Catalyst Ch. 19

Chapter Nineteen: Proper Perspective

Jason’s POV:

On Sookie’s birthday, I run to this real good bakery I was told about by a girl in my Western Civilizations class last semester. She said their peach cobbler was ‘to die for’, and that’s exactly what I want to give my sis on her birthday. I even called ahead to the restaurant Eric got us reservations to and asked if I could bring it. They said fine, but no styrofoam containers.

I can do that. The cobbler’s put in a nice, pink box with packaging twine, so I think it’ll look just fine at this fancy place we’re goin’. I still find it funny a couple vamps are so intent on makin’ sure we eat all the time.

When I get to the apartment, I put the cobbler on top of the fridge and grab the broom and dustpan. I run around the place like a madman with a bottle of windex. I clean the place ’til it’s spotless, ’cause Sooks is usually the one doin’ all the housekeepin’. Once the place looks pretty damn good, I run to my room and get Sook’s present off the top shelf of my closet. It ain’t hid so good, but she’s never been one for snoopin’. She’s just unlikely to accidentally find it here when she comes and gets my laundry. Shit! Laundry! Should I run a load for us? I think about the prospect of handlin’ my sister’s underwear and cringe. Some things are probably left a mystery.

I’m just comin’ back into the livin’ room when Sookie shuffles out of her bedroom, rubbin’ sleep from her eyes. It’s almost eleven, but I know she stays up ’til nearly five in the mornin’ talkin’ with Eric now that school’s let out. “Happy birthday!” I shout at her for the first time that day. She laughs and comes over to hug me, givin’ a big ol’ yawn as she does. I hug her back and hand her the gift in my hand.

What’s this?” she asks, sittin’ on the couch with it and unwrapping my present. When it’s open on her lap, she looks at it in surprise. “Wow,” she says breathlessly. “How’d you get this? I thought it was lost for good!”

You wouldn’t believe it if I told ya,” I laugh as she carefully takes the locket outta the box.

Seriously,” she opens it and looks at the engravin’ to make sure it’s the genuine article, “how did you find this?”

I didn’t. Eric did,” I confess. “He was in the attic crawl space seein’ if there was room to do somethin’ with it. Guess the guy doesn’t believe in storage… Anyway, he was walkin’ the room and saw a gap in the boards, thought it might be rottin’ out. Then he saw this hangin’ by the catch on a splinter. He brought it to me and asked if it was somethin’ of ours since it used to be our house. I swear to God, I ’bout fell over when I saw it. Mamma lost it when you were six. Remember? I bet Daddy scoured their’s and Gran’s house for a year lookin’ for it.”

The rose gold of the locket shines dully at us as Sookie opens it again and just stares at the inscription with amazement. ‘For my love’. Daddy spent a lot of money to get that for our mamma. When she lost it, he ’bout had a heart attack….

I guess, in a way, it’s from me and Eric. We’ll split it. I give you the locket, he gives you the words. Fair enough?” I laugh.

She giggles around a sob, but nods, holdin’ it up and claspin’ it behind her neck. It falls just past where her collarbones meet, and seein’ it on her reminds me of just how grown up she is. Dang, I just can’t get over it!

It’s okay, Jason,” she stands up and hugs me again.

I clear my throat, tryin’ to dislodge the lingerin’ emotion, and ask, “So, what do ya wanna do for your birthday?”

We opt to go to a movie, and she convinces me to see ‘Pearl Harbor’, claimin’ I’d like it ’cause of the historical aspect. Goes to show Sooks is not plannin’ on becomin’ a history teacher. It was a flippin’ love story with a million and one historical inaccuracies. It was all I could do not to cringe the entire time. Thankfully Sookie didn’t seem all that impressed with the movie either, so I don’t gotta put up with her gushin’ about it all through breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Instead we talk about the start of next school year, and we both get a bit riled up anticipating her college career startin’ a year earlier than we’d planned. She’s already got a full scholarship to Endene University, but I don’t know that she applied anywhere else. That bothers me a bit, but I let it go. I went to Endene and got a good education. I know she will too.

I’m feelin’ real confident about my first year,” Sookie claims as we finish up our early dinner. I break out the box of cobbler and Sookie claps her hands excitedly.

Oh yeah? That’s good. I just found out I gotta push my student teachin’ to second semester,” I confess.

Why!?” Sookie asks anxiously.

‘Cause football. It’d be impossible to work the student teachin’ hours along with the football schedule. Me and the councilor have been goin’ back and forth with it for a while. I was gonna try and push through it so I could graduate midterm, but now that we ain’t hurtin’ on the money front, I decided why put up the strain? I’ll have a lot more energy for the kids, and I really want to take in everythin’ I can,” I explain.

Sookie nods, “That sounds smart. So, does that mean you aren’t takin’ classes this summer semester?”

Nope. I’m gonna take ’em in the fall. Round myself out, y’know?”

Sookie smiles as I cut her a piece of cobbler and put it on the bread plate she didn’t use. I get my own piece and we talk excitedly about her upcomin’ first year of college.

So, you still plan on becomin’ a teacher?” I ask quietly.

Of course! Why?” She frowns at my question now.

I shrug, “I just wondered ’cause you said you was marryin’ Eric in a couple weeks… his way… You won’t really need a job when you and him are married.”

She smirks and shakes her head at my point, “That doesn’t mean I’m gonna be some vamp housewife! I want to work and help students learn and grow! I don’t just wanna sit around bein’ pampered all the time. I wanna make a difference.”

Her response makes me smile, although, I wonder how Eric will feel about that. Knowin’ Sooks, if she knew she didn’t need the money, she’d probably go to work at one of the worst schools in Louisiana to try and make a difference. That’s just the way she’s always been. Tutorin’ classmates when she had the time. Readin’ to the kids at the library on the weekend when she had a spare minute… She just started doin’ that again after my injuries was all healed up. She had to stop when money started gettin’ tight, and I knew she felt guilty not bein’ there no more, but she had to pick up more hours at the diner. Then I went and got shot, and she didn’t wanna leave me more than she had to. Once all the crap cleared, though, she was back at the library readin’ to the kiddos on Saturday mornings.

Sooks calms down when she sees me smilin’ at her and she just shakes her head. “I guess I never really thought about what I do and don’t have to do when I marry Eric.”

Y’know, talkin’ ’bout this marriage thing is gettin’ me a little anxious,” I grumble into my cobbler. When she gives me her puppy dog eyes, I relent and ask, “You still gettin’ married our way?”

Yup, and that date is stayin’ the same as it always was. December 12th,” she tells me firmly.

Eric comin’ over tonight?” I ask.

Only for a little bit to wish me a happy birthday. He knows today’s your day,” She smiles at me real sweet.

Wanna pop in a real movie when we get home?”

Which one?” She tilts her head curiously.

I think a minute before sighin’. “Whichever one you want, I just gotta beg it’s not another chick flick. Over two hours of that garbage left me ready to puke.”

She giggles, “How about Jurassic Park?”

I can definitely do that one,” I nod agreeably.

Then that’s what we’ll watch.”

We finish up our dessert and head out. Eric’s already left his credit card with the restaurant, so we just get up and leave with our box of peach cobbler. I drive us back to the apartment, and Sookie pops in the DVD we planned on watchin’. Just when the raptors are takin’ on the T-Rex, Eric shows up. Sookie gives me an apologetic grimace and leads him to her room.

I just roll my eyes and turn up the volume. The movie’s got a good soundtrack, so I just blast it to cover up whatever the hell is goin’ on in my baby sister’s bedroom. I just focus on the blastin’ roars and music, not listenin’ for anythin’ else that alludes to what’s happenin’ behind closed doors. She’s officially an adult now, and I’m her big brother, not her daddy. Just don’t think about it.

The end credits aren’t even rollin’ when Sookie slinks outta her bedroom. I’m a bit surprised they’re already done with whatever they was doin’, but Sookie looks disappointed. Eric looks… Amused?

Sookie walks her man to the door, poutin’ when he gives her a kiss goodnight. He just smiles, smooths her hair and gives her another quick kiss before leavin’.

What’s wrong?” I ask when she closes the door behind him. She fiddles with her fingernails a minute and goes to the fridge. “Sookie?” I get up from the couch and follow her into the kitchen, but sit on a barstool at the breakfast bar to give her some space.

Eric doesn’t want me to come over this weekend,” she whispers and takes out a tub of ice cream.

Why not?” Crap, I hope she can’t hear how relieved I am!

Sookie’s face goes bright red. “Umm.”

I don’t wanna know, do I?” I grimace.

Paraphrasing? He said we’ll be Bonded in two weeks, and he thinks waitin’ ’til we spend our first night together would be more special for me then than now.”

I chuckle, shake my head and smile at Sookie, “You got a good man there, Sooks.”

Why ’cause you’re my big brother and you prefer that I not spend the night with a man?” she snaps.

Hey now! Hey now!” I laugh even harder. “I just meant that I think he knows you’d regret it if you slept with him before you were married! Especially with your vamp marriage only weeks away!”

Sookie pouts again, takes a deep breath and lets it out real slow, “You’re right… I’m just disappointed. I didn’t mean to snap like that. I’m sorry,” she apologizes, but still has the same cute, little pout.

Lettin’ out a groan, I mope out of the barstool and wrap Sookie up in my arms, “It’s cool. You’re nervous and excited and a whole buncha stuff I don’t wanna think about.” I take the ice cream outta her hand and put it back in the freezer. “You don’t need to shovel that crap in your face to feel better, Sis. C’mon. Let’s pop in another movie; somethin’ stupid. We’ll just sit and talk this shit out.”

This is the last conversation I wanna be havin’ with my baby sis, but she don’t got our mamma or gran, and Pam wouldn’t get the morals at war in Sookie. I at least get it even if I don’t give a shit about it. I pop in ‘Blazing Saddles’, and flop onto the couch. Sookie nuzzles into my side, and I wrap her back up in my arms.

Okay, now you wanna explain what’s goin’ on with this weekend? I thought the new plan was you was waitin’ ’til June twelfth and that was the whole reason you bumped up your vamp weddin’ in the first place? So you wouldn’t break your ‘no premarital sex’ promise.”

Sookie frowns, “That was the plan, and the whole reason we bumped up the date of our Bonding. Only… The past month or so… Eric’s been makin’ it real hard to not want to do… that…”

Obviously I know it’s not about pressurin’ ’cause Eric wouldn’t have told her not to come over this weekend if he were tryin’ to get her in the sack early. I find it kinda funny that Sookie, my Sookie, is the one tryin’ to get in someone’s pants. Course, it’s Eric, so it don’t count as unladylike in my book. She made him woo her good and proper before givin’ him any sugar. By today’s standards, she played the game right, and I’m proud of her for that.

Well, I guess it just means you’ll be givin’ it to him pretty good on the twelfth bein’ all pent up like this,” I shrug.

Jason!” She gives me a wide-eyed mortified look and I laugh.

What? He’s right. You’d feel awful if you came so far, bumped up your weddin’, and still managed not to hold out for the nuptials. So, suck it up. It’s only fifteen days. Two flippin’ weeks, and you get to have endless amounts of guiltless sex. Which means more to you?”

You’re right,” she mumbles.

It’s just too bad you don’t got nothin’ to distract you. Y’know? If you was doin’ your human weddin’, you’d be plannin’ it out and totally distracted from this crap,” I chuckle.

Good point,” she grumbles again, and stares at the TV.

So, why’d Eric come over tonight if he was just gonna tell you no to this weekend?” I ask.

Sookie’s face tinges a bit pink, “Second blood exchange,” she tells me after a moment.

That’s cool. I ain’t ever drank their blood. Had it injected into me, but never tasted it. Is it all coppery and cold?” I ask.

She shakes her head, “No, it’s like perfect room temperature, and Eric’s tastes like a really dark chocolate. Not, like chocolate flavor, but you know how the darker it is, the more bite it’s got? Kinda like that… It’s all thick and syrupy… A bit of a metal taste, but I’d say it’s more of an undertone than the main feature. It makes my throat and stomach feel real warm, like drinkin’ tea or somethin’.”

I’m noddin’ like I understand, but I really don’t. Pam had told me that unless I’m dyin’ or seriously injured, I’ll probably never taste vampire blood until I’m turned. That suits me just fine. I don’t get the sexiness behind it like Sooks seems to. Maybe once I’m a vamp it’ll start makin’ sense, but right now it’s just bizarre.

You’re thinkin’ ’bout that a lot lately,” Sookie whispers. “Becomin’ a vamp….”

I shrug in reply, “Well, yeah. When you think about it, it’s really only a couple years away! That’s a big deal, and I should start thinkin’ ’bout what that’ll mean, y’know?”

You won’t be able to have kids,” Sookie mopes.

Sooks, no kid I could make would ever turn out half as good as you were. If I had a baby girl, I’d be a walkin’ heart attack the rest of my life. No doubt about that. You was a good kid, never caused any trouble. I’d probably breed a hellion that I was constantly havin’ to get outta trouble. Nah, you was enough to give me a taste of bein’ a daddy. I’d much rather be the ‘cool uncle’ for the kids you manage to pop out,” I tease her with a wink. “Besides, that Bondin’ business sounds pretty badass when it comes to romance. After a few centuries or so of scourin’ the globe, screwin’ around, I might find the girl of my dreams and get to do the Bondin’ thing.”

