Chapter Sixteen: Quiet Comfort
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…
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.
“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.
“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.