Close to Dead

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Chapter 4: Sleep of the Dead:

I was slightly surprised he put the “I love you” before the “I did what I had to do”, because that was so out of his character. I really didn’t know what I was going to say in return. Was he sorry? That was the million-dollar question. Did he say that he was? If he did, I missed it somehow.

Then, as if on cue, he said, “I am sorry, lover. Please, forgive me. You know, I never grovel, so keep in mind that this is not groveling.” He smiled a wicked smile. I almost smiled back. Taking a more serious tone he said, “I will do a better job protecting you in the future, if that will help make up your mind to forgive me.”

“Will I need protecting in the future?” I asked, slightly alarmed.

“Oh, yes,” he said with a slight laugh. His smile slipped off his face, and he suddenly looked in pain again. He sat beside me on the couch, and kissed me with the softest, most tender kiss he had ever given me and he said, “You really will, Sookie. We will discuss that at length tomorrow.”

Well, like that’s what I wanted to hear.

Therefore, the way I figured it, I had a lot to consider. First, did I love him back? Of course I did, so the real question was, did I want to tell him. Again, the more I considered that, I knew he probably already knew the answer to that through our bond, but it wouldn’t hurt for me to say it, because he said it to me, and it was mighty nice to hear.

Second, did I forgive him? I was still angry. I was still hurt. I still didn’t fully understand his explanation. It’s not that I’m not smart, because I’m very smart. I’m smart enough to see his reasons; I’m just human enough to think that he should have had other options. I still didn’t see that he couldn’t have come up with other alternatives, but his reasons seemed somewhat sound, so I did forgive him, or at least, I think I would eventually forgive him.

The third thing bothered me the most and it was something I wish he hadn’t brought up. My life was forever changed, for the worse, and it would never get better. I would always be beholding to him, I would always need protecting, and I would live in fear for the rest of my days.

He sensed everything I was thinking, damn him. He pulled me onto his lap, in that gentle way of his. He said, “You love me, Sookie, and if you don’t forgive me yet, you will soon. I will try hard to protect you now and in the future. I will do a better job, I promise. No one is ever going to kill you lover. No one is ever taking you away from me. Remember, I am too selfish to let you go.” He began to thread his fingers through my hair.

“No one is going to kill me tonight, at least, right?” I asked, vaguely.

“Probably not,” he said with a smirk.

“Then I guess I love you, too, Eric,” I finally said, because I wanted to say it.

“You guess?” he said with a slightly, cocky expression.

“Yeah, I suppose,” I said, seriously.

“Then, I suppose that makes me happy,” he said with a bemused smile.

“What do we do now?” I asked.

“Seeing as it is a few hours until dawn, and I still have something very important to do before I rest, and you need to start to heal, on the inside, or in the words of Pam, and Dr. Phil, you need to learn to feel again, Sookie,” he said, smiling still, “then I think it is time that I go. But I think we have time for this.” He cupped my cheek, and gave me a big old kiss. It felt so nice, that I let him keep kissing me. He moved to lie on the couch with me on top of him.

He lifted my face and I said, “Sometimes, I wish I knew what you were thinking.”

“I highly doubt that. If you had known what I was thinking about you from the beginning, you would have run far, far way, terrified and afraid.” He laughed. I didn’t know what to make of that.

I asked, “Because your thoughts were what, so bad?”

“Not bad, but not pure, lover,” he said. “From the moment you came into my bar with Bill, I knew you would be mine someday, but if you had seen the many ways I imagined making you mine in the beginning, you would have been shocked and appalled.”

“Hell, Eric, everything you do shocks and appalls me,” I said, only slightly joking.

He said, “Ask me what I’m thinking now, Sookie.”

“Why? Just tell me,” I said, touching his cheek softly.

“But I want you to ask me,” he said. “Since you cannot read my mind, you must ask me what I am thinking, dear one.”

“Fine, Mr. ‘I Must Always be in Control’, what are you thinking?” I asked him, my head on his chest.

“I am thinking that I would rather never know what it is like to be without you, now that you are mine. I am thinking that if anything happens to you again, I would rather meet the sun, than live even one more year without you in my life. That’s what I’m thinking.”

And all I thought was, ‘Wow.’

He turned us slightly on the couch, so that we were in the same position, and I was in front of him, and his back was against the sofa cushions. I felt his breath brush the back of my neck. I turned my head to look at him and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say to him, but I felt I should say something to that statement, because it was probably the most profound thing he had ever said to me. Before I could conjure up what to say, however, a little shiver went through me when he started to kiss my neck. He was one hell of a kisser. I always thought so. Oh yes, this was nice.

“Sookie,” he said huskily, against my neck.

“Hmmm?” I hummed back, my mind already imagining all the wonderful things his mouth was going to do to me.

