Catalyst Ch. 39

Chapter Thirty-Nine: For You, I Would

Pam’s POV:

Best graduation present ever,” Jason groans as he stretches awake. Kappa president, Cynthia Marsters, is still passed out with her head on his chest.

Yes,” I reply dryly, “I even let that ‘eat dat pussy’ comment slide.”

Jason gives me his lazy, fuck-tired grin, “I got excited. It was my first threesome.”

You did better than I expected,” I congratulate him. “I only had to keep our guest entertained for a collective hour during your recuperations.”

Just wait ’til January,” He smirks. “I’ll be the fucking Energizer Bunny. Y’all won’t be able to get the ladies offa me.”

Yes, and you will need a chaperone the first year or so,” I tell him amusedly after Cynthia moans and hugs Jason tighter. His response is to pick up her hand and begin kissing the inside of her wrist.

What’s that face for?” Jason asks, staring at me and grinning amusedly.

“What face?” I can feel that my lips are pursed and my brow is furrowed.

You look ’bout ready to scold me,” Jason chuckles and gives Cynthia’s index finger a light suckle. She moans in her sleep and I think back to the last time I was cuddled by Jason Stackhouse. “Y’know, I got two arms and two tits. Ya can get some cuddles if ya want.”

My face tightens further at his taunt, but I cannot deny that perhaps I may be a little jealous of Cynthia. Something in the back of my mind is clearly stating that she is enjoying my cuddles. With a sigh and roll of my eyes to save face, I crawl up the length of the bed and flop into Jason’s offered arm.

I do not appreciate when he chuckles and kisses the top of my head, “Felt left out, didn’t ya?”

Shut up, Stackhouse,” I grumble and shut my eyes. I allow myself to get lost in his warmth and the gentle rise and fall of his chest as he breathes.

It strikes me for the hundredth time that in less than a year, I will never feel his warmth again. I will not lay in his arms and be rocked into sedation by his breathing. The realization is always startling in the despair it brings me.

What’s wrong?” Jason whispers.

I cannot help but laugh when he asks me that, “How do you know when something is wrong?”

I got a sister,” he says simply. “Vampire or human, I think I got a knack for judgin’ when a girl’s feelin’ down. I think y’all want us to know whenever something’s wrong.”

A moment of silence passes between us before I confess, “I will be sad when you become vampire.”

Why?” His question is entirely one of curiosity. There is no indignation nor annoyance.

I will miss your warmth and breathing,” I admit.

Well, I can always pretend to breathe,” he points out with a laugh. “I guess we could just crank up the radiator for some warmth.”

You know what I mean!” I scowl.

Yeah, I do, but it’s the way it’s gotta be,” Jason sighs.

I pause a long moment after he says this. I pause because that isn’t the way it has to be. There is an alternative. One that Sookie would be so happy-

No, Pam,” Jason yawns.


You and I ain’t gonna Bond,” Jason clarifies he is well aware of my thoughts. Sometimes I wonder if he has his sister’s telepathy, but for vampires.

You could stay alive if we did. You wouldn’t have to give up-”

But there’s all the things you and I would miss out on,” Jason objects. “Listen, Pam, I know you think the whole romantic love thing is bullshit. You love me, you love Eric and Sookie and Godric, even Cammie now… But you don’t love us like Eric and Sookie love each other, or Godric and Cammie love each other. That’s okay. It just hasn’t happened yet, but if you waste it on me? It never will.”

That sort of thing is not meant for me, Jason,” I insist. “For you, I would give up the opportunity. It is no great loss for me.”

You say that now,” Jason smiles, “but I bet there’s some sexual tigress out there just for you. A girl who can put on the sweet girl act, but is a total vixen in the sack. You’ll meet her one day and you’ll look at your thrown away Bond, and then hate me and yourself.” I cannot help but roll my eyes at his assessment. “And y’know, I know I could love a woman like that in the future. Not right now, though. I wanna fuck anything and everything I can before I meet my girl. I wanna be the best lay she could ever hope to have, so she never even thinks about wanting to fuck somebody else.”

You are an idiot,” I tell him. “I am offering you the chance-”

You’re takin’ away my chance, Pam. You’re takin’ away your own chance, too,” he argues gently. “All ’cause you’re scared I’m the closest you’ll ever get to something epic or legendary like Eric and Godric have. I ain’t as scared. I know my girl’s out there. I know yours is, too. So, let’s not be scared. Let’s just have fun ’til we find them.”

You desire a Bonded,” I realize.

Jason gives me another of his sweet grins, “Damn right, and I know it’ll happen when we’re ready for it.”

What if I am never ready?” I ask quietly, almost afraid it is my real problem. Was I too broken in my human life? Perhaps I am to jaded by time and experience. The desire or will to love has never afflicted me. Eric experienced loved in his human life and Godric longed for it. I never did. Maybe at the time of my human conception I was made wrong. Am I missing something? Am I defective?

She’ll come along, Pam,” he assures me. “Godric didn’t think it’d ever happen to him, but it did. Although, so far y’all seem to Bond to damsels in distress. What, Sook gettin’ mugged, Grissom takin’ Cammie, but I bet that’s just a fluke.”

What do you think your future Bonded will be like?” I ask him curiously. Perhaps if I have some inkling of what I should be looking for, it might seem more plausible.

Ya gonna paint my nails and do up my hair while I tell ya?” he teases while adjusting Cynthia’s head more comfortably against his chest. I had almost forgotten she was there.

If you would like,” I tease right back, but in my much dryer tone.

Nah, that’s okay,” He gives me another exaggerated grin. “As for my wife? I dunno, but she’ll have a killer smile. Smiles for days, y’know? I don’t care much what color hair or eyes she’s got, just so long as her smile is beautiful. Not your snarky li’l smirk neither,” He points at me accusingly. “Sweet and beautiful and genuine. I guess I’ll figure out the rest as the years go by, y’know?”

All I can do is shake my head in amusement. Only Jason can take something as complicated as Bonding and remove the unsurmountable anxiety from the prospect. Still, he is young, and probably cannot fathom the centuries, or possible millennia of waiting for your mate to be born. He cannot grasp the panic of spending another century alone.

Personally, I do not get it either, but I have experienced it from Godric through Eric. They were short, fleeting glimpses, but it was enough for me to never long for love or Bonding. Now, feeling not only the Master of my Bloodline, but my own Maker clutched in the embrace of a Bond, it is all I can think about. Every moment I spend seems to have that very thought running in the back of my mind.

My and Jason’s discussion is ended when Cynthia stretches against his chest and blinks her eyes open. “Oh,” she giggles, “hi!”

Hey there,” Jason grins down at her and captures her mouth with his own. “Passed out on me, huh?”

Mmm,” she moans and gives another stretch, pushing her breasts firmly against him. “How long was I out?”

Only an hour or two,” Jason tells her, stealing another kiss.

Ugh,” Cynthia grunts and tries to sit up. “I have to get back to the sorority and finish packing. My Sisters are throwing me a going away party, and I won’t have time to pack tonight.”

You want me to drive you home?” Jason offers.

Cynthia smiles at him and steals her own kiss, “No, you two have done more than enough for me already,” she laughs. “Don’t change, Stackhouse.”

Our little playmate crawls out of bed after that and quickly dresses. After she is gone, Jason flops back against his pillow and groans, “Man, I can’t believe I get to spend centuries doin’ shit like this!”

All that I can offer is a soft, quiet smile. I hate that Stackhouse always manages to give me far too much to think about.


Yes, your Majesty,” Eric replies into the phone. “Thank you very much. You are most gracious.”

It is my pleasure, Northman,” I hear Sophie-Anne answer and I roll my eyes. Offering the use of her estate for Eric’s wedding is nothing more than an excuse to have her own security running the event. Of course, having the nuptials at a Queen’s compound also means that other royalty will be invited, which means Sookie can look forward to the best gifts that not even money can buy.

I watch while Eric hangs up the phone and groans. “Not so thankful?” I cannot help but goad him.

Eric looks up at me from his desk. “What was your first clue, Pamela?” he asks.

Perhaps the way your jaw tightened so severely I thought I heard a tooth crack?” I consider.

Sookie will not have a single thing she wants if our wedding is held at Sophie-Anne’s estate,” Eric growls in frustration. “She will not even be able to wear her heirloom gown if that much royalty is present.”

Then decline her offer,” I shrug disinterestedly. “It is not as if we are truly beholden to anyone any longer.” Of course, that does not mean we should go about rubbing influential vampires the wrong way. Still, if anyone plans on upscaling my Barbie Doll’s wedding, I will be damned if it is accomplished by anyone but myself!

I plan to decline Sophie-Anne’s offer,” Eric tells me. “It is a matter of doing so diplomatically. There is always a way of amicably refusing someone’s generosity.”

You are going to consult Sookie, aren’t you?” I accuse playfully. It is true, the Stackhouses are quite adept at politely refusing help. Why would they not be just as artful at declining lavish offers?

I am,” Eric confesses with a cocky smirk when he rises from his desk and vamp speeds his way to the drawing room. “Sookie,” I hear him begin. “The Queen of Louisiana has offered to host our wedding celebrations at her estate.”

Oh, that was very kind of her,” Sookie sincerely voices, making me contain a howl of laughter. Yes, kindness was Sophie-Anne’s motivation, not the opportunity to host the most novel and rare gathering in the vampire community!

Yes, however, if our wedding took place at a royal estate, it would mean that our guest list would rise from seventy-five to about seven hundred and fifty,” Eric exaggerates only moderately. Seven hundred and fifty might be invited, but only about five hundred would show up.

A-are you serious?” Sookie stammers in shock.

Quite. And many would be politicians and vampire royalty,” Eric tells her. “It would mean that your mother and grandmother’s dress would be viewed as…inadequate for your wedding gown,” Eric sounds legitimately regretful.

Oh, I see,” Sookie deflates before quietly continuing, “Would it be wiser for us to accept rather than come up with some reason to decline?”

That does not matter, Sookie,” he tells her gently. “What matters is what you want.”

I can practically hear Sookie biting her lip thoughtfully. “This might sound paranoid, but if we do decide to accept her offer, I don’t think Jason should be there. The idea of that many higher-up vamps makes me uneasy. I’d be worried someone might hurt him at the wedding if the Queen hosts it,” Sookie finally admits reluctantly.

I must admit, I never would have thought our little Sookie could be so pragmatic, but she has a habit of surprising me. By the hesitation Eric’s exhibiting, I can guess he is just as stunned by her statement. Rather than wait for him to find his words, Sookie continues, “Do you think Pam would be able to spruce up my wedding dress, so it might not stick out like a sore thumb?”

Before Eric can reply, I shout down, “Of course I can!”

Sookie giggles and tells Eric, “All I need for this wedding is you, Eric. If Jason can walk me down the aisle and I get to wear some incarnation of my Gran’s dress, that’s just a bonus. It’s a little thing for me to sacrifice, but it will give us the opportunity to cement some good associations and relationships before we turn the vampire world on its ear.”

You are quite right,” Eric tells her, and I hear the awe and affection in his voice.

Pam,” Sookie calls to me, “if you’d like to coordinate all of the details for me, I think that would be best.” My body tightens excitedly at Sookie’s consent. Have I just been given free rein to coordinate her wedding!? “You know my taste, and you know how to incorporate it into something beautiful and opulent.”

You had me at ‘coordinate all the details!’” I assure her excitedly and run down the stairs to grin in her face. “I will consult you on shades and patterns,” I promise her before whipping out my cell phone and calling Sophie-Anne’s Events Coordinator. It is only a matter of minutes before Sophie-Anne’s youngest progeny, Grace, has assured me the information I will need will arrive by courier before morning. “Where did you put your dress? I need to look it over objectively. Eric, I am taking it and going to my condo,” I tell my Maker quickly. I have the opportunity to blow Sookie’s mind again, and I am not going to waste it!

Jason’s POV:

Damn, I’m a college graduate, I think amusedly. I’m sitting in the kitchen of my lonely apartment, lookin’ for a job to tide me over until I get turned. Pam’s said I’ll stay with her at her condo after I get turned, but, for now, I’m still in the duplex where my life was turned around.

It’s crazy thinkin’ back to just two years ago. Back in May, 2000, when Sookie and I went full-time at our jobs, scramblin’ to save up enough money to survive the upcoming football season, I honestly thought we’d never make it to this day. I was certain somethin’ would have to give well before I could graduate college, mainly my shoulder. Instead, two vampires came into our lives and saved me and my baby sister in so many ways, there just ain’t enough words to thank them.

Hell, I wouldn’t even be alive today if we hadn’t met Eric and Pam. If I hadn’t been given Eric’s blood to heal my shoulder, there’s a real good chance I would have been killed by that maniac on Christmas morning. Sookie would have been all alone in the world, or thrown into the care of Aunt Linda. Would Linda have killed Hadley if Sook had been stayin’ with them? I wonder, but the thought quickly slips away. After years of strugglin’ to keep afloat, it’s become natural not to dwell too long. Every so often I slip down the hole of ‘what if,’ but they’re short, little falls that’ll only make me pause a moment.

A knock at my door makes me look up from the newspaper I wasn’t really readin’ and I get up to answer it.

HEY!” My sister launches herself at my middle and ’bout squeezes the life outta me.

