Close to Dead

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Chapter 15: Not in this Lifetime

This beautiful man, creature, vampire, whatever you wanted to call him, placed his body beside mine on the bed, and just more or less asked me to marry him. I think. I’m not sure. Maybe. Didn’t he?

“If that was a marriage proposal, it was a piss-poor one,” I frowned. I picked up the drawstring, velvet pouch, slipped the ring back inside, and tried to hand him the bag.

“What was wrong with it, Sookie?” he asked, with a devious grin. He knew damn well, what was wrong with it. I loved how he would feign ignorance when it suited him.

“Oh nothing, except there were no flowers, no getting down on one knee, no music, no romance, nothing, nada. You didn’t even slip the ring on my finger,” I protested. “You threw it at me.”

He laughed, right on cue. “If I had done all of those things, what would you have done?”

I sat up in bed, pulled the sheet up to cover my bare breasts and I rejoined, “That’s not the point.”

“That is the point,” he asserted. “I know you better than you know yourself. At the first flowery word, at the first romantic gesture, you would have laughed, then run away and hid somewhere. Frankly, I wasn’t in the mood for the dramatics. Take it for what it is, Sookie. It’s a token of my love for you. There are your romantic words.”

Suddenly, he seemed angry. He grabbed the little bag and placed it on the bedside table. He lay back on the bed, his head on the pillow, his arms crossed in front of him. “Or don’t take it.”

“Do you think that I don’t want what other women want?” I asked pointedly.

“I think you are not like other women, hence the reason I love you,” he answered succinctly. “I know you want what other women want, however, and I can’t give you those things, so that is why I can never seriously ask you to marry me, because I doubt if you could ever seriously say yes.”

Well, that rather said it all, didn’t it? I frowned and without any words coming to the forefront of my mind, I did the first thing I could think to do. I reached behind me, grabbed my pillow, and hit him on the face. “That’s what you think, Eric the big, bad vampire!”

He sat up and said, “That’s what I know, Sookie the small, good human!” He took his pillow and hit me over the head.

“Hey!” I shouted.

We both stared at each other and then he smiled. “Sookie, you know that I can never be human again.”

“Well, duh,” I replied, eloquently, I might add.

“I could never give you certain things that a human husband could give you,” he added.

I brought my knees up to my chin to rest my cheek on them, and turned my face toward the wall, away from him. “I know.”

“Things like summer vacations at the beach,” he said.

“Right, vacations,” I said softly.

“Or Minivans,” he said.

“No Minivans,” I repeated.

“Or children,” he said.

I took a deep breath. I didn’t repeat that one. His voice was kind and gentle. “I’ve been married before, Sookie. I’ve had children. I’ve experienced these things, you haven’t, and if you were to marry me, you never would. It’s a lot to consider, and a lot to ask of you, so that is why I have not considered asking you to marry me seriously, because I suppose I know, seriously, what your answer would be, and I do have my pride.”

I turned my face slowly toward him. “But I do love you, Eric. I don’t know what I want.”

“That seems fair,” he finished. Was it, though? Was it fair to him, to me, to either of us? I sank back down in the bed, my back to him, and I felt his fingertip trace a line from my shoulder to my hip and back up again. “Let’s talk about something else, beloved.”

I turned to face him. “Like what?” I was all for changing the subject. He reached over and stroked my hair.

“Have you ever had a three-way?” he asked.

“A three-way?” I asked back. “Do you mean like a three-way chili?”

He stared at me for a long moment, and then his eyebrows raised, and he started to laugh, “See, this is why I know that even if I live for another thousand years, I shall never find another person like you.”

I suddenly realized what he meant by a ‘three-way’ and I know that my cheeks turned beet-red and I hit him hard on the chest, even as he continued to laugh. “Oh, shut up, Eric!”

“What is a three-way chili?” he finally asked.

“Nothing, never mind,” I grimaced, still embarrassed. “And to answer your question, yuck, no.”

“Really, even when you were with Bill?” he speculated. “You never had a ménage a trois?”

I sat up again and said, “Who would have been the third person in that little scenario, Eric? Sam? Could you really imagine Bill sharing me with another man?”

“It could have been a woman,” he said.

“Again,” I said, with a disgusted countenance, “yuck.”

“I’ve had many three-ways, four-ways, five-ways, six-ways …” he began. I placed my hand over his mouth to shut him up.

“I get the picture,” I complained.

He removed my hand and pulled me to lie beside him. He gently bit my hand, then he leaned forward and kissed my cheek before he asked, “Would you like to try something like that sometime?”

“You want to, don’t you?” I asked, shocked. “Well if this don’t beat all. First, you ask me to marry you, and the next second you tell me you want to share me with another woman. That’s beyond sick, Eric.”

“My darling, Sookie,” he murmured, with just a hint of condescension, “You and you alone are enough to satisfy me and my every craving for the rest of my lifetime. You are enough for this lifetime and possibly the next. I was only asking because I thought you might be curious, but I also thought you might be a bit too pedantic to bring up such a subject yourself.”

