After staying in the same position for a short while (also known as cuddling), Eric started to sit up. There was an awkward moment before we moved apart completely, but then Eric stood up and said we needed to get going.
Thank Goodness there wasn’t time for another heart to heart, because I needed some time to digest the last thirty minutes.
As I followed Eric out of the bat cave and back to the clearing, we were both quiet and I wondered if he was trying to gather his thoughts too.
Personally, my thoughts were racing around my head in total chaos.
Eric and I had share closely guarded secrets with each other.
We had blood bonded.
We had gotten a little frisky.
We were both feeling happy.
But now . . .
Now, I was freakin’ out a little.
I guess it’s like what I’ve heard folks say about having a baby. Being pregnant and knowing there’s a baby in there is one thing; but, you don’t really ‘get it’ until you hold the baby for the first time.
Even though I had committed to being turned, I suddenly understood that I was expecting something to stop it.
I had been saying all the right things and making all the appropriate arrangements, but some small subconscious part of me thought it wouldn’t really happen.
Now, it was really hitting me.
I was part of his blood.
He was part of my blood.
And I was really going to be a vampire.
“Sookie?” I heard Eric call my name once I had stopped walking and zoned out.
I felt his hands go to my shoulders and I looked up at him. His eyes were concerned but his face was stoic.
Or maybe his eyes were stoic too and I just felt his concern.
This was all so weird.
“Sookie? Talk to me?”
I swallowed loudly before talking, “I . . . “, I looked away before telling him what was bothering me. “I think it just really hit me that tomorrow is my last day”
“As a human.” Eric finished for me evenly.
“Yes.” I whispered with my head down.
I heard Eric take a deep breath he didn’t need, before he used a finger to pull my chin back up to make me meet his eyes.
“I want you to say it Sookie.”
“Say what?” I acted obtuse.
“Tell me what will happen tomorrow night.” He ordered.
“Eric. Why. . ? ”
He cut me off to growl at me “Tell me Sookie.”
“You will turn me.” I angrily spit the words at him.
I guess our tender moments were over now.
“Not good enough. Try again.” He commanded.
“I’ll no longer be human.”
“AGAIN!” He barked.
“I’LL BE DEAD, ASSHOLE!”
A tear fell from my eye and the lump suddenly building in my throat surprised me.
“Fucking try again”
I whimpered finding it hard to form the words he demanded I speak aloud.
“Say it, Sookie.” Eric’s tone was back to being soft and comforting as he pushed a strand of hair behind my ear. “You need to say it. You need to accept it.”
Finally, I looked into Eric’s eyes and whispered. “I’ll be a vampire.”
We stared at each other in silence for an immeasurable amount of time.
Until finally, I broke our gaze.
And I caved.
I said it so softly that I could barely hear it myself but I knew he’d hear it.
To say I was shocked when his arms wrapped around me, and pulled me into his chest, would be the understatement of the century.
But I was so thankful for it.
Even though his embrace broke the dam holding back my fears, tears, and other pent up emotions, I pushed away all of my pride, and accepted his comfort.
I sobbed into Eric’s chest while he stroked my hair and back. When I finally started to calm down, after several minutes of embarrassing myself, I felt a foreign sense of strength, reassurance, and calm.
I swallowed heavily before asking with a scratchy voice, “Is that you making me feel better?”
There was no accusation in my words. I was sure I’d be pissed off some time in the future when he tried to make me feel things, but right now I was grateful for a little help.
“Yes.” He answered simply.
I could hear the smugness in his voice from my current home against his chest when he said, “You’re very welcome.”
“Don’t be a bastard.” I said simply as I stepped back and wiped off my face with my hands. “I’m sure there will be plenty of times you piss me off by doing that.”
“Of that, I have no doubt.”
Again with the smug bastard routine.
Before I could say anything else though, Eric was being serious again.
“There is no shame in admitting to feeling fear, Sookie. Shame is only for those who deny they feel fear or let their fear rule them.” His tone was stern but not unkind.
I noticed that he didn’t tell me there was nothing to be afraid of.
Strangely, that fact made me trust him more.
Eric held his arms out to me, so that he could hold me for the flight back to the cabin. I stepped back into his embrace and circled my arms around his neck.
