AN: Thanks to everyone for reading! I hope you enjoy this next chapter, and please feel free to let me know. This is unbeta’d, so all boo boos are mine. As always, thanks to Charlaine Harris and Alan Ball for their characters.
End of Chapter 6
Sookie started to head for the door and said “I’m outta here. I can’t take this anymore and I need to leave.
Eric couldn’t let that happen, so he was behind her before she could blink and he held her tight to the wall. His grip was firm and his fangs bared. “Oh no, Sookie Stackhouse. Remember, I ‘own’ you now. You. Are. Mine.”
“The hell you do, you sonofabitch. Let me go!”, Sookie struggled. “I was wrong. You don’t own me, you’re not responsible for me, you have no obligation to me. Feel free to walk away. You never have to see me again.”
Eric withdrew his fangs and loosened his grip. “Soo”. He didn’t get a chance to say anything more. Sookie went limp and fell to the ground. Stunned, he bent down to pick her up and as he approached her, Sookie tightened up and kicked him in the face. Having an older brother had its advantages and Sookie had an entire childhood learning how to defend herself from Jason and his friends.
Eric stumbled back holding his nose, while Sookie took the opportunity to open the door and cross the threshold into the night air. She jumped off the porch and made a run for it. She didn’t know where she was going exactly, so she picked a direction and ran. There was no looking back, only moving forward.
She must have been running for 10 minutes before she stopped at a cluster of trees. Thinking that the trees would provide some camouflage, she decided it was a good place to rest and consider her next step. She couldn’t see very well — it was dark and the moonlight couldn’t penetrate the foliage from the tree.
Daring not to close her eyes, Sookie took a moment to gain control of her breathing. She was physically and mentally taxed. She would give herself a minute or two of rest before she started again, but she could ill-afford taking too long. She knew she needed to get moving as soon as she physically could. So many thoughts bombarded her and it was difficult for her to make sense of it all. Vampires. Werewolves. Fairies. ‘How? How is any of this even possible?’. Shaking her head, she was dumbstruck. How was she going to wrap her head around all of this new information. Her world was decidedly turned upside down. Ha! And the suggestion that she wasn’t human…that she was…. Oh god, she couldn’t even think it, let alone say it out loud.
Shrinking down from her place against a tree, she grabbed her knees and stared straight ahead not really seeing anything. Her internal dialogue was drowning her and she was struggling between her instinct to fight and her desire to ignore all she’d been told. Not realizing that she’d been holding her breath, she gasped, chasing air to fill her lungs. As they filled with oxygen and removed the fog from her brain, she realized she needed to move. She straightened up and very deliberately weaved her way through the wooded acreage.
Sookie was very alert, listening to the sounds of the night. She knew that she hadn’t incapacitated Eric and that he, most likely, was looking for her. At the very least, she had hoped that she had bought herself time to put enough distance between them. She had the added hope that vampire mythology was accurate and that dawn would soon be approaching and give her the much needed protection of the sun. It was too dark to see the hands of her watch, but she was counting on being able to avoid him until then.
Unsuspecting, she had no idea that Eric had been watching her. He had been stunned by and oddly proud of Sookie’s attack. It wasn’t often that he was blindsided, but he had miscalculated. He knew she had some fight in her based on their earlier encounter, but the concern he had when she fell distracted him. Once again, his face and his nose, in particular, took the brunt of her attack. This little human girl had busted his nose twice in one night. It both pissed him off and aroused him — a deadly combination.
After her attack, he quickly recovered, but decided to let her run. He was ready to hunt, and she would pay for the blood she’d drawn. He hovered in the sky as he watched her run. He was impressed, the girl had spirit and she was fast. She was no damsel in distress. There was no tripping over the invisible log, or falling into some unseen pothole. No, this girl moved with purpose. She ran straight ahead and never looked back. He liked it….he liked her.
