For the Love of Goddess
OUCH! Sookie woke up suddenly with a really bad cramp. What time was it? 7:16. The vamps would be asleep and Bobbie wouldn’t be up yet. Bobbie was her best bet, so Sookie tried to get up, but couldn’t really stand. She crawled from the bed onto the floor and started to move slowly out the door.
‘Oh, god.. no, wait … FREYJA! Help me,’ she thought as she tried to get the door to her room open. There was a knock at the front door of the suite, but Sookie couldn’t get to it. Bobbie came out to answer the door and saw Sookie lying there.
“Sookie, are you alright?”
“Get the door first, Bobbie, I’ll be OK.”
Bobbie opened the door, but the bellhop who had knocked was getting back on the elevator, realizing he was at the wrong door.
“Sorry to wake you ma’am.”
“That’s OK, thanks.”
“Who was that?” Sookie asked. Bobbie was bending down to help her.
“A mistake, apparently. I’m glad he woke me. Where does it hurt?”
“My stomach and my back – I can’t straighten up.”
“OK, try to relax. I’m going to get you some ibuprofen and a small glass of wine, here…” and Bobbie popped up and got Sookie one of the pillows from her bed so she could relax where she was.
Bobbie got the ibuprofen from Sookie’s train case and used one of the glasses from the bathroom to get her some water. Sookie managed to rise up with Bobbie’s help, just enough to get the pills down and then went back down to lay her head on the pillow. Bobbie got her a small glass of red wine and helped her get up enough to drink it.
“That should start relaxing you right away, and the ibuprofen will kick in about twenty minutes from now. Our best bet in the mean time is to make you comfortable, and maybe I’ll do a little aromatherapy to help you relax. Do you think you could drink some more wine?”
“Maybe in a minute. I’ve got to pack –the driver from Anubis will be here at 10.”
“Don’t worry about that right now – that’s almost three hours away. Besides, I’m pretty sure you are mostly packed. Bill lent his garment bag to Eric last night to pack up your new clothes. He was just going to leave something out for you to wear and get the rest of it ready.”
“He did?! That’s so sweet…”
Bobbie laughed. “Sookie, you’re something else. You’re lying there in pain and you’re thinking about Eric. A lot of women would be cursing his name for getting them pregnant in the first place.”
‘Yeah, but I love that I’m pregnant, and I love that Eric went out of his way to help me. He could have left all the packing to me. That’s what most men would do.”
“Eric is nowhere near being “most men.”” Bobbie laughed again.
“Thank Goddess?! Have you converted?” she laughed.
“I don’t know about converting, but I know I called Freyja to help me, and in a second somebody knocked on the door and woke you up when I really needed you. She’s making a believer out of me!” Sookie laughed weakly.
“Sookie, where is the travel information?”
“In that folder on the dresser.”
“You usually get very tired after these cramps. I think I should call Anubis and make arrangements for a wheelchair just in case you can’t walk, or are too tired to get around.”
“I hate to do that, but we have to be on that plane, so maybe you’d better, just in case,”
Bobbie called the car service for the airline and told them she had a sick travel companion, and they were very cooperative in making arrangements for her. Anubis was always very cooperative – vamps expected excellent service and Anubis provided it, for a price. Sookie was still in pain, but it wasn’t as severe anymore and she was getting tired, so Bobbie helped her get up and got her dressed. Eric had left the yellow and blue dress out for her, so it was easy to get on, and Bobbie brushed Sookie’s hair and pulled it up into a ponytail. She helped Sookie with a little makeup, then finished packing her things and carried everything to the living area while Sookie lay on the bed resting.
By the time Bobbie had everything out of both rooms, Sookie was asleep and Bobbie just let her rest until the car service arrived. Bobbie was only a little surprised when Janet Stevens showed up under the pretense of seeing them off, but really wanting to see if there was any sign of Felipe. Her Were companion sniffed around but didn’t find anything. They left when the car service came up to take the travel boxes, and they had an extra female attendant with a wheelchair. Bobbie and the attendant helped Sookie into the chair, and Bobbie was glad they had arranged it because Sookie couldn’t really wake up. She’d never have been able to walk down to the limo, and Bobbie was pretty sure she would sleep all the way back to Shreveport.
The van they brought had a ramp, so they were able to wheel Sookie right into it and let her shift over to a sort of cot for the ride to the airport, then they were able to transfer the whole cot into the plane via a special long ramp. Sookie didn’t even wake up as they moved her, and Bobbie was impressed to see that some seats had been removed from the plane to make room for Sookie’s bed. They buckled her in safely, locking a special belt over the blanket, and Bobbie was able to sit next to her and keep an eye on her. She kept her bag, Sookie’s tote and the folder with their travel documents in the seat next to her, since no one was sitting there. There were about ten people sitting at the rear of the plane, but Bobbie and Sookie were pretty much alone in the front. Bobbie was very glad she and Bill had stayed to travel home with them, because Sookie could never have gotten through this alone. She was going to have Eric call Dr. Ludwig when he got up. She was pretty sure Sookie would be alright until then, since she’d sleep most of the way.
About half way through the trip, Sookie woke up enough to drink a couple of cold bloods and a nutritional supplement that they had on the plane that luckily didn’t contain iron. Bobbie was very glad she knew to check about that, and she wondered if they had that particular brand because they had a lot of Fae passengers. Sookie slept the rest of the trip, and they were even able to wheel her cot into the service elevator and take her to the third floor, where Bobbie and Alicia helped her get into bed. The travel boxes were set back in the living room, and Bobbie gave the attendants an extra large tip.
It was four o’clock when Sookie woke up hungry, and Alicia already had a plate of salmon, cream cheese and bagels ready for her. Bobbie did some massage treatments on Sookie in her bed, and they decided it would be better for Sookie to stay in bed until she saw the doctor. Eric had told Alicia about Bobbie’s new position, and she had Bobbie’s and Bill’s luggage taken up to the fourth floor. She had also found a moving service to help Bobbie move her things over. She didn’t have a lot, but the service would make the transition quick and painless and that was fine with Bobbie. She could call them the next day, Saturday, and make all the arrangements. She was in a month-to-month lease on a furnished apartment where she was, and Eric would pay any difference if they objected to her leaving.