She smiles at the idea, noddin’ in agreement. I know she’s pretty stoked about the Bonding thing, and in a way I’m excited for her too. I’m scared too. Not because I think Eric will ever let her down, but because I know how she is about guilt trippin’ herself. Once I’m a vamp, and everyone she knows and cares about is completely invulnerable, she’s gonna be lookin’ at herself as some sort of burden. I already know I’m not the best of help for this, so I can only hope that she’s talkin’ these things out with Eric.

Pam’s POV:

Real estate, commercial properties, licensing, taxes, permits… How does Eric get me to do all this shit!?

I hear the door of the farmhouse slam and look up to see Eric storming in. Raising my eyebrows in surprise, I watch as my Maker stomps up to his office. All right, I am intrigued, I concede, leaving my pile of ledgers and paperwork on the large kitchen counter and chasing after Eric up the stairs.

Where’s your little Bonded-to-Be?” I ask when I’m leaning into his office’s doorframe. “I thought you were taking her back to the condo for some deflowering?”

Eric snarls at me grumpily, “I cannot do it.”

Erectile dysfunction? You know, they say it strikes men over the age of a thousand quite frequently,” I deadpan.

Eric snorts on a surprised laugh, “No. With our Bonding only two weeks away, I could not let her go through with it. We will be technically married by that ritual, and I know that knowledge will soothe Sookie’s puritanical upbringing.”

So, you just popped in, did the second blood exchange and popped back out?” I ask in surprise. “No other popping? No playtime? No orgasms? Poor girl,” I tsk disapprovingly.

I do not plan to touch her for the next two weeks,” Eric declares.

You are going to wreck her pussy if you go along with that plan,” I tell him point blank. When he glowers at me, I confess, “Eric, I have never seen you like this. Not in the nearly two centuries I have known you. Don’t hide from her and keep her wanting all this time. When you are Bonded, all of her frustrations will be amplified, and I guarantee if you leave her wanting for two weeks, your control will be nil. You haven’t fucked since the first week of December. I know you have gone celibate longer than that, but do you also remember the damage your first fucks sustained after you broke celibacy? Sookie cannot be glamoured. She will remember you going full demon on a night she will remember clear as day for years and years to come.”

What do you suggest, Pamela?” Eric snarls demandingly.

I shrug. I can’t suggest he go take his frustrations out on some random woman. He is about to be Bonded, and would likely confess to Sookie that he screwed some stranger weeks before their Bonding. That will fly about as well as a Sookie with a broken pelvis.

Don’t just keep your hands off her for the next two weeks. Play with her, prepare her further. Let her suck you off a few times so you are not so… So….” I wave my hand as no words can describe my Maker in this moment. I don’t want him to ruin this for Sookie. She already feels rejected by his actions this evening. The last thing she needs is an unreserved demon rampaging her unexperienced body the night of what she sees as her wedding.

Eric groans and presses his hands into his face. I have never seen him anxious about sex. It is a concern for mortal men, not the Viking Sex God. No woman has forgotten a night with Eric Northman without the aid of glamour. That is why it is difficult to understand his hesitations. Pleasure, enjoyment, and plain old fun are easily had with my Maker. He is the master of making a woman, and occasional man, feel like the sexiest, most desirable creature on the planet when he shares his bed. Hell, I’ve seen him bed multiple women simultaneously and still leave them all with the feeling that they were individually special and alluring.

So what’s the big fucking deal? I wonder in frustration. It’s not that Sookie is a virgin. He’s had plenty of those, and knows the best ways of keeping discomforts absent with or without the use of glamour or the anesthetic we can produce.

A realization strikes me as I try to solve this mystery, and it causes a bemused smirk to pull at my lips. He wants this to be special for himself as much as her. This woman will be his Bonded, and in becoming such, she will bestow gifts upon him and his bloodline that none of us could have dreamed to wish for. He will be making actual love to a woman; not just fucking or pleasuring. Great, all emotional bullshit I have no idea how to console, I think in further frustration.

I am going to go see your Sookie,” I announce. I cannot help Eric, but I can at least see if I can help Sookie take her mind off Eric’s rejection.

Eric looks at me in surprise, but says nothing as I leave the house. Soon I’m arriving at the duplex, and Jason answers the door when I knock.

“Hey, Pam,” the boy greets me with a chagrinned expression. “I can’t really-”

I am here for Sookie, not you, Stackhouse,” I announce.

Jason raises his eyebrows, but leans into the doorframe to give me silent access to the apartment. I slip past him and head to Sookie’s bedroom. I can smell blood from their earlier exchange in the air and it makes the glands of my fangs give tempted throb.

I knock briskly, and Sookie opens the door with a sigh before returning to her bed, “Hey, Pam,” she greets despondently.

Hello to you too,” I grouch at her less than vibrant mood. “Well aren’t you the glowing little bride?”

She rolls her eyes at me, but I ignore her attitude. “Did Eric send you to check in on me?”

No, I chose to when he said he planned on keeping his hands to himself the next two weeks,” I tell her and she grimaces. “I think it is a stupid idea, but Eric has a great deal more control than I do. I suppose he has factored in how your excitement will play into the Bond, but I wonder if you have?”

Have what?” Sookie asks me with a frown.

Thought about how this Bonding will effect your first time with Eric,” I tell her patiently.

I don’t know,” Sookie shrugs. “I don’t have a baseline or anythin’.”

That is very true,” I frown. I suppose it is a good thing, after all. She has no idea what she is getting herself into. She doesn’t really know how anything is suppose to feel or work. Eric has always been her lantern in the dark emptiness of her knowledge of these things. “So, do you have any questions? Anything you might want a female’s point of view about?”

Sookie looks me up and down for a moment before asking, “You’ve had sex with Eric before, right?”

My eyebrows raise at the inquiry, but I confess easily, “Yes. Many times, mostly when he first made me.”

Was it uncomfortable? Is Eric big? I mean, he feels, like, huge to me, but I don’t know if that’s, like, normal, or above normal, or just freakishly above normal. He just feels so big and thick when he’s pressed up against me and I don’t know how that’s suppose to fit in here,” she cups her lower belly and I see her anxiety rising with her voice. “I have no idea how to give a blowjob! Does it hurt the first time? Like for real? Or is that just romance novel bull? What if I’m super nervous and I can’t get turned on? What if it doesn’t fit-”

Oh, please stop,” I hold my hand over her mouth, unable to listen to another concern. “Let me see if I can address your fears in the order you spewed them out.” Sookie pulls her lip into a tight seam with her teeth clamping them closed. “No, it was not uncomfortable for me the first time I was bedded by Eric, but I was not a virgin then. Eric has always been a prideful lover, so he takes his time preparing his partner. Yes, Eric is quite big by any regular standard, but not freakishly so. You and I will discuss fellatio techniques at a later time, or you can ask Eric to help you. Yes, it will fit in your pussy. No, it should not hurt the first time since Eric will be the one doing that to you, but some women do find it uncomfortable. Believe me, Eric will not try to penetrate if you are not ready, and you will lose your nerves once you fall into the intimacy.”

I’m scared it won’t feel good,” she whispers her confession.

Hasn’t everything Eric’s done to you felt good up to this point?” I ask simply. I know she is experiencing common, human concerns. I also know that I am the only experienced female in Sookie’s life. That is why I chose to come this evening, to alleviate her mortal fears, and warm the cooling feet of the Bride. Thankfully, despite the nervousness, I can tell that she is excited and eager to learn.

Yeah,” she mumbles.

Then why do you believe it will not feel good when you have sex?” I continue patiently.

She shrugs again and mumbles, “A lot of girls my age don’t think sex feels all that good.”

That is because they are being fucked by inexperienced boys,” I explain.

I guess that’s true,” she replies thoughtfully, placing her chin in her hand and she contemplates my answer.

Sookie, I am going to give you the best advice I have when it comes to sex,” I inform her, smiling when Sookie leans in slightly with impatient curiosity. “Stop thinking so much. Stop preoccupying yourself with making it good for Eric, or worrying that you are doing or feeling something immoral. Sex is about pleasure. There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’; only what feels good and what does not. The next time you start worrying if something is right or wrong, ask yourself if it felt good. All right?” She nods slowly, her lips pouting out thoughtfully, and I can tell that this advice will take her time to truly absorb and follow. “Do you want to know something you can do for Eric that will really rile him up? It is very easy to do, and Eric will want you all over again if you do this.”

Okay!” she chirps excitedly.

After you two finish, make sure he has a good view between your legs, and let him watch you push his cum out,” I tell her.

I watch amusedly as her jaw slings open and her eyes make a strange expression of confusion and mortification. It really is delightful to witness.

That sounds gross,” Sookie whispers after a moment.

Why?” I ask with a shrug.

He likes to see… That?”

I shrug again, “Certainly. He finds it pleasurable to watch his spendings drip from his partner. Affirming, I think. He may try to coax you into doing it for him, and I thought it would be better if you could get your disgust out of your system now. I know how squeamish you can be.”

What other stuff does Eric like?” she asks me quietly.

I will not give you a roadmap, Sookie,” I tell her firmly. “Learning your lover’s body is a journey, not a destination. Besides, you need to learn how to speak with him like this. I merely thought practicing with me would help. I will tell you things you can try, but aside from that one little detail, I will not share another secret so blatantly.”

She pouts again, “Well, I guess I can do that thing… If Eric thinks it’s sexy, then I think I’ll feel sexy doin’ it for him.”

There you go!” I grin at her. “Let’s go shopping!”

Wha-? All the sudden like that?” Sookie yelps as I grab her by the wrist and drag her toward the door, only stopping long enough to let her slip her shoes on.

Yes! I am going to take you to a nice lingerie store and we are going to pick out your bridal underwear! We are going to find something that makes you feel sexy and excited to do what you will be doing!” As we storm toward the front door, I yell to Jason, “I am taking your sister shopping for her birthday!”

With that, I drag Sookie to my car, throw her in the passenger seat and tear off toward the strip mall that has an adult shop in it. In a worst case scenario, I can always see if there is something online to purchase for her.

Is this a sex shop!?” Sookie hisses as I pull up to the neon lit window.

Nothing too elaborate, but in a word ‘yes’. It is a sex shop,” I tell her as I turn off the car.

Pam, I can’t go in there,” Sookie whines as I am forced to exit the car, open her door and drag her toward the store.

Sookie, it is all lingerie, costumes, lubricants and maybe a few everyday role playing props,” I assure her. “No giant dildos or intimidating vibrators. We would have to go a few blocks west for anything like that.”

What are role playing props?” Sookie whispers as I open the door.

I shrug, “Handcuffs, ropes, blindfolds. Nothing scary.” Sookie wraps her arms around my left arm tightly as I lead her to the bra and panty sets. She is like a scared little rabbit in this store. Her eyes are darting around like she expects her old pastor to pop out and begin shaming her, but she came in with very little complaint. I have to give her credit for that. “The key to this is picking out something that will wear naturally under your clothes. You want to arrive at his place already feeling sexy and confident, hopefully already a little turned on.” I am flipping through several set hangers, holding material against Sookie’s skin to see how it contrasts. She can wear surprisingly sharp contrasts to her skin without her own coloring being overwhelmed.

I flip through the selections, working my way around the circular rack before finding the perfect selection. Sookie clings to my arm throughout the entire circuit, but by this point I hardly notice her presence as I am in the zone.

This will be perfect!” I declare, holding the set up against her. It is brilliant white; virginal in color, but seductress in cut. The white glares against her tan skin, and I am all too aware how Eric will howl when he sees the crisscrossing ‘cage’ of the posterior. He will likely make her pose bent over something just to view the effect across her full, heart shaped bottom.

How the heck am I s’pose to wear that?” Sookie asks, in alarm as I put it in her hands for critique. I quickly explain how to put it on, and Sookie shakes her head, “That’s not very practical.”

I roll my eyes, “This is not for daily wear, Little Sookie. This is entirely practical for feeling sexy and driving Eric crazy!” I love the pale pink accents adorning the set. Very sweet for my favorite Barbie doll.

Sookie moans shyly as I find her size and then drag her toward the sales desk. I pay cash so Eric will not see where I took his innocent Bonded-to-Be, or guess what I brought her here for.

You will want to wear this with a dress. What about that one I bought you for Christmas?” I ask.

Umm, I actually tried to wear it today,” Sookie murmurs. “My boobs don’t fit in it.”

I frown and glance at her chest. She does not look all that much bigger than she did at Christmas, and I know I left a little growing room as she was still putting her weight back on.

How does it not fit you? I left plenty of space for you to expand into that dress for when you put on the rest of your weight,” I tell her petulantly.

Seriously, my girls look like they’re bein’ squeezed into that dress,” she tells me.

I laugh, “That is the style, Sookie. That dress lifts and pushes your breasts together.”