Just before we left the ground, Eric looked down at me with a thoughtful expression.
“I know there will be things you miss about being a human that I will not be able to give to you, but I will teach you everything I know, protect you, and give you everything that is in my power to give.”
Before I could think of a response, I was lost in the scenery of our flight back to the cabin.
Eric and I were both relatively silent during our return flight and throughout the few minutes we both took to clean ourselves up inside his cabin. He said we only had ten minutes, so I found the restroom and used a dampened washcloth to freshen up.
When I met Eric back at his car, he had changed into another pair of black jeans and a dark blue button down dress shirt.
God, he was sexy.
And the smirk on his face told me that he knew what I was feeling.
“Are you ready?” He asked.
Before I reached the passenger door, Eric was scooping me up into his arms again.
“What are you doing now?” I shrieked from the surprise.
“We are still trying to avoid being tracked.” He explained while he took to the sky. “I have one untraceable cell with me, that only Pam knows about. Otherwise, we will stay under the radar until you rise vampire.”
“You’re worried that someone is going to try and interfere again?”
Why wouldn’t he be really? We’ve already had my friends to deal with, a reporter snooping around, and my fairy grandfather stopping by for a visit.
And let’s not forget the Vampire Queen.
“Hey,” I exclaimed as I suddenly remembered something from earlier in the night. “You still haven’t told me what was in the envelope from the Queen.”
“I know.” Eric answered drily.
“Well?” I said expectantly.
“Later.” He said dismissively and I would have pushed further but I noticed we were starting to descend.
We landed next to a private plane.
The shock on my face when I looked at Eric must have been a sight to see because he laughed loudly.
“I’m glad you like my surprise.”
I swallowed compulsively from my nerves. I’d never been on a plane before.
“We’re flying?” I said shakily.
And he was amused.
I could feel that much.
“Why? Where?” I asked, whist ignoring his reaction to my nervousness.
Eric took my hand to lead me up the stairway that led into the plane.
“The where is a secret but the why is simple.” He explained as we finished climbing the steps. “I wanted you to enjoy your last day in the sun.”
I didn’t know whether to cry, smile, or laugh.
No matter where we were headed, this one gesture told me so much about Eric. However, before I could say anything or continue my line of thought, the most delicious smell filled my nose as we stepped into the plane’s main cabin.
“What is that smell?” I asked. “It smells wonderful.”
My stomach growl as if on cue.
“That is your dinner.” Eric hadn’t let go of my hand so he led me the rest of the way inside the plane.
In the middle of the cabin, there was a table set for two. Although one setting was only a wine glass, the other side had a covered plate waiting for me, as Eric pulled out the seat.
“You did all this?” I asked softly as I placed a napkin in my lap.
“It wasn’t complicated.” He shrugged. “We were supposed to go to the restaurant but the mess with the reporter took too much time. I had them deliver it here so you could eat while the plane prepared for take off.”
Eric removed the cover over the dish with a flourish and my mouth watered.
There was fried chicken that was probably as close to the standard of my Gran’s as a restaurant could get. In addition, there were biscuits, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans with bacon, and kernel corn.
He could have ordered lobster, steak, or any other expensive food that most people would probably ask for, when they knew their days with human food would soon be over. Instead, he knew enough about me to know I’d prefer good Southern cooking.
I swallowed the lump in my throat and reached for the glass of sweet tea sitting by my plate.
After taking a drink to attempt to cover my emotional moment, I recovered my manners.
“Thank you, Eric.”
Eric walked over to a faux silver wine bucket on a stand next to his chair, and I noticed that the “wine bucket” didn’t contain ice.
Intrigued. I looked more closely at the stand and saw that there was a heat source underneath the container. Noticing my preoccupation, Eric took the time to explain what I was seeing.
“There are different types of bottled bloods that have been created since True Blood was patented. This is a newer type; others have said it is better than that dirt they call sustenance.” Eric explained as he opened the bottle and poured it into his glass before he finally sat down to join me.
“The blood warmer is supposed to be more formal than the microwave.” He chuckled slightly. “However, I never really understood the formality of wine in a bucket.”
I had to laugh. Eric certainly had a unique way of seeing things.
