“Were you turned willingly?” He asked evenly.
“Yes.” I answered automatically. The situation might have started out less than ideal but the end decision had been mine. Eric made sure I knew that.
“How long have you been bonded?”
I thought for a moment to count the days. “Four nights.”
“Did you bond willingly?” Godric continued without any outward reaction.
I hesitated for only a second but Godric’s head whipped to look at Eric before I could form the word ‘yes’ on my lips. The word dissolved into the air unspoken as Godric and Eric stared at each other with blank faces.
Feeling uncomfortable with the silence, I started babbling. “I don’t regret the bond if that’s what you’re asking. It’s just I didn’t really have a choice. With the trial, the Magister, and . . . “
Godric’s head turned back to look at me. Even though his face was blank and his voice was even, I could see anger starting to flare in his eyes. “You were ordered to bond by the Magister?”
“Umm. No, not really.” I fidgeted in my seat and looked down.
“Perhaps you should start at the beginning.”
“Ok.” I said with a deep unnecessary breath before looking back up to meet Godric’s eyes. I was relieved to see the anger had receded from his eyes. “I met Eric when I went to Fangtasia with another vampire to try to get information about some women who had been killed. You see, my brother was being questioned because he had been with each woman but I knew he hadn’t done it because I could read his mind. The women had vampire bites and I knew one of them had gone to the bar before. I was hoping to read some minds and find out something to help my brother.”
Godric nodded when I paused so I guessed he was following along.
“Anyway, I met Eric that night and because I warned him about a police raid he knew what I could do. A few nights later, Eric had Bill bring me to Fangtasia to help him find a thief. The problem started when I read the humans and figured out it was a vampire doin’ the stealin.’ Longshadow attacked me and would have killed me but Bill staked him.”
When I paused again to collect my thoughts, Godric raised an eyebrow. “This was the reason the trial was held?” I nodded. “Were you Bill’s?”
I looked away for a moment as I answered softly. “At the time.”
There was silence for a moment before Godric prompted me. “Go on.”
“The Magister required me to attend the trial. Eric told me to stay quiet but the Magister pulled this scared teenager out of a trunk and was going to make Bill turn her as his punishment to replace the vampire he killed.” I know my voice betrayed how appalled I had been at the cruelty. I got another raised eyebrow from Godric before he turned to look at Eric. Eric simply nodded and Godric turned back to me. I figured that was my queue to continue. “I couldn’t let it happen. So, I – umm- offered to take her place.”
I am pretty sure I saw surprise in Godric’s eyes before it quickly disappeared. “Did you have any desire to be a vampire?”
I shrugged. “I hadn’t really thought about it. So, no, I didn’t.”
He nodded and I continued. “The Magister eventually agreed after some convincing, but he didn’t think Bill should be my Maker. He thought it would be more of a reward for Bill than a punishment so he offered me to Eric.”
“And you accepted?” There seemed to be an unspoken challenge in Godric’s words as he turned to Eric for an answer.
“I did after Sookie accepted me as her Maker.” Eric answered smoothly without hesitation.
Another silent conversation seemed to take place between the two vampires for the next couple of minutes and I became more and more annoyed with their silence.
Right before I spoke to break the silence, Eric sighed and seemed to reluctantly respond to an unspoken question. “I was working on ways to make Sookie mine before the trail. I was drawn to her and I was already considering making her my child if she eventually agreed.”
While Godric seemed pleased with Eric’s admission and finally broke their stare, I felt my jaw drop as I began my own staring contest with my Maker. Eric simply sighed with obvious exacerbation, “Are you truly that surprised, Sookie?”
I snapped my jaw shut and glared at him.
No. I wasn’t that surprised.
Just annoyed at his presumptuousness.
“If the Magister didn’t order the bond, then how did it come to be?” Godric asked to get us back on track.
I threw one last annoyed look at Eric before turning back to face Godric. I shrugged, “Eric said it would protect him more since others might end him to get me without it due to my telepathy.”
Again, Godric turned to Eric and it was obvious now that he wanted more details. I didn’t know why he wouldn’t simply let Eric tell the story.
“I wanted the bond.” Eric simply shrugged, “It had the added bonus of being a deterrent to others.”
“But it wasn’t necessary?” I seethed as I spoke between clenched teeth.
