Bathed, shampooed and dried, Sookie headed back to her side of the bed and Eric checked his phone messages. All was quiet at Fangtasia, and the evening stretched out before them. Eric threw the steno pad on the bed and handed Sookie the email he printed out from Bobby Burnham that had the wedding planner names in it.
“These should get you started, my lover.”
“Wedding planners? Do we really need a wedding planner? How big is it going to be?”
“That is up to you, but I am the Sheriff of Area 5, so certain invitations go without saying.” He sat on the bed next to her, trying to see if she had written anything yet.
“The King, Felipe de Castro, as well as Russell Eddington and some friends I have in area 7, Sandy, Victor, all of my subjects…”
“All of them? How many is that?”
“About 300, total. We don’t need to bother with anyone just passing through, and many of them are since Katrina.”
“That’s a lot of people. I hardly have anyone to invite.”
“On the contrary, my lover, you have two were packs and your Witches. Are you going to invite your brother?”
“I hadn’t even thought about Jason – Would it be safe for him there?”
“As long as he doesn’t start any conflict with anyone, or find himself alone with a hungry vampire, he should be fine.”
“Jason has a way of finding trouble.”
“It must run in the family,” Eric said, giving her a sly smile and a wink.
“You think you’re funny, don’t you, Northman?” She teased him back. “Seriously, though, Eric, that’s a lot of people and a lot of work. I don’t know if it’s possible to do that in four months.”
“We could wait until after the baby is born, Sookie, there are no definite dates we must follow.”
“I know this is silly, but I’d really like us to be married before he’s born.”
“Would you prefer a small private ceremony in Las Vegas or New Orleans?”
“Is that an option?”
“Yes. I’d still have to invite Felipe, Sandy and Victor and, of course, Pam..”
“Of course,” she agreed.
“You could invite your two Witches and brother – that’s seven guests, and the odds are two of mine won’t attend. Then we can have a reception for Area 5 at Fangtasia, and my staff would take care of that.”
“Would you rather do it in New Orleans or Vegas? I don’t know much about either one.”
“Vegas would be a good move for me politically.”
“Does that matter?”
“Politics will always matter while I am Sheriff, my lover.”
“What would make Vegas a better move than New Orleans?”
“If we were married in Vegas, it would most likely take place on Felipe de Castro’s estate or in his hotel. I’d be very surprised if he didn’t insist on hosting it.”
“I could have Amelia and Octavia and Jason there? Are you sure?”
“I’d be very surprised if there was a problem with that.”
“So why would Felipe offer that? Why would that be good?”
“Felipe would offer so he could show how magnanimous he is to his sheriffs and he show off his grounds. It would call attention to the lavish lifestyle he leads.”
“Vamps love to show off what they own.”
“Exactly. It would also be a way to show off some of his newly acquired assets.”
“You and me, Sookie. I know you hate hearing that but the fact is, we are both feathers in his cap. I have no doubt he’d throw a small cocktail party or something to introduce us to his Nevada retinue. It would be acknowledging him as a paternal figure to us. It would be a good networking opportunity for me.”
“Will you get mad if I say I don’t want my wedding to be controlled by vampires?”
“No, I rather expected that would be the case.”
“Oh, you did, huh?”
“So you’ve thought about this? Like, other than when we’ve talked about it?”
“Yes, I have. I have to take into account how things affect my position as Sheriff. Being wed to a human, even one of value such as you, may be seen as a kind of weakness. Having de Castro’s blessing could send a message that he approves of the union. You were pledged our protection, so he might consider it his right to be there, anyway.”
“Can I think about this a while?”
“Of course – it is your choice to make, Sookie, I want you to be happy.”
“Why do you care if I’m happy or not?”
“Don’t be silly, lover.”
“What’s in it for you if I’m happy?”
“Love. Sex. Companionship. Fun. Light.”
“You have no idea how much brighter my world has been since I met you, Sookie. I’ve been living in shadows for centuries. There were things I enjoyed more than others, of course, but not like this. I never expected to have this. I have fun with you.”
“We could be having fun right now, you know.” She leaned over to kiss him.
“Mmm – yes we could, but I’m really afraid we are over doing it. Our bath tonight was very strenuous. Besides, I have a surprise for you. I’ll go get it.”
He ran down the stairs, and she looked at the steno pad. She was thinking that she could put her foot down about the vampire wedding, and at one point she would have. It seemed so silly now to fight with him over something that isn’t going to change. He was a vampire, a very powerful one, and if she was honest with herself, she liked both of those things about him.
