Chapter 11 – Fortune’s Folly

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author.  The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise.  No copyright infringement is intended.

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There was a banging noise and it broke into Sookie’s dream. It thumped in the background, then stopped, then thumped again. Sookie opened her eyes and immediately closed them. Her eyeballs felt itchy and she wondered if she’d actually scratched one, it stung so badly.

Sitting up, she carefully rubbed them and this time, her eyes opened. The banging came again. There was someone at the door. Sookie turned on the light and wasn’t surprised to see the empty side of the bed. The only evidence that Eric had been there was the state of the sheets and the stickiness between her legs. “I’m coming,” Sookie called out, worried the person knocking at the door would wake her neighbors, and then, for some crazy reason, Sookie wondered if it was Eric returning. Her mind told her it was day and it couldn’t be, but her heart was hoping anyway.

Grabbing the hotel courtesy robe and wrapping it around her, Sookie walked to the door and carefully looked out the peephole. It wasn’t Eric. It was Mr. Cataliades, and Sookie turned the knob to let him in.

“You must get dressed,” the attorney said without preamble. “I have made arrangements and you will be leaving for home within the hour.”

“But, I’m supposed to….”

Mr. Cataliades turned from pulling her suitcase from the closet. “I will make your excuses,” he hissed. “You must be gone before any vampire rises. No one can smell you!”

“Eric sent you,” Sookie said with a sinking feeling.

“How could you feed from each other?” the demon scolded. “You know he’s pledged! You, of all people, should realize what this could mean for both of you!”

“Where is Eric?” Sookie asked.

“He should be in his travel coffin and on his way to Oklahoma by now,” the attorney told her.

“Did you see him?” Sookie asked. When the attorney nodded once, Sookie couldn’t help herself, “Did he say anything about me?” She felt pathetic the minute the words left her mouth, and she felt worse after the attorney answered her.

“I doubt you will ever see him again.” Sookie couldn’t stop the sound she made. It was more than a sniff but less than a moan. It was the sound of her heart stopping, and Mr. Cataliades stilled to pat her arm. “I have told you I am sorry for your situation, and I am. Still, this was extraordinarily reckless of both of you,” and, turning back to her suitcase, he said, “Go shower. Wash well. I’ll be putting your things in your bag. We can’t delay.”

Sookie stumbled to the bathroom. She realized she had pressing matters to address, although she was sure she wasn’t fooling anyone. There was no pain, no stinging, and Sookie smiled. With the way they’d used each other’s bodies last night, she should expect to be bruised and sore, but that was the beauty of vampire blood. She didn’t have to look in the mirror to know she would be glowing. Sookie closed her eyes and reached out, and she felt him. He seemed far away, which was how he always felt during his day death, but he was there. “How did I not want this?” she asked her reflection out loud.

Sookie turned on the shower. As she waited for the water to heat, she ran her hands over her body, remembering him. In a minute, in two, the water and soap would remove all outward trace, but for this moment, she could still smell him on her and it made her throat ache.

“We must hurry!” Mr. Cataliades called through the door, and, with a sigh, Sookie stepped under the spray.

When Sookie emerged, the attorney was loading the sheets into a laundry bag. There was a human woman in the room and she was re-making the bed. “Go get your towels,” he instructed Sookie.

“What are you going to do with those?” she asked, jerking her chin toward the bag.

“Burn them,” Mr. Cataliades said as if that was the most natural thing to say. He must have realized how confused she was because he explained, “Anything that has his scent must be removed. There can be no evidence that he was here.”

“Yeah, I guess it would be pretty embarrassing,” Sookie said, “Him backsliding, sleeping with his human pet while he’s on vacation.”

Mr. Cataliades glanced at the woman and then at the door, “You know where to put these. Not a word!” The woman nodded and when the door closed behind her, he turned back to Sookie. “Apparently, you don’t understand, so I will explain it while you dress.” He glanced at his watch, “You have fifteen minutes before your driver is here, and less than two hours before your plane leaves, so you need to move.”

Sookie stopped thinking. She picked some underwear from the open drawer and the jeans and shirt she’d been wearing last night, then headed for the bathroom. She left the door ajar, and as she dressed, she said, “Okay, explain it to me.”

“Eric Northman signed a contract, a marriage contract,” the demon told her. “He swore his blood to Freyda. He also signed a codicil promising never to communicate with you in any way. He has broken both.”

“I get it,” Sookie shrugged. “He cheated…” and in that moment, Sookie realized she had become the ‘other woman,’ but just as quickly brushed the thought away. What had passed between them was right. She could feel it all the way to her toes.

“He did much more than that,” the attorney interrupted her thoughts, “He has committed a blood offense.”

“So, he has to what? Pay some kind of retribution?” Sookie was moving a little slower now, her mind racing.

Mr. Cataliades pushed open the door, “No, Sookie. There is only one punishment for this kind of blood offense. Mr. Northman would meet his final death.”

Sookie’s fingers stopped in their work of pulling back her hair, “Oh!” she said, but the sound that came from her was far less than she felt.

“And it would mean death for you, too,” the attorney told her. “With your prior status, it would be assumed you understood the implications and you would share his end.”

“But, Freyda’s not here…” Sookie stumbled over the words.

“No, but every vampire here knows the law. Some would tell Freyda to curry favor. If Stan were to find out, he’d likely use that information to blackmail the Viking. He worries about Freyda’s loyalty and this secret could be helpful.”

“And Felipe would use it, too,” Sookie added.

“Yes,” Mr. Cataliades nodded. “He also wants Freyda’s favor. He would likely kill you as a gift to her, promising to keep the secret if Freyda wishes. It is known that she is happy with the North Man, and until now, I thought the North Man was content with his situation.” Mr. Cataliades pushed past Sookie to grab her toiletries from the bathroom vanity, “Your Viking told me one time that you were a lot of trouble, Miss Stackhouse. Today I know what he meant.”

The ride to the airport was quiet. “What will you tell Felipe about why I left?” Sookie asked.

“I will tell him you became ill,” Mr. Cataliades was looking out the window. “He comes from a time when humans becoming ill meant contagion and generally death. It will make it easy to convince him that you were doing the right thing.”

“You don’t think he’ll wonder why someone who was sick wouldn’t stick it out? Who wants to travel sick?” Sookie thought about driving from Louisiana to Boston, stopping every so often to throw up, her stomach in knots, and how she just wanted to stop and sleep until she felt better.

“Vampires generally take little notice of humans,” the attorney assured her. “They see you as having limited uses, and, as a result, don’t take the time to really understand your natures.”

It was not a comforting thought, but in the next breath Sookie thought about Eric. While there had been times when there were long absences between when they saw each other, he never made her feel like she was unimportant. He got her. He made a point of understanding her nature well enough to know what was important to her. He didn’t shower her with useless gifts she couldn’t use. He gave her a coat when she needed one, and a driveway. “They aren’t all like that,” she said quietly.

“But, thank goodness, Felipe de Castro is,” the attorney replied. The taxi pulled up to the airport and Mr. Cataliades handed her the ticket. “Check your bag with the counter there,” and he indicated the airline baggage check on the sidewalk. “Then walk straight through to security. Your boarding pass is on your phone. Stay in the gate area. Take the train from the airport to your car and don’t call. Don’t travel for at least three weeks.”