Eric glared back at me and I felt his anger through the bond, “I decided it was necessary and therefore it was.”
“It was a risk.” Godric spoke without emotion but the challenge was obvious in his words.
“One I was willing to take.” Eric answered immediately without moving his eyes from mine.
“As I can see.” He answered. “Young one, you have stated you do not regret the bond. Understanding Eric’s desire to bond with you should not change that fact.”
Damn it. Another know-it-all vamp.
Still, I knew he was right and I closed my eyes to end my visual argument with Eric. I took a deep breath and resigned myself to the facts.
Eric may not have told me everything, but he didn’t lie. He simply didn’t wear his heart on his sleeve. He wanted to be bonded to me and he did what was necessary to make sure it happened.
I suppose that should make me feel special but I didn’t have the brain power to consider that right now. I’d think about it tomorrow.
“We have very little time left before we must go to our rest.” Godric spoke, breaking me out of my silent revelry. “Tell me about the rest of the trial.”
Luckily, this time his question was directed to Eric.
“Bill revealed he was sent to acquire Sookie for the Queen of Louisiana. He attempted to assert her claim over Sookie rather than allowing me to turn her.” Eric explained dryly and I tried my best not to react to the still fresh wound. “The Magister refused the supposed claim of the Queen and gave me leave to turn Sookie. I requested additional time to bond to her and we were given our leave with instructions to present ourselves before the Magister in one week’s time.”
Godric was silent for only a moment before asking, “The Queen’s response?”
“Anger and temper tantrums.” Eric responded easily. “She apparently went to the Authority to attempt to claim Sookie before she was turned, but Sophie-Ann was denied. When we met with the Magister, she accompanied him and attempted to order us to her court. The Magister again denied her. She will continue to be a problem.”
“I agree. She is temperamental and spoiled.”
I wholeheartedly agreed but I’d also call her a heartless bitch.
“Any other complications?” Godric asked.
“Bill’s maker took his place for his punishment and he continues to pursue Sookie whether it is for himself or the Queen is yet unknown.”
Godric nodded before turning back to me, “And your fairy relations?”
I didn’t even attempt to hide my shock at his blunt question. Godric’s mouth turned up slightly in response. “It may have been over 1,500 years since I’ve seen a fairy, but one does not forget a species powerful enough to use sunlight against their enemies.”
“Sunlight?” I finally managed to stutter.
Godric’s head tilted slightly to the side. “Yes, that is what you shot at Godfrey. It is the only thing that would turn a vampire to ashes.” He seemed to think for a moment before continuing. “I’m very surprised you would retain such a power when vampires are so susceptible to the light. It’s impressive that you were able to end Godfrey without burning Eric and me as well.”
I shook my head as I response. “I’ve only ever had it happen once before and it didn’t burn anyone. It just pushed them away. I don’t even know how it works.”
“Eric will help you learn. It is a powerful weapon and will be your greatest protection.” Godric turned to Eric again. “Her fairy bloodline?”
“Brigant.” Godric’s reaction was clearly shock as he glanced back at me before urging Eric to continue. “Fintan Brigant is her biological grandfather. He is half-human and he only revealed himself to her after she agreed to be turned. He would not force her to break her promise but he did offer to help her escape if she wished it.”
“Not surprising.” Godric said dryly.
“Agreed.” Eric continued. “Fintan revealed that Sookie would be in grave danger from a faction in Faery, due to her human hybrid status. Therefore, he has hidden her existence from everyone, including the Prince.”
When Eric paused, I decided to add in the last bit of my heritage. “Fintan also told us my grandmother’s ancestor was a natural witch.”
“Your telepathy?” Godric asked.
“Yes.” Eric answered for me. “Fintan believed her telepathy was a manifestation of her natural witch blood line being combined with her Fae blood.”
“You certainly have found a unique and powerful child.” Godric stated evenly while he rose from his seat. “Now it is time for us all to go to our rest.”
Eric and I both nodded as we rose.
“At first dark, I must contact the Authority and the Queen.” Eric advised Godric.
“I alerted the Authority to my safe return and the involvement of the Fellowship after I cleaned up at the nest. Nan will be here an hour after first dark to get the details. We will all meet with her here.”
Before anything else could be said, Godric was gone and I heard one of the bedroom doors closing softly.