Sookie had had some salmon, some cold blood and some ibuprofen, so she settled down in front of the TV that Alicia raised from the cabinet, and dozed off and on for a while. This week had been a lot more activity than she was really up to, and she was glad to be home in her own bed. She couldn’t wait until Eric woke up. She knew she’d feel a lot better when he was with her. This pregnancy was making her so tired, and those cramps just drained all her energy. Dr. Ludwig had told her the baby would draw a lot of her energy and she wasn’t kidding. Sookie remembered how active she normally was, and now just a couple of days of shopping did her in. Of course, the stress around dealing with creepy Felipe didn’t help anything.
Alicia asked if she’d like her to unpack her things now or wait, and when Bobbie came to check on Sookie, she asked her to stay and help her show Alicia her new stuff. Alicia was very impressed with Sookie’s choices. Everything she got was young, chic and suited her very well. She realized she could start buying Sookie a better grade of clothing now, since she’d had a taste of designer quality. There was a delivery downstairs, and Margaret brought the deliverymen up with a box that turned out to contain Sookie’s new jewelry armoire/mirror.
“Hi, Margaret!” Sookie hadn’t seen her yet and was excited to see her.
“Hello, Mrs. Northman. Did you have a good trip?” Margaret was beaming at her, so proud that she was married now.
“It was great. I’m sorry I came back in such a pathetic state.”
All the women reacted with ‘Oh, no’s’ and ‘don’t be silly’s.’
“Now, now, Mrs., that’s to be expected with a baby on the way. You probably had too much excitement. Now you’re home and things will be peaceful for you, and you’ll get back into your routine. I’m going to stay a little later tonight so I can make you a nice steak when you’re hungry again, and we’ll get you back on schedule.”
“Thank you, Margaret.”
“Things did get a little hectic,” Bobbie added. “We didn’t even do a massage yesterday. I hope that’s not why you had such a bad time today.”
“No, don’t worry about that, Bobbie. I think maybe it was the walking and the stress and all. I was lucky I didn’t have more days like this week. I was really lucky you were there today, too. I don’t know how Eric and I would have gotten home without you. Thank you so much!”
“Well, everything worked out for the best,” Alicia assured them both..
“I’m glad you’re back, Mrs. You just let me know if you need anything. I’ll be right down stairs,” and she nodded to the monitor on Sookie’s nightstand. She hadn’t even noticed it.
Alicia helped the men gather up the packing material and they took the boxes away. The “armoire” was a full length mirror that would stand right outside the door to the bathroom, and the mirror swung open to show a 6 foot space with drawers, hooks, shelves and little cubbies for jewelry. The outside pretty much matched Eric’s furniture, but the inside was a pink velvet-y textured fabric that was supposed to reduce tarnishing, though Sookie didn’t have any silver. Alicia started putting Sookie’s new Tiffany’s pieces in along with her Solitaire set and some new pieces Sookie didn’t recognize. Alicia had been shopping, too, and showed Sookie some very impressive pieces of yellow and rose gold, plus one spectacular set of necklace, bracelet and earrings that was woven of yellow, white and rose gold. Alicia was very impressed with the things Sookie bought, especially the morganite and diamond necklace and the large aquamarine pendant surrounded by diamonds.
“Have you thought what you might wear to the reception on Monday night, Mrs. Northman?” Alicia was thinking ahead, as always. Sookie had really missed her.
“What do you think of the blue Dior gown? I would wear my pink dress, but there may be people there who were also at the party last Saturday, and one is exactly the one person I don’t want to see me in the same dress.”
Alicia pulled out the Dior dress and they all ooh’d and ahh’d over how beautiful the fabric and the embroidery around the neck was. You’d be able to tell Sookie was pregnant, but that would be true of anything she wore at this point.
“It’s very regal, Mrs. Northman. You’ll look like a queen.”
Bobbie and Sookie looked at each other. “Ok, then, I’ll wear that one. Eric will like that.
“Eric will like anything, but more importantly, that certain person you’re thinking of will shit a brick when she sees you in it,” Bobbie laughed and Sookie and Alicia joined in.
“An old girlfriend?” Alicia asked.
“She wishes,” Sookie said, “and she’s really catty. She brought my ex with her to Las Vegas to try to embarrass me at my own engagement party!”
“Worked out great for me though,” Bobbie laughed and they explained to Alicia that the other box downstairs was Bill Compton, Sookie’s ex and Bobbie’s new beau. Alicia didn’t say anything. If Sookie was OK with that, it was no skin off her nose.
“Wait until you meet him – he’s gorgeous!” Bobbie said, and Sookie agreed.
“If it hadn’t been for him, I never would have met Eric. He has been a really good friend to us, in spite of everything,” Sookie explained. Alicia didn’t ask what everything was, but she was pretty sure the story was that Eric had taken Sookie from another, somehow subordinate, vampire. Now she’d get to see Sookie’s past. She had to admit to herself that she was curious to see the other man in the triangle.
“Hello, ladies.” Eric was up! Sookie was reaching for him before he was even in the door, and he sat on the bed and hugged her tight.
“I hear my angel is not feeling well. What happened?”
Sookie looked at Bobbie, who explained. “She woke up at about 7:30 with a terrible cramp that lasted a long time and knocked her out. We had Anubis bring a wheelchair and they brought her in on a cot. She slept most of the day.”
“I barely remember being on the plane. I know I drank some blood and chocolate stuff and I was in a bed, but that’s about it.”
Eric looked concerned. “Are you in pain now, Sookie?”
“No – maybe a little tender in those spots and still a little tired, but I’m ok.”
“Bill is waiting to hear how you are – do you want him to come up?”
“Bill, come on up, she’s alright.”
Bill was at the door instantly. He nodded to Alicia, and Eric introduced her as Sookie’s maid. “Nice to meet you. Sookie, are you better? What happened?”
“Just those awful cramps I get. Thank heaven Bobbie was with me. I don’t know how we’d have gotten home without her!”
“Yes, I’m glad she was with you. I think it’s good that there’s going to be someone with you all the time now. I noticed yesterday evening that you seemed very tired.”
“Too much excitement,” Eric agreed, “but, we are home now, you’ll be back into your routine, you’re in your own bed and all will be well.”
“I was thinking you might want to tell Dr. Ludwig about this,” Bobbie suggested.
“That’s a good idea. She needs to know about your new position, too. She’ll be able to give you special instructions if need be. Any idea when you are moving in?”
