As the Snow Falls
“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today in the presence of these witnesses, to join Samuel Merlotte and Sookie Stackhouse in matrimony…”
Sookie smiled up at Sam as she listened to the priest recite the opening of her wedding vows. She couldn’t believe this day was finally here; that she, Bon Temps biggest freak, was finally getting married to a man who loved her. This was the beginning of her happily ever after. This was what she had been dreaming of since she was a little girl. It was supposed to be the happiest day of her life.
So then why did she feel as if something was wrong? Why did she feel as if something was missing?
Since the moment Sam proposed five months earlier, Sookie had been swept up in a whirlwind of planning, dress fittings, and cake samplings. She thought herself lucky she had her best friend and maid of honor Amelia by her side through it all. Sookie doubted she would have been able to cope without Amelia’s helping hand. Sookie had been so busy she barely had time to breathe. She had been run ragged, so it was hardly a surprise that ten days before her wedding Sookie had come down with a nasty virus that had left her confined to bed rest until yesterday.
Sam had been amazing; taking over all her duties so between him and Amelia everything had been sorted. All Sookie had to do was show up and say, “I do.”
“Do you, Samuel Merlotte, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
“I do,” he answered, smiling at his bride. They had agreed to the classic vows; she would love, cherish, and obey.
“Sookie Stackhouse, do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband?” the Minister asked. “Do you promise to love, cherish, and obey him as long as you both shall live?”
The words “I do” were on the tip of Sookie’s tongue when she felt a cold shiver go over her. Goosebumps broke out over her skin, and little puffs of air escaped from her lips as the air around her grew colder. She was looking at her fiancé, a smile on his face, but he wasn’t moving. She looked at the minister who had stopped breathing, a fake encouraging smile plastered on his lips. She looked up at Sam, but he was frozen, unmoving, and not breathing. Both he and the minister were like statues. Worry colored her face as she turned to her bridesmaid standing beside her. Amelia was holding both of their flowers, looking bored, but she was also still. No one in the small church was moving, and no one was breathing. Everyone attending her December 21st wedding had become statues.
She was about to cry out when the doors to the church began shaking on their hinges. The rattling was incessant until one door fell off its hinge and clattered to the floor. Though it was a morning wedding, outside it was blacker than she had ever seen the darkest night. Her breath was still visible in the cold air, but through the door a freezing wind was cutting through her, chilling her to the bone.
Sookie began to shake from the cold. She walked away from the altar and her fiancé towards the door. She had to know what was going on, what was stopping her wedding. The further she got from the front of the church, the lighter it became outside. She was able to see through the open door now as she stood before it.
With her breath caught in her throat, she stepped outside into the cold. Her eyes widened in shock at the sight that greeted it. Gone was the clear winter day and in its place was a scene from a Christmas movie. A blanket of snow covered the ground and fairy lights twinkled from the snow-covered trees. Sookie spun around as she took it all in, barely believing her own eyes. She could hear the faint sound of bells in the distance, the soft tinkling sound soothing her frayed nerves.
“What the…” Sookie whispered, her tone filled with wonder.
“Hello, Sookie,” a soft voice said, drawing the telepath’s attention.
Sookie spun around to view the most beautiful vision she had ever seen. “Claudine?” she whispered, confused.
The woman smiled at her. “Not exactly,” she replied. Her dark hair had frozen snowflakes stuck to it, making it appear sparkled. Her long white dress did sparkle in the moonlight filtering around the lightly snowing clouds. There was clarity to her cousin’s eyes that hadn’t been there before; before she had been killed. The woman in front of her almost radiated her own light.
Sookie’s feet moved of their own volition while tears welled in her eyes as she neared her fairy godmother. “What do you mean?” she asked as she stopped just mere feet from the woman who meant so much to her.
“This is my last; all I need for my dreams,” she smiled at Sookie, looking ethereal in the moonlight. She wasn’t any more explicit in her explanation before holding her hand out to her goddaughter. That classification though held more meaning now than ever before.
“I don’t understand,” Sookie replied. She looked at Claudine’s outstretched hand before looking back at the church over her shoulder. “This is my wedding day,” she added as she looked back to Claudine. Yet even as she said the words her hand was reaching out and taking Claudine’s.
“All will be revealed, Child,” Claudine said excitedly. She pulled her cousin to her and hugged her tightly. She had missed Sookie, even if she was an unbelievable troublemaker. “Always in so much danger,” she murmured.
Sookie felt all the tension leave her body as she was encased in her fairy godmothers’ arms. She hadn’t even realized she felt so tense, but for the first time in as long as she could remember she felt at ease, though something deep down inside told her it wasn’t going to last.
Sookie closed her eyes as she relaxed into Claudine’s embrace, and even as she felt the wind pick up around them, the snow began to swirl, and the crystalline water licking her as it danced around them, she remained calm in her godmother’s hold.
Sookie felt as if she was flying as the snow danced around them and for a brief moment she thought about the vampire who would hold her in his arms as he soared above the trees. She felt a pang in her heart as the memory of Eric filled her mind. It had been months since she had last thought about him and waves of guilt crashed into her. There was a point when she had loved him more than anything, so how was it possible she had forgotten him so very easily?
As the snow slowly settled around them, Claudine ran her hands gently down Sookie’s arms to bring her back to awareness.
“What? Where are we?” Sookie asked, seeing they weren’t in the same place anymore. She frowned as she took in the tacky-looking lounge.
“Vegas, darling!” Claudine exclaimed. “I used to have the most glorious time here,” she added, looking around. “Well, not here. This is a bit excessive.”
“Vegas?” Sookie repeated in disbelief.
“You know! Las Vegas, Nevada; the city that never sleeps, the gambling capital of the world, the formerly drug and prostitute-laden city full of crime and debauchery, now somehow a family-friendly destination where you need to be 21 to really have a good time.”
“I know what Vegas is,” Sookie huffed, “but what are we doin‘ here? How’d we even get here?”
“Watch,” Claudine said, gesturing to the door. As she spoke, it opened.
Victor Madden stepped into the room wearing oversized patchwork denim and a large gold chain. He had on a visor he was wearing not only upside down, but backwards, as he led in a group of people.
“What the hell?” Sookie cried, her eyes widening in shock as they landed on Victor. “What the hell is he wearing?”
“You used to wear those ugly jelly shoes. It was popular at this time,” Claudine replied with a shrug.
“At this time?” Sookie questioned once again confused.
“Welcome back to the 90s!”
“The 90s? How? What?” Sookie all but screeched, her eyes darting around the room. “He looks like an extra from a music video,” she added with a snort as her eyes finally landed on Victor who was bowing before Felipe de Castro.
Felipe was wearing a gold velour tracksuit with a cape. He tossed the shiny gold cape over his shoulder as he stalked into the room and immediately lounged on the couch.
“Report,” Felipe ordered, as he stretched his arms over the back of the couch.
“There’s a woman, Freyda, requesting an audience,” Victor replied.
“Freyda, Freyda, Freyda,” Felipe repeated with a furrowed brow. “Do I know any Freydas?”
“Not sure. She’s tall, blonde, and young.”
“Fine. Send her in,” Felipe ordered as he lowered the zipper on his tracksuit top and revealed a bit of his pale chest and leaned forward.
Victor stepped out to bring in the vampire. She was only a few hundred years old, but she was good. She had amassed wealth, taken a state, and earned considerable power.
“Oklahoma!” Felipe exclaimed when he finally set eyes on her. Now he knew who she was. He couldn’t believe he hadn’t recognized her name. The young woman was quite the vampire or at least that was what her reputation said. “What brings you to my Kingdom?”
