in her arms, and Sookie’s just standin’ there with the other two. One of the cops told me that Bartlett was hurtin’ Hatty behind everyone’s backs, and that Sookie saw it and was a hero.”

Pam is quiet a moment after I tell her the story. Finally, she asks, “Do you believe that note implying incest unblocked some of her memories from that time?”

I shrug, “I couldn’t tell ya for sure, but that’s how she made it sound.”

Did Bartlett ever hurt Sookie?” she asks next.

She says no.”

Do you believe she is lying?” Pam asks next.

I lean back into the couch, put my head back, and look up at the ceiling, “I don’t think he ever hurt her physically, but I think tonight makes it obvious he hurt her another way.”

I think Pam nods at my assessment. “She was very obviously distressed. She is resting now?”

Yeah, I put her to bed. I think she just needed a good cry about it, y’know? She said she remembered stuff she didn’t even know she knew. Don’t know how much of that was imagination and how much was actual memory. It doesn’t really matter, I guess, as long as she believes it was real.”

I did not realize that your family’s bad luck ran so far back,” Pam murmurs. “I have to wonder, Stackhouse, if you aren’t cursed.”

It sure hasn’t felt like that since meeting you guys,” I laugh slightly. “Go figure. Meet a couple vampires, and your life gets better.”

Pam chuckles, “Yes. Go figure.”

She’ll be okay, y’know?” I tell Pam after a minute of more silence. “Sook don’t dwell. She’ll be right as rain in the mornin’.”

Will she?” Pam asks softly.

Yeah,” I nod with confidence. “You might wanna get goin’ though. You should call Eric and tell him what all happened. I kinda hung up on him as soon as you mentioned Hadley… He’s pro’lly pissed at me now ’cause I said I’d have Sooks call him back.”

He will understand once I explain what happened after you ended the phone call,” Pam says while standin’ up and headin’ for the door. “I’m…sorry for what happened to your cousin. Sorrier about how that hurts your sister.”

Thanks,” I mumble. I don’t know what else to say to that.

After Pam leaves, I go back to my sister’s room to check on her. She’s still layin’ on her side like I left her, but her hand is tucked up by her chin, and I walk around the bed to see her face. Sure enough, she’s suckin’ on her thumb like she was five years old again. Mamma ’bout pulled her hair out tryin’ to get Sookie to stop suckin’ her thumb before startin’ school. Managed it, too, but then when Sookie was in second grade and we lost our parents, Sookie started suckin’ her thumb all over again. I got her to stop after a few months. Sometimes, I’d catch her doing it in her sleep, but how do ya stop that?

I lean down, kiss Sookie on the head, and then go to my own room. As I lay there, I kinda give a little prayer that she really is all right in the mornin’. My sister is my rock, and I’m adrift without her.

On to Chapter Sixteen!


Catalyst Ch. 14

Chapter Fourteen: No More Secrets

Eric’s POV:

“You already knew…?” I stare at the woman before me in disbelief.

Sookie shrugs, “Sure! Jason and I figured out back in January what you and your “siblings” were.” She uses her fingers to put quotes around the word. “We’ve been waitin’ all this time just for you to confirm it.”

Stunned does not even begin to describe how I am feeling. Sookie knows that I am a vampire, and not only does she not care, but she seems rather excited about it. Even after a half hour sitting on a park bench, explaining the sort of work I do, she is nonplussed by my confessions. She knows that I have murdered and still do on occasion. She is aware that I threaten, beat, and often maim to make a point. She tells me that she does not like it, but understands that my world and hers cannot follow the same rules because they are two different worlds.

What seventeen-year-old girl is this… Tolerant? There is not even a word to describe this sort of response. She is not naïve, I know, because I gave terrifying examples of things that I have done in the past, and she nodded patiently the entire time.

“Sookie, you are not under the impression that now that I am with you, that these things will never happen again, are you?” I test her resolve.

She smiles in that Sookie way that makes me feel like an imbecile. “Eric, if vampires are as dangerous as you say, then it sounds like there’s chances for a battle at the drop of a hat. You don’t seem like someone who goes out of their way to put yourself in danger like that, but you sound like you’re someone in a seat of power, someone like that will have enemies.” I nod that she is correct. “So, if I wanna be with you, which I know I absolutely do, then I gotta know that you’ll keep me safe. If doin’ what you do is the only way you can make any sort of guarantee about that, then I ain’t gonna hold ya back. ‘Cause if I get killed for bein’ with you, it’d kill Jason. Can you promise me that, Eric? Can you promise you won’t get me killed?”

“I promise you are safe with me, Sookie,” I tell her in complete solemnity.

“Then ya got me, Eric,” she shrugs. “But, before ya accept me,” she hesitates, “there’s somethin’ you should know. You weren’t the only one holdin’ back a secret.”

Immediately our incident in Starbucks when I discovered she could not be glamoured comes to mind. Calmly, I encourage her, “Go on.”

“The reason me and Jason figured ya out so easy was ’cause, well… We kinda knew other stuff already existed. Particularly… Me,” she whispers that damning pronoun.

“You?” Certainly, she smells sweet, and the inability to be glamoured is curious, but what about her is “other”?

Sookie pauses again, her eyes shut tightly in concentration as if trying to resolve herself in her confession. “I’m a telepath,” she whispers under her breath. “Apparently, I can’t hear vampires, but I can hear humans clear as if they were talkin’ to me.”

“You cannot hear my thoughts, but only the thoughts of humans?” I ask, maintaining an outer mask of indifference while on the inside I am reeling.

“That’s right,” she confirms. “Do you still want to be with me?” she asks softly.

“I will not pretend that I am not shocked. I would love to know more about that gift of yours, but not here,” I tell her. “I would prefer going somewhere I can be certain we are not overheard.”

“There’s no one around within earshot,” she tells me confidently.

“What about another vampire?” I test.

“Nope, none of them either. I can’t hear them, but I can sense them. They’re like a bubble of nothin’ when I listen. Like, their thoughts are there, but under a cloak or somethin’.”

“I see,” I nod. “Is that how you seemed to feel me at the library the night I first met you?”

“Yeah,” she nods as well. “I felt you nearby, and, my gosh, there was one point that night when you moved and I thought I was goin’ crazy! I gotta ask; can you fly?”

My eyebrows raise at that, “Yes. How did you guess that?”

“’Cause that night at the library, it felt like you were over my head at one point, and then across the street. Unless you can scale a building, jump across a street, and land silently, I figured you could fly.”

“Well,” I chuckle, “I could do that, but it is unnecessary because I can fly.”

“That’s pretty cool!” she grins up at me. “Will you take me up sometime? Can Pam fly? What about Godric? Are you guys a vamp family? How does that work?”

“Sookie!” I laugh bemusedly that she is acting like a teenage girl again. “Yes, I will take you up some time this summer when it is a bit warmer. No, Pam cannot fly, but she is still young and might develop the ability later. Yes, Godric can fly. Yes, we are “a vamp family.” Godric is my Maker, I am Pam’s Maker. Godric is the Master of our bloodline, which would make him my “father” and Pam’s “grandfather” if you want more human terms to go by.”

Sookie giggles at my explanation, “He’s so young! It’s funny he’s in charge of you two!”

I smile at her good spirit, “You are a marvel, Ms. Stackhouse, an absolute miracle to someone such as me.”

I lean in, pressing my lips gently against hers. Her arms rise immediately, wrapping around my neck, and holding me tightly. After not nearly long enough, Sookie pulls away to catch her breath. She leans her forehead against my clavicle and says, “I wanna be alone with you, Eric.”

Stroking her hair, I lean back to stare at the big, shy blue eyes looking up at me. “Sookie?” I ask carefully.

“Not sex,” she clarifies. A blush creeps across her cheeks. “I want to feel close and intimate with you, and I’ll probably want sex soon, but not yet… I guess I want my first time to not be all nervous and shy. So, I thought, maybe if we did, umm, other stuff we’ve been puttin’ off, I might be more…y’know…confident…”

“Sookie,” I whisper, “I will make you feel like a Goddess.”

Her face reddens and she attempts to hide her cheeks against my chest. I capture her chin and kiss her softly once more before releasing her, taking her hand, and leading her to the car. I ask if she should call Jason, and she asks me if I am dumb. I laugh in response.

I hold her hand the entire drive to Bon Temps and she marvels at the paved driveway and the newly erected garage attached to the back of the house. When I lead her to my living room, Sookie pauses.

“Do you wish to change your mind?” I ask carefully. She does not know that I refuse to do any more than allow my hands access beneath her blouse. Even though Jason has lifted my age of eighteen restriction, I have not.

“I don’t think so,” she tells me, and I continue leading her to the living room. I encourage her to sit on the couch while I quickly get a fire going. It is a warm evening to have the fireplace active, but I want to fill the room with ambient noise and a soft glow.

Once the fire is growing, she sits while I stand silently, almost awkwardly a moment, her mood has changed since the park, and I plot the best way to rekindle her earlier curiosity and excitement.

“I have a feeling the bedroom will make you apprehensive at first,” I begin thoughtfully, walking over to where she is seated. “This might be something more your speed to start.” I open my arms in invitation, causing Sookie creep over meekly and sit upon my lap. My arm wraps about her waist and my other hand tangles in the hairs above her nape.

I kiss her slowly, rolling my tongue against her now more experienced one. Her kisses are loving, sweet, and entirely Sookie. Though she is no longer clumsy with her tongue, she is adorably docile in her dance. She prefers to follow rather than lead, meet, rather than run. It is almost impish how she prods at me on occasion, and surprisingly playful when she does. I have never thought of kissing as fun, but with Sookie it is. Perhaps because I have not kissed a woman as often as I have Sookie and been urged to find it suitable in compensation for my usual hungers. Maybe it is how she makes me feel in general. I do not know nor care because she is with me, and she is mine. I hope that she will stay that way always.

When she surrenders entirely to my mouth, my hand begins to explore paths left untraveled. Gliding across her waist, my knuckles graze the underside curve of her breast, making my intentions clear to her. She shifts in my lap slightly at the contact, but kisses me more urgently in reply. My hand traces the roundness to her side, caressing the curvature up and down, over and over. I splay my hand open, gently squeezing her mound and Sookie gasps into my mouth. When my thumb finds her nipple, rubbing it in slow circles, she shimmies again.

The hand at her nape flexes, and I skim the shell of her ear with the lightest of touches.

“OH!” she pulls away from my mouth with a shocked cry of pleasure. She does not orgasm, but I can smell her arousal saturating the air in response. “Please, don’t,” she cups her ears protectively. “I don’t want you to do it to me like that.”

“All right,” I do not push her. We will overcome this hurdle in time, but we will overcome it. Those ears! The possibilities are too delicious to ignore forever! “I thought a light touch would feel nice, not so…jarring.”

“It’s okay,” she mumbles in embarrassment. I can tell that she is still particularly ashamed of how her body responds to her ears being stimulated. It is a rather curious thing. Fairies are the only creatures I am aware of to have that particular erogenous zone.

That is a thought I store for later pondering. However, it does strike an interesting idea that might comfort her.

“Sookie, would you like to know something interesting?” I ask.

“Uh, what about what we were doing?” she bashfully mumbles.

“Believe me, it has very much to do with that.” She nods for me to go ahead. “Vampires have a spot like you do. One that we find very arousing when stimulated that most would consider quite innocuous.”

“Oh?” she frowns, but seems particularly curious.

“When our fangs are down,” I let mine slide slowly to their points, “you can rub your tongue here,” I point to my gum line nearest my fang. “It will drive us absolutely crazy.”

“R-really?” she asks tentatively.

“Yes, and I am telling you that
now because I do not want you to do it by accident. All right?” I raise my eyebrows.

“What happens if I do?” she frowns.

No sense in lying, “I will fuck you very, very hard.” Her eyes widen in surprise at my blatancy. “Therefore, I will do my very best to keep my fangs hidden. They seem to distend whenever I have sex, but I am more than capable of controlling them. If you ever allow me to feed from you, though, they will be down, and you must remember not to rub your tongue around there when we are first becoming intimate. Understand?”

