My eyes opened and I immediately felt as if my brain was on overload. Everything seemed to invade my thoughts and senses at once.
They were brighter and seemed closer than before.
Fitting that I should see them first since they were the last things I remembered seeing before I died my first death.
I recalled the peacefulness of it. I remembered Eric holding me tightly in his arms, and I felt a foreign since of calm fighting against my body’s panicked reaction as he drained me of my blood. I didn’t struggle and I wasn’t in pain. I simply watched the stars as he petted my side and back and worked at my throat. I vaguely remember something cold in my mouth and a hand massaging my throat. Mostly, however, I remembered the stars.
Grass and dirt.
The smell of the earth was heavy around me. I could feel cool earth against my back, and I could smell freshly turned dirt nearby.
Hmm. My grave perhaps.
Bugs and animals.
I could hear tiny movements all around me. I sincerely hoped they weren’t on me but then I realized I would have felt them if they were.
I could feel a recognition in my body that somehow told me someone who shared my blood was not too far away. They were not close by, but they were in the same city. Maybe ten miles away. I don’t know how I understood what the sensation meant or how close they were, but somehow my mind told me what I needed to know.
In addition to the feel of my blood being nearby, I distinctly felt the presence of my Maker. Without looking away from the stars, I could tell he was standing within five feet of where I was still lying on the ground. I could also feel his pride, anxiousness, happiness, and determination.
A wonderfully silent void. My telepathy was intact and vampires were still silent.
I mentally sent a quick prayer of thanks to God for the continuing silence of vampires.
I felt them throbbing in my mouth as they ached for something to bite. They were long, sleek, and it felt orgasmic to run my tongue over them.
I couldn’t wait to see them.
Overpowering and threatening to overtake all other thoughts and feelings was my thirst. My stomach wasn’t grumbling as it would in hunger. Instead, it felt hollow and painful. My mouth felt dry and uncomfortable. I needed blood and I would do just about anything to get it.
But more powerful than all these thoughts, and even my thirst, was the feeling that the world was spinning as all these things ran through my head at once. I couldn’t have even blinked my human eyes in the amount of time that had passed since I regained awareness, and all these thoughts had invaded my mind.
“Good evening, Lover.”
I bolted upright and stood facing my Maker as soon as the words reached my ears.
Somehow, he seemed even sexier than the last time I had seen him. His eyes were a clearer blue than the water surrounding Godric’s island. His skin was pale and looked silky smooth underneath the thin layer of dirt that still covered him. His wonderful, powerful, and muscular chest was bare.
I tackled him to the ground and he laughed as he placed his arms on my shoulders to keep me from biting or kissing him. I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to do more as I gyrated my hips against him.
“You are thirsty.” He stated without question and I nodded in response as I tried not to focus on his throat. “You will be disoriented and have trouble controlling your thoughts and actions until you drink some blood.”
“Okay.” I said absentmindedly as I continued to push back against the hands that were holding me away from my goal.
I definitely wanted to bite him.
It was the commanding tone of his voice that got my attention and stopped my would-be failure of an assault on my Maker.
Instead, I cocked my head to the side to look at him.
“There is blood in the cooler for you.” He answered coolly.
I was off him in a flash and spotted the cooler sitting beside him on the ground. I literally ripped off the lid as I reached inside to find bags of blood waiting for me.
I flopped down on the ground and sat with one leg crossed over the other while I sucked through the first of four bags of blood.
Smooth and sweet.
Not metallic at all.
It tasted like heaven even though I was sure it would taste better if it were warm, but it was my third bag before that thought even occurred to me.
When I finished with my last available bag of blood, I looked up to see Eric smirking at me. “Feel better?”
I took a deep, unneeded breath and thought about his question.
My stomach no longer felt hollow and my mouth felt fine. My fangs had stopped throbbing and had retracted. I no longer felt like a million things were flying through my mind at once.
“Yes.” I finally answered. “I feel better.”
“Is that feeling normal?” I asked. “Will I always feel so . . . flighty . . . I guess, when I’m thirsty?”