“A deal,” Freyda replied. “A quid pro quo, if you will.”
Felipe waved his hand around instructing Freyda to take a seat as he leaned back on the couch and crossed his legs. “Tell me more.”
“I want power in my state, someone who can support me, and insure my state remains both strong and mine, but not a royal marriage. That’s too much baggage. In return, you could get a second state. Perhaps you could even advance further east and take over more.”
“You wish for me to find you a husband?” Felipe asked, intrigued by her words. “Do you have someone specific in mind?”
“I have someone. He’s in Louisiana and his maker owes me a debt,” she responded, leaning back into the seat.
“Mmm, Louisiana,” Felipe murmured. “A rich state with an honorable Queen, but given the current rumors that vampires will soon reveal themselves to the cattle, the council has tightened their control over all the states. Marriage contracts are being screened thoroughly by those in charge. Even with the debt of a maker you would be hard pressed to get it accepted.”
“Not with you as his King,” she replied with a smirk on her face.
“Sophie-Anne is a powerful Queen. It wouldn’t be easy to overthrow her,” Felipe said thoughtfully, as he tapped a finger to his chin. “However, there could be a way. The only problem is it would take time. I have a number of talented people who could assist me with this. You would have to have patience, my dear.”
Freyda laughed, tossing her head back. “I have patience, Felipe, and I can be very helpful,” she added, raising a slender arched eyebrow.
“I’m sure you can,” Felipe replied with a smirk. “Victor, please fetch us a couple of cattle to toast the deal. Showgirls will do.”
Victor, who had been standing behind Felipe nodded and walked out of the room. Two girls in the tiniest costumes imaginable came prancing in on their heels, giggling. Both were from the same show — one in a neighboring casino. One girl had on magenta feathered bra top, matching fluffy high cut panties without the feathers. The other girl was wearing the same costume in purple.
Freyda took the one offered to her and pulled the girl in purple to sit beside her. “Through the last drop?” she asked insuring they would follow through their agreement until it was completed.
“Through the last drop,” Felipe repeated as he pulled his girl down on his lap.
Freyda didn’t bother prepping the girl’s neck. She would be dead from the bite anyway. Her fangs snapped down as she turned to the girl and roughly grabbed her hair. She ignored the drunken showgirl’s cry as she tilted her head to the side and roughly bit into her neck.
“A woman after my own heart,” Felipe said, watching Freyda drain the showgirl. He grinned as he heard the one on his knee cry out in horror as she watched Freyda tear into the other woman’s neck. “My turn.” he purred. Moving at vampire speed, Felipe threw the woman off his knee and pinned her to the couch with one hand as he used his other to force the frightened showgirl’s legs apart so he could feed from the artery between her legs.
Freyda watched Felipe for her cues, not sure exactly how rough, how sexual, or how messy she could get. She bit again, creating more puncture wounds in the half-naked woman’s neck.
Felipe swallowed a mouthful of blood before pulling back and moving up the crying woman’s body. “Enjoy yourself, Freyda. They’re only cattle. Here for our amusement,” he said before ripping the showgirl’s bra off and sinking his fangs into her right breast painfully.
“Ahh, I wasn’t sure,” Freyda responded with a smirk. “Some vampires have such fucked-up ideas on how to deal with the meat. I needed to be sure I had an ally in you,” she added. She climbed up straddling the showgirl, ripping her costume off, not caring as her nails scraped into and gouged the woman’s skin.
Felipe chuckled as he pulled his fangs from the woman’s breast. Blood dripped from his chin as he fisted his hand in her hair and yanked her up. Dragging her towards Freyda, Felipe wrapped his arm around the terrified brunettes’ chest, holding her in place. “Would you care for a taste of this whore?” he asked. “Her blood is most delicious. She is AB negative.”
Freyda licked her lips before lifting up the showgirl’s arm and biting into her Brachial artery on the underside of her upper arm. As soon as her teeth popped in, she quickly popped them out, letting the blood flow. She ran her tongue up the girl’s arm, licking up the blood. “Delicious,” she replied.
“It is almost a shame to throw something so tasty away,” Felipe mused, as he ran his hands over her.
“This one is tasty too,” Freyda added, still wrenching the girl’s head to the side.
“Perhaps I should see if I can find room for them in my cattle pen,” Felipe said. “There was an unfortunate accident a short time ago and I had to put some of the cattle down. These would make fine replacements.”
“That wouldn’t fit our deal,” Freyda replied, raising an eyebrow.
“True,” Felipe agreed. “Then it doesn’t really matter how much we hurt them.” He grinned at Freyda before sinking his fangs into the trembling showgirl’s neck and grabbing her breasts.
Freyda laughed. “Blood sacs never matter.” The woman beneath her was screaming as blood dribbled down her neck. Freyda slapped the girl across the face while still holding her hair before smirking and sinking her fangs into the girl’s cheek.
Felipe chuckled as he removed his fangs from the young girl’s neck. Running his nose along her neck, he breathed in her, the scent of her blood and fear was intoxicating. “This one smells almost innocent.”
“Innocent? In Sin City? You’re joking!”
“See for yourself,” Felipe offered.
Freyda smirked, pressed two fingers together and reached below the girl. She said, “Bite her,” and waited until he did. Then she roughly forced both fingers into her until they were fully seated, breaking her innocence. She pulled out her fingers, coated with the girl’s blood. “Apparently she is,” Freyda said laughing.
Felipe laughed at the girl’s cry of pain. “Taste it, Freyda,” he growled.
Freyda slipped the bloody fingers between her lips and moaned in delight. “Excellent!”
“It has been a long time since I tasted a virgin,” Felipe said. “You don’t find too many of them in Vegas.”
She nodded in response, “Enjoy. This one here is delectable if you want a bite,” she added, licking up the blood dribbling from the wounds she had left.
“I think I will,” Felipe said, as he pushed his girl towards Freyda and yanked the other one up by her hair. Freyda had slipped off of her girl, who was still clad in her purple panties. She easily caught the other dancer and held her to watch Felipe enjoy her friend.
Felipe bit down on the girl’s neck hard, making her scream out in agony as he tore into her flesh. Freyda laughed, slipping three fingers into the girl she deflowered. The blood spilling from the dancer’s neck was spurting out as Freyda placed matching marks on this dancer’s cheek as she bit into the flesh.
“Do you think this one is a virgin?” Felipe asked, although he knew she wasn’t.
“That one’s been rode hard and put away wet a few times I’d bet.”
Felipe threw his head back and laughed before casting the woman aside. “Then I will sate myself with her,” he said, nodding his head toward the one Freyda was abusing.
“Enjoy!” Freyda said.
“I will,” Felipe purred, stripping off his tracksuit.
She pulled her fingers out of the girl and rubbed the blood across the girl’s nipples.
“I don’t need to see this,” Sookie cried, turning her back on Felipe as he started to rape the young woman. She was grateful when she turned her back on them the sound seemed to cut out and she no longer had to hear the young woman’s screams. “Why are you showin‘ me this? How are you showin‘ me this?”
“What were they discussing, Sookie?” Claudine prompted.
“Freyda needing a husband and de Castro wanting to take over…” Sookie trailed off as a light bulb went off over her head. She had been so disgusted by the way they treated those women she hadn’t really acknowledged what they were discussing. “This is where it all started, wasn’t it?” She asked her fairy godmother.
“Take my hand, Child,” Claudine replied. “You’ll probably want to close your eyes.”
Sookie closed her eyes as she took Claudine’s hand.
