Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
Thank you to the lovely and talented NinaTree for her awesome and incredibly fast French translations. Despite her crazy busy life, she came through for me…again, and I couldn’t be happier. I appreciate all the help offered from all of my many readers, and hope that you enjoy this chapter as much as I did while I wrote it. Thank you to SeriousCrush for always giving me feedback and encouraging me. I love you so! Any mistakes here are my own.
No Strings Attached
Flying with Eric was by far one of my favorite things. It was exhilarating and breathtaking, and now that I knew I wouldn’t die if I fell, it was even better. Eric was in control of where we were going, but if I focused my energy, I could shift the direction of our course slightly. Eric looked down at me and smiled. It was difficult to talk when we were flying this fast, so we didn’t speak. I wanted to ask him where we were going, but as soon as we flew high enough to see over the tops of buildings, I didn’t need to ask. The Eiffel Tower loomed into the sky, glittering like a golden spire.
Eric scanned the area to find a grassy spot for us to touch down, and landed before realizing that we interrupted a couple making out against a tree. The woman jumped and shouted, “Mon dieu! Ils volaient!” (My god! I saw them when they were flying!). She jumped and hid behind her boyfriend’s body. Eric growled and flashed his fangs, which only made the man puff out his chest as if he were ready for the fight.
I whispered, “What did she say?”
Eric growled as he spoke, “She saw us flying. She cannot know, in case she decides to speak out.” I couldn’t understand why vampires were so secretive, but since it was in my best interest to blend in and learn the rules of my new life, I decided to act before Eric got more upset.
I peeled my body off of Eric’s and moved in a blur over to the couple, before they had a chance to do something stupid. I snatched both of their wrists and opened my mind to them. I sent them a calming visual thought, which worked immediately, their arms going limp in my hands. I was about to start sending them thoughts, only to realize that I would be speaking English. This wouldn’t work if they didn’t understand me. I stopped and said out loud, “Pardonnez-moi, parlez-vous anglais?” The man and the woman both smiled at me with glazed over eyes and said in unison, “But of course!”
I smiled and sent them a string of thoughts: you did not see us here, you did not see us flying, and you are feeling tired and need to be getting home. They both nodded and smiled politely. I released my grip and watched as the woman took her boyfriend’s hand and pulled him away from me, looking suspiciously over her shoulder since she had no idea what I was doing there. I turned and smiled at Eric only to find him pouting.
“You never let me have any fun!” he said, jutting his bottom lip out.
“You promised to show me around. Tell me how a fight would fit into those plans of yours?” I asked crossing my arms over my chest. “The Eiffel Tower is right there,” I said pointing past him. “Can you at least show me that before you find something more fun to do?”
“Calm down, Lover. I didn’t mean to make you prickly. I just love a good fight.”
“I know,” I admitted, “but you love me more, right?”
“You never need ask…”
I gave him a satisfied smile and glanced around for the first time. We were near the edge of a massive green lawn, boxed in on both sides by two rows of trees. This time of year brought with it the faintest hint of life in the dormant branches in the form of swollen buds reaching up to the dark night sky. The most remarkable thing was that the trees were square. They had been pruned to form a towering square hedge, running the length of the lawn. In a few weeks the leaves would fill in the gaps between the branches forming a solid green wall. I had never seen anything so unnaturally beautiful.
Eric took my hand and started walking across the grass towards the Eiffel Tower, explaining the history of its construction. Every few steps, the heels of my strappy sandals sank into the wet spring grass. In order to keep up with Eric, I decided the best strategy was for me to hover across the lawn. It was dark enough that no one would notice, especially since I was still moving my legs as if I were walking. Eric chuckled and continued his guided tour of this French icon.
Because of how late it was, there was no one around. The restaurants and elevators had closed hours ago, and when I listened, I found that there were only a few people inside working.
“I think we have the place to ourselves, except for the cleaning crew…can you take me up?” I hovered higher off the ground until Eric and I were the same height. He nodded and gripped my body against his and moved up, sometimes dangerously close to the metal skeleton. Eric landed carefully on the observation deck at the very top, giving us an amazing view of the city glittering below us.
A dark, lightless swath cut through the city and I squinted my eyes trying to identify what it was. Eric’s eyes followed mine. “It’s the Seine. If you would like, we can take a boat tour of it tomorrow.” I nodded my head vigorously.
“I can’t believe we’re here…really here! Paris. I never thought in a million years I’d ever get this far away from Bon Temps,” I said turning and facing Eric. “Thank you for giving me a life worth living. I love you, Mon Amour.”
“I love you too,” Eric replied holding my body gently while he kissed me.
The lights moving in and out of the city accelerated as morning approached, and I felt the familiar pull of sleep getting closer and closer. I shivered.