“Umm, okay,” she squirms on my lap again. “What if we aren’t doin’ it and I do that?”

“Then we will not not be doing it for very long,” I warn.

“Oh,” her eyes get large again and it makes me laugh.

“Come here, Sookie,” I am still laughing as I pull her mouth back to mine and begin kissing her anew. I am less hesitant this time, and my hand is quickly back at her breast, squeezing it, and tugging at the nipple hardening beneath my palm. Each pinch makes her shift her hips against me, and I find myself pulling her leg astride my waist. I feel her hot center press down against my erection, and my hips arch beneath her for some additional pressure. She gasps into my mouth when she feels me, and then moans as her body begins to rock. “Slow down, Sookie,” I hold her tightly to halt her motion.

I am curious to discover if her ears are the only responsive part of her body, and I begin my quest to find out by slowing the rough pace of her hips and undulating them against my erection. When I hear her gasp excitedly, and feel the heat of her arousal warming me through our clothes, I know that I have found the perfect angle.

Her arms wrap like vines around my neck, and her mouth buries against my throat as I control both our movements. My hips arch in synchronicity with the sliding motion of hers, and the little gasping breaths against my skin begin to accelerate. As Sookie begins to pant, I allow her to move her hips as she desires, kneading her bottom until she sobs in my ear, and the air around me is thickly perfumed with evidence of her pleasure.

While she calms from her orgasm, I place kisses up the length of her throat until I come to her panting lips. I kiss her deeply, letting her stunned tongue reawaken. She kisses me back slowly, sedately, and I pull her onto her side to face me as I ease in to the sofa.

“Eric,” she whispers against my face as my hand ghost trails along her side.

“Sookie,” I return with a smirk when she appears at a loss for further words. She squirms closer to me, draping her leg over my hip. “Do you feel all right?” I ask softly after a moment of only hearing her slowly calming breaths.

“Better than all right,” she giggles, hiding her face in my chest. “Can I try and make you feel all right?”

I laugh at her modest suggestion, “I assure I will be better than all right if you did, but not tonight. I made a promise to myself and Jason that no clothes would be removed before you are eighteen.”

“But,” she pouts at me from where she lays nestled against my chest, “that’s not fair to you.”

I shake my head and chuckle, “A relationship is not tit for tat. You want to explore, and you are mature and old enough to desire those things.”

She grunts at my statement, “I’m sure when you were human this whole age thing would have been baffling.”

“True, but this is not over a thousand years ago. Life expectancy is much longer, and humans mature much slower emotionally than they used to. In the age of my human existence, there was not time to worry about such things,” I explain. “I like that humans mature slower, though. I like that many things that were acceptable or ‘everyday’ are no longer that way. The raping of women, the selling of human beings… I like that those things are not so widely accepted any longer.”

“Really? I didn’t think you cared all that much for humans,” she remarks, and I admit that she makes a fair point.

“I do not, but now, holding you, the world does not seem nearly as evil. I do not feel disgust or contempt for the mortal species. Instead, I am just grateful that a world like this is still capable of producing women like you, and that by some stroke of blind luck I managed to make one see me as something worth beholding.

“You are the most beautiful creature I have ever known,” I tell her, pulling her tightly against my chest. My left hand cups her breast as my right arm volunteers itself to be a pillow for her head.

“I love you, you know,” she murmurs to me.

“I hope that is not the earlier orgasm talking, because I love you, too,” I whisper in her ear.

Sookie’s POV:

Holy crap! Did I just do that?!

Eric is lyin’ behind me, massaging my breast as I recover from the most explicit, life alterin’ experience of my life. He’s all careful with my body and gentle and sweet. God, I love him so much!

“I don’t wanna go home,” I tell him.

“You have to, Sookie,” he whispers against my ear. “Not yet, but soon.”

“I wanna stay with you,” I insist. “Don’t take me back.”

I can feel him smile against my neck now. “I want you to stay, too, but your brother would be very upset by that,” he reminds me, and I know he’s right.

Already I’m wantin’ to move in with Eric after I graduate high school, but another part of me doesn’t want to abandon Jason. I’m a conflict of selfishness. I have all these terrifying thoughts. Part of me wants to say ‘screw college,’ marry Eric, become a vamp, and spend the rest of forever in his bed. Another part of me is freakin’ out at even entertaining the idea. Suddenly my fantasy makes me wonder about somethin’ I feel is very important.

“Eric?” I murmur.

“Yes, Sookie?” He kisses my throat softly.

“Do vampires get married?” I ask.

He pauses a moment before saying, “In our own ways, yes. There are three different types of marriage. One of arrangement, which is almost always purely contractual. A Binding union, which is performed between two vampires already in existence. However, the most coveted is a Bonded union.”

“What’s the difference between Binding and Bonded?” I ask, turnin’ in his arms to look at him. The hand he had on my boob drifts down and squeezes my butt instead.

“Binding unions may be ended. Bonded unions are forever,” he tells me. “A Bonded union is when one half of the pair is mortal at the beginning of the relationship. It is achieved by exchanging blood three times.”

“Like the human and the vampire both drink each other’s blood at the same time?” I clarify.


“What does it do?” I nuzzle against his chest and he gives my butt another squeeze.

“It connects them forever and allows them to share their feelings with one another without words. You would be able to feel when I am happy or angry-”

I would? Thinkin’ I’m gonna marry you, Eric?” I tease him.

His hand on my bottom stops movin’ and he gets real thoughtful a moment, “Yes, actually. That is what I am hoping.”

I prop myself up on my elbow and stare at him. “A-are you serious?”

“Yes, very.”

“E-Eric! I’m only just about to turn 18!” I protest and he laughs.

“Yes, Sookie, I know that. I would not initiate the beginnings of a Bond unless you were certain, and you were ready,” he assures.


“Sookie, I am just giving you the answers to the questions you are asking,” he points out.

“Yeah, I guess,” I grumble, floppin’ back onto the couch. I lay there a moment before asking, “So, do you gotta get all three exchanges done within a certain amount of time?”

“A year,” he replies, “but there must be a sunset between each exchange. If all three are not completed within a year, the spell must be started anew.”

“Spell?” I frown.

“Yes, it is magic. I suppose ‘spell’ is not the correct term. Ritual would be more appropriate,” he explains.

“Is there really magic?” He raises his eyebrows at me as if to say ‘you are lying on a couch with a vampire, and you are asking me if magic exists?’ “What I mean is, are there witches and stuff?”

“Witches, Werewolves, shapeshifters, demons, fairies… All sorts of magical creatures,” he assures.

“Whoa, the world sure is a big place, huh?”

“Yes, it is,” he nods and begins kissin’ at my neck. Next thing I know, I’m on my other side again with my back to his chest. He’s got his right hand squeezin’ at my breast, tuggin’ my nipple while he sucks and nibbles at my pulse point.

His left hand awkwardly pushes my hair from my face and then his mouth is there at my ear. My body tenses and he runs his tongue across the cartilage, makin’ a deep throb resonate in my womb. I can’t hold back the moan, and I take his hand that’s holdin’ my breast and practically shove it between my legs. “Eric, please, do it again,” I plead. His fingers are dancin’ between my thighs only briefly before they flitter away. He gets his knee between my legs and pushes on my backside, pressin’ my center firmly against his thigh. “Oh, please,” I whimper, and he gives my ear another lick with his tongue that makes me give out a very unladylike grunt.

“Gods, you are so responsive, Lover,” he rumbles in my ear, and sooner than I’d like, he tugs that ear with his teeth and I come unglued. I think I scream when I cum, and I definitely convulsed a little. His hand is glidin’ up my body until its around my throat. He turns my head and captures my mouth with his. “I would like very much to bite you, Sookie,” he tells me.

“Will it hurt?” I ask breathlessly.

“No, Lover, not at all,” He starts sucklin’ at my ear again and my eyes cross. His hand leaves my throat and travels back to my bottom to push me down against his thigh once more.

“O-okay!” I squeak when he starts rubbin’ at me through my clothes, and my panties are completely frictionless with the arousal coating them.

His tongue is against my ear and I quickly become a panting, sobbin’ mess all over again. When I cum, I feel this pressure on my shoulder, and then somethin’ I can only describe as relief. I think I feel my blood flowin’ into his mouth. It feels like I’m unloadin’ somethin’ heavy in my shoulder. The sensation stops almost as quick as it started, and my orgasm feels like it’s begun all over again, or maybe it’s still goin’. I don’t know. Did time stop there for a second? Did I black out? Did I black out and keep coming?

All I know for sure is that I’m twitching and sometimes full out flopping on the couch for a good two minutes. Finally, my body starts to calm and I can finally catch my breath.

“It is a good thing it is Friday, Sookie. You would never have made it through school tomorrow,” Eric teases me. “However, if I do not get you home soon, your brother will have my head.”

I nod dumbly, still entranced by what Eric has done to me tonight. This could be the rest of my eternity if I wanted. I could go to bed with him every night for forever. Before I can stop my mouth, the words spill out, “I’m gonna marry you someday.”

Eric laughs at my announcement, “You really need to stop making these sorts of proclamations directly after receiving a life affirming orgasm.”

On to Chapter Fifteen!

Catalyst Ch. 13

Chapter Thirteen: April 2001

Jason’s POV:

I can’t believe Sookie’s birthday is next month… It’s been the craziest five months of my life in one of the best ways. Me and Sooks have put on healthy weight, I coulda done without her fillin’ out where she did, but weight is weight, I guess. She looks amazin’; healthy, beautiful, and happy. Two of those things I’ve been strugglin’ to get her, the third, well… I woulda been happier if someone’d come and beat her over the head with an ugly stick.

It could be worse, though. She could be dating horny teenage boys instead of Eric Northman. I’ve kinda dug into Pam a lot, tryin’ figure if they’d been gettin’ handsy at all, but she said it was none of my business. Said if I wanted to know, I should ask them. I don’t think I wanna know, but at the same time I worry about her. Scared that she might do stuff she thinks she has to, worry they ain’t bein’ safe, and God forbid she get pregnant!

She ain’t changed none, though. You’d think I’d be able to tell if she went and done it. She doesn’t have the best poker face for that kinda stuff. I get the feelin’ I’ll know right after it happens ’cause she’ll probably be nervous about it and change her walk or posture. I don’t know. I don’t know that I wanna know.

“Hey, Stackhouse!” I wave at Jeremy, our second-string tailback.

“Hey,” I call back, headin’ to the Ranger Eric’s leased for me. I’ve been teachin’ Sooks how to drive it. She ain’t been behind a wheel since she was thirteen and I liberated Gran’s little station wagon. I took it out to an old country road and put her behind the wheel. She was doing good until an opossum crept out and she swerved off the road. Took me almost two hours to work it out and get the car back by four A. M. First thing the next mornin’, I was washin’ it up, no sleep, tryin’ to get the scuffs out. I don’t think Gran ever figured out we’d taken it.

Sook’s doing okay at drivin’, but the city makes her a bit nervous with all the pedestrians and people honking at her for poor mergers or accidentally cutting them off. I keep tellin’ her it’s a longer car than Eric’s little Corvette and needs more clearance than she’s allowin’, but it’s like it goes in one ear and out the other!

Still, she gets better day by day. She ain’t been honked at for over a week now. I think she might be ready for her driving test before she starts college in the fall. She applied for Endene and I know she’ll get in, but I got a sinking suspicion she might not have applied anywhere else. That kinda bugs me. Mostly ’cause I don’t think Northman’s why she’s only applied there. I think she doesn’t want to leave me. I mean, I don’t want her to go, but if she could go somewhere more prestigious, I’d want that for her more.

When I get back to our apartment, the windows are open and there’s a nice breeze comin’ in. Sookie’s on the couch with her homework and another pile of books ready to study for her finals. I can’t believe she’s graduating high school in less than a month!

“How was school?” I ask, leanin’ over the back of the couch and kissin’ the top of her head.

“Good. Borin’, mostly,” she tells me. “They keep givin’ us busy work on top of studyin’ for finals,” she complains.

“Goin’ out tonight?” I ask.