I turned to Eric to see he was gesturing with his hand for me to lead the way to the other bedroom. Slightly concerned by the conversation of the last hour and completely weary from the full night of events, I went to the bedroom without further comment or complaint.
Once inside the room, I noticed my suitcase and a doorway to an ensuite bathroom. Without a word or backward glance, I took it into the bathroom. I was starting to feel a slight nagging sensation I automatically knew was my internal warning that sunrise was soon. I hadn’t really noticed it before because Eric was always distracting me.
Unfortunately, I didn’t think I had time for the shower I so desperately wanted. Instead, I simply washed my face, hands, and forearms before changing into an immodest gown. As soon as I saw the gown, I remembered Pam had packed my bag and I needed to avoid that situation at all cost in the future. She and I had completely different taste in sleepwear. Then again, Eric and I normally didn’t sleep in clothes.
Feeling the nagging, tugging sensation starting to strengthen, I closed my suitcase and entered the bedroom. Eric was already in the bed, lying on his side, watching me approach.
“I wish we had the time for me to show my appreciation of your gown.” He growled softly.
I couldn’t help but smile as I felt his ‘frustration’ through our bond. “Maybe I’ll wear it again for you some time.”
“I’d like that.” He said softly as I settled into the bed next to him and his arms automatically pulled me closer to him.
After a moment of silence, I decided to use the last few minutes before sunrise to try to settle my racing thoughts. “Godric didn’t seem to like the fact that we’re bonded.” I whispered.
Eric didn’t respond immediately and my tension increased. He rubbed his hand up and down my arm.
“Godric taught me that having a bonded child was the most sacred, most rewarding, and the most dangerous of bonds. He is concerned I didn’t exercise proper restraint and consideration before bonding us together.” He explained evenly.
“I do not and will never regret our bonding, Sookie.” He whispered fiercely before sighing. “But, perhaps, I acted rashly because it is what I wanted.”
I closed my eyes as I considered his words. “What will he do?”
My voice was barely audible, even for a vampire, “He could make you end me, couldn’t he?”
Before I could comprehend what was happening, Eric was on his back and I was lying on top of him with my face in Eric’s hands.
“This is why you have been afraid?”
I nodded once.
“Sookie, Godric is a good and fair Maker. He will not make me end you.”
“But he could.” I try not to look away from him.
Eric’s mouth tightened. “I could order you to kill your brother and friends, but I will not.”
I blanched at his words as he continued to stare at me. I knew Eric would never make me do something so callous. However, Eric never said anything without purpose so I tried to find his deeper meaning.
After only a few seconds, I thought I understood what he was trying to say. “You want me to trust him as I trust you.”
I saw Eric’s eyes light up for a moment and I realized I’d never truly told Eric I trusted him. I smiled slightly and placed one of my hands on his cheek. “I do trust you.”
The smile that overcame Eric’s face was beautiful and the most unguarded facial expression I’d ever seen him make. Albeit I only saw the smile for a quick moment before he was kissing me deeply.
The kiss didn’t last nearly long enough before Eric pulled back. However, I was almost certain that I only had a few seconds before I died for the day.
Eric palmed my cheeks as he spoke. “If you trust me, then trust my judgment. You can trust Godric. He will not harm you.”
I stared into Eric’s eyes and I tried to rush through my thoughts before my body shut down. Godric was Eric’s Maker and Eric loved and respected him. I trusted Eric so I should trust his assessment of his Maker.
I would trust Godric.
I think I managed a slight nod in acknowledgement of Eric’s words before my body went limp and I was dead for the day.
Upon rising the next night, Eric and I shared a quick shower that included a frenzied, hard, and fast coupling we both needed to the point of desperation. After the events of the night before, I needed to feel him and reassure myself that he was still alive. Also, I think he needed to feel connected after almost losing his Maker and his undead life.
When our shower was over and we were both dressed and sated for the moment, we entered the living room area of the suite to find Godric answering a knock on the door. As Eric and I took a seat together on the couch, Godric led two women and a man into the room. I looked at them curiously for a moment as I wondered why they were here. Of course, then I read their minds and I stiffened.
Eric sent me a burst of calm reassurance through the bond and I tried to steel my own nerves. This was my life now and I had to stop panicking every time I had to feed.
