As soon as word spread that I had returned home, my home became busy with activity, while friends and coworkers stopped by to see if I was alright. They wanted to hear all about my experiences. It was reassuring to me, that they all cared enough about me to want to know what had happened to me. They couldn’t get over how shocked they’d been that I had been kidnapped and of course, asked me tons of questions about it.
Not that I knew any answers myself, but I tried to tell them that I didn’t know anything other than what I went through and that Eric had rescued me before I could find anything out. Not that they believed it. I could hear it in their minds that they had thought it was unusual for a kidnapper to not make any demands of my family. Which made sense. I wondered if Dimitri had demanded anything of Eric, other than my safe return if he showed up?
I would have to check with Eric, to find out for sure, but I was aware that he was asleep at the moment because it was daytime. I would have to call him later on that night after he woke up.
One surprising visitor showed up late in the afternoon. It wasn’t surprising to others that he would be there, but it was surprising to me because we hadn’t been speaking to each other for awhile now.
“Hey,” my brother, Jason greeted me, through the screen door. He had knocked, not walked in, like he used to do. Such was the state of our relationship. It had greatly deteriorated since I had been forced to break Calvin’s bones in his hand. It had been punishment because Jason’s ex-wife, Calvin’s niece, had broken their marriage vow of monogamy. In fact, Jason had known about it beforehand and had arranged for both Calvin and myself to witness it at the same time. It’s a fact that I still had problems dealing with because I had been so disappointed that Jason would drag me into his marital affairs.
“Hey,” I greeted him back, hesitantly. I stared at him through the screen door, not inviting him in. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. That was how mad I still was at him.
“Mind if I come in?” Jason asked, hopefully.
Without saying a word, I backed away allowing him to enter. He entered the house, looked around it, as if he hadn’t seen it before. When he’d had…many times. But I could tell that he was looking at it, wondering if I’d made any changes since he’d last been there.
“Would you like a drink or something?” I offered, my role as hostess was a hard habit to break.
Jason shook his head. “No, I’m fine.” He turned and looked at me and studied me thoroughly. “Funny, how I can’t say the same about you.” He paused, as if trying to find the right words. “You have no idea how worried I was when I heard that you had been taken.”
I wanted to believe him, but I knew that he’d always cared about one thing and that was himself. “Oh, really?” I asked, sounding shocked and full of disbelief. “That would be a first,” I commented, irritably.
“Look, Sook,” Jason sighed, as he tried to explain himself. “I’m sorry about what happened with Crystal, but it was the only way.” He looked at me, trying to see if I was believing him. “I wanted to prove to everyone that it wasn’t my word against hers and that I was telling the truth,” he explained.
I gazed at him, not sure if he was just telling me what I wanted to hear or not. “I see,” I didn’t know what to say to that because I had pretty much given up on him. He had used me and lied to me so many times during our life, that I was becoming sick and tired of it. I couldn’t deal with it anymore. My life had enough problems in it, that I didn’t need to have my brother creating more problems for me. “Why do you always treat me this way?” I asked, curiously. It had always puzzled me, how my brother would take advantage of my kindness over the years.
“I’m not sure what you mean,” Jason denied. “I’ve always been there for you and I love you,” Jason replied back, trying to get back in my good graces once again.
I laughed. “Well, you have a funny way of showing it because you always seem to drag me into things that I don’t want to be dragged into,” I scoffed. “You could’ve thought of something else, without dragging me into your troubles with Crystal,” I explained.
Jason shook his head. “Yeah, but you were my witness, just like Calvin was Crystal’s. Who better to see it with their own eyes than both of you?” He asked, confused by my refusal to accept his apology.
“Well, I didn’t appreciate it at the time,” I explained, “and I still don’t. Now, is there any reason why you came by?” I asked, wanting him to leave. I hated the distance that now separated us, but I wasn’t ready to let him back into my life just yet. I wanted to think about my welfare first for once. I could now fully understand why so many others hated him.
Jason sighed. I could tell by the expression on his face, that he was sad and disappointed. “I just wanted to let you know that I love you and was worried about you when you disappeared, that’s all,” he explained. “I’ll never forget how you managed to find me, when I went missing and wanted to return the favor.”