He followed as she reached the perimeter of the woods. This would be a little trickier for him. She would be shielded by the trees so flying above wouldn’t be an option. He would have to fly low. He would’ve walked, but he couldn’t afford the noise stepping on dried leaves and branches would make. No, he wanted to follow along quietly, as he found that he enjoyed watching her and he was curious about what she’d do next.
After her brief respite, she was on the run again. He watched her weave in and out of the trees. She was nimble and easily moved around the brush. He definitely enjoyed their game of cat and mouse, something he found that he could delight in playing, but, sadly, it would have to end soon. Dawn would be approaching and he would have to secure her and return to his cabin before daylight breached the horizon.
She continued to run until a tree caught her attention. She stopped and surveyed it….looking up, down, and around. Eric watched as he saw a small smile creep across her face. She grabbed hold of one of the branches and began her ascent. She climbed, moving from limb to limb, until she was deeply embedded in the center of the tree. Sookie felt good and safe. She was easily hidden from anyone walking below her and now all she had to do was wait him out. Nature’s protection would soon engulf her and she’d be able to breathe her much needed sigh of relief.
It was ill-fated that Sookie didn’t consider that Eric could just as easily fly 5 feet off the ground as he could 150 feet. While she settled in biding her time until the sun rose, Eric could wait no longer to get her. The sun would be up soon and he had already pressed his luck. There was no more time to waste admiring his prey.
Hunkered down, Sookie closed her eyes for the first time since she’d escaped. She inhaled and relaxed contemplating her none-too-soon freedom. Once the sun rose, she’d move as quickly as she could to find someone, anyone who could get her to a town. She needed to get as far away as possible, understanding that she’d have to seek refuge where no one would know who she was. She’d have the safety of daylight to do her business before Eric could track her down. With one more deep breath, Sookie said, “I’m almost theeer……..aaaaahhhhh!!!!” The next thing she knew, she was crashing through the branches. A moment later she could see the moon. She screamed as the arms that held her turned her so that she was facing inward. Her arms were pressed to her sides as her legs dangled beneath her. Once she got her bearings, she knew Eric had found her. She looked up into his face. The smirk etched across it aggravated her to no end, so she fought the only way left to her — she head-butted him. “Ow!”, he yelled, blood running down his face. His hold on her remained unyielding, “Fuck! That’s the third time you’ve broken my nose this evening. Stop. Stop fighting me! I’m not going to hurt you…although, dropping you so I could be rid of you seems awfully tempting right now.”
Considering her options, she decided that she could find another way to secure her release. “Okay….Okay, I’ll stop fighting you. Promise you won’t hurt me and I’ll stop.”
“And you would trust my promise?”
“Well, I figure you’re a doctor. You save people. You wouldn’t be doing that if you were just a cold-blooded killer.”
“I am cold-blooded….but, you’re right. I don’t kill if I don’t need to. The question is, my dear Sookie, do I need to kill you?”
“N…no. I don’t think you do.” she said with a little indignity.
A small smile broke before he laughed. “Ha….I think I should be the judge of that….but, we’ll see. Right now, we must return to the cabin. The sun will rise soon and, as I’m sure you’re aware, the sun and my skin tone don’t mix.”
“Yeah, I was hoping that was the case…no offense.”
“Hmpf…I might not like it, but I do understand.”
They continued to fly in silence. It didn’t take long to reach their destination and Sookie was glad for it. She couldn’t deny that she had a little headache from her assault to Eric’s face, plus she was just plain tired.
They had a soft touchdown and quickly entered the cabin. “Come. We must get settled.” Eric motioned for her to take a seat and she chose a chair that sat facing the sofa. He went to a large curio cabinet located against a wall behind the sofa and she saw him remove a remote control from the top shelf. As he turned to face her, he pushed a button and loud, clanging noises started. She jumped, but he reassured her, “I have shields that cover the windows and doors to prevent any sunlight from coming in. It all looks very normal from the outside, but no one will be able to enter during my daytime rest while the shields are down.”