“Yup. Eric’s pickin’ me up after dark. He said we weren’t goin’ too far though. Just to the park before it gets too late,” she explains, snapping a book shut.

“Yeah, Pam’s comin’ over with him and stayin’ with me,” I frown. “Think tonight’s the big reveal?” I ask.

Sookie snorts, “It better be.”

“Do you think it’s weird that we’re, like, one hundred percent sure they’re gonna tell us they’re vampires?” I flop onto the couch and crack open a soda. I’ve been twenty-one since February, but I don’t like havin’ booze in the house. Aside from my twenty-first birthday, and the team takin’ me out, I ain’t been out drinkin’ since. Sooks was beside herself when she saw how hungover I was. I hardly remember shit. I think Pam took me home, but I doubt I had sex with her. I don’t think my dick knew what it was by that point.

Sookie snickers at my question, “I don’t know. They might not think we made that leap with so much certainty. I mean, if I weren’t what I am, do you think we would have genuinely entertained the thought?”

“I doubt it,” I confess. “It’s cool though, right? Knowin’ you’re not the only special thing out there? Maybe you won’t feel so alone in it… You thought much about if you’re gonna tell ’em?”

Sookie bites her lip thoughtfully, “I’m still stuck on it, Jason. I mean the fact I can’t use it on them might be comforting and easier for them to swallow, but, at the same time, more people knowin’ is a huge risk. If they confirm what we suspect, that might be a much bigger world than we know. I’ve felt a lot of voids just here in Shreveport. Could you imagine how many there are worldwide? Think about the culture that goes along with it!”

I nod in agreement, “Yeah, it’s a tough call, but if they’re planning on tellin’ us… But it’s your secret, not mine. So, it’s your decision.”

“I’ll keep thinkin’ about it,” she tells me sullenly.

“Do you ever feel like you shouldn’t? Y’know, like how you did with me all them years?” I ask.

“Not like that,” she confesses. “Back then, it was my heart tellin’ me not to tell you. Right now, it’s my head.”

“Well, every time you’ve followed your heart, it’s worked out,” I tell her.

“I guess,” She’s still moping.

“I didn’t mean to bring ya down none,” I frown.

“I know. It’s just, I don’t want any secrets between me and Eric. I mean, even as he’s keepin’ this from us, he let us know it was there. They probably have no idea about me, and I’ve never warned them otherwise.”

“Difference is, Sooks,” I remind her, “anyone figures out their secret, and they can just disappear ’til the person’s gone. Shit, who knows what other ways they got to protect themselves?”

All in all, we still don’t know what bein’ a vampire really means. We don’t know if they got powers other than immortality, or if the worst of what they do is suckin’ a bit of blood from humans now and again. I got the feelin’ Pam’s knocked a pint or two outta me the past few months, mostly ’cause she bites me when we fuck, and it hurts enough it should be leavin’ at least a bruise. It never does though. Can’t explain why there ain’t no puncture marks neither, but maybe she’ll tell me tonight if it turns out we’ve been right.

If we haven’t, at least whatever it is won’t seem nearly as dark or crazy as what we’ve built up in our heads!

I break out our laptop and start gettin’ to work on my materials. Sooks disappears to her room while I study, and a few minutes later I hear the shower goin’. I frown and look up. She usually showers before school. Whatever, I think and look back at my book.

What the hell is takin’ her so long? I’m a bit anxious. Sooks was in the shower forever, it’s been another forty-five minutes on top of that, and she still ain’t back in the kitchen to start up dinner. Shit, I think as I leave my books on the coffee table and head to the fridge, she’s gettin’ dressed up for this. My heart is hammerin’ as I start preppin’ dinner. If she’s gone and really got herself lookin’ nice, I don’t want her to mess up her clothes, but another part of me wants to dump balsamic vinegar all over her, so she’ll reek all night. Maybe string a clove of garlic around her neck…

“I’m not doin’ it with him tonight, Jason!” Sookie shouts from down the hall as I pour a heap of rice into the steamer.

After the rice is started, I go to her room and see her puttin’ on the make-up she hardly ever wears. “Yeah? Skirt, make-up, fresh shower,” I tick off on my fingers. “You gonna put on those ‘fuck me’ heels, too?”

Sookie sets down her powder brush real hard on the vanity. “Jason,” she purses her lips at me like Gran and Mamma used to, “I want to look nice. That’s all. And I’m sorry you think they look like ‘sex me’ heels, but the fact is, I’ve been dating Eric for over four months now. The guy deserves to finally get a lead offa first.”

I grumble a bit to myself. “Sorry,” I finally offer.

“Apology accepted. Just… Calm down, okay? You’re gonna drive yourself insane worryin’ about this,” she chastises me, and I got the good graces to look contrite.

“Hey, I’m your big brother,” I shrug helplessly. “I ain’t never gonna want a guy all over ya. Even a guy like Eric, who I get along with better than I ever thought I would with your first boyfriend.”

She smiles at me, comes over, and wraps me up in a big hug. “I know this is tough. You’ve been like a daddy to me since I was seven. Back then you were only ten. That was some big shoes to fill, but you’re doin’ a great job,” she whispers. “A girl couldn’t have a better brother or daddy than you, Jason.”

“Thanks, Sook,” I mumbled into her hair, holdin’ her real tight. It feels like when she leaves my arms next, she won’t be back in them again. Is this what it feels to give your daughter away at the altar?

Sookie laughs and swats my chest, “I ain’t elopin’!”

“I know, I know,” I grumble. Eventually I manage, “I started some rice. You down for a stir fry? Other than a Kraft dinner, it’s just about all I can manage.”

“You used to grill real well,” she points out.

I shrug, “Meat and an open fire ain’t really cookin’. We don’t gotta grill here.”

Sookie just laughs and goes back to her vanity. I stand and watch her put on her make-up. She looks so much like Mamma when she does that. All grown-up, and it kills me. I wish she was still little string bean Sooks. No boys gawking or cat callin’ at her. Still playin’ tag, not kissin’ boys. I smile, remembering her shoulder checkin’ my old buddy on the playground ’cause he shoved at one of Sook’s friends. Why’d you have to grow up so much?

“Jason,” she frowns and leans away from the mirror, “stop or you’re gonna make me cry, and I just put on mascara.”

“Okay, okay, I’ll go back to my books,” I offer, leavin’ the room.

It’s weird, havin’ my own space still. Sarah, our Social Services caseworker, nearly lost it when she saw our new digs in the main floor apartment. We explained that the building was under new ownership, and the new landlord had bumped us down here ’cause they felt we needed more of the room. She had only nodded dumbly and wrote somethin’ on her notes. Sarah had also been impressed with Sookie’s weight gain and that she had her own clothes now. I told her a bunch of our friends got them for her for Christmas. Mostly, I think Sarah was just relieved for us, and herself. Given Sook’s age, I know Sarah didn’t wanna be forced to pull her from my custody, but it really was gettin’ pretty awful for her with me.

After awhile, Sooks comes out to the livin’ room and goes back to studyin’. We work in silence, only speaking every so often when Sookie has a question on her homework. Mostly she doesn’t need my help, but I think she likes to humor me sometimes.

Next time I look at the clock, I get up and go to the kitchen to finish gettin’ things ready for the stir fry. I chop up some peppers and fry up some cubed chicken. Throw in some spices, and splash it with some soy sauce, and I’m finished by the time the rice is.

As we’re eatin’, I wonder if Eric and Pam notice Sooks and I don’t use garlic in anything? Do they just think they’re the luckiest vamps in the world, or are vampires not effected by garlic? Man, I’m actually startin’ to hope we’re not wrong and that our friends are vamps. First, how cool would that be? Second, now I got so many questions about bein’ a vamp, I wanna pick their brains. I wonder how old they are? Shit, the history lessons alone if they were older than two-hundred would be amazin’! I could keep my students reeling, never tellin’ the same story twice for years!

“You really need to calm down,” Sookie laughs.

“Y’know, you’ve been eavesdropping on me a lot lately,” I glower playfully.

“No, you’ve just been uncharacteristically
loud lately,” she sticks her tongue out at me. “Just like after I found out about you and Pam, and all the sudden I wasn’t just catchin’ the van rockin’ on the curb, but havin’ to listen to you guys in your room.”

I blush at that. Shit, hope she didn’t hear nothin’ too embarrassing!

We’re just clearing the dishes when there’s a knock on our door. Northman don’t need to be buzzed in ’cause he’s obviously got keys to the building.

I go to the door and open it. Pam automatically slips in, but Eric stays in the doorway. “Hey, Eric,” I shake his hand.

“Good evening, Jason,” he smiles at me, but it doesn’t meet his eyes for the first time in a long time. Yeah, it’s gotta be tonight. “How are you?”

I shrug, “Good as ever. Wanna come in for a bit?”

“No, thank you,” Eric shakes his head. “Sookie and I have a great deal to discuss tonight.”

“Okay,” I pat his shoulder, wishin’ I could just tell him we think we already figured it out. If we’re horribly wrong, I don’t wanna get the guy’s hopes up. “Good luck, Eric.”

“Thank you,” Eric sighs.

Sookie comes bounding outta the bedroom with her purse flyin’ behind her. She’s got those God damn ‘fuck me’ heels on, and I wanna puke. Just as she’s comin’ to the door, she almost breaks her freakin’ ankle on those stilts she calls shoes, and me and Eric both throw out our hands to catch her.

“Sooks, go put on some real shoes,” I plead once she’s stabile.

“I’m fine, I just can’t run in them,” she grumbles. “You hear that, Eric? Anythin’ chases us, you better man up and beat the crap outta it, ’cause I ain’t runnin’!”

Eric actually laughs at that, leans down, and gives her a soft kiss. “Loud and clear, Sookie,” He gives her another quick kiss, shakes my hand goodbye, and they leave.

Once they’re gone, I turn to Pam, cross my arms over my chest, and ask, “So, you got any secrets to tell me tonight?”

Pam looks uneasy, but she doesn’t answer my question. Instead, she walks into the living room and sits down on the couch. I follow her, sittin’ next to her quietly. We’re probably sittin’ in silence a good five minutes before she turns and looks at me all serious.

“Jason,” she starts.

Pam’s POV:

“Jason,” I begin nervously. We never did find out if he could be glamoured. After Eric discovered Sookie could not, and then had to scramble to recover the situation, we decided it was best not to take the same risk with her brother. “I do have something important to tell you, something that Eric is probably telling your sister very soon. Before I tell you what it is, I want you to know that she will come back to you safely just as she has every night Eric has taken her out these past four and a half months.”

He nods in understanding, and I am surprised that my comment did not cause him to stand and begin pacing. Jason usually worries much more openly about his sister’s safety, and that statement should have at least earned a frustrated head scratch.

“All right,” he says. “Let’s hear it.”

I place my hands on Jason’s arms to keep him from running from me. Slowly I tell him, “There are things in this world that you probably have never wanted to believe were possible, stories that you found only to be fables. I am going to tell you that mythical creatures do exist, and that Eric, Godric, and I are vampires.” His expression does not change in the slightest. “Jason, I just told you that I am a vampire.”

“Yeah, that’s cool,” He shrugs off my hands and reaches for the TV remote. “You wanna watch ‘True Lies’? It’s on FX in, like, fifteen minutes.”

My jaw slackens at his reaction before I realize that he probably believes I am making a terrible joke. “Jason, I am serious. Look!” I turn him to face me again, part my lips, and allow my fangs to descend.

“Dude! That’s badass!” Jason crows, throwing the remote to the side. He is cupping my jaw, tilting my face from side to side. “You have real fangs! Look at that. Can you make ’em retract again?” I draw the points back into their façade at his request. “Too cool! Hey, do they just snap up and down like that, or can you make ’em go up and down real slow?”

Absolutely disarming! Is this really happening?

I answer his question by slowly letting my fangs drop to their points. “You are taking this surprisingly well, Stackhouse,” I tell him. “I can only pray your sister responds as well.”

“Aw, me and Sooks figured you guys out back in January,” he tells me flippantly.

“Are you serious?” I ask in shock. Then again, I do not recall a time when we had spent so much time with humans without ever having glamoured them.