“Why three weeks?” Sookie asked. Mr. Cataliades glanced at the driver, then gestured that they should both get out the cab. Mr. Cataliades walked her to the bag check counter and handled her suitcase for her before pulling her toward the curb and away from others.

“If you examine your feelings, you will feel him. Do you?” and he waited for Sookie to nod. “In two weeks or so, you will stop feeling that. You didn’t bond, so the effects are temporary. Once you lose that part of the connection, it’s only a matter of another week or two before the rest of the effects dissipate.”

“So others won’t smell him,” Sookie stated.

“The smell will be gone sooner,” the attorney told her. “It’s something else, a glow. Vampires won’t know who, but they will be able to tell you were with a vampire, and if your name is known it won’t take long to put two and two together. Just remain close to your home in Chester.”

“When do you think Felipe will want me again?” Sookie asked.

“Probably not until the next Summit,” the attorney was glancing around them. “Things between Felipe and Stan are going badly. There have been threats made, but no blood has been drawn, at least not yet. I don’t think hostilities will break out before the Narayana Summit in the Winter. You probably won’t be asked to travel again until December, and, if you are, we will come up with an excuse.” He glanced around him and signaled for a taxi that was sitting down the curb from them. “I think things will stay quiet for awhile,” he said, almost as much to himself as to her, but then he looked her directly in the eyes, “So as long as you remember what’s at stake and don’t draw attention to yourself, there should be plenty of time to recover from your folly.”

Sookie was nervous on the long ride on the plane. She was seated against the window and she screened every passenger and flight attendant twice before she allowed her exhaustion to take over, falling asleep against the bulkhead. She dreamed of Eric. His hands moved over her and his lips outlined her ear and traced her mouth. She woke up moaning, earning an irritated look from the man sitting in the aisle. “Sorry,” she mumbled, and reached for the magazine in the seat pocket in front of her. ‘Forgot those dreams,’ Sookie thought. Her face burning, she turned to the crossword puzzle and tried to lose herself in the mental exercise.

They transferred planes in Baltimore, and Sookie barely had time to buy a bottle of water and she was making the short flight to La Guardia. Baggage collected, she followed the signs, paid her fee, and settled back on the train. There would be more transfers, more waiting. The need for sleep was hammering at her, one yawn following another and her eyes were burning. When she settled on the last train, the one that would take her to the small station where her car was parked, she figured she could risk giving into sleep again. She leaned against the window of the railcar and closed her eyes, but sleep didn’t come.

Instead, Sookie thought about being the ‘other woman.’ All her life, Sookie had watched and heard the dramas that played out when spouses cheated. Sometimes the reasons boiled down to the carelessness of people who were ill-suited to each other. Maybe they’d married too young or for the wrong reasons. In her hometown, a rushed wedding usually meant pregnancy, and most of those ended in divorce. What had always struck Sookie was that cheating seemed to carry some element of desperation. Cheating was usually running away from some unhappiness to try and find that thing that would allow a person to be happy. Mostly it was an illusion, though. Cheating led to drama and guilt, and Sookie had promised herself long ago she would never be a woman who stole another woman’s man, but here she was.

I’m what I never wanted to be,’ she thought. She tried to feel bad about it, then realized she couldn’t. Sookie wasn’t sorry she’d made love with Eric Northman. She wasn’t sorry about it one little bit. She could feel him, thrumming through her. His blood would allow her to dream of him, sharing moments in her head if not sharing her body. She had stolen a moment and she knew he didn’t regret it. She couldn’t think that he did. If he regretted or really thought it was a mistake, he never would have loved her as he did. He wouldn’t have held her and told her she was perfect. Sookie knew what they shared was profound and she couldn’t gloss it with the tarnish of calling it cheating. ‘It’s what was meant to be!’ she declared to herself.

Sighing, Sookie looked out the window, watching the first hints of Fall in the trees they passed. If there was any sense of cheating, Sookie felt it was that fate had cheated them of the ending they deserved, and a single tear slipped down Sookie’s cheek. She knew if circumstances presented again, she’d take him into her bed all over again. Even if she knew it meant she could be killed, she would risk it! Her thighs clenched as she remembered the way she felt as she reached completion and he held her close, having his own happy moment, pulsing deep within her, growling out her name over and over, like a prayer.

Then she thought of Rick.

What would have happened if they had been caught? What would happen to her son if she was killed? It was a cold thought and Sookie’s rational mind kicked back in. She remembered Fran squeezing her hand so hard it hurt, challenging her to put her child before herself and, suddenly, the determination to find another way to Eric was gone. She wouldn’t move toward Oklahoma, offering him access to her, an offer she had once rejected when he suggested it. She wouldn’t seek intermediaries to carry messages.

 

“I had you again, and that was more than I could have expected,” she told the reflection of the sad woman she saw in the window. “It will be enough. I will guard our son and keep him safe for both of us,” and Sookie spent the remaining hours thinking about what awaited her and the things she would need to do. As the miles clicked past with the sound of the rails, Sookie Stackhouse, telepath and lover receded, and Susan Hale, mother, B&B owner, and member of the Parent Teachers Association returned.

 

xxxXXXxxx

Sookie hadn’t made it through the door of the house before Rick was asking what was up with her perfume. His nose literally twitched. Sookie couldn’t smell Eric within her, but realized her son could. He didn’t understand what it was, but he processed it as an unpleasant smell. He kept remarking on it the next day until Sookie lost her patience, “Look, I don’t smell whatever it is that you do, but you are hurting my feelings! I’ve showered. I’ve changed my clothes. Maybe it’s where I was staying, but just give it a few days, I’m sure it will wear off!” Rick continued to give her sideways looks, but he didn’t bring it up again.

The B&B was full as it always was these days. Sookie’s reputation for large breakfasts and charming rooms had her listed on Trip Advisor. She started offering dinners for an additional fee. She cooked the recipes her Gran taught her. She introduced visitors to collard greens and black-eyed peas. She demonstrated the beauty of true buttermilk biscuits. There was no menu, and she restricted dinner nights to Thursdays and Saturdays. Guests got first priority in the small dining room, but soon word traveled and the three extra tables were reserved months in advance by others. If there were guests who chose not to eat, calls would be made to the wait list, and Sookie’s dinners became a highlight in Chester.

“You could join the cook crew for our Fourth of July Barbecue,” Warren, the town mayor, suggested one night. “Your fried chicken is the best I’ve ever had!”

Being part of the town cook crew for either the Fourth or Memorial Day parades was an honor. Only those who truly belonged to Chester were considered, and Sookie felt it, but she also knew that as a relative new-comer in a New England town, those on the crews wouldn’t exactly welcome her. “I sure appreciate it,” Sookie smiled, “but with the summer folks who stay here and Rick, I have both hands full. Tell you what, though, I can offer to bring some and add it if that will help.” By that, Sookie meant that she’d make chicken for the Mayor, and Warren knew it.

