“I find myself thinking about time today. How there is too much of it and somehow still never enough. Philosophers would argue that it is the looming end of all things that gives any meaning at all to the beats that pass from the beginning to the end. Is that true? That things only have meaning because we know that nothing can last?” Eric sipped his coffee and looked deep inside himself to answer that question for himself.
“I am of two minds myself. I can see how deep and poignant each action and feeling can be when we know that we are giving away a priceless piece of ourselves in each one. It gives each conversation and each friendship such a rich dark sweetness that it feels like I imagine blood would taste. Things we can’t get back, time that was never ours but we borrow it, we steal it to share with each other.
“Late at night that used to paralyze me, thinking that the time I spent with this person or that person left me that much shorter of the total. I used to wonder if I was spending it wisely, since I could have no actual return of those minutes and hours. It was only later I realized that the return was the experience I got from those exchanges. The exchange of viewpoints and ideas that either reinforced my own or spun my head around completely to show me something that I likely would never have found on my own.
“Those gifts of my time with those people I allowed to light in my life and perch there so they could sing their unique and beautiful songs, written in tears and blood. I carry them with me now and consider the time I spent to get them more than a bargain. I am made rich by my sacrifice.
“The rest of me, even with that insight, feels fearful in the knowledge that my moments are indeed precious and few and that the loss of them is something that I mourn, but I can’t mourn it properly because to do so only costs me more precious moments that I don’t really have.
“I’m running from that loss with every breath I take, every distraction I make, and I am fighting with the realization that if I run too fast I may miss something that I need. I might miss something I will want to have when the sands all run out for Eric Northman. I struggle to stop and smell each rose, lest they be nothing more than a long red streak in my peripheral as I speed by on my way to something else. I want to take their scent with me into whatever comes next, where memories of all the wondrous things I have experienced may be all that I have left.” He paused again and finished his coffee.
“For at least a moment today, longer if you can, be where you are today. Stop thinking. Stop running. Stop avoiding and really look around you. Look at the faces you love, the ones you might love if you gave yourself the time to truly see them. Smell the flowers if you find some. Sing a song that always makes you smile and hold the hand of someone who makes you feel like you understand what all this is about.
“Today, love yourself and those around you who make up the landscape of your mind, of your world. Tell them some truth of you that they may not know, or reinforce one you shared in the past and remind them that time is an illusion, a distraction and a gift.”
Eric had been thoughtful and quiet all day. In their wide open bonds he still felt very far away from her and she didn’t like it. They had agreed to allow each other the privacy of their thoughts unless there was danger so Sookie had not pressed in to see what was on his mind, rather trusting him to tell her if it was something she needed to know.
She was still processing the idea that he might pass before her into the next realm. She took it in turns of acceptance and angry denial, swearing that she would let nothing happen to him and then feeling that hot ire dashed with cold buckets of how she could not protect him from his damn fool self. She struggled to understand how he could risk himself for one young angry confused boy when the world hung in the balance. Then she told herself the truth in the quiet corners of her mind and acknowledged that what she felt was more personal.
The question she kept asking over and over was how could he risk leaving her? Leaving what they felt together. That made her feel selfish, small and unworthy. She liked that even less. In the clarity of the mad desire to stay with Eric forever she knew that she was betraying the very reason for her existence. Unacceptable! She shouted at herself, as if the command of her reason could overrule the needs of her heart.
There were moments when she longed for the time before he knew she existed. It was all so clear then. She protected him. She watched over him. She lived for him. She would die for him. There was no need to worry about how he would feel if she died, and more importantly no need to worry about how she would feel if he died. She was filled with thoughts of confusion and pain that had been her constant companions since the stunt he had pulled in the bank when she came in from her late night perimeter patrol. She would go back out in a few hours, but now she wanted to see him. She needed to reassure herself that for now at least, he was here and he was fine.
It had become her habit to look in on him at night, sometimes she slid in next to him, letting herself be soothed with the way his sleeping arms reached for her, pulling her close. Some nights she truly needed to feel herself wrapped in his arms. Other nights she satisfied herself with smoothing his hair back and kissing his forehead softly before going back out into the night to watch for signs that they had been found. If there was normalcy to be found it was in standing guard over Eric while he slept peacefully.
Her sharp eyes noticed the dim flickering light before she slowly opened the door to his room and stepped inside. There was candles lit all over the room, pulled from Mrs. Northman’s old emergency storm supply. They had been burning for a while, and they cast a light over the sleeping man sitting in the middle of the bed. He was naked, his long graceful limbs relaxed with his head resting on the headboard. A soft snore escaped his sleeping form, making her smile.
