Sookie was unsure of what Eric had said, as his long cool fingers were now deeply embedded in her hair, their tips expertly scraping against her scalp. God, he was good at it. She felt her headache dissipate as her skin scandalously tingled, from her forehead back, down her neck and spine, straight between her legs. “Jesus,” she muttered. “Shepherd of Judea…”
“Sookie,” he whispered gently from behind her.
Eric snickered and trailed his fingers from her head to her neck. “My blood…” he prompted.
When his hands moved slowly forward, splaying across her collar bones, she unconsciously arched her chest toward them. “What about it?” she asked dumbly.
“I want to you to take it.” For never having willingly offered it to a human in his long existence, or even desiring to, Eric was surprised by his want and need to do so with Sookie and his ease in expressing it.
“Wait,” she said abruptly, stilling the hands so close to her breasts. “Did you say take your blood?” She was confused. “Because I’m not a vampire.” Sookie shifted forward, off of Eric’s chest, and twisted so she could see his face. “Do you mean, you want to take my blood?”
Sookie was well aware what vampires drank, and while that was fine with her, she wasn’t sure she was interested in donating her services. Her mind raced to recall the specifications of her new job, and she couldn’t remember seeing blood anywhere in the description.
“Are you offering?” Eric asked, smirking.
“No!” she exclaimed. “I am not offering!” Her eyes searched his face as she tried to comprehend what he was asking. “Why on earth would I take your blood?”
Sookie was handling his suggestion better than he had expected, and Eric debated how to proceed. That she hadn’t fled from between his legs and started pounding on the door to escape was, he felt, very promising. “Protection,” he said simply, though his reasons for giving his blood were far from simple.
“Your blood could protect me?” she clarified, clearly skeptical. “From what, exactly?”
“Many things,” he said vaguely. “With my blood in you, I will be able to sense your location. If you are in fear of something, I will sense it.”
“Really?” she asked, in awe.
Eric nodded and went on. “If you need me in any way,” he said, careful to keep his expression impassive, “I will know.”
Sookie was quiet for several minutes, deep in thought. She couldn’t imagine carrying that responsibility for someone, certainly not an employee. “Do vampires do this?” she eventually asked, wondering if this were the norm for him, and she just hadn’t picked up on it from the minds she’d heard at Fangtasia.
“Do you do this?”
“Once,” Eric replied. “I gave Pam my blood, the night I turned her.” Sookie stiffened, and he wondered if he would finally get the reaction he’d been anticipating.
“You made her into…she’s your…?”
“She is the only human who has ever received my blood,” he said.
“I see.” The room suddenly became very small to her, and Sookie could feel that her cheeks were flushed. “Let me up,” she said, tapping his thigh erratically and leaping from the couch once he moved his leg.
Something was wrong, Eric knew, but while he’d expected perhaps shock or anger, he hadn’t expected what he was sensing. Fear. “I will not harm you,” he said without thinking.
“Good,” she said, her voice catching. Her back was to him, and he was sure he smelled tears.
“You are crying.”
Sookie stretched the neck of her t-shirt up to blot her eyes and cleared her throat. “I’m fine,” she said shakily, still not facing him.
Eric was woefully out of practice with the behavior of humans when not related to sex or fear, and he knew it. “You are feeling sad?” he guessed.
She shook her head and laughed, though there was no humor in it. “I’m feeling trapped.” She was, she felt, in more ways than one. In a room from which she had no way of escaping, with a man who, up until that point, she’d had no need to.
“Sookie,” Eric said quietly, slowly approaching her. “I will not force you.” Though she nodded, he suspected she didn’t believe him. “Sit,” he said, gesturing to a chair in the small kitchen area. “I will get you some water.” Eric retrieved a bottle for her, and some blood for himself.
“Why’d you do it?” he heard her ask from behind him. “Pam. Why’d you turn her?”
Eric stared at the bottle slowly rotating in the microwave in front of him, surprised by the question. “I suppose, in retrospect, I was lonely,” he admitted.
“And are you still?”
He smiled, though she could not see and shook his head. “For another Child, no.” He quickly gathered their drinks and moved toward the bed. “This is not my attempt to turn you into a vampire, Sookie.”
She thanked him for the water and took a long drink. “What is it your attempt at, then, Eric? I mean, you said we’d be stuck together for however long, so it’s not like we’ll be physically separated, right? You don’t need to sense where I am, when I doubt I’ll be more than two feet away from you at any given time.”
The idea thrilled him, she had no idea. “True.”
“So, really?” she asked, eyeballing him. “What’s your real reason for getting your blood into me?”
“I have not lied about the benefits of taking my blood,” he said defensively.
“I didn’t mean it wasn’t a sincere offer,” Sookie said hastily, holding up her hand. “I didn’t mean to offend you. But what about me?”
“I do not understand.”
“It’s one-sided. You’d be stuck feeling me, right? Why would you want that?” she asked honestly.
“Are you saying…?” Eric had not felt so baffled in a long time.
“It’s been my experience, that you don’t get something for nothing.” Sookie took another drink and raised her eyebrow. “So what is it you’d want from me?”
Eric leaned against the small kitchen counter and weighed his options. “What is your offer?”
“You told me what happens if I take your blood. What happens if you take my blood?” she asked seriously. She was not intentionally teasing him, she was, as usual, thinking things through.
