Freyda sat in the middle of the couch, brow furrowed, with Stan and Hallow on either side, staring at her in anticipation. They had been sitting like this since fifteen minutes.
Stan grew impatient. “Well?”
Freyda sat still and her eyes creased even more. Stan pushed at their bond to make Freyda speak. Freyda opened her eyes in irritation and snapped at him. “Would you quit it? I am trying to get at something here.”
Stan gave an exasperated huff. “How much time do you need to do that? Just tell whether you can feel him or not?”
Freyda tilted her head a little. A smile contorted her thin lips. “I am feeling something… someone…”
Hallow looked relieved. Stan looked at Hallow and nodded.
“But I can’t make sure that it is Eric. I don’t know how this is supposed to feel.”
“Do you think that’s him she is feeling?” Stan asked Hallow.
Hallow shrugged her shoulders. “The sword was Northman’s. She is supposed to be feeling him.” She cunningly hid her doubts at the fact that the spell had not gone as it was supposed to go. It started fine but towards completion, a bright light encircled the sword and the Viking’s sword absorbed all of the light like a sponge. It was nothing like the witch had seen before. But she was not going to tell this small detail to the two vampires sitting next to her. No telling what they may infer and how they may react. If the insufferable fool was feeling someone then all must have went well.
Stan pushed on. “Try calling him to you”
“We are going to that convention thing. He would be there. I’d rather test this at a distance first. We can see how he responds and then we can go further.” The vampire queen answered with a little bite to her words.
Stan looked at his progeny with pride. “You are right. We should test this first and then try something drastic.”
“Yes well, I am ready to go.”
Hallow jumped up. “What about my payment?”
Stan looked at Freyda and then at hallow. “You can wait for this evening to pass. You will receive payment after my child tests the goods you delivered.”
Hallow looked like she wanted to object but shut her mouth. She knew the vampires won’t budge and what was one more evening. Just a couple of hours more, right?
My great grandfather said that I could skip tonight’s event. It was supposed to be a speeches and more speeches kind of a thing for vampire monarchs, human senators and council members, which might bore me to death. But I couldn’t miss it for the life of me. I had to see Eric. If that was going to be in the middle of a thousand people, then so be it. I just didn’t care.
I chose to wear my knee length white silk cocktail dress, with five inch silver heels. I knew exactly how I wanted to look tonight. I didn’t even have to think about it. I went through the motions of dressing up, perfecting my hair, putting on my makeup and accompanying Niall again to the one and only place where I wanted to be, as if I was on auto pilot. I was already in the car with Niall, when the sun began to lower in the sky and my heart beat quickened. There was an instant of spark inside me and then a whole new set of emotions washed over me like an avalanche. I sunk deep into the leather seats of the luxury sedan, embracing every new thing I was feeling. I couldn’t believe I had been scared and lonely in the morning. How could I ever doubt all the love I had in my life? How could I ever have felt lonely? Just thinking about Eric turned me warm and mushy. I hugged myself in glee and laughed out aloud. It felt so good!
Great granddaddy seemed to be in a chipper mood too. I guess my weird euphoria was rubbing off on him as well. As we got nearer to our destination, my anticipation and joy grew in spades. I actually stumbled in my hurry, when I got out of the car and the valet had to catch me from falling. Thank god for him or my dress would have been ruined. I barely noticed where I was going. Great granddaddy led me to a kind of round auditorium, complete with a huge stage on one end and step level seating in a semicircle around it.
There was a crowd of all kinds of people, human and supernatural, a melee of thoughts and talk flying all around me. But I was aware of only one vampire, surrounded by a group of important looking men in expensive looking suits on the stage. Eric Northman didn’t need a stage or an expensive suit to get noticed in a crowd. But he was on the stage, standing statuesquely tall over everyone present, in a sharp steel grey suit, looking gorgeous as always. As if he knew the exact second when I would be entering the auditorium, he looked up and caught my gaze.