“I feel it too. Come, time for bed,” Eric said, holding his arms open for me.
I drifted through the sky, cradled by Eric’s strong arms until we landed on the terrace outside our hotel room. I was cold and sluggish, finding it nearly impossible to move.
Once the blinds were securely fastened, Eric undressed me and laid me gently near the middle of the giant comfortable bed. Seconds later, he joined me in bed, moving until our bodies were touching. I snaked my arm across his chest and fell asleep.
My waking thoughts were controlled by hunger. I stretched next to Eric and felt his arms encircle me.
“Bonsoir, Lover,” Eric purred.
“Mm, I’m hungry!”
Eric chuckled. “I think we can take care of that…together.” Eric reached to the side table and ordered room service.
I stared at him curiously as he handed me a robe while he pulled one on himself. A gentle knock drew both of our eyes to the door. Eric moved across the room and greeted the woman standing outside, “Bonsoir.” (Good evening.)
She smiled at him appreciatively and moved gracefully to the middle of the room. “Vous avez demandé un donneur?” (You requested a donor?) Her voice was soft and she twisted her hands nervously playing with the belt that held her robe shut. I nudged Eric to remind him that I did not understand her, and he quickly translated for me.
“Oui.” (Yes.) Eric said, not offering more information, only making the woman more nervous.
“Je m’appelle Hélène. Je suis nommé d’après ma grand-mère qui est morte juste avant ma naissance. Ma mère l’aimait beaucoup, et on me dissent que j’ai ses yeux.” (My name is Hélène. I am named after my grandmother, who died just before my birth. My mother loved her so much, and I have been told that I have her eyes.) Hélène laughed nervously as Eric translated and looked at us both with her beautiful brown eyes. “Je suis désolé, c’est ma première fois…de faire un don.” (I’m sorry, this is my first time…donating.)
“Ne soyez pas désolés. Merci d’être venus. T’assoir s’il vous plaît.” (Don’t be sorry. Thank you for coming. Please sit.) Eric ushered her to sit on the edge of the bed. She glanced at me nervously before sitting down. Eric looked at me too and said, “Wait, I am going to feed from her, and then you will have a turn…” Eric kept talking, explaining his plan, but my hunger was so intense that I couldn’t make sense of what he was saying.
My fangs descended, my brow furrowed, and I crossed my arms across my chest, feeling disappointment roll around in my empty stomach. “But…”
Before I could continue, Eric held his finger up, telling me to be patient, “It’s all part of my plan…I want to try feeding from her first, and then you will have a turn.” I sat in one of the chairs and gripped the small table, willing myself to be obedient and patient.
Eric and Hélène chatted for a few more minutes and then she pulled the neck of her robe open. Eric cradled her head in one of his large hands and moved his mouth over her neck. Seconds later, the smell of blood diffused through the room, making it nearly impossible to remain seated. I was still trying to process what Eric had told me. I knew that he had a plan, but I still couldn’t focus enough to add it all up. My hands clenched into tight fists, I stalked over to the edge of the bed, listening as the blood flow began to slow. Eric removed his mouth and licked her neck until it was clean and beginning to heal.
Hélène looked at me with clouded eyes. I listened to her mind, and even though I did not understand her words I felt the overwhelming emotion of relief. Eric thanked her, handed her a generous tip, and pushed her out the door before she knew what had happened.
Jealousy consumed me as I took in the sight of his pink flushed face and the satisfied look on his face. That look used to belong to me.
Eric could feel my emotions and closed the gap between us, gently touching my hands, trying to relax my fists, “I know you’re jealous. I love only you.” His face was open and honest, and I knew he meant every word of it. I smiled at him and felt my jealousy melt away.
I opened my hands and stared in amazement at the blood pooled in the creases of my palms. My fingernails were stained red. Eric covered my mouth with a kiss imbued with Hélène’s blood. I sucked at his tongue greedily, Hélène’s memories flashing into my mind for a split-second, replacing my emotions with hers. Her mother was holding her hand as they walked across the street to buy a treat after school. Hélène happily picked out an éclair, her mother got an espresso. Hélène was eight, and it was a Tuesday.
I pulled away from Eric and blinked at him, and just as quickly, the memory faded.
“I can’t wait any longer,” Eric said as he pulled my robe off, letting his hands rove over my skin.
“Wait for what?” I was still trying to get my bearings after Hélène’s interruption in my thoughts.
“To fuck you,” Eric said impatiently ripping his robe off and throwing it on the floor. I growled and smiled at him. He pulled me towards the bed, our bodies tumbling together until I was on my back and he was pushing his cock between my legs, demanding entrance. Lust surged ahead, making me forget for a moment how hungry I was. I opened my legs for him, needing him as much as he needed me.
