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.

Yes.”

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.

TBC

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!

Catalyst Ch. 33

Chapter Thirty-Three: Incoming Compton

Eric’s POV:

There are many advantages to being an Impervious Immortal. One of them is that when my prey must stop and rest, or in this case, die for the day, I am not forced to end my pursuit. Grissom had been forced to take shelter, while I remained capable of tracking. His underwhelming ability for going into hiding allowed me to catch him before noon the next morning.

He had attempted to make a land run to Dallas before catching a plane to some other continent and beginning his hundred-year exile from North America. The Bossier airport is not an international one, and New Orleans would be the equivalent of jumping into the lion’s den. Of course, none of that matters, because I am sitting in front of the spot where he buried himself leaned against a tree, and texting my Bonded repeated apologies.

Merry Christmas…- E

Will you be back by tonight? – S

It is very likely. Already caught up with Grissom. – E

That was quick? -S

I have unfair advantages. -E

I missed you this morning. -S

Missed you too, Dear One. -E

When do you think you’ll be home? -S

In Texas. Earliest I will be home is nine. Have to detain Grissom for trial. -E

We can pretend tonight is Christmas Eve and tomorrow’s Christmas… -S

I smile at her antics, but also shake my head. These holidays are strangely important to her. It is difficult to fathom. In the back of my mind, I picture us decades down the road, gathered around a dining table, all holding hands as Sookie recites grace to the children she will bear. The vampires of our family will remain at the table with our living family, all of us enjoying some arbitrary holiday or another… It is a strangely satisfying daydream.

What are you thinking about right now? -S

You and babies. -E

(=^_^=) Love you, but I hope we can wait a few more years! -S

Me too. -E

I want to see her become a teacher. Even if she only follows the career a short time before becoming a mother, I want her to reach the dream she has held close to her heart these past years. Perhaps when our children start school, she may return to teaching… I am becoming way too absorbed in this, I realize, chagrinned. How easily my Bonded melts away the restless warrior in me, and makes him a contented man. Centuries of vampirism are chiseled from my soul each passing hour spent under the radiant sun.

But as the sun begins to set, I feel the vampire in me revive from his nap in the brilliant daylight. He is shaking away the lingering laziness of his sleep, grinning expectantly, waiting for his prey to rise. This is the first moment in the last six months where I have fully recognized the duality of my spirit, the vampire warrior and the love-struck Bonded. I will need to thank Grissom for letting my vampire stretch his legs.

As the sun falls beyond the horizon, I send Sookie one last text: Back to work, love you. See you tonight. -E

Be safe. I love you, too. -S She replies quickly, and then, that is all. I wait in silence for Grissom to worm his way to the surface and shake the dirt from his body.

Once I see the mound of dirt start to expand, I rise from the tree that I have rested against all day, and prepare myself for the altercation. Grissom is not one to be taken lightly. He is just less than a century younger than myself. It will be quite the battle should he try to stand up to me.

He senses me, I discern while my body tightens for his readied attack. Grissom has paused before leaving the soil, just below the surface, calculating his best plan for attack. If he is smart, he will try to rush me straight from the grave, and then juke past to flee. He knows better than to try to take me in a prolonged fight. If I am uninjured, he cannot hope to outrun me. I can fly. He cannot.

As I anticipated, Grissom tries to wait me out first, lull me from my fighting stance. Therefore, when he springs from the dirt, he is caught off-guard when I am still ready for him after thirty minutes of waiting. However, he has his own surprise for me. He died for the day holding a stake and as he lunges and feints, his arm swings to deliver the blow.

Missed!” I snarl as he leaves himself vulnerable by letting his arm remain within my grasp after I deflect his attack. Clutching the limb, I swing him against the trunk of my resting tree. Once I have him by the throat and suspended in the air, Grissom looks down in surprise at his weapon buried in my chest.

I let out an angry huff. That was a close one, I realize when I feel the stake between my sixth and seventh rib. With my free hand, I yank the stick from my flesh. “I should end you right here and now for that,” I snarl in his face, “but the Magister would not appreciate being summoned and then sent packing. I suppose I will just have to make you suffer for the entire six evenings of your incarceration!”

With my free hand, I take out a thick, leather glove and use my teeth to tighten it over my hand. Grissom flinches as he knows what is coming after I reach into my pocket and extract a thick chain of silver. I cannot wait for the day when I no longer need the theatrics of these fucking gloves.

I say nothing as I cinch the chain around Grissom’s neck and ascend into the sky with him hung by it. The sound of his sizzling flesh and his hissing complaints are my entertainment all the way back to the warehouse.

Northman,” a slight vampire greets me when I touch down at my meeting place.

Billy Compton,” I grin devilishly just to annoy him. “How are things in New Orleans?”

He offers little more than a shrug, “Procuring is suspended until after the Revelation. I have been twiddling my thumbs, performing errands for Her Majesty to pass the time.”

I nod while I unlock the warehouse door, dragging my prisoner inside. “Why are you looking at me like that, Billy?” I ask when Compton’s eyes continue to stare at me. He thinks he is being subtle, but a vampire and warrior my age knows when he is being observed.

I didn’t believe it until I saw it, but that aura says it all. The Viking is actually Bonded!” Billy shakes his head in disbelief yet again.

Happily,” I tell him with a grin he cannot comprehend. “So, Sophie-Anne is maintaining her Procurement Department, even after the Revelation?”


Compton shrugs, “I guess she’s waiting to see if the laws slacken after we’re out for awhile. She wants to retain me just in case that happens.” He pauses for a moment before looking around, “So, where is this girl you want me to try and put back together?”

I jerk my head over to the silent figure sitting obediently vacant in the corner. Some food containers are stacked neatly beside her, uneaten. Shit, she is worse off than I thought. I can smell her waste in the air, and her incisions look angry. Perhaps I should have asked Godric to look after her…

I can tell from here that she will never be the same girl again,” Compton says with a frown and his face drawn thoughtfully.

See if you can get her cleaned up while I get this one checked in,” I tell the procurer while I drag Grissom to the holding cell. I make quick work of shackling the bastard before coming back upstairs. In the time I was gone, Compton has stripped Zoey down and is carefully scrubbing her body clean. Thankfully, my warehouse has running water, in the event I need to hose things down after a bad meeting.

Any thoughts?” I ask, coming to check on the pair.

Rising to his full height, Compton crosses his arms over his chest and stares at Zoey considerately. “I can restore basic cognition, but the memories he’s wiped are long gone. I don’t know the first thing about rebuilding this girl’s personality. I mean, she’ll have to relearn everything. From what I can tell, language is still intact, simple motor functions are still there… Basic things like that, but the things that made her who she was are lost. She won’t remember a single book she’s read or movie she’s seen. She’ll never remember her family or friends. All the important personality traits that created her are gone. I don’t know what will happen when I turn her back on. Maybe she’ll respond like an amnesiac? The most I can do is switch her back on, so she may start over.”

I run my hand through my hair and sigh, “Be certain that the trauma she sustained from Grissom is wiped clean. Her mind must not be any more fucked up than it is by the sounds of it. I will make some phone calls. Perhaps I might find a facility for her.”

Compton raises his eyebrows at me, “She must have been a mighty good friend to your Bonded.”

No, not really, but Sookie would never forgive me if I did nothing.

Compton takes my silence as confirmation before stating, “Regardless, she will need regular care as her body continues recovering from the surgery. I doubt you could send her to a facility before knowing her face will be unrecognizable from what it was before Grissom got ahold of her.”

I already know she will look nothing like the girl she was,” I rumble, looking Zoey over with a critical eye. New nose, shaved-in cheekbones, and jawline; her squared features have been broken and shaped into the trendier heart-shaped appearance. Her breasts and rear have been augmented, but Grissom never does implants, so, the additional mass probably came from her thighs or belly. Her uterus will have been removed for ‘convenience,’ and her fingerprints have been burned off with acid, then soaked in vampire blood to prevent unsightly scars.

Well, at least I know how he was managing to turn off their cognition,” Compton states with a frown. When he sees my curious gaze, he points to Zoey’s face, “He destroys their physical identity. He puts them under glamour, modifies them, and then when they can’t even recognize themselves in the mirror, it’s that much easier to turn their minds off. They’re traumatized, they’re looking to escape, and he gives them exactly that, a free pass from their own personal hell.”

With the cognitive mind switched off, it is that much easier to deconstruct their personalities until all that is left is a sex and blood doll who can feed itself, use a toilet, and obey simple commands,” I realize.

Exactly.”

How long will you need with her?” I ask after having done my detailed appraisal of her appearance.

Compton tilts his head back and forth thoughtfully a moment, “With how little I might even do for her, I would probably say she’ll be the best I may get her within about four or five hours?” he estimates.

Then I will retrieve her at 4 A.M.,” I nod. “That will give me time to discuss her options with the rest of my Bloodline. There is a safe cache in my office if you decide to remain for the day,” I offer, and he seems surprised I would be inclined to extend its use to him. “I will see you again shortly.”

The vampire nods at me and I leave the warehouse to return to Bon Temps. There is much to discuss this evening.

Godric’s POV:

Everyone is seated in the living room, awaiting Eric’s return to the farmhouse. Sookie has only just finished explaining everything she knows to Jason who is nodding, a grave expression on his face.

Dang,” Jason whispers into his hands. “Poor Zoey…and Eric doesn’t know how bad it is yet?”

He had a specialist come in this evening to examine her. He has just concluded the meeting with him and is returning now to give us the prognosis,” I tell the young man.

Best case, worst case scenarios?” he asks me.

I let out a sigh, “Best case is an amnesiac. She would still have skill sets, preferences, and personality, but no memories to how she obtained them. It causes a wide variety of responses depending on the individual. Anxiety, depression, anger…it depends on her. Worst case scenario is she will be a full-grown woman with the abilities of a toddler. She would need to relearn everything, like using a toilet, speaking, reading…everything. All wrapped in the shell of a human being with no personality whatsoever. I just hope…” When I trail off, the siblings stare at me aghast, and I tell them one of my greater concerns, “Grissom has a habit of removing vocal chords. Usually this is only done on demand as some buyers like their… They like the noises.” I do not want to say the word ‘doll,’ but it is a rather precise term for the products Grissom creates.

Both Sookie and Jason flinch and reflexively touch their throats. Sookie looks particularly upset about the situation, and I can already see her planning to assist in any and all rehabilitation the girl will require. Jason appears sympathetic, but I do not sense any obligation to help her for the long-term.

Before any further discussion takes place, the front door opens, and my Child comes to lean in the archway between the foyer and the living room. Sookie rises quickly from her perch on the sofa arm and wraps Eric in her embrace. “How bad is it?” I hear her ask worriedly.

Eric snakes his arms over her shoulders, kissing the top of her head while he takes her to sit in his lap on the sofa. “It is difficult to say just yet,” he tells her. “Compton is working at turning her cognition back on. We will know more once she can comprehend what is happening around her. Compton said she still has her language and general skills intact. We are hoping for an amnesiac, but we will have to wait and see.”

Did he rip out her voice box?” Jason asks, his leg bouncing anxiously.

I did not see any incisions that would indicate surgical tampering of her vocal chords,” Eric offers. “However, until she tries to speak, I will not know for sure if they have been damaged.”

What do we do now?” Sookie asks quietly.

Eric sighs and leans his head against hers in a movement of comfort, and I see him resigning himself to the presence of another woman in his house and sense his unease. They have a wedding to plan in just under a year and a womb that is a ticking clock of fertility. If Sookie became pregnant in the next few months, she would not have the time nor the energy to devote to Zoey Roth.

What if I took her in?” I am surprised at the sound of my own voice. Four heads turn to look at me with raised eyebrows. All I manage is a slight rise of my shoulders, “I pass for my early-twenties quite easily. If I wear a cap or wig, I will not stand out in public during the day for brief outings, and it is not like I have anything to do until Jason’s transformation.”

Everyone is staring at me silently and I find it quite amusing since I am the one who advocated humanitarianism in our Bloodline.

If she has to redo all her schooling,” Pam finally speaks for the first time since convening in the living room, “Master Godric would be the best to re-educate her. He does not have any obligations to the Louisiana court, or really any responsibilities currently,” She gives me an apologetic bow of her head for stating such a thing. Nevertheless, I offer her a grin because it was a blunt, yet accurate assessment.

Sookie,” Eric looks to his Bonded with hope, “will that ease your mind?”

Tilting her head thoughtfully, she gives me a strange smile and nods, “Yeah, I think that’s a better fit.” I do not know if the expression I give her conveys my curiosity the way I wish it to, seeing as her eyes soften and her mouth relaxes in a contented sweep of her lips. “I think continuous company would do you good,” She shrugs, and all I can manage is to blink at her repeatedly.

Eric lets out a relieved sigh at Sookie’s consent, “I will need to donate some of your clothing. Pam, I want you to take her measurements. You may shop for her tomorrow evening.” He reaches into his pocket, extracts his credit card, and hands it into Pam’s eager fingers.

My pleasure!” Pam clutches the credit card as if it is the answer to life’s greatest questions.

Jason, Sookie,” Eric turns to the siblings, “Godric, Pam, and I will go pick up Ms. Roth at the warehouse, then Godric will take her straight to his residence-”

But-” Sookie begins to protest.


“Sookie, her appearance will upset you greatly. At present, she knows nothing about what she has been through. All she will know is that she is in pain. It is better to treat this situation as normally as possible, help to decrease her anxiety, and assist with getting her settled in with Godric. After she has begun acclimating to him, then we will try socialization,” Eric is in full dictatorship mode, and I must say I find it amusing. He has a much better grasp of human psychology than I once gave him credit for. Then again, he has always relied more on his charisma to win over others than glamour, which might be why he is quite inept at it. I suppose he takes after me.

His Bonded frowns for a moment and I notice she does not appreciate having the law laid down before her. Eventually she purses her lips and states, “I guess I’ll go find some clothes for her. You think my gym clothes would be better? Loose and cozy?”

Eric nods, but he is tense. He knows she is unhappy with him.

After she leaves brusquely, Jason smirks and says to Eric, “Way to piss off your wife.”

She always has to mother everyone,” Eric replies in frustration. “It will be a blessing when she is finally pregnant and has an appropriate outlet for it.”

Until the kid grows up!” Jason laughs.

I watch, amused, from the sidelines while Jason and Eric verbally spar. Perhaps Sookie is correct, and I do need more consistent socialization. The last individual I spent quantifiable amounts of time with was Isabel, still, all our interactions were entirely professional. My Bloodline, which I have mentally added Jason and Sookie to that collective word, is now the only socialization I have. I really am quite the loner.

Eric is much more sociable than myself. He enjoys having quite human interactions, mostly because it offers the opportunity to unleash his sexuality and charisma upon the unsuspecting. He finds it far more gratifying to get what he wants without the use of glamour. I, personally, do not want for much.

Sookie returns with some clothing, dropping it in Eric’s lap, then she flops in to the chair across from him. Eric raises his eyebrows at her actions, staring expectantly for some sort of explanation. When she remains silent and pouting, Eric rises and goes to kneel before her. He still does not say anything, but places his hands on the backs of her calves and begins kneading them.

After a moment of his attention, Sookie’s lip pushes out comically further, and I hear her murmur, “I just want to help.” Eric smiles, leans in, and kisses her protruding lips.

I know, Dear One,” Eric whispers against her lips. “I am only keeping you distanced for both your well-being and Zoey’s.”

She nods in understanding, wrapping her arms around his neck while she whispers, “It’s just hard to be on the sidelines.”

Only until her injuries heal some,” Eric tells her, “and we have a better understanding of the girl she will become. I want you to be prepared and accepting of how she must be treated. I think it might be better if we gave her a new name, not just for her safety, but also for the benefit of understanding she is no longer Zoey Roth. That girl is dead, Sookie. We are not trying to save Zoey. Right now, we are trying to save a lost human woman and make her life one worth living. We cannot begin to bring Zoey back from the dead, but we can give this young woman a chance to live.”

I am nodding in agreement to Eric’s sage words, but when I open my eyes, three pairs are staring back at me. “Did I miss something?” I ask bemusedly at their intent gazes.