“No.” Eric answered as he motioned for me to stand and walk with him. “We only become disoriented or overwhelmed if we are starving. For you, if you don’t feed for a day, then you would feel that way. For me, I can go for a month without feeding before feeling like that.”
I huffed. “How long before I can go longer?”
He laughed. “You are never satisfied, Lover.”
We walked out of the woods and into a clearing that I recognized as being behind Eric’s – I mean, our – home. The house was still dark but a motion sensor light clicked on as we approached the sliding glass door in back. The light shocked my more sensitive eyesight for a moment. Once the momentary adjustment passed, I noticed Eric entering the security codes to open the door. Then, he gently took my hand and led me into the house.
We didn’t turn any lights on.
We didn’t need them.
It was strange being able to see in the dark so clearly. Everything looked the same, but different. For example, red was still red but it was a little duller. It didn’t ‘pop’ like it normally would with light reflecting off it.
While I had been considering the merits of night vision, Eric had been leading us to the bathroom.
I suppose that we were filthy.
Three nights in the ground would do that to a person – vampire – whatever.
As Eric silently turned to the shower to adjust the water temperature, I found myself becoming inexplicably shy at the thought of showering with him and I began looking everywhere but at Eric.
He wasn’t having any of that.
Eric’s hand gently cupped my chin and pulled it around to face him. He was wearing his trademark smirk. “Only you.” He laughed slightly.
“Only you would still be shy after everything we’ve done to each other’s bodies.” He grabbed my hands and tugged ever so slightly to lead me into the shower. “If you were still human, you would be blushing.”
‘If I were still human’
I froze . . .
For two seconds . . .
Before I lost it.
Bloody tears began falling from my eyes and my shoulders were shaking with my sobs.
Knowing something is going to happen and actually experiencing it where two completely different things.
I was no longer human.
I was dead.
I would never see the sun again.
Eric pulled me gently into the shower and into his strong, protective arms while he guided us under the warm spray.
“Do not hold back.” He said reassuringly. “You must grieve for what you have lost.”
I nodded against his shoulder and continued to let the tears fall while he removed my dirt-covered clothing. I’m not sure where those clothes had come from since I was naked when I . . . died.
I started to sob harder.
And Eric continued to remove my clothing as well as his own.
As I grieved and allowed everything I’d lost to run through my mind, I also became aware of how lost I would be without the care of my Maker.
He discarded all of our clothing before gently guiding my head back underneath the water stream to wet my hair. Then, he slowly reached for the shampoo as if he were worried any sudden movement would startle me.
Once he had emptied some of the shampoo into his hands, I closed my eyes to enjoy the sensation while he leisurely lathered my hair and massaged my scalp. When he finished with the shampoo, he put a finger under my chin to guide my head to tilt backwards under the spray as he rinsed the soap away.
I kept my eyes closed and tilted my head back further to allow the water to wash away my bloody tears.
I was stronger than this.
As I straightened my body, I took a deep breath I realized I no longer needed and looked into Eric’s eyes. They were softer than I’d ever seen them and they held a promise of care, protection, and home.
I leaned forward slowly and kissed him softly. There was no passion in my kiss. Instead, it was full of acceptance, gratitude, and affection.
When I pulled away from his lips, Eric lifted his own lips to my forehead to place a soft kiss there before gently nudging me so that I would turn around. When his soap-covered, cool hands tenderly caressed my shoulders and kneaded my muscles, I closed my eyes to enjoy the sensation of his hands on my body. My skin seemed more sensitive to touch than it had been before, and I reveled in the way my body seemed ready to receive the greatest pleasure from the gentlest of his touches.
When a gentle moan escaped my mouth and my fangs clicked softly into place, I felt the first tinges of lust cross through our bond. I had been impressed by how much restraint Eric had while bathing me, but I was happy that he seemed to be losing the battle now because I was sending my lust right back to him.
I could sense Eric’s increasing arousal through our bond and against my back, as he continued massaging my shoulders, before slowly working his hands down my back and onto my hips. Not wanting him to stop, I leaned my full body back into his. He took the hint easily and his hands began their journey anew, as they worked their way up my stomach, and teased along the underside of my breasts.