His eyes smoldered and set me on fire.
I stopped in my tracks. Niall faltered in his step and looked at me in confusion. Without taking my eyes off Eric, I asked him to go on and join his colleagues. He squeezed my hand and I turned to him.
“I need to be somewhere great granddaddy.”
His eyes twinkled. “I know. Go on then.”
I smiled at him. Then I turned to Eric again. He was talking to someone but his eyes were still on me. If I had any doubts before seeing him, I had none now. It was as if I was looking at this wonderful person for the first time. I saw the love, the want, the need clearly etched on his face. How could I ever have had second thoughts for this man, this vampire before?
Had I never seen it in his eyes? Had I been that blind?
How many times had I cursed him and doubted him and belittled his words?
How was it possible for him to not hate me?
After all, I had been so foolish, so stubborn, so prejudiced, just like every one of those hypocritical vampire haters in Bon Temps that I looked down upon.
Here he stood, looking at me with the intensity of a supernova, his eyes screaming out the vast amount of love he had for me. How could he still look at me like that?
And I had doubted him!
This realization was a shock to my system…
I blamed Eric for a lot of things that went wrong with my life. But the failure of our fragile relationship was one monumental fuck up that I couldn’t pin to him. And I was the only one responsible for my empty life now. Everybody who ever claimed to love me, my friends, my brother, Bill Compton, Alcide, all gave up on me some time or the other. Eric never left my side. Eric never turned me away. He never left me alone. I kept on hurting him and he still manned up and told me he loved me. I pushed him away and then I ran. I wasn’t worthy to even look into his eyes.
I took two steps back as the magnitude of my mistakes crashed on me. His eyes narrowed a teensy bit, as if he knew what I was thinking. He said something to the group surrounding him and stepped down from the stage. More people approached him, each and every one of them wanting to speak to him. As if I had grown an extra sense in my telepathic brain, I clearly felt his irritation and impatience when he brushed the approaching crowd with threadbare politeness. All through this, Eric’s beautiful blue eyes never left me.
He reached where I was standing by the door, took my hand in his without stopping and led us out. He took a path towards the right, opposite to where most people were coming from and hurried to another building, passing through a set of double doors and as soon as the doors closed behind us, all went quite. Eric was walking so fast that I had to practically run to keep up, which in my high five inch heels, was getting painfully hard. As soon as I thought about my feet, he looked down at my heels too and raised an eyebrow at me in half serious exasperation. That one familiar and now beloved expression on his face completely entranced my mind and broke my pace. I stumbled.
It must have broken something within him too because when he caught my fall, in one swift breathless movement, he put my back against the wall, both my hands in one of his large hands, held loosely above my head, his other hand resting on the side of my waist. He brought his face within an inch from mine.
“Do you have a problem keeping up with me Miss Stackhouse?” Only Eric could say something so mundane and yet make it so erotic with the way he said it.
“You are too fast…” I said in a barely audible whisper.
Without moving or breaking eye contact, he inhaled deeply and his pupils dilated a little. “And you are too tempting…”
I glanced at his lips just as his fangs descended. I wanted to kiss and lick them…I wanted them inside me… I looked in his eyes again and the look there could spontaneously combust me any second.
I needed to say something before we went this way and all coherent thought left my head. There was so much to say and clear up between us. “I want to talk to you.”
He dipped his head to my ear “hmmm…” and blew softly over my neck.
Oh. My. God.
What? Talk? While he did that?
“I can’t when you do that!” I whimpered.
His nose skimmed my collar bone as he took another deep breath. “I know…”
I was losing it and it was so not fair!
He breathed on the other side of my neck and it magically raised goose bumps all over my skin. “Sookie!”
My insides melted when he said my name like that. Damn! I didn’t stand a chance here. I had to be quick.
“Eric I am sorry…” he paused and raised his head to look in my eyes.