And so life continued. Rick settled into school and Sookie came to know George Hermosa who was a frequent visitor. Rick still spent time with his childhood friends, but as often happened, the ‘townies’ broke apart, forming friendships with those who came just for the schools. Often these friendships were lifelong, and the children of Chester found opportunities in the wide world that might not have been open otherwise. During the summer, childhood friendships reasserted for those who weren’t traveling with their more fortunate friends. It was an odd culture, but one that was accepted here.

Sookie didn’t question Rick’s choice of George. She could tell her son honestly liked the young man, and Sookie came to like him as well. He was smart and had an acid sense of humor that complimented her son’s. George was not quite as fearless as Rick, but he rarely backed down. Together, they spent weekends climbing either trees or rock walls. Sookie would find them, helmets and harnesses on, happily coiling rope as they planned where to climb next. It felt natural, this turning from her as Rick became more a part of his world and less her little boy.

Still, there were moments that Rick would get an odd expression, or he would say something that let Sookie know there was something changing about him that wasn’t quite natural, and Sookie resolved to get in touch with Doctor Ludwig and have him examined during the holidays.

As the weeks passed, Sookie could feel Eric slipping further from her. She spent every evening before she went to bed examining and caressing what she felt of him through the tendril that was their disappearing bond. When Lora asked if she was feeling okay, Sookie realized the gradual receding of Eric had put her in a state of near-mourning, and Sookie resolved to project a happier face. In reality, Sookie was struggling with it, the loss of her connection. It was as if she had been thrown back to the first time she lost him, and the pain of living through it again almost overwhelmed her.

Fay Miller told her to pull her head out of her ass and get on with things. “Lora tells me you’re moping around when you think no one’s looking,” her friend snapped at her. “You’re not fooling anyone, and you are worrying the people who love you. You fucked him. It was glorious. Get a vibrator and get over it!” Sookie could hear how thin her friend’s voice sounded.

“How are you doing?” Sookie asked. “It’s been forever since I’ve been to see you in Boston. I think I should come out for a visit.”

“Well, not before the holidays,” Fran replied. “I have too much going on and I don’t need any of you underfoot before then.” There was something in the way Fran said it that let Sookie know the witch was thinking more of Sookie than she was of herself. Still, Sookie worried. The last time she’d seen Fran, the woman looked frail.

Fran was now in her eighties. She finally gave into the need to use a cane and she had broken into her bank account to install an elevator in the central hallway of the house, so she could more easily move up and down the floors. Any mention of her health was dismissed with a snort and an insult, but aging was a reality that none of them could wish away, and Sookie dreaded the day they would lose the witch.

Fall moved forward and before she knew it, Sookie was placing pumpkins on the front porch and putting the final touches on the graveyard decorations in the front yard. Rick had stopped trick or treating last year, so this year he’d be dressing up as a prop for the graveyard. He chose a grim reaper and he and George planned to stand among the gravestones that dotted the lawn to scare the kids who came up the sidewalk for candy.

The weekend before Hallowe’en was traditionally Parent’s Weekend for the schools and Sookie had been racking her brain to come up with excuses. Rick agreed to help his Mother dodge the Hermosas, and they had worked out signals and plans. Then word came that Rubio, Mr. Hermosa, would be unable to come after all. Sookie offered to host a dinner for George, his two siblings, and Lily Hermosa, their Mother. Since Sookie had never met Lily, she figured as long as she could avoid getting caught in any photos, all would turn out well.

When the weekend arrived, Rick gave up his room on the third floor, so that Mrs. Hermosa could be closer to the schools. Lily Hermosa was dark-haired and tiny. She was originally from Mississippi and, in no time, Sookie found herself fighting the natural urge to fall back into her deep South accent. When she lapsed, she covered it by inventing an aunt she had visited during summer vacations in Louisiana. She used her own Aunt Linda as the model. Soon Sookie and Lily were exchanging recipes for biscuits and red beans and rice. Sookie could see the Hermosas felt as if Rick was one of them. Lily had heard stories about Rick from George, but it was more than that. While the two younger children, Maddie and Frank, had their own friends, it was Rick whom they adored. Over dinner, Sookie heard stories about how her son had squired Maddie, who was only a year younger, to a couple school events, making all her girlfriends jealous. Frank, who was only in third grade, worshipped Rick and his older brother, and he pestered them about taking him on their adventures. “He taught me to fish!” Frank told Sookie, his eyes shining as he looked at her son.

Lily insisted on helping with the dishes after dinner. Lora was there and the three women were soon swinging around the kitchen, straightening and cleaning in the way women do. As they finished wiping down counters, Lily said, “I guess you figure I’m some kind of mother, sending my babies so far from home.”

“No such thing!” Sookie answered.

“In case you haven’t noticed, there are three schools here, all with children living far from home. They get a first class education and they are surrounded by people who care for them,” Lora added.

Lily nodded, but then she said, “I guess you know I’m married to a vampire.” She paused as if she was waiting for them to say something, but neither did. “I wanted… well, we wanted the children to have a normal childhood,” Lily told them. “We figured if they were in private schools where no one knew who we were, they could grow up like everyone else.”

“Supernatural lives can be difficult,” Sookie said. She knew she shouldn’t have said anything, but she couldn’t miss the grateful look on Lily’s face.

“Yes, they can be. They are hard on adults, but confusing, maybe even terrifying for children,” and Lily looked away.

Sookie wanted to say more, but Lora threw her a warning look. “You do for them what you can,” Lora told Lily, “but never underestimate them. George tells Rick about living with vampires all the time. George seems to take it all in stride. I’d say you’ve done a pretty good job helping him to accept things.”

“Thank you!” Lily said gratefully, and then there was a noise from the children in the dining room. They were cheering and the three women walked out of the kitchen.

“Rubio!” Lily exclaimed, and she practically ran across the floor to wrap her arms around the vampire’s neck. His arms were already full. He had Frank balanced against his hip and his other arm around Maddie. George was beaming, but Sookie could see his expression as he looked at Rick, and it was more than interested. His head lifted, and she found herself locking eyes.

“You must be Rubio,” Sookie stuttered. “I’m Susan Hale.” She wasn’t sure what Rubio would say, but he seemed to use his time hugging his wife to process things.

Lily blushed as she released her husband, “Oh, I am sorry! I’m being rude!” She took Frank from her husband and detached his daughter as she said, “This is Rick’s Mom, Susan Hale, and Lora. She works here with Susan.”

“Of course,” Rubio replied smoothly. He stepped forward, but Sookie automatically bowed, and Rubio returned the gesture.

“You really do seem familiar with Supernaturals,” Lily complimented, but Sookie could hear there were questions forming in the woman’s head.

“I know it looks a million miles away from anything, but we do have special folks through here from time to time,” Sookie finessed. Sookie looked at Rick. There was something about how he was watching Rubio. There was something going on with her son, so she turned to Lily, and said, “Well, Rick and I have a couple things to get done. Lora? Would you mind setting up breakfast for tomorrow? Lily, why don’t we give you and your family some privacy?” Sookie grabbed Rick’s arm and steered him toward the kitchen and their family apartments.

“What is it?” she asked once they were behind closed doors.

“I can’t explain it,” Rick stammered. “It’s like there’s a glow around him. I could feel him before he even walked in the door. It was like a pull or something. I couldn’t have ignored him if I’d wanted to.”

