Eric was the first to rise, sliding out of down time and smiling at the woman passed out in his arms. A feeling of pride and satisfaction filled him, purely male, purely ego. Even after a thousand years nothing made him feel as smug as fucking a woman into unconsciousness. Smiling, he pulled on his jeans and headed to the kitchen. Looking in the fridge he found that his day man had dropped off supplies like he had asked, and nodded when he found a filet mignon and makings for a garden salad, as well as baked potato in the kitchen.
As he started to prepare these things his level of self-satisfaction increased to almost intolerable levels as he congratulated himself for being smart enough to get a cookbook. He reached for the book finally able to admit to himself that he had gotten it in secret hopes of finding himself in this very position.
When he gotten the bill from the Hotel Camilla covering her stay, there had been an itemized listing of room service. Since she had been the only human staying there it wasn’t hard to figure that she had been the one who ordered the steak, salad and potato.
The next time he was in the bookstore he found himself in front of the cookbook section and had looked for one that would tell him how to prepare these favored dishes that had cost him $75.00 plus a healthy tip. Not that the money mattered, it was the principal of the thing. That was why Bill’s stunt in ordering a blood he never planned to drink had annoyed him. Money was meant to create joy and to provide security, not to be squandered.
Carefully following the directions in the book he prepared her meal, feeling a little guilty that she had not eaten in so long, but they had been busy and he planned to make up for it now.
Feeling her wake up and reach out to him via their new bond, he put the steak on low and went back to the bedroom at vamp speed. He stopped in the doorway, leaning against the frame, striking a pose that he hoped she would appreciate. He had some idea how devastating he was, with his hair tussled, his jeans low on his hips, the button undone, and his shirt and shoes missing in action. Women all over the world had melted for him at less. He gave her a moment to soak in his beauty before looking directly at her.
Sookie, was sitting in the middle of the bed, with the worst case of sex hair possibly documented in human history. She was wiping her eyes, pushing her hair back and making some kind of smacking sound with her mouth that seemed to indicate a hefty case of morning breath. The sheet was pooled in her lap and her breasts was exposed as a matter of happenstance, like she had just emerged from some Botticelli masterpiece.
He was captivated, and amused, and oddly happy. She totally missed his preening and he loved it.
When she felt his happiness bloom in their bond she looked right at him and her face lit up with a smile that rivaled his memory of the sun. Her arms opened to him, calling him to her. He tackled her and then immediately started to cover her with kisses.
Not the ‘I wanna jump your bones kind’ but rather than ‘I adore you, I love you,’ kind. She giggled and wriggled around while he continued to kiss her all over.
“I smell food!” she moaned, pushing at him, trying to get up from the bed. “I’m starvin’!” She went to rise from the bed and then realization hit her. She leaned back and looked him in the eye smile starting to bloom on her face “Are you cooking, Eric?” She asked him softly, in awe of the idea.
“Shh, don’t spoil it,” was all he said. She smiled, sighing. She had worried when she woke up if he would still be radiating love for her, like he had been earlier when they were lost in making their blood bond. Part of her had even been afraid that he would have “come to his senses” and be angry with her for taking advantage of him while he was caught up in the frenzy of making love to her. But no, as she felt along this strange new bond, she felt, comfort, love, warmth, openness and joy. He really wanted to impress her with whatever he was doing in the kitchen. “We made a deal, remember? You would feed and care for me and I for you? This is just me keeping my end up.” She turned her head slightly to the side, shooting him an evil smirk.
“To easy, Northman, too damned easy.” He smiled back, loving her playfulness and all the thing she might have said in response to that easy double entendre. “Do I have time for a shower?”
“You do if you don’t take me with you,” he kissed her hand, wanting her to invite him and wanting her to let him go finish preparing her dinner.
“Ungh! Need food! Get in that kitchen, man!” She responded playfully, pushing at his chest with her open palm. He was gone, again at vampire speed before she finished her sentence. She could feel his amusement through the bond and stepped into the shower.
While she bathed and brushed her teeth she thought about what had happened earlier. All those images and all those voices. All that love. How could they have done things they had never done before? She pushed it back, wanting to talk to him about it. Maybe he had some ideas.
She looked in her bag for a nightgown. It was white cotton with pink lace trim, full length, sleeveless and comfortable. Not sexy but practical, familiar. So much had changed in such a short time she needed that familiarity. She had picked this, anticipating that.