With another whirlwind of snow, Sookie felt the ground beneath her feet disappear. “Don’t think about it too much,” Claudine’s airy voice said to her.
“We are walking through the air,” Sookie sang, amusement filling her tone.
“We are floating in the moonlit sky,” Claudine replied, her voice actually clear and bell-like, hitting the notes on key.
Sookie couldn’t help but laugh as Claudine sang the next line of the song. “Am I dreamin‘? Or still sick with a fever?”
“You may open your eyes,” Claudine replied.
Sookie squinted as she opened her eyes and took in her new surroundings. “Where are we now?” Claudine didn’t respond, but only stepped back and let her look around.
Taking a step forward, Sookie cast her gaze over the strange looking room as she tried to figure out where she was. A huge open fire crackled on the far sidewall and for a second Sookie could almost feel the heat of the flames warming her body. The sound of a door being opened drew her attention and Sookie spun around. Her eyes widened in shock and a gasp spilled from her lips as she watched her Uncle Dermot escort Doctor Ludwig into the room.
“Doctor Ludwig is here to see you, Father,” Dermot said before excusing himself and leaving Niall and the Doctor alone.
“It’s awful,” the dwarfish doctor said without preface. “The magic around her house is foul, as you suspected.”
“Do you get to see my great-granddaughter?” Niall asked, leaning back in his oversized chair. “Or are they still blocking your access?”
“The dog sent me away; said she was convalescing. I’m sure it came from the witch imposter, since I doubt he could spell the word, let alone comprehend its meaning.”
“That is most troubling,” Niall replied with a heavy sigh. “They are isolating her from those she needs. From what I hear they will not even allow the vampire to see her who is supposed to be guarding her.”
“I don’t think she’s actually ill, Prince,” Ludwig replied quietly.
“What do you believe is wrong with her then?” Niall asked, trusting the Doctor’s judgement.
“The air is thick with foul magic,” she replied.
“Witches,” Niall sneered. “How I wish we could burn them at the stake again.”
“Somehow I can easily imagine you bringing that back again.”
Rising from his seat, Niall brushed the wrinkles out of his suit as he reached for his cane. “If I have to I will burn the witch at the stake,” he threatened darkly. “Her manipulation has gone on for too long.”
“You may need to step in yourself. I think she’s being blinded,” Ludwig stated.
“I was planning on intervening if they refused to allow you to see her,” Niall admitted.
“The spell the witch has weaved is complex, but poorly put together. As a result, you won’t be able to break it completely, especially not without injuring your great-granddaughter. There will be ramifications from its breaking beyond what I can currently see.”
Niall ran a hand over his face as he thought about her words. The last thing he wanted to do was cause his great-granddaughter pain, but he couldn’t leave her like she was. He cursed himself for not interceding earlier. He could have saved her so much pain. “That is unfortunate, but I am afraid I see no other option.”
“The effects of the spell won’t disappear right away either, I venture. More than likely, it will fade over a period of time.
“She will once again regain her free will?” Niall questioned.
“That will have to do,” Niall said.
“Be careful when you break the spell, Prince. It will take a delicate touch,” she added.
“I will be extra careful,” Niall promised. “I have no wish to harm her more than she has already been.” Ludwig nodded.
“Do you see?” Claudine asked Sookie.
“I don’t understand,” Sookie admitted. “They’re talkin‘ about me? Someone put a spell on me? Why?”
“Hmmm,” Claudine thought. “Why would someone bespell you?” She put the question back to her cousin.
“I…I…” Sookie stuttered at a loss. Why would someone bespell her? What would they hope to gain? More importantly, how long had she been under the influence of the spell? “When was this?”
“The most recent visit from the Prince, Eight days ago,” Claudine replied.
Sookie frowned as she thought about it. Eight days ago would have been two days after she started to get sick. It would have also been two days before she received an unexpected visit from her great-grandfather. It was after that visit, she got even worse. She spent three days pretty much completely out of it with a high fever. Then the fever had suddenly and unexplainably broke and other than feeling tired, she felt fine, physically at least. Her mind had felt clouded, almost like it was stuffed with cotton or wool.
“Who is it they’re discussing?” Claudine prompted again, taking her goddaughter’s shoulders in her hands.
“Doctor Ludwig said the witch and dog. Amelia and Sam,” Sookie answered sadly. She didn’t want it to be true, but deep down inside she knew that was who Niall and Ludwig were talking about.
“Why would they bespell you?” Claudine repeated.
“I don’t know!” Sookie cried in despair. “I’m marrying Sam, or I was. Why would he do this?” Spinning around, Sookie faced Claudine and grasped her arms, a look of desperation in her eyes as she pleaded with her fairy godmother. “Show me. Show me what they did. I need to see it. I need to understand.”
Sookie didn’t close her eyes this time as the darkness swallowed them. Snow whipped around, faster than before, creating a dizzying effect of being in a horrible spinning hellish snow globe. She couldn’t even see Claudine’s face, just the reflection of the white snowflakes.
The snowflakes drifted away as Sookie’s feet hit the floor. The change of scenery didn’t even faze her as she noticed they were in a dingy hotel room watching Sam pace back and forth.
There was a knock on the door and he paused in his stride. He cautiously went over and checked the peephole as he held his breath. He exhaled when he saw who he expected and then Sam undid the locks and opened the door slowly.
“I was startin‘ to think you weren’t comin,’” Sam said as he let his guest slip inside.
“I had to slip by that fairy, Dermot.”
“What the hell’s he watchin‘ ya for?” Sam growled. “He should’ve thought ya left when Sook kicked ya all out.”
“Well, he did, but he caught me coming back. I had to pretend I was getting something,” Amelia said, closing and locking the door behind her before slipping into Sam’s arms. She pressed her lips to the shifter’s and moaned into the kiss as it heated up.
“Fuckin‘ fairies,” Sam mumbled before throwing Amelia on the bed and climbing on top of her.
“I don’t want to fuck any fairies,” Amelia said, licking her lips. She reached up to pull Sam’s shirt over his head.
“Me neither,” Sam growled, moving down her body, “but it’s what I’m being paid for.”
Amelia ran her hands over the downy hairs on his chest. “Fuck, I missed this,” she told him. She pulled her own shirt open and opened the front clasp of her bra.
“Me too,” Sam replied, as he slipped his hands under her skirt and peeled her panties off. “It’s been far too long.”
“Fuckin’ de Castro,” Amelia muttered, trying to reach for Sam’s belt.
“I don’t want to fuck him.” Sam smirked.
“Then fuck me,” she told him, pushing his pants and boxers down.
“Oh I don’t need to see this,” Sookie groused turning her back on a fucking Sam and Amelia. “So they’re both lyin‘, backstabbin‘ bitches, but can ya, I don’t know fast-forward that?” she waved her hand in the direction of the bed. “Show what they did, not doin‘ each other.”
“Umm… this is kind of all they do,” Claudine said sympathetically. “Sometimes they’ll cry out about it and give information, but most of their stuff is on the fly.” She ignored the screaming in the background. “So what did we learn?”
“That they’re lyin‘, two-faced bastards,” Sookie snarled. “And they’re workin‘ for de Castro, but why? What’s the big plan?”
“What did we see of de Castro tonight?”
“That he’s got bad fashion sense,” Sookie snorted before sobering up and thinking it over seriously. “He made a deal with Freyda. He’d help her get her husband after he took over Louisiana.”
“Who is her husband, Sookie?” Claudine asked, taking her hand.
“Eric,” Sookie replied, her voice breaking as she said his name and once more the darkness closed in. The trip this time was not extremely long, and the light filtered back in when they stopped in a lavish meeting room.