“Have you ever felt anything like this before?” Sookie asked. She stroked his arm as he shook his head.

There was a knock on the door and Rick said, “It’s Mr. Hermosa.”

“I guess I’d better get this over with,” Sookie sighed.

“Should I go?” Rick asked.

“Nope,” Sookie told him. “You’re going to need to hear this, too.”

When Sookie opened the door, she gestured toward the small table, “Come on in, Rubio, you might as well take a seat.”

“I wondered,” he told her. “When I met Rick the first time, I thought his Mother must be a Supe. It never occurred to me it would be you. Sookie Stackhouse!”

Sookie sat down on a chair. Rick sat, too. Rubio looked at him again, “What is he, exactly?” he asked.

“A hybrid,” Sookie answered, “and my son.”

“Did you tell him?” Rubio asked.

“He knows what he is,” Sookie replied before Rick could say anything.

“Not Rick,” Rubio smirked, “The Viking. In Denver. Did you tell him about…” and Rubio stopped. His head cocked again and he appeared unable to not turn toward her son. “There is something about you,” he said, staring at Rick. “Something that makes me uneasy.”

“He could sense you before you arrived,” Sookie told Rubio. “We’re going to see Amy Ludwig during winter break. Rick’s changing, and I’m hoping she can explain what’s happening to him.” Taking Rick’s hand, Sookie said, more for her son than her guest, “What he can expect.”

“Doctor Ludwig is wise,” Rubio agreed, then shaking his head, turned back to Sookie. “I understand your secrecy now. Getting you to talk about where you had been was like pulling teeth in Denver. This explains it.”

“Are you going to tell anyone about us? About our being here?” Sookie asked.

“Anyone, like Felipe?” Rubio asked, “No. For all I’m his vassal, I see no need to tell him something the King seems happy leaving a mystery.”

“How about anyone else?” Sookie challenged, and it occurred to her that Rubio was someone’s spy. Eric told her that all vampires had spies and while Sookie knew Rubio worked for Felipe, she was now equally sure he was really someone else’s man.

Rubio stared at Rick again. It took a long moment before he said, “No, I won’t tell anyone about this, but you!” and he gave Sookie a hard look. “You should! He deserves to know!”

“And he will,” Sookie nodded. She glanced at her son, “We agreed that Rick will find Eric when he’s fourteen. That’s in two years, and hopefully by then, this war that’s brewing will be over.”

Rubio nodded. “When the time comes,” he told Rick, “have your Mother contact me. I can present you to the North Man. He knows me and it will make the news, well… easier to hear.”

“Thank you,” Sookie swallowed, “I know Eric trusts you.”

“Well, you’ll be coming, too, right?” Rick asked his Mother.

“I don’t think that would be a good idea,” Sookie shrugged, and when Rick looked like he’d protest, Sookie added, “and I think we’ve had enough excitement for one day. Why don’t you head out and see your friends before they leave for the night?” Rick looked as if he’d protest, but then he nodded. He stood up and stalked out the door, a miniature version of his Father.

“George is very fond of him,” Rubio said, his eyes watching the door Rick had used.

“Rick and I feel the same way about George,” Sookie replied. “Look, I don’t have any light-tight rooms here, but I could cobble something together in the basement…”

“Ever the hostess! It’s not a problem,” Rubio chuckled. “I have already arranged a room in the next town that will suit my needs. Lily is upstairs packing, so I will be stealing away one of your guests.” They rose to rejoin their families when Rubio said, “Don’t worry, Sookie. Your secret is safe,” and somehow, Sookie knew that it was.

 

xxxXXXxxx

 

When Eric emerged from his coffin following Denver, it was in the lodge he maintained in the farthest end of the Oklahoma Panhandle. This was the first residence he’d purchased after coming to the state and its distance from the Queen’s capital had been purposeful. In those early days, he had resented his situation, and blamed Freyda.

He sent Freyda word that he was dealing with some unfortunate business reversals. He assured her that all was well and that he would be in the capital in two weeks. “I have something in particular I wish to discuss with you,” he told her over the phone. When she asked for more details, he teased her about surprises.

Each night he called her, talking sometimes for hours. He forced himself to think about all the things he liked about the Queen before he dialed the phone, her qualities, her intelligence, her humor.

When he wasn’t speaking with his Queen, Eric spent time standing on the porch of his house, staring out into the night, remembering the lessons Appius Livius Ocella had, sometimes cruelly, sought to teach him. His Maker spent over a hundred years beating and punishing emotions from his progeny. He told Eric that forming connections with others was weakness. He taught Eric that only strategy and thought without the distraction of feelings mattered.

Eric had learned. The Viking had learned to disassociate himself from his surroundings. He had learned to lock away his pain and humiliation to focus on other things. He learned how to think under pressure. He learned how to puzzle his way through when things seemed most bleak. He learned to embrace the cold, clear truth of reality and to turn away from disappointment, and he sought that same clarity now.

It was hard.

The first night he locked himself in the smallest room in the house and waited as the scent of Sookie Stackhouse that emanated from him filled the space. After an hour, he flung himself from the room, disgusted with his own weakness.

He resisted the temptation the second night, but the third, he was in the room again, filtering the palette of scents, distilling his senses to just her. He closed his eyes. He remembered each second, what she said, what she didn’t say. He thought of her body.

Eric had heard Sookie remained with Sam Merlotte until she didn’t. He saw the unmistakable evidence that told him she had borne at least one child. He wondered if she kept it, but, knowing her, he was sure she did. He wondered if, even now, she was sitting beside some human mate, telling him and her children about her adventures in Denver, adventures that would not include the story of how she fucked Eric Northman.

Each day he fed from bagged blood and, more carefully, from those who lived around his lodge. He used glamour, working hard to remain under the human’s radar, and he considered his situation.

Eric Northman prided himself on being pragmatic. He prided himself on being able to change with his environment. Of all the vampires in the United States, he was oldest. You didn’t become that unless you were able to manipulate events and people to your benefit. Even in this time of mainstreaming, there were dangers, and vampires became finally dead with regularity. Sometimes humans would trap them, draining them for their blood. Sometimes it was fights with rivals or other supernaturals. Eric never doubted that he owed his long existence to the teachings of Appius, and, slowly, inexorably, he pushed Sookie Stackhouse to the back of his mind and used his logic to dictate what he needed to do to save himself.

Eric thought about his previous attractions. Karin he had turned because, in her misery, she reminded him of himself in those first years with Appius. In turning her, and seeing her happiness, he had saved some younger version of himself as no one had done for him. With Pam, he had been lonely. He admired her independent spirit and she was so grateful to be a vampire, he never doubted the wisdom of his choice.

But Sookie? It wasn’t seemly to label his attraction to her as love, but he did love her; he could feel the ache of it in every part of him and it only added to his unhappiness.

For the first time, the only time, he had asked instead of simply taking her as he had taken his other daughters, and she rejected him. She told him many times she had no desire to continue with him. She would fade and turn to dust, a moment in the long river of his existence, leaving nothing behind to comfort him.