When she followed her nose out the open door and toward the heavenly scent that permeated the house she found Eric in the kitchen. It was her turn to pause in the doorway, but she wasn’t posing for him, she was watching him. He was trying to toss the salad, keep the steak from being over cooked, and trying to figure out if her potato was actually done baking. He burned his hand on the grill, and though it healed quickly he looked very human when he hissed and swore and then looked at the meat like it was public enemy number one. When he tossed the salad he gave it a little too much vamp power and tossed a good portion of it out of the bowl and onto the floor. Another expletive escaped his lips, and then he stopped in front of the potato. Giving it the evil eye, as if to scare it into confessing its state of readiness to be eaten.
The effect he had wanted earlier when he paused in the doorway like a model on the runway he got now. She was blown away, and sighed like a school girl seeing Elvis for the first time in his heyday.
He felt her complete adoration as she melted for him and all his consternation at the inscrutable potato faded away.
“If I weren’t starving slam to death, Northman, I would demand you yield to me right here, right now.” Her tone betrayed her regret that reasonableness reign in the face of desire, but she still managed to induce that Swiss Army sound from him. He turned to look at her, desire smoldering in his eyes. “Go sit in front of the fire woman, I will join you momentarily.”
Giving him one last longing look, wishing she had one of those tall white chef hats to sit on his head while he waged The War of the Spud, she retreated to the living room, and sat on the floor in front of the fire, her back to the table that was in front of the sofa. The colors in the room were neutral, soothing and the furniture was big and overstuffed suede’s and leathers. She could have sank into that sofa disappeared completely.
She was staring into the fire lost in thought when he brought her dinner in on tray with a bottle of water and a red rose. He sat it down on the table with much pomp and circumstance and then folded himself on the floor beside her. She reached eagerly for her knife and fork but he beat her to it and started cutting the meat himself. “Our deal was that I would feed and care for you. Tonight, I want to feed you, as you have done for me.” She pushed back her resistance to letting him care for her and just accepted it. She moaned in pleasure when he put the first bite in her mouth, chewing rapidly, straining for another bite. Once she had taken the edge off her hunger and could focus on other thoughts it hit her.
I had this meal in Dallas! How did he know that? Oh, right, he paid the bill. He remembered what she had for dinner? First, she was elated, and then she felt guilty. She had ordered that meal, the most expensive thing that sounded good to her as a punishment for taking Bill away to the bar. Eric had stopped and was holding the fork in mid-air staring at her.
“Sookie,” he said softly setting the fork down on the coffee table. “I have never bonded before, so, this is all as new to me as it is to you. I thought I knew what to expect, and I expected what I described to you when we talked about this yesterday.” Yesterday? How could so little time have passed? Shoving that aside, “I don’t want to screw this up. I want to understand why in space of ten seconds I felt you drop from ecstatic to guilty and why the meal that had delighted you seconds ago now is less appealing. Did I do something wrong? Is it not prepared correctly?” Again, he felt guilt sweep over her.
“This blood bond thingy is going to get us in trouble if we aren’t careful.” She was looking at him, he could see worry and concern in her gaze. She reached for his hand, threading her fingers together with his and pulled him into her memory. She showed him her memory of Dallas and let him see that she had ordered it be spiteful, and that is why she felt so bad.
“And before when you were so happy?” he asked slipping out of her mind and bringing her hand to his lips.
“You remembered! I couldn’t believe you remembered, and then I realized what you remembered was me being an asshole. It took some shine off.” She ducked her head, blushing slightly. He chuckled.
“Did you enjoy that meal, Sookie? He asked as he feathered kisses on her hand and wrist. She blushed even more.
“Yes, very much. It tasted wonderful, but I figured you would be so mad and that just made it even better…at the time,” she finished still sounding guilty and regretful of her action.
“Then think nothing of it. First, it fed you when you needed nourishment, and it pleasured you before you would let me do that for you. It is a small thing, and it gladdens me that I could do this for you.” He stopped kissing her hand and now pulled it closer to his chest. “Let me finish feeding you now, before it gets cold.” Rather than wait for her consent he picked up the fork and knife and before she knew it all her dinner was gone.
Reaching for her, he pulled her to sit with him on the floor between his legs, while he leaned back on the sofa. She let her back rest on him front of the fire. He ran his fingers through her hair, gently, and made a contented sound that relaxed further. Before long, she turned to the right, putting her legs over his and looking up at his face while leaning into him. His arm obligingly moved behind her to hold her while she nestled into his chest.
“Eric, what happened to us to today? What was all that in the shower?” He didn’t answer right away. He stared into the fire and rested his head against the top of hers.
“I can’t say for sure, but, I think, that what we saw was us.”