Hey, Sook,” I laugh and hug her back. “What’re you doin’ over here?”

I go about makin’ a pot of coffee for the two of us while she starts chattin’ ’bout the changes in her wedding plans.

You’re gettin’ married in New Orleans now?” I ask in surprise after we sit down to a cup of coffee and she gives me a weak, little shrug. “You ain’t happy about it,” I point out.

I’m… Conflicted,” she mumbles. “I mean, it’s gonna be an awfully big wedding with a bunch a people I don’t even know.”

I give her an encouraging smile. “Yeah, but you can charm most anybody. I’m sure they’ll talk to you five minutes and fall in love.”

She gives my shoulder a playful punch. “Whatever,” She rolls her eyes.

It’ll be fine,” I tell her soothingly. “Besides, if you really don’t wanna do it, just tell Eric. He’ll put a stop to it.”

His ‘boss’ is the one hosting it now. I don’t think it would be a good idea to turn her down,” Sookie’s entire face droops with a frown.

So? His boss don’t got any room in his personal life,” I tell her.

My sister shrugs half-heartedly before mumblin’, “I just got this feelin’ that if we refuse, something bad will happen.”

Is it a heart feelin’, or a head feelin’?” I ask.

Head,” she admits reluctantly. Sookie knows I accuse her of spendin’ too much time in her head. I guess that’s a problem for a telepath, though. She’s seen so many mental reactions alongside the physical reactions that I guess I can’t blame her. That’s why I think we’re so good for each other. Even though I’m no idiot, Sookie has always been the brains between the two of us. I’ve always been more of the do what I want and accept the consequences type, although that side of me hasn’t shown up again till recently.

After I was made Sookie’s guardian, I couldn’t be as impulsive. Given my age, one slip-up would mean I wouldn’t see my baby sister ever again, so I put all that energy and idiocy into working myself to death. Strong enough to do it, stupid enough to ignore the strain it put on my body.

During our three years struggling to stay together, I’d gone from 171 pounds to 128 pounds, and I had been solid muscle before our Gran had died. Bein’ a QB that light is like askin’ to get wrecked. College tackles tear through you like tissue paper, and there’s not enough pads or flesh to dampen the impacts. I bruised for months after my offensive tackles couldn’t protect me and more injuries than just my shoulder would keep me awake some nights with their singin’. To this day, I don’t know how we survived those three years, but here I am, sittin’ across from my sister, healthy as a horse, and a college graduate. The first Stackhouse to graduate college…

I suppose I’m conflicted because there’s very few things I want for my weddin’. I want Eric, you, and Gran’s dress. If I got those, then it could be held in a cemetery for all I care.”

Well, it is a vamp weddin’,” I tease her and she rolls her eyes. Problem is, even though she’s rolllin’ her eyes at me, I just feel this sadness about her. Something’s buggin’ her, and my tone goes from teasing to concern, “What’s wrong, Sooks?”

I don’t want to have it at the Queen’s,” she whispers.

“Why not?” I ask just as quietly.

I’m scared you’ll get hurt,” she confesses.

My face folds into a frown after she says this, and I realize a lot of things. Eric made some bold statements to a really important vamp not too long ago, and if that vamp shared any of those views with others, this weddin’ party might turn a bit sinister. That wouldn’t matter none, if it weren’t for me and my pesky mortality. I’m officially the weakest link in our chain. Sure, Sooks and Cammie can’t fight for nothin’, but they also can’t be killed. I won’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell, no matter the odds if a single vamp decides to be makin’ examples. Worse yet, Cammie and Sooks is Bonded, so that makes me and Pam the only fair game if laws are followed. Hurt Eric by hurtin’ Pam, or hurt Eric by hurtin’ Sookie by hurtin’ me. Man, I’m a part of this no matter what.

Then I’ll get turned between Thanksgivin’ and your weddin’,” I finally decide, makin’ my sis look at me in surprise. “That way, you get one more food holiday with me, but I’m just as indestructible as any of ya for the nuptials.”

Oh, Jason,” Sookie moans, “I hate for ya to feel this kinda pressure!”

Ain’t no pressure, Sook,” I assure her with a laugh. “I’ve been achin’ to turn, honest, I have. I’m sick of bein’ the odd man out. I wanna feel part of your family again and lately, it don’t feel that way. I feel like you and I are drifting apart and that’s okay. It’s the good drift, like a brother and sister startin’ their own lives, but there’s this divide I can’t reach across anymore. I can’t protect you like I could before.”

You don’t have to,” she assures me.

I know, but I’m your big brother. I gotta always have your back,” I tease with a wink, making Sookie laugh and then give me a big hug. “So, I’ll let Godric know that I’m good to go a couple days after Thanksgivin’.”

I love you, Jason,” Sookie murmurs into my chest, and I run my hand over her head soothingly.

Love you, too, Sooks,” I whisper right back and kiss her crown.

We talk awhile longer about the wedding, and I swear she’s just ’bout ready to burst into a ray of sunshine now that she’s not so worried about me. I can’t really absorb anything she’s said, I’m too busy trying to permanently memorize how she looks right now. I’m not doin’ it so I can remember her this happy. I know she’ll be this happy the rest of eternity. I’m memorizin’ her face because this is how happy I want to make someone in the future. This face is how I’ll know my Bonded because I know the smile on Sookie’s lips and the glow in her eyes has nothin’ to do with me or my willingly be turned a month early. My sister is happy to be marrying the man of her dreams. She’s the exact image of a woman who’s found her soulmate.

And I want to recognize it when I see it aimed at me.

On to Chapter Forty!


Catalyst Ch. 38

Chapter Thirty-Eight: Decisions

Godric’s POV:

I am beginning to think,” I murmur at the tinkling of bells and flash of light beneath the door while my lover and future Bonded lays naked and sleeping in my embrace, “that you are something of a voyeur.”

The Voice of The Pantheon lets loose a chuckle as he enters and leans against the doorframe of my bedroom. “Well, as you know, I never interfere until events lead me to doing so,” Endymion replies.

Am I to assume the event to which you refer is my impending Bonding?” Crossing his arms over his chest, Endymion nods. “And are you here to stop me?” He shakes his head. “With what must you interfere, then?”

It isn’t as much to ‘interfere’ as it is to warn,” Endymion finally speaks. “You and Camilla have a choice to make and that choice must be made before your third exchange.”

I attempt to maneuver Camilla’s sleeping head against my arm, so that I might sit up and more comfortably converse with my Bloodline’s own, personal Seer.

Now, now,” Endymion laughs, “I am not your own, personal anything. Just as I have told you all before, Eric and Sookie have earned my respect many times over, and what you are all experiencing is the benefit of their accomplishments throughout space and time. Nevertheless, the gifts I give do not come without consequences, and I intend to call in a few debts over time.”

My lips curl angrily, “You mentioned no such debt before Sookie and Eric Bonded!” My voice is harsh, but I keep it low as not to wake Camilla.

Believe me when I say I have known Sookie a long time, and am aware that ultimatums are a risky way of dealing with her. You will have options in the future, but I guarantee that when you hear of my requests, you will wholeheartedly desire to work with me,” Endymion announces.

There is a crease in my brow while I consider his statement, but as most situations with The Voice go, it is better not to dwell. “What is it you came to speak to me about?”

Endymion smiles, “Upon Bonding with Camilla, she will become part of your Bloodline.”

Yes,” I reply, not comprehending his reason for explaining to me something I had already known.

After she becomes part of your Bloodline, she will acquire the same protections,” he states with added emphasis.

She will become a Living Immortal like Sookie!?” It takes great willpower not to raise my voice in surprise.

She will,” Endymion nods. “She will maintain a rather human existence much as Sookie does. The only differences between Camilla and Sookie are that Camilla will not sprout wings, and will continue to be unable to have children by a vampire. However, that inability does not stem from the absence of Camilla’s reproductive organs. Had Camilla remained…intact prior to her Bonding, she would not have developed the same ability to bear children due to the absence of Fae ancestry. Since it is not a form of protection, it will not be granted by the Bloodletting Blade’s magic.”

That means,” I frown, considering the Voice’s words, “if she is a Living Immortal, I will not be able to turn her at any point.”

Correct. If it is yours and Camilla’s desire for her to become vampire, it must be done the evening that you are Bonded, or remain unbound and merely turn her. Those are your options. However, Bonding and turning simultaneously is very difficult. You may accidentally kill her without completing the Bond or metamorphosis,” Endymion explains. “Your success rate as I have witnessed it is as such; one hundred percent success of Bonding and Camilla becoming a Living Immortal, ninety-nine percent chance of turning her vampire without Bonding, and only a twenty-seven percent chance of successfully Bonding and transforming her into vampire.”

Why would I take such a risk?” I ask of Endymion.

The Voice replies by pointing at Camilla, “You honestly believe she desires to be a weak link? Unlike Sookie, her continued pulse does not benefit the Bloodline. If she became vampire, she would be able to protect Sookie like her brother intends to soon. Camilla never wants to be a victim ever again.”

I frown and look at my future Bonded. I know Endymion’s assessment is correct and now I have a decision to make. I could Bond with Camilla this very evening without ever telling her of the repercussions. She would be a Living Immortal and we would all just accept it. She would never need to know there had been other options. Yet, beginning my existence with my Bonded on the heels of a lie is a greater sin than all the others I have committed in my time on this Earth. With that realization, I think of something else I must know.

Before you leave,” I whisper, “may I ask a question?”

You may, but I could be unable to answer it,” Endymion replies in his usual manner.

You said that Sookie’s ability allows us to share immunities… Will this mean Sookie’s immunity to Glamour could be Camilla’s as well?”

Endymion smiles as if he sees my thoughts, “That is correct.”

Then Camilla will never lose her memories again,” I murmur.

She will not,” he agrees. “She will also receive the vampire immunity to Sookie’s telepathy. Her mind would be impregnable,” he offers.

A thoughtful sigh escapes me while I shake my head. There is no question that I must have this conversation honestly with my Bonded, but if I could assure her she will never be a burden by not becoming vampire, perhaps we will settle this easily, still Bonding this evening as we wished.

If that is all, I must be leaving,” Endymion tells me. “As you know, I should not remain in a single timeline for too long.”

I nod rather than speak a departing statement as The Voice of the Pantheon vanishes in his flash of light and tinkling bells. I wish he had left the room before doing that. The sudden brightness has roused Camilla and she stretches out against my side.

Hey,” she mumbles with a pleased smile on her lips. I cannot resist leaning over and kissing her mouth.

Good morning,” I reply to her drowsy morning greeting.

Mmm, I slept so good!” she tells me with that happy grin on her face.

I am glad,” I murmur, stroking her hair away from her face while she nuzzles against the side of my chest.

Everything okay?” she asks after I do not say anything else.

Someone stopped by to speak with me while you were asleep,” I tell her, continuing to absentmindedly stroke her hair.

Wow,” she laughs, “you must have really worn me out! I didn’t even feel you leave the bed!” She must notice my grimace, “Oh, God, were they in the room!?”

He was,” I nod my head. “His name is Endymion and he has a habit of popping in wherever and whenever he wants.”

“Pervert!” she squeals.

He is the Voice of God,” I tell her amusedly, making her face freeze, except for her widening eyes.

Are you serious?” she whispers.


And the Voice of God spoke to you? Do vampires get schizophrenia?” she asks jokingly.

I chuckle and shake my head, “He was the one who told us about the gifts Sookie would give us upon her Bonding to Eric.”

So, did he come to tell you she’s pregnant, like something out of the New Testament?” She is still being sarcastic.

He came here to warn me about our Bonding,” I reply, not letting her joking manner distract me from the importance of our conversation.

Camilla stares blankly at me after my comment before demanding slowly, “What do you mean?”

If we Bond, you will gain the gifts of the Bloodline,” I explain.

Yeah, I kn-”

You will be like Sookie, not like Eric, Pam, and I,” I cut her off before she turns this into another joke.

A Living Immortal?” she asks quietly. “No speed, no strength? Nothing cool?”

There are options,” I continue in a whisper. “I could turn you without Bonding-”

I don’t want that!” Camilla protests.

I could try to Bond and turn you in the same process, but I have been warned that… I… I could kill you if it fails,” I tell her.

Odds?” she asks weakly.

No risk with Bonding or turning, but if we try to Bond during the metamorphosis, I am far more likely to kill you than succeed,” I try to sound apologetic. Camilla raises her head from where it was resting on my chest and sits up in bed. “Mila-”

I just need a minute,” she tells me after she climbs out of bed. I feel her pain and disappointment. “I need to… Can I just go see Pam and Sookie?” she asks.

Of course-”

Great,” she murmurs and quickly gathers her clothes to dress. All I can do is watch while she pulls her clothes on and practically runs out the door.

Eric’s POV:

I stare at the door while repeated knocks hammer against it. No one comes by during the day unless Sookie is here, but my Bonded is in class right now.

Sookie!? It’s Cammie! I need to talk to you!” Camilla shouts, and I snort on a chuckle before letting her in. “Oh!” my Master’s lover is disappointed to see me, “I was hoping to talk to Sookie.”

She is in class right now,” I remind her. This is surprising since Camilla knows Sookie’s schedule so well.

I forgot,” she mumbles. “She gets back at three?”

Is everything all right?” I ask her.