Oh,” she frowns as I begin driving. I laugh at the thoughtful face she makes.

You wear that with these sexy undergarments on the twelfth. I will see you the sixteenth,” I wink at her and Sookie’s face reddens comically. Aside from the advantages her Bonding with Eric will give me and Godric, I am actually more anticipatory toward the questions she will have for me when her and Eric finally detach themselves.

What fun she will be when she finally has her eyes fully opened.

On to Chapter Twenty!


Catalyst Ch. 18

Chapter Eighteen: Possibilities and Realities

Sookie’s POV:

All right, Little Girl, take a seat,” the little doctor tells me, pointin’ to my bed. I sit down and wait for further instruction. “I am going to begin with a series of questions. Then I will draw some blood to take back for analysis and records.”

Yes, Ma’am,” I nod agreeably.

First, when do you plan on Bonding?” she asks me.

June twelfth,” I announce.

You have a specific date?” She’s surprised.

Well, yeah. Eric said he’d give me a human weddin’ later. I wanted that to be December twelfth ’cause that’s the day we first met. June twelfth is exactly half a year apart. I get two anniversaries,” I grin cheekily.

Ludwig just shakes her head and goes back to her chart. She asks me ’bout my current diet, sleepin’ habits, sexual habits, sexual urges, when my period’s due, if I smoke, do drugs… A whole bunch a stuff that, if she wasn’t a doctor, I’d blush.

Have you any noticeable differences from humans?” She asks.

Er, I’m telepathic,” I tell her and her eyebrows raise, but she just jots it down and nods.

How does that ability work?” Ludwig asks next.

Well, I can hear humans, but not vampires,” I tell her. “As for how it works, I guess I don’t know. It is just a constant background noise. Like, I can hear Jason right now, and a couple people as they walk down the street. I can hear the neighbors… I guess I have the radius of about a football stadium?” I hazard a guess of my range.

Can you hear other Supernaturals? Weres, shifters?” She continues.

Don’t know. It’d be easier if ya sat me in front of one and asked, but if I can hear them, I couldn’t tell by their thoughts what they were,” I don’t mention that I had no idea there were other types of Supernaturals mostly because I feel silly for not realizin’ as much. After all, if vampires and telepaths exist, just about everything else should. “I mostly try to ignore people unless they’re thinkin’ ’bout me, and I only pay attention long enough to figure if they’re a threat,” I admit.

I see…” Ludwig makes more notes.

And, uh, is it weird that my ears are super sensitive?” I mumble shyly.

Your hearing?” Ludwig asks.

No, um, like arousin’ sensitive,” I tell her with a blush. “Eric’s made me… Y’know…a couple times playin’ with my ears.”

Is that so?” Ludwig raises an eyebrow and my face goes even redder. “Well, Endymion did confirm that you are part fairy. Fairy ears are a noted erogenous zone. It is not uncommon for them to be brought to orgasm by stimulating them. It is more common in young fairies than mature ones. You are quite young. You can probably bank on that level of sensitivity for a couple centuries.”

Oh,” I frown, disappointed that I won’t have any control over it for so long.

She does a hearin’ test, an eye exam, takes my temperature, rubs a lemon peel on my skin, gives me a spoon to hold, and, finally, draws some blood into several different vials.

After that, she measures me all over, my height, weight, my bust line, waist, hips, and thighs. Dang, she’s goin’ all out! I think in surprise.

I wish to do another exam next week while you are on your period, and then one just before your Bonding ritual,” Ludwig tells me.

Yes, Ma’am,” I nod at her request. “Do I call ya when my period starts or-”

I will know,” Ludwig announces as she starts packin’ up her stuff.

You’ll know?” I ask in alarm.

Ludwig gives me a devilish grin, “I am a Supernatural doctor, Little Girl. I have my ways.”

May I ask you a quick question?” I stop her from leavin’. Ludwig pauses, and I take that as my cue to ask. “The livin’ immortality thing… How does that work? Will I look eighteen forever?”

Ludwig shakes her head, “In your case, it is more likely that your body will age to its optimal maturity and then stop naturally aging. As for your fertility, that remains to be seen. I am hoping you will only have the quarter century fertility of a fairy. If you are popping out immortal children every ten months for the next thirty to forty years, we will have a real problem with population surplus!”

I laugh at that, and Ludwig gives me a stern look to tell me she’s completely serious. C’mon, quarter century fertility! I think wildly. Anythin’ ta not get glared at by the doctor like that ever again!

I will see you next week,” Ludwig tells me, and then there’s a loud POP, and I’m standin’ alone in my room.

I blink several times, tryin’ to figure out where the doctor went, but it’s like she vanished from the face of the Earth.

After I’ve made certain the doctor’s gone, I get up off the bed and head back to the livin’ room. Jason and the vamps are all chattin’ animatedly when I arrive.

How’d it go?” Jason jumps up from the couch.

Good, I guess. She just asked me a bunch of questions, took my measurements, and drew a little blood to run some tests. I think she wanted to get herself a baseline for what was “normal” for me before things start changin’,” I explain.

Makes sense,” Jason nods slowly.

His mind is a whirlwind of everythin’ we’ve been told tonight. I was bein’ uncharacteristically invasive of Jason’s mind while with the doctor, but I hadn’t wanted to miss anythin’ while I was gettin’ checked out. So, I know about Jason’s plans on becomin’ a vamp, and the darker aspects of what we’ll all be undergoing, particularly the fact that I’ll be the weak link of the group. I don’t like that at all, but Jason made a fair enough point. What are the odds I’ll be out much without my brother, my future husband, or his Bloodline?

Even though I don’t like the idea of bein’ babysat the rest of eternity, the advantages and opportunities that come along with it are too much to throw away. By Bondin’ with Eric, his entire Bloodline will be able to walk around outside durin’ the day. Silver won’t hurt them, and they can’t be killed by anythin’! It’s worth the small sacrifice of havin’ a vampire bodyguard with me at all times, ’cause, honestly, it ain’t even a sacrifice. I already wanna be around Eric all the time anyway! An excuse to be with my husband or brother all the time? Yes, please!

And babies!

The thought of actually havin’ children and knowin’ I won’t have to lose them at any point makes me crazily happy! Even though I would’ve gladly given up the opportunity to have kids to be with Eric, the fact I don’t have to makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. I just hope I’ll have my first teachin’ job before the chance to have kids even rears its adorable, little head!

Sookie?” Pam looks at me quizzically.

Huh?” I startle out of my musings.

Are you all right? Master Godric has been trying to speak to you, and you have been in your own little world,” Pam explains, and that’s when I realize the whole room’s starin’ at me.

Sorry,” I blush and mumble. “I kinda got lost in my head with all the news we got tonight.”

Eric smiles at me knowingly, and I blush even redder. “Hoping the pitter-patter will wait until after college?” he hints none-too-subtly.

That’s what I’m hopin’, too,” I assure him bashfully. Lookin’ toward Godric, I offer an apology, “Sorry for ignorin’ ya. What were you askin’?”

Godric gives me a soft, cheerful smile, “I was asking how you felt about all of this?”

Oh, well, I’m really happy and excited. Even though I’m gonna be your guys’ soft spot, I know y’all will keep me safe from the bad stuff. I kinda was resolvin’ myself on it, y’know? It won’t be so bad. It just means I’ll be spendin’ tons of time with my husband or brother. Gettin’ manicures and stuff with Pam… Sorry, you and I don’t have a thing yet, but I’m sure we’ll get along great, too,” I offer with a grin. “What do you like to do?” I ask.

Godric smiles all gentle again, “I enjoy reading, going to the theatre, and concerts. Have you ever been to a symphony, Sookie?” he asks.

No, but it sounds real neat. I always like listenin’ to the school band’s concerts,” I offer.

Well,” Godric nods, “it seems we will find plenty to do together. However, until your brother is turned, I will probably be his bodyguard. He is currently our weakest link.” He gives Jason an apologetic grimace, “He will not have any sort of protection like you do until he becomes part of the Bloodline.”

Hey, it’s cool. As long as y’all are keepin’ yourselves under wraps for the time bein’, no one’s got a reason to come after us,” Jason points out. “We’ll make it work.”

Yes,” Godric agrees. “Unfortunately, I will not be able to continue our discussion any further this evening. I must return to Dallas. I need to begin training Isabel as Sheriff of Area Nine and preparing the paperwork for my discharge of duties. I will move this way as soon as possible. Eric, if you could find me a suitable residence for my return, that would be appreciated.”

Consider it done, Master,” Eric nods.

Please, keep me informed on circumstances surrounding this matter. I would prefer to be kept in the loop. Eric, you said you plan to Bond a month from today?” Godric asks him.

Yes, June twelfth is the date Sookie requested. That means on June thirteenth, none of us will ever die for the day again,” Eric tells them.

Sookie, Sookie!” Pam looks at me excitedly. “Spa day on the thirteenth!?”

All I can do is roll my eyes and laugh. “Pam,” I giggle, and my cheeks go red at the words I’m about to say, “the thirteenth will be my first full day with my Bonded. Do you really think he’ll let me outta bed?”

Jason clears his throat uncomfortably as Pam and Godric laugh. Eric has a you-know-me-all-too-well look on his face.

Well, we’ll see ya later, Godric,” Jason waves awkwardly. “Pam, ya wanna go out and tear up the town? Looks like my sister and your “brother” want some alone time,” He points to the two of us, doin’ his best not to frown.

That sounds like something to do,” Pam shrugs.

Once the three of them leave, and the door shuts behind them, Eric picks me up by my waist and crushes his mouth to mine again. My legs automatically wrap around his hips and my arms snake around his neck.

I moan into his mouth as he carries me to my bedroom. Soon I’m on the bed and he’s completely on top of me now, kissin’ me all soft and slow. His member is beginnin’ to press into me, and I push up against him, makin’ him growl.

Do not tempt me with only two weeks more to wait,” he murmurs into my ear and gives it a tug, so my eyes roll back in my head. “You are the one creature who could break my resolve,” he tells me as he grabs me by the butt and pulls me hard against him. “Although, you are very very tempting in these very tight jeans,” he growls again and I melt. Next thing I know, he’s undoin’ my pants and draggin’ them off my legs until I’m layin’ in bed in a pair of lacy, pink underwear and a fitted t-shirt. “You are the sweetest thing I have ever seen, Sookie,” he tells me before leanin’ down and kissin’ me again.

Our tongues tangle back and forth between our mouths. He’s bitin’ my lip, and his hips are diggin’ his erection into me at just the right angle to drive me wild. I can feel my panties gettin’ wetter and wetter, and soon the friction between us is smooth and slick.

Eric,” I whine into his mouth, and he pulls away, shoves my shirt and bra above my breasts, and starts torturing my nipples. He’s suckin’ at one hard, pullin’ at it with his teeth all while his hand is twisting and tuggin’ the other one. I’m panting and whimperin’ underneath him. I can’t believe it’s been a week since he touched me! I’m wearin’ less clothes now than I’ve ever had on when he’s gotten frisky. I always want him touchin’ me like this! The fewer clothes, the better! “Why’d you make me wait, ah! So long?” I ask as my hips twist, tryin’ to find more friction.

Because,” he pulls his mouth from my nipple and replaces it with his other hand while he speaks, “I broke a promise to myself as to when I would do these things with you. Therefore, I have been trying to restrain myself until your birthday.”

That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard… Now get where I need ya,” I shove at his hand, urgin’ it downward, and he laughs at me.

Sookie, this is as far as it goes. I am not getting into your panties with only a short time remaining until your birthday,” he chastises me teasingly.

I have been dreamin’ about this for a week, Eric. I don’t even think I can make it to the twelfth before I end up jumpin’ you!”

He laughs again, but starts peelin’ off his shirt, leavin’ his torso naked, except for the iron snake necklace I gave him for Christmas.

He throws his shirt to the side, splits my legs wide open, and pushes his hard-on against my center. His tongue is wicked, cool, and soft against my throat. It snakes along the muscles of my neck, and I can feel my body squirmin’ cause I need more friction against my core. It feels so good that I’m at battle with myself over just enjoyin’ this, or urgin’ him to pay more attention to the spot where it feels the most pleasurable.

Oh, God,” I whimper when he gives my clit a moment of attention with the firm pressure of his hips. “Please, Eric,” I moan, and my hand reaches for his head, tanglin’ in his hair. My feet plant on the lower part of his back as I rock beneath him.

When he sucks my neck right below my ear, I almost come undone. I twist and pant at what he does to me. His mouth feels so good! “Ah!” I gasp when his tongue flickers quickly over my earlobe. He doesn’t stop playin’ with it. His fingers are pluckin’ at my nipple, tuggin’ at them so hard that it makes my body buckle in response. His fingers twist with a firm pressure and I can’t bite back the wail it causes. He does it again, swirlin’ his tongue against my ear in tempo with his fingers. I can’t breathe!

My body tenses like I’ve never felt before, and the next thing I know I sob while I start to climax. It’s fast, hard, and intense. It feels like all my female organs are clenching and releasing all at once, makin’ the surrounding muscles turn to mush.