“Sure. That story about bein’ more productive at night wasn’t gonna fly for long, Pam,” he shrugs. “Besides, you bite me a fucklot.” I grimace. “Which reminds me, why hasn’t there ever been a mark on me?”

“Vampire blood has healing properties. After I bit you, I would lance my tongue and coat my blood on the wound so it would heal,” I explain, still reeling at the level of acceptance I am receiving.

Jason frowns a moment, “Was that doctor injecting my shoulder with vamp blood?” he asks and I am surprised he immediately picked up on that.

“Yes. It was Eric’s blood. He is older, so his magic is more potent,” I tell him. “Vampire blood heals better and faster when it is consumed, but Dr. Ludwig has found that it is still capable of being injected or administered topically for certain injuries. Your shoulder was not a known affliction we could cure by that method, but you seem to be a good model for it.”

“I gotta thank Eric again for the treatment then,” Jason mumbles to himself. “So, does garlic bother you? ‘Cause me and Sooks have been keepin’ it outta the house since we figured it out.”

“Garlic is a loathsome thing to smell. It is irritating, but not dangerous.”

“So, what can you tell me about vampire stuff? Is there stuff you can’t say?” he asks me curiously.

I ponder his question a moment, “We do not like silver. It burns,” I do not tell him it also steals our strength. “Vampires can be killed by beheading, a stake to the heart, or fire-”

“What if you got shot in the head?” he asks and I laugh.

“A single bullet we could recover from. If the skull is destroyed, then it would kill us, but say the bullet penetrated, but did not exit, we would heal. Of course, then we have a bullet in our head until it is extracted,” I explain carefully.

“Dang, that’s pretty badass, too!” he laughs excitedly.

I nod in agreement, “Yes. As far as our secrecy, mostly that is to keep from being discovered. We have our own form of government, which I am not supposed to go into detail about. Eric is part of that government. He keeps the vampires of Shreveport and Bossier under order, as well as a few stragglers within this parish. Bon Temps would fall under his jurisdiction if a vampire were to reside there other than him.” Jason is nodding and taking in all the new information. “He is responsible for disciplining vampires who do not adhere to our laws in that area. I will tell you that he is forced to kill other vampires on occasion, but has not taken a human life in several years. In the years prior to that, he had been known to sneak into war torn areas, choose a side, and perform assassinations of humans at war.”

“Holy shit,” Jason wiggles in his seat excitedly. “How old is Eric?”

“A century or so over one thousand. He used to be a Viking,” I tell him and watch his historian’s eyes light up with further exuberance.

“How old are you?” he asks, then flounders, “Is that all right to ask since you’re a woman?”

“Vampires are quite proud of their age. I am around one hundred and sixty,” I divulge.

“Oh, man, you guys are gonna have to come over all the time! This is awesome!” Jason is ready to bubble over with excitement. “Where were you during The Civil War?” I ask.

“Hmm, that was 1861… Let’s see, at that time, we were in Pennsylvania. I was still a fledgling then. We arrived in the U.S. in 1845, shortly after I was turned…”

I spend the evening telling Stackhouse all about my glorious fledgling years, flushing out his historical facts. He asks me about how I became a vampire and why. That is a more delicate subject, not that I have a problem talking about it, but I feel that Jason would become emotional. He is a very sweet man, and to hear about the brutal way that I was raped and left for dead as punishment for seducing several men’s wives would more than likely upset him.

Instead I tell him, “It was a very violent event. I was left for dead. Eric saved me.”

Jason’s brow frowns with his lips, “Does it hurt?”

“Does what hurt?” It is my turn to frown.

“Remembering it?” he asks.

I shake my head, “No, but you are my friend, and the details would upset you.”

“But I’m your friend,” he repeats my claim. “Friends tell each other the bad shit, too, right?”

“I do not wish to upset you like that,” I confess.

“Okay, so we can do it in doses,” he encourages. “Just start tellin’ me the story. When it gets to be too much, I’ll tell you to stop. I’ll process and digest it, and then you can tell me more ’til I know it all.”

“Jason,” I sigh.

“When’s the last time you talked about it with anyone?” he asks me softly.

I frown again, “I suppose, Eric? When I was first turned. He took great pains to help me resolve my anger.”

“Was that all? Just the anger part?”

“Of course that was all,” I am now the one floundering.

“If it was so violent and upsetting, how’d you work out the emotional part?” he asks me. I blink several times. What emotional part? “C’mon, Pam, let me have it.”

I take a deep breath and collect my memories. It was, after all, very long ago.

“I was never a lady before I met Eric. I slept with countless men and women. It was all well and good while I was only spending my time seducing men, but when I was nineteen, I started to become curious. Men were easy to know, easy to manipulate for me. Then, one evening, a government official prodded me to make love to his wife and let him watch. I was excited. I’d been fantasizing for awhile about bedding a woman.

“After that, it was practically my mission to seduce every last woman in London. In only a few months, I had slept with countless, but that upset many a husband. Former lovers, husbands of wives I had slept with, burst into the apartment of one of my lady friends in the dead of night. Her husband stayed behind and beat her nearly to death. I was dragged into the courtyard. One of the men broke my jaw. They stripped and beat me. Then they raped me repeatedly, taking turns-”

“Wait,” Jason holds up a hand. It is then that I realize I had almost gone into a trance, recalling the moment that had led to my immortality. I stare at Jason as he is holding his hair tightly in one white fist, and holding a bloodless palm as a signal to stop. “Just hold on,” he takes in a deep breath. “Shit, Pam. Just… Shit,” He stands up and walks back and forth in front of the coffee table several times before returning to the couch. “Okay, okay… Go on.”

“I can stop,” I assure him. I knew this would upset him, and I feel almost guilty for putting him into such a stressful state.

“No, I’m okay. It’s just… I mean, I know you in a lot of ways. I ain’t sayin’ I like the whole adultery thing ya had goin’ on, but it doesn’t mean I’d ever think you deserved somethin’ like that!” he tells me.

I nod in understanding. “You are certain you wish to hear the rest?” I ask him. When he nods, I return the focus to my memories and continue, “After they were done with me, I could hardly move. They dragged me into the open street, kicked me in the gutter and walked away. I did not even have the energy to cry, not in fear or pain or sadness. I just lay there, cold, broken, and completely destroyed. The… damage was what Eric called some of the worst he had ever seen, and that is saying something coming from a Viking. The degree of my violation was complete. I was so far gone; vampire blood could not heal me. Therefore, Eric transformed me instead. Usually it takes a newborn three evenings to rise. It took me five. That was how completely my human body was destroyed.”

To his credit, Stackhouse does not shed a tear. I thought he would bawl, but then I remember that I am not his sister. However, I cannot quell the indignation that swells at not earning his sadness after my past has been divulged.

“Pam,” he looks at me, “it’s real hard to hear that, but knowin’ you experienced it? Shit, I think I’m moved beyond comprehension right now. My stomach feels it could split in two, even when I’m tryin’ real hard not to think about any of it at all.”

“I hope you are not too despaired over it,” I look at his eyes and see that even though they are dry, they are red.

Jason shakes his head, “Despaired? I’m mortified! I mean… I just wanna hug ya. Is that okay? Can I hold ya a minute?”

I look at him in surprise and find myself shrugging my consent. His arms open immediately and my head is against his chest, his heart beating against my ear. His hand is stroking my hair, and my fingers begin twisting the material of his shirt while he holds me. This must be the most peculiar situation I can recall in some time. The last time I was comforted by a man, it was Eric. He rarely indulged, and I rarely requested it. Godric tried at times to encourage me to open up, having known his own violation, but I had resisted. Unlike Godric, I had brought my rape upon myself. I did not deserve to hurt from it beyond the physical because it was justified.

“It’s bullshit, Pam,” I hear Jason mumble over my head. “I know what you’re thinkin’, and it’s bullshit.”

“How do you believe that you know what I am thinking?” I challenge.

“’Cause you’re that kinda chick,” he laughs. “You killed all those guys when you first woke up a vamp, didn’t ya?”

“I did,” I admit.

“Tit for tat and it’s over?” he guesses.

“Pretty much,” I agree.

“You think you deserved what happened to you, don’t you?” he asks quietly.

“I brought it upon myself,” I tell him. “Those were the times.”

Jason pulls away from me, stares in my eyes, and says, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but that’s like if they’d drained the ocean when women started goin’ to the beach. Wasn’t the ocean’s fault others wanted to play in it. All of them were adulterating fucks who got pissed when they weren’t the only ones cheating. So, stop it. Stop thinkin’ ya got what ya had comin’ to ya. So, you slept with a fuckton of people. They all wanted it. You wanted it. I hope ya gave ’em all syphilis.”

I actually burst out laughing at that. “Oh, Stackhouse, you are the only man who has ever made me laugh about that time.”

He gives me a rueful smile, leans in, and kisses me very softly, as if comforting me. Have I ever received a kiss of comfort? When he pulls away from my lips, he tilts my head down, and kisses my crown as I have seen him do to Sookie on countless occasions.

“I’d do anything to make you laugh,” he says, and then I realize that the reason he has shed no tears from my tale is not from indifference. I had told him I did not want to hurt him. Therefore, he shows no pain.

Oh, Jason, I think sadly as I find my arms moving in a foreign, but needful motion. I draw his head to my chest and hold him tight. My hand is stroking his hair comfortingly. I am kissing the top of his head. Don’t hurt for me, Jason…

On To Chapter Fourteen!

Catalyst Ch. 12

Chapter Twelve: Quirks

Eric’s POV:

‘Dracula 2000,’ I think with mild amusement again while I fly toward Shreveport. Pam had shrieked with laughter when I told her about Sookie’s comment regarding fangs being ‘sexy.’ My progeny seems convinced that outing ourselves might not be as tedious as once thought.

I, on the other hand, am less optimistic. There are things about vampires that Sookie might not find all that sexy, not being able to have children, for one, and the fact that I murdered four vampires just moments ago because the Sheriff of Baton Rouge is an abysmal excuse of a vampire.

I am done playing games with Area 2. If François cannot keep our meals from being discovered, then my next trip to the bayous of Baton Rouge will result in the eradication of the remaining undead inhabitants of the swamp. I am tired of making this flight and having my own Area to oversee. Of course, there are only six vampires remaining in that miserable bog, but I do believe I have made my point clear.

The Baton Rouge P.D. is beginning to fear a serial killer, having found five bodies in the bayou in less than a year. I do not blame them for their concerns, but having to clean up a mess that I am not even responsible for is pissing me off!

As I land atop the condo where Sookie and her brother are staying, I call Sookie’s cell phone. She answers immediately.

Eric! Are you back already?” Sookie asks excitedly, drawing a smile from the lips that have worn nothing but a scowl over last thirty-six hours.

“Yes, I just arrived. I can be at your condo in twenty minutes. Is that enough time?” I sit on the edge of the roof, hearing her below scrambling about her room.

Yeah, I can be ready,” she declares. “Umm, the next showin’ of that movie is 7:50. Think we can make it?”

“Yes, I believe it is possible.” Pam parked my Corvette in the lot down the street, so I am not pressed for time.

I slowly rise back into the sky and begin heading for my vehicle slowly, so there is not too much static caused by the wind.

Pam and I had a lot of fun last night,” she comments as I hear her preparing for our date. “She bought me some make-up, then when we got back she showed me how to put it on! It was super cool!”

“Oh? She explained about not using too much, I hope?”

Yeah, she said my skin was pretty and that I don’t need a whole lot,” Sookie assures me. “I think I can do some without lookin’ like a clown or prostitute.”

I chuckle and easily scale down the side of the building near the parking lot. There are security cameras on the buildings around here, so I am forced to descend to the street in a more human method. “Well, I should not be long. I look forward to seeing you soon.”

Me too,” she replies and I smile as I hang up.

Slipping into my car, I drive leisurely to the condo, arriving a few minutes ahead of schedule. Jason opens the door for me, inviting me inside to wait as Sookie finishes up. She does not keep me waiting long.

