Niall’s visit lifted my spirits when he came to see me a few days after the Fae war. My recuperation was as strange as the rest of my life and I really needed and appreciated the healthy dose of unconditional love that accompanied him. The sugar that he poured on me was like salt in a wound to my brother, who looked on with envy. “My life is in the crapper, too,” he thought, almost aloud, after Niall had left.
I was busy shielding my mind from Jason’s size 12 abandonment ish-shoes when two jewel incrusted gift boxes appeared. One was sapphire blue with a white ribbon that dropped on Jason’s lap. The other was coral pink with a white ribbon. I opened it gently and Jason tried to rip into his, nearly shredding the contents. The boxes themselves were priceless treasures.
“Must be some type of Fae relic or heirloom,” I wondered. It contained a single sheet of iridescent parchment paper, the edges were frayed and the page blank. We both sat there mystified, holding the sheets when words slowly began to appear on the one that I held in beautiful script writing:
Blood of my blood,
Know that I have not forgotten my promise to you. I wanted to gift you with something that would remind you that you are more than a mere human. Allow me to enhance your life with a present worthy of your royal bloodline. Since the doors of the Fae realm will be sealed, this is more important to me now, than ever. Close your eyes and think about it and then say aloud. What it is you love more than anything?
“The sun,” I blurted out loud. I can’t imagine anything I love more than the feeling of the sun caressing my skin. I stretched my arms around my body hugging myself and smiling. It’s like I could feel the sun throughout my whole being and pouring out through my fingertips, temporarily pulling me out of my depression. The sun gives me a sense of peace and pacifies me when I feel gloomy. But after a few seconds I thought about how silly I sounded. Note to self: Never, ever consume the blood of two vamps within a 24 hour period. I was beginning to sound crazy to myself.
Jason confirmed my thoughts, giving an exasperated “Kooky Sookie” expression that took me back to childhood. He must have had a similar letter. He was now thinking: My little sister would waist a once in a lifetime gift on something that made about as much sense as a trap door on a Pirogue. Why couldn’t she wish for a new SUV, a bigger house, hot girls with a hot tub and lots of scantily dressed hot girls, riches, hot tub, whipped cream, hot tub, that red-head at the Dairy Queen with the big…. Time to scurry out of Jason’s head before the rating changes to TMI. I don't know what is wrong with me. I usually don't read my brother's mind as a rule. I always regret it. At least Jason would be easy to please, I thought.
The ink on the page disappeared. I turned it over and over again.
The words appeared in the center of the page and then faded away.
“Cool!” I said holding it up to the light. I saw the beginning of a word. It was scratched out and then gone. It happened a second time. Then words scribbled across the page very quickly. I guess this meant Niall was excited.
How befitting. I was named for the clouds. My . . . our bloodline is from the Fae of the sky. I can understand your yearning for a closer connection to all things above.
The writing faded away. I stared at the empty page so long that I thought he had decided to get back to me later. Words appeared again:
Soon you will enjoy what you love more than you have ever enjoyed it in your whole life. Every time you look at the sun you will smile and remember the gift your great-grandfather, prince of the Fae, fairy of the sky, father of Fenton, Niall did for his beloved Sookie, blood of my blood.
Get to it! I thought. Shoot! What was all the dang suspense for? I looked at the page with great expectation but it divulged nothing. Jason just sat there stunned and, for a change, speechless. He would take his time with this one and make it count for something. I smiled at him and he knew that I had read his thoughts and that I was proud that he hadn’t jumped to a crazy decision, like getting new rims for his truck.
“Love you brother,” I said to him for the first time in my adult life. Saying the words made me feel like I broke a family curse or something. I think that Jason felt it as well. Saying the words “I love you” to family always seemed kind of awkward for us. When you think about it, family should be the first people that you say it to. This was the true gift of the day. Niall’s presence and gifts made us feel a kinship we hadn’t known for a long time.
“Aw, don’t go getting all mushy,” Jason said before making a hasty exit. “I think I got some dust in my eye.” He nabbed a few tissues from my dresser on the way out.