But it was somehow similar to how I viewed things as well.
Which was nice.
“I couldn’t agree more.” I smiled to myself as I picked up my utensils and started eating.
“We have about twenty minutes before takeoff. So, you have some time to eat.” Eric told me. “Once we are in the air, I was told there is a dessert in the galley.”
After swallowing my bite, I thanked him again. “You didn’t have to go to all this trouble, but thank you.”
He nodded in acceptance of my gratitude before steering the conversation in another direction.
“So, what did you learn this afternoon?”
I hesitated for a minute while deciding where to start, and what to tell him.
“Sookie, don’t hide things from me.”
His tone was still conversational but his eyes were intense.
He’d felt my hesitation in the bond.
Like I could keep secrets even if I wanted to.
“Fine.” I said a little put out by my lack of privacy.
So, while I ate, I told Eric about my visit with Alcide. He thought it was a good thing that I could hear at least some of their thoughts and he was impressed with all the ‘tests’ I did to find the limits of my ability with Weres.
When I had finished my summary of the wolf’s visit, Eric just stared at me.
He knew I was holding something back.
I huffed in annoyance as I told him what I was trying to avoid talking about, “Alcide wasn’t very courteous after he found out I was being turned so I yelled at him and left him on the deck.”
I could see Eric working himself up to be Mr. Alpha so I held a hand up to ask him to wait.
“I’m sure it’s nothing more than he would say to any vampire, Eric. It’s obvious that Weres and Vampires don’t get along.” I tried to calm him. “I was just raw from my visit with Tara and Sam. It was truly nothing.”
Eric watched me for a minute as if he was trying to feel for the truth of my words. Finally, he nodded as if he accepted my account of the my meeting with Alcide.
I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief.
One disaster avoided.
“And your visit with the fairy?” Eric asked after he finished his glass of blood.
And there’s disaster number two waiting in the wings.
Was there any way for me to keep from telling Eric about my option of an ‘out’ from this whole vampire thing? That my grandfather had offered to hide me away?
“I’ve already warned you once, Sookie.” Eric’s voice was stern. “Do not attempt to take sides against me.”
“Eric!” I gasped. “I’m not taking sides against you. I wouldn’t do that. I’m just not sure how to explain it all or work out what was meant to be family talk.”
“Fintan would understand enough about the Maker/Child relationship, or even just a bonded relationship, to know that you would be required to share everything with me.” Eric explained confidently.
I stared at him for what seemed like an immeasurable amount of time.
If that were true, then was Fintan trying to get himself killed or get me punished? Why else would he offer to help me get away from Eric and the vampires and then leave me behind where I would have to tell him about the conversation?
I didn’t want Eric to kill my grandfather for offering to help me.
“Sookie…” Eric’s voice told me he was getting impatient.
I swallowed the last bit of my food – loudly – and put my napkin on the table before speaking.
“Will you promise me that you won’t hold anything against my grandfather if he offered me something to help me?” I asked, and immediately cringed at Eric’s reaction.
“Eric, he is my family and only wishes to help me.”
I saw Eric tense up the second he heard my question and I could see his anger building.
“Did he try to take you away?” He ordered.
“Did he offer to end me?”
“WHAT? NO!” I exclaimed.
I mistakenly hesitated again and Eric was towering over me before I could blink an eye.
“Do not attempt to lie to me.” He growled.
“I’m not. I’m really not.” I squeaked out quickly. “You’re just scaring me when I’ve done nothing but try to tell you the truth.”
“You haven’t said anything yet.” Eric spoke from clenched teeth.
“FINE!” I yelled as I stood up to face him. “Fintan offered to fake my death, hide me anywhere I wanted to go, and protect me from all supernatural beings so that I didn’t have to become a vampire. He even said he’d protect me from all the psycho fairies that would want to either torture me or kill me, for leverage over the Prince. Oh, and even if they didn’t want me for leverage, then they would still want to torture and kill me because I’m a mutt!”
I put my finger in the middle of Eric’s chest to drive my point home.
“And for some god forsaken reason, I turned him down and I’m still here so that you can yell at me and intimidate me. So, I hope you are happy that I continue to prove you right by having no self preservation instincts you dumb jackass!”
And then there was silence.