“Us?” She felt him nod.
“I read once that there is some heated debate amount some theoretical physicists that parallel universes were around us all the time that in fact, and that we created them. When we made a choice, when we took a turn, when we do one thing, there is an equal and opposite choice that must come into existence and thus an alternate reality is born.” He stopped there still staring into the flames, lost in his own mind. Sookie tried to get her head around what he was saying.
“That would mean, Eric, that is most, if not all of those places, we wind up together, like this?”
“What do you mean, Sookie?”
“Oh, Eric, I felt her, me. All her love, their love for you passing through me. She loved you so much, him so much…oh this is making my head hurt!”
“Try, Sookie, I want to understand what you mean.”
“All the Sookie’s love all the pretty Eric’s. Always. Every time they meet. Forever. It never changes. Couldn’t you feel it? Didn’t’ all the pretty Eric’s love all the Sookie’s, too?” her need to be reassured that it wasn’t one sided was killing him. She gasped at the pain she felt coming from him, she raised her head and looked into his eyes “What, Eric, what’s wrong?”
“’All the Pretty Eric’s’ as you called them, Sookie. What they felt was so raw and intense that I thought it was going to end me! Every Eric, in every image, loved his Sookie beyond anything that words could ever say. He lived for her and he died for her and it never started it never ended it just was. A universal constant. Feeling that, seeing that pushed me beyond any place I have ever been. I know that I am only what I should be when I have you at my side.” He hesitated a moment trying to figure out how to say what else he had sensed.
“All of those Eric’s and Sookie’s had come together in different ways, not the same way we did here, but I don’t think that is the important part. I think the important part is that we are together.” Her arms slid around him holding him tightly.
“It’s definitely what is most important to me.”
“Why, Sookie? I need the words, please.” He buried his face in her hair ashamed of his raggedy need that he had no choice but to show her.
“Because, this Sookie loves her Pretty Eric more than the rest all put together.” She settled further into him, feeling her body relax, her full belly making her sleepy again, too. “I would give him anything, everything. I would burn this fucking universe to the ground if he asked me,” she declared fiercely in his chest, holding his neck tightly. In their bond he felt the truth of her words, and thinking of what he now knew of the CIB he believed she would and could do that.
He hugged her closer. This revelation elated him. The Sookie she had either been or that he had thought her to be would been indignant and furious at his joy for such a declaration of love, of its destructive power. Had he really been so wrong about her or had she just changed that much?
Eric was elated because this kind of passion she claimed, this he understood. In a sea of things that left him feeling ignorant and that shook his confidence, this kind of familiar feeling was exactly what he needed. It also gave him some insight that he wanted to test out.
Perhaps, just perhaps the CIB was not what he had thought before. Perhaps, now that they had bonded the CIB would respond differently to him? Perhaps, she would protect him now, too? Because that level if fierceness and passion sounded a lot like her offering to burn the universe to a cinder for him.
Shifting her soft form slightly he could feel that Sookie was dozing in his arms, and he decided to check out the doors and see if they were there. Maybe he could get some more information. Holding her close, he called her, Sookie and felt that moment where her mind opened to him. Still not that different than when she opened her body to him. He sighed in pleasure, shivering.
When he found his bearings, he looked around and he was in the room with the doors again. They were all closed, the lettering still present, not revealing any more information than they had before. He thought of calling out, and then thought better of it. As before he saw the book shelves between the doors and decided to take a closer look at the volumes on the shelves.
When he got closer he saw titles, some he recognized some he didn’t. The Stand, The Dead Zone, IT, The Gunslinger-Dark Tower, The Commons, The Book of Common Dread, Bearing an Hourglass, American Gods, The Sandman. There were also movies mixed in with them. The Fountain, Out of Africa, The Whole Wide World, The Abyss, and The Big Lebowski. There was music, Pink Floyd, Bare Naked Ladies, Blue October, and so many more. He was reaching out to pick up The Commons when suddenly he heard a high pitched squeal of what could only be called joy behind him, and felt a corresponding surge as well in the bond he now shared with Sookie. Not as strong as it had been earlier, but there still. He turned quickly only to see a small bundle of pink Tasmanian devil attack his leg, holding on for dear life.
He looked around and saw that the door labeled The Child was standing open. He looked back down at his leg and saw a tiny blond girl barefoot in a pink nightgown, holding a stuffed turtle and staring up at him with giant brown eyes filled with adoration. She still had her baby teeth he noted as he looked at her smile, though a few were missing.
“Hewo, Ewic!” She chirped, still smiling up at him like he had hung the moon itself.