Close to Dead

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Chapter 9: Well, Hell

I was lying underneath Eric on my couch and his mouth was next to my neck. I could feel his cool lips on my skin. He had just asked me if I wanted him as much as he wanted me, and then before I could even answer his stupid question, his tongue came out and licked the long column of my neck, from my ear to my shoulder.

His voice was a caress. “Tell me what you want, lover. I will do it.” He licked me again. I was melting like butter on a piece of hot corn on the cob, on an even hotter summer day. I know I literally quivered under him, because he chuckled, low in his throat. “Is that sign language for fuck me, lover?” he rumbled in pleasure.

I pushed on his shoulders, and looked him square in the eyes and said, “Don’t be crude, and yes, it was.” Hell, I couldn’t help it. Part of me was still a good girl, and part of me was now a wanton.

His lips trailed down my neck, lingering on the pulse-point. He brought his face back to mine and his hands framed my face as he kissed me hard and long on the mouth. He then lifted my shirt right over my head, and before I could say ‘please’ he removed my bra, too.

His tongue laved my nipple, even as his large hand cupped my left breast. I couldn’t help but to arch toward him, especially when he paid the same attention to the other one. My hands threaded his hair and held on as he traveled farther down my body.

I tell you the pleasure that former Viking could show me with just his tongue and lips and teeth was mind-blowing. Soon, I was withering, and screaming, and squirming, and humming … yes, humming. It was almost like he was fine tuning me, so I was humming with delight, and I was sure I was even on key.

He divested me of the rest of my clothes and his own, and, after worshipping every single inch of me, he looked at me and sighed, “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.”

During my courtship with Bill, he had said plenty of romantic things to me, but Eric didn’t usually waste time with flowery words, so if he said something it was the truth, or at least the truth as far as Eric was concerned. Therefore, when he said to me that I was the most beautiful woman he had ever known, he meant it, and that meant more to me than I could find words for.

It was no surprise then when he finally entered me, his right hand holding my left leg over his hip, his left arm holding most of his weight off of my body, and his eyes staring right into mine, that I started to cry. I lost all self-control, and as he rocked his hips and stroked me, over and over and over, I cried and cried and cried, and I felt so stupid, but he understood.

When the waves of our orgasm ended, at the same time mind you, it was perfect. He turned so that he was on his back, and I was lying face down on top of him, both of us naked on my sofa. My tears still rained down, only now they soaked his chest.

His hands went in lazy circles over my back and butt, and I felt sticky and sweaty, but oh so resplendent. He lifted my head in his gentle hands, eyes locking with mine and he smiled. “No more tears. I know.”

And he did. And I think he would have known why I was crying whether we had the blood bond or not, because no matter what, no one had ever loved me as much as Eric loved me. He was a ruthless, selfish, self-centered creature who loved me.

I didn’t know what to do with that. I think I have always been in a bit of denial, and hearing his proclamation while we were having our quickie on the couch finally confirmed what I have been afraid of for a long time. It confirmed the truth. Eric Northman loved me, and I loved him, so help me God.

We went to take a shower together where we had some more fun, and then we were sitting together in a chair in the corner of my living room, while the television buzzed quietly in the background. Funny enough, an old vampire movie was on, but we weren’t watching the movie. We were just sitting.

Until I asked the question he had been dreading, the question he was able to postpone with incredible sex, and the question that he knew I was going to ask before it left my mouth. "Why did Larkin warn me against you?”

Eric became very still. His hands, which were previously moving lazily around my body, just touching here and there, were now clutching the arms on the old lazy boy. I thought he might break the old chair his grip was so hard. I turned on his lap slightly to look at him. He was staring right at the wall. The wall, of all things. I picked up the remote, turned off the movie, and turned back in his lap and repeated my question.

“Eric, how do you know this Larkin character, and why did he warn me against you? Why did he say that I shouldn’t trust you? He said that you were using me. How are you using me? You seem to know each other. How do you know each other?”

He stood up so fast, (those damn vampire reflexes) and deposited me in the chair, and then he paced the floor in front of me. He said, “Which question should I answer first, dear one? You ask so many.”

He seemed angry with me, so I decided to ask that. “Why are you angry with me?”

He turned away and said wearily, “Why can you never just be satisfied with the way things are?”