I stared at the ceiling in my room for a long time, hoping for divine insight as to what Niall was preparing for me. As usual, I got nothin’. I snacked on vittles Pam left at my bedside in between naps.
Amelia’s brain pattern told me she was still resting in her room. She was dreaming that Tray returned to her without a scratch. Tray was smiling and kissing her and telling her how “healthy” she looked. I burst into hushed tears . . . again. At least Amelia found comfort in her dreams.
About an hour later my cell phone rang. “Sookie!” Jason screamed in the phone.
“What’s wrong Jason?” I said, fearing the worst. He must have ticked Niall off and he turned him into a frog or something. It was a crazy thought, but stranger things had happened in my life, especially when it came to the Fae.
“What’s wrong? Sook! Ask me what’s right!” He was very excited. The next thing I heard him say was “Niall, I mean uh great-grandfather …” He screamed incoherently. He was wound up about something. He kept laughing and at some point, it sounded as if he dropped the phone and picked it up again, laughing and talking as if he never left.
Finally, Sam took the phone from him and said “Cher, can ya’ believe the news? Can ya? It’s so incredible! Amazing!” At that point I realized Jason was at my job, Merlotte’s Bar and Grill. They were celebrating the good news?
“What is it?” I asked Sam.
“He didn’t tell you? Wow! The fairy guy . . . just gave Jason . . . ” static . . . static . . . dial tone.
What the HELL! I looked at the phone as if it sprouted antlers. I had Jason’s cell phone ringing faster than you can shake a stick at it. Jason had downloaded one of those fancy ring back thingies so when you called his number you didn’t hear a ringing you heard a song. “Jason the jokester,” I mumbled as the ring tone sang Bill Currington’s “That’s How Country Boys Roll” and after listening to a few seconds of the melody . . . “Hello” Jason’s voice interrupted. I heard more noise in the background with unfamiliar, loud music playing. The music seemed louder than before.
“Jason …. Hello, Hello Jason!” I said holding the phone tightly and straining to decipher his words.
“Wait just one . . . Hey! Hey! Guys!” he said yelling over the music. “Hold on. I gotta get this music down. I can’t hear a damn thing.” He sounded as if he put the phone down as he was communicating what he was going to do. After a few long minutes the noises muted. I heard Jason approach the phone saying, “Here I come, sorry about that.” He picks up the phone and says “Hello” again.
“Jason!” I said frustrated and anxious at the same time. I was ready to come through the phone. “Hello,” he said a little louder. By this time I had lost all patience. I began to yell at the phone.
“Jason! . . . Jason!” I shouted. “Hello? . . . Shepherd of Judea! What in the world is going on?”
Before I could finish my sentence I heard my brother say in a cool voice: “Gotcha! Um really not on the phone. This is my voice message. Aww, now don’t go getting your drawers in a bunch, that’s just how country boys roll.” Beeeeeeep. By this time my body had moved to the middle of my bed and my flailing arms halted. I sat there just dumbfounded.
“A freakin’ prank voice mail? When I see you, Jason.” I mumbled under my breath as I punched in the single digit, speed dial code for Merlottes’s with so much force that I misdialed several times before getting it right.
“The number you are trying to call is being checked for trouble” a message said. Hmmm. I can’t believe this, I thought. I called Sam’s cell and then tried dialing every employee of the bar but I got no one. I even tried calling some of the bar patrons, Catfish… Tara . . Hoyt . . no answer. This is very strange. I thought about Jason’s call. He or Sam didn’t sound like it was trouble, I thought. But the peculiar part is that now I can’t talk to anyone. It was strange but I had no choice but to wait ‘til someone called me back.