“How is that love?” Eric asked aloud. It was something he shared with Sookie, the love of reading. Over and over the message the greatest writers provided was the same: If both partners did not put the other first above themselves, it was not love. If only one partner was willing to do all for the other, it was obsession, and obsession never ended well.

For the first time in a long time, Eric thought ahead to when Sookie would be gone. He had no need to swallow or breath, but his chest constricted anyway. He could see how easily he could fall into despair, allowing his existence to slip from him. He had seen it before, vampires who became obsessed with their mates. When their mate failed or was killed, they stopped feeding. It had never made sense to him, until now.

“Is this what you’ve come to? Someone willing to throw away your existence on an obsession?” he asked the night, and he resolved again to build the wall within himself that would block off the inexplicable disaster that was Sookie Stackhouse and find some way to move forward.

 

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64 thoughts on “Chapter 11 – Fortune’s Folly

  1. They have to protect their hearts again don’t they? A stolen night of love that Sookie hopes will last her for the rest of her life, and Eric hopes to suppress so it doesn’t consume him. And now someone else knows Rick’s secret, thankfully a friend who will protect it until he can meet his father. On a practical side, I wonder about her aging. It’s been nearly 13 years since Eric left for Oklahoma, so Sookie is nearly 40 now. I don’t recall seeing anything to indicate if she is aging normally, or if her fae blood has slowed down that process.
    I was caught by Eric’s thoughts at the end here, about Sookie’s refusal to be turned to be with him, and the fact that true love should mean each partner puts the other first. I agree with that and always thought that canon missed the boat on this point. If you love someone and have the ability to be with them forever, why would you not want that? The argument that everyone around you will die and you will go on is one that falls flat for me. People we love and care about die regardless, and suddenly. No one is promised a long life, only today..
    Okay, off the soapbox now. As always you write stories that touch me on so many levels. It’s going to be a long week until the next chapter.

    Liked by 13 people

    1. Sookie is aging normally. It is a conundrum. Time stands still for him, but it has never done the same for her.
      Good soapbox, and one that is central to this story. What would you do to be with the one you love? If you knew you could prevent losing them, would you do it? What beliefs are so entrenched that you would literally give up your happiness to hold onto them?
      If life is a series of happy accidents and potential unknowns, and you could prolong your time with the love of your life, would you? Or is forever too long?

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      1. I had another thought about Eric here. The idea that you put your partner’s wishes first is a two-edged sword. He knew she didn’t want to be turned, so using that same analogy, should he not have been willilng to respect that as well? Another conundrum? And if they had mastered the art of communication at some point, they could have had a conversation about this subject. His blood would have extended her life and delayed her aging based on what is in canon, and certainly what has been written in fan fiction stories. So a compromise was possible, allowing her to remain human, and be with him longer. And how long is forever? Even vampires can die, they are just a bit harder to kill (during the night). They are totally helpless during the day.
        I suppose Eric would have to at least wonder if Sookie feels so strongly about not being made vampire, how can she still love one? Things were far easier when vampires chose their progeny the old fashioned way and just turned them without a conversation or explanation.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Your point is the key – that even though they are immortal, a vampire can still be destroyed, and I mention it several times – how frequently they are made finally dead.
      It would have been better if they had talked about this, and we will see an example of a couple who has and reached their own compromise. The key is, if Eric truly loves her, enough that he knows that in his thousand years, there will be no other like her, what does that suggest for him? Wouldn’t you follow your lover into the unknown if you knew that the future that stretched before you would be a thin shade of a life until you could be rejoined? And what would that mean for Rick?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this story.
    I was hoping that since the bond was broken by magic that they would only have to exchange once to become bonded again.
    Thank you for sharing this story with us. I look forward to every chapter.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. No short cuts for them on this one. They are, unfortunately, still blind to each other’s thoughts and feelings, which is doubly problematic for them since they are such poor communicators!!

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  3. So much hurt both hearts are dealing with. Those walls will have to be built extremely well. I’m glad that Eric kept his head and called Mr. C because it’s obvious that Sookie didn’t think what happened would have that serious of consequences. All those plans for Parents Weekend went right out the window when Rubio showed up, fortunately he’s a friend. Hopefully he’ll stay one. Having trouble believing Sookie didn’t contact Dr Ludwig as soon as she got back, unless she was waiting those weeks for Eric’s blood to leave her but it just seemed she was putting it off until it was convenient instead of a priority for Rick’s health. Regarding love and each partner putting the other first – good in theory but I think in real life coming up with compromises is better. Unfortunately with the turning situation, neither tried to work out any.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Sookie never took the time to understand the subtleties of vampire politics or traditions. If she had, she would have taken this more seriously.
      One hopes that in the case of love, it is a two way thing. If it is where both put the other first, it is, by definition, compromise. Each would give all, but the other wouldn’t be willing to take it. The resistance wouldn’t be from defending one’s self, but the other person. Utopian, I’m sure, but surely a worthy goal to aspire to.
      As for Sookie & Eric before this? Imperfect, non-verbal and both so quick to make assumptions – she to the negative and he to more easily fit his idea of how things were. They both missed the mark and in the end, hurt each other and themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Sookie got pregnant again. Can’t wait to hear what Dr Ludwig says about Rick. I’m glad someone else is aware. Thanks again for making my Sunday Natsgirl!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. It’s sad that it took Sookie so long to realize that she really does love Eric. It’s also sad that it was a day (or ten years) and a dollar short. Then again, she wouldn’t have had Rick if she had come to that realization sooner.
    I was surprised that she could feel him since they only exchanged the once, but I’m glad since her feeling him helped further her resolve and it gave her something a little more concrete to realize exactly what she had lost and exactly whose fault that loss was. Appius may have arranged for the marriage between Eric and Freyda, but it was Sookie’s own stubbornness and immaturity which truly separated them: If she had relented and actually showed how much she loved him back then, Eric would have known and wouldn’t have capitulated and gone off to Oklahoma. Then again, if he hadn’t been just as stubborn, he would have explained things to her in a way she could understand. Perhaps even someone whose thought she could read so she would know beyond a doubt that what was being said was the truth.
    And Rubio! You have brought life to a character who seemed to be barely a thought in the books. I liked him then, and I like him even more now :D.
    Well done! I can’t wait until next week. Hopefully we’ll find out what’s up with Rick, although I have a suspicion.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. So good to read someone saying that Eric is as much at fault for what happened between him & Sookie due to his own stubbornness as well as his lack of communication with Sookie. Yes, she was stubborn and didn’t handle things well, but, my goodness! She was only 27, and so emotionally immature! Eric, at over 1,000, certainly could have explained things sooner and clearer, and knowing that Sookie had the cluviel dor simply could have asked her to use it for them, rather than playing the “If she really she loves me I shouldn’t have to ask” game. Sookie was unaware and thought it was a love token encompassing all facets of love, not just romantic love. If you want something from your partner, open your mouth and ask! Don’t wait for them to guess or you could be left waiting forever! Silly vampire and immature telepath! 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I couldn’t agree more!
        There was a lot wrong with their relationship from the start. I don’t think they were right for each other at that point in time. Sookie needed some life experience, and romantic experience,under her belt before she would have been ready, I think.
        Not only her telepathy was to blame though, although it was the largest factor.
        She was from a white poor family who didn’t have the means to travel even as far as Dallas, which was closer than NOLA.
        Her Gran loved her but I’m sure Sookie would have heard how scared she was to be taking on two pre-teens in her sixties, and that would have clouded her view.
        The supe world at large failed her from the moment of her birth. Mr. Cataliades knew about her and about her gift yet did nothing to help her develop it, even though he was the reason she was telepathic to begin with.
        Eric was far from perfects well. He was 1000 years old! He should have been more mature himself. Pam was only a little more than 100 and she was more mature than either of them!
        Bill certainly didn’t help matters, either, with the way he pushed caution and disgust at her from the very beginning of her acquaintance with Eric, that little bit he did doomed the E/S ship before it ever left the dock!
        All in all, I think that if Sookie hadn’t been so scared of her feelings and shown Eric that she loved him he would have found a way out of that contract, even if it meant becoming a King himself.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It was so stupid of both of them – the cluviel dor game. At one point, Niall tells her that he informed Eric. Frankly, I never understood her reaction. Eric could have demanded it from her. He could have teased her or tried to trick her out of it. He never did. He let her know that he knew, but he never pressured her, so bad on her! What more did she want?
        He could have just asked – and if he’d ever sat down and just told her what was going on instead of trying to fix it on his own, that would have been the best outcome!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree with you. It is both of their failures, and always was. They are such wonderfully imperfect characters! It makes them so much fun to work with. Eric could have told her – should have explained it! On the other hand, she needed to be interested in finding out, but she always seemed to want to hold back.
      In the end, she does realize her mistake. Now, it’s a matter of how well does she understand what she wants, and what she’s willing to do to get it? Yes, she’ll sacrifice if it’s for the benefit of her son, and that’s a little more mature than she was in the books.
      She is finally showing that she can put someone other than herself first, and that there are things to be gained in doing it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What a lot of us tend to forget is that maturation is a life long process.
        Yes, they are imperfect characters which is part of what made the series so good and so popular.
        What made it wonderful for me was that they were both maturing throughout, until the last couple of books but we won’t mention those, will we :D.