While I lay on the bed, gasping for breath, and recoverin’, Eric looms over me and kisses me deep. “Worth the wait?” he teases.

You’re worth the wait any time,” I tell him in all sincerity.

He smiles and kisses my lips very gently. “I am glad,” he whispers against my mouth. “Are you still coming over to my condo the Friday night after next?”

I don’t know if I can resist keepin’ it in our pants,” I tease him, earning a scowl. “I’ll be over as soon as the sun sets, then I’m all yours ’til Sunday night,” I wiggle my eyebrows at him suggestively.

He chuckles, kissin’ the side of my head now, “May I request you bring minimal clothing?”

Can I request some food in the condo?”

The refrigerator will be well stocked,” he assures me.

Then I guess I got nothin’ to go out for,” I grin up at him. Reachin’ up, I tangle some of his hair around my finger, givin’ it a tug. “I love your hair… I wish it was longer, so I could wrap my hands all up in it.”

Do you?” He seems a little too excited by my question.

I’d love to see you like that,” I admit reluctantly.

My hair was once almost as long as yours,” he tells me softly, kissin’ down my face toward my neck. “I could allow my body to regenerate it if you would like?”

My eyes widen at the idea, “Would you be upset if I ended up not likin’ it and asked you to cut it all off again?”

Not at all,” He shakes his head. “I do not mind the length it is now. It took me some time to acclimate to it, but Pam was rather insistent about it. She has been nagging at me to go even shorter, like your brother’s hair.”

I scrunch my face in distaste. “I wouldn’t want it shorter than this,” I tell him.

Good,” He smiles against my throat. “Since we are on the topic of hair, may I make a request?”

You don’t want mine shorter, do you?” I ask worriedly. I’ve never had short hair a day in my life, and I don’t want to think about how I’d look with it that way.

No, not at all,” Eric assures me. “I was hoping,” his hand is strokin’ my belly, workin’ its way toward the top of my panties, and I hold my breath, “that you would consider growing your hair back here…” He runs his hand across my pubic bone. “Not here,” he strokes my nether lips briefly through my underwear, and I pant a moment because it’s the first time he’s touched me there with his hands, “just here…” He’s rubbing my mons pubis again, and I mourn the loss of his dexterous fingers against my slit.

I get waxed,” I try to explain as my brain returns to me. “They take the whole thing when they do it.”

Eric’s brow furrows and then he scowls, “You could ask them to leave some.”

I can?” I ask in surprise.

Eric rolls his eyes, but I get the feelin’ it’s not because of me. “I will throttle Pam for making you believe that.”

Next time I go, I’ll make sure they leave ya a nice size ‘welcome’ mat,” I tease. “It shouldn’t take long to grow back after keepin’ the wax off that area with the next treatment.”

Will you make sure they do it like this?” He traces a pretty good-sized triangle across my pelvis and I laugh. “Is that too much?” he asks with a frown.

If it’s what you want, I’ll see what I can do, but Summer’s here and I wanna still wear a bikini. I promise to grow it out a little though,” I give him a playful leer. “So, you went and started pettin’ me. You gonna do anythin’ about it?”

No, I think I will leave you wanting for more until your birthday,” he teases me.

Eric,” I whine, clutching at his arms, “please?”

He laughs and shakes his head at me, “No, Sookie. You will be wild and pent up, and I cannot wait.”

You’re so mean,” I pout even harder.

I only want the best for you, Sookie,” he tells me softly. “With how much you have accelerated the path of our relationship these past few weeks, I just want you to take time. Please? As a creature who has existed a very long time, will you humor me?”

I groan and roll onto my back, “I guess puttin’ all this faith into an almost-eighteen-year-old feels like a gamble.”

You have all of my faith, Sookie,” he assures me, “but you cannot fathom the regrets some of your decisions may bring. I have been around long enough that when I see you make a decision, I can see the paths of regret that might follow.”

I turn back on to my side and look at him, “That’s what all this waitin’ and holdin’ out is about? You think I’ll regret a hundred years down the road not waitin’ two or four weeks?” I actually laugh at the realization.

You do realize we were only going to explore on your birthday weekend? You know that I had no intention of having sex with you then, correct?” he asks sternly. My brow knits at the question. I still have to wait? “You said you wanted us to be married first, taking our Bonding as a marriage.”

Well…” I flush at his point. It really is getting harder and harder to hold out.

Sookie,” he rumbles low in his chest.

No,” I finally admit, “I thought you would make love to me on my birthday weekend.”

Eric turns on to his back and stares up at the ceilin’ for a long time. I don’t like when he gets quiet like this.

It is this fluctuating resolve that concerns me, Sookie,” he finally says in a soft voice.

It just means my resolve and certainty about you is stronger than ever,” I whisper back, placin’ my hand on his chest and caressing him gently. “Every time you touch me, all I want is more. Every time you hold me, I never want it to end. Heck, even though you’re makin’ me feel like a spontaneous child right now, I never want you to stop talkin’ to me. I want to spend all day and night laughin’ and arguin’ and just bein’ with you. Doesn’t that mean so much more than some arbitrary date?”

I see the telltale smile on his lips and feel the burst of anxiety he inspired recede. He lays his hand over mine, brings it to his lips, and kisses it, “Yes, it does.”

After our brief debate, Eric and I are lyin’ side by side, partially-dressed on my bed, and talkin’ ’bout everything we’ve learned tonight.

Will I heal vampire quick?” I ask, remembering stories he’s told me about how quick his kind heal.

He shakes his head, “No. Even Living Immortals cannot compare with vampire healing. Something that is truly unchanging can be replicated quicker than something that changes. You could, in fact, experience a level of scarring. Scars will diminish with time, and never be near the severity of a mortal’s, but they are still possible. However, the good news is, even after you give me babies, your tight, little vagina will be snug again in only a month or so.”

Oh that’s the good news,” I grumble. “Good for you, maybe. It just means the next time I give you a baby, it’ll be like havin’ the first one all over again.”

That makes him grimace, “I suppose that is true.”

I think about that for quite a while. “Can I tell you a secret?” I finally whisper.

Of course,” He nods.

It’s a bad one,” I confess.

He sits up, cradlin’ my head against his chest, “You may tell me anything, Sookie. You know that.”

It’s gonna sound real self-centered and stupid.”

He laughs and kisses the top of my head, “Just tell me, Sookie.”

I hide my face by tucking my head further into his chest and starin’ at his navel, “I’m scared of becomin’ a Livin’ Immortal.”

How is that self-centered or stupid?” he asks gently.

‘Cause I’m gettin’ so much outta it!” I tell him. “I get you mornin’, noon, and night. I get to keep my brother forever. I get to have babies with the man I love. I get to stay alive. I get so much, and all I can think of is how I’m still gonna be the weak link of the group. What if y’all get sick of protectin’ me? What if I can’t protect my own kids? What if you don’t protect our kids and somethin’ happens to one of them? Am I gonna hate you for that? Will they? Forever?”

Sookie,” Eric hushes me, “those concerns are anything but stupid. However, you are worrying about hypothetical children. You will always worry about your babies, no matter how old, strong, or capable they become. That is a mother’s right. Yet, they are still hypothetical. You need to relax and just enjoy yourself. As for the rest of it… Sookie, if I was human, you would have me morning, noon, and night. You could have children with me if I was human as well. Your chances of keeping your brother until the end of your life would have been fairly certain, only now it is guaranteed. So, really, your fear is reasonable because you are only gaining advantages you would not have needed had you not fallen in love with a vampire. The gift you are receiving is immortality. That is all. We are the ones gaining all the benefits, and our Bloodline will gladly, without indignation, protect you until the end of time to keep those advantages.

Now,” he begins anew, “aside from the dangers our potential children may have to face, what has you afraid?”

What if I get bored?” I ask softly.

Eric laughs again, “Boredom is the blight of immortality, but we will be unrestricted, Lover. We can travel all over the world, visit every remote aspect of the entire world. With my impervious immortality, there is nothing to fear. We cannot become trapped anywhere. If there was a situation where we were immobilized, one of our Bloodline would come for us. The only thing we have to fear is the cold, and I doubt any of us would find the North or South Poles appealing, and they are the few areas we could not be easily recovered from or thaw from in time.”

What if the vamp community gets scared or upset about all your advantages and they ban together to, like, freeze us in carbonite?” I press and, this time, Eric full out howls with laughter.

Really? We are dealing in science fiction cult classics now?” Eric is still laughing. “Well, in the event something like that were to happen, our entire Bloodline would need to be immobilized simultaneously. That, alone, would be an insurmountable feat. All Godric, Pam, Jason, and I would need to accomplish would be to maintain the fight until dawn approached. Depending on where we were residing at the time, that could be about twenty-two hours if we were in Finland at the time of the Winter Solstice. Godric and I have held off hordes of fairytale creatures for just as long. We would be fine.”

Even if-”

Sookie, we will not pretend that there are not some possibilities that could not be planned for. The main point is the loss of life and existences it would take to pull off such a risky maneuver that may not even pay off is moot. Others would be better off to befriend us than to make enemies of us, and that is our greatest advantage.”

I guess… But-”

Sookie, please, I encourage you to share your fears and concerns with me, but I beg you not to allow yourself to be consumed by them.”

Lettin’ out a long exhale, I finally nod. He’s right, after all. I can worry all I want, but it won’t change that what will be will be. In a way, I’m kinda glad we have a couple vulnerabilities, even if they are hard to exploit. Maybe it will help us keep ourselves in line. After all, I don’t want Endymion poppin’ in and cuttin’ off my wings if Eric, Pam, or Godric start runnin’ amok. Not that I think they would, but eternity’s a long time.

A sudden thought tickles at my brain. In a way, Eric and his Bloodline are gonna be like superheroes. I know that Eric can fly, and the idea of him swoopin’ in like Super Man and savin’ people makes me giggle. He’d be one sexy Super Man!

“What are you giggling at?” Eric asks at my sudden laughter.

I just thought you would be like Super Man once you’re an Impervious Immortal. Then I thought how sexy you’d be. No spandex though.”

No spandex?” he asks in surprise. “No skin-tight clothing showing off every outline of my body?”

My face scrunches a moment, “Maybe leather.”

He replies with a devilish grin.

On to Chapter Nineteen!

Catalyst Ch. 17

Chapter Seventeen: Mythology Lessons

Jason’s POV:

I don’t give a shit we’re not supposed to holler for individual students!

WHHOOoooaAA!” I whoop as my sister walks up to the podium to give her Valedictorian speech. “THAT’S MY SOOKS!”

Her lips purse, and then a huge blush covers her face as she gives me a frantic, small head shake. I give her a wink, but I doubt she can see it from so far away. A couple parents are lookin’ at me like I’m a redneck, half expectin’ me to pull out a six shooter and fire some rounds into the ceilin’ or somethin’. Whatever, I think, my grin too big for my face. My baby sis is Valedictorian and damn it, I’m too proud not to whoop and holler for her!

Thank you, parents, families, faculty, and Graduating Class of 2001,” Sookie begins her speech in a bolder voice than I’ve ever heard from her. “Personally, I don’t have much to say, so I’ll save it for the very end. Instead, I’ll start with remindin’ y’all what we’ve accomplished the last four years. I hope it will remind all of us as we set out toward our futures that anythin’ is possible through hard work and cooperation. Our Freshmen year, we raised over $30,000 to donate toward the Heat Relief. That followin’ summer, there was a record low in exposure-related deaths and hospitalizations.

Our Sophomore year, we flooded the local public libraries on the weekends, readin’ to small children as well as older members of the community who have been left behind or forgotten by the school systems. We don’t have numbers to speak of the good we did that year, but I know we all felt the difference we were makin’ in the lives of so many others less fortunate than us.

Junior year, we implemented the “Clean Streets” rally, where we coordinated with other schools and local law enforcement to anonymously drop off drugs, paraphernalia, and unregistered firearms.”

Finally, when we should have been burnt out, we knocked it outta the park by takin’ a page outta “The Shawshank Redemption” and annoyin’ computer companies to tears until five of our Shreveport public schools were supplied with gently-used or refurbished computer labs.

So, to reiterate, in only four years you have saved the lives of several people who had nowhere to escape the heat of Louisiana. You have inspired and assisted the literacy of your community. You have taken drugs and unlicensed firearms off the streets. You have given opportunities for underfunded schools to offer necessary computer skills and training to their students.

Now, when you go to college or trade school in the Fall, or start a job, you remember all the good you accomplished in just four years of high school. With cooperation, planning, and hard work, you can do anythin’, because you’ve already done so much!

Now, the part where I give some sort of words of wisdom. I don’t personally think an eighteen-year-old has any wisdom to give, but I do have a suggestion. That suggestion is love. Love what you do, love who you’re with, love who you are, just love ’til it hurts. You don’t know how much time you might have to say ‘I love you,’ so the minute you know it’s true, shout it, show it, scream it. That’s all I can suggest because I do know that sometimes you don’t get a second chance.

Congratulations, Class of 2001. We’re outta here!”