What will you name her?” Sookie asks curiously.

Name her?” I ask in surprise. “She is not a puppy or kitten, Sookie.”

Well, we have to call her something,” Sookie points out. “It only seems right that you choose. After all, you’re the one who’ll be interacting with her most often.”

My bemusement quickly shifts to unease. I do not like the idea of naming this woman. It feels too much like I have ordered her from Grissom. The offer to re-educate her had been one of compassion, but naming her feels too much like ownership.

I would prefer not to do so,” I mumble, even as a name whispers in the back of my mind. Camilla, I think, taking my memories back thousands of years. Long, brown tendrils of hair wrapped in my fingers. Big, brown eyes, staring at me in gratitude as I cup her angelic face. That relaxed setting of her lips just as I twisted her lovely neck and ended her torture…

Godric?” Sookie calls me from my reverie, one of great joy and regret. Joy that I could save someone as I had not been saved, and regret that I could do no more than take her life to protect her from my own fate.

Camilla,” My mouth speaks out of turn once again that night. “I will call her Camilla.”

I see my Child’s Bonded close her eyes as the name washes over her. “Camilla,” she repeats, absorbing the name.

Perhaps this time I can do more for a young woman who fell victim to a sadistic vampire.

Eric’s POV:

It is nearing the time we vampires need to depart for the warehouse. I kiss Sookie goodbye before leaving, promising to return as soon as possible. She gives me a soft smile when she walks to the garage to wave goodbye and see us off.

The drive to my Sheriff’s office is a silent one. Pam is tapping my credit card against her nails impatiently and something tells me she will be disguising herself to go shopping today. Admittedly, the day after Christmas the stores are swamped with shoppers, so it would be an optimal time to go unnoticed by the two-natured. Her scent will be diluted amongst all the other bodies and she has been remarkably obedient about staying in during the day.

Yes, Pamela,” I finally sigh once we pull up to the warehouse.

Master?” She looks at me hopefully from the backseat. Her reflection in the rearview mirror is wide-eyed and expectant.

You may shop during the day. Please try to disguise yourself accordingly.

Thank you, Master,” Pam grins, clutching my card excitedly.

Take Sookie with you. You may answer her questions regarding Zo… Camilla,” I tell her.

Yes, Master,” Pam agrees while I park the car and the three of us climb out.

When we enter the main floor of the warehouse, Compton looks up at us in surprise. He had not expected my entire Bloodline to be present.

Is she aware?” I ask.

The young vampire nods, “Yes, but she is very confused.”

Who are you people?” ‘Camilla’ asks, and I am relieved her vocal chords are intact.

These are the friends I told you about,” Compton tells her. “Eric is the one who found you.” He points to me.

Thank you, Eric,” Camilla whispers with a slight bow of her head.

Her arms are placed strategically, attempting to hide her nudity, and I lay the clothes at her knees. “I brought you something to wear. I apologize for the delay,” I offer, rising to my full height.

As one, Compton, Godric, and I turn our backs while Pam steps in to help Camilla dress.

Can you stand?” Pam asks her, and I listen while the women move to clothe her. “She is dressed,” Pam announces, so we turn and face them once more.

What happened to me?” Camilla asks, some of the edge leaving her voice now that she feels less vulnerable.

You were attacked,” Godric tells her.

Is that why I can’t remember anything?” she asks quietly, touching her scalp as if feeling for a bump on her head that would explain her lapse in memory.


“Yes,” Compton tells her.

Thank you for the assist, Compton. We will take it from here,” I dismiss the outsider.

I’m sure Sophie-Anne will send you a bill for my services,” Compton replies before taking his leave. I can tell he is relieved to be let go, though I am not sure why this situation unsettles him so.

What’s going to happen to me?” Camilla asks softly when it is only the four of us.

Godric steps forward, then seats himself on the ground in front of the young woman, “I am going to bring you home with me where we are going to let you heal and rest.”

What then?” she asks desperately, and her arms wrap around her body for some modicum of comfort.

When you are up for it, we will do a few tests to discover anything you remember to do,” Godric explains softly. “Once we have an idea of that, then we will figure out a course of action.”

Camilla nods. “What’s my name?” she asks.

I watch Godric hesitate, “What would you like to be called?”

Camilla clutches her head and sobs, “I don’t know… I just don’t know…”

My Maker pauses again before quietly asking, “May I call you Camilla?”

The girl wipes tears from her large brown eyes and whispers, “That’s a pretty name.” Another tear escapes her eyes and she swipes at it, “Mr. Compton showed me my reflection… I think that name’s too beautiful for me.”

Taking her hand, Godric murmurs, “After all you have been through, so polite and kind… That is beautiful to me.”

I like the name,” she finally accepts it.

All right,” Godric smiles and begins to rise. “Camilla, Eric will drive us back to my home. I have some clothes you may wear until Pam brings us some specifically for you.”

I don’t want to be any trouble,” She looks at Pam apologetically and it makes me chuckle.

Believe me,” Pam drawls, “it is anything but a burden.”

Thank you, Pam,” Camilla smiles at her gratefully, and I must admit that she is quickly earning my admiration.

Do you know if you have a favorite color?” Pam asks curiously.

Camilla’s brow draws together thoughtfully, “Green, I think. Earthy colors and tones…”

Pam nods agreeably, “They would go well with your coloring. Pants, skirts, or dresses?”

Dresses…?” she replies uncertainly. “I don’t think I dislike any of them, though. Honestly, I’ll appreciate anything you bring me…”

Shall we head to the car?” I ask now that my Child has an idea of her shopping list.

Camilla accepts Godric’s hand to help her rise and I note that she moves tentatively. Her surgery is still restricting her movements, but she is quickly accommodating the injuries. When he helps her into the back of the car, Pam comes to sit up front with me, allowing time for Godric to bond with his new ward.

Why are you three helping me so much?” Camilla asks as I turn over the ignition. She quickly adds, “Not that I don’t appreciate it, but I don’t understand.”

Camilla,” Godric murmurs, “I am at a loss of what I should tell you, but I think I should make you aware that you do not just have amnesia. This is not something that will go away. You will never remember your life prior to tonight.”

I listen carefully while she absorbs this and I am not surprised when I hear her sob. Eventually she asks, “Then I’ll always be…”

No, you will make new memories, Camilla. You will make a new life and friends. This is not an end, but a brand-new beginning,” Godric tells her comfortingly. “We are just trying to make this new beginning as viable as possible. Do not think of it as a loss, but an opportunity. I will help you be the best you can be. Whatever you find yourself wanting of yourself, I will do everything in my power to make it happen.”

What is it you want right now, Camilla?” I ask, interrupting Godric’s vows.

A shower,” she replies with a sobbing laugh.


My entire Bloodline chuckles at her comment.

I like her,” Pam declares.

Camilla seems to take Pam’s approval with pride.

What else would you like, Camilla?” I prod her to continue.

She is quiet for some time, but eventually offers, “Something to eat. It’s really the weirdest thing. I don’t remember eating anything, but I can see them and taste them in my head. I want chicken.”

Hmm, my wife made chicken for dinner last night. Do you think you could wait until noon for it? I will have Pam drop some off with your new clothes,” I tell her.

All right,” she easily agrees.

I pull up in front of my condo and turn to Pam, “Grab some food to take over to Godric’s.” Pam jumps out of the car and returns a few minutes later with a bag. “Pop tarts, bananas, and milk?” I give her a strange look.

I will ask Sookie to buy some groceries for her when we go shopping,” Pam shrugs. “She will have a better idea of what to feed her.”

I like bananas,” Camilla tells us. “I think I like them a lot.”

Pam shrugs and snaps a banana from the bunch, then reaches back to hand it to the girl. She peels it and devours the thing quickly. She has eaten all four by the time I arrive at Godric’s residence.

Before the pair can exit, Pam turns in her seat, “Camilla, may I take your photograph?” she asks.

I guess,” The young woman shrugs.

Pam quickly reaches into my glovebox and takes out the Polaroid while simultaneously turning on the cabin light. Camilla automatically gives the camera a shy smile and Pam snaps a quick picture.

Rest well, Camilla,” I tell her while Godric assists the injured woman from the backseat.

Thank you, Eric… For finding me and doing all of this,” Camilla murmurs before she is led to the house.

Once the door is closed and I see my Maker and his new roommate are safely inside, I turn to Pam, “What is the picture for?”

I want to show it to Sookie,” Pam shrugs. “I think with her gift, she might be very capable of helping Camilla.”

I frown at the suggestion, but my Bonded’s telepathy could be more than a little useful. Sookie would be able to read Camilla’s concerns and moods better than any of us and give better assessments of how she may be coping with this ordeal.

She would want to help, Eric,” Pam reads the hesitation on my face accurately.

I sigh, “Yes, I know.”

I thought maybe a picture would help prepare her for meeting Camilla.”

It was a good idea,” I tell her.

Are you going to let her come with me to meet her tomorrow?” she asks me curiously.

We will see how she responds to the picture and then Sookie and I will decide together,” I answer noncommittally. I would prefer to keep distance between the two women for now, but I know Sookie will push for instantly being taken off the bench.

My Sookie… Perhaps Camilla needs to be mothered a little bit…

On to Chapter Thirty-Four!

Catalyst Ch. 32

Chapter Thirty-Two: Christmas Traditions

Jason’s POV:

Fuuuuuck….

“Jason, noooo!” my sister whines while I explore our old house.

Really, I shoulda known better, but without thinkin’, I opened Gran’s old bedroom door and got exactly what I deserved for my lapse in judgement. Fuckin’ sheets everywhere, ropes hangin’ off the bed frame, clothes thrown all over the floor, and blood on just ’bout everythin’. The fuck were they doin’!?

I close my eyes, walk backward, and close the door gently in front of me, “I didn’t open that door. It was closed the entire time. I have absolutely no idea what this room looks like,” I tell her and myself.

“Jason, why did you go in there?” She has her face buried in her hands, and I know she’s wishin’ she’d taken the time to straighten things up before I arrived. I hear Godric chuckle from the living room where he’s tryin’ to stand the tree up.

“It was just Gran’s room in my head,” I mumble, “but it don’t matter, ’cause I didn’t open that door. I have no idea what that room looks like anymore.”

Sookie shakes her head at me and tugs me toward the kitchen. “I want to start comin’ up with some new Christmas traditions,” she tells me. “I think it would be nice if we started doin’ somethin’ special that the whole family will enjoy.”

I frown at her, wonderin’ if she realizes that her and I are the only two of the five of us that give a shit about Christmas, “How you mean?” I watch as she looks at her feet, and her little hand starts tracin’ its nails against her belly. OH my GOD! “YOU’RE PREGNANT!”I scream.

She looks at me in alarm, “No! No, but… Well, I will be someday if what Endymion said is true… I guess I just want my kid to appreciate Christmas like you and I did…”

I relax now, knowin’ that I’m not about to be an uncle. Even if she is, and I will be immortal, I’m just not ready to be an uncle yet, and she ain’t ready to be a mom, either. I know she talks a lot about bein’ a teacher, and blah blah blah, but I know the second she pops out a kid, she ain’t goin’ back to work for a good long while. Hell, the kid’ll probably graduate high school before she goes back to work.

It takes me a second to remember she’s got eternity to be a teacher, so a couple decades outta the game’s not really a big deal, especially ’cause Sook’s always been a caregiver, and I know it means more to her than bein’ a teacher. She’s got those mommy instincts that she uses on me all the time, and I’m her big brother!

“Okay,” I tell her, “you just keep that oven cold for a few years, all right? No preheating until you’re at least thirty.”

She rolls her eyes at me, “I don’t think it’s anythin’ I got a say in, Jason. It’ll happen when it happens.”

“Doc given you any clues about when that’ll be?” I ask curiously while she starts movin’ around the kitchen to make us Christmas Eve dinner.

Sookie shakes her head and frowns, “No. She said my body’s coolin’ off on the fertility stuff and she thinks that means I’ll have a twenty-five-year ovulation like the fairies.”

“Yeah?” I sit at the kitchen table and watch her work. I know better than to get in her way in the kitchen.

“So, there’s a chance I’ll get pregnant around twenty-five or twenty-six years-old,” she whispers.

“You sound less happy than I thought you would,” I confess. She shrugs, and I get up to pull her into my arms, “What’s up?”

Leanin’ her head into my chest, she admits, “I don’t want to wait twenty-five years between kids. I want my babies to grow up together and watch each other’s backs in school, like you did for me.”

I smile and kiss the top of her head. “Well, maybe you’ll have twins,” I tease.

Sookie groans, “Ludwig said that might be more on the likely side. She said fairies often have twins, sometimes even triplets!”

“Fuck, that’d be a lot of kids,” I tell her.

She nods in agreement, “I guess I’m just bein’ selfish. I get to have Eric’s babies. I should be thankful for that instead of pinin’ for more.”

Kissin’ the top of her head, I tell her, “There’s nothin’ wrong with wantin’ something. You can’t help how you feel.” She nods again and I hug her tight. “Besides, whether it’s one or five, I’ll be their Uncle Jason. I’ll watch out for ’em like a big brother.”

“I wonder if my kids will be able to reproduce? If they can… Will their kids be immortal? Can the world sustain that many immortals?” Sookie begins to babble and I hug her tight.

“Who knows? Would Endymion?” I ask curiously.

She shakes her head, “Probably, but when he came to see us after we were Bonded, he refused to tell us more than ‘It works out.’.” She rolls her eyes.

“Why is that all he told you about your own kids?” I demand angrily.

Sookie shrugs and pulls away from my arms, “Mostly because knowin’ too much about your own future might alter it. Also, he can’t give much away without tellin’ about other dimensions, so he’s very limited in what he’s allowed to say.”

All I can really do is nod. Sookie and I are chin deep in the supernatural, and we’ve begrudgingly come to find we gotta just nod and smile through most of what we’re told. For two academics like us, it’s complete bullshit. We like our facts and rule sets. Bein’ told “because that’s the way it is,” doesn’t fly too well with us, and the past year has been nothin’ but vague answers and reasonless rules.

“I have the tree up!” Godric calls proudly from the living room, and I smile while I go check it out. I got no doubt it’s perfect, even though Godric’s never put up a Christmas tree his entire existence.

The thing is just the right height to leave room for the angel on top, and standing straight up. I’ll admit, he got that done a helluva lot quicker than Sooks and I ever could have. “Looks great!” I tell him with a grin.

Godric gives me a sheepish expression before confessing, “I have never done this. Can you imagine? As old as I am, you would think I had the curiosity to try it at some point.”

“To be fair, you really predate Christmas trees,” I tell him.

“I predate many things I have embraced,” Godric teases while I help him start clippin’ out the bent and overly long branches, so it’ll be nice and conical.

“Yeah,” I laugh, “but those are everyday things, not annual observations.”

“Hmm,” he’s thoughtful a second, “I suppose that is true… I think it has something to do with so many holidays being food-based. After all, vampires cannot have several annual slaughters to celebrate our thanks, and attributing a mass murder to any savior would be rather counterproductive…”

“What about Fourth of July?” I ask curiously.

Godric smiles a bit, “I quite enjoy that one. Depending on which city I am in, the fireworks can be rather magnificent.”

“Shreveport doesn’t do too bad a job,” I offer. “Too bad we were in England for the Fourth. With any luck, I’ll see plenty to last an eternity while I can.”

“While you can?” he asks curiously.

I shrug, “If we aren’t out to the world as immortals, we’ll have to travel often to keep from bein’ found out. I’m sure we’ll end up out of the US at some point.”

Godric smiles again while we finish trimmin’ the tree, “You and your sister are surprisingly adept at coming to correct conclusions and asking very good questions about future events.”

“Well, with everythin’ we went through after Gran died, losin’ the house, havin’ to kowtow to CPS rules, findin’ a new place to live… A whole lot of shit… I guess we learned to ask questions and think ahead pretty far,” I tell him thoughtfully.

“What do you think you will miss about being human?” he asks me softly.