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  6. So, nice as their interlude was, it was a deadly mistake. Good thing Cataliades was on the ball. He saved both their lives. Looks like Rubio is a friend to both of them. Glad they had a talk and included Rick. I hope the consult with Dr. Ludwig happens soon. I think Rick’s puberty could get interesting. Not liking how Fran is doing. Not only will her death leave a huge hole in Sookie’s life, it will remove a layer of protection. Wonderful chapter. All of your chapters are full of information and things happening.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Good thing Mr. Cataliades stepped up and stepped in. Eric got him, but it’s the demon who engineers Sookie’s escape. He is a good friend to her. The consult is coming – next chapter, and it should answer some questions.

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  7. Thank goodness Eric kept a level head and sought out help. If left to her own devices, Sookie would probably have ended up dead, along with Eric. It’s sad to see them both trying to deal with the aftermath of the encounter. I think Eric is having the worst time because he knows he needs to lock all this away permanently in order to survive. Sookie can still keep her dreams and it probably won’t hurt anyone but herself. I’m interested to see how this all works out eventually. Especially once Eric meets Rick. Wonderful story as all your works are!!

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    1. I believe that ignorance is bliss. Eric does know the consequences, so I agree. It is harder for him. He knows what this means and that he’s got to get a handle on this thing if he wants to survive. Were Freyda to find out, it’s likely the contract protecting Sookie would be void, and so there’s her to consider as well. One thing this does do, though, is demonstrate to him that he’s not as in control as he might think.

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  8. I think Sookie is showing how she has grown here. She understands her mistakes and regrets them but needs to think of now for her son. Sookie may have been privy to all the nasty thoughts of people but rarely saw anyone act on those thoughts. She didn’t live in a world where government and police killed people for power or minimile wrongs. Then the supe world came to her and she was expected to expect and believe the absolute worst. She needed to be told and given examples so she understood.
    I’m not saying she was always right but I’m saying she was not 100% responsible for the wrongs that happened.
    And the whole Turing thing. She didn’t understand why he wanted her. She saw no long term vampire relationships. It was used as a threat towards her by Eric himself as well as implied by others. How could she not see it as a bad thing. Also, she loved him, but she loved her family too and I like to think that part of her wanted to die a natural human death so that one day she could see them all again in the heaven she believed in. Not so much that she was scared to out live them but feeling like she’d never get that opportunity to see them would have been hard for her.
    Now they have just under two years to convince themselves that they have moved past it all and then all shit is going to hit the fan. I see more misunderstandings, arguments, yelling and not listening in their future.

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    1. I agree with your assessment. Sookie is thinking of someone else first, and that is a big step for her. I also agree that had someone sat her down and talked her through the ins and outs of the supernatural world, she would have been in a better place. The only one who showed any inclination to do that was Eric, and she was kind of hard-wired not to trust him as much as she should have.
      The conflict of becoming vampire with her faith is a tough one. It is something I am trying to explore in this story – at what point is your personal happiness worth long-held beliefs? Are there things that can change how you feel, even those things you held hardest?
      There are people who tell me that people don’t change. I don’t really believe that. I am a different person than I was at ten, and a different person than I was at twenty. My eyes are still blue, but many of the things I thought were important have changed. Life’s experiences and the people you meet along the road do that to a person, if you let them.
      I like to think it’s growing, but only time will tell!
      And so – I believe that both Eric and Sookie have an opportunity to change by shedding some of the things they believe about themselves; things that stood in their way.

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  9. All the important things have been said so I won’t go on about all that.

    But with all the urgency to remain hidden, I have to wonder that anyone thinks it’s a good idea to tell the Viking about his son? I mean I k ow at a basic level he “deserves” to know, but at what cost? For what purpose? Rick loses both his parents? Or his mother? Or is rejected by his father?

    I keep hoping the meeting with Ludwig will yield some really fortunate advice. Now I’m worried about Fran 😦

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I go a step further than Eric rejecting Rick. I wonder why anyone thinks it so vital as well, especially given the edict that Sookie & Eric cannot have any contact and she is not permitted to step foot in Oklahoma under pain of death. What would Freyda do if she knew the two had a child together? I don’t even want to imagine!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I believe that the line between love and hate can be thin. Freyda could step from interest to jealousy in the blink of an eye, and ripping apart her consort’s love child in front of his eyes would seem appropriate.

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    2. All good points, but there would be that underlying assumption about Eric Northman himself. I don’t think anyone believes that he’s going to stay a consort forever. He may be down, but no one is counting him out, and who wants to face the Viking in some dark corner and explain why it was a good idea to keep information he would have wanted from him? Not me!!