Eric was sitting at the table, waiting for something. His eyes were closed, but he held his cell phone in his hand as if waiting for a call from someone.
The shrill sound of the phone going off pierced the air and destroyed the silence. Eric stared at the phone as it rung before accepting the call and bringing the phone to his ear.
“Speak,” he ordered.
“Master, I have news,” Pam’s voice spoke clearly.
“What is it?”
“Eric, she’s getting married to him,” her voice had gentled. There was no way to easily tell her maker that the woman he was in love with was going to marry someone else.
Eric felt his heart shatter at her words. He couldn’t believe Sookie, his love, was marrying someone else; not to mention how quickly it happened. Five months. That was how long it was from the breaking of the pledge to Sookie agreeing to marry someone else, and not just anyone, the Shifter. Eric couldn’t understand it. In all the time he had been bonded to Sookie, he had never felt anything resembling romantic love towards Sam from her. He had felt her affection for the mangy dog, but it was never sexual. It felt like the affection she also held for the witch. What could have changed in her so quickly?
“Is she happy?”
Pam paused for a moment before saying softly, “Yes.” There was nothing Eric could do from where he was. If she voiced any suspicions or negative remarks about it, he would be sitting in Oklahoma frustrated and powerless. If he believed Sookie to be happy, he could maybe move on.
Eric felt what was left of his heart die as Pam told him Sookie was happy. How could she be happy when he was miserable?
“Are you okay?” Pam asked him gently.
Suddenly the sounds of clacking heels on the floor out in the hall were heard as someone, probably Freyda, walked toward his space.
“I am fine,” Eric replied stiffly as he looked up and saw Freyda enter the room. He disconnected the call before Pam had a chance to reply and adopted a blank expression.
“That’s good to know,” Freyda said, pulling Eric’s chair back and placing herself on his lap. She ran her long fingers down the side of his cheek grazing his face with her nails. “It’s nice to see you getting more acclimated to living here,” she said breathily.
Eric growled as he pushed her off his lap. “I have no choice,” he replied.
She brushed off her dismissal. “Yes, you did. You chose to be bound to me for two centuries. An excellent idea, I must say.”
“My choice had nothing to do with you,” Eric informed her coolly. “I only agreed to protect Sookie. Do not delude yourself into believing my decision had anything to do with you.”
“Oh, you’ll learn to love it here, and happy or not, I don’t really care. You’re here, as my underling, for two hundred years. You’re mine, mine to bed, and mine to command. You will serve me for every minute of those two hundred years, so you may as well make the best of it,” her tone turned harsh at the end. “Would you like to sample some of the new crop of cattle that were just delivered tonight?”
“No,” Eric replied.
“Aww, don’t be so depressing.” She mockingly patted his head since he was her obedient toy now. “I’ll see you later, Pet.”
“Bitch!” Eric sneered.
Claudine and Sookie watched Freyda ignore his name-calling and leave him alone in the room. He put in the password to his phone and pulled up a picture. It seemed simple, just some blonde hair splayed out on a pillow, but it was more than that. It was his own hair mixed with her hair, “the same color,” Sookie recalled saying. They had been lying on her bed.
“Eric,” Sookie whispered, as she ignored Claudine and took a step towards him. A tear trickled down her cheek as she bent down in front of his chair. “I’m so sorry, Eric.” Her hand shook as she reached out to touch him. A cry tore from her throat as her hand passed through him. “Please forgive me. I was an idiot.”
Claudine placed her hand on Sookie’s back. She was hesitant to show her this last scene, but she had to know everything before returning. She needed to understand. Her goddaughter was already broken, but she needed to see. She tried not to listen as Sookie cried out when Eric began to fade.
“No! Please, Claudine, don’t make me leave him,” Sookie pleaded. “Take me back.”
Through the darkness Claudine pulled Sookie to her body, cradling her cousin to her. “Shhh,” she cooed, hugging Sookie closely. “He was just a vision; the past. I can only access the past and present,” Claudine told her gently.
Sookie’s body was wracked with sobs as she let Claudine hold her. All the mistakes she had made were playing over in her head and it broke her heart as she realized how stupid she had been.
“It wasn’t you,” Claudine spoke to her gently. Though the darkness cleared, she didn’t release her cousin, trying to give her strength with her touch. They were back in the same room from the first scene, one of de Castro’s rooms in Las Vegas, but obviously more recent with the modern furniture.
“I’m the one who broke his heart,” Sookie hiccupped, not even noticing their new location. “I was so stupid. I knew I loved him, love him,” she corrected with a frown. “I love him,” she whispered in confusion. She loved Eric, of this she was certain. She had never stopped. She had just forgotten. How could she have forgotten? The thought of Eric consumed her very soul. He was her heart, it beat for him. She looked up at Claudine through tear filled eyes. “They did this to me, didn’t they?”
“They did,” Claudine confirmed softly.
“They were never my friends,” Sookie whispered. Taking a deep breath, Sookie wiped away her tears as she straightened her shoulders and took a look around the room she now found herself in. “Vegas?” She guessed, seeing all the tacky furniture.
Claudine looked towards the door as it opened, de Castro walked in, followed by Freyda, Sam, and Amelia.
“She and I spoke,” Amelia said after they all sat down. “She wants to break the bond.” The witch had a smirk on her face. The magic she had been working to try to push them apart had been only so effective when they were bound. With the Fairy war, she had figured she didn’t have a chance of separating them. Eric had risked himself and even lost his own just to save Sookie, but the magic was at least helping her question, practically everything, about Eric.
“It is about time,” Felipe huffed. “I was starting to think you were not as skilled as you claimed, witch. I want that bond broken as soon as possible. As long as it exists no one can touch her.”
“It’ll be gone. She wants me there next week with a few witches to break it.”
“Good.” Felipe nodded. “Once it’s gone I want you to increase your efforts to come between them. I don’t care how you do it; I want them torn apart.”
“It won’t be hard,” Freyda said, a smile on her face. “Eric’s maker will be in town tomorrow. He’s not expecting him.”
“That just proves you don’t know Northman,” Felipe snorted. “Even with the contract Northman won’t give up the telepath easily. His maker can promise him to you, but that won’t stop him from doing everything in his power to protect her. He pledged with the blood bag to prevent me from attempting to take her.”
“She’ll be pushed away if nothing else. Who would want to feel any parts of Appius’s as well as his Russian brat’s emotions? Hell, just feeling Alexei’s emotions might drive her crazy,” Freyda replied.
“She is a telepath, you idiot!” Felipe shouted, his fangs slipping down in the face of Freyda’s arrogance. “She hears humans’ thoughts every day. She was targeted by a serial killer, a human serial killer, and tortured by the fairies who even frighten vampires! Feeling the emotions of Northman’s maker and brother might be unpleasant for her, but won’t scare her for long. Northman may distance himself from her for a short while, but not for long. As disgusting as it is, he loves her. No contract will change that.”
“Yet my magic will,” Amelia said assuredly.
“You have been trying to break them apart with your magic since you met Sookie,” Felipe reminded her. “So far all you have managed to do is give her a headache.”
“The bond has been preventing it from working! With it gone, she’ll be easy to manipulate. She hasn’t realized yet my mind screaming into hers is actually a spell. She hears everything inconsequential. Once the bond is gone, this will work just as well.”
“In case you have forgotten they weren’t bonded when you first met her,” Felipe said. “The bond might be stopping your spell from working, but the blood bag is also resistant to it as well. Separating them is going to take more than just a spell. It will take a combination of all the things we have planned. Freyda, you should prepare to visit Northman after his maker informs him of the contract. Don’t rely solely on the contract. Try to entice him anyway you can, and maybe pay a visit to the blood bag. Witch, bring down the bond and then try and plant seeds of doubts in both their heads. And you, shifter, should get ready to seduce her.”