I closed my eyes for a moment and listened to the three visitors. They were all willing donors and each of them had different reasons for taking the job. They all needed the money and liked the ‘perks’ of the job.
I involuntarily hissed at the tall blonde woman when she licked her lips while eying Eric. He, of course, grinned mischievously at my reaction while Godric simply raised an eyebrow.
I decided to ignore them both and pull on my big girl pants.
Approaching the blonde that was still eyeing my Maker, I ordered her to sit on one of the chairs, since she was too tall for me to reach her neck while she was standing. She pouted slightly but was good enough at her job to do as she was told without verbal complaint. I blocked out her mental voice and my audience as I leaned into her neck and bit. My eyes closed of their own accord as I enjoyed the flavor of her blood. It wasn’t the best I’d had but I realized now that I was very thirsty.
Feeling more in control tonight than on previous nights, I listened for her heart to slow down. Eric had been trying to teach me when and how to stop on my own but so far he’d always had to prompt me in some way. I was hoping to do better tonight.
I had taken a few mouthfuls of the donor’s blood when I heard a slight slowing of her heartrate. I immediately, and yet reluctantly, licked her neck to seal the wound and pulled away from her neck.
Suddenly, I felt a huge wave of pride hit me and I turned to see Eric smiling at me. I couldn’t help but smile back. I had fed on my own for the first time and I wasn’t feeling overly guilty about it.
“Eric.” Godric prompted him to choose his donor.
I realized then that I hadn’t seen Eric feed yet. Since the trial, he had only fed on me or bagged blood. I was surprisingly curious to watch him and slightly, irrationally jealous that I couldn’t supply what he needed. As Eric stood and walked towards the remaining donors, I involuntarily tensed for a moment thinking of Eric’s mouth on the remaining female.
I didn’t have long to worry though as Eric went to stand behind the male donor and quickly bent his mouth to the man’s neck. I saw a flash of his fangs as he slid them into the flesh, and the sight suddenly turned me on. I didn’t know if it was the smoothness of his movements, his confidence, or feeling Eric’s satisfaction with his meal through our bond, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He opened his eyes to capture mine as he continued swallowing and I felt a rush of pride at the sight of him.
He was mine.
All too soon, Eric pulled back to seal the wound on the donor’s neck and I felt slightly disappointed the show was over with so quickly. Eric smirked as he walked away from the donor and came to stand in front of me. Before I knew what to expect, he pulled me into a deep, toe curling kiss. I could taste the remainder of our meals on our tongues and I moaned loudly at the combined taste of the blood and Eric’s own masculine taste.
When Eric pulled back, I could feel his amusement at what he was doing to my emotional state and I lightly slapped his arm. “Stop laughing at me.”
The chastising wasn’t really effective though since there was a definite laugh in my voice. Eric simply chuckled and took my hand to lead me back to the couch. I tried to regain control of myself by looking away from him and I caught the sight of Godric sealing his donor’s wound. I was relieved the sight of him feeding didn’t turn me on as well. That would have been embarrassing and probably upsetting to Eric.
Godric signed the room service receipt and motioned that the donors were free to leave. When the door was closed, he took a seat in one of the chairs and eyed us for a moment.
“You are living as mates?”
“Yes.” We both responded simultaneously.
He nodded and I was wondering what was going on in his mind. Was he surprised Eric wanted me as a mate? Was he disappointed? What did he think of me?
Godric’s mouth opened to speak but a sharp rapping on the door interrupted him. Due to my Southern upbringing, I felt I should answer the door since I was the youngest. When I moved to stand up, however, Eric pulled me back down gently before he rose to answer the door.
Hmm. Apparently Southern manners weren’t a good guide for vampire protocol.
When Eric opened the door, a tall blonde woman wearing a suit stormed into the room followed by four men in dark suits and sunglasses. Isabelle walked in after the group, and shot Godric a small smile, before schooling her features to an indifferent mask. Eric closed the door behind them all and moved to sit back beside me on the couch.
The blonde, whom I recognized from TV as Nan Flannigan, spokesperson for the American Vampire League, immediately took a seat in the remaining chair and got right down to business.
“What the fuck happened?” She demanded of Godric.
Excuse my language, but what a bitch.