I consider his question a minute before confessin’, “Eatin’ food. Sookie and I are bonded through food, y’know? Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy? I smell that, and it just makes me think of our family. Gran, Ma, Pops, Sook, and me all sittin’ ’round the table, sayin’ grace, and then diggin’ in like we were starved…” I shake my head ruefully. “I’m not worried about it ruinin’ my relationship with Sooks, y’know? I’m just worried I’ll forget our family.”

Before Godric can reply to my concerns, the front door opens. Pam and Eric stroll in, lookin’ annoyed while they take off their jackets and hang ’em up, all domestic-like.

“Hey, guys,” I greet. “How was Sheriff shit?”

Both shrug, but Pam offers, “Exactly that. Shit. With the Revelation coming, everyone is following protocol much more readily than before. Right now, our biggest concern is some trafficking. All roads should have been closed by now, but someone is keeping theirs open.”

I frown for a moment, trying to figure out what she’s talkin’ ’bout, and then it hits me like a slap in the face. Human trafficking. Ugh, I feel sick at the thought, but all I can reply with is a dismayed, “Oh.”

“All roads had the last five years to be closed,” Eric informs me as he gives the Christmas tree a concerned glance. “We wanted to steadily decline trafficking instances, so that when vampires made themselves known, there would be no single instance before the Revelation where trafficking and missing persons plummeted.”

“Did you ever have a road?” I ask cautiously.

Eric shakes his head, “No, but I will not pretend I would not have opened one in my youth if Godric had not forbidden it.” That surprises me and I look at Godric who shrugs as if to sarcastically say, ‘Yeah, it’s my fault he’s not a completely heartless son of a bitch.’

“Eric is very… Industrial. He does not often consider the people when it comes to business and profits,” Godric offers apologetically. “His kindness is given out of pragmatism, not affection.”

“They know this,” Eric snaps at his Maker and I don’t know what it is, but Eric’s really off his game tonight. Something’s got his feathers ruffled. This thought is only confirmed when my sister comes outta the kitchen and curls herself around Eric. “I am home,” he tells her with a smile that overshadows his earlier foul mood. Godric’s frownin’, too, and I’m wonderin’ what’s up.

Before I can start askin’ questions, Pam takes my hand and leads me upstairs to where my old childhood bedroom used to be. It’s an office now, but Sookie replaced one of the sofas with a futon, so I can sleep here when I visit.

“What’s goin’ on?” I whisper when we’re in the office. Pam frowns and starts strippin’ off her clothes. “Oh, no,” I shake my head warily, “if you’re tryin’ to distract me with sex, it’s gotta be bad!”

“It is not my place to tell you what is bothering Eric,” Pam tells me as she drops her skirt and is now standin’ in a pair of pale, pink panties and matchin’ bra. Fuck, she’s gonna do the whole sweet girl routine, and I’m gonna forget all about Eric and his mood. “Why are you looking at me like that?” she asks in that fake “sweet and innocent” voice she somehow manages to pull off, despite being the sexual deviant she is.

I let out a long sigh before pullin’ off my shirt. Let Sookie figure her man out herself.

Godric’s POV:

“What is it?” I ask my Child while he holds his Bonded tight to his body.

He remains silent a moment before stating, “Grissom.”

It scarcely takes a second for me to recall the vampire to whom he is referring. Grissom is over nine-hundred, and I am particularly less than fond of him. He is a Child without a Master and has been for many centuries since his Maker was lost in the Vampire/Fae war.

Grissom made his name by procuring restricted magical artifacts, stolen prophecies, and many desirable humans. He is vicious to humans; discovering delicious samples, abducting them, and modifying them to make their appearances just as covetable as their blood or abilities. He glamours them to near-lobotomy, creating beautiful, pliant, functioning blood factories. I believe he has earned the title of being my antithesis. Everything I hold precious is merely a shell to break and reshape into a product for Grissom.

“What about him?” I ask, trying to keep the edge out of my tone while Sookie looks between me and Eric curiously.

Looking at his Bonded, Eric kisses the top of her head and pats her rear, “Dear One, I do not want to talk about Grissom in front of you. It will upset you,” he tells her.

“Eric-”

“We are going to take a stroll,” Eric tells her softly and offers her another consoling kiss.

Her gaze softens a moment before she sighs, “Okay, but you owe me an edited version when you get back, all right?”

I feel regret in the Bond as he nods his agreement. With her momentarily placated, I follow Eric to the door.

“What has Grissom done?” I ask once we are heading down the hill toward the graveyard.

“No surprise, he is still trafficking,” he grumbles.

“Did you cite him?” I demand angrily.

“Yes. The Magister will be coming at the end of the month to try him. That only gives me six days to find him.”

“Other than his absence, what is the problem?” I ask.

Eric places his hands to his face and groans, “There were three humans in his facility… I thought it had been properly decommissioned, but apparently, I was misled. He had been playing by the new rules so graciously, I thought he was finally growing the fuck up!” Eric is snarling angrily, and I am surprised at his vehemence.

“Eric?” I say guardedly. This reaction is far more than a simple case of an insubordinate vampire.

“I was walking his property and I could smell her,” Eric growls.

“Who?”

“Zoey Roth,” he whispers.

Roth… Roth… The name is familiar.

“One of the girls on Sookie’s softball team. She is the one Sookie subbed for in the game you attended,” Eric tells me after I hesitate to respond. “I only met her once, very briefly, one evening after I picked Sookie up from dinner with her team.”

I outwardly flinch, “How long had he had her?”

“Judging by the state of her body, I’d say about three weeks,” he murmurs. “She is quite a mess. The bruising and incisions from her modifications are still healing, but she will be quite beautiful. Unfortunately, Grissom had already begun her mental deconstruction.”

“How bad?”

“Bad enough I could not repair her,” Eric runs his hand through his hair in frustration. “I called Sophie-Anne to send up Compton. He is one of the most skilled in her court with glamour and restoration. She asked why I did not just put the girl out of her misery, and I did not know what to tell her other than she is a friend of my Bonded. The truth is… Zoey was a sweet girl… Ordinary, but sweet…”

Smiling, I reach over to place my hand on Eric’s back. He stiffens since we do not usually resort to physical acts of comfort, but I feel his amused annoyance in our link. He knows that I am proud about his compassion for a human other than his Bonded and her brother.

“When will you begin your search for Grissom?” I ask after my moment of annoying Eric has run its course.

Eric frowns, and then I feel his remorse, “As soon as I have explained to Sookie…” He does not finish his explanation. I know that he regrets bringing an obstacle between his Bonded and her holiday spirit.

“It is vital that you not waste anymore of your time here,” I tell him sternly. “You have already given Grissom a head start. I will tell Sookie what is happening-”

“I would prefer to do it,” he tells me softly. “It is her friend, and-”

“She would want you to find the individual responsible more than she would like to hear it directly from you,” I argue. “Go. Now.” Eric frowns, but I know that in his gut, he agrees with me. “Hurry back and let us hope you can salvage the remainder of Sookie’s winter break.”

Before he can come up with an argument, Eric nods and takes to the sky. I watch him ascend into the stars, and I am not surprised when I hear Sookie come running out of the house. There is no need to turn and see her confusion or irritation.

“Where’s he goin’!?” she asks me, a strange culmination of frustration and amusement in her tone.

“He must find a fugitive vampire,” I tell her. “Grissom is a vampire not adhering to the ban on human trafficking. He is ruthless and without compassion, even more than Eric ever was.”

Sookie raises her eyebrows. Though she has only heard stories of her Bonded’s previous escapades, even she is surprised to hear someone could be more impartial to humans than Eric. She knows that Eric only puts up with her human friends for her sake, and that Jason is the only other human whose company he consistently enjoys.

“Why didn’t he just tell me? Or call and go straight from the warehouse?” she asks.

I close my eyes before delivering the bad news, “He wanted to tell you himself, but I warned that he had already wasted precious time… A friend of yours, Zoey Roth, was one of the humans taken by Grissom for… Repurposing.”

Sookie looks at me alarmed. “Wh-what do you mean by repurposing?” she whispers. I explain Grissom’s methods to her as delicately as possible, but I see the heartbreak on her face. “Did he come after her because of me or Eric?” Her voice is uneven and coarse.

I shake my head, “No. I am certain if Grissom knew that girl had any connection to you or Eric, he would never have taken her.”

“Will she be all right?” Sookie asks next.

“I do not know, Sookie. The Queen is sending her procurer from New Orleans to see if he can reverse any of the damages, but it is tricky.”

“Procurer?” She gives me a curious look.

“He would have had a similar job as Grissom before the end of human trafficking,” I tell her. “Of course, his methods are nowhere near as brutal, but only vampires very adept at glamour are hired for any Royal Procurement seat.” At Sookie’s curled lip, I quickly add, “Out of all the procurers I have known or of whom I am aware, Sophie-Anne’s is quite honorable.”

Sookie’s expression turns into a scowl, “A kidnapper is still a kidnapper. Bein’ less of an asshole doesn’t change the fact he steals someone’s child.”

I cannot help but chuckle. Sookie calling someone an asshole is quite a rare thing. In fact, aside from her recent adaptation to using the word “fuck” in moments of pleasure, I have not known her to swear easily.

“An asshole, Sookie?” I smile at her consolingly.

She takes a long, slow breath and releases it with a huff, “Sometimes, the vampire stuff… It’s real hard to accept when it bleeds into the human stuff. Zoey doesn’t deserve havin’ to go through this.”

Patting her shoulder, I admit, “I very much agree. It was one of the reasons I was so adamant to teach Eric compassion. He and Grissom are cut from a very similar cloth, but Eric had me as a Maker to subdue some of his ruthlessness,” I look at her worriedly, hoping she does not ask for explanations.

Sookie swallows hard, but does not say anything. Her expression takes me by surprise because it is very telling.

I feel my eyebrows raise, “He told you about my Maker?”

She nods, “Yeah. Day after we Bonded, and all the stuff with Hadley and my aunt happened. We got talkin’, and it kinda came up.”

“I see,” My face falls as I experience the frustration of one so young knowing my past. Despite having made Eric for the purpose to help myself heal, he was the only youth I spoke candidly to about my experiences, even after a thousand years.

“I didn’t understand,” Sookie continues, not looking at me. “I didn’t understand why you fell so far, or why you made Eric as your confidant. What I did understand is that every ounce of compassion he had in the beginning that eventually made him the vampire I love today is because he loves you. He hurt for you and couldn’t bear to see anyone else suffer, not from abuse in any such form. You taught him very important things to be a compassionate creature, even back then, when you thought he was so ruthless.”

I look at her hopefully, wondering if she is really forgiving about my deplorable human life. She turns her gaze to find me staring at her and smiles. Taking my hand, she gives it a brief, comforting squeeze. “That’s why the vampire stuff is so hard at times. I still can’t understand how vamps like your Maker could do things like that. It’s not just the ruthlessness, it’s the complacency that unnerves me.”

Nodding in understanding, I withdraw my hand, “Complacency is one of the torments of immortality. After you have seen centuries of deplorable acts, you find ways to turn a blind eye to keep from going mad. Other times, you find yourself becoming a deplorable person who performs those acts. However, I swear to you, I will do everything I can to protect you from that. I hope you stay the same sweet, compassionate woman my Child fell in love with.”

She smiles at me and laughs, “Godric, if I don’t, Endymion will probably clip my wings.” I give her a soft chuckle in response, but, secretly, I think she is quite right.

Jason’s POV:

Fuuuuck yeeesssss…

“You know,” I mumble exhaustedly, lyin’ naked on the futon, “the world would be a much more peaceful place if every woman wanted a fuck as much as you. Us men wouldn’t be out startin’ fights if we had sexy ladies ridin’ our dicks all the time.”

Pam gives me a playful smirk, “Well, if mortal men could fuck as well as you do, maybe sex would be more enjoyable and less of a chore.”

“That’s pro’lly the nicest thing you ever said to me,” I laugh, and tug her to sprawl across me. I’m playin’ with her pretty li’l fingers a few moments before she moves to climb off me. “Where you goin’?”

“You have been getting far too cuddlesome lately,” Pam tells me annoyedly. “It makes me uneasy about what you think this is between us.”

I roll my eyes, “I like to cuddle. I think it’s sexy havin’ a naked woman lyin’ across me. Ya don’t like it, bring another girl in here, and I’ll cuddle her after.”

Pam’s eyes light up at my suggestion, “You would be all right if I brought another woman in here?”

She does realize I’m a man, right?

“Yeah, if she likes dick, too,” I try to shrug nonchalantly, and not let on that I’m already startin’ to get hard again from this conversation. “I don’t wanna be sittin’ on the sidelines, y’know?”

Pam claps her hands gleefully, and I find it a little weird that she can have such a delighted, childlike expression while negotiating a threesome. “I have been eyeing just the girl!”

“No glamouring,” I tell her sternly.

“Of course not,” Pam scowls. “That would be cheating. I was thinking that President of Kappa… Cynthia,” I watch Pam’s face darken with lust.

I choke on a laugh, “Cynthia! Aw, man! Pam, if you can get her into a threesome with us, I will worship you for a month straight. Shit, I’ll do that thing you like when it’s time to party,” I give her a wink.

Her eyes narrow, and her lip quirks upward, “Keep your mouth shut?” I nod and her lips turn into a wide grin. “Challenge accepted.”

All I can do is grin. Holy shit, my first threesome! And if anyone can make it happen, it’s Pam!

On to Chapter Thirty-Three!

Catalyst Ch. 31

Chapter Thirty-One: Christmas Break

Sookie’s POV:

What am I doin’? Oh, Gosh, what am I doin’!?

I know I must look like a terrified, little rabbit, but this place is intimidating! Leather, belts, canes, gags… What am I doin’!?

May I help you, Sugar?” the saleswoman behind the counter looks at me kindly. She’s got this dark, dominatrix look about her, all smoky eyes and deep lipstick. Her hair’s a purplish red, and her skin’s pale.

Despite outward appearances, she smiles after I give her what must look like the most horrified expression she’s ever seen in her life. Poor thing, she thinks bemusedly.

Slowly I slink up to the counter, “Um,” I begin eloquently. My face is burnin’ red, but I have no idea how to do this myself. All the people I could ask would taunt Eric and he would find out about my first day of winter break’s, “Mission: Sookie Instigates Spontaneous, Kinky Sex.”

I promise it’s nothing I haven’t seen, done, or handled before,” the saleswoman tells me comfortingly. I see her name is ‘Fang,’ and, for some reason, that makes me smile. Maybe because it makes me think of Eric.

I let out a strange noise that sounds like a whimper.

Blindfolds?” she guesses, and I shake my head. “Feathers?” Head shake. “Vibrators?” Like Eric needs a vibrator. His mouth is a vibrator! “Lube?”

How-do-I-four-point-cuff-myself-to-the-bed?” I ask in a rush.

She blinks in surprise before giving me a pleased smile, “Ooh, more adventurous than I thought!” she grins, makin’ me blush. “I have a really simple set up for that. The straps are adjustable, and you can just ring them around the legs of the bed, or the headboard if it’s accommodating,” she begins to explain while she leads me through the store. “The restraints are just wide Velcro, so you can get three of your four points secured easily, and then give yourself a little slack on the last one to roll your wrist to smooth it down. It’ll be a little looser than the other three, but if your partner has any experience in bondage, he’ll tighten it up once he finds you,” She gives me a wink.

He does,” I mumble shyly, taking the package in my hands. “How long would it take me to set up?” I ask. “He works from home mostly… I’d have to do it before he gets back from a meeting…”

Only about ten minutes,” She shrugs.

Totally manageable! I think contentedly. I could have myself tethered in the amount of time it takes him to return from his Sheriff’s duties. But, just to be safe…

Um, will I be able to get myself out of these if… I choose a poor time to… y’know,” I mumble.

If he hasn’t tightened your fourth point, you can get yourself loose… Or you can leave your fourth restraint off and let him do it for you,” she offers.

Oh, okay,” I nod.

Is that all you needed?” she asks with a curious tilt of her head.

I guess… Unless you have any recommendations? My fiancé usually does all the… adventurous stuff, but I want to try, too,” I confess, feeling an odd jolt of disappointment in myself.