“Oh….so I take it no one can leave either?”
With a raised eyebrow and a slight upturn of his lip, he simply said, “Yes.”
“Hmpf…yes, I can leave or yes, I’m right?”
With a slight chuckle, he said, “Yes, you are correct. No one, including you, can leave. I have to say, you are a little spitfire, aren’t you. I like that about you.”
“Well, I’m so happy for you.” She couldn’t help her snarky tone. Outside of the danger he presented to her, he also irritated her. There was something about him that got under her skin and it drew out the sarcasm.
“You should be worried. I’m finding that I’m starting to be happy for me, too”, he said all too brightly.
“Argh!” she huffed. The movement of her head caused her to wince, and it didn’t go unnoticed.
“I see that my nose isn’t the only thing that’s been damaged this evening. You hurt your head.”
“Well, your face isn’t exactly soft and fluffy…so, yeah, I have a headache. I’ll be fine, but if, by chance, you have some aspirin, I wouldn’t turn it down.”
He eyed her for a moment inspecting the cuts and bruises she amassed during her attempted escape. He needed to go to his rest and he knew that Sookie more than likely had a mild concussion from her glorious head-butt. He couldn’t help but be a little impressed looking back, but sleep would not be what the ‘doctor ordered’ for her.
He made his decision. He would give her his blood. It would heal her and allow her to go to sleep without endangering herself. What he was struggling with now was how he would give it to her.
He had created a nice working relationship at his hospital. Pam, the hospital administrator, knew what he was and she would take care of things he couldn’t during the day, while he would offer up a little of his blood to help patients who had the misfortune to visit the Emergency Room — it turned out to be a mutually beneficial arrangement.
He would only provide the blood in little vials, so the sick and injured never took the blood directly from him. It eliminated any connection he might, otherwise, have to them.
Now he was faced with a dilemma. A part of him wanted the connection to Sookie. Sure, there were the practical reasons. She was, at the very least, part fairy. There was the re-emergence of the light, for which she was the target. And he had to consider the danger to his kind now that the light was back, so he could argue self-preservation.
But there was something more propelling him to connect to her. There was no way to describe it, other than a need. So with that, he offered “Sookie, I need to die for the day and you need to rest, too. I know you’re tired. You’ve expended a lot of energy this evening, but you’re injured. You have a concussion and I can’t allow you to sleep. Unless….” he paused giving himself one last moment for reconsideration.
“Unless….you take some of my blood.”
“What?! Ew, no….no! That’s gross. And why would I do that?”
“Sookie, my blood…vampire blood is healing. If you take a little of my blood, you’re head injury will heal, as will all of your scrapes and bruises. You would be able to safely go to sleep.”
Sookie just sat there staring at him. The thought of drinking blood turned her stomach. There was nothing appealing about it and she didn’t think she could bring herself to do it.
He could see the apprehension run across her face. He didn’t want to force her, but he would if he needed to.
“Eric…I…I..I don’t know.”
“Sookie, I give my blood to help heal people who come into the hospital. Jason, your brother…he has had some of my blood. He might have died, otherwise, but he lives. And it’s my blood that made that possible.”
Her eyes focused on his stormy blue grays. It was one of the things she noticed first about him when they met. There was so much reflected in his eyes. She couldn’t make heads or tails out of it, but there was something different. There was a sincerity that hadn’t been there before and a quality that was almost on the verge of pleading. It confused her….he confused her, but hearing him talk about saving Jason softened her to the idea.
She gave it a few minutes more before she decided to agree. She needed to survive for Jason. And she felt compelled to find out about her heritage and about why something or someone wanted her dead. She’d be damned if she’d go out from a concussion.
“Okay, let’s do it.”
Eric felt relieved. He hadn’t realized how much anxiety he had felt waiting for her decision and he couldn’t help but be unnerved by it. But he would deal with that later. Right now he needed to feed her.