Godric remained calm. With an emotionless face and voice, he explained. “My Maker’s elder child, Godfrey, ambushed me as I left one of my businesses. He chained me in silver and took me to the Fellowship headquarters here in Dallas. I was chained to the wall and bled to keep me weak. Mr. Newlin planned a service for dawn this morning, which included burning me on a cross while he recorded it.”
“Shit.” Nan spat but I had the feeling she was more annoyed by what Godric’s ordeal meant to her than what he had been through. “Why did Godfrey help them?”
“He was a renouncer.” He answered simply.
“Did you know this before he abducted you?”
“Has he been given the final death?”
She nodded. “Do you know if he gave any critical information to the Newlins?”
“He confirmed our weaknesses of sunlight, silver, and stake. I could overhear them speaking at times and it sounded like an interview in which he enumerated his sins. I believe there was a recording device in the room but I cannot be certain as the sounds were muffled.”
“Fuck. What else?”
“He informed them of our structure of Kingdoms and Sheriffs. He may have provided names and locations.”
Nan stood up and paced around the room furiously. “What a clusterfuck!” She mumbled.
After a couple of moments of pacing, she stopped behind her chair to stand. “How were you able to get away?”
“Eric, Sookie, Isabelle, and Stan came to release me.”
“Tell me you weren’t videotaped.” She hissed at Eric.
He replied to her stiffly. “We knocked an old tree down onto their main power source and then Isabelle took out their back up generator. Any security system, including cameras, would have been disabled.”
Nan relaxed infinitesimally. “Any human injuries?”
“No.” Eric answered.
Nan took her seat again. “Vampire loses?”
“Stan Davis was ended by Godfrey.” Godric explained evenly. “His Maker has met his final death. There are no notifications to be made. I filed the paperwork when I first rose this evening.”
Nodding she started speaking again. “Thank fuck you didn’t get caught or taped. I would like to have any recordings they had of Godfrey but they will be hard pressed to release those to the media, without explaining about Godfrey and his actions against you.” She paused for a moment before turning her attention back to Eric and Isabelle. “How did you know the Fellowship had him?”
Eric answered. “The Magister informed me about my Maker’s disappearance and advised that my new child, Sookie, may be of some help in locating him.”
Before Eric could continue, Nan eyed me speculatively and interrupted. “How old is she and how could she help?”
“She is four nights old and she can read human minds.”
I saw Nan’s eyes light up and I didn’t like it one bit. “All humans?”
Eric nodded at me to answer. “Everyone’s thoughts are different but I can hear any human.”
“Others?” She pressed.
“I can hear some thoughts from Weres. Vampires are voids. I don’t know about any others.” I answered as simply as possible.
“Interesting.” She continued to study me for a moment before continuing with her questioning. “You confirmed his location?”
“When we arrived at the Dallas nest, my bonded found a Fellowship spy and questioned him. He confirmed the church had taken Godric with the help of another vampire.” Eric explained. I felt through the bond that he wasn’t happy. I could only guess it had to do with Nan’s obvious interest in me.
She seemed to tense ever so slightly before moving on. “Well, luckily, it seems there’s not much of a mess for me to clean up publically. I’ll inform the Authority regarding the possible existence of the confessional recordings of Godfrey, and that he educated the church on our hierarchy.” She turned back to Godric. “I am also to inform you that the Authority and King of Texas accept your resignation and agree on the appointment of your second, Isabelle, as your replacement.”
“What?” Eric and Isabelle exclaimed.
Nan ignored their outbursts and stood back up. “I have places to be. Is there anything else I need to know?”
Nan nodded to Godric and swept out of the room as quickly as she had entered while her men in black followed her.
As soon as the door was closed, Isabelle and Eric opened their mouth to speak but Godric silenced them with a slightly raised hand.
“Even if it’s not true, the Fellowship will now see me as a weak spot in the hierarchy because they were able to hold me captive. Staying on as Sherriff in Dallas would be irresponsible for me and Isabelle is a suitable choice for my replacement.” Godric explained calmly.
After a few moments of silence, Isabelle spoke softly. “Thank you for everything Godric.”
“You are welcome.” He nodded to her as they both rose. “I will come see you later this night to start transferring everything over. I will stay in Dallas for a few nights until you are settled into the position.”
“Are you leaving the state?” She asked as he walked her towards the door.
“Yes.” He said with a small upturn of his lips. “I believe I now have reason to visit Louisiana.”