She smiles comfortingly at me, and I gotta admit, it’s nice not havin’ this stranger secretly mockin’ me, “I think it’s pretty awesome you’re trying to be more adventurous, and not just leaving it all up to your man.”

Thanks,” I mumble.

She grins a bit mischievously and leans in to whisper, “Do you like to get frisky in public?”

My fiancé does,” I offer. “I guess I do, too, but I get nervous about it, so he doesn’t prod me to do it too often.”

I know a toy that might help you overcome that,” she tells me.

I feel myself lean in and murmur, “Really?” Can she tell I’m super intrigued?

Leading me over to the vibrators, I blush when she picks one up. It’s u-shaped and comes with a little plastic remote. “This part will be inside you,” she points to the bulbous end, “and this part can either be pressed against your clit, or you could put it against your butt if you’re into that sort of thing.” She looks me over appraisingly, and I’m a little smug when I hear in her head she can’t quite puzzle me out. For once, my face gives nothin’ away. “Your fiancé can control the vibes with the remote. Turn it off, turn it on, increase the vibes, or change the vibe pattern. It has a pretty nice range at a hundred yards.”

Holy crap! I want, I want, I want! I think wildly once I take the package into my hands and stare at it appraisingly. I think my panties just liquefied.

On cue, my cell phone starts to ring and I apologize to Fang, “Excuse me,” I apologize and turn my back to her, “Hi, Darlin’!” I answer perkily.

Sookie,” Eric sounds amused, “what are you doing?”

Shoppin’,” I answer with as playful a tone as I can muster.

For?” he asks, and I feel him laughin’ at me on the inside.

Things,” I offer, tryin’ to sound more nonchalant.

Are they sexy things?” he asks, and I feel a flare of lust in the Bond.

I guess you’ll just have to wait until I’m home to find out!” I tell him teasingly, and I see Fang give me an approving nod. I blush, realizing that I finally said something confident for the first time since entering the store. “Now, you just wait for me to get home, and maybe I’ll show you what I bought.”

I look forward to it,” Eric whispers with a gentle purr that does not help the previous panty-dissolving issue.

Bye, Darlin’,” I croon back and close my phone with a blush. “Sorry about that,” I apologize again to my attentive sales lady.

It’s all right,” Fang laughs. “It sounds like you’re going to be taking that baby for a test drive when you get home. May I make another recommendation?” I nod, and she leads me over to the lubricants. I manage not to blush. She picks up a bottle and hands it to me, “I’d use this stuff with the Cum’n’Go-”

The what?” I ask, befuddled.

She points to the vibrator, “Sorry, it’s what we call it around the shop… Because it makes you cum while you’re on the go?”

I giggle at the clever name and nod, “Okay.”

It’ll make your clit nice and tingly,” She picks up the sample bottle and while I’m reading the label on the container she handed me, Fang reaches over and places a little on the inside of my wrist. It feels very pleasant, and I can’t help but wonder how it would feel on my ears…

Holy crap! I’m thinking of my ears as a sexual part of my body! Eric will be so proud, and suggesting we use the lubricant on my ears might surprise him more than my purchase of the Cum’n’Go.

I’d really like this,” I agree to buy the lube. Before Fang can sell me on anything else, I start for the checkout, and pay for everything in cash, so Eric doesn’t know from the credit card statement that I bought more than the vibrator and lube. When everything’s paid for, I take the bondage kit out of the packaging and roll it all into a ball to shove in the bottom of my purse. I accept the plain bag with the vibrator and lube, grin at Fang, and wave goodbye.

I’ll have to come here again!

Eric’s POV:

Welcome home, Dear One,” I greet my Bonded with a deep kiss. “Now, are you going to tell me what had you so worked up while you were out?” I ask with hope, kissing her neck and pushing my body tightly against hers.

She catches her lip between her teeth and holds up the bag with her purchases, “I bought some stuff I want you to use on me,” she says shyly.

I raise my eyebrows and take the bag from her. When I glance inside, I must admit that I am very surprised. My Sookie went to a store and bought these? I am not merely surprised, I am impressed!

In the condo?” I ask, knowing that Sookie is intimidated about my predilections for public sex. It is not so much the exhibitionism as it is being able to enjoy her pleasure whenever the mood strikes me. There are times when she smiles at me, touches me, or just feels a certain way that scream at every one of my impulses to give her pleasure right there and then. Of course, having such a beautiful woman love and desire me all the time increases the need and want to pleasure her as well.

She shakes her head, “I thought we could go for a walk in about an hour… after sunset…”

My expression darkens while I place the bag down and pull Sookie close, “Do you know how fuckable you are right in this moment?” I ask huskily.

Well, if you want to familiarize yourself with your new toy before we take it on a test run…” she trails off, letting her offer wash over me and I nod.

What is the lubricant for?” Anal sex, anal sex, ANAL SEX! “I have never known a juicier woman than you,” I tease.

Oh,” She flushes deeply. “Umm, it’s really warm and tingly, and…” She pulls my head down to whisper in my ear, which always makes me laugh when she whispers to me in the privacy of our own home. “I thought it would feel real nice on… my ears.”

I gape momentarily. Sex toys! Special products to stimulate her ears! Exhibitionism! “Where is my Sookie? What have you done to her!?” I tease before crushing my lips to hers. Before she can reply, I have flung the woman over my shoulder and picked up the bag with our new activity set. Throwing her on the bed, I set the bag neatly by her feet. “Ears or toy first?” I ask, opening the packaging of the vibrator.

Ears,” she whispers, and I grin excitedly. It is a perfect decision. If this lubricant is as pleasant as she is anticipating, it will have her pussy nice and wet by the time I clean the new toy, add batteries to it, and the remote.

Setting down the toy, I reach for the little bottle. I only allow a drop on my digits, rubbing it between my thumb and index. I can feel the warming action and the tingle she mentioned. Leaning over her, I run my fingers across the shell of her ear before massaging the oil into the lobe. I hear her tiny gasp, and smile before treating the other ear to the same consideration.

Is it nice?” I ask quietly against her ear, letting my cool breath create a stimulus against her sensitive skin.

Her reply is to whimper, and I watch as she twists her hips in an almost quiet desperation.

Chuckling, I slide my hands down her body to quickly divest her of her jeans and panties. She moans and tilts her exposed pussy at me beseechingly, “Do you want the lubricant on your clitoris, too?” I ask in my ‘growly’ voice as she endearingly refers to it.

Please,” she whimpers with another delicious arch of her spine. I grin and lean down to plant a kiss on her clitoris, giving it a brief clip of my tongue. She cries out, and I must admit, this lubricant she discovered is amazingly potent on her extraordinary ears.

When I have given her a few teasing caresses from my tongue, I add some of the lubricant between her folds. She writhes as the fluid activates, and I watch for a moment as her body moves on our bed as though phantom hands are touching and pleasuring her. It is exhilarating to behold.

While Sookie allows herself to be stimulated by oils, I quickly finish opening the vibrator she purchased. While she is blissfully oblivious, I clean it and put fresh batteries in the toy and its remote. Turning it on in my hand, I play with the control, learning the different intensities and patterns before determining my best strategy. I must remind myself the goal is to make sure she does not cum from the vibrator or lubricant. The goal is to make her so wild with desire that she wants me to take her abruptly while we are still out.

Already I notice the lubricant losing its steam. Though Sookie’s lust is still fanned, her body is not undulating as it had been after the oil was first applied. Quickly, I remedy her waning enthusiasm by slipping the vibrator into her slick channel. She groans and flexes her pelvis when the toy presses against the back of her pelvic bone and the antennae rests tauntingly against her clitoris.

Eric,” she whispers, but before she can say more than my name, I thumb the remote and it springs to life against her. Her body tenses immediately, and a soft moan murmurs past her lips.

How does that feel?” I ask curiously and softly as not to break the spell of her arousal.

Mmm, like you’re teasing me,” she confesses and I nod, having guessed as much. Slowly, I adjust the speed of the vibration and watch her body clench. “Ah! S-still not much more than teasing…”

I press another button and watch her reaction. This time the vibrations are alternating from inside and against her clitoris. Each time it buzzes against her little blossom, I see her hips buck, but I am delighted that it is rather underwhelming. Good. After all, this game is only meant to fan her flames for me, not a toy.

Looking out our window, I note the sun is setting and it should be safe enough to leave the condo. I abruptly turn off the toy, and Sookie blinks up at me dazedly.

We need groceries,” I tell her with a shrug while I throw her panties and jeans on to the bed. “Shall we give that toy a real test run?”

She blushes prettily, or perhaps her cheeks are red from excitement. With a kittenish smile, she redresses and snuggles into my side as we leave the condo.

My hand is resting lightly on Sookie’s hip while I lead her to the car. I open her door for her and she settles in with an anticipatory smile. Lust and excitement are coursing through the Bond, making me surprisingly giddy for our little adventure. Yet, once I settle behind the driver’s seat, I realize I cannot operate the remote, hold her hand, and drive all at the same time.

Therefore, we make it to the grocery store without any good vibrations, but I can feel her waiting for it to happen. That is why I turn the toy on while making my way to her door. I watch delightedly when she gasps and tosses her head back in surprise. When I reach her door, I turn the vibrator back off and grin when she looks up at me heatedly.

What g-groceries do we need?” Sookie asks me after I take her hand and help her out of the car.

I smile, “Nothing frozen or refrigerated,” I reply and she rolls her eyes.

So, basically, nothing we could have gone without for another day?” she teases while we stroll toward the shop.

I smile and kiss the side of her throat, “Plenty of ambient noise, so you do not focus on the sound of your little secret.”

Her face is still flushed, and I see now it is from the arousal. She is self-conscious, but her desire is quickly over shadowing it, which is exactly for what I had hoped.

She grabs a cart, unsure of what all we will be purchasing, and I walk beside her, my hand gently resting on the small of her back. We stroll lazily through the store, and I see a nice opportunity to give her a new sensation.

You need another case of water,” I point to the packaging. She looks at me suspiciously because I never let her lift heavy items when we are together. Raising her eyebrows, Sookie bends over to pick up the case and I turn the vibrator on once more. Even though she had anticipated my actions, I see her legs tremble, then smile after she takes a knee. Leaning down, I whisper in her ear, certain to let my breath tickle the sensitive flesh, “Allow me…”

I reach past her and lift the case, leaving Sookie kneeling on the tile once I place it in our cart. Glancing at her, I see her hips shimmying and I grin to myself for the hundredth time since she told me of this game she wished to play.

Turning off the toy, I extend my hand to her and shakily, she takes it. I haul her to her feet and we begin our shopping anew.

I tease her when she reaches for cereal. I let the vibrator torment her all the way down the bread aisle. She is letting out surprised gasps all through the jams and jellies while the toy alternates patterns as quickly as I manipulate them. Amusedly, I watch as her eyes scan back and forth. Impatience quickly fills our connection to each other. Impatience, need, lust!

Eric,” she groans after she crouches to grab her coffee and I taunt her again. She clutches at the shelf and I watch her chest heave in concentration. “I can’t take much more,” Her voice is weak, pleading.

That is the point,” I tell her, placing my hands on her waist and squeezing, making sure to give the soft flesh above her womb a firm pressure. She unabashedly moans when I do this, and I chuckle, “Shh, Dear One. You do not want anyone finding out your secret, do you?”

Her eyes are dark and hooded with glorious intangibles and I gasp at the gaze she gives me. It is even more potent with the swarm of emotion flooding the Bond and I find my body gravitating toward hers, “Here? Next to the coffee grounds?” I breathe jokingly against her ear. My hands trail from her waist to her hips, reaching behind to squeeze her bottom. I can hear the faint buzz of her secret, and it makes me harden more than the half-mast I have sustained since this game began.

Anywhere you want, please,” she moans softly into my chest, wrapping her arms around me tightly and squeezing.

Taking the canister of coffee from her loose grasp, I toss it into the cart, trap her between myself and the handle, and begin guiding her toward the side of the store. Every few seconds, I increase the vibration of the toy until we are outside the bathrooms. I grab her purse and practically shove her into the men’s bathroom.

Eric,” She is trying to climb me while I push her into one of the stalls.

Turn around,” I tell her, setting her purse on the tank. She moans and does as I tell her. Swiftly, I have her jeans undone, and shove them and her panties from her ass. “Your panties are soaked through,” I tell her with my own moan. She wiggles her bottom at me after I slip the vibrator out and lick it clean.

Please, please, please,” she murmurs over and over, wriggling and pushing back against me.

Quickly, my trousers are open, and I bend Sookie forward until her hands are flat against the tile of the wall. She whimpers and mewls until I bury myself deep inside her. We both take a moment to collect ourselves, both having waited so long for this moment.

Please, Eric, need you so much,” she whispers frantically, pushing back against me. I respond by bucking my hips harshly against her. The noise that action brings from her lips is heavenly to my ears, and I am soon losing myself in her heat and want. There are no attempts to hold back once I thrust wildly behind her and she moans and cries out happily in front of me.

Pushing her shirt and bra above her breasts, I clutch at them violently as my hips push tightly against her rear. She gasps and yowls while I pluck at her nipples, grinding her sex against me and achieving maximum depth from this position. “Yes, Sookie,” I snarl, staying in close and bucking wildly. “Fuck me, Sookie,” I remain still to allow her the opportunity to bounce back against me.

Her hips swivel and bounce in a perfect figure-eight, twisting and milking my cock until I can no longer remain still. I release her breasts and grab her hips to pull her back and surge forward simultaneously in a delicious collision that spurs a yell from both of us. I feel her contracting, I feel myself pulsing, and soon we are reaching brand new heights as we cum noisily in the men’s bathroom.

We remain frozen, bent over a toilet. She is catching her breath and I am merely acting as an anchor keeping her from tipping forward. With one arm holding her firmly against my chest, I reach forward and slip her toy into her purse while kissing the back of her neck.

Are we more open to sex outside of the home now?” I ask against her nape.

A surprised giggle escapes her lips, “Yeah, Darlin’, we are much, much more open about it.”

Sookie’s POV:

Day three of “Mission: Sookie Instigates Spontaneous, Kinky Sex” is the night I plan to tie myself to the bed. It’s Eric’s night to be at the warehouse for Sheriff business, and a perfect opportunity to play with outfits I won’t mind gettin’ tore up. I’ve considered just bein’ naked when he finds me, but there is just somethin’ super sexy about havin’ my underwear ripped off me.

Day two had been rather tame compared to our adventures in the grocery store the previous night. It had been our first day back in Bon Temps, and I’d felt more mischievous than kinky. Before Eric had gone to his office for the day, I hid my panties from the previous night in the heat register, and then cranked up the furnace. It took about twenty minutes of the heat wafting through my panties and mixing into the air before Eric called me upstairs. With a naughty grin on my face, I’d skipped up to his office and asked what he needed with my most innocent voice. His eyes were all hungry and dark and the next thing I knew, he’d thrown me on his desk, ripped off my clothes, and ravished me.

After a thorough debauchment, Eric had asked how I managed to make the entire room smell like my sex. That’s when I’d gone to the floor register and lifted it, revealing the pair of cum-soaked panties from the night before. He’d called me a tricky, little Madam.

My little daydream of yesterday’s activity passes, and I’m once again trying to pick out a perfect negligée. Pam’s done wonders for my bedroom wardrobe, but, even still, it’s hard to choose one for sacrifice. Finally, I pick the one I think Eric will like best. He’ll just have to buy me a new one.

Suddenly my phone rings and I smile, knowing it’s Eric before I even look at the caller I.D.

Hey, Darlin’,” I greet, layin’ out my sacrificial negligée on the bed.

You have no idea how pleasant these past three days have been,” Eric growls into the phone, and I feel his arousal through the Bond, making my nether regions respond. “You do not give your sexual creativity enough credit, Dear One.”

What do you mean?” I ask playfully, maneuvering around the bed and securing my restraints to the frame.

I know you will have a surprise for me when I return home,” he says in this dark, chocolate voice that’s just as sinfully delicious. “You are excited…”

Hmm, well, if you take too long gettin’ home, I might start without you,” I tell him tauntingly.