With the first touch of his cool hands on my nipples, I was lost.
Slow, sensual, and emotional took a backseat to fast, hard, and horny.
I turned around quickly and pulled Eric underneath the spray of the water with me, as I jumped up to wrap my arms and legs around him and attach myself to his mouth.
He answered my need with his own as he pushed my back against the shower wall and entered me with a possessing force – both physical and emotional – that made me immediately scream out in ecstasy. My scream was quickly muted, however, by Eric’s tongue entering my mouth and skillfully caressing mine with a delicious rhythm that made me remember how much I enjoyed his tongue in other places.
Inadvertently, I sliced my tongue on my new fangs as he pounded into me with vampire speed and Eric growled loudly at my taste as he meticulously stroked my tongue to clean it of all remnants of my blood. The taste of my own blood and the sound of his response made me want his blood. However, I didn’t want to scratch his tongue. I wanted to bite him.
I pulled away from his mouth and kissed my way down to his shoulder and back up to his ear.
“Please.” I begged breathlessly while I rubbed my fangs against his neck.
“My blood is yours, Lover.” He said hoarsely.
I bit before any other thought or feeling could stop me and I came immediately from the feeling of my fangs finally entering flesh. The feeling of my new appendages encased in flesh and blood was indescribable and the first draw of Eric’s blood had me exploding again.
The taste of his blood was different somehow now that I was a vampire. His blood was pure power and sexuality. It was slightly salty but also sweet. There was a tang to it that let me know that it wasn’t human, but it was much better than the blood Eric had given me from the cooler earlier.
I was in heaven.
And then I felt Eric’s fangs enter my neck.
I came harder, deeper, and longer than I had ever orgasmed in my life, and I brought Eric along with me as we both drew back from each other’s neck to yell our rapture.
I rested my head against the wall behind me and panted out of habit. When I had finally regained my senses, I asked. “Is it always like that?”
He smirked. “Which part?”
I ignored his ego and explained my question. “The biting. . . the sex. . . everything.”
He kissed me lazily while he set my feet back on the ground and pulled out of my body. When we were both back under the water, he answered thoughtfully.
“No. It’s never been like that for me before. I believe it is because we are bonded.”
“Then I love our bond.” I said confidently without a second thought.
He laughed louder and harder than I’d ever seen him before.
I would have most definitely blushed if I could have done so.
Suddenly, my senses seemed to tighten and scream at me that something was amiss.
Eric stroked my hair as I hissed. “Do not worry. It is only Pam waiting for us downstairs.” He paused before asking, “Can you feel the blood you share with her?”
As soon as he asked the question, I found myself nodding in response. It must have been Pam I felt when I first rose, but I still didn’t understand how I was able to know we shared blood.
“When I first rose, I felt that someone, besides you, that I shared blood with was a few miles away, but I don’t understand how I knew that.”
“Instinct.” He answered as he began washing himself. “There will be many things that you know or do based on instinct. For now, until you’ve learned more, you will follow your instincts unless I tell you otherwise.”
I nodded in agreement while I considered his words and watched him bathe. It felt strange to think that my body now had a new set of skills that didn’t require any conscious thought, but at the same time I had to acknowledge that humans worked the same way. We were born knowing we needed to breathe and how to suckle for milk.
Not the same as knowing you share bodily fluids with someone nearby or dropping your fangs every time something is arousing . . .
But it’s something I guess.
As Eric shut off the water and handed me a towel, we exited the bathroom and entered the bedroom that I had been too distracted to notice when we entered the bathroom. It was dark and decorated in a masculine way. The bedroom was huge and the largest bed I’d ever seen took up over a third of it. The rest of the room was filled with standard bedroom furniture. There was a chest of drawers, a dresser, a small desk and chair, and two nightstands. The linens in the room were a dark red and gold that looked perfect against the tan of the walls.
“Pam is here to give me an update from the last three nights.” Eric’s words interrupted my inspection of his bedroom. “We need to get dressed and you need to drink again.”
“I don’t have any clothes in here.” I said absentmindedly before thinking over his words. “I need to drink again already?”