“Sookie, you look beautiful,” I rise from the sofa and greet her with a chaste kiss. She blushes and looks sideway at Jason, embarrassed to be kissed in front of him. Her make-up consists of mascara and lip gloss. The sight of the soft application of cosmetics forms a relieved smile on my face.

“Thanks,” she plays with her hair before waving goodnight to her brother and taking my hand.

We arrive at the theater in plenty of time for Sookie to pick out a beverage before the film begins. The theater itself is sparingly filled, and Sookie tugs me toward the very back where there are only four seats available. She sits directly in the center, discouraging others from seating themselves by us. I grin at her tactic.

“You sincerely have no desire to watch this movie,” I observe with a chuckle.

“No, not really,” she admits in a whisper, and I enjoy watching the red stain of a blush creep across her face. I must confess that I am enjoying seeing Sookie act so confident, even with those blushes that give away she has so little. She is trying, and it is for me that she tries.

As the lights dim and the advertisements begin, Sookie glances at me with uncertainty. I know that she wishes to kiss me, but I am curious to see if she will initiate this make-out session she has been anticipating, plotting even. After each movie trailer, she looks at me expectantly, but I maintain my focus on the screen. She continues to sit with her hands neatly folded in her lap the entire time.

Finally, when the opening credits of the movie start, Sookie leans in my direction, pulls her knee beneath her on the seat, and cups her hand over my ear as she whispers, “Eric, are you gonna kiss me?”

My reply is to turn my head and capture her lips with mine. I must reward her bravery, encourage her to speak freely with me about her wants and needs. She sighs appreciatively against my mouth, and I push the armrest out of the way to pull her closer. Sookie’s arms wrap around my neck as I draw her into my side. My tongue grazes carefully against the seal of her lips and this time, she parts them at my first request.

Her tongue is hesitant and clumsy. It takes some persistence on my part to slow her movement and prod her into action. Currently, her technique consists of barreling her tongue past mine, then hiding in the corner of her mouth. I slowly kiss her, attempting to tangle my tongue with hers, but she again rakes hers briefly across mine and hides in the other corner of her mouth.

I realize her back is tense, her shoulders locked. Is she afraid of being discovered? Slowly, I pull away and whisper below her ear, “No one is watching you, Sookie.” She nods stiffly, but when I dive into her lips once more, I place my hands at her back and massage there until she begins to relax. Eventually she is calm and enjoying our tour of juvenile sexuality. I wonder how she would react if I gave her a hickey? Mortified comes to mind, but, on the other hand, I am certain that if it is placed in an area guaranteed to remain covered, I do believe Sookie would find it exciting. Just one so that she may have the experience…

My mouth leaves hers, kissing along her jaw and chin. Wandering down her throat, suckling and nibbling lightly, I earn a harsh panting from the girl enjoying my expedition. Her hand is tangled in my hair, clutching me tightly to her as I lavish her throat with attention. I can smell her arousal growing as I explore and offer great consideration to each line of muscle and special attention to her carotid. It is hammering beneath my tongue, urging me to pierce it, but I hold back. Instead, I keep working downward, clipping her clavicle with my tongue and teeth as I move toward her shoulder. Finally, once I am pushing the material of her shirt aside, I clamp the thick muscle of her trapezius between my teeth before suckling there hard.

Her hold around my head tightens, her excitement saturates the air, and an unmistakable note of pleasure is subject to a commanding glottal stop before it can ring toward its true tone. I suck, and pull with my teeth for several moments. I taste her blood vessels popping beneath my tongue, protected by the undamaged, superficial layer of skin. She tastes so fucking goodI want to taste her fully but, again, I test my restraint until I know I am tempting myself far too much. Finally, I disengage the meaty part of her shoulder, give the mark I have left a cursory glance, and begin working my way back up her neck.

I work higher than I began before, all the way to her ear. When my tongue gently traces the lobe, I feel Sookie tense in my arms and gasp excitedly. Surprised at the degree of reception this achieves, I suck the fleshy lobe between my lips and gently tug with my teeth. I can hear her little gasps, and her heart is racing frantically against my palm. It is enthralling, the way her body reacts to the gentle suckle of my mouth on her earlobe. That captivation is what spurs me to give the hard cartilage of her ear a quick nip.

Sookie’s response is…surprising.

A pleasurable whine echoes from her lips until she mutes it with another gasp, her arousal is so thick in the air I am nearly overwhelmed by it myself, and finally, her face reddens to the point that I might have thought her ill. After the brief reaction, Sookie pulls away, clutches the front of my shirt and begins panting to compose herself.

It takes only a moment after she has regained her breath for her face to flush once more. A humiliated expression covers her face, and she swiftly rises from her seat and slinks out of the theater. Left momentarily stunned by her abrupt escape, I realize the degree of her arousal. Sookie had climaxed under my attentions. So fucking responsive! I think with a carnal surge in my body.

I quickly follow her into the lobby, finding Sookie sitting with her face in her hands on a bench by the restrooms, looking utterly upset. Kneeling in front of her, I take Sookie’s chin in my hand and kiss her softly.

“Are you all right?” I ask carefully, trying to meet her gaze, but finding resistance.

“N-no,” she shakes her head shamefully. Though I admit I have never met a human woman who had an orgasm from having her earlobes tugged, I am anything but displeased by such a reactive body.

“There is nothing to be embarrassed about, Sookie,” I tell her soothingly.

“Yes, there is,” she whispers and puts her face back in her hands.

I do not think so,” I assure, gently rubbing her calves as I attempt again to catch her eyes. “Do you want to leave?” She sniffles and nods. “Please, do not cry,” I beseech.

Swiping at one of her tears, Sookie mumbles, “I’m sorry.”

“Why are you sorry?” I ask, still rubbing her legs since she has yet to rise.

“I don’t know,” she admits, still quietly bemoaning what she considers a shameful act. “It just seems like I did something very rude.”

I refrain from snorting, “I did not find it rude,” I tell her. “In fact, I found it rather…impressive on your part. There is nothing shameful about having a receptive body.” That might not have been helpful to her, I realize as she cringes at my compliment. “Let us go somewhere more private.” Her eyes widen at my suggestion and she shakes her head frantically. Oh, hell, what is she taking me for so suddenly? “I meant somewhere to talk, Sookie,” I tell her firmly. “I am quite disappointed that you would automatically assume my intentions like that.”

Her head bows guiltily as I rise from my knees. She finally stands, and it takes me a moment to offer her my hand. I am still agitated that she thought I wished to have her alone for my own selfish gain, but I remind myself she is feeling embarrassed and vulnerable. I am certain her discomfort had nothing to do with me, and all to do with her own sense of repugnance toward herself.

Once we are in the moderate privacy of my car and able to speak freely, I sit and wait for her to begin talking. Instead, she continues staring at her hands in silence.

“Have your ears always been that sensitive, Sookie?” I ask conversationally, trying for a sense of levity under the circumstances. It is all I can do to dispel the giddy musings of how many times I could make her cum in a single coupling with such a receptive partner.

She blushes and shrugs, “I don’t know. No one’s ever… I don’t know.”

“Well, I will give them a wide berth when we are in public. Would you feel more comfortable if I left them alone until we are at a point in our relationship that involves that level of intimacy?”

“Yes, please,” she mumbles.

“All right. I promise to avoid touching your ears for now.”

“Thank you…”

“Will you do something for me as well?” I request. When she looks at me hesitantly, I explain, “I would like you to forgive yourself, and to know and believe that you did nothing wrong.”

“That’s not how it feels,” she whispers. “I feel embarrassed and ashamed and-and disgusting.”

“Why?” I look at her in confusion. “You cannot help how your body responds, so there is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. You should not feel disgusted because what your body did was entirely natural. Orgasms happen, Sookie. There is nothing disgusting about that.”

“Do they happen because someone nibbled on your ear?” she demands.

“Not to me,” I confess. “That does not mean it is any less natural. Everybody is wired differently. What one person finds arousing might be completely unimportant to another. You have particularly sensitive ears, and you were already aroused by what we were doing. That is how your body responded, and considering your lack of experience, you could not have known it could cause you to climax.”

“Eric,” she mumbles softly, “this is real embarrassin’… I don’t wanna talk about this with you…”

I tilt my head curiously, “Why not?”

“Because it’s not… Proper,” she tells me with another sweet blush.

Fucking, puritanical bullshit!

“Sookie,” I take her chin in my hand and force her to look at me, “are we in a relationship?”


“Do you see yourself remaining in a relationship with me for quite some time?”

“I really hope so,” she admits and finally offers me one of her sweet smiles.

“And at any point in the future, do you believe you might wish to be physically intimate with me?”

I do not believe I have ever seen her face turn so red!

“… Yes,” she confesses.

“Then, at some point, you will need to talk to me about your body. What feels good, what does not, what makes you uncomfortable, and why. I can be a patient lover, Sookie. I understand if speaking about these things is difficult for you because you have never spoken of them with anyone. That said, nothing your body does influences me negatively. Nothing you enjoy or do not enjoy will give me pause. I know that discussions like this are particularly upsetting for you because we have not known each other long, and in your mind, what happened this evening should have been much further in the future.” She nods gravely in agreement. “Yet, it did happen and now we are talking about it.”

“So, you don’t think I’m any less a lady after…what happened?” Sookie asks me hopefully and I cannot help the comforting smile that tugs at my lips.

“Not at all,” I reassure her.

“Please don’t tell Pam what happened,” she requests of me suddenly.

“Why do you think that I would?” I ask in surprise.

Sookie shrugs and looks at her fresh manicure for an answer. Finally, she admits, “Pam says stuff sometimes… Stuff that makes me feel like you share a lot of information about our relationship with her. I understand that you two are really close, and I respect that ’cause me and Jason are really close. The difference is… You and Pam seem able to talk about real intimate stuff and in detail… Jason and I can’t. It makes us both super uncomfortable… I just feel like… Like I don’t have anyone to talk to or help me or… I can’t talk to Jason… I can’t talk to Pam… I can’t talk to anyone at school… I just feel real alone in this.”

“Why do you feel that you cannot talk to me?” I place my hand on her back, allowing my thumb to stroke her spine encouragingly.

“’Cause you’re who I need to talk about!” she wails. “You make me feel a bunch of stuff that really confuses me. I’m nervous and excited, and embarrassed and I always wanna be around you, and I don’t understand any of it. I’m also a little scared of you,” she admits.

“What about me scares you?” I coax gently.

“That I’ve only known ya two and a half weeks, and I already like you so much. That you have secrets you think will scare me off. The way my body reacts to you. All kinds of stuff,” she explains.

“I see, well, what if we cut back on our interactions, and give you some space for perspective?” I suggest, though I want anything but space between us.

She looks at her hands sadly at my suggestion. “I don’t want to see you less,” she confesses after a moment, and it is a relief to me. “I like seein’ ya all the time. I just wish I had someone to talk to that didn’t make me feel so…”

“Vulnerable?” I hazard a guess.


“Why do you feel you cannot talk to Pam?” I ask. “I would not be embarrassed by anything she knows about me.”

“I think she’d laugh at me,” she chokes.

My shoulders slump. That is not an unfair assessment. Sookie knows Pam to be very confident and sexual. Her inexperienced questions would seem trivial to Pam, and it is not beyond my Child to poke at another’s insecurities. However, I know that my Child cares about Sookie, and even Pam can suppress her brashness.

“I do not think Pam would laugh at you,” I can make absolutely sure that she does not!

“Do you promise not to ask her about what we talk about?” she meekly requests.

I give Sookie another soft smile, “I promise… As a matter of fact, I do believe Pam and your brother are a few blocks down the street having coffee. Perhaps I could drop you off there? I am sure Jason is probably getting fatigued by now. I could drop him off at home, and you can stay with Pam at the shop.”

“What? All the sudden like that?” Sookie asks in surprise.

“This is troubling you, Sookie. I would suggest you talk to someone sooner rather than later, so that you may sleep easily tonight,” I explain gently.

“Okay,” she mumbles as I reach for my keys and turn over the ignition.

As we drive, I call Pam and let her know of the plan. She seems confused, but does not question me. Soon we are pulling up in front of a Starbucks and we climb out of the car. When we approach Pam and Jason, my Child rises.