“I wanted to do this the moment my fangs slid into her skin,” Eric said as he pushed inside me, our bodies stilled as he stretched me. He sat back on his heels. He pulled my hands up to his face and began to lick the sticky blood off of my palms, moaning as he thrust into me. I lifted my hips to meet each thrust. He released my hands and smiled at me with a smudge of blood on his chin. I growled, my hunger gaining control of my body again.
Eric pulled me up until I was straddling his legs, kneeling around him. We were both sitting up, gripping onto each other. I licked my blood off of his chin. “Now it is your turn,” Eric said. I furrowed my brow and stared at him, waiting for his statement to make sense. “Feed from me,” he demanded. Those three words finally bringing his plan into focus, turning on the light bulb in my head. I had been struggling to figure out how he was going to help me, but now I had no doubts.
I opened my mouth and pierced the flesh at the base of his neck. Lukewarm blood flowed into my mouth, making me moan and rub against Eric faster and faster as I felt myself spiraling towards release. I could smell and taste Hélène mixed with his blood, but her memories did not come with it. Eric’s body had diluted her essence, offering me nourishment and protecting me from losing myself in her. As I satisfied my hunger, I wanted to cry for joy at being able to feed without any strings attached.
My scream was muffled by his neck, as wave after wave of intense pleasure crashed over me. My muscles milking his cock so tightly that I brought him with me, combining his groan with my scream, forming a sound that embodied sex and happiness.
Our bodies shook together as the last ripples of our orgasms worked their way through us. I pulled my mouth away from his neck and beamed at him with a bloody grin. “So that was your plan to help me feed…”
Eric nodded and looked at me expectantly. “Yes, and you’re not speaking French, so…it worked?”
I nodded my head emphatically, smiling even more broadly. “I could taste her…and oddly enough, I could smell her, but the only memories I got from her were when I tasted her blood directly from your tongue. You are brilliant!” I kissed his face a dozen times and then pulled away, “Now I need to learn to control my jealousy when you feed from someone else.”
“Oh, Lover. Please understand that it is a necessity for us both!”
“I know, but it’s difficult to see you so satisfied.”
“No one satisfies me like you do.” Eric covered my mouth with his. I could feel his sincerity and love. “If it will make you feel better, I will not feed in front of you…”
“I think that might be better for now,” I admitted, giving him a grateful smile. Maybe over time I would become accustomed to watching him share something so intimate with someone else, but for now I needed to be sheltered from all these new emotions.
“Now, we need to get ready for our night out, the Seine is waiting for us,” Eric said as he carried me to the bathroom, depositing me in the shower. We were dressed and walking out the lobby a few minutes later. A short walk led us to a small glass-covered boat anchored against the bank of the Seine, offering scenic views of Paris to small groups. Eric bought tickets and we sat side by side, waiting for the boat to leave. Three other couples were on the tour with us, and since we were all American, the French guide was gracious enough to give the tour in English.
We moved along the dark water slowly, admiring the numerous attractions along the boat’s route. The Louvre, and Musee D’Orsay were high on my list of places to see because of the tour book I read on our way to New York, but the tour guide mentioned many more, adding to my growing list. The thing he mentioned that really caught my ear was a sight we would not soon forget in the heart of the city: the catacombs.
I leaned over to Eric and whispered, “The catacombs?”
Eric laughed quietly and said, “It is a limited part of Paris’ abandoned stone mines, and towards the end of the eighteenth century, because cemeteries at churches were full, the remains of about six million people were moved there. It is a collection of bones from many different burial sites, and the foreman for the project had quite an artistic flare.”
“You have been there before?” I asked.
Eric nodded, “When I was in Paris in 1868, and the ossuary had just opened the year before. It was all the rage, so of course I saw it. It is oddly beautiful, so if you would like to go, we can certainly do that.” I nodded my head, intrigued by such a bizarre tourist attraction.
The tour guide directed our attention up to the Eiffel Tower, and the sight of the stunning structure made me smile. I leaned against Eric’s chest and admired its bright form, being born out of the square naked trees that surrounded it.
The boat tour lasted for another hour, and as we wound leisurely around the banks of the Seine, I became overwhelmed with a feeling of happiness. Everything the tour guide said reflected his love for the city and his love for life. I understood why Eric wanted to come here for this part of my new life. There was no better way to experience a new beginning than in a place that rejoiced life.
We thanked the guide and decided to continue our exploration of the city on foot. Since Eric had already been here before, he let me set the itinerary for places to go and things to see, making suggestions as we planned out the next few nights. There was a tiny part of me that felt homesick, but for now…it could wait.
I hope you enjoyed it, please review and let me know.