“You are a newborn and will have to drink regularly to keep your urges under control and to keep from being ‘flighty’ as you called it.” Eric answered while he entered his closet to get dressed. “Also, I had Pam move your clothes here, they are in the dresser and closet.”
“Excuse me?” How dare he be so presumptuous as to move my things into his bedroom?
Eric stepped out of the closet and stared down at me with a stern face. “Do not use that tone with me, child.”
“You moved my stuff in here without even asking me if I minded staying in your room!” I almost yelled but dialed back my tone to be slightly less than yelling.
Eric was towering over me in a flash. “I do not need your permission for anything. You are my child and I am your Maker. I do not owe you any explanations unless I choose to give them to you. If I want you to stay in this room, then you will do so.”
Before my brain could stop my body, I pulled my hand back to slap him.
Of course I wasn’t fast enough to hit him before he was able to grab my wrist, spin me around and plant me face down on the ground with my arm twisted behind me.
“How DARE you try to hit me?” He hissed at me and I felt his anger through our bond.
However, my mouth seemed to have run away along with my body, which had gone in the opposite direction of my brain. So, I replied. “How dare you treat me like this?”
He leaned down to growl into my ear as he tightened his hand around my wrists. “I am your Maker. I could end you tonight and no one would say another word to me about it. You are mine to do with as I please. Accept it.”
I started crying again as the anger flooded out of me and was replaced by despair. He was right. I was no longer my own person. He had complete control over me.
As my emotions changed, Eric let go of me and walked out of the room. His dismissal of my emotions and me made me sob even louder as I curled up into a ball on the floor.
A moment later, I was being lifted and my mouth was being filled with blood again. I drank as greedily as a newborn baby at its mother’s breast, as Eric cradled me in his arms and held the first bag of blood to my lips.
When I was done with the second bag, he handed me a third. “Are you calm enough to hold the next bag of blood?”
I nodded in response and took the third and fourth bags quickly and, as the blood seeped into my body, I felt myself calming down and feeling ashamed of my actions.
Before I could speak, Eric took my chin in his hand and stared into my eyes. “This was your first lesson. Do you know what it was?”
I stared at him for a minute before I answered. “I shouldn’t allow myself to get thirsty because I don’t think straight.”
“Correct.” He said as he stood up and went to the bathroom to get a washcloth to clean the bloody tears from my face.
When he returned, he carefully washed my face while continuing my lesson. “Thirst is the biggest enemy of newborns. When they are thirsty, they make mistakes that cost them their undead lives. I will not have this happen to you.”
I nodded before asking, “You made me mad on purpose didn’t you?”
He smirked ruefully. “Yes. When you questioned me about drinking again I saw the opportunity to teach you. I knew you would overreact anyway, but it was worse because you were thirsty.”
“I’m sorry I tried to hit you.” I said softly.
“Sookie.” His tone was hard again as I looked up at him. “If you ever try to hit me again when we are not training, then I will punish you. Even if you are thirsty, you must learn to control your outbursts.”
I gulped unnecessarily as I nodded.
“Now, go get dressed and we will go meet with Pam.”
I immediately went to the dresser to find my undergarments but instead was met with lacy thongs that were not my style.
“Eric? These are not my things.” I tried to make the statement as neutral as possible.
He sighed. “Then I would guess that Pam used the last three days to shop.”
I huffed but decided not to comment since I didn’t want a repeat of the last five minutes. I grabbed a black silk thong and a matching black bra before speeding into the closet.
I found more of the same problem in the closet. Nothing was mine.
Apparently feeling my irritation, Eric called to me from the bedroom, “You can discuss it with her once you are dressed.”
Agreeing with his assessment, I found a pair of jeans with a tag still on them that read two hundred dollars, and a red wrap sleeveless top with a deep v-neck priced at a hundred and twenty nine dollars.
I really wanted to strangle Pam, but then realized it wouldn’t even bother her.
I decided I didn’t need shoes if we were just going downstairs so I skipped the massive shoe section Pam had dedicated to me and I walked out to join Eric.
His fangs clicked down. Hmmm. I suppose he likes Pam’s taste in clothing.