The auditorium erupts with applause as Sookie nods her head appreciatively and goes to her seat. Then I gotta sit and wait forever until they get to the S’s, and they call Sookie up for her diploma. I give another backwater country ‘WHOOP’ for her and get another embarrassed expression from her face.

When they get to the T’s, I realize the couple sittin’ next to me are Meredith Trinovski’s parents as they clap much more enthusiastically for her than anyone else so far.

Oh, you Meredith’s parents?” I ask once their daughter has left the stage and they’re on to the next student.

Yes, Caroline and Evan,” the mom nods warily.

I’m Sookie’s brother,” I tell them. “Your daughter’s always been real nice to Sookie. You raised a good girl,” I smile kindly.

Thank you,” Caroline replies, still hesitant about me. “Why aren’t you sitting with your parents?”

I frown, “Um, they’re dead, Ma’am. It’s just me and Sooks now.” Didn’t Meredith ever tell them? I realize that Sookie probably never came up. My sister didn’t really have time for outta school friends and activities. Meredith probably never even mentioned much about Sookie to her parents.

Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” Caroline apologizes. “Well, good for her, graduating with such an honor under the circumstances!”

Thanks, she worked real hard for it,” I mumble. Somehow her congratulations sound less than sincere, almost politely indulgent. Like we were some charity case and Sook’s accomplishments are some publicity statement for the school or somethin’.

Thankfully they’re almost done handin’ out diplomas, there’s a closing speech by the principal, and then I can grab Sooks and get outta here. Once Principal Teedleson says his ‘goodbye’ speech to the seniors, and the students throw their caps in the air, I’m already pushin’ my way down to my sister.

Hey, Sookie,” I wrap her up in my arms and give her a big hug.

Hey!” She grins and wraps her arms around me tight. “How was my speech?” she asks excitedly.

Well worth the wait. Blew mine outta the water,” I tell her honestly.

Thanks,” She looks around, spots a couple of her friends, and gives them swift hugs and congratulations before coming back to me. “Ready to go?”

Yeah,” I nod, “let’s go celebrate. Eric got us reservations for an early dinner.”

Really?” she asks, wrappin’ her arm around mine as we head out. With her free hand, she unzips the front of her graduation gown and shows off the ocean blue sundress Pam picked out for her. I don’t like how it shows off her ‘lady shelf,’ but otherwise, it’s kinda pretty. Just don’t like it on my little sister…

We walk arm-in-arm to the Ranger, and I open her door for her, makin’ sure she’s stabile in the heels she’s got on while she climbs in. When I’m behind the wheel, I wait for several attendees to walk past.

I’m real proud of you, Sookie,” I tell her.

Thanks, Jason,” She gives me another of her bashful grins.

You sounded real confident at that podium. Don’t think I’ve ever heard ya talk so well,” I add.

Gee, thanks,” she laughs, and punches my arm playfully while I finally pull outta the parkin’ space. We leave the parkin’ lot of the convention center and I reach over to give Sookie’s hand a firm squeeze. After a few minutes of quiet drivin’, Sookie throws a bombshell at me, “I’m movin’ in with Eric in June.”

Wh-what?” It takes all my willpower to not gawk at her and pay attention to the road instead.

We’re Bondin’ on June twelfth,” she tells me.

What? I thought you was doin’ that in December, then gettin’ married the same day next year!” I protest.

Sookie shrugs, “We changed our minds.”

You both did, or he did?” I demand.

We did,” she assures me. “We just got talkin’ a whole lot last week.”

I frown at her explanation, “What did you talk about?”

I see outta the corner of my eye that she’s starin’ at her hands in embarrassment, so I know her answer is gonna make me flip out, and I ease into a gas station to avoid runnin’ us off the road. Once I’m parked, I turn and look at her expectantly.

Umm,” she plays with her nails nervously. “I… I want to save myself for my weddin’ night…”

You bumped your weddin’ up by half a year, so you could fuck!?” I roar. “Shit, Sookie! Bone the guy! You’re gonna be a vampire at some point anyway! Not like you’ll go to hell for premarital sex if you’re a fuckin’ immortal!” I yell at her.

Jason,” Sookie groans, “it’s always gonna be him. Why wait? What’s the point?” she stresses.

I lean back in my seat and push my hands against my face to hide the fact that I feel like I might cry, not ’cause I’m unhappy or scared or just upset. I wanna cry ’cause my baby sister is all grown up and leavin’ me behind.

I’m still goin’ to college this autumn,” Sookie tells me. “I’m still gonna be a teacher. I’m still gonna have my white weddin’ next December,” she rattles off. “You’re still gonna walk me down the aisle, Jason.”

I know,” I sigh, and lean my head back in my seat. “Listen, is this about the sex, or is this about wantin’ t’spend the rest of your life with Northman now?” I ask more gently.

Spendin’ the rest of forever with Eric,” she replies quietly.

Okay,” I sigh.

Okay?” she asks hopefully.

I shrug, “I can’t stop ya, Sook. If this is what ya want, then you go after it. You’re more grown-up than most the people I’m in college with, and some of them are married already. If this is what you want, and you’re certain about it, I won’t get in the way.” I try real hard not to pout. It still stings, knowin’ Sooks is movin’ out in a month, though.

You know what would be super cool?” Sookie whispers when I finally pull outta the gas station and start headin’ for the restaurant.

What?” I ask, starin’ ahead at the road.

If we both got jobs at the same high school. We could eat lunch together and rant about all the same kids,” she teases.

That makes me laugh, “Yeah, that’d be real cool.”

We get to the restaurant and eat a nice, early dinner before headin’ home. Around eight, we’re all chilled out and watchin’ “Animal House” when Sookie’s cellphone rings.

Hey, Eric,” she answers with a huge grin. “… Huh? Why? …You don’t know? Well… Oh… When?”

There’s a sharp knock at the door right when Sookie asks that, and we both turn to frown at it. I get up to answer, and our apartment fills up like a clown car. Pam, Eric, Godric, little Dr. Ludwig, and some guy I never seen before all file into the entryway.

What the hell is this all about? I wonder as Godric crosses his arms, frowning. How’d he get here so fast? Sun only set forty minutes ago. Did he come last night?

Um, hi, everyone,” Sookie waves confusedly at our sudden guests. “Can I get either of you two something to eat or drink?” she asks of the doctor and the stranger.

No, thank you,” the man replies with a soft smile. He’s got a bit of an accent, like a Louisiana transplant or someone who moved away from here a while ago. The ringlets in his hair are a soft brown like how Daddy’s used to get in the winter, and his eyes are the same blue shade as me and Sooks. It’s kinda weird. He looks like he could be our older brother.

I am fine,” Ludwig replies sharply. She looks pissed! “What is going on!?” Ludwig snaps at the stranger. “You summoned us and I do not like it!”

Excuse me,” Sookie interrupts the doctor’s beginning of a tirade. “I don’t mean to be rude, but who are you two?”

I am Dr. Ludwig,” Doc manages to rein in her attitude when she turns to my sister. “I am the one who worked on your brother’s shoulder.”

Oh! Thank you so much!” Sookie grins at her. “I can’t tell you how much your help is appreciated-”

And this little bastard is Endymion,” she snaps, cuttin’ off my sister and glarin’ daggers at the stranger. He replies to her insult with a shit-eatin’ grin that makes me choke on a laugh. I never seen someone pull that face on the Doc, even when she wasn’t around.

Up until this point, Eric, Pam, and Godric have been silently observin’ the situation as it unfolds.

Godric,” I nod at the younger lookin’ vamp, “good to see ya again. How ya been?”

Well, thank you,” he replies shortly, still starin’ at the two non-vamps who arrived with them.

Endymion sighs and gestures to our living room. I guess he can tell now’s not the time to stand on formalities. Ludwig sits on the far corner of the couch; I sit next to her with Sooks on my right. Eric and the other vamps stand behind the couch, all with their arms crossed somberly.

Obviously, you are all wondering why I have gathered you here,” Endymion comes to stand in front of us. It feels like we’re in a film noir or cheesy detective series like “The Pink Panther” with Clouseau ’bout to pop outta the pantry. “Doctor, I am certain you are particularly frustrated by my abrupt summons and vague explanations.”

Obviously,” she snaps again.

Endymion sits on our coffee table and steeples his hands in front of his face, “There is a tale I must tell you all to explain why I am here before you. Sookie and Jason, I know that all of this will be very difficult for you to digest, but, I beg you, keep a patient and open mind.” Me and Sooks can only nod, leanin’ forward, a bit curious.

First, I will tell you who I am. My name is Endymion, I am, for lack of a better title, The Voice of God.” Sookie’s mouth twists with confusion, and I feel my jaw slacken. “There are many Gods and Goddesses, and when they wish to interact or effect the land of mortals, it is I whom they send. Your vampires will be able to explain my duties further if you are interested but, for the sake of time, we will leave my explanations there on that matter.

Now, there are many Endymions. Each one oversees several dimensions. I have about twenty of whom I am in charge. That said, I will tell you the tale that has brought us all together this evening.

Nearly nineteen years ago in this dimension, I opened the gates of the Old Kingdom to deliver a very special gift to someone the Gods and Goddesses granted me permission to favor. I came upon this gift after a very intense battle with the Titan known as Chronus…”

That is all well and good,” Ludwig interrupts angrily, “but I have patients to see!”

Anyway,” He looks at Ludwig grumpily, “after the battle, the warrior who defeated him gifted me with a culmination of their power. I discovered that I could give someone I deemed deserving something very precious. I could give that person everything she had ever longed for in other dimensions. When this timeline came upon your conception, I looked ahead and found the strife that would surround you. I found this Sookie to be the most deserving of their gift.”

We’re all lookin’ at Endymion and finally, Sookie utters, “Why me?”

Endymion smiles and replies, “Because it was several versions of you who defeated Chronus.”

We’re all starin’ now. Partly speechless ’cause this story’s so fuckin’ fantastically unbelievable, and partly ’cause this dude’s sayin’ my sis has some kinda magical surplus shoved in her. Now we’re all starin’ in different directions. Me, Pam, and Eric are lookin’ at Sook while Godric and Ludwig are starin’ at Endymion.

There was one thing that united the Sookies who destroyed Chronus and made them able to work together, their love for a certain Viking vampire. All four were Bonded to Eric in their own dimensions. All four loved him desperately. That is why I have come to you now. You see, that love is a catalyst for the awakening of your latent, passive magic.”

Sookie blinks several times before utterin’, “I have no idea what that means.”

Endymion smiles at her, “It means that when you Bond to Eric, the magics of the gift I bestowed will awaken. They are all passive magics, but that does not make them any less remarkable. You have shown several of the more desirable traits of the other versions of yourself, the human traits; resolve, selflessness, perseverance, pragmatism, and a loving and forgiving nature. Those qualities are what have brought you so far in this world, but they could not have done so if you had not possessed those qualities already.

Finally, I am going to explain one last thing, and it is precisely why all of you are here right now. One of the passive magics you will receive upon Bonding with Eric is the magic of an artifact from one of those dimensions. It was known as The Bloodletting Blade. You will not be able to utilize all of that artifact’s powers, but the one you did receive will influence all of you,” He points to Sookie and the vamps. “That magic will give you shared immunities. In that universe, it meant Godric’s Bloodline was unaffected by silver and sunlight. In this dimension, however, Sookie will have other immunities; an angelic gift that is particularly all-encompassing, Living Immortality.”

I can tell by the vamps’ expressions that this is some huge-ass deal. All three of ’em stopped breathin’ almost in sync with each other. I think Godric’s jaw is hangin’ a bit, Pam’s eyes are huge, and Eric’s brow is scrunched in the most quizzical expression I ever seen.

Now,” Endymion begins to explain, “you three are already vampires, which means you cannot have living immortality. However, you will now have Impervious Immortality.”

What does that mean?” Sookie whispers, lookin’ the picture of overwhelmed.

It means that none of you four can be killed…by anything, not sunlight, silver, decapitation, fire, nothing. You will become walking Gods,” Endymion looks almost nervous. “There is a fail safe,” he continues, “The source of your impervious immortality is going to be Sookie’s wings. They will reveal themselves upon the eve of your Bonding. To undo your impervious immortality, her wings would need to be cut off. Sookie would become mortal once more, and you three would become almost ordinary vampires once again. You would be able to meet your final death, but still have your resistances to silver and sunlight until you were forced to turn Sookie as she would no longer have her living immortality. Mostly, this fail safe is so when the world comes to its natural end, you may end your existences. However, it is also implemented for the purpose that if you abuse your impervious immortality, measures may be taken to remove it from your grasps. Keep in mind, Sookie’s wings should remain concealed at all times until you truly wish to end your existences. There is only one creature who can force an Angel to reveal their wings, and that is me. Seeing as I have given you all this gift, I am extremely unlikely to take it away unless you do things to force my hand.”

Um,” I mumble slowly, “what if Godric, Pam, or Eric make another vamp in the future? Would it have all that stuff, too?”

Endymion looks at me and smiles, “Yes, if you wished to become vampire and stay with your sister forever, you would have all the powers of their Bloodline, no matter which of them transforms you.”