Should I cancel my last two meetings?” he asks roughly, and I feel his desire burn even hotter in the Bond.

I make a pouting sound just to make his breath catch, “No, I guess I can be a good girl… At least until you get home…”

I can practically see him clutching his phone at that statement as frustration starts to seep into our connection. It really is empowering to know I make a thousand-year-old vampire not just want me, but need me.

I will keep them as brief as possible,” he breathes into the phone eagerly. I made a dead man pant! I hope he can feel just how giddy I am right now!

I’ll be waitin’, Eric,” I tell him huskily.

He hangs up after that and I get some of my excitement out with a little happy dance in our bedroom. As I dance around giddily, I see my reflection in the window, proving what a little girl I still am at times. There’s a window in here again… Two actually, one more than there used to be. I quickly skip over and draw the blinds…just in case. Even though our house is out in the middle of nowhere, I don’t want to run the risk someone might peek inside and see me all tied up and mostly naked. For one thing, I’d be embarrassed the whole rest of my life, which is a very long time! Secondly, and probably more importantly, Eric would murder them.

Once the shades are drawn, I pick up my chosen negligée of oblation. Eric is my God of sexual awakening, and I offer to him my sexy nightie!

My face is pleasantly flushed with anticipation while I skip to our bathroom and wash up for the millionth time that day. I want to smell good and be squeaky clean before my Bonded makes a mess outta me! I put on my nightie, brush my teeth again, and floss. I apply just a smidge of mascara and tasty Chapstick. Any other make-up would just sweat off in the first fifteen minutes and I don’t want that.

Preparations are halted once I realize Eric is movin’ in the Bond. Holy crap! He left the car and is flyin’! He’s already nearly home, and I’m not ready!

With a squeak, I jump onto the bed and quickly start strappin’ myself in. Right ankle, left ankle, left wrist- Eep!

I barely get my other wrist restrained when our bedroom door flies open and crashes into the wall. With a jump, I stare up at the demon before me.

Loose?” Eric asks me impatiently, already peelin’ off his clothes. All I can do is stare at him dazedly while he climbs onto the bed and starts checkin’ all my restraints. He actually loosens the ones around my ankles a bit, undoin’ the Velcro and layin’ two of his fingers between my skin and the straps before tightenin’ them again. He tightens up my right wrist, since I couldn’t quite do that one properly by myself.

Do you have any idea what you have been doing to me this last hour?” he snarls against my mouth before kissin’ me hard. I whimper as he grinds his erection against my core. “I could bend rebar around this!” he claims, pushin’ at me again and I have to admit he might not be wrong. I’ve never felt him so hard. “I will play with you later,” he tells me quickly before tearin’ off my panties and thrustin’ deeply inside.

I cry out and try to arch against him, but my restraints do what they’re supposed to keep me helplessly limited. “Ah, Eric!” I shout while he starts movin’ against me violently. He’s not even startin’ off at a human pace. He’s fuckin’ me like a vampire, his fangs are down, slicin’ me in places and licking the trails of blood they bring in their wake. I can hardly breathe as he moves to press his mouth against mine.

His fang slices my lip, and my tongue moves of its own accord to stunt the bleedin’. As it does, I feel an ivory fang. Playfully, I snake my tongue against it, up to his gum line, and somethin’ just happens.

Eric roars, and in that nanosecond before his reaction occurs, I have a very vivid flashback of him tellin’ me exactly what happens if I play with his gums while his fangs are down. “I will fuck you very, very hard,” rings clear as day in my head.

Next thing I know, I’m screamin’ my head off, Eric’s snarlin’ into my neck, bitin’ me anywhere and everywhere he can. A jackhammer has replaced his hips while I am fucked harder than I knew was ever possible.

So yeah, don’t mess with a horny vampire and his gums… Or do… I think dazedly in the back of my head while, “Oh-my-God. Oh-my-God. Oh-my-God,” tumbles from my mouth repeatedly. My orgasm is on me so suddenly and violently that I start to cry in release before it’s even in full effect. Tears are rollin’ down my face, Eric is pushin’ into me so deeply I think he’s trying to crawl into my uterus, and my orgasm just won’t stop. Even when I’m too exhausted to keep cummin’, it just doesn’t end. Not until he stills and I feel his cock inside me, fillin’ me up with just as lengthy a climax.

His pleasure is so overwhelming, even as he withdraws from between my thighs, I can feel his spendings dribblin’ outta me. He’s filled me to the brim with his sperm and I wiggle tiredly when I feel it makin’ the sheets stick to my butt.

Eric’s starin’ at me in bewilderment, but I can feel a sense of satisfaction in him that he’s feelin’ a bit guilty about. Suddenly, he’s undoin’ my restraints.

I was fine,” I mumble tiredly, havin’ not been tied up long enough to go stiff.

Sookie,” Eric shakes his head, “you are bruised, and there is blood and cum everywhere. You need to rest for now and there is no need for you to rest in restraints.”

As my body’s endorphins fade away, I begin to feel what he means. My body feels like it’s been in a car accident. The pain is more discomfort than pain, and well worth it in my opinion.

Are you all right?” Eric asks me nervously.

Darlin’, I’m so all right, it should be illegal in forty-nine states,” I tell him.

Forty-nine?” Eric raises his eyebrows.


“Everything’s legal in Nevada,” I grin lazily. He laughs and starts rubbin’ my ankles and wrists. “So, that’s what you meant about fuckin’ me very,
very hard?” I ask after I feel his mood has calmed a bit.

He gives me a sheepish grin, “Perhaps harder than what it should have been. You had me quite pent up beforehand.”

I’ll have to remind myself to get y’all hot and bothered like that before playin’ with your fangs.”

Sookie,” Eric looks at me in trepidation, “will you look at the bed?”

He helps me off the bed and I look down at the sheets. I don’t know how he expected me to react to the all the blood and other body fluids, but laughing hysterically was probably not on the top of his list.

Wow, Eric, I don’t think there’s any cleanin’ this!” I am still laughin’. “This might need a whole new mattress!” Tears are rollin’ down my eyes.

Sookie, I bled you-”

So what?” I grin at him. “It felt amazin’ and it’s not gonna kill me. I’ll go drink some water and eat some food. I’ll sleep a couple hours just for good measure, then I’ll be right as rain.”

Then you are not angry?” I can practically feel him searchin’ the Bond.

I shake my head and smile, “Not a bit. Why would I be?”


“You do not feel I ruined your surprise?” Eric asks hesitantly, like he’s nervous he’ll give me fuel for a fire I didn’t know I had burnin’.

Smiling, I shake my head again and pull him in for a soft kiss, “Darlin’, knowin’ I can get that kinda response out of you? You didn’t ruin a thing. You made it the best night of my life… So far…”

On to Chapter Thirty-Two!

Catalyst Ch. 30

Chapter Thirty: Clarifying

Sookie’s POV:

Things I have learned in my first six months of bein’ a Living Immortal:

Firstly, I can put on weight! This came as a surprise to me after I destroyed Thanksgiving dinner, ate half a pumpkin pie, and baked so many holiday cookies, the Kappa Bake Sale ended up takin’ a good portion of them once I realized I’d put on five pounds in less than a week. It took me so long to discover I could put on weight because I need to eat so much to keep my body going 24/7! So, imagine my surprise when Ludwig popped in for my monthly physical and told me I’d gained five pounds when I hadn’t put on a single pound since my immortality kicked in!

Secondly, I may heal, but not like a vampire. Eric had explained this to me before we even Bonded, but it took a few injuries before I fully understood what he explained. My busted nose and broken wrist healed super-fast because my body prioritizes injuries versus “changes.” Ludwig actually explained it pretty well when I asked about it during one of my endless check-ups.

Basically, my body identifies natural changes in my body (Like… Oh, my hymen bein’ torn!), and doesn’t bother fixin’ them. The doc also informed me there are physical changes that occur durin’ pregnancy that will also not mend (Like when my hips get wider – Dang it!), but the trauma my poor, little vajayjay will go through durin’ the birthin’ process will heal quickly like my nose and wrist did. She said the thing that makes a Living Immortal’s healing unique from a vampire’s immortality is that my body knows how to accommodate whereas a vampire’s only knows how to revert to optimal.

Thirdly, and this is kinda like the first thing on my list, I can lose weight. When I say lose, I mean, holy crap! It’s only been something I’ve struggled with since Bonding. It’s super hard to eat that much food! Almost six thousand calories a day! Mostly I survive on carbs, proteins, and those special drinks they make for bodybuilders. I thought it was pretty cool at first. I mean, I can eat anything I want and rarely put on any weight! The problem is, empty calories like ice cream and cookies make it hard to concentrate. Buuut, I do get to eat ice cream every day, and that is awesome!

Chicken and rice is practically a go-to meal for me, and Eric’s actually in the kitchen a lot, makin’ sure I have plenty of food. It was surprising to find out he really likes to cook. He says since everything tastes disgusting to him, it’s a real challenge.

Also, I finally found out how he learned to cook. Apparently, he glamoured a chef and kept him hostage for a few weeks, learned to cook, and, I guess, subjected the poor culinary artist to his horrendous cookin’ for awhile until he could plate a meal that was edible. No particular reason why he decided he wanted to learn to cook, he just told me he was terribly bored and had been fascinated by Julia Child for some weird reason.

Fourthly, apparently, my body is adjusting for the long haul of baby makin’. I haven’t had any major hormone fluxes, human or fairy, in two months, nor have I had a period. It’s kinda nice not having a period every month, but that also means I don’t get that monthly assurance that I’m not pregnant. Instead, I’m stuck waiting for Ludwig to show up with her pregnancy tests to check things out.

Fifthly, and finally, vampire sex does a body good! In attempts to keep up with my hubby in the sack, I am in the best shape of my life! I’m strong, flexible, and agile all because Eric likes to do it anywhere and everywhere! Staircases, closets, doorways, bathtubs, elevators… Point is, my body’s been bent in ways or I’ve held it in positions that are almost inhuman!

Those are the big five things I’ve discovered in the six months I’ve spent as a vampire’s wife and Living Immortal.

Sookie,” Eric calls to me and I’m jolted from my musings with a pleasant smile.

Yeah, Darlin’?” I look up at him when he comes back to bed with a stack of papers and magazines.

One year and counting,” he teases me, throwin’ down all the stuff he’s carryin’ on to the bed. “You need to start telling me what it is you want in a wedding.” I look at the endless supply of bridal magazines and giggle.

You bought copies of ‘Modern Bride’?” I giggle again, picking up the issue and thumbing through it.

Dream wedding, remember?” He flops on to the bed next to me, and gives my shoulder a kiss. “You need to decide where it will be, who is attending, and what they are eating.”

I frown, “Well, it’s not gonna be very big. Jason and I don’t have any family to invite, but I’d probably invite a lot of the girls from Kappa, Jason’s teammates, my softball team… Oh! Sarah Garrick – our old CPS agent! I’d bet she’d like to see a happy endin’ for Jason and me! Kristin, but I think I might ask her to be one of my bridesmaids if we manage to stay friends, not havin’ class together anymore… Do you mind if Pam’s my Maid of Honor?”

Eric raises his eyebrows, “You would choose Pam over Kristin?”

I raise mine right back at him, “There’s no one in the world I’m more honest and comfortable with… Other than you, of course.”

Eric nods, pleased, “I was hoping I would be the exception.”

Besides, Pam will throw a kickbutt bachelorette party!” I giggle. “Are you gonna have a bachelor party?”

Sookie, my entire existence has practically been a bachelor party. I am done with all that,” Eric chuckles. “Also, we are already Bonded. This human ceremony is for you, not me.”

But I really want you to have fun and enjoy it!” I whine, throwin’ the magazine to the floor and huggin’ on his arm. “Let’s have it at night! We can invite a buncha vamps from Area 5! I think it’d be cool to have a mixed wedding!”

Eric frowns a bit, “I suppose I could invite Sophie-Anne… She has been very insistent about meeting you.”

Oh?”

He shrugs, maybe lookin’ a little bemused, “I had quite the reputation before you came skipping into my existence. Sophie-Anne is alarmed, if not fairly amused by it. She wishes to meet the woman who finally captured me completely.”

Are you and Sophie-Anne friends?” I ask curiously.

You know that she is my queen. I am loyal to her, but friends?” He looks very thoughtful as he considers the word. “I would say we are associates more than we are friends. We have great respect for one another, but are not very likely to socialize beyond professional terms.”

I frown before telling him, “It seems like that’s how most of your relationships are. Most of the socializing I see you do is with me, or because I kinda force you to do it.”

He grins, “Yes, well, eternity is a long time to know people. Vampires are quite known for their reclusiveness. Being yours has certainly forced me to be more sociable, but it has been an adventure,” he assures me at the end. I’m just still reeling at Eric callin’ himself mine. He uses possessive pronouns all the time, but it’s usually him callin’ me his. It’s always a treat hearin’ him admit that he belongs to me just as much! “Mmm,” he purrs, feelin’ me gloatin’, “someone is just as pleased as I am.” He’s kissin’ my throat, givin’ it little love bites. “Do you enjoy owning me, Sookie?” he whispers against my skin, givin’ me goosebumps. “My heart, spirit, and body? All of it is yours,” He snakes his tongue between the groove of my windpipe and the thick chord of muscle there, and it causes my whole body to tighten.

Eric,” I murmur weakly. You’d think after six months of getting this vampire’s lovin’, I’d have some kind of resistance to it. Nope. I’m just as helpless to his prowess as the first time he gave my ears a little tug. My legs begin to part, and he settles between them smoothly. “Ah!” I arch against the bulge in the front of his jeans when he pushes it toward my center. “Do you think,” I gasp when his hips give a gentle tilt, pushin’ that much harder, “you’ll ever get tired of me?”

He chuckles, givin’ my throat a little nip, “What is there to get tired of? You give me everything, Sookie,” he tells me.

I’m just scared you’ll get bored with me someday,” I confess as his hand squeezes my breast firmly. “Pam’s the only person you’ve had sex with more than me,” I point out.

And you are rapidly catching up to her,” he teases as his body slows against mine. He holds his hands on either side of my head and looks down at me contemplatin’. “Sookie, I did not jump from person to person because the sex was boring. I had such a vast array of lovers because the individual bored or angered me. We have already discussed the only type of sex neither one of us is interested in exploring, and that is extramarital. Neither of us desires to share the other with a second person. There is no form of sex you would deprive me of, so how will it be possible to become bored?”

But I’ll never surprise you,” I mumble.

You surprise me all the time,” he assures me, “with the things you enjoy, your enthusiasm to explore, and your willingness to put your pride on hold by letting me give you new experiences. You are a woman who is strong and self-reliant, yet you eagerly surrender yourself to me. You are everything to me because you know when to lead and when to follow. You speak to me of your fears and let me assuage them. You tease me and give me your opinion without ego… Sookie, you are perfect, and I love you more and more every day.”

I feel a warm ball of contentment expand in my chest, “Y’know, one of the reasons I’m so open with you is because you say the most amazing things to me?” He chuckles and kisses my throat in reply.

Do you know what I would like to do right now, Sookie?” Eric whispers against my ear, and I feel arousal, anticipation, and lust grow in the Bond.

What’s that, Eric?” I whisper back, arching my hips against his.

It involves rope,” he murmurs, his eyes flashing excitedly.

Really?” I like rope! I had no idea I’d ever like bein’ tied up, but from the second he first mentioned it, the fantasies immediately made my nether regions clench.

Mm-hmm,” he purrs. “It also involves that little reflex we have been working out of you.”

My eyes widen when I piece together his hints. “You want to fuck my mouth with my hands tied?” I guess and there’s that delicious throb down below as I picture it in my head.

May I?” he asks, but he’s got this grin ’cause he can feel my own anticipation ampin’ up.

Yes, you may,” I tease at his formal request. His grin widens and he gives my lips a quick peck before he hops out of bed to retrieve the rope.