Eric was sure he would come in his pants, if she kept talking as she was. He finished his bottled blood in one gulp and tossed the bottle into the sink. “You are asking about two very different things. I may take yours, you may take mine. Those options are not the same as purposely performing a mutual exchange.” Sookie had unwittingly ventured onto a subject he’d thought would take much longer to broach, but he was nothing if not an opportunist. “Drinking your blood, while I’m sure would be extremely satisfying,” he said, blatantly adjusting his erection in front of her, “would not allow you any…access to my feelings or whereabouts. Not without you receiving my blood.”
“Well, that’s not fair,” she snapped. “Why should it only be one way? Why should you get all the information, and not me?”
Eric’s eyes narrowed, and Pam’s musings that perhaps Sookie was simply stupid echoed in his mind. “You would consider that?” he asked casually.
“I’m not saying anything. I’m thinking I don’t need to decide this tonight, if we’re going to be with each other for the unforeseeable future. But yeah. I think, if I let you in, I’d want you to let me in. And believe me, that’s a mighty big ‘if.'” Sookie grabbed her water bottle from the table and stood. “Can I sleep in there?” she asked, hitching her thumb toward the bedroom door, and Eric nodded.
It was all he could do, after what she’d said. The simplicity of her words astounded him, so much so, that he wondered if she grasped the weight of them. “Yes,” he said, shaking off his stupor. “You may sleep in the bed. I have some things to do,” he said, gesturing to one of the couches. “If you rise before me, you will not be able to leave this area, nor will you be able to wake me. There is also no available wood,” he added, smiling at his own joke.
Sookie could not find the humor in his remark, and her face went white. “You think I would do that?” she asked, obviously distressed. Her hand went protectively to her neck. “Would you…?”
Eric wanted to backhand both of them. “No,” he said firmly. “We will both rise tonight. Intact.”
She swallowed and nodded, darting to the bedroom and quickly burrowing under the soft comforter. “Goodnight,” she said softly, and Eric waved his hand, though she could not see him, and moved to one of the couches.
Pam had texted with the location of the next evening’s resting place, and he had several work-related emails to answer. Unfortunately, it was only twenty minutes worth of busy work, and not nearly enough of a distraction from the pretty telepath, mumbling softly in her sleep a few feet away. Eric was nude and slipping behind her as she slept on her side in under a minute. Sookie hadn’t said anything about being the only one to use the bed.
He knew his time was limited. Dawn had come and gone, and the cooler temperature of his body would eventually wake her. He also did not wish to inadvertently crush her with his dead weight, once he went down for the day. So Eric was content, for a few moments, to mold his body to hers, reveling in her scent and warmth, and the softness of her curves. He’d never, as a vampire, known such intimacy with a human, and he realized then, he was loathe to let it go.
As he rolled away from her at the last possible second, he allowed himself to imagine them, bonded together by their shared blood, and swore it would be the first thing he’d bring up when he rose. If she insisted the experience be mutual, he would not stand in her way.
Sookie stirred, stretching her arms above her and yelping when her left elbow hit something hard. “Dammit!” she cursed, rubbing it while she struggled to sit up in the otherwise comfortable bed. Light shone from a doorway across the room, and she was confused as to where the hell she was. She slumped back down under the covers, only to bolt upright again. “Shit! Eric?” she called helplessly, flinging the cover back to reveal a large body next to hers.
Sookie screeched and hastily covered the form again, realizing it was Eric, and that he was naked. “Jesus!” she said, repeating it over and over as she sprung from the bed and hopped from foot to foot, staring at him like he was a large, hairy spider. “Godammit, Eric!” she cursed, eventually laughing at herself. She figured she wouldn’t tell him he’d scared her more asleep, or whatever he was, than he ever had awake.
Of course he had snuck into the bed once she was asleep, and of course he slept in the nude. Neither of those things bothered her, it was more the cryptic conversation they’d shared that morning that had her flustered. She quickly showered and threw her dress back on, grabbed a few pieces of bread and some orange juice, and flounced onto one of the couches.
There was too much that Sookie didn’t know about vampires, and she only had herself to blame. She figured herself fortunate to have come across Eric and Pam in her embarrassing naiveté, since she hadn’t been drained, or shackled in the basement of Fangtasia, both of which the pair were obviously capable. Though she was not keen to base any relationship on its success in not killing her.
Eric had left his laptop on the couch cushion, which prompted Sookie to search out her own brand new tablet. It turned out, there was plenty of information on vampires on the internet. Page after page, website after website, articles, chatrooms, pictures, pornography. Sookie blushed and thought of her own naked vampire, dead to the world just a room away, and clicked on a site from one of the more reputable online encyclopedias.
After an hour or so of reading, Sookie was more confused than when she had started. If the site were to be believed, her experiences with Eric were far different than what was known of vampires. Based on his behavior, she felt confident that she could not be considered a ‘pet,’ and she was certainly not a ‘fang banger.’ And while humans throughout history had been used to guard a resting place, there were no references to them actually dwelling within one along with vampires. There was also little information on blood exchanges, at least those from vampire to human, leading Sookie to believe they were either extremely rare, or the humans receiving the blood were forbidden to discuss it, or dead.
Overall, there was little information regarding any type of relationship between a vampire and human that wasn’t directly associated with blood or sex. On one hand, Sookie was willing to believe it could have been due to the only recent emergence of vampires into society, and there simply hadn’t been enough time for the two groups to openly mingle. On the other, though, she was beginning to suspect, that her budding relationship with her employer, and the things he had given her and continued to offer, were truly exceptional. After a lifetime of wishing she weren’t special, Sookie wondered if to Eric, she was.