My relief is short-lived as Ludwig finally stands up and shouts, “WHY THE HELL AM I HERE!?”

The Voice groans, pinches the bridge of his nose, and looks at Ludwig in frustration. “I summoned you because of a certain passive magic Sookie will experience. It directly involves you,” he tells her all flustered. Ludwig folds her arms over her chest and waits expectantly. “In one of those dimensions, Sookie could conceive children with Eric, immortal children. That is one of the magics that will course through her body once they are Bonded. However, I have no idea how that ability will manifest in this dimension because in this dimension, fairies do not experience Estrus. I do not know if this Sookie will go through the same experience as that Sookie when she is fertile, but I do know that she will be able to conceive and bear his biological children. That is why you are here, Ludwig.”

Sookie breaks into a sudden sob at Endymion’s explanation, and I don’t miss Eric’s hands loosening over the back of the couch. Suddenly, Sookie ain’t sittin’ at my side any longer. Eric’s scooped her up beneath her armpits and crushed his mouth to hers.

I love you so much,” she mumbles against his mouth, her arms wrappin’ around his neck.

Godric and Pam look completely gobsmacked by the news and I can’t say I blame ’em. However, I’m still stuck on the word ‘fairy’ while everyone else is stunned by the word ‘conceive’.

You see, I summoned you to this meeting, so you would be entirely informed on the circumstances when I told you that you need to monitor this girl,” Endymion is still talkin’ to Ludwig. “Hormone levels, temperature, the whole works,” he continues, “anything you can think of to give them warning. I will give you all the notes I have from the Ludwig of that Sookie’s dimension on the chance that this Sookie goes through Estrus. If she does, you will have no idea how to handle it, and you need to be educated on the subject.”

“I see,” Ludwig slumps back on to the couch, lookin’ more than a bit shocked. The confusion vanishes quickly, though, and I see a flash of excitement in her eyes.

I have given you all a great deal of information to digest this evening,” Endymion announces. “Ludwig, I will have all the documentation I can find to you shortly. Everyone, please discuss the matter in great detail, and keep two things in mind:

Your position within the vampire communities will be changed beyond your comprehension once your new abilities are known. Secondly, even though you cannot be killed, it does not mean you cannot be harmed.”

With that, Endymion’s gone in a bright flash and an eerie tinkling of chimes. Before any of us can start talkin’, Ludwig jumps up from the couch, turns to my sister, and gives her a come-here gesture with her finger.

Yes, Ma’am?” Sookie goes over to the doctor.

We are doing a complete work up this instance! I want to know everything that changes from the instant you are Bonded,” Ludwig takes Sookie’s hand and practically drags her down the hall toward the bedrooms.

While we sit around waitin’, Eric turns to me and asks, “So, you see immortality in your future?”

I nod slowly, “Yeah… I got the opportunity to make sure my sister never loses me. I’m gonna take it. That way, when you two have your spouse’s quarrels, she’s still gonna have her big brother to run to.”

In that case,” Godric interrupts us, “I do believe that it is I who should turn you, Stackhouse.”

What? Why’s that?”

If you were my Child,” Eric begins to explain, “I would have your complete servitude. As Godric’s Child, you would technically be a separate branch of our Bloodline. Do not mistake that for being my equal as a vampire. You will never in your entire existence match my strength and speed.”

I don’t give a shit ’bout that… Okay, maybe a little,” I laugh. “I just care ’bout Sookie. Sure, it’ll be cool to be super-fast and strong, but if I’ll still be able to go out in the day and shit? Man, I could teach for the rest of eternity! Maybe open my own private school! Aw, man! This’ll be so cool!”

When do you believe you would wish to be transformed?” Godric asks me curiously.

I shrug, “I dunno, maybe a couple years? When I’m twenty-seven or twenty-eight? Right in that sweet spot of age where I can bang college girls and not look like a creep, but old enough the kids won’t walk all over me…”

Eric snorts at my explanation, and Pam full out laughs.

I will need to move to your Area to raise this one,” Godric smiles. “He will never leave his sister long enough to make it through his fledgling stage.”

How long’s that?” I ask curiously.

Roughly one hundred years,” Godric replies with a shrug.

Yeah, no one’s keepin’ me from my sis that long,” I agree.

And I am certain no one could keep her from you that long,” Eric responds. “I do not wish to exist with my Mate so morose due to your absence.”

So, we’ll revisit this in, like six or seven years,” I tell them all. “I mean, assumin’ y’all don’t change your minds,” I try to laugh at the possibility, but I’ll admit, they could change their minds someday.

Part of me is disappointed Pam won’t be the one who turns me into a vamp. On the other hand, Pam is Eric’s Child, which means that I would still be subject to Eric if Pam turned me. Yeah, Godric’s definitely the better choice on this, I decide sadly. Regardless, Pam and I will still be able to wreak some havoc now and again. Shit, maybe I’ll be able to keep up with her in the sack! I laugh at the thought.

What’ll it be like?” I ask softly. “Bein’ a vamp?”

Eric looks at me a moment before shruggin’, “With the advantages your sister will give our Bloodline, you will have very little adjusting. Your acclimations will be mostly sensory, and accustoming to the drinking of blood rather than consuming food. The speed and strength you will need to learn to manage but, other than that, you will have little to no true adjustments to undergo. If anything truly changes you, it will be time, not abilities. That is the true struggle of an immortal, Jason, time. With it, you may lose sight of who you were. It may bring out a ruthlessness you did not know you had. It may bring apathy and distrust… I suppose some of those things you will be immune from because of the lack of limitations you will experience, but they are real threats to your humanity. However, with Godric as your Maker, and Sookie as your sister, I have my doubts that you would ever lose your humanity.”

Did you?” I ask.

For a very long time,” Eric confesses. “I have told you before that I am capable of extreme darkness. I am and always will be a warrior. Warriors are not destined for peace. We are born to battle, and my vampirism only fueled my need for war. Strength, speed, ruthlessness… These things were amplified after I was turned, and they created a monster only sheathed by the will of my Maker over time. You are not a warrior. You are a teacher, and I hope that time will only make you more of what you are.”

What did Endymion mean when he said you couldn’t die, but could still be hurt?” I ask next.

Godric smiles sadly, “He meant that there are things worse than death… We are still animated corpses and weak to necromancers. If we do not guard ourselves properly against them, we can be manipulated. Sookie, though she will not be able to be killed, will always be a weakness. Any children she bears will always be a weakness. They can be hurt in ways that we cannot, which means we can be hurt.”

But if she’s immortal-”

She can be raped, Jason,” Pam snarls. “If anyone can tell you how brutally that can be done, it is me.”

My shoulders tense at the thought, “Then we don’t leave her alone, ever. Her and I will get a job at the same school, and she’ll wanna be with Eric the whole time after you’re Bonded anyway, right?”

Which is what Endymion’s warning was about,” Godric nods. “He was merely telling us to protect our weaknesses because when word of our immunities gets out, they will be exploited. The vampire council will not protect us any longer. We will officially be the most feared of Bloodlines.”

A consolation,” Eric adds, “is that befriending us would be more beneficial than provoking us. The best offense we may have is approachability. The more amicable our dealings, the less hardships we will incur.”

I’m gonna be a super bad weakness until I’m turned,” I realize aloud.

Yes,” Eric nods.

Do you, umm, wanna just turn me now?” I ask nervously. “I don’t want Sooks in danger none.”

Godric smiles at my offer, “We will keep our immunities discrete for the time being. We may not be able to wait for your twenty-eighth or ninth birthday before it is prudent to transform you, but we shall see how it goes.”

Fair enough,” I concede.

Life sure gets weird quick when you bring vampires into the mix.

On to Chapter Eighteen!

Catalyst Ch. 16

Chapter Sixteen: Quiet Comfort

Eric’s POV:

I arrive back in Shreveport around three in the morning. It has been a long night, and I have had to shower half a dozen times to get all the blood out of my hair. Maybe I should cut it short like Pam has suggested… Then I remember how much Sookie enjoyed playing with the long strands, and it creates a conflict. I shake my head at the sway that woman has over me.

This moment is a demonstration of that power. I land silently in front of her apartment and use my keys to enter the building and their own dwelling. Jason is snoring soundly in his room, but I ignore the first bedroom and go to the second instead. Sookie is laying fully dressed atop her bed, and I smile sadly at the way she has curled into the fetal position. The times she has fallen asleep around me, she was sprawled out like a starfish. Christmas comes to mind; how she splayed across the sofa and eventually booted me from it entirely.

I move to her bed and gently tug her thumb from her mouth before turning Sookie onto her back and begin to undress her. She is boneless and compliant as I remove her clothing and pull one of her brother’s old t-shirts over her head as a sleeping gown.

After she is comfortably dressed for bed, I pull her beneath the covers and lay atop them beside her. Her arm flails across my chest in her sleep, and she tucks her head into my ribs beneath my armpit. A gentle mumble echoes past her lips, and I smile again to myself as I lean down and kiss the part of her crown that I can reach.

At first, I believed this excursion would be about waking her and comforting her, but as I lay in bed with her sleeping peacefully, I find it unnecessary. Jason has done a fine enough job taking care of her. She is not having a fitful repose. In fact, her face is rather serene.

No, redressing her properly for bed and holding her is perfectly fine. Perhaps I should at least leave a note before departing, so she knows it was me who changed her clothing, not Pam or her brother.

Lying next to her, I contemplate the darkness’s of Sookie’s past. It amazes me that life has dealt her and Jason so many hardships, none of which they brought upon themselves. The unfair nature of those past times is daunting, but, at the same time, they chiseled this marvelous girl into the woman I have fallen so much in love with. Emotionally, she is far more experienced than any other girl her age. Her willpower is inspiring, and Pam expressed how greatly that power has influenced Jason. How curious that the girl he strived to protect and nurture was the one who gave him the strength to do so. Not out of duty, but by the sheer will of her unwavering love for him.

That is what inspires my love for her, I believe, how deep her love and loyalty runs. Starving, weak, exhausted, she still believed in him and gave him all the strength she had left in her body. That endurance is what kept Jason in action, to overcome physical pain and his own exhaustion for so long.

Being one who loves her, I can attest to how easy it is. She demands nothing, but provokes a feeling of want to give her everything. It is why, when I find someone who does not instantly care about her, I am floored. What sort of resentful, harsh creature cannot instantly fall for her?

Even a selfish, egomaniac like myself finds a desire to sacrifice for her and not see it as such. If it were not for my duties to Sophie-Anne, I would have been by her side in an instant. The only thing that staved off the impulse to be with her was the knowledge that two people who loved her were so close. Yes, even my Pam loves this woman currently nestled into my side.

I find that even more surprising, and yet another testament to her ability to draw in strong, powerful love. My Pam loves Sookie like a sister. Perhaps if Pam were more attracted to her physically, I might have overlooked her interests. Instead, Pam only admires Sookie’s beauty in a way one admires a masterpiece of art, with appreciation and awe.

Maybe I am overthinking Pam’s motivation and appraisals, but I do not believe that is the case. I can feel my Child, and her connection with Sookie is the most innocent I have ever felt from Pam in the past one hundred and sixty years.

When I feel dawn coming, it almost takes me by surprise. Have I really been laying here beside her that long? Stroking her hair, kissing her crown periodically for over an hour?

Carefully I untangle myself from Sookie’s hold and go to her rucksack by the door. I rummage a moment until I have a pen and paper, and quickly write her a letter explaining her wardrobe change and my presence here this evening. After it is folded neatly on her bedside table, I go to the kitchen and grab a bottle of water from the fridge to place beside the letter. Pam told me Sookie had cried herself to sleep. She will probably be very thirsty when she wakes…

Sookie’s POV:

I slept surprisingly well, I think as I stretch in the early mornin’ sunlight that comes through my window. A small bit of panic strikes me when I believe I overslept for school, but I quickly look at the clock and relax.

Huh, I’m relaxed, I realize bemusedly as I turn over and see a bottle of water on my bedside table. When I sit up, I realize I’m not wearin’ what I was last night. I don’t remember changin’ at all. Heck, I don’t even remember goin’ to my room!

When I reach for the bottle, I see a folded piece of notebook paper. It has my name on it, so after I open the bottle of water and take a quick gulp, I pick up the note.


You were sound asleep when I arrived back in Shreveport, and I did not have the heart to wake you, so I changed you into a night shirt… I can only imagine that you are blushing right now–~

My face is bright red, not just because he changed me into my jammies, but because I know if he were here, he would have winked at me all wicked-like when I did blush.

~– I promise I did not peek. I merely wanted to know that you were well, and seeing you still in the clothes you had worn all day urged me to make you more comfortable.

I am sorry that yesterday’s events hurt you the way that they did. Jason explained to Pam about your cousin, and she later relayed the situation to me. I wish I could have been one of those who helped you through last night, but there are some things your brother is far better equipped to help you with than I. Please be strong for Jason, and remember that the past can only cause you pain if you allow it. There will always be things we cannot change, but we can resist allowing them to change us.