“Sookie has very personal things to discuss with you. I want you to be nice. Do not laugh at her, do not brush off her questions,” I mumble in Pam’s ear under the disguise of a greeting hug.

“Yes, Master,” Pam is frowning.

“Thank God you’re takin’ me home,” Jason announces as he tries to lift himself from the booth. “I’ve had, like, four people come over and ask me about the B’n’B shit. I’m ready to go home,” he grouches.

I smile at Jason and pat his back while assisting him from the booth. He looks uncomfortable with my help, but does not say anything.

“Sookie, I will see you later,” I tell her as she settles into her brother’s spot. I lean down and give her a quick, brief kiss before leaving.

Do not disappoint me, Pam.

Sookie’s POV:

God, where do I even start?

“Not such a big fan of fangs, huh?” Pam interrupts my mad scrambling for an icebreaker.

“Huh?” I ask dumbly.

“It is barely even 8:30. The movie started at 7:50, but we all know the first ten minutes are trailers. That means you left the theater well before the end of the movie. Was it that bad?” Pam asks me.

I look at the cup of coffee she’s put in front of me, “I don’t know, we weren’t really watchin’ it,” I mumble shyly.

Pam smirks, “I see.”

“Somethin’ happened…at the theater,” I begin quietly. I’m surprised Pam doesn’t have to lean in to hear me.

“Oh? What?” she asks, placin’ her face in her hand, her eyes all bright with the prospect of gossip.

“Umm, me and Eric were makin’ out,” I keep whisperin’, “and…it was real nice.”

“So, why did you leave if you were having such a good time not watching the movie?” Pam teases, but I know she’s just tryin’ to make this all seem less formal. I get the feelin’ Eric gave her a warnin’ when we first got here.

“Umm, he… Well, we were kissin’ for a while, and…” God, how do I even say this? “He was kissin’ on my neck, and that was real nice, too… But he, umm, he got to my ear, and…” My face is gettin’ hotter and hotter, “When he tugged on my ear, I…” I lean in real close, and I don’t even know if any sound is comin’ out when I confess, “I think I might have… Had an orgasm?”

Pam stares at me for a long time, no real expression, just starin’. Finally, she asks, “You think you did?”

“Well, I did. I know what it was. I just, I only ever had one before, and that was in my sleep, and… Well, it was a roomful of people, and Eric knew! How embarrassin’ is that?” I anxiously pick up my coffee and take a sip. It’s decaf, which I don’t normally like, but I probably shouldn’t have any caffeine right now, I’m so edgy.

“You have only orgasmed in your sleep before, and it was once?” Pam fixates on the totally wrong part of my statement.

“Pam, it was a roomful of people, and Eric knew what I did!” I moan in embarrassment.

“All right,” Pam shrugs. “Look at it this way. No one in that theater had a clue what was going on. If you made any sound at all, they probably all figured it was two teens making out, which I promise you is not an abnormal occurrence. As for the Eric part of the equation, let me share something about men that you might find comforting. Do you know how exciting it is for a man to know he has a responsive lover? It is a huge boost to their ego to be able to pleasure their woman, and for you to be that easy… Oh, that probably did not sound encouraging… You are not easy,” she assures me. “I am merely making the point that Eric will be a very, very happy boyfriend when you finally go to bed together.”

“Really?” I frown. I don’t get how it can be any fun for him if I’m finishin’ after a good tug on my earlobe.

“Of course!” Pam grins. “What man doesn’t want a woman who responds so enthusiastically to his touch?”

“But what if it’s not about Eric?” I ask worriedly. “What if I’m just a freak?”

Pam’s eyebrows shoot up at that and she reaches across the table at my face. Before I realize what she’s gonna do, her finger traces the shell of my ear before gently pinching my earlobe. It feels nice, but not orgasm-inducing nice.

“Did you cum?” she asks skeptically. Dumbly, I shake my head. “There you go, then. It’s not your ears; it’s him. Sure, your ears are freakishly sensitive, but that doesn’t diminish the effect Eric was having on you by a long shot. Is that what you were scared about? That your ears were some sort of hidden orgasm button anyone could push?”

I blush.
Yeah, that’s why I couldn’t say anythin’ to Eric. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

“I won’t lie to you and say that your ears are not insanely sensitized for causing that to happen to you,” Pam tells me. “I don’t know a single woman that has cum from having her ears tugged after a little necking, but good for you!”

Okay, so it’s strange, but a good strange, I think in moderate relief. I’m still embarrassed about them, but at least I don’t have an indiscriminate ‘orgasm button.’ “I’m sorry if I’ve been stupid about this,” I mumble.

Pam shrugs, unaffected. “Knowing the mechanics of things is not the same as performing them. I am curious why you wished to speak to me of all people about this? Why not ask one of your friends from school that isn’t fucking your brother? Or at least isn’t your boyfriend’s sister?”

Because I’d have to listen to every little thought they had on the topic, “’Cause I don’t want to be part of the rumor mill at school. High school girls gossip. Even if you gossiped, we don’t know any of the same people other than Eric and Jason.”

Pam nods, accepting my excuse without question. I feel oddly guilty about lying to her, and that surprises me. The only person I’ve ever felt guilty for not tellin’ that I’m a telepath is Jason.

We chat about less personal stuff as I finish up my coffee, and Pam drives me back to the condo. When I see Eric’s Corvette still parked out front, an idea starts to form.

“Are you comin’ up?” I ask.

Pam smirks at me, “Seeing as you told Eric to dissuade me against fucking your brother while he is still healing, I will pass.”

I shake my head at her filter-less comment, but don’t say anythin’ about it. That’s just Pam, I guess.

Before I’m even in the condo, I can hear Jason yellin’ at the TV about ‘traveling,’ so I know he’s watchin’ basketball. When I open the door, Jason and Eric are sittin’ on the couch watchin’ the game. Eric seems less captivated with it than Jason does, though.

“Hey,” I greet them, takin’ off my coat and draping it over one of the barstools, “who’s winnin’?”

“Rockets,” Jason replies, eyes glued to the TV.

“Cool,” I smile and lean over the back of the couch to whisper in Eric’s ear. “Can I talk to you a minute in private?”

Eric cranes his neck to look at me before nodding and standing, “Of course.”

I lead him to my room, grimacing at Jason’s thought of, ‘Oh, what the fuckin’ hell is this? Is this okay?’

“I don’t want to keep you in here long. Jason’s imagination will run wild if I do,” I mumble.

“What is it, Sookie?” Eric asks, keepin’ a careful distance between us.

“Umm, well, I’m gonna be quick and honest with you,” I tell him. “I kinda think these areas,” I quickly flail my hands in front of my breasts and lap, “should be off limits. I know you’ve never even hinted at tryin’ to touch me there, and I appreciate that, really. It’s just, I know there’s somethin’ you want to tell me at some point that you think is gonna be some life alterin’ thing for me. And the thing is, until you’ve told me what it is and you know I won’t run, I don’t think you should touch me…in those places. ‘Cause if these,” I gesture to the previously mentioned areas again, “are anywhere near as…umm…receptive as these,” I point to my ears, “then I probably won’t want you to stop… Well… Ever.”

Eric smirks at my point and nods, “I see, well, I will keep that in mind.”

“So, I want to date, and kiss and hold hands and stuff, right now. I’m not sayin’ that after you tell me your big secret that I’ll be all gung ho about jumpin’ into bed with ya, but it’s definitely a prerequisite. If what you tell me is really somethin’ I can’t accept, I’d be awful upset if I’d slept with you and then ya broke my heart with whatever it is you’re still hiding. Is that fair?” I ask nervously.

Smiling at me, Eric leans in, kisses my lips, and answers, “Entirely acceptable.”

I let out a relieved breath and nod, “Thank you.”

“It might make me hesitate to let you in on my secret. If you sincerely do not wish to see me again after you know, then I might not wish to ever tell you. You could stay a virgin a very long time, Sookie,” he admits.

Grippin’ the front of his shirt, I keep Eric from pullin’ away, “I don’t think I’ll run. I really, really don’t, but I’ve never been a believer in certainty, so I won’t promise. Okay?”

“Sookie,” Eric holds my face in his cool, cool hands, “if there is ever one thing I pray that you can be certain of, it is me.”

“If I say I’ll try, does that count?”

He kisses me slowly and softly. His hands leave my face and clamp on to my sides, so that he can pull me flush against him. It’s this smooth, sexy, passionate kiss that makes me glad he’s got a hold on me, ’cause I feel like I could melt onto the floor. I find myself really holdin’ on to the front of his shirt now, just so I feel grounded and won’t float away or drop to the ground. It could really go either way…

He pulls away, holds me with one arm, and uses his free hand to push my hair from my face. “For now,” he says.

On To Chapter Thirteen!

Catalyst Ch. 11

Chapter Eleven: Family

Eric’s POV

“What the hell have you done, Eric?” my Maker snarls at me as soon as I am through the door. “To your knees!” he commands, and my legs fold without my consent. Godric’s hand is in my hair, he is towering above me, his eyes are locked upon mine, and my link with him suddenly fills with terror and concern. “What have you done?” he asks me again, his eyes searching.

Maintaining our gaze, I tell him the truth, “I fell in love with a human girl.”

Godric releases my hair and takes several steps away. I am still forced to remain on my knees before him, and I settle my palms onto my thighs while I await calmly to ease his anxiety. I already believe myself aware of what has prompted my Maker to abruptly arrive at my home, my brush with dawn only four evenings ago. It would seem this was the earliest he could come to me since Christmas morning. This is why I could not allow Pam to follow. Despite how she cares for Sookie, she cannot know yet that I let myself be caught by daybreak because of her.

“You seared yourself by the sun for a human?” He looks disbelieving.

I tell Godric then of how I met Sookie and her brother. I tell him everything I know about the siblings, how I enjoy both their company, and my desire to help and protect them. I explain how his idiotic Empathy Bootcamp actually managed to achieve his goal in far greater a way than even he could have anticipated.

“Love,” Godric whispers reverently. “To think you would find it before me?” I can only nod. “Oh,” he looks at me in surprise, “you may stand.”

My legs finally return to my control and I rise fluidly from the floor. It is not uncomfortable to kneel on hardwood floors for a vampire, but… Shit, Pam is still outside!

“Pam, come inside,” I call for her, breaking my command at last.

“Here I thought I pissed you off enough about cutting your pubes that you were just going to fry me,” she grouches, throwing her purse on to the sofa.

Godric raises his eyebrows at me. “I seem to have missed something,” he murmurs.

“Eric agreed to let me thin out his forest!” Pam cackles at my expense.

“I see,” Godric frowns, but then merely shakes his head in defeat. “I would greatly wish to meet your Sookie, Eric,” he tells me after recovering from Pam’s exuberance at taming my pubic hair.

“Oh! Wait until you see the way he kisses her!” my Child tries to embarrass me by telling Godric of attempts at innocent kisses.

My Maker does not help the situation by laughing right alongside her. All I can do is shake my head. Masters of seduction know how to play at every level of experience. It is not my fault that women have become much less virtuous about dropping their panties with every decade. Also, the last time I bedded a woman still in her teens was, well, Pam. Since that time, I have found myself more interested in women in their mid-twenties to late-thirties. Far more adventurous, far less shy, all still limber.

Pam was definitely a diamond in the rough; a miracle to find in the time of her mortality, brazen, cocky, adventurous, beautiful, and mischievous. I had followed her for several evenings, charmed by the way she seemed to openly defy the roles of her gender. She could act the role of the lady when it suited her, then lithely expose her devilish charms. Pam had captivated me with amusement and intrigue from the moment I witnessed her seduce a woman out of her own husband’s lap. It was then that I realized I had found not only my partner in crime, but my nemesis in the bedroom as well. Competition, as it were. We shared many lovers, competing over who could bring them more pleasure.

However, what had made her so appealing to me was also the thing that forced my hand in transforming her so abruptly. Pam had effectively seduced several wives of prominent men. Rather than humiliate themselves in admitting that Pam was far better at having pleased their own wives than they were, the men decided to publicly humiliate my Pam.

