I swore I’d never fall again, but this don’t even feel like falling
Gravity can’t forget to pull me back to the ground again
Feels like I’ve been awakened, every rule I had you breakin’, the risk that I’m takin’
I’m never gonna shut you out
Everywhere I’m looking now, I’m surrounded by your embrace
Baby I can see your halo, you know you’re my saving grace
~ Halo, Beyonce
I couldn’t help but glance around the cream coloured room I was sitting in, taking in all the changes, reflecting upon the days when this room was dark and empty, bleak and drafty. I guess being the Vampire King of Louisiana means your house gets a free upgrade. Speaking of my former boyfriend, I flinched as his fangs sank further into my left wrist; his pulls were actually becoming somewhat painful, and I was finding it hard to focus.
On the other side sat the only remaining Louisiana Sheriff, also a former lover. The awkwardness of the situation was almost palpable.
His fangs were buried in my right wrist; however, his pulls were gentle, almost affectionate as he ran his fingers over the skin of my arm. “Of course, he can feel the slight pain I’m in thanks to the bond, that’s gonna take some getting used to. At least he’s attempting to soothe me like he did when he practically fang-raped me that time with Russell at Fangtasia before he…” I stopped my mental thought process there, willing myself to shut off the memory. I could have lost him then to the sun, and I nearly lost him this evening to fire.
“Okay, I think that’s enough,” I demanded quietly, already feeling the light-headedness approaching. Eric was the first to stop, mid-pull and all, and made quick work of healing the puncture wounds. Bill, on the other hand, took two more greedy mouthfuls before seeming to reluctantly let me go, following suit by healing the marks on my wrist that he’d created.
For a split-second silence enveloped us, I felt like screaming, shouting, throwing a fit, anything to make them snap out of whatever it was that was clouding their thoughts. It’s said that every girl wishes to be fought over by two men, well let me tell you right now that it’s not all singing and dancing. Not at all.
I couldn’t help but look between the two vampires, no wait, men, who had turned my life upside down, both for better and for worse.
“You saved my life, both our lives,” Bill spoke first, gazing at me with the tender eyes he had used from the moment we met. It was difficult to forgive him for his betrayal but I couldn’t let him die, that wouldn’t have been a very Christian thing to do, not to mention that Gran would’ve been rolling in her grave if I hadn’t done something.
“It was my turn,” I responded gently, knowing that we were now even. He’d saved my life in the past and now I’d saved his.
The voice on my right pulled my gaze away from Bill. “Thank you,” came the honestly appreciative tone. Never in my life did I think I’d hear the mighty Viking thank me for something. Then again, stranger things have happened.
“You don’t have to thank me. I can’t imagine the world without you in it,” I returned in an equally honest tone, watching as a smile graced Eric’s features instead of his usual smirk. It was a pleasant sight, one I’d grown fond of over his period of amnesia. “Both of you,” I added as an afterthought, turning to look at Bill as I remembered his presence. It was true to some extent. Though I no longer felt such a deep love for Bill, I cared enough about him to want him to be walking this earth a little longer, and his company wasn’t too bad I suppose.
Pulling my arms out of their grasps, I brought them to my lap. Eric allowed me to pull away but Bill clung to me for a little longer. “Personal space invasion,” I mentally reprimanded him. I knew he couldn’t hear me, but my emotions were so frazzled that all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and sleep.
Dragging the sleeves of my brown jacket down over my wrists, I turned my head as if watching a tennis match, observing first the 6’4” Viking, and then the 5’10” Civil War veteran before looking back to the Viking. Quickly rising to my feet, I crossed the room. “I can’t stand this anymore,” I cursed; tension in the room was high. Both sets of eyes followed me.
“It’s like being ripped in half. No matter what I do, somebody I love gets hurt,” I explained, not really bothering to acknowledge the fact that neither of the two men probably understood where I was coming from. Two clicks could be heard and I was silently grateful that the fangs were away. At least they were both in an acceptable mood.
Bill rose from his seat, keeping his distance from me and his back to Eric. “Sookie I just want for you to be happy, and if being with Eric is what makes you happy, then you have my blessing.”