If you could turn Sookie and still have all your immunities, would you turn her?” Camilla asks me abruptly.

Staring for a moment, I consider her question before laughing, “No! I prefer my Sookie warm and alive!”

Even though she’ll never be able to protect herself?” Camilla presses.

My expression transforms into one of complete disbelief, “Camilla, it would still be centuries before Sookie could defend herself against other vampires, even if she were one. With as much exercise she gets, mortal men would have difficultly harming her. She could outrun any average Joe. Besides all of that, I will never let Sookie defend herself. I will always be there when she needs me. Vampire, Living Immortal, or a regular human, I am never truly out of her reach. In this instance, I know where she is, how she feels, and how quickly I can get to her if she were attacked. Trust me when I say a human could not drop his pants before I was there ripping off his dick.”

What if a vampire took her?” Camilla is still looking for an argument.

Camilla, Sookie is my Bonded Mate. After the Supernatural world knows of our Bloodline’s immunities, there is not a creature in existence who would risk putting themselves in our crosshairs,” I tell her. At her doubt, I add, “I had this same conversation with Sookie before we Bonded. She had the same worries and concerns you have. She worried about being a burden. We assuaged those concerns by telling her we would happily protect her for the immunities she gives us, but the truth has always been that she and Jason are our family now. We will protect them and now, you, with the ferocity we would protect the vampire half of our family.”

When Godric and I Bond,” Camilla whispers, “I’ll be a Living Immortal like Sookie. I can never become vampire.”

Godric is going to love that, I think amusedly. “I see.”

I just feel like I’ll be on the sidelines, like Sookie, except I won’t be offering anything by being there,” she continues to confess.

Your life brings more light to Godric’s existence than the sun Sookie gave him ever has,” I tell her truthfully. “Believe me when I tell you that is just as important to Pam and me as everything Sookie has given us.”

R-really?” she asks me, hope clear in her tone.

Giving the young woman my best smile, I nod, “What good is immortality if you are miserable?”

I guess,” she murmurs, but I can still read her hesitation and concern.

I understand you do not wish to be looked after, and I do understand that, Camilla,” I smile as sympathetically as I am able. “Like Sookie and Jason, you do not wish to be left on the sidelines and protected. You wish to stand alongside the Bloodline and fight. That is admirable, but, as I have said, it would have been many, many centuries before you could have fought with us. Pam has only begun handling multiple Weres in head-on attacks. She will not fight with Godric and I any time soon. Jason will not be participating in battle for a long time, either.”

I just-”

Camilla,” I interrupt her continued protests, “argue as much as you like, but had you or Sookie ever been vampires, you would never have made it on to the battlefield. Godric and I fight more freely, not having to worry about you two. We were born to fight, and there is nothing wrong or disgraceful about being born as the someone whom a warrior comes home to.”

I watch Camilla stare at me wondrously. Her eyes are still hesitant, uncertain about how to interpret what I have said.

You and Sookie will give us far greater strength off the battlefield than on it,” I whisper.

Because you guys would want to protect us from more than just injury,” she murmurs, and I let out a relieved sigh, then nod.

I hope I have helped you as well as my wife could have?” I venture curiously.

Camilla smiles and nods, “Yeah, you really have. I don’t feel so disappointed… and… I just thought about it, if I’m a Living Immortal, I’ll always be the warm embrace he comes home to and I can nourish him forever. I’ll never have to see a different person in his arms when he feeds…”

I know I appreciate that knowledge when it comes to Sookie,” I agree.

And I’ll be able to keep Sookie’s food traditions alive after Jason is turned!” she adds excitedly, making me laugh. “We’ll both have someone who gets it,” she says. Looking up at me, Camilla grins and waves, making her way to the door. “Thanks, Eric! I feel much better! I’ll see you tomorrow as a Living Immortal!”

I chuckle and wave goodbye to Camilla while the front door swings shut behind her. Pulling my phone out, I call my Maker, “Master-”

Camilla was with you? Did she speak with Sookie?”

Sookie is at school,” I remind him with a sigh, but remember he is preoccupied with the situation at hand. “I spoke with Camilla. She should be on her way home now. I have eased her worries.”

You did?” Master asks in surprise.

Yes, Master. I do understand this situation, you know. Sookie and I went through the very same concerns before Bonding,” I tell him, attempting to keep the exasperation from my tone. Why does no one think I know how to speak to mortals? I have been lying to human women without glamour for many centuries, and I could not have done that nearly as well if I did not understand women.

Regardless, I thank you for assuaging her concerns. I feel her returning home. I will speak with you tomorrow-”

I doubt that, Master,” I laugh. “It will be your first day Bonded. I will not be insulted, nor surprised, if I do not hear from you for a week or longer!”

My Maker laughs at my comment, but chooses to reply by disconnecting the call. However, he does open his end of our link to allow me to feel his joy and excitement. It is a marvelous feeling, to finally know that the Master who taught me everything I know about this dark world, from whom I accepted every harsh lesson, is finally and blissfully happy.

Godric’s POV:

Hi,” Camilla greets me meekly when she comes in the front door.

Hello,” I return encouragingly. She does not have the benefit of feeling me yet and I sense her worry. My Mila believes she has upset me. “I understood that you needed to talk this out with someone other than me,” I assure her.

Camilla gives a weak raising of her shoulders, “I just feel like it’s something I should have been able to discuss with you…”

But it was not something you felt you could speak to me about. You know I love you and will have you any way I can,” I tell her soothingly. “Eric does not mince words, he does not try to protect your feelings. You know his words were truth, not comfort.”

I do,” She agrees with a slow nod. “He also told me that you and he are both warriors. Sookie and I aren’t, and it’s just as important being the one a warrior comes home to.”

A smile lifts the corners of my mouth, “That is the most important role. Being someone to fight for, to protect, is a far greater role than being the one who fights.”

I can better protect you by staying safely on the sidelines,” she continues quietly. I choose not to reply to that one. Acknowledging it and having it force fed to her are two completely different stances. “So, after the sun sets, I want you to know that I happily accept you as my Bonded and my future as a Living Immortal, not because I don’t have choices, but because I like this choice best.”

Before the sun sets, I want you to know,” I begin, “no one will ever be able to glamour you again. You will have Sookie’s immunity to it. Also, I will never keep a secret from you because you will have gained the vampire’s immunity to Sookie’s telepathy.”

Camilla’s eyes widen, “Seriously? Sookie won’t be able to hear me anymore? I’m going to miss that a little bit, but it’ll be nice not being the one left out of the surprise parties.”

She allows me to fold her into my arms and I hold Camilla a long moment before easing us toward the bedroom. Soon we are naked and beneath the bedding, touching softly, almost exploring, while we wait in a building anticipation for sunset.

I have envied Eric greatly over this last year,” I tell my lover softly. “He has basked in this beauty I have sought and circled the world several times over, and yet what I searched for practically ran into his arms.” She stares at me with wide eyes, running her smooth fingertips against my chest. “Now, here I lay with the most beautiful woman I have ever known and she is with me because Eric found his love first.”

You don’t think you would have found me otherwise?” Camilla asks me sadly.

Shaking my head, I confess, “If Sookie had not turned Eric into the vampire he is now, you would have been institutionalized if you were lucky, perhaps dead.”

That’s a rather strange series of events,” Camilla giggles softly. “So, in a way, Sookie saved me, too and found me my true love?”

I chuckle and shake my head, “Who is to know how a series of events moves? Even Endymion, Voice of the Pantheon, remains in the dark about many things. Still, he is unaware of how and when Sookie’s fertility will manifest. He knows enough to see it will happen, but this timeline has not come to a head yet for those events.”

Camilla’s brow furrows thoughtfully, “I don’t understand?”

The Endymions are the only creatures-”

Endymions? Plural?” Camilla interrupts in surprise.

I chuckle and nod, “Endymion is the type of creature he is, not his name. However, the meeting of two Endymions is so rare, they are called by their title, rather than their true names.”

“Oh,” She appears even more confused, so I choose to elaborate further on that matter.

Endymion is the only creature who may travel through time and space. This means he may jump ahead in a universe and see how everyone is doing, but may only interfere with an event once. Therefore, he probably gathered some information from a distance to confirm Sookie’s abilities. However, since he cannot act directly, his information is lacking. He would not want to interact with any key players in the event he had to return to that timeline and intervene,” I explain slowly, but I see Camilla’s head beginning to tilt as she falls into deeper confusion.

Cool?” She ventures after a moment and I laugh as she takes my wrist and places my hand over her breast. Camilla giggles while I begin to absentmindedly play with her breast. It has been a long time since I shared an easy intimacy of hands touching flesh for more than the purpose of arousal. My touch is one of affection and very little about my pleasure, or even hers. All that my hands know is their desire to be pressed against her skin at any opportunity.

How much longer before the sunsets?” Camilla asks me while my fingers tighten over her breast.

Another two hours,” I reply softly.

I’m feeling impatient,” she confesses with a giggle.

I am as well,” I admit.

What’s it going to be like? Such a large family of immortals?” Camilla murmurs curiously.

My lips turn upward, “Who knows? Life is now a limitless adventure. Perhaps we will open the school that is the Stackhouse’s dream? You could teach math,” I wink at her.

What would you teach?” Camilla giggles.

I suppose that depends on the level of schooling. If it were high school, I would probably teach sociology. If it were primary school, more than likely I would teach social studies,” I tease.

What about Pam and Eric?” Camilla presses, her face a wide grin while she pictures Eric or Pam as educators.

Eric should teach sexual education!” I remark with laughter.

Oh, no!” Camilla laughs loudly at my teasing.

Those two hours that felt an eternity away pass quickly in the company of my lover. She must sense the sun setting in her own human way because her hands clamp around my wrists and Camilla pulls me atop her impatiently.

Hurry, hurry, hurry!” she squeals excitedly while her legs wrap around my hips.

Mila, wait,” I am laughing as her mouth rains kisses wherever it can reach. Her teeth clamp playfully on my throat and I feel another chuckle tumble past my lips. “You are such an impatient creature.”

Impatient to be yours,” she replies with a kittenish whine.

Holding her face in my hands, I capture Camilla’s lips and kiss her slowly once more, “I am impatient to be yours as well, but let us not rush this.” Her body softens in my hands and I feel her mouth relax into a smile. “Thank you.”

It is not long before our slowly wandering hands grow impatient once more. This time, I am the one who can no longer wait, and Camilla does nothing to stop me from tearing into my wrist. I am barely able to offer her the wound before her lips are clamped in a seal around the injury. Her sweet mouth is suckling at my blood, silently encouraging me to open her throat and share in this exchange. I do as I am bidden and soon her blood is trickling into my throat. Her body is tightening in my embrace and her soul is braiding itself into my own.

Elation sings through myself and Camilla. Even as we reach new peaks of pleasure, it is still secondary to the overwhelming joy of being eternally united with our other half.

From this day forward, no matter where this world takes me, I no longer take the journey alone.

On to Chapter Thirty-Nine!

Catalyst Ch. 37

Chapter Thirty-Seven: Would You?

Camilla’s POV:

I never in the shortened memory of my life felt so exhausted upon awaking. Although, I amend my complaint after cool arms squeeze me tightly against a cold, solid chest, I could get used to this!

Good morning, Mila,” Godric rumbles against my throat and I tilt my hips to press my butt against his cock. He purrs against my ear, “Teasing or offering?”

Teasing,” I yawn, “until I’ve had some breakfast.”

Then it is in my best interest to feed you,” he teases right back, giving my throat a playful lick that makes my toes curl.

Playful Godric is hot!

You’re in a good mood,” I giggle, stretching in our bed while my lover finds a robe to wrap me up in.

Last night would put anyone in a good mood,” Godric points out, feeding one of my arms through a sleeve and then the other.

I know how to dress myself, you know,” I tell him, then poke my tongue out at him. “Do I look like a Barbie Doll to you?” I feel him hesitate for the briefest second, but it’s enough for me to mentally smack myself. “Not like that,” I tell him quickly.

I know, but that word will always hold a much darker connotation for me,” Godric reminds me, and now I feel like a jerk.

I’m sorry, I meant it to be funny, not mean,” I pout at him with the puppy dog eyes Sookie taught me, making sure to pull my bottom lip between my teeth a little bit. She says it works on Eric all the time when she has a slip of the tongue. Sookie calls it ‘Innocently Contrite.’

Godric smiles down at me, leans over, and kisses the pouty part of my lip not captured by teeth. “I know what you meant,” Godric murmurs against my mouth before giving me another kiss. “Still, I sincerely hope you might avoid using that word as any description of yourself.”

I will be more mindful of it,” I promise, giving him a sad smile.

Without another word on the subject, Godric pulls me to my feet and into his arms. I don’t stay on my feet for very long, though, because I jump and wrap them around his waist. He just laughs and starts walking us toward the kitchen.

Once Godric sits me on a barstool, he grabs my favorite cereal and some milk.

May I ask you something about last night?” Godric asks while he gets my breakfast together.

My face becomes a little red, but I nod, “Sure.”

Were you… Implying you want to Bond with me?” he asks quietly.

I force myself not to be nervous by his tone. I just wish I had as much insight into his mind as Sookie seems to. Even though she can’t hear his thoughts, she’s much better at understanding him than me. What would she make of that question?