I flop back and stretch out on the bed, knowing that I’m about to get a workout from my sexy husband. Knowing him, he’ll go to town on my mouth and then give me one of those amazing ‘thank you’ orgasms that turns my body to Jell-O. That’s exactly what they are, too. He calls them ‘rewards’ or ‘congratulatory,’ but to me they all mean ‘thank you!’ ‘Thank you for letting me train away your gag reflex,’ or ‘thank you for letting me play with your butt because I know it means I’m one step closer to fucking it.’ Of course, he has no idea that he’s not gettin’ my bottom for another year. I figured he took one virginity for our Bonding, he gets to have the other one for our wedding.

Stretching?” Eric guesses as he returns.

Mm-hmm,” I agree, arching my back and reaching my arms and legs out like a starfish.

I will give you a nice massage after this one,” he promises after he throws the rope on to the bed and starts moving pillows. I give the rope a quick glance and frown. It’s much longer and thinner than the other one we’ve used. I don’t say anything because it makes the anticipation greater. “Dear One, will you lay with your chest on those pillows?” he requests, and I roll across the bed to get to where he wants me.

Next thing I know, he’s arrangin’ me like an artist’s mannequin, and I’m restin’ with my chest on the pillows, my butt in the air, and my arms between my legs. He’s got the rope securing my wrists to my ankles, and once they’re immobilized, there’s another pillow propping me up a bit higher. I give my arms and legs a curious wiggle, and realize Eric’s got me well trussed up. I’m not goin’ anywhere unless he puts me there himself.

All right?” he asks, rubbin’ his hand over my bottom in a real calming way.

Yup,” I tell him with a smile I hope conveys this is more than me just bein’ indulgent.

He gives my butt a quick little spank that makes me jump and pull at his sea-worthy rope techniques. Walkin’ in front of me, I wriggle a bit when I see he’s stripped down and already standin’ at full attention. Apparently, he gets as turned on tyin’ me up as I do bein’ tied up!

I will use our Bond, so I will know when it begins to be too much,” Eric tells me.

Okay,” I reply and open my mouth wide, makin’ him laugh.

Rather than puttin’ his cock in my mouth, he kneels in front of me, pushes my hair out of my face, and gives me a slow kiss. “Not even a year ago, you were so shy about your ears, and now you are bound to our bed, offering your mouth to me. Yet you still wonder how you could possibly be enough for me? I believe you are the prime example of a lady in the streets and a freak in the sheets,” he teases before giving me another kiss, harder, and more urgent this time.

When he pulls abruptly from our kiss, I open my mouth wide again and this time, he doesn’t waste a second before he’s pushing his thick cock past my lips. I hum happily when he slides against my tongue, back, back, back, into the depths of my throat. There’s no gag reflex. Eric’s done too fine a job murderin’ it over the course of a month or so, and I rake my tongue against his shaft as he remains buried in my throat.

Perfect,” Eric hisses while I let my tongue dance over him. He eases out slowly and I suck in a giant breath before he pushes back in. My husband does this a few more times, a slow penetration before murmuring, “I am going to speed up.”

All I do is hum approvingly again, and he starts thrusting with a smooth, even tempo. I spend my time pacing my breathing, my tongue playing along his length while simultaneously enjoying his experience through the Bond. He’s gettin’ more and more excited the longer this new adventure goes on, and his moans are growing louder and louder once he finds that I am keepin’ up with him. His speed increases and so my breathing needs to be timed with it, but then he increases his pace again, and I admit it’s getting harder to catch a breath.

Suddenly, he pushes all the way into my throat and lingers. His fingers are combin’ through my hair and he’s makin’ his hot, snarly growl I love. Enthused by his noises, I simulate swallowin’ around his girth and feel his hands tighten in my hair, givin’ it a pleasurable tug. Finally, he pulls out of my mouth and I greedily gasp for air. When he thinks I’ve had enough time to catch my breath, he’s buried in me again, and I start contracting my throat once more. He lets out another snarl, and starts buckin’ his hips against my face until a very familiar throb pulses through his cock. His cum shoots straight down my throat and I moan around his thickness, giving a few gentle swallows.

You are perfect, my Sookie,” Eric rumbles while he slowly pulls from my mouth and drops to his knees. He kisses me fiercely again, and I wiggle a bit impatiently. I don’t want to flat-out beg for my ‘thank you’ orgasm, but I’ll be really disappointed if I don’t get one. “How are your fingers?” Eric asks against my lips.

I give the digits a little jiggle, and make a face, “Tingly… Maybe a little stiff?” I tell him honestly.

And your toes?”

I repeat my previous wiggling, this time with my toes, “Same.”

He nods and stands up. Walkin’ behind me, I feel the ropes loosen, and then he’s pullin’ my legs straight back and my arms off to the sides. He starts rubbing my limbs vigorously until they give little jolts when the blood starts flowin’ properly again.

That was a long binding time for you in such a position,” he comments after he stops the vigorous rubbing and turns more relaxing with his touch.

I frown and roll onto my back, “Not sure how to interpret that.” He tilts his head questioningly. “Was it a long time to be tied like that, or just a long time for me to be tied like that?”

He smirks and starts rubbin’ down my front, “A long time for you to be tied like that.”

I pout, “What about in human time?”

He becomes thoughtful a moment, “A full-blown submissive would have found it to be a very short time. A woman who has only been bound three times in her life? It was a very long time, especially because you have only ever had your hands tied. This time you were in an immobilized position. It puts much more strain on the body.”

I take his explanation for what it is. I have all the time in the world to build up some endurance. I’m sure I’ll be a bondage Olympian within the next fifty years.


Eric is chuckling to himself as he rolls me back onto my stomach and starts massaging me all over. When I’m a loose, contented, puddle of goo, he gives my bottom a soft pat and rolls off the bed. My relaxation immediately evaporates after he retrieves his jeans and slips them on.

But… But… Thank you orgasm! I think forlornly as he begins cleaning up the room.

Do you want breakfast now, Dear One?” he asks me with a smile, and all I can do is sling my jaw open. He tilts his head curiously, waiting for me to answer.

M-maybe in a bit,” I stammer, shocked at his lack of reciprocation. Don’t be so selfish! I think at myself angrily. “I’m going to, um, look at some of the magazines you brought me.”

He gives me an amused smile and shakes his head, “Let me know when you are ready to eat.” Then he leaves the bedroom and I flop back against the mattress.

I try. I really do try not to feel upset or cheated. When our bedroom door flings open suddenly, I sit up at full attention. Thank you, God!

I almost forgot,” Eric comes back to bed and my heart gallops excitedly. He leans down, kisses my lips deeply, and mumbles, “Thank you.”


He leaves… Again.

Don’t cry. Don’t cry! Sex isn’t tit for tat. You did that for him. You can’t always expect something in return or it’s just being selfish.

But I really, really want my ‘thank you’ orgasm, I think petulantly, even if he did give me the massage he promised…

I reach between my legs and I’m so freakin’ wet it’s unbearable. My fingers are all coated and sticky. My lower half is clenched and aching. I can just take care of things myself, but what if he walks back in and catches me? Will he feel bad for leaving me wanting? But he can feel me! He knows I’m wound up!

I’m torn and confused about what I should do.

Eric’s POV:

Well, this is not nearly as fun as I had hoped, I think bemusedly when I feel Sookie’s emotions rocketing from despair to insecurity to annoyance, then finally settling on confusion. The strange part is, her annoyance seems particularly focused on herself, instead of me. Here I stand in the kitchen, waiting for my beautiful Bonded to come storming out and push my mouth against her pussy, but she remains in our bedroom, filling with self-loathing.

I wait impatiently for her to come to me, but then I feel apprehension, guilt, and pleasure? Frowning, I try interpreting this strange culmination of emotions, that is, until I hear her pulse quicken and her breathing become labored. Is she masturbating? I think in surprise as I head back to our room.

Opening the door, I see my Sookie on our bed, her fingers dancing between her legs and a hand clamped over her mouth to stifle any noises she might make. She notices me instantly and her hand freezes in its task, her eyes wide and guilty.

You know,” I tell her conversationally while I stroll into the room, “I was waiting for you to ask me to do that for you.” I climb onto our bed and take her busy hand into mine. Bringing it to my lips, I lick it clean. She looks at me with those regretful eyes and I sigh. What does she believe she was doing wrong?

She tilts her head away and stares at the wall opposite me, “I-it’s not a loving gesture if I expect something in return,” she mumbles.

I quickly remember that my Bonded has manners and it makes me smile, “Because relationships are not tit for tat,” I recall my words from when Sookie first began exploring her sexuality. “That may be true, but relationships are about communication. If you need me, you must do something about it, Sookie.” I split her legs wide and click my tongue sympathetically. “This looks uncomfortable,” I tell her, leaning down to stroke my tongue against her dripping slit while simultaneously pushing down on her lower abdomen. Sookie lets loose a wild sob and I glance up at her in surprise from her need in the Bond. Her center is over-sensitized and her emotions too high. This is going to be one hell of an orgasm, I think ruefully.

Though I had wanted her wild with desire, this is not quite what I had in mind. I give her center another slow lick and her body coils violently after a firmer push against her abdomen. She is crying with shame and confusion, but, above all else, it is desperate need that makes her weep.

Sliding up her body, I hold Sookie to my chest, and gently slip inside of her. Her gasps and moans as I do so are choked, impatient noises. While I pick up speed and softly caress her clitoris, she huffs for air, and her body clenches mercilessly around my cock. Tears are spilling from her eyes when she lets loose a mantra of, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” over and over, until it crescendos into an unintelligible scream that coincides with her orgasm.

She is sobbing as she comes back down, but it is not the cathartic, healing sobs I usually reduce her to during sex. These are ashamed, disappointed cries, so I hold her, kissing her hair. Was my little game that unkind? I have made her wait for her climaxes before and never reduced her to any emotion quite like this!

I am sorry, Sookie,” I whisper against her hair. “Do not cry-”

I c-can’t help it,” she chokes, holding me tighter.

What on Earth did I do to you?” I ask sadly. “I wanted you wild, not woebegone…”

How much stuff do you hide from me?” she asks suddenly and I frown, not grasping her meaning.


“I hide nothing from you, Sookie,” I tell her honestly. “You are able to feel me entirely.”

Am I?” she asks, moping.

Of course, you are. I may repress some of my emotions from time to time as to not overwhelm you or sometimes to surprise you, but I do not hide,” I tell her earnestly.

I couldn’t tell what you wanted me to do when you left,” she mumbles. “I didn’t know if that was it… You just wanted my mouth and nothing more…”

I always want all of you, Sookie,” I smile at her playfully.

But I couldn’t tell,” she insists. “I couldn’t feel your anticipation or excitement… Not even lust, which I almost always feel from you… I just felt amusement and it felt like you were just messing with me… I didn’t know what to do,” she finishes weakly.

Sookie,” I look at her in surprise, “I will never leave you wanting for long. I do that at times to enhance your experience, but never as a cruelty or impartiality.

Why did this time feel so different?” she asks, subdued.

I smile knowingly and chuckle as understanding finally comes to me, “Because you had an entire expectation built in your head. Sookie, I will never leave you wanting. You will never have to resort to masturbating to achieve climax…unless we are doing masturbation play, but I rarely am in the mood for such games…” I shake my head out of the minor distraction. “The point is, I will never leave you wanting for me, but it does not mean I honor instant gratification. Sometimes I will want to make you wait. Sometimes I want to make myself wait. Sometimes I merely want you to seek me out and take me, just the same as I seek you out so frequently.”

But how will I know what you’re doin’?” she asks desperately.

You will not,” I shrug. “It is not about knowing. It is about feeling. Sex between loving, giving, partners has nothing to do with manners. It is about desire and need. In sex, giving and taking is not even. It is all about finding pleasure for yourself while giving pleasure to another… I knew you were enjoying yourself when you offered your mouth to me and that is a very heady feeling.”

I do like givin’ you head,” she tells me meekly and I smile. “I like the noises you make…”

I like your noises, too,” I tell her playfully, kissing the space just below her ear, earning a pleasurable shiver. “Still, my point is, if your need or desire is so great you feel the need to masturbate, do not, instead, find me. Come to me, Sookie. I will always want you. I could be on a conference call for all I care. If you need me when I am in the middle of a meeting, I will just mute the damned call and fuck you right there in my office.” I watch her face turn bright red, but her eyes are molten, blue pools. I do believe I have given her a new fantasy…

I don’t know how to jump you,” she tells me honestly, as if she has only now realized that it has never happened. “You always just…kinda…know when I want it…”

Hmm,” I consider this a moment, then note that I really have never let her initiate. She is always so welcoming, so accommodating to my sexual needs, I had never noticed they might be so frequent, leaving her quite sated. The new question is, Do I tell her that I will not prompt sex, or let her seek me out on her own?

It is quite the conundrum. If I tell her I will not prompt her, she may be likely to overcompensate, so would that really be encouraging her? If I do not tell her, she might react as she did earlier and believe my interest in her has waned… This has transformed from a conundrum to a dilemma, I realize irritably.

I need more time to think through this. Perhaps a ‘risk to gain’ formula is needed. With that idea, I gently rise from where I have been propped above my Bonded, “Are you ready for breakfast now, Dear One?” I ask curiously.

She gives me a soft smile and nods, “Yeah, I could go for some breakfast.”

What would you like?” I ask, finding my pants once more and slipping them back on.

You’re cookin’?” she checks. When I nod that I will, she becomes thoughtful, “I think pancakes are your best breakfast food, never over or undercooked.” All right, so for a vampire I am an exceptional cook. From a human perspective, however, I am barely competent.

How am I supposed to become better at preparing other foods if you always have me making the same three?” I tease her and lean down to plant another kiss on her lips. “Start looking at your magazines while I make your millionth batch of pancakes.”

She giggles and flops on to her stomach, reaching for one of the magazines I brought in earlier. As she begins flipping through pages, I return to the kitchen and begin preparing her breakfast.

On to Chapter Thirty-One!

Catalyst Ch. 29

Chapter Twenty-Nine: Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Jason’s POV:

“You sure it’s cool for you three to be out durin’ the day?” I ask nervously, glancin’ around the crowd to see if anyone notices my vampire companions. All three of ’em got ball caps and sunglasses on. Eric’s got his long-ass hair tucked up under his cap, but man, that’s a helluva lot of hair!

“Weres do not play in human leagues,” Godric shrugs. “They find it boring. As do vampires. We will not stand out all that much.”

I can only nod, then regain my earlier excitement about seein’ Sooks play baseball…er… softball again! She ain’t played since her freshman year of high school because she transferred to Shreveport durin’ our ‘adjustment’ period. There just wasn’t time for her to be in any after school shit with both us workin’ all the time. It made me feel like shit that I was still playin’ football when she had to give up her sport, but she always reassured me it was different. My playing let me stay in college, her playing was never going to bring her a scholarship. I argued that it could have, but Sookie always told me her chances would be better academically than athletically.

Rising to my feet, I clap as Sook’s team takes the field. She was excited to find out my football number wasn’t taken, and the bright, white, number ‘9’ beneath ‘Stackhouse’ makes my chest feel ready to burst!

Sook’s playin’ second base today, and I’m vibratin’ in my seat once I sit back down. Godric looks at me all amused.

“Excited?” he asks after I let out a loud ‘WHOOP’!

I nod with a giant grin on my face, “Sook has loved baseball all her life. It broke my heart when she couldn’t play all through high school, especially with me still on the football team,” I confess. “She wasn’t too happy when she grew up and had to play softball instead of baseball, but she just avoided pitchin’.”

He laughs and nods, “I see. What position did she play back then?”

“Catcher,” I answer. “Only girl on the team they didn’t have to train not to run away screamin’ when a runner slid at them.”

Godric chuckles at my response, but it’s true. The first ‘All Girl’ team Sookie played on in middle school wasn’t a very good team… We’re talkin’ ‘why does this school even have a softball team’ bad. Most hadn’t ever played softball before, and all the rest were too short for basketball, or too ugly for cheerleadin’. Don’t even pretend that ain’t a thing, you know you’re lyin’ to yourself!

“Eric, was she excited this morning?” Godric asks, leanin’ over me to talk to the giant blond on Pam’s right.