“I cannot stay with you tonight, as much as I would like to do so,” he said. However, his hands came up to cup my breasts. Still, he kissed my cheek once more, and then he pushed me away, and stood up from the couch. He said, “I really do have to leave.”

“Okay,” I said, somewhat mad. I can’t believe I thought I was about to sleep with him, and that I was going to forgive him, and that I just told him that I loved him, and he was leaving me, just like that, with no explanation. “So, I suppose I’ll see you sometime soon,” I said, cryptically. I walked out of the living room, and back to the bedroom. He followed, and I knew he would, and that was the reason I slammed the bedroom door, right…in…his…face. Then just to be mean, I locked it for good measure.

I was angry, and I wasn’t sure why. Yes, I was. He and I were supposed to make sweet, tender love right now. We had just declared our love for the other, for crying out loud! He had just told me some earth-shattering revelation, and our relationship was permanently altered, and then without a by your leave, he was like: “I have to leave, because once again, I have better things to do.”

Fine, so go already.

I tore off my nightgown, and walked to the bathroom to take a shower, because I didn’t know what else to do. I thought it was ironic that this was how this whole thing started, with me taking a shower. I turned on the water, and wrapped my body with a towel. I placed my hand under the steady stream, moving it back and forth, as I adjusted the water, first the hot, then the cold, to make sure it was just right.

I turned to go back to my bedroom and I froze on the spot.

He was staring at me from the middle of my bedroom. I thought he looked guilty. He sure as hell didn’t knock on the door, and I knew he didn’t have a key, so he should feel guilty. His gaze traveled from my eyes to my breasts, to the very small towel, then down my legs.

I thought, ‘I’m still pissed, so I’m going in for the kill,’ so I said, “I thought you had to go. So go already. Just go. I don’t want you here anyway.”

His eyes danced back up my body, with a look that I hate to admit, was lovingly. He reached me in two strides. His right hand went to the front of the towel, and he yanked it hard. It wafted quickly down to the floor, landing by my feet.

“I have a moment before I have to go,” he said.

“Well, I was just about to take a shower,” I said, standing there unabashed, though I wasn’t as proud of my body as I used to be. It was slimmer, though that was never a problem for me, and it had numerous scars and deep bruises, which even after his healing blood were still apparent.

I hung my head.

As if he could sense my shame, he walked up to me and lifted my chin. He looked at my naked body, then back to my eyes and he said one word, and he couldn’t have picked a better word if he had tried. He said, “Perfect.”

Before I could say a word, he swooped in, took me in his arms, and covered my lips with his. I almost felt as if he was going to eat my face off, he was that intent. He deepened the kiss, as his hands slid all around my body. One hand flattened against my spine, while the other tangled in my hair. While his arm was still around my body, he lifted his mouth from mine, reached around me, and turned off the shower. Then he lifted me up, and pushed me against the wall.

“Don’t you have to leave?” I asked.

“Aren’t you sweet?” he said, repeating a phrase he said when he first met me. He didn’t really mean it back then, and I was sure he didn’t mean it now.

Every feeling I thought had left my body roared back to life at that moment. Every dark void, every empty feeling, was filled. All the love that he acknowledged for me, was blatantly clear, and forced on me, blinding all of my senses, as his mouth and hands traveled the valleys and planes of my body.

His tongue invaded my mouth, and I moaned as he awoke passion and desire that I thought were dead inside me, along with every other decaying emotion and feeling. As my breasts pressed against his chest, and he filled me with his full length, I felt as if I was coming to life again, and it felt better than it should have.

I think I was asking for something from him, silently, without knowing what it was I even needed, and he fulfilled every request and need I had, and then some. His hands held my waist, and he urged me closer and closer to my release, until I started to cry, but these were happy, joyful tears.

His head fell to the crook of my neck. I knew he wanted to bite. I could feel his teeth rasp against the tender skin there, and I swear, I wanted him to bite me. I waited for it. I held still for him. I offered myself to him. Nevertheless, he declined. I wasn’t too offended.

We made love right there against the wall, standing up, him fully dressed, me completely naked, and it was the best sex I ever had, and it was the perfect way to end the evening.

He carried me to my bed, and I actually pointed back to the bathroom and said, “I really need that shower now.”

“No, lover, you need to sleep now. I’ll return tomorrow evening. We still have more to discuss. When you awake, Sam, will be here, and I would like you to do me a favor, and let him come in this time. He needs to talk to you about something important, okay?” He didn’t wait for me to answer. He merely kissed my forehead, pulled my covers over my body, and then stood to leave. He said, “Sleep now, lover. Sleep.”

I did. I slept, and for the first time since my ordeal with the fairies, I didn’t have one nightmare. I slept the sleep of the dead…in other words, I dreamt of Eric Northman all night long.

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