“What?” Amelia cried, looking at Sam. They had been lovers for years, both working for de Castro. Never in a serious relationship, they would just fuck whenever they saw each other. Amelia knew Sam was planted in Bon Temps before he even moved there. She was thrilled when she was ordered to go live there after Katrina. It gave her the ability to fuck Sam whenever possible, but she never knew anything about Sam being ordered to seduce Sookie.
“Once Northman’s out of the way, the King wants me to seduce Sookie and secure her services for him. I’m to marry her, get her pregnant, and once she is, hand her over to the King,” Sam replied with a shrug, not caring in the least of the trauma he was planning on inflicting on his friend.
“You’re gonna marry her?” Amelia asked. She looked down at her left ring finger that held the ring he had just used to propose. “Wait, I thought we…” she trailed off.
“It won’t be for long,” Sam answered. “The King needs Sookie to be pregnant to keep her compliant. Once she is I’ll hand her over, divorce her, and then we’ll get married.”
“As a thank you for your services, I will pay for the wedding of your dreams,” Felipe said.
Amelia stared at him, scowling. “The honeymoon as well.”
“Yes, and the honeymoon,” Felipe conceded.
“Fine,” Amelia said before she laughed loudly. “Maybe I’ll get to be her maid of honor!”
“It’s not as if she has any other friends she can ask,” Sam snorted. “The whole town thinks she’s crazy.”
“She’s not crazy, just fucking creepy. I don’t even know how you’ll stand being with her, Sam. I couldn’t be near her if she was actually hearing all of my thoughts,” Amelia said.
“You have a choice,” Claudine told a tearful Sookie. “I can take you back there now — to your wedding, or I can bring you to your great-grandfather, and you can employ his help. My grandfather is not an easy man to like, but he does love you.”
Sookie stared at her best friend and the man she was going to marry as they made fun of her. She felt a rage she had never felt before build up inside her. She couldn’t believe she was so stupid to fall for their tricks.
“Take me to great-grandfather,” Sookie said, not taking her eyes off the deceitful pair. “I won’t be a pawn in their game anymore.”
With a blink, the pair stood in the same office from the vision with Niall and Ludwig. They were both there along with Dermot.
“Uncle Dermot!” Sookie cried, as she set eyes on him. She threw herself forward into his arms as she cried.
“Sookie!” he replied happily, hugging her to his body and feeling her energies, giving her some of his own.
Sookie clung to Dermot, allowing him to offer her comfort. Even as she soaked it up, she knew it wasn’t his arms she needed. She needed her Viking. She needed her vampire. Only Eric would be able to make it all better. “I’m so lost.”
“You will be fine, Niece. We will help if you want it.”
“I do,” Sookie said before giggling at her choice of words. “I want your help. I need it.”
“Finally wising up, girl,” Ludwig commented from her spot by the bookshelf.
“Thanks to Claudine,” Sookie admitted humbly.
“So, you will go to the church to have everyone gain consciousness again. You will leave, but not say a word. Go home and wait. I will summon you,” Niall instructed.
Sookie nodded as she listened to Niall lay out the plan they had devised. She didn’t really want to face Sam or Amelia at the moment over fear of what she might say or do, but she wanted it over. She would have liked nothing more than to scream at them both and tell them what she thought of them, but she knew she had to follow the plan. She would have a chance for revenge later.
Before she could blink, she was facing the front of the church.
“Sookie Stackhouse, do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband?” the Minister asked. “Do you promise to love, cherish, and obey him as long as you both shall live?”
Sookie was startled as she found herself back at the church, and her eyes widened as she looked around before they finally landed on a smiling Sam.
For God’s sake, say I do already; she heard a voice in her head say.
Looking up at Sam, Sookie let a huge smile take over her face as she opened her mouth. “No!” she said clearly, her voice ringing out through the church making more than one person gasp.
Sam’s eyes widened in surprise and his mouth dropped open as Sookie’s words registered with him. No. She had said no! This couldn’t be happening. de Castro had paid him a lot of money to marry Sookie. She wasn’t supposed to say no. Amelia had seen to it.
Everyone in the church watched in shock as Sookie turned on her heels and calmly walked back down the aisle and out the doors into the clear late morning.
“What the fuck?” Sam snarled as he watched Sookie walk away from him.
“Jilted at the altar! How embarrassing!” Maxine Fortenberry chortled from the aisle seat as murmurings spread through the church.
“Always knew that Stackhouse girl was crazy!” a voice hissed from somewhere near the back.
“My sister’s not crazy!” Jason shouted, as he jumped to his feet and stared down the person who dared speak about his little sister in such a way. Like everyone else, Jason didn’t have a clue what was going on, but he knew if his sister jilted Sam at the altar it was because she had a damn good reason. Jason couldn’t say he was too upset that she had. From the start he thought Sookie was making a mistake. He had nothing against Sam, but he was sure they were wrong for each other. Jason was sure that Sookie, despite what she might have told herself, didn’t love Sam. He had seen his sister in love. He had seen the way her eyes lit up whenever Eric Northman was mentioned, and he had seen how scared she was when she felt something was wrong with him the night Alexei had attacked everyone. Sookie had just been fooling herself into believing that she was over Eric and in love with Sam. Now it looked like she had finally come to her senses.
Sam exchanged a look with Amelia before taking off after Sookie. He was furious that she dared embarrass him in such a way. He swore she wouldn’t get away with it. He would drag her back down the aisle if necessary.
Sam stopped short as he exited the church and realized Dermot was there, leaning against a tree by the entrance to the church. “She’s already home,” he said to Sam.
Shock spread across Sam’s face as his eyes landed on Dermot. To Sam’s knowledge Dermot was supposed to be in Fairy. He wasn’t supposed to have ever returned. As he stared at Dermot, different thoughts began to pop into his head. Sam didn’t know how, but he was sure Dermot was somehow responsible for Sookie’s jilting of him. “Whatever y’all are plannin‘ it won’t work,” Sam snarled, advancing on the fairy. “Sookie’s mine. She loves me and you can’t have her.” Sam didn’t care what he had to say or do he wasn’t going to lose Sookie now, not when he and Amelia were so close to getting everything they wanted. If he had to, he would have his little witch put another spell on Sookie. It would be easy enough for her. They already controlled Sookie completely.
Dermot smirked and shook his head. “She left you there. You think she wants you? OK, fine, Mutt, go to her house. I need a good laugh,” he told Sam.
“I‘m all she wants,” Sam sneered. They had made sure of that by placing layer upon layer of magic upon her. He shot Dermot a nasty look before running to his truck and jumping in behind the wheel.
“Wait up, Sam!” Amelia shouted as she burst out the church and ran toward his truck.
Sam waited for Amelia to jump in the passenger side before peeling out onto the road and headed toward the old farmhouse.
“What the hell happened?” she asked him.
“I don’t know!” Sam snapped. “One minute everything was fine, the next she’s sayin‘ no, but that fuckin‘ fairy was outside the church. Maybe he had somethin‘ to do with it. Can you spell her again?”
“Maybe. I have some that gets put in with tea. Maybe she and I can talk and drink some tea together,” Amelia replied thoughtfully.
“Do whatever you have to,” Sam said, as they raced down the road. “We need her to say I do. We’re fucked if she doesn’t.”
His truck kicked up gravel as he slammed on the brakes in front of Sookie’s house. Jumping out the truck, Sam sneered as he saw Dermot sitting on the porch swing smirking.
