Close to Dead

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Chapter Two: Cold Hard Truth:

“What is wrong, Sookie?” Eric asked, looking down at me with what I can only describe as pity. Oh no, I didn’t want his pity.

I looked up into his blue eyes, and I said, “Nothing will ever be the same again, Eric.”

He dropped my hand, but then pulled me so that I was sitting up against him, my back against his chest. He moved so effortlessly, so that he was up against the headboard of my grandmother’s old bed. He said, “I’ve lived over a thousand years, Sookie, and I can safely say that you are correct. Nothing ever will be the same again. Nothing ever stays the same. I am as certain of that as I am of anything. Do you really want things to be the same? What kind of life would that be? For me, it would be a long, boring life.”

“For me, it would be a safe, happy one,” I said softly. I moved away from him, because I felt I had to, because he made me feel too safe and happy, and I wanted to wallow in self-pity a little while longer. I stood up and looked at him and said, “I wish things were different,” before he could comment I explained, “I know, I know, I just more or less said I wanted things to stay the same, but what I meant was, I wish things would go back to the way they were before.”

“Before you knew me?” he asked, as self-centered as ever.

“Before I knew there were vampires, supes, fairies, everything,” I elaborated.

“Especially fairies,” he said steadily. Yeah, especially fairies. I would never know where children authors got their ideas that fairies were wonderful, beautiful, happy, ethereal creatures with wings that floated around, granting people wishes. Oh, they were beautiful. I had never met a fairy that wasn’t beautiful, but that was the only attribute they had to recommend them.

I rubbed my hand over my face. I felt tired, even though I had slept most of the day. He scooted off the bed and stood over me. He said, “There is something you wanted to ask me, is there not?”

“No,” I said, unenthusiastically. “There’s nothin’ I want from you, Eric. Nothin’ at all.” I walked out of the bedroom, toward the kitchen. He followed. There was nothing I wanted in the kitchen, so I walked out of the kitchen, back to the foyer, and into the living room. He was still hot on my tail. It was hard not to notice a six foot five, blonde haired, former Viking, vampire, that was for sure. Apparently, we were going to talk, whether I wanted to or not.

I sat on the couch, and he stood in the doorway, arms folded in front, leaning on the doorframe. He smiled and then out of the blue he said, “Pam thinks you need an intervention.”

“WHAT?” I yelled, almost full of the indignation that I was sure I was supposed to feel.

“It is when your friends and family all confront you…” he started.

“No.” I stood and stopped him, my hand out in front of me. “I know what a damn intervention is! Why would she think that?”

“She says you’re, and I quote, ‘depressed and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder’, and she’s spoken to your flea-ridden boss, and he apparently agrees.” He still had a smile on his face. I was glad someone thought this was amusing. He sat down on the couch, and pulled on my wrist so that I was forced to sit down beside him.

He said, “She wanted to call someone named, Dr. Phil, but apparently he was not available to come see a telepathic, waitress, with fairy blood, from Bon Temps, Louisiana.” His fingers laced through mine, and his thumb rubbed back and forth on the top of my hand. I felt my anger ebb slowly away. He said, “She meant well. I refused to let her do that to you. She had it planned for tonight, sans Dr. Phil. She found a vampire psychologist to come with her, who specializes in humans who have been abused and used by members of the supernatural community. I decided to come instead. I decided all you needed was me.”

“Well, aren’t you Mr. High and Mighty,” I said. High-handed, son-of-a bitch. I pulled my hand from his, well aware that if he hadn’t wanted to relinquish it, he wouldn’t have. I sighed, stood up, and started to walk away.

“Where are you going, Lover?” he asked. “This house is small, and I will follow you from room to room if necessary.”

“Fine!” I practically shouted, having decided to face the big Viking in the room head on, (that’s a metaphor for ‘facing the elephant in the room’ by the way). “Where were you when those fairies took me? Where were you when they tortured me, because, Eric, that’s what they did! I cannot even begin to describe everything they did to me! Where were you?”

He stood up. “Ah, so it’s time for that talk, is it?”

What did he expect? Wasn’t that what he meant? I threw my hands up in the air and said, “Never mind! It doesn’t make a lick of difference to me! Its makes no never mind. I’m tired. Go home, or go back to Fangtasia. You didn’t come when I needed you then, so why come now?”

He suddenly seemed angry. I felt his anger through our bond, but more than that, I saw the plethora of emotions cross his face…fury, anger, even pain. He grabbed my wrist, not causing hurt, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to wrench it from his grasp this time.

I was close to rescinding his invitation to my house, but that seemed a bit harsh. Instead, I leaned into him. I think that was unexpected by us both. I rested my cheek on his chest. He let go of my wrist and he stroked my back, gently. He brought his hands to my face, framed it even as he brought it up to look into his and he said, “I know I wasn’t there when you needed me. I am sorry, Sookie. Is that what you want to hear?”

“I want to know why,” I said, holding back tears, because I really didn’t want to cry anymore.

It didn’t matter what I wanted, because the tears came anyway, and he kissed the first one that fell, almost before it hit my cheek, and then he kissed the second one, as it made a trail from my eye to my nose. He kept my face in his hands and said, “I’ll tell you where I was, but it’s going to be a cold, hard truth, Sookie. Are you ready for it?”

“Eric, I figure if I haven’t already died from everything that has been thrown at me, a few words from you won’t kill me,” I said. He closed his eyes for a moment, before he gazed back into my eyes. His look was one I couldn’t decipher, but I didn’t need to be a mind reader to know what he was about to do. His stare dropped to my throat, then my breasts, and then back to my eyes. Then his head lowered, and he kissed me. One thing was certain, I would never, ever, in all my days, be tired of Eric Northman’s kisses.

When he was done, too soon by my estimation, he pulled me to the foyer. I wondered where he was leading us. He sat me on the stairs, and then he walked up a few, and then sat behind me, his legs to each side of my body. He wrapped his arms around me. I had a feeling he put us in this position so he wouldn’t have to look me in the eye as he told me his truth, which was fine with me, because at that moment, I didn’t give a damn.

I felt happy, safe, and loved again, just because HIS arms were around me! At that moment, he could have told me that he couldn’t come rescue me because he was balancing his checkbook, or he was cutting his toenails, and I’m not sure I would care. Nevertheless, the cold hard truth was that he wouldn’t always be there to make me feel this way, and he had already proved that.

Therefore, I said, “Explain.”

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