She stood there and just took in the incredibly beautiful image before her. His long legs were crossed at the ankle. They ran for miles up his lap, where for some reason he was holding a small pillow over his manly bits. She stifled a giggle picturing him fidgeting as he waited for her to appear. He must have been nervous about the display of his body, trying to figure out if modesty or flagrant nudity was more seductive.
The pillow was perfect, she decided. It allowed her to admire the molding of his skin over muscle and sinew without the distraction of her body overriding the softer more subtle emotions that he conjured inside her. Once she was captured in his virile maleness it was hard to remember anything but how much she wanted him. She shook her head at her perfect he was, in deed as we as in appearance.
His large hand on that small pillow that attached to those beautiful strong arms, his broad chest, lightly covered in hair. The rise of his pecs as be breathed slowly in and out captivated her attention for several moments before she moved on this face. Her breath caught in her chest as her hands itched to touch him. Her slight gasp breaking the silence of the room making his stir.
He blinked sleepily at her, a slow smile spreading over his face. “Hi,” he said, his hand involuntarily squeezing the pillow on his lap. “I was waiting for you.” She held her ground, allowing her fists to curl to assuage the need to touch his candle lit skin. “I know you come in here when you are done with first rounds. I wanted to surprise you.” He paused but she remained still and silent. He went on.
“I’ve been thinking a lot lately about time and how we need to take some for us.”
“Us?” she echoed, taking a step closer to the bed.
“Yes. Most of my most precious memories have you in them. I want more.”
“More?” She came a step closer.
“If our jobs were like everyone else’s I would say we were calling in sick and playing hooky. But they aren’t, we live this every day and every night with no certainty that there will be another. That is important, very important and I know that we will do what we have to do whenever we have to do it, but right now, I want to…steal you away.”
“Away?” Another step closer to him. He shifted his body on the bed. His small pillow was becoming too small.
“I want to be just a man who has all the time in the world to show the woman he loves what she means to him.”
“Means to him?” She was right beside the bed now, the soft glow of the candles pooling in her eyes.
“Surely you know, Sookie?” She shook her head slightly.
“I’ve thought about it a lot. That’s what I do, you know? Think about things, turning them this way and that trying to see how they fit.” She nodded slightly, too well aware of the racing mind of Eric Northman, never at peace. Even when he was asleep his dreams tangled and trembled on the edge of revelation. “I think about you all the time. I have since the moment you appeared in my life.” She moved slowly unbuttoning her top, letting is slide to the floor as he spoke. He paused, taking a quivering breath as he saw her in the candlelight.
“I-I,” he stammered a little as she reached for the button of her jeans, finding his rhythm again as she slid them smoothly over her rounded hips and her long legs to pool at her feet before she stepped out of them. Her foot moved them to the side and she started to toe off her sneakers, first the right and then the left. “I have concluded,” he finally found his voice, “That timing and circumstance be damned I would have fallen in love with you no matter what.”
Naked now, she climbed slowly onto the bed, settling over his legs right below the pillow that was now doing nothing to hide his arousal. “I know that all I would have had to do was slow down enough to see the woman inside you. Your passion. Your certainty. Your strength. The way you see me. The way you make me see myself.” She slid up and placed her hand over his on the pillow. She leaned closer, her face right in front of his.
“Is this for me?” she asked him, flicking her gaze down at the pillow before coming back to his.
“Yes,” he rasped out, his brain and his words leaving him now in the face of this goddess in his bed covered only in flickering candlelight. His words had done so little to show her his heart. He felt his center cave slightly in disappointment. He had practiced this in his mind as he waited for her, but her presence like this before him made him an inarticulate lump of desire to just touch her.
“I’ve never been much with words, Eric. You keep talking while I show you what you mean to me.” She removed his hand from the pillow, and then she removed the pillow revealing his gift to her. She slid further down his body, her long hair feathering out against his straining thighs as she kissed her way down his belly, rubbing her cheek on his erection, her eyes closed as she allowed the sensation of his hard hot flesh to caress her skin. He swallowed in anticipation of what was coming, his hands shaking so much that he fisted the bed covers next to his body to steady them.
“You…mean…”he gasped as she took him into heat of her mouth, swirling around the tip of him with her tongue several times before she bobbed her head gently and took him deeper into her mouth. “Everythingtome!” he moaned as he lost himself in the sensation of her taking him this way. She sucked him hard and she pulled her mouth up his shaft, returning the sentiment of his words in her actions. He let loose his right hand of the covers and let it tangle in her hair as she took him again. He lost the ability to think and almost to speak. “Everything,” he said again, and later again, his mind stuck in a groove as she worked him toward a release that she denied him just yet.