“Very,” Eric tells him with a smile. “Although, she withheld sex this morning, so I am uncertain how much I will like her playing on this team.”

I groan and shake my head as the first pitch is delivered. Centerfielder catches it off a bounce, but he can’t get it to first before the runner gets on base. Second hitter knocks one toward left field, but the shortstop intercepts. He lobs it to Sooks who makes a swift double play. The third hitter pops it up and the left outfielder makes an easy third out.

Clapping while the teams change positions, I nudge Pam who’s lookin’ more enthusiastic than I thought she’d be. I realize quickly that she’s just happy to be out in the daytime for a change. She don’t care where she is, only that Godric and Eric have approved the outing.

Kristin’s first at bat, and she’s so itty-bitty that the pitcher can’t throw a freakin’ strike on her. She’s walked to first. The next two batters manage to do their jobs and get on base, loadin’ ’em up. Aw, man, aw, man, aw, man! I know Sookie’s up fourth, a designed plan for their first round of batting. Apparently Sookie’s a monster hitter, which surprises me. She managed to get a homer once her freshman year, so I’m pumped to see what she’s got now.

I can practically see the other team laughin’ when Sookie comes to the plate. They think the team’s got a wasted opportunity in their midst with the bases loaded and a tiny, little blonde up at bat. Sookie don’t seem all that preoccupied by it, and I notice she don’t crowd the plate like back in middle school. She must be pretty confident.

The pitcher throws outside and Sookie remains stock still, ball. Inside, and she needs to jump back a bit, ball two. Right down the fuckin’ middle and Sookie crushes the fucker!

I watch as the opposing team gapes, but only for a second, ’cause I’m up with the crowd as everyone yells and waves their arms like we’re tryin’ to make a gust of wind, “No! No way! No way! Go! Go! GO!” and that grapefruit goes bouncin’ past the fence!

“YEAH, SOOK!” I scream as her and her teammates round the bases. Bottom of the first, and my Sook put her team four ahead!

They finish off the inning with only one additional run, but a five nothin’ lead is bad vibes for the opposition. They get a runner on first, and the second pitch is lookin’ like another double play, except the fucker runnin’ from first to second slides and it’s a motherfuckin’ train wreck!

Sookie may be able to hit ’em outta the park, but she’s still a tiny woman! When ’24’ comes crashin’ into her, her little feet go flyin’ into the air, and even I flinch when she hits the ground. She flips right over and lands full force on her throwin’ arm. Shit, is this how she feels watchin’ me get tackled? I wonder.

Both me and Eric are already runnin’ off the bleachers and her team is on their way to Sookie while we jump the fence. Sook is still on the ground and Pussy #24 is walkin’ away, all smug.

“Back it up!” I holler at her teammates. Kristin’s yellin’ and makin’ a big huff, but I ignore her and crouch down to check on my sister, “Hey, Powerhouse.” I see outta the corner of my eye that Number 24 just flipped off Kristin and David catches her at the waist after she takes a leap at him.

“What was his number again?” Sookie asks me, somewhat groggily.

“24. You want me to kick his ass?” I ask, givin’ her a hand. She reaches for it, then flinches away quickly. “You okay?”

Eric kneels next to her and Sookie slowly sits up. “Did something break?” he whispers, smoothin’ some of the hair that’s come loose from underneath her cap.

Sookie tries wigglin’ her right wrist, “Nah, just a sprain,” she murmurs a bit unevenly, like she’s tryin’ not to cry. I know a sprain’s bullshit ’cause her wrist is fuckin’ huge! That’s a break! I know my fuckin’ breaks.

“Sook, you can’t play with that,” I tell her in a hushed voice.

“I’m fine,” she assures us. “It’ll be fine by the time I’m up to bat.”

“Yeah? How you gonna throw ’til then?” I ask, annoyed by her sheer stubbornness, wonderin’ how she ever put up with me.

“I’ll deal with it!” She snaps and pops up to her feet. The crowd starts its slow clap, and after Eric and me head back to the bleachers without her, the applause gets louder. They all thought she was outta the game.

Thankfully, Sookie don’t have anythin’ to do again for the first half of the inning. The team is babyin’ her, but she quickly puts that shit down once they head to the dugout. I can see her glowerin’. Even before living immortality, I seen Sookie play with a broken finger, shin splints, and a broken toe. Not all at the same time, of course, but she’s one tough cookie when it comes to sports.

I still think Pussy #24 shoulda been tossed out.

By the seventh inning stretch, this game’s lookin’ like a shutout, but I don’t say so out loud. Instead, I get up to grab somethin’ to eat and Godric follows me.

“Playin’ bodyguard?” I tease.

“No, I plan on keeping you from hunting down Number 24,” Godric confesses with a knowing smile.

“Am I really that transparent?” I ask, frowning. Here, I thought I was bein’ pretty calm and laid-back, but Godric’s givin’ me this look like I’m a man ready to explode.

“When it comes to your sister, you are,” Godric laughs.

I look nervously at all the people watchin’ me and Godric go to the concession stand, and I can’t help but murmur, “You sure it’s safe to be out?”

“It is fine, Stackhouse, I have not smelled a Were or any other supernatural all day,” he reassures me, and I think he’s getting a little exasperated. “It will be nice when we do not have to hide from the supernatural community at all, but the wait is only making the excitement that much more grand!”

I quickly buy a soda and hot dog, takin’ it over to a secluded picnic bench to ask a few things that have been botherin’ me for awhile. Mostly it’s the transformations Sookie and them have gone through, but some of it is me, bein’ scared of my own approachin’ change.

“In a way, though, aren’t we always gonna be in the shadows if we never let the humans discover what we are? Won’t it be like never coming out?” I ask, not sure how it makes me feel.

“Yes,” Godric agrees, “but the freedom it will bring us will be far greater than the secrets we have been forced to keep. Also, with Sookie still needing to maintain basic bodily functions, it will make it that much easier to blend in. Her children will only help cement those normalcies.”

“That’s got me stuck,” I tell him.

“What does?”

“Sooks is a living immortal, right?” I begin carefully.

“Yes?” He’s lookin’ at me with intrigue, or maybe he’s just glad to hear that I’m curious about all this stuff. I’ve been a bit tight-lipped since before we even left for England over the summer, and I think it’s made him concerned.

“So, why does she still need to eat and sleep?” I ask.

“Ah,” Godric nods in understanding. “Sookie could stop eating, but the magic maintaining her immortality will only keep her alive, not all that vital. She could be starved, but not to the point of death. Her body could shrink itself quite traumatically before the magics of her immortality would kick into survival mode. At that point, she would be extremely weak and unable to do much more than maintain consciousness. Injuries would heal very slowly; broken bones would not mend… It would be an extremely horrific existence for her until she was nourished once more, along with a very extensive recovery period.

“As for sleep, that has to do with mental faculties. Her mind, though immortal, is still human to a degree,” Godric continues. “She may go much longer than humans without sleep before her mind would begin to flounder. I believe Ludwig suggested she could go roughly three months without sleep before showing any signs of loss of mental acuity. Of course, I cannot imagine Sookie ever needing to stretch herself that far. It is also Ludwig’s speculation that a regular eight hours of continuous sleep is all that would be needed for her to be refreshed after an extended period of wakefulness.”

“Dang, so Sookie can stay up all week, sleep in on Saturday morning, and then stay awake a whole week again?” I ask in surprise.

“Easily,” Godric nods.

“Shit! College is gonna be a breeze for her!” I laugh.

“Yes, but if she stays awake all that time, it means that she needs to eat more,” Godric tells me. “About twice as much as she does now. This is the same for our bloodline. Since we are aware continuously, it means we must feed more often. That will be a hurdle for you. Newborns need to feed every two to four hours during their first year of existence. That means you will need to feed every hour throughout your first year. After the first year, they need only feed once an evening, so that will mean twice a day for you.”

“Dang, that’ll be rough. Maybe I’ll take a year sabbatical for that,” I consider.

“It might be a good idea, now that we are discovering some of the repercussions of our impervious immortality,” Godric agrees.

“How often do you and Eric need to feed?” I ask.

“I have required nourishment bi-weekly, but Eric is back down to once a week,” Godric tells me. “He had my bi-weekly schedule before the change.”

My face scrunches, knowin’ from where the extra blood is comin’. You’re the one who asked, dumbass!

Pam’s POV:

Fuck, yes! Out in the sun!

I wander around during this ‘stretching intermission,’ and I happen upon the Number 24 who blatantly tried to take Sookie out of the game, and by “happen upon,” I obviously mean that I ruthlessly stalked him.

“Hello there,” I purr at the tanned player. His jaw drops when he sees me and I brush my hair to the side, exposing my ample cleavage. “What is your name?”

“Uh, Jake,” he mumbles shyly.

“Hello, Jake,” I close the distance between us. “I could not keep my eyes off you for nearly the entire game,” I tell him in my best husky voice, which is obviously effective after over a century’s effort at perfecting it.

“R-really?” he asks breathlessly.

“Mmm-hmm,” I trace my fingers down his face and cup his jaw, bringing it closer to my lips. His eyes are batting frantically in surprise and arousal, and I skim my lips along his cheek until they are next to his ear. “Ever since I saw you undercut my sister in the second round.” I revel in the sound of his heartbeat stuttering and the feel of the blood draining from his face against my hand. “Such a shame. You were so cute, but no woman wants to go to bed with a man who takes cheap shots.”

I pull away and glare at him with my withering gaze. Jake stammers and I cut him off, “Play clean, Jake, and apologize to Sookie. Then, I might reconsider my opinion of you.”

With that, I turn away and stroll off, making sure to roll my hips in a fluid saunter. Yes, little boy, long for what you cannot have! I think smugly. Sookie has asked all of us to avoid glamouring people associated with her, unless we absolutely must. However, she said nothing about using our sexual prowess to get what we want.

When I am seated once more on the bleachers, I watch as Number 24 comes running over to Sookie’s team’s bench. I listen amusedly to the conversation taking place.

“Um, Phillips,” he addresses Mark, the team’s thrower and leader. “I was wonderin’ if I could talk to Stackhouse?”

Mark stands up, crosses his arms over his chest, and cockily tells him, “You got somethin’ to say to Powerhouse, you can say it to the team.”

’24’ shuffles awkwardly a moment before looking at Sookie and saying, “I’m really sorry about that slide in the second inning. Even though the ump called it clean, it wasn’t. I was tryin’ to take you outta the game. I’m sorry, and I’m glad you weren’t hurt.”

I can practically feel Sookie running through his mind, looking for a glamour. When she does not find one, I hear her surprised reply, “It’s okay. I’m fine. Thank you for apologizing.” She almost sounds exasperated by the end. Oops, she probably saw my coercion in his head! Who cares? An apology is an apology! “Let’s just have a good game.”

Jake nods and shakes Sookie’s hand. Mark and the rest of his team appear astounded by the event while their opponent runs back to his own team, who are glaring at him.

When the intermission ends, Stackhouse is back with Godric, and we buckle down for the last two rounds. They are boring as Sookie’s team widens the gap in points and Jake’s team cannot manage a single goal… Wait… That’s not right. There are no goals in baseball, or is home base the “goal?” Shit, it’s home plate, but the other three pillows are called bases… Fuck this game!

When the game ends, Jason turns to me with a big grin, “That was awesome!”

I frown, “The other team did not even earn a single point.”

“I know, right! A real shutout!” Jason is crowing proudly.

“I thought outs were bad?” I reply, confused, then Eric begins to laugh while Jason’s jaw drops. “What?” I snap at his look of disbelief and Eric’s overwhelming amusement. He knows damn well I never gave a flying fuck about baseball!

“You have no idea how to play baseball, do you?” Jason asks, flabbergasted.

I shrug, “Why? Should I?”

“You live under some rock the last hundred years!?” Jason exclaims. “It’s America’s pastime!”

“Technically, I am not American,” I tell him.

Jason rolls his eyes at me, “Whatever! You and I are having a baseball talk later.” Before I can object, Sookie comes running up to us and Jason points at me, “Pam has no idea how baseball is played!” It is now my turn to roll my eyes.

Sookie only shrugs, “So?”

“So? So!?” Jason is furious. “Who lives as long as you and doesn’t know about baseball?” he asks me, completely baffled.

“Stackhouse, if it means that much to you, we will sacrifice our sex time and you can teach me baseball,” I offer.

I see the hesitation in his eyes and I smile triumphantly.

“Or, the next time we go to the salon, I could teach you baseball,” Sookie grins. “Actually, aren’t we supposed to do that on Wednesday?” she asks innocently.

Fuck my unlife.

On to Chapter Thirty!

Catalyst Ch. 28

Chapter Twenty-Eight: Confessions

Sookie’s POV:

Coffee with Kristin went great. She listened with fascination while I told her about my trip to England over the summer. She begged and pleaded for me to come to softball practice with her on Saturday until I finally caved, and we drank way too much coffee. Kristin was practically vibrating in her seat while Eric drove her back to campus.

That’s why I’m standing in a pair of track pants, one of Jason’s old high school football shirts, and my beat-up tennies when I could be gettin’ busy with my Bonded back in Bon Temps.

Admittedly, I am havin’ a lot of fun. Kristin’s on a very good team, and I can feel my competitive nature rearin’ her ugly head. When they put me up to bat, I bounce on the balls of my feet, and give a few practice swings on my way to the plate. The tiny woman on second base relaxes her posture and places her hands on her hips like she’s sizin’ me up. After she’s done checkin’ me over, I see her buckle in and take me seriously. Good.

“Got this, Stackhouse?” David, the team’s catcher asks.

“Bring it,” I laugh, pullin’ into my swinging stance.

David chortles, pulls his mask down, and crouches in preparation for the pitch. It’s way outside, so I ignore it. Mark throws another pitch, and this time, it’s right in my zone. I swing, crush it, and don’t even watch to see where it sails until I hear ‘WHOA!’ from all around me. I stop, mid-run, to watch the softball rocket past the fence, barely miss a car, and then bounce to the end of the parking lot. Oh no! I forgot about vampire blood!

I might have also forgotten, despite Eric’s claims, that I am not fit enough to keep up with him. I realize that he is, indeed, a vampire and no regular human could keep up with him. I am, however, in much better shape than he gives me credit.

“Holy shit, Stackhouse!” Mark throws down his glove, then he and David are running to where I’ve frozen between home plate and first. “You sure you just want to be a sub?! Kristin said you haven’t played in forever, and your first hit went outta the park!”

“It must have caught the wind or something. There’s no way that was all me!” I protest nervously. “Even though I haven’t played baseball in awhile, my brother and I grew up on sports, and I was just real nervous, so maybe it had a little extra oomph than I usually have… But it had to have caught a breeze!” I’m babbling worriedly as more of the team continues to gawk at me.

This isn’t what I wanted… I just wanted to play and have fun! I think sadly.

“Why don’t we try another pitch?” Mark suggests after a moment.

I nod eagerly and head back to the plate. This time when I set up my swing, I relax my shoulders to take some muscle out of my hit. I don’t want to bunt, or they might think I’m intentionally trying to hold back. The bat makes contact and we all watch as the ball flies down centerfield and clips the fence, yet still makes it out.

Crap! Even with no muscle, I could still hit it outta the park, I think in dismay. Mixed with the fact that I get distracted by competition, and I can’t guarantee I’ll stay relaxed enough not to put any strength behind it. Long and short of it? I can’t play on a human team.

“Aw, man! You can’t just be a sub! You gotta be full-time,” David is crowin’ at me, and I feel my heart sink when Kristin’s thoughts drift into my head.

‘She already has a man and now David’s all over her!’ she thinks sadly, and my heart aches.

“Y’know, David, could you hold that thought? My phone’s ringin’,” I tell him, quickly whipping out my phone to speed dial Eric.

Sookie, what is it?” Eric sounds surprised to be hearing from me.

“Darlin’, I know it’s not quite dusk yet, but could you come to the field and do some glamourin’?”

What happened?”

“We forgot I get a little more power ’cause of the blood swappin’. I’m hittin’ home runs all the way to the parkin’ lot,” I whisper.