“I’ll call the moving service Alicia contacted for me tomorrow, and as soon as they’re available, I’ll bring all my things here. I can start staying here now if you’d like.”
“I think that would be best. I’m going to go into Fangtasia tonight and tomorrow to take care of some business that needs my attention, and I’d feel much better knowing you were here with her. Otherwise, I’d want her to come with me, and I don’t think she’s quite up to that tonight.” He looked at Sookie and she wrinkled her nose at him, agreeing that it wasn’t a good idea.
“Bill, you’re staying tonight, too?”
“Unless you’d prefer someone take me home.”
“No, I think it would be good for you to be here with the girls. You can all watch a movie or something, and I’ll come home as early as I can.”
“Ouch,” Sookie touched her tummy. “He kicked me.”
Eric smiled and put his hand over hers, and he could feel the baby moving. “That is…remarkable.” He was trying not to cry in front of all these people.
“He wants a cold blood,” Sookie said without thinking.
“I’ll get it for you,” Alicia said, stepping over to the little refrigerator. Apparently, the word about Sookie needing blood for the baby was out. Just as well, because she was drinking a lot of them lately.
“How many of those are you drinking in a day now?” Eric asked.
“At least four but as many as eight if I’m very active,” Sookie said.
“I told you he would have a big appetite,” Eric smiled.
“You were right, Eric. Imagine that,” she teased him. “Hey, can we all go down to the den? This not very comfortable for you all.”
“Are you sure you’re up to it?” Bill asked.
“I think so. Eric, will you carry me down?”
“Yes, I suppose so, but if you start feeling bad at all I want you back in this bed.”
“I’ll bring her back if need be,” Bill assured him. Eric nodded. He wasn’t crazy about the idea but under the circumstances he was sure Bill’s gentlemanly ways would keep him from hitting on Sookie. Wouldn’t have stopped Eric, but that’s why he had her and Bill didn’t, he thought smugly to himself.
Everybody migrated to the den, Eric carrying Sookie and settling her in a big recliner that she had never seen anyone use. He got a blanket from the closet and she looked at him curiously as he covered her.
“That’s private. It’s just for me and you.”
She smiled at him. She liked the idea that it was just between them. He kissed her and went to get ready to go to Fangtasia. Bobbie and Bill were looking through the movies. Bill wanted to see The Matrix, and neither Sookie nor Bobbie had seen it, but they both agreed they could watch Keanu Reeves do just about anything. Margaret asked Bobby what she’d like for dinner, and she asked Sookie if she’d like a snack.
“This might sound a little crazy, but you wouldn’t have the ingredients to make steak tartare would you?”
“Yes, Mrs., we were told that you liked it a lot, and I’ve got some nice pieces of beef – it doesn’t take long at all.”
“Really? I’d love that!”
Bobbie asked if she could just get a hamburger, and Margaret asked Bill what kind of blood she should heat for him and went to make their meals.
Eric came down in his signature black t-shirt and black jeans.
“Oh, I wish I could go with you!” Sookie said.
“I do, too, my angel, but you need to rest.”
“I know but you look way too good. I wish I could be there to keep the fang bangers away from you.”
“Do not worry, my lover, I am wearing my wedding ring and no one will likely see me all night. I have work to catch up on, so I’ll be in my office most of the night.”
“No, you won’t, you have to put in an appearance as the Big Boss. Nobody better touch you…”
He knelt down next to her chair, taking her hand. “No one will. I am married and bonded, my lover, I’m not interested in anyone but you. Most will already know that, but after Monday night, they will all have no doubt. You relax and enjoy the movie,” he said, brushing her hair out of her eyes, “and I will be home as early as possible. Nap if you can and we will spend some time together when I get home.” He kissed her, said goodnight to Bill and Bobbie, and left.
Sookie was sulking a bit, so Bobbie suggested they watch a comedy on TV while they ate, then they’d put the movie in after. Bobbie couldn’t figure out why Bill was fidgeting, and Bill would never tell her it was because he could smell that Sookie and Eric had had sex in this room, on this couch and maybe on the floor. He expected that smell when he went in their bedroom, but he was worried about Sookie and had to know if she was alright. He didn’t expect it in this part of the house. It obviously wasn’t recent, since they’d been in Las Vegas, but it had to be often or right where they were sitting because the scent was overpowering. Knowing Sookie was with Eric was bad enough, but sitting right in the middle of it was hard.
They were in the middle of a second episode of Everybody Loves Raymond when Margaret brought their dinners in and put them on trays in front of them. Sookie didn’t even know those trays were in the closet… or did she? Did she use one once? She wasn’t sure. She was sure she liked this steak tartare, though. She was smearing big gobs of it on the toast points Margaret served with it and wolfing them down.
“Margaret this is delicious! It’s even better than the stuff I had in Las Vegas!”
“I hadn’t made it in a long time, Mrs., but it’s a simple recipe. Now that I know you like it, I’ll make it for you regularly.”
“Great! Thanks. I like it better than steak, even. Bobbie how is your burger?”
“It’s delicious. What’s this sauce that’s on it Margaret?”
“It’s a blend of homemade Catsup and Miracle Whip. Even better than what the burger places use, I’m told.”
“It is – it’s amazing. I love the red onion on it, too. Nice touch.”
“I’m glad you like it, Bobbie. Just let me know if you want more chips or I can bring you or Mr. Compton anything else.“
“Why’d she call you Bobbie and Bill Mr. Compton?” Sookie asked Bobbie.
“Because I’m a servant and he’s a guest. Technically, that’s the proper protocol.”
“That seems weird. Why can’t they just call everybody by their first names?”
“That’s just not how it works, Sookie…”
“Nor should it,” Bill added. “There needs to be a line between employer and employee.” Bill was antsy and didn’t understand why. Yes, the smell was torturing him, but that shouldn’t be enough to do this to him.
“I don’t feel like there’s a line between me and Bobbie.”
“But there is, Sookie. It’s subtle, but it’s there.” Bill was a bit snippy.
“It seems… I don’t know – undemocratic.”
Bill laughed, exasperated, “It is, Sookie, it’s more aristocratic. Don’t worry about it, though, you’re the lady of the manor. You don’t have any rules you have to follow.”
“That’s what Eric calls me, too. I don’t really understand what that means.”