“Where is she?” Sam snapped as ran up to the house, Amelia hot on his heels.
“Inside,” Dermot replied plainly.
Sam shot a glare at the fairy before bursting through the front door. “Sookie!” he bellowed as he stomped through the house in search of his fiancée.
Amelia followed him stopping with Dermot in the living room.
Sookie stood in front of the fireplace still dressed in her wedding dress. A wedding dress, she belatedly realized that was not her style at all. Sookie had used the time it had taken for the two deceivers to arrive to think over the months leading up to the wedding. Despite having been a part of all the planning, none of the things decided were to her liking. The flowers, the food, and even the service were more to Amelia’s style, as was the dress definitely. Sookie would have never chosen the dress she was wearing if she had been in her right mind. The dress was pretty, but it definitely wasn’t her style. She preferred a more simple style. Simple, but elegant.
Without even thinking about it, she turned to Dermot, “Help me get this thing off?”
“With pleasure, Niece,” he said, undoing each individual button.
“What the hell?” Sam exclaimed, his eyes bulging in anger.
“She doesn’t want to see you, dog,” Dermot said once her dress was open and Sookie was holding it up on her own.
“I want to hear her say it,” Sam spat, advancing on them both while Amelia hung back watching. Dermot was also quiet as he turned to his brother’s granddaughter. She needed to do it on her own.
“I want you to leave, Sam,” Sookie said softly, meeting his gaze unflinchingly.
“Sam, you should go,” Amelia added, deciding to try and take charge. Sam’s hostile behavior wasn’t going to win Sookie over, but perhaps a softer touch would. If she could get Sookie alone, it wouldn’t take her too long to get the annoying telepath back under their control.
“What? Why?” Sam asked, spinning around to face Amelia. He couldn’t believe she of all people was telling him to leave. She knew what hung on him getting Sookie to marry better than anyone.
“Look, Sookie and I will have some tea, sit down, and talk about it. Girl talk,” she told him, glancing at Dermot hoping he would get her meaning.
“Y’all are jokin‘, right?” Sookie snorted with a shake of her head. With the spells lifted, Sookie could easily read the witch’s mind and she knew exactly why Amelia wanted her to have some tea. It was one of the ways they had been bespelling her for so long. “I don’t want any tea, or to sit down, and I definitely don’t wanna talk to you. In fact, both of ya can leave.”
“Wait? What!” Amelia asked, a frown creasing her brow as she turned to Sookie. “What did I do?”
Holding the open dress to her chest, Sookie took a step towards the witch and snorted, “Ya seriously gonna stand there and ask me?” Sookie couldn’t believe their nerve.
“You’re not making any sense, Sookie! Why are you doing this? Why’d you jilt Sam?”
“I think I’m makin‘ perfect sense,” Sookie replied. “I jilted Sam cause I don’t wanna marry him. I never did. I was just led to believe I did.”
“What are you talking about?” Amelia questioned, confusing filling her voice. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. Sookie should have said, “I do.” She and Sam were supposed to be one step closer to their happily ever after by now. She wasn’t supposed to be trying to convince the woman she hated to marry the man she loved. She didn’t sign up for this… “You told him you would! Come on, let me make you some tea and we can sit in the kitchen and talk about it.”
“Oh, for fudge sake,” Sookie huffed. “I don’t want any tea, and I sure as hell don’t want any tea you’ve made. I’m not marryin‘ Sam, not today, not ever. I don’t want anythin‘ to do with him.”
“Well, what the hell, Sookie?” Amelia cried, not understanding it at all. The spells she placed on Sookie should have made her more compliant. They had done the trick, so why was she arguing with them now?
“Why the hell not?” Sam shouted at the same time. “We’ve got a church full of guests waitin‘ for us. You can’t just run out on us without an explanation. You owe me that much!”
“I owe you nothin‘,” Sookie spat, her anger leaking through. As much as she tried Sookie couldn’t hide the anger in eyes. She had been lied to, manipulated, and betrayed for years by these two. The very sight of them turned her stomach.
Taking her by the shoulders, Sam gripped her roughly and shook her like a child as he barked, “What is goin’ on with you?”
“Get your filthy hands off me,” Sookie snarled, trying to pull away from him. “I don’t want you touching me. You disgust me.”
“Sookie, git yer head on straight. Just this mornin’ you were tellin’ me how excited you were. What the hell is goin’ on?”
“My head is on straight finally,” Sookie spat. “I’m finally seein‘ everything clearly and it feels great.”
Sam felt like pulling his hair out as he released his hold on her and spun to face Dermot who was smiling proudly at his niece. “What did you do to her?” Sam snarled.
“Nothing,” the fairy replied.
Sookie grinned at Dermot as she moved toward him. “This isn’t Dermot’s doin‘, it’s yours and hers,” she said, jerking towards a strangely silent Amelia.
“What did we do?” Amelia said. “You’re talking crazy, Sookie! I’m your best friend. You asked me to be your fucking maid of honor!”
“No, Pam is my best friend,” Sookie countered, finally seeing everything clearly. “Did I really ask you to be my maid of honor? Ya see, my memory’s a little fuzzy, what with all the spells I’ve been under.”
“What are you talking about?” Amelia asked, her voice rising slightly at Sookie’s words. There was no way she knew. They had been extremely careful in everything they had done.
“Spells. Ya know all the ones you’ve put me under,” Sookie replied, her calm tone a stark contrast to the rage she was feeling. “Months, and months, and months of spells placed upon me and my property.”
“Ya have no clue what yer talkin’ ‘bout, Sook,” Sam stated, but a look of fear flashed through his eyes as he exchanged a look with Amelia. How the fuck does she know that?
“I know exactly what I mean,” Sookie replied. “I know what you did, and I know the reasons behind your deceit.”
“Sookie, why don’t you get changed, and we can sit and talk about this?” Amelia asked, glancing wide-eyed at Sam. They needed to sort this out and soon. de Castro wouldn’t be happy if they didn’t. They needed to get Sookie under their control again, but they couldn’t do it while Dermot was present.
“It’s not time to talk yet. The rest of the guests aren’t here,” Sookie replied cryptically. She frowned as she looked down at the dress, “I do think I’ll get changed though. No point wearin‘ this any longer since there’s not gonna be a weddin‘… and it’s hideous,” she added, taking a jab at Amelia knowing full well it was her kind of dress.
Amelia balled her hands into fists as she heard Sookie’s words. The dress wasn’t hideous, it was gorgeous, and something she would have chosen. In fact, she planned to choose a similar one when she married Sam, except hers would be much better quality and wouldn’t be off the rack.
Sookie never said another word as she flounced out the living room and into her bedroom. She quickly stripped off the dress and left it on a heap on the floor as she pulled on one of her sundresses matching it with a pair of low-heeled sandals. By the time Sookie was dressed, there was a sharp knock on the door.
“Showtime.” Sookie grinned, as she bounced out of her bedroom toward the front door and pulled it open.
Much to Sam and Amelia’s shock and dismay, Niall and Ludwig stood at the door flanked by some of Niall’s royal guards. As they walked into the house, Ludwig pulled Sookie to the side as two fairies holding impressive looking swords headed toward Sam and Amelia. The two of them didn’t even have time to object before the guards grabbed their arms and popped away.
“What happens now?” Sookie asked.
“Now you wait with Dermot until it’s time,” Niall replied.
It was hours later when Niall returned. Sookie had taken the time to think everything over. With no one screaming in her head, she had the chance to think about things properly. She had made so many mistakes and held so many regrets. She just hoped she would now have the opportunity to make things right.