The excitement allowed a temporary reprieve from my depression. The silence was sure to put me back in my rightful state of martyrdom. I wished that I could talk to Amelia. I needed to see Bill. I realized that I had taken his constant presence for granted. I looked out of my window to the woods, and thought about the many times I would see him break through the trees just when I needed him. My heart ached when I thought of what he must be enduring for my sake. I wanted to know that all was well with Eric. I had convinced myself that Felipe was doing some creepy vamp thing to him and screwing with my dreams (literally) just to tick Eric off.
I decided to get in a little shut eye before sundown. The crazy night had drained me and I was probably in for another. I would rest easy knowing that Felipe couldn’t enter my dreams during the day. I set the alarm on my pretty red cell phone to wake me, well before nightfall and without preamble, I passed out.
I actually slept, undisturbed for what seemed like an eternity. I was lying on my stomach and adjusted my body a little to enjoy the cool side of the pillow with a slight smile on my face. It was simply blissful.
I felt a coolness on my back like someone had lifted up my shirt, tenderly, sneakily. Tug, snip, snip, snip, the gauze was being cut off my back. Rough hands traced the many scars that lie beneath and my skin tingled at his touch. I should have been afraid but truly, I only felt a longing to unite with the body that straddled me.
Something about his presence chattered all inhibitions and at that moment I was grateful that I didn’t have to lose myself by looking in that angelic face. Blame it on the usual suspect, vamp blood. It took a few weeks for my libido to return to normal, after just a little love nip. By the way I was feelin’, I had an IV of the stuff linked to me and the burning was never going to die down.
The “something” in his pocket confirmed that he was very happy to see me, too. It drew my aching core toward him like a magnet. My back arched underneath him while he rested on my legs.
“Shhhhh. Easy now,” he whispered, as if he was trying to steady a wild stallion underneath his powerful frame. Frankly, I was ready to buck. I stretched my body toward the headboard, grabbed a hold of the thick wooden spindles and assumed the position for, what was undoubtedly going to be, the ride of my life. I imagined he would pull my hair like the reigns of a horse and ride long and hard until I was lame and ready to be put out of my misery.
He rubbed a warm liquid that I guessed was oil on my back and gently worked it over my injuries and downward to the curve of my back. I was immediately reminded of the tantalizing effects of a master tongue licking the alphabet on my erogenous zones. Oh, did he like to dot that I!
“Hmmmm,” escaped from deep in my throat and I quickly shut it off. My body locked down just before I was sent into sensory overload. The slightest sign of weakness is when he liked to go in for the kill. He must be stopped. I was asleep but the beast in me had awakened just in time. Speaking of Justin, I reached down to the floor and grabbed my little weapon of mass destruction. It was time to school this one on how to treat a southern lady.
The next move he made took me by surprise. Just when I was certain that he was going to smack it up, flip it and rub it down, he changed course. He quickly lifted his body off of mine and caressed my arm. It was the scar that was left when Jake Purifoy had mauled it. It was the nastiest scar because I refused to take vamp blood to help it heal.
“So fragile,” he whispered so low that I could barely make out what he was saying. Then he kissed the scar very gently.
Cool hands moved over my body, stopping at various points and repeating the actions. He kissed my scarred back like he knew each injury, reaching up high for the ones the maenad had left. He turned my body, ever so slightly, to make sure that he kissed the shiny one on my side. It was an old one, where I had been staked trying to save Bill in Mississippi. I wondered how he knew about that one but I didn’t take long thinking about it. I seized the opportunity of his awkward angle and brought Justin up while whirling my body around.
Blood splattered my face. I tightly closed my eyes and mouth before any got in. I didn’t want any part of him inside of me. He was stunned for a moment and I was able to push him down on the bed and straddle him without much effort.
He let out a low groan. Strong hands gripped my waist and pulled me down to rest on his hips.
“Don’t try to butter me up now,” I said underneath my breath. He even had the nerve to reach up and place his large hands on my heaving chest and squeezed. When he moved his hips this time I arched my back again and raised my arms high above my head. There was nothing sexual about it. I was simply giving Justin the momentum needed to relieve Felipe of his pretty, pretentious, overconfident head.
My next action would establish once and for all that I was no one’s plaything. My heart belonged to “Eric?” I cried.