“It means that everyone who works for Eric works for you, too, especially the domestic staff. They’re supposed to do things to your standards. If you told them they could only use lavender dryer sheets in your laundry, they’d have to do it. If you told them you wanted breakfast at 4 am every day, it would be their job to provide it.” Bobbie was wondering why Bill was so agitated about this. He knew Sookie was new to all of this.
“You mean I could say, for example, I want bacon 7 days a week…”
“And you’d get bacon 7 days a week or you could fire them.”
“Fire them?! I would never do that. Margaret and Alicia are like family. I don’t really know all the others, but I wouldn’t fire them over something silly.”
“Of course not – if you did, you’d have to hire their replacements,” Bill explained.
“The only time I ever hired anybody….”
“…. Was me,” Bobbie laughed. “I thought you did a rather good job of it.”
“Me, too!” Sookie agreed. The girls were done with their dinner, and they decided to start the movie. Margaret came in with two bowls of popcorn, much to Sookie and Bobbie’s delight, and said goodnight, telling Sookie there were two turkey sandwiches in the downstairs fridge if she needed to eat later.
“Excuse me, ladies, I’m going to step outside for some fresh air,” Bill said abruptly and stood up to go out by the pool.
Eric was unhappy to leave Sookie. He felt as if he should be with her, not dealing with the vermin that came to Fangtasia looking for a sick thrill by telling themselves they’re in danger from the bloodsucking freaks. He knew through the bond she was sitting home sulking, though he could also feel it didn’t last long. What kind of protector was he? He left her alone in the house with Bill Compton! How long would those inoculations last? He was pulling into the parking lot behind the bar when he realized that it might be a good idea to check with Dr. Ludwig. Without getting out of his car, he pulled out his cell phone and called the Doctor.
“Dr. Ludwig? This is Eric Northman.”
“Yes, how’s your little wife?”
“Well, I left her home this evening because she had severe cramping today. She had to fly home in a cot and be wheeled into our bedroom. She’s up now, but I’m concerned.”
“You didn’t leave her home alone, did you?”
“No, her masseuse… well, doula, now… and Bill Compton is there.”
“Bill Compton is at your house now?”
“Yes, he’s dating Bobbie.”
“He needs a booster shot, then. If he gets a whiff of you and Sookie having sex in the house, it could set him off.”
“Should I go back?”
“No, I’ll pop in there and give him another shot. If he’s going to be around her, he’ll need them regularly.”
“For how long?”
“At least another month, maybe longer. Listen, let me get over there now and take care of this. You’re at work, I take it?”
“Yes, I am.”
“You want me to call your cell when it’s done?”
“Please. I’ll be waiting.”
Bill walked beyond to pool into the outer back yard. He had to get that smell out of his nose. He could almost smell it out here. He wondered if Sookie would have sex out here in the yard, then he remembered that she’d had sex with him in a graveyard when he was covered in dirt. She’d absolutely have sex with Eric in a private back yard. Sookie wasn’t shy about sex once she started having it. She might have been a little naïve, but she had a touch of the wild streak her brother was so famous for. Considering how eager Sookie was to have sex, he was amazed she reached such a late age untouched. The men of Bon Temps were fools. She was hungry for some attention, some excitement. God she was so sweet.
Stop it! He berated himself. Sookie was a married woman, and pregnant. Bobbie was beautiful, sweet and completely falling for him. He was thrilled with the closeness he was developing already with Bobbie. Why can’t he just be happy? Why can’t he get that smell out of his head? Why did he want to kill something?
Dr. Ludwig popped into the den and scared Sookie and Bobbie half to death.
By the time they were done shrieking, Bill had burst back through the door and was looking around crazed. He was staring at Sookie in a hungry way, and Sookie was scared.
“Compton!” Dr. Ludwig called him. “Sit down. I’m going to give you a booster to keep you from losing your head and attacking this girl.”
Bill looked dazed and unsure. His brain was telling him one thing but his body, his instincts were telling him something else.
“You with him now?” the doctor asked Bobbie.
“Let him feed from you while I get the inoculation ready. That’s the only thing that will distract him long enough to let me get this done.”
“Bill, come here,” Bobbie said. “Feed from me.” And she stretched her neck in offering. He grabbed her hard and bit her savagely, feeding as if he were desperate.
While that was going on, Ludwig took a vial of blood from Sookie’s arm and added something to it, then shook it up. Bill and Bobbie had sort of fallen, sort of lowered themselves to the couch, and Bill was feeding enthusiastically. Bobbie was obviously enjoying it. She knew she should be scared, but this was too hot to be scary. Bill was on fire. Ludwig filled a syringe from the vial and walked over to them, sticking the needle into Bill’s arm right through his shirt. Bill barely reacted, but he slowed his feeding, and finally licked the wounds on Bobbie’s neck to help them close.
“A little calmer now, Compton?”
“Yes, thank you… I don’t know what came over me.”
“You were having another hormonal reaction to Sookie and the baby. If you’re going to be around her this much, we need to give you a booster at least twice a week.”
“Alright,” Bill was starting to shake a little and got even paler than normal.
“Bill?” Bobbie asked. “Are you alright?”
“I’m just a little… sick, I guess.”
Doctor Ludwig spoke to Bobbie. “Do you two have a bedroom here you can use?”
“Yes, on the fourth floor.”
“Take him up there and spend some time with him. I’ll stay down here with Sookie for a while. I need to examine her, anyway. Take your time and give him what he needs.” Bobbie understood exactly what she meant – take him upstairs and fuck him. With pleasure, Bobbie thought as she led Bill back to the service elevator.
“Alright, little girl, let me call Northman so he can relax and get some work done.”
Eric couldn’t sit still. He’d sort through papers, then he’d pace and stare at his phone. What the hell was happening at his house. He knew he should be there. Maybe he should sell Fangtasia so he could stay home with Sookie? He’d never seriously considered that before, but he didn’t like this feeling at all.
He was ready to call Pam when his phone rang.
“Yes, Northman, you can relax. We almost had a problem, but we solved it. It was a close call, but that’s it. Bobbie is tending to Bill and I’m with Sookie.”
“Are you sure she’s alright?”
“I’m going to examine her now. I wanted to let you know things were alright because I knew you would be worried. Can I make a suggestion?”
“Yes, of course.”