“It’s time,” Dermot said, sensing his father’s return seconds before the knock was heard.
Sookie took a deep breath before walking to the front door and opening. “Great-grandfather,” she greeted.
“Great-granddaughter,” Niall started, “I need you to know what has been done. Your fiancé, bridesmaid, Vampire King and the Vampire Queen of Oklahoma have been rounded up.” He smiled in the way that could only indicate this ‘rounding up’ wasn’t very pleasurable for any of them.
“What about Eric?” Sookie asked, her thoughts going straight to her beloved Viking.
“Claudine will bring him,” Niall stated.
“How is Claudine doin‘ this?” Sookie asked the question that had been plaguing her all long.
“It is her final task before becoming an angel,” Dermot said, pride resonating in his voice.
“She got her wish,” Sookie replied, a smile taking over her face. Claudine’s death had haunted Sookie for a long time and to hear her fairy godmother was going to get her hearts’ desire brought the young telepath a great deal of happiness.
“She will, once you get yours,” Niall said. “Now, would you like to see him?”
“Yes!” Sookie cried without thought. She wanted nothing more. She wasn’t sure what was going to happen, or if he even wanted to see her, but she wanted to see him desperately.
Niall nodded to Dermot, who gently held his niece and they popped away.
Sookie could feel her heart pounding in her chest as they reappeared. A smile curled her lips as she stepped away from Dermot and looked around the familiar surroundings of Fangtasia.
There were no evil vampires, manipulated cruel shifters, or witches. Even Dermot, she realized, had disappeared when she spun around to see him.
Tears filled Sookie’s eyes as they landed on Eric’s booth. She moved toward it before she even knew what was happening, and her hand shook as she lightly brushed her fingers over the tabletop.
She remembered nights sitting there, the crowd looking at her with jealousy apparent in their faces as she did her best to tune them out. She was there for him, just to be with him.
“Dance with me, lover.” She heard Eric whisper the words in her mind and smiled as she remembered feeling Eric’s arms holding her tight as they danced.
The sound of footsteps drew Sookie’s attention and she spun around, turning to the direction of where Eric’s office once was. Her eyes widened and her heart beat wildly in her chest as Eric step out of the hallway and into the main area of the bar.
“Sookie?” Eric asked as his eyes landed on her. He, of course, looked the same. Long blonde hair, broad shoulders, blue eyes that saw through to her soul.
“Eric,” Sookie whispered the breath catching in her throat as she laid eyes on Eric for the first time in over six months; Claudine’s little trip aside.
“Why am I here?” Eric asked her. He knew nothing other than that Claudine somehow came to him and brought him here. One minute he was dreading having to go and see his wife; the next there was a flash of light and he was in his old office at the club.
“Clau… Clau…” Sookie choked, tears streaming down her face as she ran her eyes over Eric. She wiped the tears from her eyes as she took a deep breath and wrapped her arms around herself. “Claudine came to see me this morning,” she said, finally getting herself under control. “She showed me somethin‘ I needed to see. She showed me the truth. You need to know it too.”
Eric stepped up to her, brushing a tear off with his fingertips before popping it in his mouth and groaning at her taste. “What do I need to know?”
Sookie closed her eyes and shuddered as she felt his finger brush lightly over her face. For over six months she had gone without his touch, and now that he was in front of her all she wanted was him to pull her into his arms and ask him to forgive her for the cruel words she had spoken the last time they had seen each other.
Opening his eyes, Sookie blinked back the tears as she stared up at him. The love she still felt for him was clear to see in her eyes. “de Castro and Freyda have been workin‘ together from the start,” she said softly.
“I figured as much,” Eric replied. Given the way his former King practically threw him under the bus and all but gift-wrapped him to Oklahoma, it wasn’t a surprise to hear that. “That still does not explain why I am here.”
“When I say the start I mean before he even killed Sophie-Anne, before the Great Revelation,” Sookie clarified. “They…” she paused and took a deep breath. What she had to tell him next wouldn’t be easy, but like her he had a right to know. “They weren’t workin‘ alone. They had more help…”
“Again, that is no surprise. It would have taken more than the two of them,” Eric replied. His fingers caressed her chin, tilting her head to look up at him. His thumb ran across her pouty lips.
Sookie shivered under his touch and she leaned in towards him. “Eric,” she sighed, her breath brushing over his thumb. It had been so long since he had seen her; it was a compulsion to want to be near her.
Sookie closed her eyes as she let herself take comfort in his touch. His touch alone could set her soul on fire. She couldn’t believe she had forgotten how he made her feel. No, she corrected. Not forgotten. Bewitched. Sookie took a shuddering breath as she opened her eyes and tilted her head back so she could a better look at him. “It was Sam and Amelia,” she said, her voice barely a whisper.
“Explain,” Eric ordered, but his voice was gentle.
“They’ve both been workin‘ for de Castro for years,” Sookie replied. She let out a humorless laugh as she raked a hand through her hair. “She’s been usin‘ magic on me.”
“To what end?”
“To break us apart so I could marry Sam,” Sookie answered, bitterness dripping from her words. “I was supposed to marry him, have his kid, and then he’d ship me off to Vegas, and they’d use the baby to keep me compliant.”
Eric’s fangs snicked down. “No.” He wouldn’t let that happen. “You were supposed to marry him?” At this point, Sookie was supposed to be married as of this morning.
Sookie nodded as a smile began to curl her lips. “Yeah. I kinda jilted Sam at the altar this mornin‘.”
“Why?” Eric asked.
“Because Claudine showed me the truth,” Sookie replied. “Because Niall visited me a few days ago and broke the spell. Because…” She took a step back and looked up into Eric’s eyes, wanting him to see her sincerity, “I don’t love Sam and I never have.”
“Then why did you save him? Why didn’t you use the Cluviel Dor to help us?”
“Because I’m an idiot,” Sookie sighed. “I was so confused, Eric. About you, me, us. Nothing made sense to me except you, but when I was near you it was like…” she trailed off, struggling to find the right words to explain properly.
“She was bespelled,” Claudine stated, appearing out of nowhere and sitting on Eric’s throne. “From before the time you even finally bonded.”
“The witch?” Eric growled, his eyes narrowing in anger. He had never liked Amelia, to him something about her had always seemed off, but never in his wildest imagination did he think she might be in league with de Castro.
“The same,” Claudine nodded. “They planned everything; from Sam moving to Bon Temps to Amelia remaining despite her home’s swift renovation.”
“I’m such an idiot,” Sookie said, berating herself. Now that her mind was clear she couldn’t believe how stupid or out of character she had been acting. She liked her privacy. She liked living away from everyone else so she could relax her mind and not have to worry about overhearing anyone. Why in the hell had she invited a practical stranger to move into her house, especially one who was such a strong broadcaster? How many times had she wished for some peace and quiet when Amelia was living with her?
“Much of this, including your marriage, Norseman, was devised,” Claudine added. “However, that will no longer be a problem. Your wife,” she looked from Eric to Sookie, “your fiancé, bridesmaid, and vampire King are now gone. I have placed friends of yours in charge of Oklahoma, Nevada, Arkansas, and Louisiana with the help of your Ancient One. Though young, I imagine Pamela will be a fair and just Queen.”
“They’re dead?” Sookie said, scarcely believing her own ears. She was expecting some long, drawn-out trial or more cloak and dagger stuff. She wasn’t expecting Claudine to tell her they were all dead. She was almost disappointed, but a bigger part of her was relieved it was over.
“That was Niall’s contribution, though I was against it,” Claudine added.