Maybe it was the way his body nestled into the cradle of mine and continued to gyrate underneath me. It could have been the way his thumbs were caressing me, firm and tender at the same time. There was a familiarity that made me know . . . or think . . . or hope . . .
“Lover, it’s best to establish a safe word before we get into the kinky stuff,” A familiar voice spoke in the darkness.
I cried out in relief and quickly went silent. It smelled like him, felt like him, sounded like Eric, but I had to see with my own eyes. I jumped up and reached for the light and then sank to the floor. I flung Justin so hard that the point lodged into the wall. The gash in Eric’s torso and arm began to heal while my tear filled eyes drank in the sight of him.
My mouth watered and became desert dry in an instant. For one moment in time, I wished that my body could heal that fast and flawless.
He rested on his side like the whole incident that had my heart racing, didn’t faze him in the least. I think that he was trying to figure out what the hell was going on. He looked like a Calvin Klein underwear model, long, lean and beautiful.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” I started to ramble. He handed me a tissue from the night stand.
I should have realized that it wasn’t a dream. All the signs were there but I wasn’t paying attention to my gut instincts: We were clothed, for one. I had scars and bandages for two and my hair, let’s not even talk about my hair. The most telling sign was that I could control my actions.
My body was shaking. I wanted to fall on him and shower him with kisses, make him promise to never leave my side but I couldn’t move. Regret kept me cowed in my position of shame. I didn’t want Eric to know the mindless nympho that I had become for the master of my dreams. I was afraid that my slightest motion or facial expression would betray me, so I did nothing and said nothing.
The inconvenient truth was, if Felipe beckoned me, I knew that he would have me at hello. Less than ten minutes ago he had me without saying a word. I merely thought it was him and my body was more than ready to receive whatever he had to offer, for as long as he wanted to offer it. I had voiced various colorful utterances during our midnight rendezvous, some of them incoherent, many of them crude, but none of them no.
The worst part is that I almost killed Eric. That chilled me to the bone. Slicing open his chest meant that I clearly, had some ‘splainin to do but what was I gonna say: “Uh baby, see what had happened was, um, I drank from Bill when he rescued me from the Fae, cuz I was dying and then I drank from you and then I fed Bill in the van, cuz he was dying, again. I took drugs from Dr. Ludwig and somewhere along the line all those things caused my mind and libido to go haywire. Now Felipe can screw me six ways til Sunday whenever I sleep.” I just couldn’t fix my lips to say any of that.
Eric propped up his head on one elbow and looked at me long and hard. I needed him to tell me that he knew I was teetering on the edge of sanity. Tell me that Eric is here to make it all better. Please say that this loss of self-control and crazy dreams would come to pass.
He cocked his brow while blue eyes, clear as crystal, searched mine. Eric unfolded his body from the bed and rose to his full height.
“Oooh!” My voice trembled. “What a, tall, cool drink o’ water,” I said silently and moistened my parched lips. Every part of him was cool, hard and refreshing like a Dreamsickle and I desperately needed some coolin’. His mouth curved up in a knowing smirk and he extended a hand to me.
“Come with me Lover,” he said, softly. His choice of words caused a quiver in my liver. I sat there even longer, squirming in agony while waiting for the wave in my loins to subside. Sinking down to his haunches, he touched my hand and I actually flinched. I was a frightening sight of matted hair, tear streaked face, my shirt was wrenched up around my chest and the bandages were hanging off. I also had a big knot on my head from when I hit my night stand and my shoulder had fresh bruises.
Eric quickly dressed. The soft duvet was wrapped around me in an instant and then we were moving through the house. A cool gust of wind met us when we stepped out on the porch. He put an ear bud in my ear and pressed play on his iPod. I don’t know why I was expecting to hear something sweet and encouraging like Bridge Over Troubled Water. He gripped me tight and with a few brisk steps toward the landing and we were airborne and listening to California Love by 2Pac as we rose high above Bon Temps.