I love you very much, Sookie. Have a better day today, and I will see you this evening.



I smile as I finish readin’ his letter. I do feel much better, and his words have cemented that feelin’ even further. Even though I know I can’t go through today pretendin’ yesterday didn’t happen, I can be strong, and I can move on.

Gettin’ outta bed, I grab my robe and head to the bathroom. I hear the TV on in the living room, but choose to shower, brush my teeth, and just clean away all the residual badness of yesterday. Once I’m all cleaned up, I go back to my room and dress for the day.

Hey, Jayce,” I smile softly as I come into the main room and make my way to the kitchen.

Hey, Sooks,” Jason smiles back carefully. “I didn’t eat breakfast yet. Wanna get some coffee and donuts with me?”

I know he’s plyin’ me with sweets and coffee, but it sounds amazin’, so I just nod and go to retrieve my shoes. A few minutes later, I find myself havin’ to help Jason hunt his own tennies down, too. We end up goin’ to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts and take our breakfast to the truck, eatin’ in the bed since it’s nice and sunny out.

You feelin’ better?” Jason asks hesitantly.

I give him another smile, “Yeah, Jason, I’m feelin’ a lot better.”

I’m glad,” he sighs in relief. “Y’know I can’t stand t’see you cry.”

I know,” I reach over and give his knee a squeeze. “Thanks for just lettin’ me get it all out.”

I should probably thank Eric for askin’ the right questions. I just didn’t know what to do. I ain’t seen you like that since…”

I remember the hysterical mess I was when I found Gran at the bottom of the stairs. To be fair, I think anyone would probably react that way, findin’ a loved one dead like that. Although, I think my meltdown back in December, when I found out the farmhouse was bein’ renovated runs a pretty close second…

Yeah, I think I was kinda perpetuatin’ the bad vibes a bit, though,” I confess. “Since I couldn’t really face why the letter bugged me, I just started thinkin’ ’bout how rough the last three years have been. It was a mad swirl of badness.”

Well, things are different now,” Jason tells me firmly. “High school’s almost over for ya. You start college next Fall. Ya got a great boyfriend that your big brother doesn’t wanna beat the shit outta. You’re… Kinda engaged. C’mon, Sook, tell me the past five months ain’t been like a real karmic shift for the two of us?”

I will happily agree,” I laugh. “You’ve been doin’ all right, too?” I ask after a second of hesitation.

Jason shrugs, “’Course I have. I mean, it may not sound like as much as you, but really, it is. My shoulder’s all healed up, I’m back to my Freshman weight, got all my muscle back, ain’t workin’ every minute of every day, and I’m finally 100% focused on school again. I get to hang out with the coolest girl I know.” He gives me a wink to let me know he’s talkin’ ’bout me. “It’s the best, Sookie.”

I’m glad you’re happy, too,” I tell him softly.

I was wonderin’,” Jason begins slowly after a few moments, “when you were thinkin’ you’d move in with Eric…?”

Tryin’ to get rid of me?” I tease.

Nah, ya don’t bug me all that much,” he teases and pokes his tongue out at me. “Actually, it’s ’cause you said you wanted to marry him in December. Wasn’t sure if you wanted to live together first, or wait ’til after you were married.”

Oh,” I hadn’t thought about that, “I don’t know, but it’s still over half a year away. We got time to think about it. Besides, we’re just doin’ his kinds’ marriage this year. Then ours next year.”

Jason nods in understanding, “Yeah, you’re gonna have to tell me more ’bout how that works.”

I will, or maybe I’ll have Eric or Pam do it, ’cause I don’t really understand it all myself right now,” I confess. “There’s no ceremony or anythin’. That’s the most I know ’bout it. Regardless, I wanna do our kinda wedding, too, ’cause I really want my big brother to walk me down the aisle.” I smile up at him sweetly and he gets a big ol’ cat-with-cream grin on his face.

That’s real nice, Sis,” He smiles bashfully. “I’m honored.”

I nudge him with my shoulder, and we finish up our coffee. He takes me to school, kisses my cheek, and then leaves me with my book bag in front of the main student entrance.

The school day is pretty standard as each class is doin’ last chance preparations for finals that start tomorrow. Mostly I’ve let go of the incident with the note, and just go about the day like nothin’ happened. I do spend a few moments here and there, siftin’ through minds, tryin’ to glean who in my class would do such a hurtful thing and why, but after an hour or so, I realize it doesn’t matter to me.

Eric said it clear as day in his letter. ‘There will always be things we cannot change, but we can resist allowing them to change us.’

Lookin’ for whoever left that cruel note is only goin’ to make me react negatively. I’d rather not know. Not who they are, not their motivation; because no matter the reason, I will react, and it will be negative. That is not who I want to be, and that is not what I want to do.

Eric’s POV:

Thank you for the note this mornin’,” Sookie whispers against my lips as I enter their home.

I smile at her appreciation. “You are very welcome, Sookie,” I murmur back against her mouth. As I stand to my full height once more, I ask, “What would you like to do this evening?”

Her face reddens at my inquiry, and I see a burst of bashful lust in her beautiful blue eyes. “Condo?” I mouth, so her brother will not overhear.

She bites that adorable, plump bottom lip and looks up at me from beneath her full eyelashes. Her eyes tell me everything, but I still wait with baited breath for her slight, shy nod.

We are going to head out, Stackhouse,” I call to Jason as my hand wraps around Sookie’s waist.

Um,” Sookie stops me from leading her from the house, and simultaneously cuts Jason off from his departing statement, “Jason, is it okay if I…just stay the night at Eric’s and you can pick me up in the mornin’?” she whispers nervously, unsure of how he will react to her first time spending the night with a man.

Despite Jason’s acceptance of our relationship, I can see her brother’s shoulders lock before he sighs, scratches his head, and chuckles, “Yeah, Sis. Go on ahead. The shitty week you’ve been havin’, ya probably wanna get outta the apartment.”

My hand glides comfortingly over Sookie’s side. To be fair, Jason is not aware of whether we are having sex yet, and with all the heavy emotions of the past two days, he is especially protective of her. I am proud of Sookie for going after what she wanted. I am honored to find it is me she wants.

I can tell by Jason’s expression that, despite his easy cadence on the matter, he desires words with me. Therefore, I pat Sookie’s side and tell her to grab some clothing for tomorrow. Once she is gone, I turn to Stackhouse expectantly.

So,” Jason looks uncomfortable, “Sooks and I talked a lot today. Marriage, huh? Like marriage marriage?”

I smile, “Yes, marriage marriage. I did intend to discuss it with you, next-of-kin to prospective-husband, but it seems our Sookie beat me to the punch.”

Jason scratches his head, then brings his other hand to his scalp, locking his fingers behind his neck. “It’s a little weird,” he confesses after a minute. “The whole baby-sister-gettin’-married thing, not that it’s you, or even her as a person, just that my baby sister is already thinkin’ about tyin’ the knot.”

I nod in understanding. It would be similar if Pam had an impulse to Bond. That would make me uneasy, given her age. Taking Sookie’s youth into account, however, causes me discomfort, so I dutifully ignore it.

She might wanna talk to you more about it,” Jason mumbles. “Like I said, we got to talkin’ today, and I think it got her thinkin’ about the future… Umm, outta curiosity, ’cause she ain’t gonna think about this anytime soon, what are your thoughts on adoption?”

I frown at the question, “Excuse me?”

Jason shrugs uneasily and clears his throat, “Well, Sooks loves kids. I wouldn’t put it past her to want a couple rugrats in the future… I was just hopin’ that since you can’t give her her own babies, you’d at least be open to adoption… Or, y’know, raising a brood if she got herself pregnant…the not-so-old-fashioned way…”

Oh.” Sookie has not mentioned that, but I feel foolish for overlooking the possibility, “I would give Sookie anything she desires. If she wishes to adopt, I would find a way. If she wished to do artificial insem-”

And you can stop right there!” Jason thrusts a hand into the air as if to dispel the thought with a wave of his wrist. “I just wanna make sure you’ve thought about it some. I don’t want Sookie havin’ to give up anything, and she’s a little young to…y’know, think about that sorta thing.”

I could not agree more,” I nod. “I promise that I will find a way to give her children if she desires them, but something you should consider is that Sookie will outlive her children if we were to go that route. They may not desire to be turned as they get older, and that is a heartbreak I do not wish upon my future wife.”

The cogs in Jason’s head begin to turn at my statement, and I hear a regretful gasp down the hall. Sookie has heard our conversation, I realize sadly. It is not too late…to change your mind, Sookie, I think, furthering my sadness.

The departure from the apartment is silent. Sookie sits in my car quietly contemplative.

I’d choose you over kids, Eric,” she says after a long, uninterrupted journey to the condo.

Sookie,” I begin worriedly, “do not think you have to-”

I’ll have my school kids,” She shrugs weakly. “They’ll be my children. I choose you, and I’d choose you again, even if I knew all this before I fell in love with you… ‘Cause, adopted or artificially inseminated, it doesn’t matter. I’d love them to death, and I wouldn’t want to force vampirism on them any more than I’d force a political agenda or religion on them.”

All I can do is nod at her. She may very well change her mind in the future. Her age makes it difficult to accept that she can be so resolute. Perhaps I can hold back on transforming her until she ages a little more than I initially desired… It would give her more time to genuinely consider what she would be giving up. However, the prospect of “choice” has always been a dangerous one in the vampire community. Though Godric had given me that choice on my deathbed, the consequence then had been the end of all my ambitions, or the possibility to achieve more than I had ever dreamed. It had not been a choice then. It had been an opportunity to continue existing.

The true anguish of choosing a Bonded is that, for the vampire, it is not a choice at all. I have known since I first gazed at her in the library that she was captivating to me. It took only a week before she changed the way my mind calculated risks. Within two and a half weeks, I risked my very existence to bring her a childhood comfort in a time of great need. Within two and a half weeks, I knew I wanted her to choose me, to become my eternal mate. If this “no children” situation changes her mind, I will still stay in her shadow, longing until her natural death. Even without the Bond, I feel as though she is one I could never get over. With the end of her life comes the end of my existence, Bond or no Bond.

Hey,” Sookie frowns as I blow past the condo, “where are we goin’?”

Ah,” I glance back at my Shreveport home and grimace. How do I confess I am terrified that she will change her mind? “I was lost in thought,” I mumble as I find a place to turn around.

Eric, I’m not leavin’ you over this,” she tells me exasperatedly. “Do you want me to Bond with you as soon as I graduate to prove it? ‘Cause I totally will if that’s what you need. If you really can’t wait six months for me to prove that you’re the one, then that’s what we’ll do.”

I groan, “I would never let my insecurities force your hand.”

She takes my hand as I finally park in my condo’s garage and squeezes it reassuringly. “For all the insecurities that you’ve dealt with from me, I think I can offer you somethin’.”

Sookie, Bonding should not be an act of consolation. It is a permanent thing, one you may not realize is very life-changing, more so than some government certificate,” I explain to her carefully. “A Bond is eternal. I will transform you into a vampire someday.” Her eyebrows raise as if to ask, ‘Do you really think I haven’t puzzled that one out myself?’ “The point is, Sookie, that I fear all of this is happening too fast for you. I do not want us to spend eternity with your regrets.”

Eric,” she begins softly, “did you choose to love me? Because I sure as heck didn’t plan on fallin’ for you like I did. The point is, I did. There’s no comin’ back from that.”

Her point makes me wish to roll my eyes in frustration. It does not matter that it is love. What matters is her happiness. Am I really important enough that she should sacrifice so much?

Let’s just go inside, snuggle up, and just relax. I promise, in no time at all, everything’ll seem a lot better,” she assures.

The most I can offer is a small smile and nod as I climb out of the car. Sookie waits patiently for me to get her door, a habit I have encouraged in her over the past several months. In the beginning, Sookie would automatically let herself out of my car. After explaining that I preferred opening it for her, she had been resistant until I explained that if she was intent on being a lady, I was adamant about being a gentleman for her. She had smiled shyly at my reasoning, and honored my request from that point on.

Are you certain you wish to spend the evening here, Sookie?” I ask as we head into the building.

Of course,” She smiles up at me gently. “There’s no place I’d rather be tonight.”

You should be studying for your finals,” I remind her.

I will,” she promises, “but, you know, they say you retain information you’ve studied better if you relieve stress between sessions.”

Is that what they say?” I laugh as I unlock the door.

Yup,” She grins back and steps inside after I have turned on the light.

Do you mind if I get some work done while you study?” I ask, gesturing to the living room to indicate that she should set up her materials.

Not at all,” she encourages me, and I seek out my laptop. When we are both sitting in the living room, her with her text books, me with my computer, it does not take long before we are working side by side in a strangely cozy manner. Her feet are draped across one of my knees as she lays back against the arm of the sofa, reading one of her notebooks. Periodically I run my hand up and down her shin.

After an hour of reviewing spreadsheets and returning emails, I close my laptop and set it on the coffee table.

Break time?” I ask mischievously, plucking her notes from her hands.