When her lips released him her hand replaced them on his shaft, continuing to pump and squeeze him in the same maddening rhythm she had produced with her mouth and tongue. She kissed his thigh and he heard the unmistakable sound of her fangs coming down. Anticipating the sensation of her bite made his hips thrust up from the bed pumping into her hand in a way he would never have allowed himself to do in her mouth. His vision grew blurry, his body covered in sweat he fell back onto the pillow, still chanting his last coherent thought. “Everything.”
He felt her hand settle at the base of his shaft and tighten there, almost painful, but not quite, just as her fangs slipped into his femoral artery. He rose off the bed screaming as waves of pleasure rolled through his body, hips bucking as she fed from him, and held his cock in gentle vise refusing to let him spill over.
Later he would replay these moments and realize that she had been telling him how she felt about their relationship. She had been telling him what he meant to her. That he took her right to the edge of reason and madness and pleasure beyond measure. He took her right to the edge of losing herself and then he pulled her back and gave her everything she could ever need. She told him that he was her life, that he too was everything to her.
She replaced her hand with her mouth again, and led him to orgasm in seconds, taking his essence into her as she had just moments before in a different way. It was too much for him to process and he blacked out for a few moments when he came. When he returned to himself she was laying on his chest looking at him with a satisfied smile on her face.
“I-I was supposed to be showing you what you meant to me,” he got out, his words wobbly and uncertain.
“You did,” she assured him, pressing her body tightly to his and smoothing his hair back from his forehead.
“I meant that I-“
“Shhh-“she said to him, rubbing the frown lines off his face with her gentle fingers. “You gave me the gift of yourself. Something you have been making your whole life, husband. Is there anything that could matter more to a woman who loves you?” He opened his mouth to speak again but she turned her face to the side and rested her cheek on his chest.
“I stood on the edge of your light for so long, Eric. In touching distance but never touching you. Now to be here in this dream with you, means more to me than any words could ever express. That is why now I am afraid.” His arms came up around her to hold her closer to him. “I, too, have thought of many things since the day in bank. I have wondered if feeling this fear now is worth having you like this.” She turned back to look him in the eye again. “And yes, it is. For a lifetime, for a day, for a moment to be this close to you, to know you like this with my body and my heart, yes, it is worth it. I am as much yours as you are mine, Eric Northman.”
He rolled them over then, resting on top of her, loving the way the candlelight made her skin seem golden and kissable. “You keep talking, while I show you what you mean to me,” he said as he kissed a trail down her body. Within moments her strangled cries of “Everything,” filled the candlelit room.
They took time and bent around themselves, made it theirs, claiming its speeding moments and creeping hours as they claimed each other. They laughed and loved their way through all the rooms of the old Northman house. Occasionally, they stopped for food or water, making even that a game between them, holding nothing back and thinking only of the moments they were in together. They soon learned that for all they knew of each other there was a vast topography of secret sounds and feelings that they had barely imagined yet to explore.
Laughing, he chased her from the kitchen, where she had demanded Twinkies and water before the next leg of their journey into discovery. He still didn’t care for the cakes himself but he liked the sweetness of her kiss after she indulged in the high calorie treat. He was preparing for a full on chase through the house when she stopped in front of his laptop at the old desk he used for his recordings. He swept her into his arms and claimed his kiss before she slipped away again, holding his hand and pulling him to the chair in front of the equipment. She looked shyly back at him, biting her lip. “Show me what you do here?” Pleasure swept through him at her request. She had provided all the equipment, the licensing and more often than not the inspiration for the passion he shared with his listeners, but she had kept her distance from his work and his work space.
He had not pressed her to share it, though he wanted to tell her all about it, like he did everything else. Sitting down in the chair he pulled her into his lap, situating her so that his long arms could work on either side of her. He opened the laptop and logged into his account, showing her how it worked. She watched intently, absorbing everything he did. Remembering that she had told him once she had always been a fan of Night Vision he asked her, “Would you like to hear my latest podcast?”
She looked him, her smile bright and big as she nodded and wriggled around in excitement. He hit play and settled back in the chair, pulling her to rest against his chest, hoping she wouldn’t be disappointed. His voice filled the room, sounding strange to his own ears.
“I find myself thinking about time today. How there is too much of it and somehow still never enough.”
He glanced down at her once, her eyes were closed as she listened, and her face open and relaxed as his words flowed over her. Her only movement to place her hand over his where his arms were wrapped around her middle. At the end, she sniffed softly and turned around to place her arms around his neck. “You’re really fucking good at this stuff,” she said into his neck, her words slightly muffled. He growled low in his chest, preening at her praise. It felt good to be admired and appreciated by someone who meant everything to him. “How many listeners do you have now?”