“I know you can access your accounts from here. You should grab all the mail and invoices you need to work with and bring them home. You aren’t going to scare any tourists in the state you’re in. I’ll stay with Sookie until you get here.”
“Alright, doctor, I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”
“Is he coming home?” Sookie asked hopefully.
“Yes, child, he’s coming home. Can you get out of that chair and lie on the couch so I can examine you?”
Sookie was wearing a dress, so she just took her thong off and lay back on the couch. Out came the latex gloves that she dreaded, but the exam was short and it was over. Dr. Ludwig pressed around her abdomen and let her hand rest over the bump.
“OK. Little girl, let’s test your instincts. What am I going to tell you?”
“Stay off my feet, take ibuprofen, drink a little red wine, and the baby needs more blood.”
“Good. I was wondering if you’d pick up on that last one. Are you feeding from Northman regularly?”
“Yes, some every day.”
“You need more. You might also need to do something other than True Blood.”
Sookie didn’t like the sound of that. “You don’t mean…”
“If Northman’s blood isn’t enough, we might have to get you some real blood to supplement your diet.”
“But, that’s not safe, is it?”
“There are bottled products used in some of the fancier restaurants that contain human blood. I’ve known of a few prostitutes who specialize in vampires that drink it regularly. It’s screened and filtered, so it should be safe. Northman should be able to order it through the bar.”
“I think Eric had some the other night in Las Vegas. It’s probably really expensive, right?”
“The cost won’t matter to him, it’s the health of the baby were concerned with. I see the belly is growing, but you aren’t putting on much weight that I can see. You need to eat more, you need to sleep more. Are you still having sex?”
“Yeah, of course, I’m permanently turned on since I got pregnant.”
“You need a lot of it, when you’re up to it. You need your hormones percolating and you’re likely to drink more from Northman if you feed during sex.”
“Is there a chance I’ll get addicted to Eric’s blood?”
“Yes, but that would have happened eventually anyway. Most bonded humans do.”
“Is that bad?”
“It’s unavoidable. The good part of it is it extends your life span by several decades and keeps you young and pretty. It gives you plenty of time to think about whether you want to go over.”
“Yeah, I think about that a lot.”
“You know you can’t consider it until the baby is weaned?”
“Yes, I do. I know he needs me to feed him.”
“Right. After, who knows? If you don’t want another child, and this one is a moonchild, you might find it easier all around to go over. You’d all be on the same schedule then.”
“I’m thinking about it. Do you think the baby will have a long life span?”
“Very long, like Niall, most likely. Northman’s contribution might increase it even beyond that.”
“Do you think he might be immortal, like a vampire?”
“It’s a strong possibility. That’s a powerful reason for a mother to make the change.”
“Yes, it is.”
Sookie could feel Eric getting near, and then she heard the garage door open. She was getting herself together when he came in.
“Hello, doctor, how did the exam go?” he asked as he took Sookie’s face in his hands and kissed her. He was really, really relieved to be back with her, and he wrapped his arms around her, hugging her close.
“She needs to stay off her feet. She needs more blood. She needs to eat more. Ibuprofen, red wine, and we may have to start her on a muscle relaxer. At least that will help her sleep. I think it’s time to start giving her the Real Meal.”
“Really? Could she drink that?”
“She may not have a choice. I want her to drink more from you, but you should get a case of RM and try her on that. That baby needs more blood, and she knows it. One bottle of RM will go further than 3 or 4 bottles of True Blood. I’m starting to think this baby will be able to eat food, but rarely do so. He’s a vampire at heart.”
That made Eric beam with pride. “Just like his father.”
“Yes, Northman, he may be more like you than we first suspected. Have you heard any news from Las Vegas?”
“News? Not that I know of.”
“Felipe de Castro has gone missing. That’s the second person I know lately who has disappeared without a trace. It’s very strange,” she said knowingly.
“Really? Who is the other?”
“John Quinn, the tiger.”
“You mean he still hasn’t shown up?” Sookie was surprised.
“No, and there’s no sign of him. He’s just vanished without a trace. Same with de Castro, although, they hardly travel in the same circles. What could they possibly have in common?” Ludwig said, looking right at Eric, who showed no emotion whatsoever. Ludwig knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Eric killed them both, and she knew there would never be any trace of them found. She also knew he paid her enough to keep her mouth shut, but it was better he knew that she knew. Others might put two and two together, too.
“That’s very strange. They have no idea where the king is?”
“That’s the rumor. There were whispers you might have had something to do with it, but that was only because you had been there for your wedding. There’s no evidence of anything that anyone can find. Sandy is frantic, and Victor Madden smells blood in the water. I’d watch my back if I were you, Northman.”
“Yes, that’s very good advice, I’m sure, doctor. Thank you.”
“Alright then – I’ll see that you get a prescription for a muscle relaxer. I have a contact that can do that for you. Get the RM, feed her more and keep her in bed. Don’t neglect the feedings. Rest, sex, food, massage, blood – that’s her whole routine right now, understand?”
“Good night to you.”
The doctor left and Eric said, “You can come in now, Bill, Bobbie.”
“We didn’t want to interrupt,” Bill explained.
“She’s gone now. How are you feeling, Bill?”
“Embarrassed, mostly, but grateful the doctor showed up when she did.”
“Are you going to continue with the injections?”
“Yes, I don’t want to be danger to Sookie, and I certainly want to see Bobbie.”
“Good,” Eric said. “That’s good. I’m glad I called the doctor when I did.”
“Why did you call the doctor, Eric? She just popped in here with no warning,” Sookie said.
“I don’t know – I just had a feeling that I was leaving you unprotected, and then I realized Bill hadn’t had any injections since we’d been in Vegas.”
“I had hoped I didn’t need them anymore, but the doctor says I’ll need about two a week for at least a month.”
“I’ll cover the cost of that if you’d like,” Eric offered.
“That’s kind of you, but I’ll take care of that. It’s the least I can do.”
“I’m sorry you had to come home…”
“I didn’t have to – I just… had to see Sookie. I brought some work home with me. You and Bobbie are free to do whatever you want since I’m here. I’ll stay with Sookie.”
“Well, if you don’t mind…”
“Go ahead,” Eric laughed, knowing they wanted to go back to bed.
“G’night, Sookie!” and Bill picked Bobbie up and took the four flights up at vampire speed.