I hurried before he did anything else and I forgot I had to speak. “…for walking out on you…for not trusting you…for breaking your heart…for…for everything I fucked up for us…I am so sorry…”
A single tear fell from my eyes.
“I don’t know how to make up for every wrong I did…”
I was getting desperate now. Eric was looking at me with so much intensity. I just had to do something to make it up to him.
“This guilt is killing me inside Eric…Please tell me how I can make it up to you!”
I was sure I could go into a dreaded crying fit any second now and I knew Eric hated it when I cried. So I tried gathering my wits to say something meaningful to him. I couldn’t just say I loved him and be done with it. I needed to make sure he could forgive me.
His eyes danced mischievously. “How serious are you about making up?” He took a step further and pressed himself against me.
“Ahhh…very serious. Eric I…” he gently rubbed himself against me. I knew he was trying to distract me away from the tears.
It was working…
“Can you ever forgive me?” I asked with utmost sincerity.
“Sookie…” he breathed and pressed his forehead to mine, “just say it…”
I closed my eyes and leaned into him. “Say what?”
Eric laughed softly, “The one thing that you are not saying and the one and only thing that I want to hear right now.”
I could almost feel the buzz of his head against mine. We were so close that my thudding erratic heartbeat seemed to be his. My insides were growing hot and bothersome. That seemed to be making him insane with lust. I knew it because I could literally feel it. But Eric kept still.
“Look at me min kärlek…” I opened my eyes and looked into his tempestuous orbs, bright with emotion. “Tell me…”
There was no more doubt. I was safe here. My heart and soul were protected here. In Eric’s arms, I would always be loved. I was as sure of this as I was sure about my loud beating heart.
“I love you…”
We both exhaled the breaths we were holding. Eric did not move back but let go of my hands and held my face gently in his, as if I would break. He wiped the tears on my face that I hadn’t realized were there. “And?” he asked.
“Finish your sentence.”
In a flash I knew what he wanted to hear. That was the one thing I had never said and the one thing he wanted to hear. I could not control the grin when I said the words. “And…Eric Northman, I am yours. I will always be yours. I give myself to you, completely…I…”
His lips crashed onto mine and all talk just flew out the window. He kissed me like I was his air and he was a drowning man, fighting for every breath. There was desperation in the way he held me tightly flushed against his body. His hands combed through my hair and he tilted my face to deepen the kiss. I snaked my arms into the jacket of his suit and hugged him close. I think a fang nicked my tongue. Eric groaned and sucked the blood he spilt.
He didn’t have to say what he felt after I opened my soul to him through the few words I could put together for him. But Eric Northman had better ways to communicate and right now, he was telling me exactly how much he loved me, needed me and craved for me, through his lips. I knew our talk was nowhere near done. I knew I had a lot to prove. But at that moment, I just needed that kiss to feel alive again.
I didn’t know how long we spent there, holding onto each other. Eric was the first to break the kiss and pressed his forehead to mine again. I was panting as if I had run a marathon.
“We have to go…” he kissed my nose, “the convention is going to start any moment…” he straightened and pressed his lips the top of my head.
I nodded. “Yes you need to go…” and I leaned my face against his chest and kissed a button.
Eric took another deep breath with his nose in my hair and removed his hands from around me, but didn’t break contact as he tightly held my left hand in his large right one. We started towards the double doors again. “Go through the door and inside the auditorium. I’ll wait till you get inside. I need to go through another door that is closer to the stage.”
I unsteadily hurried on my heels. As I held the door knob, Eric pulled me into a hug again and whispered in my ear, “Jag älskar dig” and released me, holding my shoulders and turning me towards the door.
I opened the door and started to walk before turning and calling out again. “What? What did that mean?”
He just stood there, leaning against the door, his eyes twinkling with mischief, “It means I’ll fuck you when I find you again.”
Whatever brain cells were left scrambling for cover in my brain, absolutely died the true death when he said that…
“Jag älskar dig” – “I love you”
“min kärlek” – “my love”