“Pamela?” Eric asked.
“Yes,” the fairy replied.
“It’s really over?” Sookie asked, looking from Eric to Claudine. Claudine smiled at her before disappearing.
Sookie felt her legs give out from under her as she saw Claudine disappear. “It’s over,” she whispered repeatedly, as she slid to the floor. A huge weight she didn’t even know she had been carrying was lifted off her chest, and she suddenly felt much lighter.
All of a sudden, there was a hand before her offering to help her to her feet.
Sookie blinked back tears as she stared up at Eric. Slipping her small hand into his larger one, she let him pull her up while she offered him a tear-filled smile.
“Want a drink?” Eric asked.
Sookie nodded. “I think I need one,” she sniffed as she slid into Eric’s booth. She rested her elbows on the table as she buried her face in her hands.
As Eric fixed her drink, she took a minute to herself to just get her mind under control. It had been a hell of a day and it wasn’t over yet. When she woke that morning she was thinking about nothing but getting married, and now all she could think about was the vampire fixing her a drink. She was surprised she didn’t feel any sadness or guilt over Sam and Amelia’s deaths. When Claudine told her they were dead all she felt was relief. She wasn’t sure if that made her a bad person or not, but at that moment in time she didn’t care. Sam and Amelia had conspired with de Castro and used magic on her just so they could control her. They had taken her freedom away from her and hadn’t once felt an ounce of guilt. If she would have been in her right mind she would have never agreed to marry Sam, nor would she have ever gotten involved with him. The meaning of that brought tears to Sookie’s eyes, and she suddenly felt sick. She dropped her head forward and rested it on the cool top of the table. She would have never consented to be Sam’s. She never consented.
“I never consented,” she whispered.
Eric’s cool hand skimmed the skin of her neck. “I am sorry about that, Lover. The way the marriage went and our divorce; it was not what I wanted for us.”
Lifting her head up, Sookie stared at Eric through tear-filled eyes. “To be with Sam; I never consented,” she said, hoping Eric would understand her meaning. “I know things didn’t turn out like we hoped, Eric, but I’ve never regretted bein‘ yours.”
“What are you going to do now?” Eric asked Sookie, trying to talk to her.
“I don’t know,” Sookie confessed, as she shuffled to the side and silently invited Eric to join her. “I just know I miss you.”
He slid his long body onto the seat beside her. “I missed you as well,” Eric offered. “There were times in Oklahoma when I would just think of you and be miles away, back with you.”
“I wish you were,” Sookie said softly. “I wish we could go back and do it all again.”
“We don’t need to, Sookie,” Eric started. “We can just go from here.”
“Can we?” Sookie asked hopefully. “Can you forgive me for not using the Cluviel Dor to get you out of the contract?”
“Sookie, my child is now Queen of the state in which you live. I need to look out for her and help her with amassing her power without appearing to run her state. Your boss and the co-owner of your bar are dead. We both have so much to coordinate now,” Eric tallied all of their responsibilities.
“Yet,” he continued, “I do forgive you. It is, after all, because of you that neither of us are now obligated elsewhere, and if nothing else, we can do these things together.”
“Thank you,” Sookie whispered, offering him a genuine smile.
He handed her the drink he had mixed — a gin and tonic made exactly the way she liked.
Taking the drink, Sookie brought the glass to her lips and took a sip before placing it on the table. A small smile started to curl her lips as she remembered some of the times she spent at Fangtasia with Eric.
“What are you thinking about?” he asked her.
“About all the times I’ve spent here with you,” Sookie answered truthfully. “How you would hold me close as we danced.”
“I preferred a different kind of dancing,” Eric said, knowing she would call him out on the innuendo.
“Eric!” Sookie gasped, a blush spreading over her cheeks. “You stop that.” Despite her words she couldn’t hide the thrill she got at his words, nor stop the memories they conjured. Sex with Eric was indescribable. There was nothing and no one better. How she ever thought Sam was better was a mystery. Well, no, it wasn’t. It was a magically-induced horror.
“I love that I know just how low that blush goes,” Eric smirked at her, looking at her pink neck and reddening breasts.
Sookie slapped at his arm playfully as her blush darkened. Reaching for her drink, she picked it up and took another sip as she not so discreetly ran her eyes over him. He was more handsome than she even remembered.
“Is that what you want, Lover? You want to smack me? I confess I’m usually the dominant, but I could sub for you. Command me, Mistress.”
“Oh God!” Sookie moaned as she placed her glass on the table and pushed it away. She couldn’t deny the enjoyment she was getting out of Eric’s playful banter. It had been too long since she had enjoyed herself as much. Despite everything that had happened, the betrayal and the death, Sookie was truly happy just being in Eric’s presence. “You’re so bad.”
“Then you must punish me,” he replied with a grin. “I’m at your feet, Mistress. Would you like to spank me?”
“No!” Sookie cried, fighting a smile.
“Then I can spank you, little girl,” he replied, easing her across his lap and rubbing her butt, preparing her for a whack.
Sookie felt a jolt of arousal shoot through her at his words. “Only if you promise to kiss it better,” she said, surprising even herself with her brazen attitude.
“Always,” he replied before daringly lifting up the hem of her dress over her pert ass and smacking her butt.
Sookie’s eyes widened as she felt Eric’s hand lightly slap her butt. “Eric!” she laughed.
“That’s Sir or Master!” he ordered with another whack.
“Sir, you promised to kiss it better,” Sookie pouted, thoroughly enjoying herself.
“When I’m done,” he replied, smacking again playfully. He bent down and gently nipped her pink butt with his blunt teeth before kissing gently.
Sookie felt a heat spread through her as she felt Eric’s cool lips on her warm flesh and she let out a moan as she started to squirm. “Do you like that, Lover?” he questioned.
“Yes,” Sookie replied.
Eric helped her up to straddle his lap. “Kiss me, lover,” he ordered.
Sookie threaded her fingers into his hair as she lowered her head and brushed her lips softly over his. She sighed against his mouth as she peppered his lips with kisses.
His tongue slid between her lips, caressing and dominating hers, and he stood up, securing her legs around his waist.
Sookie let out a squeal of surprise as she felt Eric stand up. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders as she clung to him, needing to feel him against her.
“Let’s go home and celebrate our reunion,” Eric spoke, his voice a cool whisper against her ear.
Pulling her head back slightly, Sookie smiled as she stared into his eyes. “Home,” she repeated softly, stroking a finger over his cheek. Suddenly the word had new meaning to her. It wasn’t a house where she laid her head, it was him. Wherever Eric was was home to her. It had taken her a long time to realize that, but she finally had.
He placed her on her feet before leading the way into the cool night, but he stopped short.
Sookie frowned as Eric stopped and she peered around his shoulders, trying to see what had caused it. Her eyes widened and a gasp escaped her swollen lips as her eyes took in the sight before her. A thick blanket of snow covered the ground as more flakes fell from the sky. Stepping out into it, Sookie grinned as she heard the fresh snow crunch beneath her feet and she threw her head back and laughed.
“What is going on?” Eric asked, his eyes lighting up as the snow-filled landscape reminded him of his origins.
“Claudine!” Sookie cried happily, as she spun around in the snow.
“What do you…she did this?” Eric asked, looking at her before pulling her into his arms.
“I think she got her hearts’ desire,” Sookie said as she wrapped her arms around Eric and looked up at him.
“Just like me then,” he said quietly, not meaning for her to hear, but looking down at her with a childish smirk. “You would be related to an angel . . .” He pressed his lips to hers as the snow continued to drift down on them.
Hearts’ desire, Sookie thought. It was about time.