I didn’t know what to say to that because he was right. I did remember that. I also remembered many other things too. I wasn’t ready to forgive and forget just yet. He would have to give me some more time and space before I let him back into my life.
“Well, you should’ve thought of that before you asked me to check on Crystal that day. You know how much I didn’t like her to begin with. You knew that I wasn’t crazy over your marriage either. You never once took my advice. So thanks, but no thanks.”
I opened up the door, basically kicking him out. Jason stood there, motionless, before he reluctantly left my house. I could tell that he was hurt, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t take it anymore. He had hurt me one too many times.
I watched him walk to his truck, then back out of my driveway, until he disappeared from sight. Sighing, I closed the door, then walked back into my kitchen. It was a good thing that Amelia and Octavia had taken off, running errands, because they had wanted me to have some privacy while I visited with those that had dropped by to see me.
Feeling disappointed and sad, I looked at the clock on the wall. I needed some cheering up, but now it was time to go to work.
I quickly changed into my uniform, fixed my hair and makeup, then left for work.
I arrived at Merlotte’s with just enough time to stash my purse in Sam’s desk in the office, grab an apron and appear at the bar. Sam stared at me, standing there, while I tied my apron around my waist.
He approached me, with an astonished expression on his face. “What in the hell are you doing here, Sookie?” He asked, puzzled and amazed. “You’ve just returned from being kidnapped. You need a couple of days to recover from what you’ve been through,” he explained.
I stared at him, confused and surprised. “Yeah, but I missed so much work…I really need the money,” I explained. “Besides, I left you stranded.”
“Yeah, but that wasn’t any fault of your own. That was someone else who’s responsible,” he replied. “Go home, Sookie. We’re okay. Come back in a couple of days.”
I stared at him, surprised that he was being so generous. “Are you sure?” I asked, hopefully. In the back of my mind, I hadn’t really wanted to work anyways. I was only doing it for the money and tips.
“I’m sure,” Sam replied. “Now, go home. If money is a problem, then just mention something to Eric. I’m sure he’d been more than willing to help you out, if need be.”
I wasn’t sure what to say to that. While I knew that Eric would most definitely help me out financially, I didn’t want to owe him anything. I didn’t want to be considered a kept woman. Besides, I wasn’t really speaking to him at the moment because I was still pissed at him.
“Okay,” I replied back to Sam. I was disappointed. I didn’t know where I would be able come up with the money when it came to my bills. I untied my apron, then went back to Sam’s office, to grab my purse from his drawer.
It was a good thing that I had roommates now, who would be able to help pay my bills, I thought to myself.
I left work, then drove home. I wondered if Amelia and Octavia had returned home yet. I wanted to have a few moments alone first, so that I could plan out what I was going to do about the Agatha and Dimitri situation.
I was lucky. They still hadn’t returned home yet. I had my home to myself. I changed back into some sweats and a sweatshirt. It was a chilly night. It reminded me that it was going to be Thanksgiving Day in a few days. I would need to buy a turkey and wondered who I was going to invite to our Thanksgiving Day dinner. I decided to lay down for a nap. I would mention something about it to them once they got home, after I woke up.
Soon, darkness came. That was when I felt a presence enter my room. If my blood hadn’t already told me who it was, I would’ve been rushing around, trying to find my nearest weapon. So, I continued to lay there with my eyes closed. He would have to be the one to make the first move.
Eric sat down on the bed, next to me. I opened up my eyes and stared up at him, curiously. I tried reading his mind, but he’d shut it; closed from me. He stared down at me with concern and care.
“Why are you here?” I asked, puzzled and confused. “I thought that you were busy trying to get to the bottom of my kidnapping?” My voice sounded bitter because a part of me, had wanted Eric to forget about it to spend some time with me, even though I wanted to get to the bottom of it too. Which confused the hell out of me.
Eric tenderly smiled down at me. “I was…that is, until Sam called me. He told me that you showed up to work and that you needed me,” he explained. “I figured that you’re more important,” he shrugged, as if it wasn’t that big of a deal.