“See something you like?” I asked as I slowly turned around for him, but was stopped mid-turn when he came up behind me to place his arms around me, and his lips touched my neck.
“You are magnificent.”
I leaned back into him and tilted my head back to kiss him, but we were interrupted by the sound of my cell phone ringing.
I simply looked at Eric since I didn’t know who would be trying to call me and he had ordered me not to turn it on before I was turned. However, he nodded for me to answer it so I followed the sound to find my cell phone charging on the nightstand closest to the wall.
When I looked at the caller ID, I smiled.
It was Jason.
“Hi big brother.” I laughed into the phone. I don’t know why I laughed, but for some reason it seemed funny to call him big brother now that I was a vampire.
“Sookie!” He practically yelped in response. “I didn’t think you’d answer. How are you? Are you a vamp now?”
“I am and I’m great.” I answered truthfully. I’d had a few rough moments so far but I was feeling good about everything overall.
“Well, good.” He said quickly before getting down to business. “Listen, I’ve tried calling Pam but she’s not answering and I got somethin’ I think ya’ll need to know.”
“Oh. Okay.” I said and I was about to ask him what was going on but Eric reached his hand out for the phone. “Eric’s here with me. I’ll let you talk to him.”
“Stackhouse? What is it?” Eric said bluntly.
“Bill’s back.” I heard Jason speak the words and my undead heart clinched in hurt, anger, and fear. “He showed up at Merlotte’s and was askin’ if we knew anything about Sook. Sam kicked him out but he’s still lurkin’ around.”
“Let me know if you notice anything else. I especially want to know if he is seen with anyone else.” Eric ordered him and I felt his determination, but I didn’t sense any surprise.
Wasn’t Bill supposed to be in a coffin tied with silver?
“I can do that. Say, when can I see my sister?”
“When I am sure she will not drain you.” Eric said bluntly and I winced.
“Uh . . . I . . . okay then.” Jason stuttered out slowly.
I looked at Eric with pleading eyes and he added, “But she will call you soon” before he hung up.
“Why is Bill out of the coffin? Why don’t you seemed surprised? What does he want?” I fired the questions in rapid succession before Eric could cut me off.
“Calm down.” He said as he kissed me on the forehead and took my hand. “I will answer all your questions but I would rather we go down to meet Pam first. She has been waiting impatiently and I don’t want to have to repeat myself.”
I nodded in response and we made our way up the steps to the living room where Pam was waiting in one of the chairs.
“It’s about time.” She huffed indignantly before looking at me and adding. “I knew those jeans would look great on you.”
“I could look just as good in twenty dollar jeans.” I snipped back.
“Don’t be ridiculous. Those jeans are fabulous.” She smirked. “Besides, shouldn’t a Southern Belle say thank you for a gift?”
I narrowed my eyes at her and then turned to look at Eric. “Thank you Eric for my new clothes and shoes. I’m sure Pam spent too much but they are beautiful.”
I felt Eric’s amusement through our bond just as I could see Pam’s annoyance and I couldn’t help but laugh. However, playtime must have been over because Eric was ready to talk business.
“Pam. Jason Stackhouse called to inform Sookie that Compton has been seen in Bon Temps asking about her. Have you seen him?”
“Yes, Eric.” She said seriously. “He has been at Fangtasia every night since you left. I believe he is hoping to find Sookie there.”
“I don’t understand why he would be looking for me.” I interjected. “He knows that I’m Eric’s child and that I know about his lies. What could he possibly want? And why is he even out of the silver coffin?”
“I received a letter from the Queen before we left stating that his Maker, Lorena, has exercised her right to take her child’s place in his punishment.”
I could only stare at Eric. I had forgotten about the sealed letter the lawyer had delivered to Eric before we left.
“Why would she do that?” I asked because it was the first question that came to mind.
“If it were someone different, then I would believe they were taking responsibility for their child’s conduct. However, Lorena is not the responsible type.” Eric stated as he paced slightly around the room. “I believe the Queen summoned her to take Bill’s place because she has some use for him.”
“Me?” I asked cautiously, but I didn’t need to hear the response.
Bill Compton had already become the bane of my existence.