Eric pauses a moment, “Sookie, you have not had my blood in over two weeks.”

“So?”

Heightened strength like that is only present for two or three days after ingestion,” he explains, soundin’ all amused and from our Bond, I can feel he is.

“Then…those home runs were all me?” I ask in disbelief.

Yes, they were, my beautiful powerhouse,” He’s laughin’ now.

“Holy crap!” I’m completely shocked, “And you keep sayin’ I need to work out!”

To keep up with a vampire, Dear One,” he reminds me teasingly. “So, I suppose you will not need me on the field?”

“I guess not!” I’m laughin’ now. Suddenly, I remember Kristin’s disappointed musings and a plan forms in my head. “Well, I better get back to practice!”

Hangin’ up the phone, I pull my engagement ring from under my shirt, letting it hang on top. I walk back to David and apologize, “Sorry about that.”

“No problem,” he shrugs, and I purposely play with my engagement ring. “Wow, that’s quite the rock, huh?” He sounds nervous, maybe a little disappointed.

I fake looking at my necklace and then laugh as if I’m embarrassed, “Oh… Yeah, I can’t wear my glove over it. I guess my finger misses it…”

He nods slowly, takin’ in what I said, and then his face splits into a big grin, “So? What do ya say? Full-time player?”

I shake my head, “I wouldn’t want to steal someone’s spot. Plus, I really don’t want to sacrifice all my weekends, being away from my fiancé. I think I’ll stick to subbing.”

His disappointment is evident this time, “Man, we could’ve used someone like you… Well, after practice, you wanna grab a beer?”

“I’m only eighteen,” I tell him.

“They won’t card you at our bar if you’re with the team,” David assures me.

“I have a party tonight,” I answer, trying again to dismiss his attempt.

“Raincheck then,” He’s grinnin’ all big, and I can tell from his mind that he’s not gonna back off. Crap.

Now I need to figure out how to salvage my relationship with Kristin!

Walking over to my friend, I still have no idea what to do. I can’t think of any way for her not to be angry with me over this and I’m more than a little upset myself. It’s not like I wanted David’s attention!

Before I can figure out what to do, Kristin gathers her stuff, and stomps off to the parking lot. I grab up my own bag and follow her gloomily. We stand in silence while we wait for Jason to pick us up and finally, I break the icy mood with a nervous, “Did I do something wrong? You seem mad at me.”

She sighs, “No… David was paying you a lot of attention.”

“I’m sorry,” I whisper.

Kristin sighs again and looks at her feet, “I really like him and I thought he wasn’t responding to me because he had a girlfriend, or maybe he was too shy. Then he was talking to you all through practice, and I noticed you flashed your engagement ring… He still invited you out to the bar, even though he knows you’re underage. He never invites me.”

“I’m sorry, Kristin,” I offer sincerely.

“Is there something wrong with me?” she asks almost desperately. “You have a freakin’ engagement ring that should scare the crap outta any guy who sees it, but they all still flock after you!”

I answer her with an amused smile, “That’s why they flock. It’s not because of me, it’s because I’m eighteen, and they all want to see if they can make me cheat. It’s a game, Kristin. I’m not all that special. I’m just a challenge to their egos because they can’t have me, and honestly? Any guy who openly tries to get with an engaged or married woman isn’t worth your time. A decent guy would see a wedding or engagement ring and turn right around.”

Kristin smiles and nods in agreement, “You’re right. David’s just hot! That doesn’t mean he’s good enough for me!”

Still grinning, I agree, “You’re absolutely right!”

Eric’s POV:

So, my Sookie is hitting them out of the park? I laugh while I set down my phone. I would have loved to have seen her face when she made that home run. Hell, I would have loved to have seen the humans’ faces as well!

Glancing at the clock, I decide to start preparing for the party we are attending. Sookie told me to be on guard because Sin, as she calls the Kappa President, will more than likely make her move on me tonight.

I laugh at the very idea and I am almost tempted to publicly humiliate the girl. However, I know Sookie enjoys the company of a few of the Kappas, and I do not wish to have her ostracized by the entire sorority. Although, I have my fears that it still may happen, regardless of shaming the aspiring coquette. Once I deny her advances, ‘Sin’ might begin snubbing my Bonded out of spite, very unbecoming a Sorority President.

Going to our closet, I take out one of my suits and a tie. I shower, dry my hair, and dress. Looking myself over in the mirror, I remember that my hair was far shorter the last time the Kappas saw me. Fortunately, my hair had been tied back at the time, so maybe it will go unnoticed.

After I am finished preparing, I glance at my watch and see it is time to pick up Sookie from Kristin’s dorm. My Bonded left her clothes and make-up in her friend’s room, so Jason would not have to drive back and forth to drop off the girls.

Grabbing my car keys, I head out and enjoy the sensation of Sookie’s growing anticipation. It is always reaffirming to feel her need for me, to know I am not the only one who pines for my other half during the day.

I arrive at the dorm and see Sookie standing in the doorway, waiting for me with Kristin. They hug briefly and Sookie apologizes to her friend for being unable to attend. I am just grateful the sorority will not have a ceremony during the party and that the actual affair is for Kappa members only. The party is merely a celebration of the sisterhood, and only a select group of outsiders are invited to join the festivities.

“Hello, Dear One,” I say, climbing out of the car to open her door for her. I would have walked her from the door, but she was already walking toward the curb as I pulled up.

“Hey, Darlin’. How was your afternoon without me?” she pouts playfully.

“Lonely,” I tell her, smirking. “Our bed is cold without you in it.”

“I suppose it is,” she teases right back. “What did you do all afternoon?”

“Researched a potential investment,” I shrug. “I do not believe I will take a chance on it. The venue seems to be a dying market, but I will ask Pam her opinion.”

“What is it?” she asks curiously.

“Downloadable music,” I answer, delighted by her interest, “although, the laws are becoming very restrictive.”

She nods slowly, “I don’t know, Limewire is huge now that Napster’s gone.”

“Also, illegal,” I point out. “Some companies are attempting to buy rights to artists and songs and sell them legally, but I do not know how lucrative it will be. People may continue to successfully skirt the restrictions. The Internet is already a deep labyrinth to navigate. Who knows how long people may trade music for free without being discovered?”

“What companies are trying to start online sales?” she asks me, now intrigued.

“I know Apple is a frontrunner,” I confess. “With their market in iPods booming, I believe they will make a successful run. Still, I am uncertain if it will be a fad or a long-term success.”

She becomes thoughtful, but eventually shrugs, “I’m an English major. I don’t know what to tell you. Although, I can say if there was a legal way to get the one song off a CD I like, I’d jump right at it. If I just had to pay fifty cents or a buck for one song versus having to spend ten to fifteen dollars on a CD, I’d love that.”

“Dear One, I would buy you all the CDs you could handle, even if you only wanted one song from each. Nevertheless, not everyone can buy one hundred CDs on a whim. You make a fair point.”

“Why, thank you,” she laughs as I pull up in front of Kappa house. I step out of the car and open her door for her, offering my arm. “Always such a gentleman.”

“Only for you,” I tell her while we walk up to the party.

“Yay! Sookie, you made it!” Leslie grins at my Bonded, her blonde hair and perfectly straight teeth shine against her black dress. “Oh, and you have Eric with you… Wow, was your hair that long last month?” she asks in surprise.

“Yes,” I reply shortly. Damn.

“Huh, well, I guess when you’re watching a guy being held up by his throat, it’s easy to forget the little details,” she laughs.

“I was holding him by his shirt, actually,” I remind her.

“Throat? Shirt? What’s the difference when you’re telling a good story?” she teases.

“Assault charges,” I offer, and she laughs as though I am not entirely serious. I will be so happy when Sookie finishes college and I no longer will need to attend these things.

“Come on, Sookie! Piper’s waiting for you in the kitchen!” she says, grabbing Sookie by the arm and pulling her toward the back of the house. I sigh and follow less enthusiastically behind them.

I stand and lean against the kitchen cabinets while the women talk, and Piper looks at me with raised eyebrows.

“Um, we’re kinda having some girl talk,” Piper tells me apologetically. “I promise she won’t get backhanded in your absence!” The girl accurately assesses my primary concern.

Sookie looks at me with big, guileless eyes, silently telling me she is sorry for once again being out of my reach today. I offer her a reassuring smile, lean in, and give her a brief kiss before heading back to the living room. It is there I see the second reason I have for staying near Sookie.

Cynthia walks toward me and she has enhanced the features of her Asian heritage in her clothing and cosmetic choices, no doubt to try to entice men with promises of an exotic sample. Too bad for her; I have had more than a mere sample from the continent and she could never ignite my lust with her physiognomy.

Pam, on the other hand, has what she affectionately refers to as ‘Yellow Plague.’

“Hey there, Eric,” Cynthia greets me, and I note that her normally thin lips seem much fuller than they were last month. I find myself studying her mouth, trying to determine if this is an illusion from cosmetics, or if the girl actually injected botulism into her face. I see her eyes glimmer while I continue observing her mouth, and she puckers them slightly. Botulism it is, I realize.

“You know, Botox will make your lips sag when it loses effectiveness,” I tell her conversationally.

The woman blinks rapidly at me and I know that she is taken aback, not only by my very unmannerly remark, but because I know that her lips have been altered.

Cynthia recovers quickly and her lips tilt slightly in a smirk, “I can afford to keep them full.”

Persistent, I tell myself, a trait I find enticing in some, annoying in most. She falls into the latter category. When she reaches to touch my arm, I easily pull away.

“I would prefer it very much if you did not put your hands on me,” I tell her.

“Another woman can’t even touch your arm? Wow, Sookie’s got you on a short leash,” Cynthia taunts, “yet she can go around hugging on all the football players?”

“I do not desire your touch,” I tell her coldly, disliking the implications she is making about Sookie’s familial embraces of Jason’s teammates.

“Most men do,” she purrs, still not giving up.

“And I am sure you are very accommodating,” I snap. She blinks her rapid, Morse code again and I realize it is her way of not losing her temper.

“Maybe, but I could do things with your body that a little girl like Sookie would never dream of,” Cynthia sounds more combative than seductive now. I have finally broken from persistence to saving face. Thank the Gods!

“A woman is only handicapped in bed by a lack of openness or enthusiasm. Sookie has no handicap,” I tell Cynthia smugly and rather than wait for her next attempt to either seduce me or salvage her pride, I head back to the kitchen.

Sookie takes one look at my expression and groans.

“Do you want to go?” she asks me.

I shake my head and tell her, “No, we can stay. I think she has finally gotten the message.”

Leslie and Piper are biting their lips anxiously. Sookie flinches, but covers it by brushing her hair from her face.

“Eric, we should go,” Sookie whispers, taking my hand in hers.

“What is wrong?” I ask.

She looks at Leslie and Piper guiltily, “Excuse us,” she mumbles and pulls me out of the kitchen. When we have a private corner, she whispers hurriedly, “Cynthia’s pissed. I don’t want her to see me talkin’ to any of the Kappas and go off on them.”

“I could very easily fix all of this, Sookie,” I remind her.

Sookie shakes her head, “No. I don’t want you to use glamour. This is the crappy part of bein’ ‘normal’.”

“But we are not normal, and you like those two girls,” I insist.

“I do,” She nods slowly. “Only…”

“Only?” I frown as her face becomes enlightened. There is a dawning of realization in her eyes and she smiles up at me. “What?”

“I don’t want to leave!” she says suddenly, turns on her heel, and runs off, back to the crowded living room. All I can do is tilt my head and slowly follow her.

Sookie’s POV:

“Hey, Cynthia,” I greet merrily. She looks at me like I blew out the candles on her birthday. “This is a great party!”

“Thanks,” she replies politely, but she’s sulkin’.

“I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate bein’ invited. It’s really an honor,” I tell her. “You and the Kappas really changed my mind about sororities, and the types of girls who join them.”

Cynthia blinks slowly before asking, “What do you mean?”

Embarrassed, I look at my hands, “I guess sorority girls really intimidated me. They’ve got this cool sisterhood thing, and I always thought that meant they snubbed anyone who wasn’t in one. Then I came to one of your parties and everyone was so nice! They treated me like anyone else, and it’s been real fun gettin’ to know you guys. I just wanted to say ‘thank you’ for showin’ me what sororities are really about, and not all that back-stabbin’ diva stuff they put in movies and TV.”

I don’t miss Cynthia looking at her feet, almost ashamed, “Sookie, I’m really, really sorry.”

“For what?” I tilt my head in feigned curiosity.

“I was only nice to you because your fiancé is fucking hot. I’ve been hitting on him behind your back,” she confesses softly.

I stare at her a moment, genuinely surprised that she’s outright admitting this to me, “Eric is pretty darn hot,” I finally utter.

“Will you forgive me?” Cynthia asks.

“Are you gonna hit on him again?” I ask.

She shakes her head, “No, and not just because he made it perfectly clear there was no way in hell he’d cheat on you with me, but because… Oh, my God! I can’t believe I’ve been acting like this! This isn’t me at all,” she babbles, so I place a soothing hand on her shoulder.

“Hey,” I push her toward the stairs, “let’s go talk somewhere.”

Cynthia takes me to her bedroom and we sit on the duvet while she holds her head in her hands, “Can I tell you something terrible?”

“Sure,” I reply tentatively.

The Kappa president keeps her head down as she whispers, “I found out before coming back to school that my dad’s been cheating on my mom… I was the only kid among all my friends in high school whose parents weren’t divorced and I was always so proud of them for that. I was proud my parents were in love with each other. Then, I found out they weren’t; that dad was cheating. This is going to sound horrible, but I was so mad! …And even though your fiancé’s hot; deep down, I just wanted to prove to myself that love isn’t real. All men are pigs and it’s okay to just hate all of them!”

I put my hand on Cynthia’s knee, “Y’know, I’ve known you were tryin’ to get in Eric’s pants.” She looks at me mortified. “I thought I hated you for that, and I was just scared to really call you out on it because you might have kept me from hangin’ out with Leslie and Piper.”

“I thought about it,” Cynthia confesses. “After Eric told me there wasn’t a chance in hell, I thought about banning you from Kappa House.”

“Why didn’t you?” I ask, even though I know the answer.

“Because that’s not how a Sorority President should behave,” she says, and I feel warm inside. “I realized I haven’t been acting like the president the girls chose, and that I needed to get my shit together. The girls have been walking on eggshells with me and that’s not how it should be. I should be someone they can turn to and lean on, not who they whisper about and treat with kid gloves.”

“Maybe you should talk to your sisters about what’s happened with your parents?” I suggest.

“I don’t want to burden them,” she mumbles. “I feel bad enough about the crap I’ve put you and Eric through the past month.”

I smile and pat her back, “Well, you can burden me all you like. I’m a good listener and I’m really great at keeping secrets.” Cynthia looks at me in surprise. “What?” I laugh.

“I just told you I’ve been trying to steal your fiancé, and you’re offering to be my shoulder to cry on?” Cynthia asks. “I was just telling you all this so you could get me back, or give me my just desserts!”

I look at her and laugh, “You thought I was goin’ to spread all this gossip about you!? No way! Hey, we all get sucker punched in life. That’s no excuse to be kicked while we’re down… And, y’know… Tellin’ me the truth really does make me like you. I’ve been callin’ you ‘Sin’ for the past month to Eric and Jason and now I feel guilty for that. I’m sorry I didn’t realize you were hurtin’ so bad!”

Cynthia chuckles, “Really? ‘Sin’? I guess I could be Lust or Envy?”

“Ooh, Sinvy!” I tease, making her laugh. “You ready to get back to the party, Sinvy?”

She nods and we both hop downstairs. We party and dance, and I’m very happy to see the relief on all the Kappas’ faces when they recognize that their leader is back in her right spirit. Eric holds me and sways in a slower pace than the music and whispers in my ear, “Telepathy is cheating, too.”

I shrug, “Hey, it’s one thing to take advantage of a game’s glitch to win; it’s a whole other thing to rewrite the game’s code to win.”

Eric rolls his eyes. I’m not lookin’ at him, but I instinctively know when he does.

On to Chapter Twenty-Nine!