“I haven’t checked in a while. I try not to think about that. I think it’s more important to stay focused on what I am saying, rather than worry about who is listening.” She peeked up at him, her cheeks flush with emotion.
“Let’s check.” He laughed.
“OK, but the last time I checked it was…” he stopped.
“What’s wrong?” His body had stiffened beneath her and his jaw was hanging open, eyes round in shock. She turned to look at the screen. The stat screen showed that there were over two hundred and fifty thousand subscribers to Night Vision. She squealed and hugged him. “That’s great, right?”
“Uhhh…” she laughed at his inarticulate response to his listener count.
“Oh, you better go easy there, save that suave speech for the fans,” she teased him. He managed to close his mouth.
“I don’t understand. I looked last month and there were only ten thousand or so subscribers. How…?” She hugged him again, elated for his success at getting his message out.
“’The truth is out there!’” She quoted her favorite movie for him. His lips curled into smile despite his shock over what the stats board was telling him. “Have you Googled yourself?” Snapping somewhat back to himself, his smile became a lascivious smirk. He wagged his eyebrows at her, his eyes twinkling.
“I thought that was what you were for.” She giggled again and turned back to face the computer pulling up the Google search engine and entering in Night Vision for a search. Moments later they were both sitting there with their mouths open.
They found dozens of message boards where fans talked about broadcasts both on the air and in podcast. There were Eric Northman fan sites, complete with pictures of him from his LA gig and in Shreveport. She leaned closer and looked at some of the comments beneath his photos. A growl filled the room, and she was startled to realize it was herself making that sound. She tried to reign in her jealousy but some of the things they suggested or flat out said about her husband made her hands clench and her fangs descend.
Moving past that quickly Eric clicked on another link. ‘Night Vision Convention- September 5, 6 & 7- Dallas Convention Center, Dallas, Texas’. The fans were banding together to meet in person and share their stories. “What the hell?” he whispered over her shoulder as he read the details. At first he was shocked and then he felt the warmth start in his chest and move through his limbs. They had heard him! They had listened!
At the bottom of the page was comment after comment from listeners who pledged to be there and who told their stories about how his broadcasts had impacted their lives. There were people who had met through the message boards and become friends and supporters of each other, all planning to meet in person for the first time in Dallas in just a couple of weeks. “You didn’t know?” she asked, leaning back against his chest, her face beside his as he stared at the screen transfixed.
“No. I mean I got a couple of emails from fans saying they would like to meet me, but I danced around it. It wasn’t safe to think about that kind of thing. They never said…” his voice trailed away, the awe that filled it giving her goose bumps. He read on, not all of them could travel the distance, but they had the promises of those who could to stand up and share their stories for them. “Where did they get the money to rent an entire convention center, Sookie?”
She rolled the page up and found that some of Eric’s biggest fans were big time corporate sponsors. Companies who wanted to take his words to heart and make them deeds to change the world we live in. “Leclerq Industries, A Greener World Today, For Tomorrow. DeCastro Technologies, Better Worlds Through Superior Technology.” She gasped as she read the last one, “Sovegny Construction, headquarters Calgary, Canada. Godric!”
“The vampire? Godric the vampire?” She nodded, her mouth hanging open now.
“He told me that he was in Dallas now.”
“I remember.” If Eric had fangs they would be down now, too. A chill ran down his back as he saw the connections come together in his mind. Could it be a coincidence? He shook off the idea, he had always lived just south of Coincidence. No, this was another demonstration of how all things were connected. The realization simultaneously reassured and terrified him.
Why Dallas of all places? This was the second call for them to travel there. Dare he ignore it and insist on a third to extinguish his small remaining doubts that they were being summoned there? Was there some strange ley line of magics unknown to him that called them to this strange city? Some inescapable event that demanded they surrender to it and appear?
The rightness of that thought clicked so loudly inside him that he rocked in his chair, instinctively pulling Sookie closer to him.
“We’re going to Dallas, aren’t we, Eric?”
“I think so,” he said in a voice that sounded as strange to him as his recorded voice had earlier. It was him, but it wasn’t the sound he was used to hearing.
“It’s calling us, isn’t it?”
“I think so, Sookie. God help us, I think so.” She was quiet for a few moments and then she reached up and shut down the computer, closing the screens deliberately one by one before closing the lid on his laptop. When the lights went out she turned back to him and place a soft kiss on his neck, running her hand up the back of his head threading her fingers through his hair gently.
“All right,” she whispered between kisses. “But not yet. Tomorrow we will make our plans and face it together. But tonight, tonight I want to steal you away. Tonight you are just mine, my husband, my Eric, and for tonight the rest of the world can just go hang.”
He wasn’t hard to convince.