You don’t know how much I enjoyed hearing those words come out of his mouth. Finally, I thought to myself. Someone who put me first above anybody and anything. My heart sped up in my chest.
“Really?” I asked, curiously surprised. I lifted my head off my pillow to stare at him.
“Yeah, why would you think that I wouldn’t want to be here?” Eric replied back. I could feel his mind probe into mine, trying to find answers.
I let him in. I wanted him to know the truth, even though it put me at a great disadvantage.
“Oh,” Eric replied, after reading my mind.
I had pictured all the times that I’d been let down in the past. Bill being one of them. Quinn and Jason, the most recent memories.
“I’m sorry,” Eric apologized, like it was all his fault. Which it wasn’t, but it felt good that someone knew his manners. “Want me to leave?” He asked, curiously. Figuring that I might want to be alone.
I shook my head. “No,” I replied. “Can you lay down with me instead?” I asked.
Eric moved around and soon his big body was laying down next to me on the bed. I curled up against him and used his shoulder as a pillow. He had his arms wrapped around me, holding me close. I rested my arm across his body and draped my leg across his.
“Better?” He asked, once we had finished getting arranged.
I nodded my head. It felt restful and peaceful, just laying here like we were. I closed my eyes again, happy and content.
“I’m sorry,” Eric apologized once more, breaking our silence. “I’m sorry, that I didn’t get you out of there when we should’ve. I just wanted some time alone with you and wasn’t sure what would happen when we returned to our real lives,” he explained. “My life is very busy right now and I wasn’t sure if we would be able to have the same amount of privacy, like I wanted to, in order to go over everything thoroughly.”
To me, it was a very good apology. I could feel myself relenting already. “Oh?” I asked, pushing for more. He was on the right track, but I wanted to hear more.
I could feel Eric glance down at me, curiously.
“And…” he continued, “when I first came to, after you had released me. I couldn’t think about anything other than taking your clothes off and having my way with you,” he confessed. “You make me feel so many things, that it was really hard to keep fighting my feelings and holding back, like I had been doing for a long time now. Especially, knowing that you were thinking and feeling similar thoughts as me.”
“Pretty strong, huh?” I smiled, against him.
Eric laughed. “Yeah,” he agreed. “You have no idea how much self control I had to have in order to keep from grabbing you on a number of occasions,” he replied.
“Such as?” I asked, curious to see if those had been on some of the same occasions as me. I could remember a few of them when it was all I could do to keep myself from begging this big, sexy Viking to take me.
“You really want it all, don’t you?” Eric countered, then laughed. “Okay, but I’m only saying this once because it’s just you and me and we’re all alone,” he paused. “I remember after my memories returned and I was sitting on this bed. I was confused and alarmed by my thoughts. I knew that it was the worst possible time to do anything about it, but after the memories flooded me and you showed up in the room…it was all I could do to not grab you and fuck you,” he explained. “Here, I had to hold it all in and just kiss you on your cheek. I knew that you had just found out that Quinn had betrayed you. I didn’t want to add on to that, so I left. Sometimes, that was the only thing that made fighting it easier for me.”
I listened to his long-winded explanation and it was all I could do, not to jump his bones, right then and there.
“So, I made it hard for you, huh?” I teased, knowing that he would catch the pun.
“Extremely hard,” he laughed. “Don’t you know what kind of hold you have over me?” He asked. “For a long time now, I haven’t been able to get you out of my head, even though I was very busy. You have no idea how much I wanted to just leave everything and come here…for you.”
“Even with the King and Victor breathing down your neck?” I wondered, amazed. Eric nodded. Eric had always seemed in so much control. It was hard to picture him, imagining me, while he was supposed to be concentrating on something else. It was one hell of a heady feeling and hard to believe all at the same time.
“You know what?” I asked, changing the subject. I had heard all that I really wanted to hear. It was enough for me for the moment.
“What?” Eric wondered, his voice held a touch of amazement.
“I like this,” I commented, enjoying the way we were cuddling. “When your memory was erased, this was one of the things I liked the best,” I confessed. “When the real you came back…it was one of the things that I missed the most.”
