Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
NSFW All mistakes are my own, and I’m sure there are a lot of them.
Sookie’s head swam. She knew she’d have to explore her family history sooner rather than later, since it seemed to keep coming up.
“You need a hot shower and something to eat,” Eric said, wrapping his arm around her and leading her into the bathroom. “You look a little pale. Are you feeling all right?”
“No. Everything still hurts and my head spins if I move too fast.”
His eyebrows knitted together. “You lost a lot of blood. Enough to feed me,” he admitted. “I healed your wound and then cleaned your skin and clothing. I’m so sorry Compton hurt you.”
“You kept me safe.” She leaned against the counter.
“I would’ve died trying.” He lifted her onto the counter and undressed her quickly and gently, stuffing her plastic suit in the garbage and putting her blood-soaked blouse in the sink. Then, he undressed himself and lifted her until she wrapped her arms and legs around his body so he could carry her into his large shower.
She sighed when the warm water caressed her back and washed some of the blood out of her hair.
“Will you let me heal you properly?” he asked, kissing her forehead.
“With your blood?” she asked.
“Yes. It’ll make you stronger.”
“The queen said it would only take three exchanges for a bond to form. Do you want that? To be bonded to me?”
Wisps of steam curled around Eric’s face as he gazed into her eyes. She could feel something coming from him stronger than ever, but was too afraid to fully acknowledge it. Is it love?
“Was Bill right? What he said, before…” she shook her head scattering the gruesome images of his death. “About how you feel about me?”
“Yes. That’s why he was so afraid.” He paused. “Love brings out the monster in me.”
She grinned from ear to ear. “So you love me?” she asked, knowing his answer before he said.
“Yes. I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
He winced before he kissed her, and when she opened her mouth to him, she understood why: he had pierced his tongue nearly all the way through. The second his blood coated her throat she felt the familiar strength and hunger stir inside her, but unlike the first time she’d taken his blood, this wound stayed open. She swallowed again and again while she slid down his lean body searching for his cock. She needed him. All of him. All at once.
Without releasing his tongue, she reached between their bodies and guided his dick inside her. He groaned and stumbled forward until her back was against the wall. She gasped when the cool tile shocked her skin, but then she latched back onto his mouth, milking more blood from his self-inflicted wound. He slammed into her and came almost immediately, drawing an orgasm out of her. She pulled away to breathe, releasing his tongue and regretting her action immediately.
As Eric started pumping in and out of her, she watched him bite his tongue again before offering it to her. She tightened her grip on his neck so she could suck while he fucked her. She moaned and swallowed, until the new wound healed too. She leaned her head against the wall and held on for dear life, waiting for orgasmic oblivion.
He didn’t disappoint. He never did.
She came twice before he finally joined her again, growling as his cock swelled inside her. When her breathing evened out, he lifted her onto the ground, holding her as her legs shook.
“Better?” he asked.
“Much,” she replied. She stretched under the water and smiled. “Bye bye pain. Hello hunger.”
Eric laughed. “We still haven’t had a chance to go shopping!”
“I have leftovers.” She shrugged and washed every inch of her body with soap. “Thank you for healing me.”
“Thank you for letting me.” He kissed her again and then turned off the shower.
After she dressed, Sookie went into the kitchen and warmed up her Chinese leftovers, and started digging for the plastic fork the delivery guy had left. “Thank goodness he brought a fork and chopsticks, or I’d be eating with my fingers.” She sighed. “I still can’t believe what happened. I mean … I know it happened because I saw it, but it seems so surreal.”
“Death is always a difficult concept to understand.”
She rolled her eyes. “Says the immortal man.”
He picked up the other chopstick and held it between his thumb and finger. “Not against this.”
She nodded. She hadn’t really planned to kill Bill. She just wanted to threaten him a little. Put a little fear into him. But he had done the unexpected.
She ate quickly and then made her way into the front room, where the folder full of family information still sat. “I think I’m ready.” She exhaled slowly. “Okay, here goes.” Her fingers trembled as she opened the file. A black and white photo sat on the very top with her gran’s handwriting scrawled across the white border. She squinted. “That’s my gran and my grandpa.” She outlined their young faces with her fingertip and smiled. “This must’ve been before my dad and aunt were born.”
The next item was a newspaper clipping stating the Corbett Stackhouse had been born. A picture was clipped to the article featuring her gran and grandpa again, but this time smiling with a brand-new baby. “Look at how cute my dad was!” she grinned at the bundled little baby, but something struck her odd. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it so she showed it to Eric. “Something’s off. What is it?”
“Your grandfather is glowing.” Eric tilted his head.
Sure enough, a halo of light surrounded her photographed ancestor. She held the two pictures side-by-side. The men looked similar, but not exactly the same. “Who is this?”
Eric pressed his lips together. “I’m guessing he’s a fairy, but I can’t identify him. He’s masking his true form.”
“Masking?” She turned to face him.
“Fairies can do that in our realm, but it makes their skin shimmer.” He tapped the picture. “Like this.”
She shook her head trying to make sense of what he was saying. “So some fairy came to our realm and pretended to be my grandpa?”
“Seems that way.”
“Did my gran know?” Her head spun as a million questions filled it.
“Take a deep breath,” Eric said, holding her shoulders.
“What does Niall have to do with this? Who is he? Is this him?” She tapped the picture.
“I can’t answer your questions.” He looked over her shoulder at the pile of papers in her lap. “There’s more.”