“I don’t know what pedantic means, and that bothers me,” I said back. “That bothers me more than the fact that you want to have a threesome!”

“The fact that you don’t know a certain word bothers you more than the fact that I asked you if you want a three-way?” he asked.

“Maybe,” I said. “Because I think you might have insulted me there. What does it mean?”

“Straight-lace, priggish, moralistic, prim, proper, prudish, in other words, too Sookie,” he said, and again, he smiled.

I smiled too. “Pedantic. And you are anti-pedantic.”

“That I am,” he crowed, proudly. I cuddled back down next to him, my head on his chest, his arm around my shoulders, his other hand playing with my hair.

“Just out of curiosity,” I said, bringing my head up quickly, “And this is just a rhetorical question, mind you, so don’t get your hopes up, but who would you suggest as the third party to our little threesome, if we were to have one?”

“Pam?” he proposed. I must have looked shocked, because he laughed again. “What?” he begged. “It would be perfect. She and I have had sex before, I’m her maker, so she would have to do whatever I ask of her, and she likes to have sex with both men and women, and she likes you, Sookie.”

“NO!” I snapped. I placed my head back on his chest. Just to be ornery, and because I was feeling a bit churlish, I said, “Anyway, I would rather it be another man.” I wanted to see what he would say to that!

“Fine with me, I’ve been with men before,” he said easily.

I sighed. I couldn’t win for losing. I pinched his arm and said, “Let’s change the subject.”

“What do you want to talk about, my little pedantic friend?”

“I know you told me that your maker forced you to, you know, do things with him, but you don’t do that kind of thing anymore do you?” I asked. I looked up at him again. He wasn’t smiling any longer. I couldn’t tell what his look meant. I continued to stare at him and then I said, “What I really want to know is, you don’t have sex with anyone, but me, right. I mean, right? Men or women?”

“I only have sex with you, Sookie but you know that,” he confirmed huskily. He pulled me back into the cradle of his arms. He laced his fingers through my hair again and said, “And you only have sex with me, correct?”

“Except for that threesome last week with Sam and Bill,” I joked.

“Not in this lifetime,” he chuckled. “Have you ever had anal sex?”

I sat up, my mouth wide open again, outraged. I hit him as hard as I could on the chest. “Eric why are you being such a prick tonight? Why can’t we have nice, tender, after sex talk? Why are you intent on embarrassing me? You asked me to marry you, in the most dreadful, unromantic way, and then you ask me if I would have a threesome with you and Pam, and now you ask me about anal sex! Stop being bad! You know you’re doing it just to piss me off, so stop it!”

“I sincerely wish to know. I know you’ve never had it with me, so I wondered if you and Bill had ever experimented, since he was your first, and your so called sexual guidance counselor,” he elaborated.

“Well, again, I’m going to be less than eloquent, and just say, yuck and a big, fat no, okay?” I moved from his arms, punching my pillow (wishing it were his face), and looked up at the ceiling, angry.

“You know, Sookie,” he said, coming up on his elbow, and placing his hand on my stomach over the sheet. “It can be enjoyable.”

“For the man, maybe,” I grunted.

“And the woman,” he argued amicably.

“Like you would know,” I said. “When was the last time you were a woman?”

“Point taken, but when was the last time you had someone sodomize you? On that, I have the most experience, and I can tell you, it can be enjoyable for both parties,” he stated with smooth conviction.

I know I opened my mouth wide again, and I was about to hit him once more, but instead, I turned back over on my side. I curled into a ball and said, “Let’s not talk anymore tonight. I want to go to sleep. It’ll be dawn soon, anyway.”

“It’s not as if I would ask that of you, if you would never wish it, Sookie. I would never make you do anything you wouldn’t want to do, ever,” he whispered in my ear. “And you’re right, I was trying to lighten the mood, and I was trying to goad you, irritate you, and instead, I’ve upset you. I am sorry. I would never purposely say or do anything to upset or hurt you, because you mean more to me than anything in the whole world.” He kissed my cheek. He spooned up behind me and kissed my ear. “I love you.”

I bit my bottom lip and shifted onto my back. He threw his leg over me and splayed his hand across my neck and collarbone. He began to kiss my face and hair. He kissed my eye and, looking up suddenly, asked, “Why do I taste a tear, my Sookie? Have I made you cry? Have I made you remember something unpleasant from your past? Something from your great-uncle, or from those fucking fairies? Did they hurt you in such a way, and is that why such talk bothers you so?”

I shook my head no. “I didn’t know I was crying,” I said truthfully.

“Next you will say that you don’t know why then, correct?” he asked, kissing away another tear.

“I guess it’s just that you’re so sweet, and even though you’re a big badass most of the time, and a cocky one at that, sometimes, when we’re alone like this, you’ll say or do something that’s so sweet and gentle, it knocks me straight off my feet,” I answered.

“What did I say that was sweet and gentle this time?” he asked, a sly smile forming on his face. He kissed my right eye and said, “Was it the three-way?” He kissed my left eye and said, “Was it anal sex?” He kissed my mouth and said, “Or was it that I would never do or say anything to hurt you because I love you?”

“The first one,” I joked.

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