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  10. This chapter had so much in it. When Desmond came to Sookie and finally told her about the blood offense I am thinking this is the first time she truly understood it. Her journey home was sad and the thought process she had about being the “other woman” and how she thought to justify that in her mind. Thank Goodness for Rick otherwise she may have went to OK and gotten them both killed. Rick otherness is really starting to show along with him starting puberty. Rubio was a good surprise Sookie needs a vampire to share this with and it could not be Bill or anyone else his introducing Rick to Eric will help too. I hope that Fran will not die soon and she can counsel Sookie more. More to come and it won’t be easy for anyone but you have to go through the bitter to appreciate the sweet 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I believe that – that only by experiencing hardship can you truly experience joy. Without the extremes, life can be good, but it lacks an essential vitality that pops your eyes open in the morning, wondering what the day will bring. That vitality is one of the things that attracts me to Eric. He seems to welcome whatever comes, even though in this story he’s more muted.
      As for Sookie? She’s thinking of someone other than herself, and that’s an important step for her. She was quick to put her friends first, but she guarded against those she truly loved, and it cost her.

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  11. I’m so thankful that Eric thought to contact Mr. C.! I was afraid for a moment that Sookie wouldn’t acknowledge the danger that both her and Eric were in due to their night together. So happy that your Sookie has grown with wisdom!

    I’m also happy that Rubio now knows the truth. I think he’s a good one to have on their side and it will be perfect for him to present Rick to his father (that is if Rick doesn’t seek him out before then!). Interesting that Rick made Rubio uneasy though….is that gonna be a problem? I really hope that Sookie doesn’t delay in contacting Dr. Ludwig!

    I feel so bad for Eric and Sookie….their one night together awakened the feelings they worked so hard to hide/forget.

    Sunday can’t come soon enough!! 😊

    Liked by 5 people

    1. The reason Rick makes vampires uneasy will be addressed.
      They are both lucky to have Rubio. He has a perspective they will need, and he will prove himself a better friend than they know.
      Sookie may be (slowly) coming to the realization that there is a lot she still doesn’t know about living supernatural. It is an ignorance that could cost her.

      Don’t look for those feelings to go away. In some ways, this is the moment they recapture their love, and it cause them to make some confessions to themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Like the reader above, you’re the first e-mail I seek out on Sunday mornings! This is my new, current favorite. I don’t know how you’re going to resolve all this –congrats! I usually am good at guessing story arcs and conclusions. I have a HW screen writer friend who runs her original works by me –if I can guess the conclusion before I get to the middle of her screen play, she goes back to the drawing board 🙂 ).
    I thought maybe Mr. C may have come up with a way out of the contract, given Eric has an actual heir –but nope…. I keep thinking Freyda will be a reasonable person and give the Viking up –I don’t see that happening……. Maybe Freyda gets caught in the crossfire between Stan and Felipe? Who knows –I just want to peek into your mind to see how it works…

    How about a chapter or part of a chapter from Rick’s point of view? Man…the changes he must be going through –not only puberty but “supe” puberty on top of it. What kind of budding powers does Rick have that would make a vampire uneasy? Interesting…..

    I hope that Rubio continues to protect Sookie and Rick.

    Now….will a more mature Sookie look to being a vampire? Would she put Eric and his happiness first? Rick’s happiness?

    It’s funny, but “Obsession” was the perfume of choice Eric wanted Sookie to wear –little did he imagine…….

    again! Wow!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I love Sundays because I always look forward to reading your comments! They’re always so interesting & and make me think, even if I do have a front row seat of sorts, I don’t know exactly what’s coming and your comments are always so thought-provoking! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You always flatter me by allowing me to believe I fool you too, but I suspect you know more than you let on. But that’s what friends do, and I appreciate you doing it!

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    2. Thank you, and I consider that praise! I like new stories, so it’s nice to hear that my idea of new is others’ ideas as well!
      So many things that could have happened. The possibility of either Felipe or Freyda freeing him was not among them, though. In this story, they are pretty firmly in the vampire camp – greedy and possessive. It wouldn’t occur to them to do a nice turn for someone else. Just not how they’re wired!
      As for Rick’s perspective: Up to now he has been an extension of his Mother. It has been her making the decisions, and although we hear him speak, he isn’t handling the narrative. There’s a couple more chapters before that happens. Once he takes control and starts to make his own story, we’ll see him drive the description, and once he takes control, he’ll hold onto it for a few.

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  13. I am so grateful for Eric being so pragmatic and contacting Mr.C so he could get Sookie out of the Summit in time!
    I wasn’t thinking about the grave consequences for both Eric&Sookie if they were “caught”!!!!
    So now Rubio knows about Rick…hopefully he will be loyal friend to keep a big secret like that.
    I felt so sad for Eric in this chapter.
    I really don’t want him to build walls around his heart…I want him to feel again he has a natural son he doesn’t know.
    Does Eric really have to wait another two years to meet Rick!?
    I hope something happens and he will get to know his son ASAP
    Another long week ahead ……
    Jackie69

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I see these kinds of events like pebbles thrown in a pond. They disturb your plans and return consequences you don’t anticipate. Don’t expect the full two years.
      Eric understood, and Mr. Cataliades hints that Sookie shouldn’t be so ignorant when he’s surprised she doesn’t understand it too. Sookie was married to Eric and while she may have rejected that reality on a regular basis, those around her would have assumed she was somewhat fluent in supernatural customs and mores.
      Rubio is a good friend, and, as it will turn out, more than that. He also brings a unique perspective. He has a successful marriage with a human and there are children involved. He will help in all kinds of ways.

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  14. Really glad that Eric got in contact with Mr. C. Sookie needed to know just how badly it could have gone if they smelled Eric on her. Mr. C’s assessment of De Castro’s knowledge of humans is correct. He only know what is needed to feed and fuck them. Any proposed illness is beyond him. That was really smart. While I know that Eric needs to get his emotions under control and pushing his “Obsession” with Sookie to the back of his mind is for the best, Eric is still thinking of only himself. What I mean is that while Eric thinks that Sookie should prove her love for him by being turned because it puts him first. It means she loves him enough to spend eternity with him. Too bad they never really talked. What about Eric proving his love by accepting her need for mortality. Whil Sookie is a small part sky fae biologically, I think that she is more sky fae than either realize. Sookie has always felt rejuvenated by being in the sun. Being a vampire she would lose that. Could she even be successfully turned, or would she become a “Bubba”? Also there is the fact that Sookie never thought Eric would stay with her as she aged. She never felt loved enough by Eric to consider that she would be able to hold him as she aged. Then there is the fact that she has been told on more than one occasion the maker and children do not stay in a romantic love for very long. Why would she consider being turned if she would have a forever without Eric. Eric as her husband and lover. So really in Sookie’s place I do not believe I would want to be turned either. Just give me as long with Eric as possible and then when he casts me aside for a younger woman I will at least have some time to make a life with out him. Sookie may be aging but at least she is aging well. That is without vampire blood on a daily basis. That process may slow down if her and Eric get back together. I can’t see her taking any other vampires blood. Not willingly at any rate. I can only hope that Stan and De Castro go to war and that Freyda gets caught in the crossfire and that Eric gets to avenge her and takes De Castro’s head. Now that is a pleasant dream. Will Eric get to be king if someone else kills Freyda? If there is no fault to Eric? I think that the big game changer is going to be Rick. If Eric gets to know him and who he really is. If he accepts it. Well then if any one come after Rick they are dead. One though. traditionally Damphires are vampire hunters. Is that what is going to happen here?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. All good guesses!
      The relationship between Eric and Sookie is complicated. He isn’t asking her to turn at this point. If anything, he has accepted it too well, and is willing to do what is needed to keep his contract with Freyda in good shape so the protection continues. It is survival for him, to be sure, but it is also survival for her. And now, he believes she has another in her life – a man who gave her a child or two.
      I do have Sookie continuing to age. It is the problem they face, but there is a new factor now. She has a child who is part supernatural. There is more about Rick that will come to light soon that will force Sookie to at least say some things that suggest she thinks a little differently about being a vampire.
      My research agreed with yours on the subject of damphirs. Vampire hunters, indeed and that gift will come in handy.