“Once I was able to remember…it was one of the things that I liked the best too. Don’t get me wrong…I have no words to describe what I felt when I finally remembered making love to you, but this was one of the things that both surprised me and scared me, all at the same time,” he replied back, honestly. “Here, I thought vampires were supposedly scary, but you, Sookie Stackhouse have managed to scare this vampire.” He paused. “I’m sorry, that you felt that I was so scary that you couldn’t let your guard down around me.” He squeezed my shoulders. His chin was resting on the top of my head. It was like he understood that I would’ve never have done any of that with him, if his memory hadn’t been erased.
“Hey, don’t mention it,” I replied back, smiling from ear to ear. “We’re past it now…aren’t we?”
“You bet,” he replied, I knew that Eric winking at me while he said it.
We laid there quietly for a few minutes. It was a peaceful feeling. Who knew? Who knew that Eric, the one who I had always pictured as the most entertaining and least likely to share something like this with, was the one who made me feel the most comfortable?
“Hey, I found out something,” I lifted my head to look him in the eyes. “I asked Amelia and Octavia if they knew Agatha, that witch who messed with our bond,” as the thought came to me. I knew that Eric liked having information given to him.
Eric looked into my eyes, trying to see inside my thoughts, but I wouldn’t let him. It’s better if I told him myself, I figured.
“Go on,” he gave up trying to see inside my mind, encouraging me to continue, patiently.
“I guess, she likes to experiment with different spells and potions. She lost everything during Katrina and even lost her family,” I explained.
Eric thought about it for a few minutes. “So, money might be the reason why she did it,” he replied back.
“That’s what I was thinking,” I agreed. “What do you want to do about Dimitri?” I wondered. I knew that Eric would get to the bottom of it. He enjoyed making heads roll.
Eric shrugged. “I’m still working that out,” he replied. “But I want you to stay away from him until we know more.”
He had read my thoughts, quickly stifling any attempt on my part, to help.
“No buts,” Eric insisted. “This is between him and me. Besides, what can you do that I can’t?” He pointed out.
“I guess…nothing,” I replied, disappointed that I would have to be kept out of the loop. “Promise me, that you won’t do anything that will get yourself killed,” I wanted him to know that it goes both ways. If he wanted to protect me, then I wanted to protect him too.
“Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing,” he replied back. “Besides, I’ve enlisted Bill’s help. He’s gathering info as we speak.”
At the mention of Bill’s name, I stiffened. In fact, anything to do with him, makes me tense up. He was dead to me. I couldn’t believe how hard and fast I had fell for him and his lies. The only good thing to come out of all of it, was the fact that he’d introduced me to Eric.
“That’s the only thing I’m grateful for too,” Eric had read my mind. He squeezed me closer to him. “Don’t worry, I won’t let Bill get near you either. I know how much it bothers you to see him.”
I shrugged. “It’s not that it bothers me,” I tried to explain. “It’s the fact that whenever I see him, it reminds me what I fool I was and how gullible I used to be.”
Eric didn’t say anything in reply, because he had begun nibbling on my ear, as if seducing me would help to take my mind off of things. Which it would. That’s why I let him.
“This is what I should’ve done as soon as I possibly could,” Eric rasped in my ear. His voice made me tremble with want and need.
“Oh?” I asked, although my mind was fast becoming blank because I just couldn’t think when Eric seduced me, like he was doing.
“Yeah…oh,” Eric agreed. “I should’ve made up some sort of excuses and left Fangtasia, to come after you, as soon as we had surrendered,” he explained.
“But you had to reassure the King and Victor and get everything organized, didn’t you?” I asked, fully aware that Eric’s hand was underneath my sweatshirt and undoing my bra.
“Yeah, but I hated it. If I had been doing this with you…you probably wouldn’t have been kidnapped,” Eric’s fangs grazed down my throat, while he said it. I couldn’t help it, I wanted him to bite me.
“Eric…” I moaned, mostly because of what his mouth and hands were doing to me and also because he shouldn’t blame himself for not being able to protect me from Dimitri. “Take me,” I pleaded, as emotions and feelings took me over, so that I couldn’t think anymore.