I…” I stare at my hands and decide it would be worse to be dishonest and start dancing around each other again. “I was. I am,” I clarify that my mind hasn’t changed.

Even though I would turn you in the future?” Godric tests my resolve.

I roll my eyes, “Godric, if I join your Bloodline, the only thing I lose is the ability to eat food. I can’t have kids as it is, and everyone in your line is immune to everything. Vampirism, coming from your line, at least, isn’t much of a sacrifice.”

He laughs and shakes his head, “I suppose that is true.”

Then you’ll Bond with me?” I ask, hoping he’ll answer me with what I want to hear.

His expression softens, “Yes.” I literally climb over the counter and lunge into his arms excitedly. “Your breakfast-”

Later,” I crush my mouth against his.

It’s over an hour later that I finally get my breakfast. Godric insists on going over everything Bonding-related while I munch on my cereal. Several times I remind him that my best friend is Bonded and he gives me this sheepish grin. We don’t even need to be Bonded for me to know he’s excited, maybe a little nervous, too.

You do not feel we are moving too fast?” Godric asks me while he pushes my robe off my shoulder and kisses there softly.

I shake my head, “Nope. It feels perfect and right. There’s just one thing I need to know before we do this.” His face tightens, waiting for my question. “This isn’t about ‘ancient Rome Camilla,’ or just wanting to be Bonded, right? It’s me? I’m who you want, not a woman two-thousand-years’ dead, not just the Bond?”

Godric’s face softens into a lazy smile, “Yes, Mila. It is you I want. I would not even offer to Bond if I did not know for certain it is you. The Camilla of Ancient Rome is just a face and a name. She was not love, but a regret. She is not you. You are sweet, mischievous, and loyal.”

Like a Siberian husky,” I tease, catching his lips with my own for a slow kiss. After the kiss ends, I turn in my seat and wrap my limbs around him. “So, are we going to Bond slowly or quickly?”

Quickly, if you are agreeable,” he tells me with a gentle kiss at my throat. “If I could make the sun set twice more in the next five minutes, we would be Bonded before the end of the hour.”

I laugh and squeeze him tightly to me. “Oh, no!” I remember suddenly. He pulls away and looks at me in alarm. “I just remembered! I’m supposed to go dress shopping with Sookie and Pam today!”

Why is that a problem?” he asks, running his hands all over me.

“Because I want to stay here and just have you touch me all day,” I answer him, moaning while I tilt my head back for more kisses.

He smiles against my lips and replies, “I will be here when you return… That makes me wonder…”

What?” I close my eyes while he gives my throat a firm suckle.

Marriage. Is that something you might want? A human wedding?” he elaborates.

Hadn’t thought about it,” I confess.

While you are out with Sookie, perhaps you should,” Godric tells me.

Would I get a last name out of it?” I tease.

I use the surname ‘Gaul,’” he says.

Whatever,” I shrug. “I’ll take it.” He laughs at my flippant attitude about a wedding. “We have time to indulge later. Sookie’s going to wait eighteen months from the time she was Bonded to the time she gets married,” I point out.

That is true,” he agrees. “What time are the women picking you up?”

Pam’s picking me up at noon,” I tell him.

Godric looks at the clock and frowns, “You should start getting ready.”

How come you guys are cool with Pam going out in the day? You and Eric don’t take those chances as much,” I realize.

Pam is younger and her scent does not permeate as much as an ancient’s,” Godric shrugs. “She could scent a Were long before one would think to track her down. She is also the least likely to stand out on security footage.”

I guess that makes sense,” I sigh and give a slow stretch. “I’m going to grab a quick shower to rinse off last night’s activities. Join me?”

Godric gives me another one of his playful grins. I did that! I brought happiness to a two-thousand-year-old vampire! “If I joined you,” he runs his hands up and down my sides when I stand in front of him, “you would never become clean.”

Fair enough,” I peck his lips quickly before skipping off to the shower. I don’t let my hair get wet while I wash and shave. My hair’s been washed just the night before and doesn’t need it again.

After I emerge wrapped in a fresh towel, I find Godric laying on my bed.
Wait, is it our bed now? I wonder, totally pleased with the thought. He is reading a book, looking sexy, his hand resting on the patch of exposed skin between the tail of his shirt and the button of his jeans.

You look like you’re posing for a magazine,” I tease him while I head to our closet. This has always been ours. Ever since I came here, Godric had left his stuff in the bedroom. After I first arrived, he wore the same clothes for about three days while he tried not to invade my private space.

When I emerge from the closet, I see that Godric has stripped off his shirt and is on his knees with his hands behind his back, “How about now?” he asks, flexing his abs and making me fan myself, both out of arousal and in attempt to keep our playfulness going.

You could be on one of those sexy calendars,” I tell him with a giggle. “Twelve months of Godric… Firefighter Godric, policeman Godric, construction worker Godric… I’ll pick out a bunch of yummy costumes,” I give him a wink and make my way to our bed. Before I can get there, I hear Pam’s car horn, so I pout, “It’s time to go.”

Have fun, Mila,” Godric leans over and gives me a quick kiss before pulling away from temptation and flopping back down with his book. Sexy to casual. Sixty to zero in a split second. The deceleration just might kill me!

See you in a few hours,” I tell him with that same pout on my lips. I’d rather be flopped down on the bed beside him. Or on top of him…

I can’t entertain the thought any further, though, because Pam’s honking her horn in longer blasts now. With a sigh, I resign myself and slip on my shoes. Running out the front door, I wave at Sookie and Pam sitting in the van.

Morning!” I greet merrily, flinging open the back door and sliding into my seat.

Sookie cranes her head to look back at me, “Have a good night?” she asks knowingly.

Best of my life!” I assure her with a huge grin.

Your life consists of roughly four months,” Pam points out.

Okay, how about this?” I offer slowly. “Such a good night that losing twenty years of my life is not only acceptable, but greatly appreciated?”

Pam lets out an amused snort, “Am I to guess another shall share our Bloodline soon?”

I nod excitedly, “Godric already agreed to Bond!”

Sookie squeals excitedly and shimmies from the front seat to hug me. “This is so great! Are you two going to have a wedding, too?” she asks.

Frowning, I give a small shrug, “Maybe? I don’t know how long I’ll stay human. The risks of accidents and such are too great for me, you know?”

Now it’s Sookie’s turn to frown, “I guess that’s true…”

I’ll miss being able to ask you questions in my head, though,” I confess to my living friend.

It really is convenient,” Sookie laughs while Pam swerves in and out of traffic.

We arrive at the first shop on our agenda. It’s a dress shop and Pam’s excited to help Sookie pick out a wedding dress. The vampire pouts when a sales associate meets us at the door and automatically takes the wind out of Pam’s sails. Maggie, our assistant on the sales floor, takes the reins and barely listens to Pam’s suggestions while we are led to a private dressing room. Sookie finds herself thrust into a world of terms and questions for which she has no definitions. Lost, Sookie turns to Pam, and I giggle into my hands.

Listen, Maggie,” Pam snaps as our poor bride is overwhelmed by choices that need decisions, “while you find yourself searching your store, I want you to think very hard about these three words. Timeless, elegant, understated. This bride does not need bells or whistles to be any of those things, neither should her dress. She does not need layers upon layers to hide thick thighs or belly rolls. She does not need plummeting necklines to amplify her bosom, and if I see a fucking empire waist, I will murder you. Do you understand?”

Maggie’s jaw has slowly been working its way toward the floor and it takes a moment of her gawking at Pam before she nods frantically and runs away.

I’m surprised you’re even lettin’ me shop for my dress locally,” Sookie lets out an uncomfortable laugh, still a bit shook up from Maggie’s hounding questions. “I thought you were gonna sweep me off to Paris or somethin’.”

Pam scowls at Sookie’s comment. To be fair, I was thinking the same. “Eric has forbidden it.” Sookie and I exchange an exasperated, though, not a surprised glance. “He said unless you wanted a Parisian wedding dress, I was to stick to the States for choosing your dress… I suppose we could go to New York?” she eyes Sookie with what appears to be hope.

Our youngest friend giggles while she responds, “Let’s see what they have ’round these parts first!”

Letting out a suffering sigh, Pam relents, “Very well.”

It’s then Maggie returns with a half-dozen dresses, and hangs up all of them for us to start looking through. Pam is too quick for us, though, and she’s flipped rapidly through the garments. Stepping back, Pam frowns while her head tilts back and forth contemplatively. Finally, she grabs one of the dresses and hands it to Sookie.

It has your approval?” Sookie teases when she slowly starts toward the changing screen once Maggie leaves.

It is the only one I will not shoot myself in the head seeing you wear,” Pam offers, making both me and Sookie roll our eyes.

Sookie disappears behind the screen and, an eternity later, she steps out with a grimace-like smile on her face. She doesn’t like the dress and I can’t understand why! She looks like a beautiful princess!

Yes! That is an excellent dress!” Pam grins happily and comes over to Sookie, ignoring her strained smile. “It looks just the way I thought it might fit you,” Pam is folding fabric and nodding appraisingly. “Camilla, help her change out of this. I am going to search the rest of the floor to see if that saleswoman overlooked anything.”

Our vampire friend is gone in an instant and I look at Sookie worriedly, “You don’t like it at all.”

Sookie’s smile gets tighter, “It’s beautiful.”

But it’s not what you want,” I press.

No,” she confesses timidly.

Sookie, it’s your wedding,” I tell her. “Pam will understand… Er… Maybe…” I realize her problem. The bride worries her lip between her teeth, so I pull her into a gentle hug.

I just care about marrying Eric,” Sookie whispers. “It’s just…a dress.”

Sookie pushes me away suddenly, and before I can ask what I did, Pam comes barreling in. “You are still in the first dress? Honestly, must I do everything?” she grumbles while she hangs an armful of new dresses across a chair and comes to help Sookie out of the first gown.

Sorry, we got to talkin’,” Sookie mumbles when she is released from the dress and quickly starts peeling it off while Pam tries to shove another over her head.

I watch sadly as dress after dress comes on and off. With each one, I feel my heart break a little more while Sookie’s pained smile grows more and more into a grimace. I actually leave the floor for a second to wipe my eyes. I don’t know how Sookie holds in so much… It’s just killing me to watch and Pam’s acting like it’s all no big deal! I know she’s a vamp, but could she really not tell this is killing Sookie?!

Just when I storm back in to the dressing room to give the vampire a piece of my mind, Sookie’s getting yet another dress pulled over her head, and my hands ball up into fists. Before I can holler at our friend, Sookie gasps, then lets out a large sob. I freeze at the dress she’s wearing. It’s old.

I don’t mean vintage, it’s old.

Where? How? When!?” Sookie scrambles while she looks down at the dress, back at the mirror, then at the dress again. Her hands are gently running over the fabric almost as though she believes it might disintegrate if she touches it too firmly.

Pam’s face transforms into a mischievous grin, “After Eric bought your old home, he had all of the boxes and trunks placed in a storage locker. Since the house was so old and had been an ancestral home, he figured there might be antiques he could sell or donate. Of course, he was taking his time with it, and then he met you and your brother. Ever since he proposed, he has been looking for as much memorabilia of your family to bring out for the wedding.”

Sookie’s managed to stumble to the sitting area of the large dressing room and is still sobbing while running her hands over and over the material. She looks at me, filled with emotion, and weeps, “This is my Momma’s dress. Gran gave it to her to wear for her weddin’. It’d been hers and was s-s’pose to be m-mine n-next!”

Great, now I’m crying! I reach for my best friend and hold her tightly while my tears drip into her hair. “C’mon, Pam, get in on some of this estrogen!” I sniffle and beckon our vampire friend with a wave of my hand. Pam rolls her eyes, but takes a step over to pat Sookie’s head.

You are just lucky that your grandmother had good taste,” Pam grumbles.

Sookie’s POV:

Eric doesn’t seem at all surprised when I come crashin’ through our front door and leap into his arms. Actually, he’s lookin’ mighty prepared for it since his arms are open and he’s laughin’ into my hair as my face buries its sobs in to his shoulder. My arms and legs are wrapped around his body while I cry and his hands are holdin’ me by my butt as he just sways back and forth while I sniffle and thank him over and over again.

You act so surprised,” Eric laughs softly into my hair when one of his hands leaves my bottom to stroke the back of my head soothingly.

I didn’t know you kept everythin’ from the house!” I wail, clutching at him tighter.

I feel his confusion, “Pam did not explain why I still had it?”

She did, I just didn’t think you’d have cared to hold onto it before you knew me,” I confess as my arms and legs loosen around him and I slide back to the ground.

Eric gives me a wry shake of his head, “I was not in any sort of a hurry after I bought this house. Since I appreciated the peacefulness, I considered the possibility there would be furniture pieces I might want to include in the final design. I had Adriana Metcalf put everything into storage lockers and she pulled furniture when it was appropriate. Then, after I met you, I knew I would not be able to throw out anything until after you and Jason had an opportunity to go through it all. However, once we began talking marriage…” He tapers off with an embarrassed shrug. I think that’s the closest I’ve ever heard Eric come to babblin’!

I love you so much,” I tell him while I pull my fiancé into a tight hug.

Where is your dress?” Eric asks curiously.

Oh, Pam has it. She pinned it to me and is gonna get it ready for me for the weddin’,” I tell him with a big grin.