“Well, that just leaves us,” Sookie said, wiggling her eyebrows.
“I do need to go through some mail and do a little work, but I thought maybe I could do it upstairs in bed and you could keep me company?”
“Sounds OK to me, let’s go, but stop in the fridge down here and get the two sandwiches Margaret made for me to eat later.”
“Good idea. That last meal of the day gets skipped too often, and you should probably be eating three meals and a couple of snacks from what I’ve read. Monday night I want you to try to drink Real Meal and see if you can stand it. If you can, I’ll buy a case or two for here. They have it available in a false label so humans don’t know what it is.”
“They do? Is that legal?” she asked as she retrieved her sandwiches and a couple of apples from a bowl on the counter.
“The company is vampire owned. It’s kept very quiet. It’s a way to drink real blood without humans knowing what’s happening.” He handed her the folder of paperwork and picked her up, heading for the stairs.
“You had that the other night, right?”
“At the restaurant, yes, and there was a fountain of it at the cocktail party and the wedding.”
“That was REAL?”
“Of course, Sookie. Felipe wouldn’t serve his guests synth blood. He paid a small fortune for that fountain, I’m sure.”
“Is RM really expensive?”
“It’s more expensive than True Blood, of course, especially in the covert labels, but the cost is not prohibitive considering the circumstances. Feeding my son is essential. I want him to have the best of everything. If the doctor thinks you need real blood, you’ll have it, one way or another.” He put her down on the bed and took the sandwiches and apples from her, putting them in the small fridge and bringing back a blood for her to drink.
“Dr. Ludwig thought the RM would be safer because it’s filtered and such.” She was struggling out of her dress, so he helped her pull it over her head.
“That’s true. It was originally created to prevent the spread of Sino-AIDS, and since they were testing it anyway, they test it for all strains of HIV and Hepatitis. They knew some prostitutes and people in long term relationships with vampires might use it, too, so they make it safe for humans.”
“Ok, that makes sense. I forgot my underwear downstairs,” she said, crawling under the covers. He was nearly undressed.
“I’ll go down and get it before I rest.”
“You’re going to take it with you, aren’t you?” Sookie said, half joking, half knowing she was right and that’s just who he was…
“Of course! It will remind me of you all soft and warm, snuggled in my bed and give me wonderful dreams of you.”
“Do vampires dream?”
“Sometimes – I have had dreams of you before.”
“What kind of dreams?”
“Lovely ones – sometimes we are lying here talking,” he said as he lay down beside her. “Sometimes we are making love, sometimes we are downstairs at Fangtasia…”
“Who else is there at Fangtasia?”
“Just you and me. I don’t share you with anyone in my dreams.”
“But you would in real life…”
“I have, but it was at your request.”
“Would you like the TV on while I go through my mail?”
“Yes, if that’s OK.”
“That is fine.” He reached for the remote and brought the TV up out of the cabinet.
“Here, find something you like,” he said as he handed her the remote.
She flipped through the channels – who knew what was on in the middle of the night on a Friday? She found an old movie channel showing The Long Hot Summer and stuck with that.
“This is one of the movies I’d eventually make you watch with me.”
“Good, now we can see it together.”
“You won’t be paying attention.”
“My angel, I can pay attention to many things at once. Vampires invented multi-tasking,” he teased her.
She laughed and bit his shoulder.
“Mmmm – hold that thought. When your movie is over, I’ll be done with this and then you can bite me like you mean it.”
“Oh, I’ll mean it, alright,” she teased. “Can I put my head on your shoulder?”
“Of course, my wife, you may put your head on my shoulder whenever you want. It is YOUR shoulder now.”
“Mmmm – I like the sound of that,” she said as she snuggled up on his shoulder.
“So do I.” He kissed her on the head and went back to his paperwork.
He read mail, made notes and filled out forms. He looked up occasionally to ask who the woman with the blonde hair was, and Sookie told him about Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman and how long they were married. “If our life together were a beach, that would only be one grain of sand. We will live together much, much longer.”
“I hope so,” Sookie said, a little sad.
Eric noticed a shift in the bond. “What is wrong, my angel – you are sad now.”
“I was just thinking. I was talking to Dr. Ludwig tonight about being turned.”
“What did she say?”
“That I couldn’t consider it until the baby was weaned, but having the baby would be a good reason to go over, especially if he’s a “moonchild” because we’d all be awake at the same time.”
“That’s a good point.”
“Part of me wants to, and part of me is scared I’ll lose you if I do. If I go over, we might not stay together, but if I don’t, eventually I’ll die and leave you and the baby alone.”
“You will never lose me now, Sookie. We are married. We are having a child. I will never leave either of you. I will always be your husband, and I will always be his father. There is nothing to fear if you come over.”
“How do you know? Most vampires don’t stay with their makers.”
He put his papers in the folder and threw them on the floor next to the bed. He scooted down so he was face to face with her, and looked her right in the eye as he put his hand on the not-so-little bump.
“Most are not bonded first, nor are they married, nor do they share a child between them. We are not like anyone else alive, you and I, nor is our child. We are unique and we will create our own destiny, together as a family. I meant my marriage vows. You are stuck with me forever, Sookie,“ and he smiled warmly at her and kissed her. Then he kissed her again, more deeply. The bond told him that was what she really wanted, so he took her in his arms and kissed her for a long time. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to have sex – she did – but what she needed from him just then was the closeness of being held and kissed and comforted, and if he were honest with himself, he needed that too. He hated leaving her that evening, and he couldn’t believe how relieved he was when he walked through that kitchen door.
“Sookie, do you want me to sell Fangtasia?”
“What? No, Eric, Fangtasia is your baby – I wouldn’t ask you to give that up.”
“It’s just a bar, Sookie. It’s a tourist trap. I have other businesses and will have many more in the future, I am sure. I don’t want you to be left unattended. I am supposed to protect you. I’m not convinced that it is safe to leave you alone.”
“I won’t be alone, Eric. Bobbie will be here now, and you know Bill will be around a lot – they really like each other.”
“Yes, but if Victor Madden tries something, my place is with you and my son.”
“Do you think he’s going to try something?”
“Felipe is missing. He’ll never have a better time to strike.”
“You don’t think Sandy can fend him off?”
“No, I don’t.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to kill him before he has a chance to try anything.”
“Oh, Eric, please be careful.”