For a moment I was stunned into silence, not by the fact he was finally acknowledging that he might lose me, but because he thought I needed his blessing in order to move on. ‘I can date whoever the hell I want! I don’t need your permission’ I mentally screamed, scowling in his direction for a moment before Eric’s movements captured my attention.
Stealing a glance, I was in time to capture the elated expression on his sculptured features: He looked like a little boy on Christmas morning. Slowly he approached me, visibly concerned that I would run from him. I could never run from him if I was being perfectly honest with myself. Sure, he could be savage and cruel, he’d kept things from me, chained me up in the filthy basement of Fangtasia and then presented me to Russell Edgington like a shiny new toy, but he’d done it all for me.
He’d never been savage and cruel, per sé, towards me without good reason, he’d yelled at me in Russell’s mansion, yet I could see now that he needed to make Russell believe he was willing to hand me over in order to gain an opportunity to kill him. I remembered the tenderness before he’d been forced to drink from me, the way he’d looked at me like he’d rather be doing anything other than hurting me. He’d then chained himself to Russell outside Fangtasia in the sunshine moments later, willing to die alongside the creepy 3000-year-old vampire so that he would never take me.
He stopped before me; I had to look up to lock eyes with the 1000-year-old vampire.
Tentatively his hands reached upwards, cradling my face and instinctively I leaned into his touch. “See, it’s okay Sookie, Bill’s fine with it,” he reassured, stroking my jaw line with a calloused thumb. “He had his chance, he blew it. H-He lied to you.”
“To protect me, and I lied to him to protect you, and you’ve lied to both of us so many times we can’t count,” I fired back before realizing my words, his hands slipping away from my face.
Instinctively I grabbed his hands, missing the feel of them against my cheeks. With an indescribable joyful expression, he placed his hands back to their former position.
“But then there’s the side of you I’ve witnessed over the past week, there’s good in you, so much of it. I know now that everything you ever said or did wasn’t selfish, it was to keep me safe. You’ve never asked for anything in return, well, apart from the obvious. But you’ve had that now, granted you weren’t yourself but you still remember it.” I paused for a moment to think, my eyes flitting between both Eric and Bill.
The defeated expression on Bill’s face made me feel a pang of guilt but it was soon overridden by my determination to say my piece. Looking back to my Viking I couldn’t help but smile, I had his rapt attention. “When we made love, you never took my blood, you never even asked for it. When you were silvered for the day and needed to feed you didn’t ask for my blood, you even seemed frightened when I offered it to you, like you were unsure about taking it. That alone denotes to me that you don’t want me for my blood, that you care for me on a different level, and at present that’s the best compliment I could ever hope for.”
Eric’s forehead came to rest against mine, our noses touching. “I care for who you are, not what you are,” he breathed, throwing Bill’s words from over a year ago around. “I didn’t want to hurt you, I don’t want to hurt you. I won’t betray you, ever,” he murmured, reciting the words he had used moments before I had allowed him to take my blood to heal.
“I may remind you of that someday,” I shot back playfully, earning a grin in response. Pulling back, I glanced to Bill, whose eyes moved from the wall he had been staring at to me. Clearly, he felt uncomfortable with the situation. “Will you be honest with me, please, for once?” He gave a nod, looking at me with puppy dog eyes that would have had me melting to the ground a year ago. “It was the blood, wasn’t it? I know you care, but it was the blood that sealed the deal yes? I’m not angry with you, not at all, I just need to know,” I inquired gently: I wanted to part on relatively good terms.
His head dropped in submission, a strange sight for a Vampire King and with a terse nod I gained my answer. For a moment I allowed silence to envelop us all again as I gathered my thoughts. For so long I had been used as a pawn in the vampire world, my heart and body had both been played like they were some sort of instrument and now it was time for them to heal.
I realized then that they would never heal with Bill; I would always know that he was in a relationship with me because I was a tasty treat. Sure, being with Eric would be tough, we clashed horns all the time over the smallest of things, and sometimes he infuriated me to the point where I wanted to smack him. Heck, I had smacked him before! Yet, with him I had this gut feeling that everything would be okay in the end, that he would use all of his 1000 years of experience to keep me safe and happy, so I could heal.
Finally, I looked up to Eric, observing the small hopeful smile on his lips and the deep cerulean orbs watching me closely. In a gentle yet firm tone, I finally voiced my decision. “Let’s go home.”