This is the most excited I have seen you about the wedding,” he tells me happily. His hands are on me, running up and down my sides, and we’re rockin’ back and forth almost like we’re dancin’.

I’m real excited now,” I confess. “I think my heart was a little broken at first, and I just didn’t know why till I had that dress on… It was like my brain went, ‘this is what you were missin’.’ Now I’m just so excited and happy, and I wish it was December already!”

Why did your Aunt not have the dress?” Eric asks me curiously.

Linda didn’t want to wear it,” I shrug. “She wanted her own dress, not Gran’s hand-me-down. My Momma told us she sobbed after Gran asked if she would wear it for her weddin’. Momma’s parents were dead and Gran made her feel like she had a family again when she offered her own weddin’ dress.”

Have you thought of what song you would like us to dance to?” Eric asks me next as we continue to rock back and forth. I shake my head and lean my temple against his chest while we just stand and sway.

I gotta figure out what I’m dancin’ to with Jason, too,” I realize with a grimace. “I just realized, I got no idea what all I’m supposed to do…”

Well, we need to know where we are getting married. We will need food for the human guests, tables, chairs, music, invitations will need to go out shortly-”

Uh,” I stop our music-less dance and lean back to look at my future husband. “Help?”

Eric grins down at me, “How about I order you a pizza, and then we start figuring out this wedding together?”

And that is why I am marrying this man!

Camilla’s POV:

And then!” I swoon, “Pam starts putting another dress over Sookie’s head, and it’s her mother’s wedding dress! Godric, it was so beautiful and sweet!”

Godric laughs while he runs his fingers through my hair, “It sounds like it was an exciting day.”

Did you know?” I ask in surprise.

Of course, I knew,” Godric frowns at me. “I have been helping Eric go through storage containers for the last two weeks while you were at work. Even Pam has been helping.”

You didn’t say anything,” I pout. His answer to my half-hearted accusation is to tap my head. “Oh, yeah. I can’t keep secrets from Sookie,” I realize and, for a moment, that makes my heart ache.

What is it, Mila?” Godric asks, and I assume it’s because of my little disappointment.

How soon after we’re Bonded… Do you think you’ll turn me?” I begin tentatively.

Whenever you wish, Mila. It could be the evening after or years down the road,” he tells me sincerely.

And will having both Jason and me as fledglings at the same time be hard on you?” I press.

Godric shakes his head, “Pam and Eric will be here to help Jason along, so I may remain focused on you. Honestly, with yours and Jason’s temperaments, I am not concerned in the least. You two would make poor vampires, but whatever it is you would call us now… You will be excellent.”

My brow scrunches as I admit, “I have no idea what you mean…”

With a gentle smile, Godric tells me, “Eric and I are prepared to retain some of our darkness… To keep a foot in the shadows… We were born from worlds of violence and war and it is second nature for us to fight. You, Jason, and Sookie are innocents compared to the worlds Eric and I have known and we will protect that innocence at any cost.”

I give my lover a wry smile, “I’d be far less innocent if I remembered what happened to me back in December.”

I am grateful that you never will, though saddened over what you have lost-”

I’m not,” I assure him firmly. “Whatever life I had prior to this one means nothing. You and the last four months mean more to me than anything or anyone of the last twenty years. If sacrificing twenty years gives me an eternity of your love, I won’t just accept it; I will grasp it gratefully.”

Godric strokes my hair thoughtfully before he speaks again, “Sometimes I wonder if you would feel that way if you had any memories of the last twenty years.”

I don’t care to live in the world of ‘what if’ anymore. I have amazing brothers and sisters because of your Bloodline. I have a man who loves me desperately and an eternity to love him back. Now, the sun has set and I am one day closer of having that life forever.”

Godric’s hand stops tangling in my hair and I smile as he covers my body with his own. Wrapping my arms and legs around him, I pull Godric closer as his mouth finds mine and our tongues lance against his distended fangs. As our blood mingles and trickles down our throats, all I can think is, One more night, and I’m part of this family forever!

On to Chapter Thirty-Eight!

Catalyst Ch. 36

Chapter Thirty-Six: By Any Other Name

Camilla’s POV:

Ugh, go away! I groan internally as, yet again, my manager looms over me like some conceited gargoyle.

I think I got it now, Jim,” I say as nicely as possible. When his brow furrows, I realize I could have sounded a little nicer, “Counting down a till isn’t that hard,” I try again to be both kind and dismissive. His presence makes my skin crawl, but I know Godric is picking me up tonight, so I’m a bit more confident about pushing against his infringement of my personal space.

Jim stands up straight, walks around me, and then leans against the wall of the counting room. I want to roll my eyes when he juts his hips outward in a ‘relaxed stance’ leaning against the wall. Get your dick out of my face! I think irritably while I count as fast as I can, checking my totals against my printout.

Once I’m done, I shove the tray at Jim and cross my arms over my chest petulantly while he takes it to the saferoom. Standing, I stomp back out to the floor to pick up the trash I neglected before closing. I’d been too busy before the doors locked, so I decided to do it while Jim finished with his nightly totals and paperwork.

I hold my hand to my face when I enter the little room with the garbage chute, a handy access panel that lets you throw stuff in the dumpster without having to leave the building. It smells disgusting in here, this sour, rotting stench that curdles in your nose. I’ve only been working here two weeks, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this smell.

Opening the hatch to the chute, I throw the bags of trash down the short passageway and snap it shut quickly. When I turn to leave, I let out a little shriek and clutch at my heart. Jim is standing on the other side of the door, staring at me through the little window that keeps employees from smacking each other with the door. Before my heart can calm, Jim flings the swinging door open and stomps into the trash room beside me.

I-I’m done in here,” I tell him nervously. Why is he in here?

No, you’ll always belong right here,” Jim laughs at his tasteless joke. Did he just call me white trash? I wonder in confusion. “And if you ever talk to me again like you did earlier, I’ll make sure you spend more time in here,” he says, losing his previous humor.

Talk like what?” I snap irritably. “If you didn’t stand on top of me, maybe I wouldn’t have to tell you to back off!”

He takes a step closer to me and I take a step back, my shoulders pressing against the wall. Ewww! Garbage juice… On my back!

Get out of my face,” I tell Jim firmly.

“Or what?” Jim demands, a smug grin on his face.

My entire face tightens into a scowl, “If you touch me, I’ll scream bloody murder, and my boyfriend will rip you apart!”

Jim snorts, reaching for me, “I call your bluff.”

I swear to God, I had no idea I had a horror movie-worthy scream in me. Fortunately, that’s exactly what pierces the air and Jim flinches away at first, probably in surprise. His hesitation only lasts a second though, then he slaps me across the face, silencing me. One of my hands reaches up to hold the stinging part of my face while the other tries to swat at his fingers after he starts grabbing at me. Eventually, I’m fighting with both hands and his grasps become less taunting and more intentional. He’s really trying to put his hands on me now!

GODRIC!” I yell after one of my hands gets pinned to the disgusting wall. “GODRIC!” I scream again, shutting my eyes in pain once his other hand grips me by the throat to shut me up.

The pain is short-lived, though, and before I fall into full-blown panic, I feel Jim’s hand leave my throat. I blink my eyes open and there’s my Godric, yanking this scumball off me. My hand touches my neck, finding it a little tender while my vampire is throwing Jim out of the disgusting room and stomping after him.

“Place your hands on her again and I will remove them from your wrists!” Godric snarls, “She quits. Fuck off!” I’m still standing in the garbage room like an idiot when Godric comes back to me. He touches my wrist when he comes to stand in front of me and my hand drops to show him whatever damage my body’s sustained. “A few light bruises, but nothing too painful,” he assesses calmly and maybe I’m a
little disappointed he’s not angrier. “Come, Camilla,” he takes my hand and leads me out of the store.

I don’t spot any broken windows or doors, then realize he must have picked his way in or something. My heart sinks further. My safety didn’t even warrant a frantic need to come to my aide? I realize miserably. Jim was about to rape me and Godric took the time to pick the lock. He didn’t even do anything more than push Jim away and issue a mild threat.

Godric opens the passenger door for me, although he seems to hesitate before stepping away to let me sit down. Once I’m seated, Godric shuts my door and moves to get behind the wheel.

Are you all right, Camilla?” Godric asks softly before starting the car.

Yes,” I whisper. If something like this doesn’t prove I’m anything more than a roommate, nothing ever will! I think in despair and tears start pouring out of my eyes. Dang it! I swipe at them angrily.

“Let me get you home-”

Will you take me to Sookie’s?” I try to ask steadily, but my voice is breaking. I can’t be near you. It hurts too much!

If that is what you wa-”

I do,” I say quickly and brush away another annoying tear. When Godric’s hand reaches for mine comfortingly, I act as though I don’t notice and quickly cross my arms over my chest, keeping them out of his reach. His touch feels bitter. All he offers is comfort…

Godric looks hurt after I refuse his comfort, but I just lean my head against the window and stare out at the passing lights. If he knew how much it hurt to know the person you love only sees you as a friend, he might not have offered me his touch at all.

I listen while Godric calls either Eric or Sookie, I’m not sure which. All I know is he is speaking very softly, and he mumbles the word ‘attack’ as if he believes it will trigger something in me. He does remember my first memory is being naked and surrounded by vampires in a warehouse… Right? This experience falls very short of traumatizing for me. Tonight, Godric hurt me more than Jim ever could.

Once we arrive at the Northman Condo, as I call it, Sookie comes bounding out and flings open my door. She’s got her arms wrapped around me like a mama bear protecting her cub and I try to make her aware of my exasperation through my expression. Of course, she’s a telepath, so I guess I don’t need to use any expressions!

Sookie pulls away and gives me an appraising look, “What are-”

Inside,” I tell her and stalk toward the front door. Eric watches me storm past, his eyebrows raised. He gives Godric a questioning look and the vampire who’s not mine lifts his shoulders, completely clueless.

Safely seated on Sookie’s couch, she brings me a cup of tea I guess she’d started making after Godric called. “What’s goin’ on?” she asks after I take the warm mug.

I capture my lip between my teeth and point to my head pleadingly. Her brow furrows, but she nods in agreement to just listen to my head, rather than make me talk. We do this from time to time, whenever I have something to say or ask and I don’t want the vampires knowing.

After she nods to let me know she is listening, I let her have it, all my worries and concerns, what really hurt me tonight, and why I can’t stay with Godric anymore. By the time she’s absorbed everything I think and feel about the situation, her head is in her hands and she groans.

What?” I ask.

Camilla,” she groans again, then reaches for a pad of paper. She jots down her message and turns it toward me.

~ He was going to ask you tonight if you would date him! Probably didn’t want to have the moment ruined- ~

Whatever the rest of her message says, I’ll never know because my heart is galloping in my chest. Godric was going to ask me out? Like out, out!? My lip is quivering, so I stand up and begin pacing. Oh, no! How will I get him to ask me now!?

Patience,” Sookie whispers just softly enough that Godric and Eric would only hear if they’re paying close attention to our conversation. She points again to her note, so I finish reading it now that my anxiety is less distracting.

~ -by the events of tonight. Give him a few days, act normal, let him be reassured you are all right. After that, he’ll ask you.

As for the whole deal about him being “complacent” during your attack, Eric and Godric need to keep their cool, Cammie. Especially when they’re dealing with humans they can’t, or shouldn’t, kill. It’s very easy for them to accidentally kill humans. I guarantee Godric was reeling inside, but he really needs to keep himself in check. It’s a thing you learn to do after a millennium, I guess. ~

Okay, so Godric does want to date me and he was probably super-upset over what happened with Jim, more than just friend or roommate being upset.

Think you’re ready to go home now?” Sookie asks me with a smile I think is a bit teasing.

Yeah, I think I am,” I nod in agreement while mouthing, “Thank you!” She just grins and nods.

Sookie stands and walks me to the door. Godric and Eric are standing on the sidewalk, talking quietly with one another, so I wave goodbye to Sookie and apologize for the interruption.

You always know where to find me when you need me,” Sookie reminds me sweetly.

She’s such a weird, but good, friend to have. Sookie is the kind of friend who mothers me, makes sure I’m eating, getting enough sleep, and that I’m happy. She’s also the kind of friend who teases me and is goofy and sweet… She’s my best friend in the whole world…

Godric’s POV:

Camilla exits the condo, waving goodbye to Sookie, and looking much happier than when we arrived. “She looks better,” I murmur to Eric.

Sookie is good for that,” he replies just as quietly, a soft smile on his face.

Before I can say anything else, Camilla is standing next to me, and I am forced to say goodnight to my Child. Unfortunately, I could have used more time with him. After the events of this evening, I do not know how to proceed after my earlier resolve.

Do I wait? How long? I wonder nervously while I hold Camilla’s door open. She smiles at me sweetly, gets in and sits down, folding her hands in her lap as I shut the door. At least Camilla seems in better spirits, even if I am still a blend of impatience and uncertainty. Impatient to claim her and uncertain if it is a poor time for doing so. Would having me make her feel happy? Is she feeling too vulnerable to accept what I would have to offer? Yes, a blend, or what I would deem a farrago.

Once I take my seat behind the wheel, a sigh of relief comes past my lips when Camilla takes my hand. I chance a glance at her and she smiles apologetically. What a relief for her to seek my touch!