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  15. I didn’t realize that this could mean death for both of them. I know Eric is being pragmatic , but part of me wishes he would realize he cares for her still. She really needs to tell him of Rick. I’m called Rubio knows and will help. They really need to call Dr. LUDWIG .

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    1. It would be easy for both of them to throw caution to the wind, but then they wouldn’t be growing, and they need to do that if they can be successful together.
      Doctor Ludwig is on the horizon, and soon. Thanks!

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    1. Not to worry. There is a happy ending in their future, but they need to figure a few things out first, and there’s nothing like adversity and upheaval to teach stubborn people lessons.

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  16. I feel so sad for both Eric and Sookie, I believe Sookie would now let Eric turn her because she does realize that she loves him that much. I feel sorry for this Freyda, because she will never have Eric like she wants, his love is Sookie and Sookies love is Eric. I also thought that there bond might resurface with the blood exchange but alas not. Sookie really needs to get Dr. Lugwig to examine Rick sooner rather than later, she needs to speed that up. Looking forward to the next chapter, it truly is going to be a long week.

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    1. They are doing the adult thing. She is putting her child first. He is recommitting to his contract marriage, and all it implies, including protection for Sookie. Don’t think that Eric will forget her. That ship sailed!
      Doctor Ludwig is right around the corner. Turns out she knows witches too.

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  17. Such a sad chapter. Thank goodness I saw the update in my Facebook feed. I follow you but never get email updates for some reason. I hope that when Rick finally meets his father that he doesn’t feel rejection. That would be horrible for Rick. Thank you for this chapter. Love the story.

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    1. It’s a good guess that when they meet there won’t be some immediate connection. I don’t think either one of them are ‘that’ person. But, on the other hand, don’t expect rejection either. This will be a new thing to Eric, and doubtless he’ll examine it before he rejects it. Plus, there’s going to be some added stress for the Viking to balance, so you can anticipate interesting interactions as they circle round each other, trying to figure things out.

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    1. They are facing the music, but they are doing it like adults. Their lives will get back on track… or so they think. The situation between the Kings will not resolve any time soon, and that will start to interfere with their lives.

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  18. Wow, awesome chapter! So sad. When Mr. C. told Sookie she would probably never see Eric again, I felt so bad for her. I am probably wrong, but I have a feeling Rubio is a spy for Eric or Pam. I am glad he knows about Rick, and even more glad he didn’t spend time wondering how Eric fathered a kid and just knew right away he is Eric’s. He knows Sookie has her own magic of a sort, so anything can happen. I am also intrigued with what is happening with Rick and why he felt drawn to Rubio and why Rubio felt uneasy. And poor Eric. I think he is going to find it tough to wall off his feelings. I also think Freyda may put two and two together. Anyway, awesome chapter! Always looking forward to more of this story!

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    1. I believe that there are lies you can tell yourself about controlling your emotions, but they are just that – lies! Eric will lie but not for long. He will just come to terms with being two people in his pragmatic way. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), fate won’t let things be still for them for long.
      The questions about Rick and why his presence makes vampires uneasy will be answered in the next chapter.
      As for others knowing right away whose son this it… he looks like Eric. Now, when they finally meet, Eric won’t see it, but I find that’s frequent with fathers and sons.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I am hopeful that Eric will know that Rick is his just by looking at him. Rubio, Mr. C, and Fran took one look and knew. I’m sure it will be hard for him to believe though. I’m not sure what boat I’m in, whether it’s the he deserves to know crowd or it’s probably better off for everyone’s sake if they just let sleeping dogs lie. I would love Eric to have a relationship with Rick but on the other hand the danger that comes with that may be too much. I wonder if Rubio smells Eric in him at all? That may be a good question for Sookie to ask him. Glad he’s a friend. She needs all the friends she can get, especially vampire friends. Oh Sunday is too far away!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The smelling thing is interesting. Rick is a product of both of them (as Doctor Ludwig will confirm shortly), but he wasn’t ‘made’ in the way of other vampires. It’s why no one is associating him by scent.
      As things stand, it would be dangerous for Rick to approach his Father, or for Eric to try and establish a link with Rick. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you see it), fate will fix things so there is a reason for them to come together.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Hmmm
    Sookie finally understands how serious the contract can be. She owes a debt to Desmond!
    Eric and Sookie feel the same not wanting to erase the memory of Colorado yet knowing they have to move on.
    Rubio saying rick makes him uncomfortable is interesting.

    Glad he is on Sookie side and will help with introductions.
    Eric may not be able to be a father but regardless he should know. He should have known all along.

    Thank you for posting wonderfully written

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Should he or shouldn’t he is a question! If he knew, what could he have done about it? If he had tried to do something about it, what would that have meant for the contract that is protecting Sookie?
      Don’t look for either of them to be able to erase what happened in Denver. If anything, it spurs new avenues of thought that they haven’t had before, and that’s a good thing for both of them.
      Rubio is a fortuitous friend in this story, He has married a human, his relationship is successful, and he has been accepted by her human children. He will be able to offer a perspective that Eric, Sookie and Rick need.

      Like

  21. Gosh it was a good thing Eric was ready with a plan and Mr. Cataliades in a nearby room available for Sookie handling… She certainly wasn’t in the right frame of mind and it is hard to blame her… What a re-entry into the world of vampire politics she has had after all the years as ‘Rick’s mum’…

    I do wonder whether Felipe (or anyone else) might suspect that Eric and Sookie disappear from the summit right at the same time but hey… That’s less problematic than the issues around the blood exchange but still…

    Glad Rubio seems like a good guy and potentially an ally if (or rather when) Rick starts to manifest vampy ways…

    I can’t wait for the inevitable Eric-Rick meet up and at the same time the sword of Damocles over Sookie’s head is an irresistible tease… And every week is harder and harder to wait for the Sunday new chapter!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sookie does have a habit of stumbling from the frying pan to the fire, and this was no exception. She knew there was a possibility she’d see him, and still she wasn’t really prepared… but then again, neither was he. There is that aspect that what lies between them is bigger than either of them.
      Eric may not have started with a plan, but he’s no fool. In a thousand years he may have had to help a vampire or two out of similar difficulties, because he does seem to know what to do, even if he’s somewhat reluctant to do it.
      Will Felipe suspect something? Probably, but it we won’t see it play out in a direct way. Their next interaction will see him renew his chase.
      Rubio will emerge as a good friend in a time of need. He brings a unique perspective in that he’s successfully married to a human woman and he’s been accepted by her human children. He knows what’s needed to bring compromise and he understands the context and concerns of humans in their interactions with vampires.

      Liked by 1 person

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