Another picture surfaced, same pose, same glowing grandpa, different baby. “This must be my aunt Linda.” A newspaper clipping of her mom and dad’s marriage was taped to one announcing Jason’s birth and then Sookie’s. Her eyes filled with tears as she read the next headline: HUSBAND AND WIFE DRIVE OFF BRIDGE. NO SURVIVORS. A pile of family pictures filled the folder: Jason, Sookie, and Hadley playing outside Gran’s house, Sookie and Hadley hanging upside-down from a tree branch, Sookie and Hadley dressing in matching Easter dresses. They spanned her whole childhood, but stopped abruptly when she hit her teens.
Sookie’s skin crawled. “Where did these come from? These are personal.” Truth was, she hadn’t even known they existed. “I need to talk to my gran. In person.”
“We have enough time to get there if we leave now,” Eric said, surprising her.
“We?” She had expected to make the trip alone.
“I love you, Sookie. I want to be there for you. Please let me.”
She smiled. Despite the chaos of her past and the confusion of her twisted reality, she knew one thing: he loved her and she loved him right back. “I love you. Thank you.”
* * * *
“Where are you going to sleep?” Sookie asked, her forehead furrowing. “I don’t have a coffin or anything at my house.”
“Do you have a crawlspace under your house?”
Sookie grimaced as she imagined the decades of dead spiders and mice that had accumulated under her family home. “Yes, but—”
“Good. That’s where I’ll sleep. I don’t want to leave you.”
“It’s so dirty down there. No one’s been in there since we got a new line drawn in for our water heater. That was twelve years ago.”
He smiled. “Dirt doesn’t bother me.”
“But there’s dead stuff down there!”
“So I’ll be in good company,” he joked.
Sookie laughed. She could always count on him for that … and many other things.
The closer they got to Bon Temps, the more anxious she became. She thought of how she was going to ask all her questions. She wanted to know everything: where the pictures came from, who the man in the photographs was, and if her gran knew.
With the folder of pictures clutched tight in her hands, she braced herself for the upcoming confrontation.
Eric slowed as he wound down her long, gravely driveway. A single light shone through the kitchen window, which didn’t surprise Sookie. Gran always got up well before dawn to make breakfast.
Being home filled her heart with contentment. She hadn’t realized how much she missed it. Suddenly, her question and answer session seemed less important. She put the folder down on her seat and got out of the car.
The aroma of biscuits and sausage fill the air, stirring Sookie’s appetite. She smiled. “Come meet my gran before you have to go to sleep.”
Eric followed her up the front steps and waited respectfully at the door.
Sookie called out, “Gran, I’m home!” And then she was in the kitchen, wrapped in the loving arms of her grandmother. “I’ve missed you,” she whispered, fighting tears.
“I missed you too, honey.” Gran rubbed her back. “What are you doing here so early?”
“We drove all night,” Sookie started and then realized Eric hadn’t followed her inside. She sighed and pulled out of her gran’s arms. Of course he didn’t. She hadn’t invited him in. “Eric, will you please come in?”
In the blink of an eye, Eric whooshed into the kitchen. “Mrs. Stackhouse, it’s a pleasure,” he said, bowing.
“Are you the man I spoke to on the phone?” Gran asked, narrowing her eyes.
“I am. Eric Northman.”
“And he’s been keeping you safe?” she asked Sookie. When Sookie nodded, Gran went on, “I don’t know what happened at Vampire Bill’s house, but I sure am glad she wasn’t with him. Thank you,” she said, and then, without any hesitation she hugged him. Her frail, tiny body seemed even smaller against Eric’s. “Thank you for bringing my girl home.”
He patted her lightly and bowed again when they separated. “You are very welcome.”
“Now,” Gran said, wiping her eyes and sniffing. “What can I get you for breakfast?”
Sookie looked at her and then at Eric. Gran had no idea that Eric was a vampire.
“I’ve already eaten,” Eric said graciously, “but thank you for the offer. I need to rest now.” He glanced out the window, which had begun to brighten.
“I’ll take two eggs, please. I’m going to go get Eric situated. I’ll be right back.” Sookie took his hand and led him down the hall to the trapdoor under the rug. The hinges creaked as she lifted the heavy plank of wood. “Are you sure about this?”
He nodded and gathered her into his arms, kissing her before descending the roughly cut earthen steps leading to the tiny crawlspace. “I’ll see you in a few hours.”
She nodded and closed the door, leaving it unlatched, but covering it with the rug. A plate of steaming food waited for her at the table. A moment later, Gran plated her own breakfast and joined her.
“Thank you so much. I’m starving,” Sookie said, digging in.
“I’m glad you’re here. I’ve missed you.”
“Me, too,” Sookie replied around a bite of food.
“Tell me about New Orleans and this Eric fella.” Gran lifted her eyebrows and waited expectantly.
While the sun rose, Sookie recounted a very modified version of what had happened over the last two weeks. She skimmed over her stay at the cabin and carefully chose each word to describe the truth about Bill, that he had used her and hurt her, but that he wouldn’t hurt her ever again. And then she talked about Eric. How wonderful, caring, protective, and supportive he was. She couldn’t admit to her gran that she loved him, but it seemed pretty obvious.
“Where is he sleeping? Not in your room, I hope.” Gran held Sookie’s eyes.
“First of all, he’s a vampire, so he’s sleeping in the crawlspace under the house right now. Second, I’m a grown woman and I happen to enjoy sharing my bed with him.” Her cheeks flushed. She refused to be ashamed of her healthy sex life, but she wasn’t about to discuss it in detail, either.
“You know how I feel about that.”
“So you came home so I could meet another vampire?” Gran asked.
“No. I came home to ask you about grandpa.”
Poor Gran is going to be put on the spot…read on Relapse: Chapter 8