She catches her bottom lip between her teeth and gives me a toothy grin. Her arms rise to wrap around my neck as I settle between her legs. Capturing her mouth with my own, I tease her lip from between her teeth and suck it into my mouth. She groans as I nibble and suckle that plump lower lip, and her knees press on either side of my hips, drawing me in closer.

You are so sweet, Sookie,” I murmur against her mouth and she giggles beneath me. My hands glide along her sides as I ravage her mouth, and finally squeeze her full breasts within my palms. She gasps at the attention, arching into my touch. Finding her nipples, I pluck at them until I can see the silhouettes standing erect beneath her bra and t-shirt.

I kiss down her throat, nibbling, licking, and sucking as I apply more and more pressure with my hands on her breasts, gauging how much she can take, and still find it pleasurable.

Ah, ha-ha-uh!” she half-sobs, half-laughs, and I know that I have found her perfect strength of touch. Encouraged, if not fueled, by her cry, I envelope a begging peak with my mouth, sucking it mercilessly through the fabric of her shirt and bra until I earn more of her sobbing giggles. Then my teeth gnash out for a brief, hard nip and her body convulses beneath me.

So beautiful and sweet, Lover,” I mumble as I switch breasts. Her hips are rocking feverishly beneath me, and I grind down against her in reply.

She whimpers as our sexes press tightly together, separated by our clothing, but still deliciously pleasurable. Her thighs are shaking around my waist; her head is thrown back as she pants and moans under my ministration. All I want is to bury my fingers and tongue deep inside her. Instead I continue to rub my body frantically against hers like some hormonal teenager. As temptations to disrobe us increase their frustrated prodding, I remind myself that Sookie needs these adolescent exposures. The other night at the farmhouse had been an abrupt transition, and I find myself needing to be reminded that she cannot be brought beyond that level of exploration just yet. Sookie needs to learn our bodies slowly, particularly her exquisite ears.

Ah,” Sookie murmurs another moan, “please, Eric, kiss me!”

Abandoning her breasts to capture her lips, I invade Sookie’s mouth with my tongue. It twists and waves around within her mouth until I pull away to let her breathe freely.

Noooo,” she whines, “I want kisses down here.” She arches her hips against me.

I tsk at her amusedly, “No, no, Lover. Not tonight, not yet.”

But,” she pouts at me, despite our hips still rocking, “I wanna…”

You want what, Lover?” I ask, grasping her hand and kissing the inside of her wrist as I press my hardened cock firmly against her core. She gasps and arches with pleasure beneath me. “What is it you want, Sookie?”

Her plump bottom lip purses into a pout as she mumbles in embarrassment and looks away.

What was that?” I tease, kissing her neck now.

I wanna cum,” she whispers only slightly clearer.

Only if you let me do it by playing with your ears,” I tell her. Her hands automatically clamp over her ears protectively. “You really should let me test their sensitivity, Sookie,” I tell her patiently. “I want to know your body from head to toe.”

Slowly, her hands leave her ears and she turns her head to the side, putting one of her ears on display… Or doing so in attempt to not look at me. Either way, I smile and kiss her cheek and jaw before meeting her ear.

One of my hands returns to her breast as I slow down the undulation of my hips. She whines in protest, but as my tongue traces the edge of her earlobe, she gasps in excitement.

Ah! Yeah!” She tightens her arms and legs around me instantly.

My tongue skims along the helix, all the way around to the tragus, and her body convulses again. Once I return to the lobe, I suck it into my mouth, slowly caressing the piece of flesh with my tongue until Sookie is trying to twist away from me as she whimpers and squirms.

You can let go, Sookie,” I encourage, holding her head immobilized. “You do not need to be embarrassed.”

Ah, no, no, no,” she whispers over and over as I take rhythmic pulls on her lobe. “No, no, no,” She is gasping for breath, arching, and shaking. Finally, her body goes rigid, and an almighty wail fills my dwelling as she climaxes. She clings to me desperately as I continue my slow torment of her ear all throughout her orgasm.

I stop when she begins to hiccup around her sobs of pleasure, and I gaze at her red, tearstained face. I kiss the trails of tears soothingly.

Shh, Sookie,” I hush her, running my hands softly along her body, easing it back to Earth. “You do not need to be so critical about your body. I love your body, and how it responds to me.”

It’s not normal,” she sniffles beneath me, even as her arms and legs continue to contract and relax around me slightly with aftershocks.

I raise my eyebrows at her, “I am a vampire, Sookie. What do I care for “normal”?”

Why did you want to do it to me like that?” she whispers self-consciously.

Because I want you to accept pleasure. I want you to accept yourself even more than that. I want every ounce of you, Sookie, quirks and all,” I explain, still running my hand softly against her side. She nods, burying her face into my shoulder as we relax into the sofa.

I don’t like my ears,” she confesses.

I love your ears,” I growl against her throat and press tightly against her hot center, “and I love your lips, and your breasts, and these sexy thighs… And this,” I cup her between the thighs, making her wiggle in embarrassment, “I love this very much and cannot wait to be buried inside of it…” Her face reddens at the intimate way I am holding her, or perhaps my words are what bring that impressive blush? “I love what is in here,” I kiss her temple, “and here…” I press my lips firmly over her heart. “I love this most of all,” I plant several hard kisses against her ribs.

Sookie’s lip is captured between her teeth again, and her hand has begun to stroke my hair nervously.

What is it, Sookie?” I ask, hoping that my declarations have not terrified her.

When ya say stuff like that… It really makes me wish I’d figured somethin’ out for last weekend,” she tells me sadly.

What was last weekend?” I ask, frowning.

Prom,” she mumbles.

You missed your prom?” I ask in alarm. “I would have taken you if you had told me it was coming up.”

Sookie shrugs, “You’re too old to go. Our school won’t let anyone over twenty attend, unless they’re chaperones.”

I see… Hmm, what if I took you to New York for your birthday weekend?”

She laughs and rolls her eyes, “Eric, I don’t really care that I missed it. It was just gonna be people starin’ at me all night ’cause I’d have had the most handsome date anybody’s ever seen!”

Oh, is that right?” I smile, giving her neck a playful kiss.

Mmm-hmm, and I woulda had to listen to all them bein’ envious of me and thinkin’ rude things ’bout you.” She shakes her head amusedly. “It’s better I didn’t go. Besides, I decided long before you came into my life that I wasn’t goin’ to Prom. We couldn’t afford it back then,” She points out.

I frown at her explanation, “Is prom not a rite of passage for teenagers?”

Sookie laughs, “It’s an excuse for anyone who ain’t lost their virginity to get a shot at it.”

Really?” I laugh.

Eric, it was crappy food and crappy music,” She shrugs disinterestedly. “The only thing I might have looked forward to is dancing with you. If you’re really intent on marrying me, we can do that on our weddin’ day.”

I smile at her logic and lean in to kiss her clavicle. “I really am intent on marrying you,” I tell her. “I will give you the wedding of your dreams.”

Oh?” She smiles wide, but her eyes are shy.

All you have to do is ask,” I assure her.

Jason brought up a point today that got me thinkin’,” she mumbles quietly.

My body tenses, thinking once more of children. Honestly, I have given very little thought on the matter. Not too long ago, the thought of turning Sookie into a vampire was a reach, not because I did not wish to keep her, but due to the fact I knew vampirism would go against her very nature. When the idea of Bonding entered my mind, I knew that I could protect her from the changes our kind go through when dealing with eternity. I could save her from many, if not all, the darkness’s that accompanied immortality. Children, however, would be an undertaking that brought variables for which I could not calculate. What if they had no desire for vampirism? What would happen to Sookie once they passed away? On what sort of level would that destroy her?

For all intents and purposes, children are a human’s way of seeking immortality, the continuation of their ideals and family namesakes. Vampires, being immortal, require consanguinity of another kind. If desired, we choose to turn those we want to join with our Bloodlines. To become a Maker is a choice.

He asked if we planned to move in together before we’re Bonded… Could you explain more about what Bondin’ is? I don’t really understand it myself,” she confesses.

I see,” Relief washes over me when I realize where her mind is. “We could move in together shortly before you start college,” I suggest.

So, August?” Sookie asks bashfully, but I am unsure if it is the topic, or the fact that I am palming her breast.

If you wish,” I nod. “Do you want to move in with me before we are married?”

I don’t know,” she confesses. “I was brought up believin’ marriage comes before movin’ in. Then again, I was brought up believin’ this,” she points to our disheveled clothing, “comes after marriage, too.”

We could discontinue any more sexual interactions until December,” I offer, attempting to keep the disappointment out of my tone.

Oh, no, you don’t!” she laughs, grabbing me behind the back of my neck, and pulling me in for a kiss. “I want my birthday weekend present!”

Are you sure?” I ask softly. “You seem conflicted about the things we have done thus far. There is regret over our intimacy,” I try not to sound accusatory.

It’s just my old Pastor’s words screamin’ in my head,” she admits after a moment. “Premarital sex was a big no-no.”

Sookie, let us have this conversation candidly, but, this time, let us touch on all the points as I see them. All right?” She nods in understanding and remains silent. “You have thought for quite awhile that you would wait until you were married before making love. You were raised that, for a young lady, it is the proper thing to do. You were also brought up with a religion that would have you believe premarital sex is a sin. However, you found a man whom you love and who loves and desires to marry you. You want to make love to him sooner than would be appropriate to wed. That man is as devoted to this relationship as you are, and you will never bed a man other than your future husband… Do you truly feel you would fail to be a lady by taking me to bed? Do you fear that your God will not forgive you for not waiting six months and fifteen days?”

Well, when you put it like that!” She laughs, and I can practically feel her concerns melting away. “So, you don’t think I’m bein’ unreasonable?”

I think you are being sensitive and confused,” I tell her. “Those two emotions can be very powerful. You probably feel guilty,” I glance at her and see in her eyes that this is the case. “And I am going to tell you that there is no reason for you to feel that way. Whether you choose to dwell on that, I cannot control, but I will discourage it.”

Thank you,” she gives me one of her soft, sincere smiles. “I’m glad I chose you, Eric. I’m glad you’ll be the one I know and love for forever.”

I am very glad for that, too,” I smile and gently kiss her lips. “I am very glad that you chose me as well.”

I’ll start preparing myself for it now,” she tells me confidently. “Maybe if we kept doin’ stuff like this,” She arches her hips at me, “I’ll be more comfortable with the idea when the time comes.”

Or,” I suggest again, “we can wait for our Bonding ritual before we have sex.”

Or,” she whispers, “we could Bond early.”

What?” I frown. “You wanted December-”

We can get married in December,” she replies.

This December?”

No, next,” she assures. “It would be like havin’ two anniversaries!”

I laugh at her reasoning, “So, I should shower you with gifts twice a year instead of one?”

She giggles and nods, “I’d prefer bein’ showered with kisses instead of gifts, though.”

Is that right?” I begin kissing her neck and jaw. “When would you like to be Bonded?” I ask.

June twelfth,” she declares, “exactly six months from our weddin’ day.”

I laugh, “June twelfth it is,” I agree. “That is little over a month away,” I remark.

Yeah,” she replies breathlessly.

That seems awfully soon, Sookie,” I tell her.

People have gotten married in less time than we’ve known each other,” she points out.

Her remark makes me think a moment, “I will tell you what…” Carefully I uncoil our entwined bodies and go to the kitchen. I return with a steak knife and hand it to her. “Open a wound on me and drink my blood. If you are certain you wish to move this quickly, then we will perform our first mutual exchange this evening, the second on your birthday weekend, and the final one on June twelfth.”

I have to cut you?” Sookie asks hesitantly.

Normally, no, but I want to test your resolve,” I confess.

Her lips purse at my statement, not liking to have to prove herself. “Anywhere in particular I should cut you?” she grumbles.

Preferably somewhere that will not hinder me from biting you in return,” I suggest.

Sookie frowns, examining me a moment. Finally, she looks up to my eyes and smiles, “Kiss me? I’m a little peeved you’re makin’ me prove myself. I don’t wanna start our Bondin’ ritual angry.”

I smile and lean down to kiss her. Her tongue tangles enthusiastically with mine for several moments before I feel the serrated bite of the knife in my shoulder. She disengages my lips and clamps her mouth over the injury she has inflicted, drawing a mouthful before swallowing. Once I feel her emotions bloom inside of me, I finally extend my fangs and plunge them into her own shoulder.

Mmmph!” she cries against my flesh, her tongue licking and tasting my blood urgently. Her hips have begun to rock against mine, and I hold them firmly as I buck up to meet hers. When my wound has healed, Sookie pulls away and cries out, hugging me close as her motions become more frantic. I quickly heal my bite marks and find her lips once more to kiss her. We are rocking and dry humping like teenagers once again, but, this time, with her emotions swirling inside of me, I cannot hold back my own orgasm. I hold her close as I growl against her ear, giving the cartilage a sharp nip with my teeth that sends her screaming into her own climax. Gods, I love her fucking ears, I think as her arms squeeze me tighter and she sobs at her release.

That is one,” I gasp against her throat.

Two more exchanges and I will have my eternal mate forever.

On to Chapter Seventeen!