While I drive, she continues holding my hand and I sense nervousness in her touch. Her thumb runs anxiously against the back of my hand, so I look at her worriedly. “Are you all right, Camilla?” I ask gently.

“Um, yeah,” she answers and gives my hand a squeeze as we arrive at the house. I quickly open her door for her and walk her into the house.

You should go rest,” I tell her.

“Shower first,” she grumbles and goes toward the bathroom.

As soon as the water is running, I take out my phone and hit my third speed dial.

Not traumatized, just waiting on you, Godric,” Sookie replies in her knowing tone that makes me doubt her inability to hear vampire minds.

How did you-”

Eric told me about your concerns after you left,” she replies simply, “Camilla was only distant before ’cause she thought she didn’t mean anythin’ to you. Go prove her wrong.”

You really are quite meddlesome,” I sigh.

I only meddle when people are bein’ stupid and you’re bein’ stupid. You deserve her. She wants you. Go get her!” She hangs up on me after that and I cannot help but chuckle.

When is the last time someone hung up on me? I wonder in delight.

It is with that thought I finally have the words I had desperately sought earlier this evening. Without thinking, I storm into the bathroom, making Camilla jump while she dries her hair. A thick, white towel is wrapped around her body and she clutches it modestly while the blowdryer clatters against the counter.

Knock much?” Camilla snaps, fumbling to turn off the dryer.

I apologize,” I mumble in embarrassment, “However, I need to speak with you and it is important.”

Camilla puts down the dryer and looks away from the mirror to look at me curiously, “Is something wrong?” she asks.

I shake my head. “No. Something is very right,” I take a step toward her and delight at the little catch in her breath.

Godric,” Her voice trails off when I stand directly in front of her.

Without hesitating, I cup her heart-shaped face in my palms and look directly into her eyes, “I am the most unworthy creature you will ever meet, Camilla. I have done terrible things and I do not deserve any of the affection you could spare me… But, I beg you for it. I have been an Impervious Immortal for ten months and every day I feel some of the darkness of my past being chipped away by that blessing. Yet, after I met you and began spending time with you, that darkness was stripped from me so completely. Your light and warmth heal me more than the sun ever could. Please,” I whisper, “let me stay in your light.”

Camilla’s hands grip my wrists and I feel my hands being wrenched away from her face. Thankfully, before I can worry about rejection, she is pressing her lips against mine urgently. “Every day,” she murmurs against my mouth and her hands release me to tangle in the short strands of my hair. Frantically, I pull her body flush to mine and capture her in my arms, unwilling to let her go. She responds by wrapping her arms around my neck and braces herself to do the same with her legs around my waist.

Camilla,” I groan as her mouth trails to the corner of my own and she begins to kiss across my cheek toward my throat.

I have loved you for months,” she murmurs against my ear, “All I wanted to hear… Thank you, thank you…” She is kissing my ear and tugging the lobe between her teeth. “Take me to bed?”

An actual growl tears through my throat while I carry her out of the bathroom into my former bedroom. Camilla has effectively turned this into her own space, but I find it oddly suitable for me as well. Perhaps because I have loved her just as helplessly, I find everything about her just as lovely, even her taste in décor.

Quickly, I push her towel open and kiss along her bare flesh. My lips warm against the heat of her skin as I suckle and kiss her throat.

Godric,” Camilla murmurs. “I want your blood. I want you to feel how much I love you,” she tells me pleadingly and I groan at her request. “Please, Godric,” she arches beneath me and I feel my fangs descend.

Eagerly, I slice my tongue on a pointed incisor and plunge it into Camilla’s mouth. Her ecstatic moan as she tastes my blood resounds in my heart when I feel her emotions bloom inside me. It is healing and beautiful to have her enveloping my soul and that is why I do not notice when she cuts her tongue against my fang.

When I taste her blood, I pull away, feeling her presence within me lock itself into the beginnings of our ritual, “Camilla, did you…”

Every day,” she reminds me of her promise, “if you want me.”

I kiss her…hard. My body is moving against hers with a desperate necessity at her resolve. My hands are tracing all her curves, earning small gasps and moans as they impatiently explore her flesh.

Ah, slow,” Camilla gasps, taking hold of my hands and easing my eagerness. She brings my hands to her lips, kissing my palms. “Slow,” she urges gently and I take a deep, calming breath. I remind myself that though her body may or may not be virginal, her mind is another matter. She has no memories of being bedded and I will be the only one to make love with Camilla.

A soft smile touches my lips and I lean down to kiss her gently. “Yes,” I agree, sliding my hands up her body to cradle her head. I kiss her again and again until her limbs wrap tightly around me once more.

I begin kissing down the length of her body. At each landmark, I pay great attention. Her clavicles, breasts, navel, and hover only briefly at her sex before pushing her legs wide open. I glance up to find her watching me intently with her dilated eyes. Her mouth is parted slightly, panting softly as I stare up at her. As my tongue reaches out to lick at her folds, I see her hold her breath, and it makes me smile.

She is already so wet, coating my tongue with her arousal. I prod with my tongue and fingers, suckling, nibbling, and stroking her until her body arches like a harp. My fingers are gliding effortlessly in and out of her opening. Her legs are shaking, and her chest is falling and rising rapidly.

Do I excite you this much, Camilla?” I tease between caresses of my tongue.

Yes,” she whines as my fingers flex inside of her.

I could give her this sweet torture until daybreak and still not be satisfied. Luckily for her, I am just as excited and impatient to unite our bodies. That is why I end my mouth’s efforts and begin kissing my way up to meet her lips.

Now, Camilla?” I ask, my lips moving against hers with my words. I let my fingers graze tauntingly against her carotid.

YES!” she shouts, and I smile as my hand trails from her throat, down her abdomen and finally between her legs once more. This time, however, I take my own sex into my hand and rub it tauntingly against her wetness. “Ah,” Her hands tighten in my hair and I feel her walls barring me from entering. I lick her throat briefly and she relaxes enough that I may start feeling her heat surrounding me. Her body resists again, and I feel her hold her breath.

I chuckle against her ear, “You are being stubborn, Mila…” She whimpers at my new pet name for her, but I nibble my way from her throat to her shoulder to earn more of those sweet noises. My hand pinches and plucks at her nipple until Camilla’s legs wrap about my hips and pull me inside. “Thank you,” I whisper against her ear while her heat envelopes me.

I’m s-sorry,” she is staring into my eyes, and I feel a strange surge of disappointment from her.

Why are you sorry?” I ask of her. “You are amazing!”

I-I,” she whispers, but is still holding me as if scared. I see the conflict in her eyes and wonder about her regrets I sense.

Why are you upset, Mila?” I murmur soothingly in her ear.

Her lip quivers while she meekly replies, “It didn’t hurt.”

I am glad,” I smile.

You’re not the first one in here,” she tells me, “That makes me sad.”

I capture her lips with mine, drawing her into a slow, comforting kiss, “As far as either of us knows, I am, and always will be, the only one who has had my Camilla.”

Camilla’s arms and legs tighten around me and she draws my head to rest against her shoulder. I kiss there, gently rocking the both of us until her hold loosens, and I can move unobstructed.

Go-God!” Her fists clench in the bedding while I move inside of her. Her spine arches, so her hips meet mine at a heavenly angle that brings a sob to her lips.

Camilla meum,” I groan against her shoulder, kissing and licking while her body tightens around mine. “Mea, mea!” My voice is coming in sharp pants against her ear as my mind is lost within my heart. My Camilla. Mine, mine!In perpetuum!Forever!

Her inner walls flex around me as Camilla cries out, then her entire body jerks in an abrupt orgasm, telling me it is time to lose myself in her, at last. Clutching her tightly against my body, my hips press upward to fill her. My erection throbs pleasurably, emptying my gratification inside her ravenous channel.

She stares up at me, catching her breath, the towel she had been wearing still beneath her. “Whoa,” she finally utters when she has the breath to do so.

I smile, lean in, and kiss the corner of her mouth. “Yes. Whoa,” is my agreement.

Her mouth seeks out mine, kissing me slowly as her eyes gloss over. She stares at me while we kiss and I stare right back until she moans and begins to shift away. Camilla turns her back to me, wrapping my arms around her as if I am her blanket. My member folds neatly between the crease of her buttocks and I quickly appreciate the position.

Tell me something?” Camilla asks me. “Anything from your past I should know,” she requests.

One of my hands begins to palm her breast while I consider her demand. There are many things from my past she should know and will know… Yet, in this moment, I want to bask in the glow of our lovemaking, not ruin it with my darkness. As my mind gropes for one beautiful memory, I feel Camilla’s body go boneless within my arms, and she is quickly asleep.

Grateful for my reprieve, I plant a gentle kiss against her shoulder, and pull her a little tighter to myself. I have no words at this moment other than ones of love. I do not want to visit my darkness, nor tour her through that gloom. For now, all I want is to hold this sunlight in my arms through the night and pretend for only a moment that I did something to deserve her. Thankfully her repose has given me just that and I kiss her one more time in gratitude.

On to Chapter Thirty-Seven!

Catalyst Ch. 35

Chapter Thirty-Five: Changes

Eric’s POV:

Godric of Gaul,” Magister Jorge Alonzo de San Diego greets my Maker coolly while I hold Grissom tightly in my grip.

Jorge,” Godric nods at him with just as mild a temper.

So, what has earned me an audience with the entirety of the Gaul line?” the Magister asks, sarcastically amused. We have all fallen out of his regard since we have integrated with humans. Currently, I am the one who has offended him most on a personal level by Bonding.

Godric crosses his arms over his chest, “I have joined this meeting to make you aware that I have retained one of the ‘dolls’ from Grissom’s shop.”

Jorge’s eyebrows raise, and I note a spark of appreciation, “Is that right? How is it coming along?”

Satisfactory,” Godric offers a shrug, but retains his neutral expression. If Jorge had any knowledge of Godric’s past in the slightest, he would have understood not to refer to Godric’s assistance of Camilla as ownership or training. Nonetheless, he is giddy at the prospect of Godric reverting to his vampire heritage.

I see,” Jorge nods, “and what of the other two dolls?”

Their separations were still in an early mental break via torture stage, so their bodies had not been physically altered. Therefore, we staged a head-on collision. Both have been taken to mental health facilities,” I explain.

Jorge curls his lips in distaste, “Why did you not destroy all the evidence and be done with it?”

Their memories have been wiped entirely of Grissom. Compton restored what he could of Grissom’s damage, so there was no need for such action,” I tell him firmly. “With the date of the Revelation closing in on us, unnecessary disposal of corpses is best avoided.”

Yet, you decided to waste your time staging a car accident, instead of killing them and hiding the bodies?” Jorge asks dully.

Car accidents are much more fun than burials,” I shrug.

I see,” He does not appear convinced by my motivation. “Just what spurred you to investigate Grissom’s facility? I have read in your reports you saw to its decommission over a year ago.”

During my annual tithe analysis, I discovered he had retained the property,” I explain. “He had not put it on the market and I decided to see what sort of use he had been making of it to tax him accordingly. That is when I discovered the dolls.” I do not like feeling as though I am the one on trial, still, I maintain my light, easy cadence.

Three dolls?” Jorge clarifies.

Yes. However, since I was only given such a short amount of time to investigate the matter, I have not yet been able to determine how many other dolls he has created in the last year,” I explain further.

Regardless,” Jorge waves off my explanation, “The North American Council has already granted him a pass.”

A pass?” I snarl angrily.

Jorge grins at my discontent, “Yes. They do not intend to keep trafficking illegal for the remainder of time. It will be suspended for the next ten years and re-evaluated later. We need experienced and promising doll creators. Grissom fits.”

My hand tightens on Grissom’s shoulder, attempting to earn one last grimace before he is released from my custody.

“Nevertheless, he has broken the law, which annoys the Council. Therefore, he will be fined half a million dollars,” I feel Grissom flinch beneath my grasp. “If you are caught trafficking before it has been restored to legal status, you
will be buried in silver.”

I want him out of my Area!” I snarl, making Jorge raise his eyebrows, “I will not abide a vampire who took a stake to my chest.”

Grissom shrugs, disinterested, “I will move to Area 2 then.” Great, François’ territory. Grissom could exist like a king in that whelp’s custody, I think angrily.

Jorge nods, “Your move will be noted, and François will be contacted about your impending arrival. Are we done here?”

Quite!” I snarl, shoving Grissom away from me angrily. “I want you out of Area 5 before sunup.”

I need-”

I cut off his objections, “You will be out of Area 5 by sunup or not even the Council will protect you from me.”

Grissom says nothing more as he takes off running and I watch him disappear into the night. “Trafficking should not be permitted to continue,” I tell Jorge sternly once Grissom is out of earshot.

Is that you or your Bonded speaking, Viking?” Jorge asks amusedly.

It is an unnecessary risk to take. Pets and dolls are dangerous forms of entertainment for us to maintain. The media frenzy they have the potential to create would be a complete shit storm and you all know it. Yet, you still believe that in ten years it might be worth the risk?” I rant.

Do not forget to whom you are speaking, Northman,” Jorge growls.

I am speaking to a vampire nearly half my age,” I remind curtly. “I am speaking to a vampire three times younger than my Maker! Do you honestly believe a Council and yourself, all comprised of vampires less than a millennium of age, save one, know better? Have you consulted your elders?” I demand. “What has Russell said? What about Joan, Caroline or Phillipe?”