They ambushed her in a lover’s apartment, and I was forced to turn her. She was brutally assaulted and raped. When I came upon her broken, violated body, I did not ask questions. I did not need more answers than the odors pouring from her orifices, marks left on her body, and the state she was left in. As a creature who performed my own fair share of debauchery, both as a human and a vampire, not even I could recall a more thoroughly cruel incident than Pam’s. Her appearance still causes me to pause when I think of the brutality humans are capable of inflicting upon one another.

Bodily assault between vampires is much more relaxed for the simple reason that we will recover from our injuries. Hence, the reason truly despicable acts result in amputations or the pulling of fangs. Those are the only sufferings that the recipient is actually forced to experience, and then, allegedly, reflect on their wrongdoings. Fines? No vampire is ever hurting for money. Incarceration? It is performed with silver-wrapped coffins, though rarely, we often forget to dig the poor bastard back up. Which reminds me… Did we ever unearth Theo? This is the year two-thousand… Was that a fifteen or twenty-year sentence…? Fuck, were we supposed to let him out in ’97!?

“Pam,” I startle my Child away from her discussion with Godric, “remind me that we may need to dig up Theo tomorrow night. I have to check records to determine if he had a fifteen or twenty-year sentence.”

“Wasn’t it twenty-five?” Pam asks curiously, making me even more frustrated.

“Theo?” Godric follows us to the lightproof chamber beneath the farmhouse. “Oh, was that the one who tried to sneak into the ruins of Elfyria?”

“Yes,” I nod, “back in 1982. It was a very big deal to the Pantheon.”

“Ah, yes, now I remember,” Godric nods. “That was always a curious circumstance to me. It is uncommon for the Pantheon to allow direct interference with the land of mortals. Yet, there had to have been some sort of errand boy with the power to open the Gate of Elfyria. I cannot blame Theo for trying to acquire remnants of magical items from the Old Kingdom when such an opportunity arose. Was he buried rather than ended because the Pantheon refused to disclose the errand boy’s mission?”

I nod, “Yes. Without disclosure of why the Gate was opened in the first place with no warning, we refused to end him.”

“Poor Youngling,” Godric shakes his head at Theo’s miscalculated action. “I cannot say that I would not have been tempted myself if I had been there when the Gate opened.”

“Nothing there is worth shit anymore,” I disagree. “Any magic within Elfyria is now toxic, and bringing artifacts back to this realm could result in apocalyptic consequences.” It was also the reason I bought the Stackhouses’ former home. The ‘gate’ Theo had attempted to cross is hidden in the graveyard in the valley beneath the hill. After the house was sent to auction I told my dayman to acquire it at any price. I needed to put myself in a position to protect the Gate in the event another “errand boy” brought about further temptations in my Area.

We discuss and hypothesize about why the Gate was opened all those years ago, but neither of us can conclude around the matter. Whatever job had been set into motion has not yet effected this world, but all of we Supernaturals are convinced that it must be something very big. After all, for the Pantheon themselves to ordain the opening of the Gate to the Fallen Kingdom, there must be some sort of prophecy in play. The looming silence of the Ancient Pythoness has only increased the anticipation surrounding the mystery’s climax.

“Will you introduce me to your Sookie tomorrow, Eric?” Godric asks as we settle in to die for the day. Pam lost her animation shortly before we began discussing the possible reasons for the Gate’s opening.

“Yes, Master… Perhaps you should introduce yourself as my and Pam’s brother from Texas. I told Stackhouse only earlier this evening that I would tell him no more lies or half-truths,” I explain.

“Yes, of course… Then it is your intention to tell not only your Sookie of our nature, but her brother as well?”

“Yes, with the reveal only a grain of sand away, it would be an unnecessary strain to put between them if I did not tell him as well. Besides, I have a feeling that if I plan to keep Sookie, her brother comes as part of a packaged deal,” I laugh.

“You do not seem bothered by that,” Godric points out.

“I am not.”

“Raising two progenies at the same time can be difficult, especially siblings. You remember the problems Sophie-Anne had with the Berts? If her passive gift did not instill unyielding loyalty from her creations, she would not have been able to handle them,” Godric warns me.

“I understand that, but I do not intend to make Sookie into a normal progeny.”

Godric’s eyebrows rise, “You will create a Bonded Mate?”

“It is my hope, but not one I wish to act upon until she is older, perhaps after the Great Revelation,” I whisper. “I want her to preserve her sweet and kind nature. As a Bonded Mate, she would never wish to leave my side, and I could protect her from the more… altering experiences of immortality. There is also the possibility that Pam might wish to turn the brother herself. She has been considering the idea for several nights now.”

“I see… Well, I am even more intrigued about meeting these children now!” Godric laughs. “They have certainly moved both you and your Child.”

“Yes,” I agree. “They are people you cannot help but wish to be around.”

Godric’s POV:

I know the instant that Sookie Stackhouse opens the door that she is special.

She is unsurprised to find three individuals at her door, and takes us all off guard by asking, “Oh! Is this your younger brother?”

“Yes,” I reach out my hand, taking hers, “I am Godric.”

“I can see the resemblance,” she laughs.

I hide a frown as she welcomes us into the condo. There is not an ounce of resemblance between me, Eric, and Pam. Although both Eric and Pam have blond hair and blue eyes, those are where the likenesses end. There is not a shared trait in their facial structures nor frames. I would have been an adopted child between the two of them.

Her brother comes to the entryway and greets us warmly, “Wow, I didn’t know ya had another sibling.”

Jason shakes my hand as well. It makes me wonder if he could have possibly heard Sookie greeting us from so far away.

“I am Godric,” I tell him.

“Cool. I’m Jason, and this is Sookie. I’m sure Eric told ya our names before ya came, though,” he laughs and scratches his head, looking embarrassed for stating the obvious. “So, you live in Texas? That’s where Eric said your dad lives.”

Again, I am forced to suppress my facial expressions. Eric had obviously been referring to me as his father at the time, but there is no point in divulging that now, not with Eric intent on exposing our nature to these siblings.

“Yes, I reside in Dallas,” I tell him.

“I had a scholarship offer in Dallas,” Jason tells me, “but I wanted to stay near home.”

“Did you grow up in Shreveport?” I ask him as we all collect in the living room.

“’Bout thirty miles south of here. Actually, if you’ve been to Eric’s house, that was where Sooks and I grew up, well, sort of.” When I give him a quizzical look, he tells me about his parents and grandmother.

“So, you have taken on the responsibility of supporting and raising your younger sister these past three years? That was very honorable of you,” I compliment him.

Sookie squeezes her brother’s hand and smiles at him sweetly. It is good to see a grateful sister. Eric elaborates further on the conditions in which they were living before he assisted them.

“Guess that blows your whole ‘honor’ comment out of the water,” Jason mumbles with a blush.

“On the contrary,” I shake my head. “I believe that the world should be one where those who struggle, but endeavor for improvement, be rewarded. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. I am glad that my brother actually accomplished this for someone as deserving as the two of you.”

The sister is staring at me. I can see the cogs turning in her head. She is looking between the three of us as if we are each under a microscope. She squeezes Jason’s hand again and he gives her a curious look. Sookie is suspicious of something, and she does not know how to respond.

“Is something on your mind, Sookie?” I ask gently, trying to prod at a revealing response.

“N-no,” she stammers, caught off guard. “I just… Well, that sounds like what Eric said your father’s ideals are. I guess I find it peculiar how strongly you parallel your father, and how strongly Eric originally fought against his ideals. A lot of the time it’s the oldest sibling who holds up family ideology while the younger siblings branch off into their own passions.”

“A keen observation,” I nod, intrigued by her deductive skills. “Are you planning to major in psychology when you attend college next year?”

“No. I want to teach English,” she admits.

“Pity, you could be very impressive in psychology and sociology,” I tell her.

Sookie shrugs, looking embarrassed, “I’ve always been good at teachin’ and I love books, so I thought teachin’ English would be the right way to go…” She looks at her brother, back to us, frowns and says, “Jason wants to teach history.”

“Is that right?” I laugh. Oh, the things we could school that child on.

“Yeah,” Jason nods. “I’m real interested in ancient and medieval history. I’m a real Civil War buff though, bein’ from the South. Really, I just love it all.”

Sookie is still staring at us with her microscopic gaze. Finally, her frown turns bemused. “Why don’t you tell them about the Western Roman Empire, Jason?” Sookie suggests, staring at me. I raise my eyebrows at her, surprisingly close to pinpointing my vampire origin. Eric’s posture tightens beside me and I see out of the corner of my eye that Pam has stopped breathing. “What the heck is goin’ on?” she demands in a crisp whisper.

“I think that is my question, Ms. Stackhouse,” I lean forward as my Child and his progeny remain still.

“Sooks,” Jason places his hand on his sister’s shoulder. “Listen, Eric ain’t ready for us to know what their deal is. Just stop. You know what it’s like to not tell someone somethin’ too soon.”

Her body visibly relaxes, her expression turning apologetic, “Sorry, you three are super frustratin’ for me sometimes. I didn’t mean to be so rude.”

“It is all right,” I tell her with a shrug. “It is apparent that you are quite sensitive to your surroundings. I apologize that our presence seems to put you on edge.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Sookie looks at my Child with a pleading demeanor. “I’m just not someone who is easily kept in the dark. With you three, I feel like I’m in perpetual night.”

I do believe all three of us must steel our resolves to not respond to that remark. I, personally, want to laugh delightedly. Oh, I like this girl! She is sharp, but pleasantly so. Though she does leave me disarmed, it does not feel aggressively done.

After our bout with subterfuge, our conversation elevates to a more enjoyable cadence. The Stackhouses are charming, humble, generous, and perfect hosts. If I could, I would have indulged in their offers of food and drink. It is almost painful to deny their hospitality as it is so politely and enthusiastically offered. Their manners are natural and artfully ingrained in them. Absolutely delightful.

We do talk of history during part of our visit. Stackhouse is amusingly bright on the subject. There is obvious passion within him on the subject. My bloodline and I trickle enticing details from our recollections of different time periods, and Stackhouse is almost on the edge of his seat during the conversation. Sookie politely hides her increasing disinterest during the conversation, but I sense that it has very little to do with a genuine lack of interest. It is more plausible to me that she is conflicted about her earlier, not quite, accusation. The cogs are still grinding in her head, and I can practically see the struggle of restraining her tongue.

Eventually Eric distracts Ms. Stackhouse with an outreached hand, asking if she wished to go on a walk with him. She blushes prettily, which makes me smile. Yes, she is very sweet. Very innocent. Jason seems almost hesitant to let them leave, but judging by his easy conversation with Eric, I am left to believe it is merely the instinct of a protective older brother.

Eric and Sookie return a half hour later. Her cheeks are still rosy, and her lips partially swollen. Despite her frustrations, it is apparent that her interest in Eric outweighs her uncertainties.

When it is going on midnight, Eric, Pam and I bid them good night and head back to Eric’s residence at the old farmhouse.

“Infectious, aren’t they?” Pam chuckles along the drive.

“They are admittedly easy to enjoy the company of,” I acknowledge. “I enjoyed my time here greatly. It will be a shame that I must depart shortly after we return.”

“You are leaving already?” Eric asks in surprise.

“As a fellow Sheriff, you should know that I cannot be out of my Area for very long, especially not so impulsively,” I point out to him.

“Yes, of course, Master,” Eric sighs with understanding. “I do have my own issues to oversee. Another trip to Baton Rouge. I do not know why François cannot handle his own uprisings and the Queen is prodding me to take action for him.”

“Please,” Pam grumbles, “half of the bayou vampires have several centuries on François. They would tear him apart.”

“Then he should not have been appointed Sheriff,” Eric snarls. “I should just purge the entire swamp and be done with it. I am tired of being dragged to those pits every few months.”

“Perhaps you should annihilate the entire populace,” Pam shrugs, making me growl under my breath. “It was a joke, Master Godric,” she assures me, tempering my ire while making Eric laugh. Pam’s humor often leaves me in a state of concern. By the time I interpret her jokes through Eric, I have usually assumed the worst. No one can make a joke with a straight face like Eric’s Pam.