“I am always careful, Sookie. You don’t live as long as I have by taking stupid risks. But you don’t get this old by ignoring immanent warnings either. At some point, I will have to deal with Victor. A good offense is always better than a good defense. There is no point in waiting for him to strike – I know he will.”
“You think he’ll come here?”
“He came to your house in Bon Temps. It wouldn’t take much more effort to find this place. Everyone knows about our wedding and the baby now. And, unfortunately, he doesn’t know about Niall.”
“Would it help if he did?”
“It would go a long way toward keeping him from coming after you and the child.”
“Then tell him.”
“I will – I just have to figure out how to do it. I have to act as if I have no idea that Felipe is missing or that he’s not coming back.”
“Should you tell Sandy?”
“Sandy was at the announcement. She already knows. Felipe as much as acknowledged Niall as the reason you are pregnant. No one is going to think he did that because he’s a nice guy, and they know he doesn’t need money. Everyone knows about your gift, and you clearly smelled of Fairy while you were there.”
“Is it possible she told Victor Madden?”
“It is possible. I need to find a way to find out if she did or not.” He started playing with her hair and stroking her shoulder.
“Monday night,” Sookie said.
“What about it?”
“Did you invite Victor?”
“Of course.” He stroked her throat with his fingers.
“And Felipe went missing apparently while you were in Las Vegas. If you were Victor…”
“I’d show up and try to see what I could find out.” His fingers slowly ran down her throat and between her breasts, then he brushed her nipple with the back of his forefinger.
“Right – so work from the idea that he’ll show up. It’s his best excuse to get close to you.”
“Yes it is.” Eric already knew this, of course, but he liked that Sookie reached the idea on her own. She was learning a bit about politics and strategy. He needed to teach her to wield a sword, just in case. He had planned to do that after the baby, but he thought tomorrow night he would take Sookie and Bobbie both up and show them some basics, just in case.
He reached down over the covers and touched her top leg. “Bend this knee up and put your foot flat on the bed.”
She did, realizing as she did it that it opened her center up to him. His hand slipped under the covers and began to stroke her between her legs, very slowly. “Look at me, Sookie. I want to watch your pretty face as I touch you.”
She tried to keep her eyes on his, but it was hard not to close her eyes as she began to respond to his fingers as they explored her over and over, rubbing her clit, teasing her labia, for a long time, but she couldn’t understand why he hadn’t entered her yet. She started to speak, but he said, “Shhh,” and she stopped. He wanted to focus his attention and hers, too, on what his hand was doing. She was raising her pelvis into his hand when he shook his head, and she realized that he was going to make her wait until HE was ready to move it forward. She tried to relax, to look in his eyes, and concentrate on his gentle explorations of her. That’s harder than it sounds. Everything in her wanted to push it forward, to entice him, to beg him if she had to, but she knew not to. He had already told her the rules of this game. She was to be quiet, look at him, and concentrate on what she felt.
It went on and on, just enough to keep her going, not enough to bring her along. She was having trouble looking him in the eye – she wanted to close her eyes and give into the sensations, but the one time she gave into that he cleared his throat softly, and her eyes popped open immediately. Her breathing was very heavy now, and she was starting to tremble. Oh, Goddess, she was trying SO HARD to do what he wanted. She licked her lips – her mouth felt dry. His hand continued to do just enough to keep her wanting more, and he leaned toward her and took her nipple in his mouth. At last, at least she could close her eyes and throw her head back.
He was using his tongue and his teeth on that one nipple, getting a little rougher as the minutes passed. His thumb found her clit and rubbed it in little circles. Sookie began to whimper when suddenly – AA-0w! With no warning at all, his thumb slipped into her, and his middle finger went into the other entrance with surprising speed and force, and he bit her breast simultaneously. Her entire body was trembling and she was writhing in his grip. She couldn’t be still now and she couldn’t be quiet. He released her breast, then bit the other one hard as his hand got very aggressive, moving roughly in and out of her, and she was in spasms of pleasure that seemed to go on for a long time as she came, and came, and came before he finally let her breathe.
She was still trying to catch her breath when he came out of the bathroom from washing his hand. She could tell he was fighting the Fairy blood so he didn’t lose control. He pulled the covers off of her and climbed between her legs, pulling his pillow over and having her raise up so he could put it under her backside. She realized he didn’t want to risk putting pressure on her tummy, and he was raising her up to make it easier to take her on his knees. He pulled her hips up and entered her, going very slowly at first, but he was losing the fight not to give in to the intoxication of her blood, and his strokes were getting faster and harder. Sookie reached above her and got took hold of the headboard to brace her self and just held on. Goddess, it felt so good! When he started rubbing her nub with his thumb as he was approaching his release, she felt that wonderful pressure building and she finished just after he did.
He released her hips and sat back on his feet, throwing his head back and closing his eyes. After a minute or two, he crawled back up beside her, putting his arm under her head and his hand on the bump.
“Somebody is awake,” he said and laughed a little, feeling a little kick.
“Yep, I guess we woke him up,” she joked.
“He is very happy. He loves it when we are together.”
“Yes, he does. I think it’s mostly because you’re close to me.”
“You do?” He was delighted to hear that.
“Yes. When it’s just him and me, he sends sweet feelings – comfort, love, just affectionate stuff. When you’re around it’s like he’s cheering. He jumps up and down. It’s like he already knows you and you’re his hero.”
He kissed her, then bent down to kiss the bump. He moved down and pressed his forehead lightly to her tummy, and he could feel another kick which made him laugh. He already knew what she had told him, but he loved hearing her say it. He and his son had a bond already. Speaking of bonding….
“Sookie, I need to feed you.”
“Yes, you do,” she said as he moved up to sit against the headboard, and she moved between his legs into their favorite position. He wrapped both arms around her for a few minutes and pulled her back into him, nuzzling her neck. She laid her head on his chest and they both took a few minutes to just enjoy the sensation of him holding her. Eventually, his hands started roaming slowly over her. When everything felt just right, he bit his wrist hard, so it would bleed profusely for a minute, and held it to her mouth. She latched on with her teeth and sucked as hard as she could, both of them beginning to moan and move against each other. He touched her lightly between her legs and she came, pressing back into his throbbing gracious plenty folded up between them. He was close, but not there yet, and though she was shaky, she moved down the bed to take him in her mouth. It took less than a minute for him to explode, and she kissed and nibbled her way back up his chest. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled the blankets up, cocooning her in warmth and love.