He was exciting, and extravagant and she learned things from him she knew she would never learn from a human or even most other vamps. Eric had a way of explaining things that made things that were kind of extreme make sense. Sometimes he seemed to know more about her than she did herself and that was scary and amazing and yes, it was fun. He was helping her test her own limits, and it turned out they went further than she had ever dreamed. She wanted very much to know how much farther there was to go. She had a feeling that there was a lot more, but she knew he would take her there a little at a time and he’d stop before it went too far. That thought caused a pang of desire down low in her. She laughed because she knew he would feel it, too. Maybe she could still talk him into some more fun tonight…’
“Here we go, dear one.” He had something behind his back and he was reaching into the drawer of his nightstand. He took out a remote control and pressed a button. The TV at the foot of the bed rose up out of its cabinet. He told her it was there, but they never really watched it before. He opened a box – apparently he had been hiding a DVD behind his back – and slipped it into a slot on the side of the TV. She never saw anything like that before. He had such amazing stuff everywhere you looked.
“So what are we watching?”
“A movie, my lover, one you said I must see.”
He hit what she assumed was the play button and the dvd started. It was Tombstone.
“Hey – we were just talking about this!”
“Yes, and since we need to act a little less like Pagan revelers and a little more like an old married couple, I thought this would be a good time to watch this together and you can tell me about the best parts.”
“You’re not serious.”
“I am very serious, my lover, I want to learn about … what were their names?”
“Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday?”
“Yes. They were cowboys I take it? Come, lover, cuddle with me and tell me about the story.”
“Well, first, every time someone calls you Sheriff, I think of Kurt Russell, the actor who plays Wyatt Earp in this movie.”
“He is a Sheriff?”
“He was the most famous sheriff in the old west.”
“Was he handsome and powerful?”
“Powerful – sometimes. Handsome – very. So was his best friend, a gambler named Doc Holliday.”
“A sheriff and a gambler were best friends?”
“Yes, in those days people were all a little corrupt.”
“In these days, too, Sookie, do not lie to yourself.”
She couldn’t believe she was snuggled up in bed, naked, with Eric Northman, and they were watching a western. This was – what was that word on her calendar? Surreal. She giggled.
‘What is funny, my lover”
“This. Us. Hanging in your bed watching a movie – naked!”
“You do not enjoy this?”
“Yeah, I enjoy it, but I can’t believe you can!”
“I have watched TV at different points in my life. You said this was something I had to see so we will see it. “
He turned the lights off, and put his arm around her.
“Now Doc Holliday – he was a physician?”
‘He was a dentist before he got sick and had to move west.”
“What kind of “sick”?
“He had TB – tuberculosis”
“I remember that. People coughed up bits of their lungs.”
“Yes, they died slow deaths.”
“I guess. Anyway, you remember watching Gone With the Wind?”
“Of course – Rhett and Scarlett. You compared us to them.”
“Right, well remember the guy Scarlett pined for all those years? Ashley Wilkes?
“That character is based on Doc Holiday. You’ll hear Doc talk about falling in love with his cousin when he was young and she joined a convent. Margaret Mitchell was that girl’s cousin, and she used their story for Ashley and Melanie.”
“And this is something everyone knows?”
“Not really. My daddy loved westerns so I read a lot about cowboys when I was a little girl and after I read Gone with the Wind I did some research about the writer. Almost anyone would recognize the name Wyatt Earp, though.”
And that was the evening. The cuddled. They watched the movie. Eric laughed at the right parts, popped his fangs at the part when McMasters was dragged by his horse and any other time they showed blood. She was surprised at his reaction to the end of the movie, where they told the love story of Wyatt and Josephine who were married for 47 years.
“We will dance that way in the snow.” He said as she lay in his arms.
“We will? It doesn’t snow much in Louisiana.”
“It snows in Sweden.”
“I thought we would honeymoon in Sweden.”
“That’s a long way to fly when I’m pregnant.”
“True. What if we go to Alaska and watch whales. We can dance in the snow there.”
“Ok, that sounds more doable.”
“We will go to Sweden together one day, though. I want you to see my home.”
“I’d like that.”
“I want my son to see Sweden some day, too.” He smiled down at her and kissed her.
He used the remote to put the TV away and they were together in the dark.
He kissed her deeply and she responded. His hands explored her and found her ready for more.
“I’m going to make love to you as I promised to do last night, my lover.”
Not another word was spoken that night.