I spend very little time at the farmhouse once we arrive. Eric must leave for Baton Rouge, which means that Pam is going to perform his duties as Sheriff. With my bloodline busy with work, I bid them good evening and ascend for my solo flight back to Dallas.

I close off my Link to Eric as I begin my journey home. Deep inside, all evening, I have felt this creeping, devouring surge of envy growing within me. At first, it was merely that of someone who is lonely and perhaps feeling slighted by time. As I am twice Eric’s age, I find it disheartening and childishly unfair that he should fall in love and experience this change that I have sought and longed many centuries for.

Then an ugly resentment formed from that envy as I realized the only reason he met Ms. Stackhouse in the first place was because I had ordered him to do so.

Why then is it he who reaps the rewards of a lifestyle I forced him to adopt when I have been left alone and wanting so long, when he was still content to be a vicious creature of night? I detest these feelings and try to banish them, but to my shame they remain. Juvenile frustration of ‘why not me’ shakes its fist, demanding fairness.

Perhaps that is the problem. Perhaps after all of these centuries, these past two millennia, I am still the abused, resenting wraith of my fledgling age. Is it possible that Eric is more emotionally mature than me? Is it possible that in my efforts to create more emotional connections with humans, I have mistaken quantity for quality? Have I been trying too hard these past fifty years? Or is it that my efforts are single-minded? I am searching, therefore, never finding. Eric was not searching for some grand love; he was fulfilling his orders. In doing so, he found something much more fulfilling than pleasing his Maker.

As I psychoanalyze myself, I find that my envy and resentment is abating. I feel ashamed that it flared in the first place, but I resign myself to the fact that even at two thousand years old, I am still the adolescent of my mortality. Wise, worldly, but still desperate for affection.

After two thousand years, Godric, perhaps it is time to grow up…

Sookie’s POV:

Another day of TV and checkers, good food and good conversation. Jason’s movin’ a lot easier today, wincing only once and awhile. Every day he seems to heal more, and that’s a huge relief to see.

We talk a lot about our evenin’ with Eric, Pam, and Godric throughout the day. It’s obvious there’s somethin’ very strange goin’ on with the three of them. When I’d opened the door, I’d already figured it must’ve been a third family member who filled the space of an extra blank mind. Automatically I’d assumed he was their younger brother, but while we were all hangin’ out, the lack of family resemblance was glaringly obvious.

Godric was like sore thumb next to Eric and Pam. He looked nothing like them at all. Once I realized there was no family resemblance, it pulled back the blinders that Eric and Pam’s hair and eyes had obscured the rest of their features. Blond and blue eyed, and that’s where any similarities ended. I could have ignored that the shade of their blond was different, so is mine and Jason’s. Their eyes, though, are nothing alike. Completely different shapes, completely different shades. Eric’s eyes are more of an oceanic blue; deep, calm. Pam’s are more like ice; crisp, unrelenting. The only likenesses they shared were expressions, but that’s just somethin’ that can happen from spendin’ so much time together.

I might not have thought too much about the fact they all looked so different. After all, adoption is common enough. It was their minds, though. What would be the odds of someone adopting three kids that just so happened to be immune to my telepathy? If it’s not genetics that created the anomaly, then it’s somethin’ else. Somethin’ all three share other than DNA.

Not for the first time I find myself dwelling on the very unusual, but strangely blatant formula. Only out at night, sleep all day, never eat, never drink, cool to the touch, history buffs, immune to my telepathy…

“Jason,” I lean in, whispering, “do you ever wonder if maybe Eric, Pam, and Godric are…”

Jason stares at me, waiting for me to finish, but when I don’t finish my theory, he sighs and shakes his head. “I think it’s obvious that they’re more like you than we know. I don’t know what that means,” he confesses. “But if you are possible, does that mean anything is impossible?”

I nod in agreement, “I guess that’s true.”

“The real question is, does it matter?” he points out.

“I guess that’s true, too,” I frown, leanin’ my chin into my hand.

“So, what’s the answer?” Jason asks me.

“What’s your answer?” I challenge him.

Jason shrugs his right shoulder, conscious of the injury still restrictin’ the left one, “It doesn’t matter either way to me,” he confesses. “It’s obvious to me that Eric cares about you on a real level. That’s all that matters in my book. If he’s gonna care about ya and take care of ya the right way, then I don’t care what he is. ‘Cause, Sooks, we weren’t raised to care what someone is, only who they are.” I smile at my brother’s ideology. It’s so simple, so Jason. “So, now, what’s your answer?”

“I think you gave me it,” I tell him. “I care about Eric a lot and no matter what he is, that isn’t gonna change. I guess part of me is a little scared though,” I confess.

“What about?” Jason jumps several of my red checkers and I groan. He always kicks my butt at checkers. I play with my hair nervously. Is this somethin’ you talk about with your older brother? “Is it the whole relationship thing?”

I bow my head, mumblin’, “Yeah.”

“Okay, I’ll bite. What about the relationship scares ya?”

I move my checker, protecting my back row, making Jason sneer. “Umm,” I pause, tryin’ to think of how to phrase this without makin’ Jason fly off the handle, “I guess I just don’t know what it is I’m s’pose to be doin’. Y’know, how do you date? Like, is it all just talkin’ and goin’ out for coffee? Stuff like that? Is that datin’?”

Jason does his one-armed shrug again, “Sure, in the beginning that’s datin’. Really, that’s just the interview phase of a relationship. You get to know each other, learn habits and personality, shit like that. Then you kinda just figure if you want to be in a relationship with them.”

“What if I already know that I do?” I ask him, moaning when Jason takes two more of my pieces. I’m down to three.

“Well,” Jason looks super uncomfortable, “that’s when things move along to things I really don’t wanna think about you doing.”

“What if I don’t want to do that stuff yet?” I chip at his defense, earning another of his pieces, but his next move kings him.

Relief washes over his face, “Then ya just sit back and enjoy the coffee and movies and shit. I mean, you enjoy doing that stuff with him, right? Just being around him?”

“Yeah, a lot,” I admit.

“Then just do that,” I am quickly defeated on the board, so I start putting away the game. “Listen, Sooks, I won’t pretend I’m some kinda expert dater. I really ain’t focused on it much. It’s not my scene right now, but if you wanna be around Eric all the time, hangin’, going out, and just doing what you’re doing, that’s perfectly fine. No one says ya gotta move at any pace but your own.”

“I guess,” I mumble. “You want lunch?”

Jason nods, “Yeah, sure.”

I get up and head to the kitchen, makin’ us some grilled cheese and slicin’ some apples to have with them. Jason comes to sit at the breakfast bar while I prepare our lunch. I can tell he still wants to talk.

“What?” I frown while he keeps sittin’ there, not sayin’ anything.

Another half shrug. “You know, you and I haven’t really had a talk about boys.”

My face reddens, I can feel it. “Jason, I took sex ed,” I tell him shyly.

“Nah, I mean about pressures and stuff,” he explains.

“I thought we agreed that neither of us thought Eric would pressure me into anythin’,” I frown. Jason nods that he agrees. “So, what kinda pressure are you talking about?”

“Well,” Jason scratches his head nervously as I go to put a pan on the stove. “I just know that sometimes girls get it in their heads they have to do things without no one puttin’ the thought in there. I’m not gonna lie and say boys don’t take advantage of that. I guess I just want you to be sure about everything. Sure about your decisions, and knowin’ the difference between wantin’ something and thinkin’ ya want something.”

“I think I know my own head,” I tell him with raised eyebrows.

“Do you?” Jason demands. At my curious look, he explains, “Listen, sometimes things get heated up, and you could end up going further than you thought you would. I just want you to tell yourself over and over, starting now that you can say ‘stop’ any time you want, even if it’s just long enough to re-center yourself and figure out if you’re gettin’ caught up.”

I play with the butter knife worriedly, “But, isn’t that rude? Stop and go all the time?”

Jason rolls his eyes at me, “And
that, Baby Sis, is exactly what I mean about pressure. It’s your freakin’ body. You can say stop and go as much as you fuckin’ want, and he better respect that. He’s got the experience. You don’t. He should know you might get nervous, or scared, or just plain old confused. That’s on him to accept that you could give him a lotta stop and go. Got it?” I nod slightly, and he repeats, “Got it?”

“Yeah, Jason, I got it,” I mumble.

After we eat lunch, Jason and I get out of the condo for a while, goin’ for a short walk. Jason’s felt cooped up, but we only manage to walk a block and a half before his injuries make us turn around. I know he feels frustrated by how much the wounds are slowin’ him down, but I remind him that they will heal soon and he can start goin’ full throttle with his exercises again. Ever since we’ve spent so much time in the condo, I think we both have been gettin’ cabin fever. We’re just not accustomed to so much down time between work and school. Now we are on Christmas break for another five days and have neither work nor school to occupy us.

We’ve both taken to studying future coursework out of boredom, and I’m several chapters ahead in most of my classes. Jason’s been tutoring me on Calculus, attempting to prepare me for next semester, so I don’t struggle the entire time like I did first semester. I feel much more confident, but still nervous. Math has just never been somethin’ I’ve excelled at.

Around seven, I get a call from Eric, and I almost giggle when I see his name on the caller I.D. of my new cellphone. ‘The Boyfriend’.

“Hey, Boyfriend,” I answer my phone with an enthusiastic chirp.

Hello, Sookie,” He sounds so sexy on the phone! “How are you this evening?”

“Good. Studying out of boredom,” I confess. “What are you up to?”

I am in Baton Rouge on business, but will be back tomorrow evening,” he tells me. “I was wondering if you would like to go out when I return?”

“Sure! What time?” I ask.

I should be in around seven or eight. I will call you when I arrive back in Shreveport.”

“Cool. What do you wanna do?” I flop onto my bed, kicking my feet in the air and staring up at my toes. My nails are startin’ to look a little crummy, and I wonder if I can freshen them up myself…

Would you be interested in going to a movie?” he asks.

“If you want,” I can’t think of a single movie that’s out right now that I’d wanna see. Heck, I don’t even think I know what’s out right now.

I can think of worse things than being trapped in a dark theater with you,” he teases me, making me blush at the implications.

“Hold on, let me check some listings,” I go out to the living room and grab the newspaper off the couch. Flippin’ to the entertainment section, I look and have to hold in a laugh as I head back to my bedroom. “How about ‘Dracula 2000’?”

There’s a very long silence over the phone before Eric talks. He sounds amused, “You did not strike me as a vampire enthusiast.”

I bite my lip, “Well, fangs are pretty sexy. Besides, it’ll be loud, and a lot of vampire movies are pretty low lighting. We weren’t actually plannin’ on watchin’ it, were we?” Yeah, Sooks, real subtle.

Another long pause follows my statement. I wonder if Eric’s considerin’ everything I just implied.

I see. Well, I would not object if you had plans other than participating in the cinematic adventure. Would you also wish to grab dinner before the film?”

“Nah, I’ll eat at home with Jason,” I tell him. “If we catch an early enough movie, maybe we can stay out for a bit after and just hang out… Is Pam in Baton Rouge with you?” I ask.

“No, she is in Shreveport still.”

“Maybe you should see if she’s interested in gettin’ Jason outta the house for a bit. He’s super restless, but please tell her not to rock anymore vans with him? His injuries get irritated if he gets jostled too much.”

Eric actually bellows with laughter at my statement, “Oh, Sookie! That has to be the most brazen remark I have ever heard from you! I will tell her you said that. She will love it… Actually, Pam called not long ago and asked if I could convince you to go freshen up your manicures.”

I look at my toes and fingers again and frown. I had just been thinkin’ the same thing, and Pam might be just the person I need to talk to. “I don’t really need any convincin’. I like hangin’ out with Pam.”

Great. I will call her back and let her know. Do you think you could be ready for her in fifteen minutes?”

“Sure. Talk to ya later, Eric.”

Good night, Sookie.”

With that, Eric hangs up, and I quickly throw on a coat and slip on my chucks. Time for another girl’s night!

On to Chapter Twelve!