I thought that was a strange question, especially coming from him. Hell, I would be sublimely happy if things would remain the way they were! I would be overjoyed and thrilled if things would just be ‘the way they are’. Was he serious?

He stopped pacing, “I’m not angry with you, by the way. I’m angry that once again I could not protect you.”

I stood up and walked right up to him. I put my hand on his face, looked up at him and assured him, “Nothing happened to me tonight. You did protect me.”

His hand went around my wrist, and he removed my hand from his face, but he kept my wrist in his hand. He said, “No, I did not. If I had protected you, that man, that creature, that monster, would never have even had a chance to talk with you.”

Then, I asked a question that had been cooking on the back burner since he answered the phone earlier this evening, and one which didn’t even have anything to do with the current discussion at hand, but sometimes my mind wanders, and I have to take care of things as they come. I asked, “How were you able to come out during the daytime?”

He let go of my wrist as if it were a piece of silver.

“It was close to sunset,” he pointed out. He moved away from me, but I almost felt like this question was actually the one that he had feared the most, and was the one that was at the root of all the others, and I wasn’t sure why I thought that, unless he was revealing something to me through our bond.

I countered, “It was still light, though. When you answered the phone, it was still light. It was close to sunset, but it was still light.”

“Sookie.” That was all he said. It was like a word of warning.

“Can you go out in the daylight?” I questioned. “I mean, you can’t, can you? You once told me that the older a vampire was, the more likely it was that they could be woken up from sleep, and that time at Rhodes, you were able to move, but you were sluggish, and it was difficult. This evening, you answered your phone all chipper and then you rushed right over here, even speeding, so you had all your faculties, and you weren’t affected at all.”

“Did you want me to be?” he accused. He plopped down on the couch.

“Don’t change the subject!” I pointed at him. “Does one thing have to do with the other?”

“Don’t be absurd, Sookie,” he almost scolded.

“Don’t be condescending, Eric!” I harped back.

He stood up from the couch, and remarked, “I need blood. Do you have any?” He walked toward my kitchen.

I stayed in the living room and then I muttered softly, knowing he would hear, “I guess I’ll have to get my answers from him.”

I should have known better to bullshit the world’s biggest bullshitter, because even though I knew I would never go to this Larkin for answers, Eric must not have known that, because before I could say, “Eric is a sex god” he ran back into my living room, pushed me up against the far wall, and with his hands gripping my shoulders, said, “You will never see that man without me, do you understand?”

Eric … who had never, even during his darkest days, had ever shown the least bit cruelty toward me, even when he was cruel and ruthless to others, in that instant, was a bit cruel, and I have to admit, it scared me.

And he knew it.

He released me, moving his hands from my shoulders to the wall, so that I was still trapped. His head dropped to the crook of my neck, and he sighed. Lord, he sighed. “Never fear me, Sookie. I know I just proved that man right, when he told you to fear me, but you never need fear me. I have overreacted, but only out of concern.”

He looked up at me, with eyes that beseeched me to believe him, and I did. I said, “I’m not afraid of you, but Eric, I have to know what you know. You know that the reason Bill and I broke up is because he lied to me, and he kept too many secrets. That is the one thing that has always been the best about being with you, the fact that you are so damn honest and forthright.”

He raised one eyebrow and teased, “Seriously, that’s the best thing?” Then, he grinned.

I placed a hand on his cheek and said, “Second best thing. Please, tell me the truth. You were truthful with me about the reason you couldn’t come to me when I was tortured and I accepted that truth. I didn’t really like it, but I was grateful that you deemed to tell it to me. Please, tell me the truth now.”

“Fine, but you won’t like it,” he said with a slight pout, which I found strangely endearing. He said, “Why is it that I have to tell you the damn truth all the time, Sookie? Can’t we keep any secrets?”

“No,” was my flat rejoinder.

His gaze narrowed and he said, “I cannot tell you everything, at least not yet, because some things I am still discovering, but I will tell you one thing. I’ll answer the question that is at the basis of all others. You asked how I could be out during the daytime, and if I tell you this, Sookie, you must never tell another living soul, because if other vampires found this out, it would be the end.”

“They would kill you?” I braced, concerned.

He shook his head even before he answered. “No, my love. They would kill you.”

“Well, hell,” I moaned.

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