Jorge scowls, “Russell and Joan are Bonded. Of course, the Council would never take their opinions into account on this matter. Caroline and Phillipe have expressed concerns, but it is not their decis-”

What about Diedre or the Ancient Pythoness?” Godric finally interrupts. “Surely they have not agreed to this ten-year suspension.”

Again, the Magister’s jaw tightens, and I watch as his eyes narrow angrily, “Diedre and the Pythoness declined voting.”

So, the Fledglings voted?” I demand, completely irate now.

You are getting out of line, Northman,” Jorge warns.

You are damning the Revelation before it can even happen,” I accuse. “You are risking the vampire race with your childish yearnings. You want to be out in the public, but you want to keep your nature. You cannot have everything!”

With that, Godric, Pam, and I storm out of the warehouse.

That was unwise, Eric,” Godric whispers once we are in the car. “You are waging a war with words like that.”

Then a war is what we will have,” I reply in frustration. “If they do not want the public to see them as malevolent creatures, then they should not condone such malicious ventures.”

I agree, but it is unlike you to show your hand that way,” Godric says, but I feel he is both proud and amused by my actions.

I showed him nothing but my opinion. Keep Camilla and Jason close at night. Move into Stackhouse’s apartment, or have him come live at your house until he is turned-”

He has been considering an earlier turning,” Pam tells us suddenly.

We both look at her in surprise. “Why?” I ask.

Camilla. What happened to her makes Jason desire to be vampire sooner,” she replies, and I hear a note of admiration in her voice. “We all should have seen it coming. The Stackhouses do not enjoy sitting on the sidelines. Jason wants to be a protector of our… Family. Not protected,” she clearly speaks the word ‘family’ with affection, and I find that I have the same attachment to that word. The Stackhouses have not joined our Bloodline, they have made us a family.

What a wonderful word that is…

Did you sense any anxiety in him when he told you this?” Godric asks with concern. “Does he feel pressured?”

I sensed more of an impatience than a concern,” Pam assures him. “He made a few good points about his change of heart. He mentioned wanting to get his yearling phase out of the way before beginning his teaching career. He wants our strength and speed; that the miniscule sacrifices were nothing compared to what he is denying himself currently. Jason is considering coming over after your wedding,” she finishes with a shrug.

I nod while I absorb this new information, “Master, perhaps we should have a few discussions with Stackhouse. Analyzing him during a candid discussion might let us see if he can be swayed.”

Those Stackhouses can be stubborn and impatient,” Pam reminds me.

I smirk at her words, “How do you think I ended up Bonded six months sooner than I originally agreed?”

All three of us share a chuckle as we arrive at Godric’s home. Camilla greets us at the door shyly and I smile at the fading bruises on her lovely face. After a few anti-inflammatories, the new structure of her bones is visible and I begrudgingly admit that Grissom made her into quite a beauty.

Hi, guys,” Camilla smiles at us warmly. “How was the trial?”

My face tightens at the sudden reminder. “Not what we had expected,” I confess. Her head tilts curiously and her brown eyes stare with a hint of anxiety. “Grissom was released from detainment with nothing more than a fine. I have banished him from my Area and he is making his way to Baton Rouge as we speak.” Camilla’s face falls into a frown and I place a comforting hand on her shoulder. “You will be safe, Camilla. I promise you are a priority of our Bloodline. Even after you choose to leave us, we will always watch out for you.”

Camilla gives me a soft, appreciative smile, “Thanks, Eric. I don’t know that I’ll ever truly want to leave you guys, though. If you’ll let me stick around, even in the background, I think I’d prefer that. Your wife is so nice. I’d like to stay her friend.”

Her words make me smile, but my only answer is to nod.

Sookie called,” Camilla continues after a moment. “She wanted to know if we all wanted to go see a movie, or maybe go out and discuss what happened tonight?”

We could go to that new coffeehouse,” Godric offers. “They have tea,” he assures after her hesitation.

I watch Camilla’s answering smile and take out my phone to call Sookie.

How was the trial?” My Bonded asks immediately upon answering.

Frustrating,” I reply. “Is your brother with you?”

Yup. Do you want to talk with him?”

No. Will you have him drive you to that coffeehouse you showed me the other evening? Camilla wishes to accept your offer to convene this evening.”

Oh, my Gawd, Darlin’. Can’t you just say she wants to hang out?” Sookie asks me in exasperation. “I love how professional you sound most days, but you really gotta learn to loosen up your dialogue. People are gonna think you walk around with a dictionary. I’m an English major and I still throw an “ain’t” into my sentences from time to time!”

Her little scolding brings chuckles to mine and my Bloodlines’ lips. “All right, Dear One. I’ll try.”

Oh, I’ll mark the calendar! My husband used a contraction!” she teases me. “Meet y’all in a bit. Love you.”

Love you, too,” I reply before hanging up. “They will meet us there,” I tell everyone before turning to the mortal in the room, “Camilla, there is a chill in the air. You should wear a sweater.”

I’ll grab a jacket,” She smiles with a roll of her eyes and skips to her bedroom that had formerly been Godric’s. Seeing as he does not go to rest and does not entertain guests, Camilla has taken it over.

Do you think you could keep on taking care of Camilla and raising Stackhouse through his first year with her in the house?” I ask Godric curiously.

I take very little care of Camilla,” Godric answers amusedly. “It has only been a week, and she is already talking about acquiring a part-time job once her injuries finish healing. I have had to try to dissuade her, but she has said it will help her feel ‘less like a house cat’.”

Soon the four of us are piling into Pam’s van to meet my Bonded and her brother at a coffeehouse called Java Jim’s. There are many college students gathered there, enjoying their winter break, and a handful of younger teenagers who are trying in vain to impress the older children.

I see my Bonded waving at us from the corner booth, the only table large enough to seat all six of us. After we seat ourselves, Camilla manages to situate herself between Sookie and Godric. It makes me tilt my head curiously at how the woman desires his proximity when she is stuck with him most of the time already. Sookie just smiles, places her chin in her hand, and gives her an amused glance.

Conversation begins after the living have their drinks and the story of Grissom’s joke of a trial brings a storm of outraged rants. A few patrons look at us curiously from time to time, but they do not appear to hear what we are discussing.

So, what does your little argument mean?” Jason asks once I have told them of my clash with Jorge’s disclosure.

I shrug, “Nothing, really. I made my opinion known, but since the argument was only witnessed by those with whom I share a bloodline, he cannot say that I was publicly disrespectful. Privately, I am permitted to express my opinion because I am his senior.”

Regardless,” Godric inserts, “his opinion might strike a chord of annoyance with the Council. If we were to openly object this intent by contacting other ancients and making them aware of the Council’s plan of merely suspending the roads rather than abolishing them, action will most certainly be taken against us.”

Which don’t matter,” Jason points out. “What are they gonna do to you? What could they do to you?”

The proper question is what could they do to you?” Sookie snaps irritably. Jason gives her a sheepish look, and I watch as Sookie’s head snaps to his direction. Her jaw drops, and she shakes her head in something akin to horror. “Jason! You’re… You want to-”

Sook, what’s the point of waitin’? I graduate college, get my rough year outta the way, and then I start teachin’,” Jason tells her in frustration. “We could start our first years as teachers together. Hell, with your man’s connections, we could probably work at the same school!”

He is not wrong. I could easily arrange that and it has been my intention to do so.

But,” Sookie sniffles, “if… If I’d known this might’ve been your last holiday season to… To eat I woulda made more of your favorites!” She is crying openly now and Camilla hands her a napkin to blot at her eyes.

Sook, it’s just somethin’ I’m thinkin’ ’bout,” Jason sighs with a shake of his head. “I have my reservations ’bout makin’ this my last new year as a human. I’ll tell ya what. I’ll do one more Thanksgivin’ and Christmas, so I can be human for your wedding. Okay?” She gives him a rough nod while she swipes at another tear. “Hey, c’mon, you can’t keep cryin’! Ya already got what you wanted!” he teases her playfully.

We all laugh at my future brother’s statement and I plant a soft kiss against Sookie’s temple, “I’ll make everything better,” I promise her teasingly, intentionally using a contraction to amuse her. It works and she scrunches her face, plainly saying without words she knows exactly what I am doing.

My response is to kiss her again and enjoy this time out with my family.

Sookie’s POV:

Sookie?” Camilla looks at me impishly while we sift through a stack of magazines, trying to decide on a new haircut for my newest friend. “What about this one?” She holds a page out for my inspection and I laugh. It’s a pixie cut. “What?”

Pam would ring your neck,” I tell her honestly.

I know. I don’t really want to cut off all my hair,” she giggles. “I just wanted to see your reaction. It wasn’t nearly as good as Pam’s will be!”

It’s my turn to giggle, “You got some nerves, Cammie. I don’t think I could prod Pam like that, even for a good laugh.”

That mischievous grin is back, and I gotta admit, Camilla has quickly become my best friend in the entire world. She’s funny and a bit of a trickster. She had swiped Godric’s phone, texted Eric that there was an emergency, and demanded that my Bonded bring me to his house immediately. Next thing I knew, Pam, Eric, Jason, and I were at Godric’s house with the eldest vampire staring at us, convened on his front porch, with an expression of complete confusion. Camilla had popped down the hall with a big grin and said, “Impromptu movie night!” We’d stayed up all night, watchin’ all these old movies I’d brought over for her.

How’s the new job goin’?” I ask her after a few more minutes of flippin’ through pictures.

Boring,” she confesses with a roll of her eyes. “My manager at the store stands too close. He was teaching me how to count down my register the first night I closed, and practically stood on top of me.”

I frown, “That’s not appropriate at all.”

I know,” she groans. “I just don’t know what to do. When he walks me to my car at the end of a closing shift, he puts his hand on my back like we’re walking together. I don’t know how to tell him it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want him to be mean to me at work.”

Did you tell Godric?” I ask.

Camilla shrugs, “He’ll just tell me to quit. He’s said I don’t have to work, that the Bloodline is happy to support me, but I like having something to do aside from studying. I still don’t know what I want to study in college when I start next fall. Working at the grocery store is so menial, it gives me plenty of time to think and work on my social interactions.”

I nod in understanding, “I get that. It’s real easy to get caught up in the family and forget about the rest of the world. The Kappas invited me to their Valentine’s Day party, and it took a lot of determination to make myself go. I just wanted to stay in with you guys and hang out. Y’know?”

I really do,” Camilla agrees. “No one will ever really know us like we do.”

The thing is, though, after I was at the party, I did have fun,” I offer consolation. “So, I totally get why the job means so much to you. It’s like stayin’ connected to the world.”

So, what do I do about Jim?” she asks.

What if Jason drops you off for your next closing shift and Godric picks you up? Just tell Jim that your boyfriend’s pickin’ you up? Maybe once he thinks you’re in a relationship, he’ll back off?”

Okay, I know this is a cheap way to get information, but I need to know!

Camilla’s face flushes at my suggestion, and I watch excitedly as she buries her face in her magazine, ‘If only it weren’t a charade!’

Just like that, my suspicions are confirmed. Camilla likes Godric as much more than just a roommate and teacher. My warm, fuzzy feelin’ at this realization is quickly turned cold after I realize this might be a lot tougher to work out than I think.

Godric might resist attraction to Camilla out of integrity for his role in her life. He might neglect her feelings for him out of sheer determination not to treat her like the doll she was supposed to become. A strange shiver runs down my spine. Am I blurring the lines too much?

We finally decide to just let Pam choose Camilla’s next hairstyle, seein’ as she’s done such a phenomenal job keepin’ mine in style. Once that’s decided, we hang out listening to music. Camilla’s found that she’s a Classic Rock girl, and I have fun introducing her to some of mine and Jason’s favorite southern rock bands and songs.

Finally, after the sun sets, Pam appears, and the three of us head to our salon. I need a waxin’, and Camilla’s gettin’ her hair done while Pam bounces between the two of us. When I catch a moment alone with Pam, I decide to ask her about the situation that’s been buggin’ me all afternoon.

Pam,” I mumble as some wax is ripped off my leg, “do you think Godric would ever… Um…” Pam raises her eyebrows at me, awaiting a completed question. “Do you think he’d ever, maybe, have feelings for… Cammie?”

The vampire blinks twice before her mouth frowns, “I do not know. I am aware of his fondness for her, but I am fond of her, too. It does not mean that those feelings will ever be… Romantic. Why?”

If he did have romantic feelings for her, would he act on them?” I evade her question with another question.

Unlikely. Why?” Pam presses.

But, what if she wanted him to?” I try to dodge again, offering a small hint to avoid flat-out givin’ out my friend’s ill-obtained secret.

Sookie,” Pam scowls, on to my game and not havin’ any of it.

I will neither confirm nor deny what I’ve heard,” I stress the word, hoping she catches on that I found out from use of my telepathy.

I see,” She’s quick on the uptake. “Given Godric’s perspective on his relationship with Camilla, I’m inclined to believe he would see it as an abuse of the situation. He will likely never try to court her since he would see it as taking advantage of her.”

What if she doesn’t see it like that?” I insist.

Pam’s face hardens, “It would not matter. More than likely, he would insist he give Camilla her own place to put distance between them.”