“So how do we do this? And you say it’ll heal me. Do I have to be worried about anything else?”
“There will be no major side effects. I can say that you’ll feel…how should I say….healthy — physically, mentally. You may experience a slight increase in libido. As for how, I’ll break the skin on my wrist and ask that you drink quickly. The wound will heal fast, so don’t delay.” He convinced himself that she didn’t need to know about the ability to track her. He would tell her later when the time was right.
Considering all that he said, she decided she was ready to go. “How much do I have to drink?”
“Not much. Just a small amount should be sufficient.”
Sookie flinched when he bit into his wrist. He quickly offered it up and she hesitantly grabbed hold. With one more long look to Eric’s eyes, she placed her mouth over the puncture wounds and sucked. She had expected to be disgusted and even questioned whether she’d be able to keep the blood down, but, surprisingly, it wasn’t at all as unpleasant as she had suspected. She began to suck more aggressively and could feel a surge of energy flow through her. It moved to her heart and seemed to ripple out to every part of her body. She could feel the tingling rushing over her skin, encasing her, caressing her, and with one final draw, her eyes closed and her head fell back.
From the moment Sookie’s lips latched on to his wrist, Eric was mesmerized. His focus was intently on her — the way her lips laid across his skin and her cheeks hollowed with each draw, to the little sound she made as his blood filled her mouth, and finally, the way her eyes glowed after her first swallow. In short, he was awestruck. It wasn’t his practice to let anyone feed from him, but in the rare times that he had, he had never seen anyone glow before. And it had never affected him in the way she affected him.
He watched her take her last sip and her head fell back. He could see the remnants of his blood on her lips and it excited him and he could feel her wonder, her excitement, and her bliss. He desperately wanted to kiss her at that moment and it took all his effort to refrain. Their current situation was filled with uncertainty and he could not afford to succumb to his urges, and he needed to learn more about her — what she was, who she was.
With one last burst of will, he tried to suppress his lust and called to her. “Sookie”. Her name came out much more breathy than he had expected and he was chagrin as her head snapped back to meet him.
Shaking it off, he stayed his emotions and continued, “You should feel better — no headache, no aches and pains.”
“Oh. My. God. I never…I’ve never felt anything like that before. I feel so…so…alive.” She took a moment and reflected. She felt different. Nothing she could put her finger on. She just knew that a line had been crossed. She didn’t know if it was good or bad, but based on how she was feeling, she couldn’t possibly see how it could be anything but good. “Do all your patients feel so good after taking your blood?”
“No, Sookie. I can assure you, they feel nothing like this. Something’s different. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s getting too late to figure it out now. Most importantly, it’s safe for you to get some rest. We can discuss it when I rise and determine what our next move is. Come.” He turned and walked away.
“Always with the one word commands. Come. Stop. Hmpf. Maybe when I rise, we can discuss the equality in our partnership.”
She padded behind him as he lead her to a bedroom. “This will be your room and I will be sleeping next door. As I stated before, you will not be able to leave the cabin; however, you may rummage through the kitchen if you wake before me. I have a friend who is human and she’s been here before. She usually leaves something in the cupboards, so feel free to help yourself. I hope you rest well, Sookie.”
And with that he turned, went to his room, and locked the door. Sookie felt a little too giddy to go right to sleep, so she laid on the bed in the dark thinking about the night. She was still as confused as she was when the night started, but she was in it now and she would work with Eric to find answers. Eric. Hmmm. She didn’t know what to think about him, either. She couldn’t deny that there was something about him that she was attracted to. Yeah, he was a specimen. Tall, blond, and beautiful. But there was something else. He exuded power and danger and everything Alpha, but she could sense there was more to him than that and she found that she wanted to know what that was. She started to drift as she relaxed enjoying the newfound sensations that Eric’s blood awakened in her. With one last thought to Eric, she wondered who the hell the human woman was.