She was asleep in a few minutes, and he held her a bit longer. When she was sleeping deeply, he took his work into his office and finished what he had to do. He finished in about 90 minutes, then went back into their bed and took her in his arms again. She woke up a little.
“Hello, my angel. Are you awake enough to eat a sandwich or two?”
“Maybe in a minute. Hold me for a bit, first.”
“Of course,” he smiled, stroking and rubbing her back. This was heaven. He thought about how warriors wanted to go to Valhalla when they died, though Freyja got her pick of half the best warriors, and they could bring their wives and lovers with them to her home, Folkvangr. Eric had always wondered where he would end up, but now he knew. If he died, Freyja would take him to her home where he could be with his wife and child.
He thought about a time in his life when he knew the Goddess. She had been with him in battle, and spared his life more that once. Her power had been strong in him and around him, even after he was turned. There were times when he had sex when he could tell that Freya had entered the body of his lover so She could be with him directly, and he believed that She considered him one of Her favorite warriors. Through the centuries, though, the world had changed and it was harder to feel the presence of the gods and Goddesses in the cacophony of machinery, traffic, electrical fields, radio waves, beams from satellites and lasers, not to mention the unending chatter in the minds of distracted, over-stimulated and undisciplined humans.
He had feared that She had died along with many deities who had faded away when the world stopped honoring them. He had stopped feeling Her presence, even in battle and stopped praying to Her thinking there was no one left to hear him.
Now he found himself in this strange and wondrous situation, with a beautiful wife who was practically the living embodiment of Freyja, a magickal child on the way who could already communicate from his mother’s womb, and now Sookie was having dreams or visions of Freyja. She was back in his life, all at once, in miraculous ways. Why here? Why now, after all this time?
“Eric, tell me what you know about Freyja,” Sookie said, out of the blue.
“Sookie, why did you ask about Freyja just then?” He was startled. Could she read his mind? Was he sending something into the bond? Was the Goddess speaking through Sookie?
“I don’t know. I just… felt Her, all of a sudden. Lying here in your arms feels like that first time I saw Her where when She wrapped Her arms around me and said….”
“She said… ‘nice to meet you, my angel.’”
“Yeah, and it was funny, because you had just started calling me that. I knew that in the dream, but I forgot about it when I woke up. Oops – Baby E wants a blood. I could probably eat those sandwiches now, too.”
He got up to get them for her. “Sookie, how do you feel in these dreams?”
“Wonderful. I’ve never been scared, not even when I saw the dragon coming out of the mist.”
“Was it a real dragon or just ship?”
“It was a ship with the front of it carved in the shape of a dragon’s head and the back carved like its tail. Have you ever seen anything like that?” She was sitting up so she could eat and drink. She pointed back at the fridge and he got her a strawberry supplement drink, too.
“I’ve sailed on several. Vikings used them for many years. They were carved that way to intimidate the settlements we were about to invade.”
“Did it work?” She was wolfing down a sandwich and he opened her strawberry drink so she could wash it down.
“Oh, yes. Most of them had never seen such a sight. By the time we got there, they were in a panic and that gave us an advantage over them, as did our size and appearance.”
“Were Vikings all as big as you?”
“No, I was bigger than most, but they were still much bigger than most people in the rest of Europe. An average man was only a little over 5 feet tall. My people were closer to 6 feet, and then there would occasionally be one my height or taller. We looked like giants to them, and we wore a kind of armor that was not widely in use yet. Many of us were also blonde or red-haired and that was unusual as well.”
“How tall are you, exactly?”
“6 feet 5 inches.”
She whistled and laughed.
“Is that too tall, my lover?”
“It’s really tall, but as far as I’m concerned it’s just right. I wouldn’t change anything about you, Eric. You’re perfect.”
“Perfect…” He said, a little bit skeptically.
“Pretty much. I’m not crazy about some of the vampire politics, but just you, as you are, I wouldn’t change anything about you.”
“I wouldn’t change anything about you, either, my wife.”
“You’re always changing me,” she laughed and downed the bottle of Type B.
“Why do you say that?” He was genuinely surprised.
“You want me to dress differently and stuff.”
“Those are not changes, my angel, those are improvements. You dressed as you did because it was the best you could do. Now that you are with me, you can do better. It may change the way others see you, but it does not change who you are inside or even out. I would never ask you to change your hair, or your lovely face. I wouldn’t want you taller or shorter or thinner or fatter….”
“Yes, I want you fatter for the baby but that’s because he needs it, not that I want it.”
“What about the extra cleavage?”
“You have it – I might as well enjoy it while I can. When they are smaller, I will love them just as much. I would never want you to alter them for me. I will admit though…”
“I very much enjoy that your body is changing itself to accommodate my son. That is a level of dominance I never encountered before and it is…. Intoxicating.”
“Dominance, huh? You know, that concept scares most people.”
“Most people are not very bright, my angel.”
She laughed. “You know what I mean – they think it’s like, abuse or something.”
“Do you feel abused, Sookie?”
“No, I feel lucky as hell. I like the stuff we do together.”
“That is all that matters, then. We are bonded – we define our own relationship.”
“How come people associate it with getting whipped and stuff?”
“In its more extreme forms there can be physical punishment or torture, but you do not need to fear that from me.”
“But some of it’s not extreme, right? Like just spanking and stuff?”
“No, there are minor things like that which can be harmless and fun.”
“Why would somebody be punished?”
“It depends on the game. Generally, the Dominant “trains” the submissive to an ideal image of what he wants for himself. The submissive always has the right to refuse or stop the play, but most of the time they trust the Dom to know what they need, and they love their Dom so much that they work hard to give it to them. There must be love and trust between them both, or it will not work.”
“Are you “training” me?” She didn’t seem angry, but there was a kind of hesitance about her.
“What do you want me to tell you, Sookie?” he said calmly.
“How about the truth,” she said softly.
“What would you say if I said ‘no’ and what would you say if I said ‘yes?’”
“If you said ‘no’ I’d…” she thought a minute. “ask ‘why not?’” She was surprised at her own answer.
Eric smiled. “And if I said ‘yes’…?”
“I’d ask how I’m doing,” she said to her own amazement.