I frown at this news. Maybe Eric could talk some sense into him?

I think she would be good for Godric,” I state as another yank of wax makes me tense.

Pam relaxes now that she doesn’t feel like I’m tryin’ to wheedle info out of her, “Perhaps, but anything she feels for him, Godric would automatically assume is due to their forced cohabiting arrangements. Like Stockholm Syndrome,” she teases.

I roll my eyes at that, “You guys can just never accept that sometimes, mortals do know what they want.”

Blinking eyes stare at me in surprise, but Pam chooses not to say anything for the remainder of my treatment. Instead, she wanders back to the salon floor and checks on Camilla. I can hear her squawking orders to our stylist, Ashley, in the back of the salon. I don’t know why Pam doesn’t just do all our beauty stuff herself! She’s such a dictator over them!


Hey there, my sexy Bonded,” I greet Eric after I fling open the condo door and throw my purse on the entryway table. He hates when I do that, instead of putting it in the nearby closet, but it’s more convenient by the door.

Mmm, I smell wax,” He grins at me, lookin’ up from his laptop. “Bring those smooth legs over here.” He puts his laptop on the coffee table and pats his thighs invitingly. When I come over and sit with my limbs in his lap, he starts runnin’ his fingers up and down my sinfully smooth skin. “Gods, your skin is always so soft afterward,” he mumbles, squeezin’ my calf.

I gasp as his hands move higher and higher. No matter how many times I’ve felt his hands on me, it never gets old. Probably a good thing since we’re immortals.

He’s massaging my thighs now, and I part them when he reaches for my underwear. With a quick yank, my panties are off, and I moan in anticipation until I hear Eric snarl, “Damn it, Sookie!”

What?” I frown at him, lookin’ at him starin’ between my legs.

You ripped all of it off again!” he accuses, givin’ my mons a mournful pat.

I roll my eyes, “It’ll grow back, Eric. Bikini season’s comin’ up! I don’t like havin’ hair down there when I go to the beach!”

Our next residence will be in Canada,” he grumbles. I laugh, grab him by the hair, and yank his face down between my legs.

Stop gripin’ and start gropin’,” I tell him impatiently. You can’t rub on a girl’s legs like that and just stop!

My Bonded complies, pleasurin’ me with his mouth until I’m gaspin’ for air, and then he’s flipped me onto my stomach. He pushes into me from behind, and I groan at the altered position. It makes me feel tighter around him and rubs harshly against that sensitive spot inside me. Moanin’ and wrigglin’ beneath him, I cry out when he pierces my shoulder with his fangs. It makes me go wild under him and when it ends, I feel good and sated.

Eric wraps me up in his arms after and I clutch at his forearms, and lay snuggly against his chest, “Mmm, this really is the best life ever,” I tell him.

I could not agree more,” he whispers in my ear.

I wish Godric would let himself be as happy as we are,” I murmur.

Confusion seeps into our Bond and Eric asks, “What do you mean?”

Y’know, in a romantic relationship. Maybe even Bonded,” I say softly, like I’m still contentedly dazed from our couplin’. It takes a lot of self-control to feel as nonchalant as my voice portrays. Can’t let Eric know I’m playin’ him!

His confusion grows and he squeezes my breast contemplatively, “Bonding is more complicated than you may realize, Dear One. It is not a decision, it is a compulsion.”

Can it be resisted?” I ask curiously.

It could be, but the circumstances would have to be quite monumental for a vampire to do so,” he answers, and I feel suspicion taking the place of confusion. “Are you thinking of Camilla?” Busted!

Yes,” I answer contritely.

He sighs and squeezes me tightly to him, “I have been as well.”

His admission makes me turn in his arms excitedly, “Really?!”

Eric looks uncomfortable, “Sookie, it is not our business-”

We’re family! We’re supposed to mettle in each other’s love lives!” I tell him pointedly. “It’s… It’s a rule! And we’re the only married couple of our family! It’s our job!”

I feel his amusement and it makes me smile. Givin’ his lips a soft kiss, I murmur, “Godric deserves to be happy. Camilla really wants him to give her a chance, but he’s scared it’s not real. He thinks any infatuation she has for him is a result of their teacher/student relationship. Then there’s the whole doll thing, and he thinks he’d be takin’ advantage of her-”

You have been talking to Pam,” he realizes, and I can hear the entertained annoyance in his voice. I’m really the only person who can walk the very fine line of agitating him and makin’ him love every second of it.

So?” I ask in as girly a voice as I can, and push out my bottom lip for good measure. He rolls his eyes at me and I kiss his throat. “What’s wrong with worryin’ about my friend acceptin’ his right to be happy?” I kiss his clavicle now and shimmy a little bit as I work myself lower… and lower… and lower. “Doesn’t Godric deserve to be as happy as we are?” His cock is between my breasts, hardening as I deliberately squish it between them.

Sookie, I know what you are doing,” he growls.

And your point?” I tease, givin’ him another squeeze.

As his Child, it is not my place to talk sense into him about this,” Eric reminds me. I stroke him with my tongue. “He is a thousand years my senior. I have no chance of convincing him otherwise,” I wriggle my tongue against the thin slit at his tip. “He will never accept a-a word I say,” Just a little more, I think while I cup his balls and give them a tauntin’ squeeze. “B-but,” Buuuuuut? My tongue teases and my hand squeezes. “I suppose, it would not hurt to try.”

No, Darlin’, it wouldn’t hurt a bit,” I agree just before enveloping his entire length with my mouth and descending until he’s cradled in the back of my throat.

Eric’s POV:

Over a thousand-years-old, and I am the one who is pussywhipped by my eighteen-year-old Bonded, I think in frustration while driving to Godric’s home alone. Camilla has already left for work, having been driven by Jason for some reason Sookie refused to explain. I feel her at home, smugly studying for exams while I prepare myself to try convincing my Maker to court a human.

I cannot begin to imagine how this conversation will go. Secretly, I am praying Godric uses his Maker’s Command to dismiss me before I even begin.

Pulling into the driveway, I pause momentarily before going to his door and knocking. Godric’s eyebrows are raised questioningly when he answers, awaiting an explanation for my visit.

Master,” I greet uncomfortably.

Eric,” he returns, giving away nothing. He waits for me to justify my unannounced arrival upon his doorstep.

May I come in?” I ask, attempting for an air of resolve. His eyebrows raise infinitesimally higher, but he steps aside and opens the door further to allow me entrance.

Stepping inside, I clear my throat unnecessarily.

“Eric,” Godric sighs, “whatever it is, just say it.”

I have it on good authority that Camilla desires much more than just your mentorship,” I blurt. When Godric’s jaw clenches and I sense agitation showing on his face, I know I only have moments to make my case. “However, before you command me to leave,” I continue quickly, “consider your reasons for resisting-”

Get out,” It is not a command, still, it causes my body to tighten.

If you feel that you would be abusing your status-”

Out, Eric,” he says again.

-then consider that perhaps you are not the only one-”

“I told you to leave!”

-who is finding it difficult to keep yourself from wanting,” I finish in a rush, and Godric stares at me angrily. Yet, he is not pushing me out the door, he is still not commanding me, so I add, “Why does it have to be more than something as simple as you are wanted?” When he has no reply, I press further, “You could make the same argument for Sookie and I. She could have found herself falling for me because of the security I brought to her and her brother. I could have believed she felt beholden to me for my generosity to Jason. The difference is, I had the confidence to know I am desirable.”

You think I lack self-esteem?” Godric barks on a surprised laugh.

My shoulders lock, squaring my body off in preparation for the attack my next words might bring, “I did not die as a man who thought himself unworthy, unloved, or unwanted. Did you?” Godric punches me in the jaw, sending me sailing toward the wall. It is only spared destruction when I use my ability of flight to slow down my momentum. I hate using that gift in these instances, but use it nonetheless, because the shift in velocity and rapid deceleration tends to break bones.

Master,” I wince while one of my ribs slips back in place, “for a moment, imagine that you are worthy of Camilla and wanted by her. I know from Sookie’s rants on Camilla’s behalf that she is propositioned continually at her job at the grocer’s. Yet, not a single man has turned her eye. Why do you think that is?”

It is circumstantial,” Godric snarls. “If she had stayed with you or Jason then-”

Then her feelings for you might have taken longer to develop because she would have gotten to know you slower than she had,” I argue. “Give her a chance. Give yourself a chance, Master.”

Where did you get the spine to speak to me this way?” Godric grumbles, but I see he is more irritated with himself than angry at me.

When have you ever known me to lack a spine?” I demand a bit indignantly.

You know what I mean,” he sighs.

I offer him little more than a shrug and state, “I have a mettlesome Bonded. If you gave yourself a chance, you might have one, too.”

Godric bows his head with an expression I have never seen on his face. Only love could strip away thousands of years of experience and bring a surge of uncertainty to a vampire’s face.

Since Godric finds words have evaded him, I tell him in a reassuring tone, “You did not create that mischievous side of Camilla. You did not make her into a competent mathematician. Now, why do you think you made her fall in love with you? Proximity is supposed to breed contempt, not affection,” I tease at the end, making Godric smirk.

I suppose,” Godric whispers, “I am a little frightened.”

This admission makes my eyebrows rise, “Frightened? Of what?”

When I must tell her all my sins,” he says quietly.

Sookie still learns mine,” I tell him. “She is constantly learning some new, abhorrent thing about me, but she still loves me. Sometimes I scare her, sometimes I upset her, but she still loves me.”

I have a thousand years’ worth of sins you do not,” Godric protests weakly.

If she is meant to be your Bonded, those extra thousand years will mean nothing to her,” I reassure him.

I have not courted a woman in…” Godric pauses as if he is counting before he barks on a laugh. “Have I never courted a woman?” he asks me amusedly.

Thinking back, I cannot recall a single instance. Godric and I were quite the same in that regard, not letting emotion get involved with our sexual needs. Although, my Maker indulged far less often than I did.

How do I change our relationship?” Godric asks me, at a loss.

My hands raise at my own loss, “This is Sookie’s territory, not mine.” When I see Godric reach into his pants’ pocket to extract his phone, I ask in surprise, “Are you calling my Bonded for advice?”

He only offers a nod when the phone begins ringing, “Sookie-”

I’ll be over in ten minutes!” she says excitedly before hanging up.

We are left to stare at each other blankly until ten minutes later, I hear Sookie’s BMW pull into the driveway. I must resist the impulse to check the car for a new scratch or dent. She only just passed her driving exam, and every day I curse Camilla for teaching her how to drive. My insurance is going through the roof! If I am lucky, she will get her license suspended.

This is so exciting!” Sookie cries after she flings open the door and hugs both myself and my Maker. “Oh, we need to change your clothes!” she states, running to Godric’s room to raid his closet. We both remain standing like statues while she hops back and forth with clothing, holding them up to Godric and shaking her head before tossing them aside. Soon the entire floor is covered in clothes until she hands him a button down, jeans, and pair of boots. “Wear this,” she commands, shoving the articles into his arms.

Godric shrugs and begins stripping in the middle of the living room, forcing Sookie to squeak and cover her eyes. When he flashes me an amused grin, I know he is paying her back for the mess she has made of his home.

I am dressed. Now what?” Godric asks once Sookie turns around and looks him over. She runs her hands through his hair a few times, deciding how it looks best. She mumbles to herself and walks around him. “Sookie,” Godric moans, “how do I make Camilla let me court her?”

Oh, my Gawd! I’m gettin’ there!” Sookie protests with that whine of hers that I find absolutely adorable. Her accent is too sweet.

All right,” she finally nods at Godric’s appearance approvingly, “Now, all you gotta do is pick her up at the store when her shift lets out. Meet her by the door, so you can walk her to the car, and make a big show of it, so that sleaze of a manager gets the picture.”

Make a show of it?” Godric asks with a frown.

“Y’know, hold her hand, maybe kiss it a coupla times? It always makes me melt when Eric does that,” Sookie blushes, and I find myself taking her hand and kissing the back of it. “Ya big flirt,” She winks at my actions.

So, that means I want to court?” Godric’s frown deepens.

No, that’s just to get her pulse goin’,” Sookie explains. “Oh! Park your car in the shopper’s area, not the employee side. You don’t want Jim hangin’ ’round while you make your big move!” Sookie inserts quickly.

Courting!” Godric bellows.

I’m gettin’ there, I’m gettin’ there!” Sookie tells him. “So, when you open her door for her, pull her to ya real close and just tell her all soft and husky how you feel.”

Godric looks at me with wide eyes, “How I feel?”

Not like some grand declaration,” Sookie clarifies. “Just speak from the heart, be a little vulnerable, and don’t kiss her until she leans in for it. You’ll regret it if you don’t wait.”

Will I?” Godric looks lost.

Yes, you will, because you’ll always worry in the back of your head that she didn’t want you to, but went along with it anyway,” Sookie tells him sternly. “I know you, Godric, and you will always assume the worst about yourself.”

I must admit, my Bonded really does understand my Bloodline very well. She knew why Godric had called her without more than reading his name on her caller I.D. She knew his hesitations and doubts, and she reassured them in her own funny, sweet, ‘Sookie’ way.

There is no denying that beyond her telepathy, Sookie is quite adept at reading people and vampires. Or perhaps it is matters of the heart she understands so well.

On to Chapter Thirty-Six!