Friday, December 26, 2008

Dead Hearts Ch 11

I didn't have a hangover, per se, but my head hurt like crazy. For once I was glad of the pitch-black darkness in my bedroom, I didn't think I could handle daylight quite yet. I looked over Eric's shoulder to see the clock. Exactly 5:15 pm. I truly was keeping vampire hours now. Just as that thought crossed my mind, a muscular arm tightened around me.

"Good morning, lover. Did you sleep well?" Mmm, smells like sex and my blood and fairy...

My whole body stiffened. Holy crap, did I just... no, it's impossible.

"Lover?" I felt Eric prop himself up on his elbow and he flicked on the bedside lamp. "Sookie, are you alright?" Is she okay I hope I didn't hurt her last night we were so rough but she felt so good...

"Oh. My. God." I burst into tears and Eric freaked.

"Sookie? Sookie, what's wrong? Did I hurt you last night? Are you okay?" What's wrong she isn't telling me I knew I was too rough and-

"Stop, Eric! Just... stop for a minute, please." He contented himself with holding me and stroking my hair while I calmed down. "I need to take a shower. Alone, please. I just need some time right now." He nodded and I got out of bed and staggered to the bathroom.

I turned the shower on full blast, as hot as I could stand it. I knew I would come out looking like a boiled lobster, but I didn't care. What I did care about is that this last dose of blood allowed me to read Eric's mind. Even now, I could hear his thoughts in the other room; wondering if he should come check on me, what this weird feeling in the bond was, why I wouldn't say what was wrong.

How can I hide this? If our bond wasn't so strong, I may have had a chance, but if my emotions fluctuated with his thoughts he would catch on really fast. This kind of thing had happened before, but it was only glimpses then. Now I was hearing full thoughts, images, the whole deal. If I had any hope that this would fade like it had before, it was quickly squashed when I remembered I promised to let Eric give me blood daily. Oh, man, the vamps are going to kill me.

I tried to stay out of my head for the rest of my shower, just concentrating on the steaming water relaxing my shoulders. I towel-dried my hair as best as I could. I tweezed my eyebrows, brushed my teeth, put on lotion, and basically did anything I could except walk back into the bedroom and face Eric. Finally I ran out of ideas, realizing that I had to come clean about this before it came back and bit me (haha).

Eric was laying on his stomach on the bed reading when I came out of the bathroom. He dog-eared the page he was on and closed the book. I rolled my eyes at his choice, Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'. Of course. He didn't say a word before he came over to me and gave me a hug. "I know how you need space sometimes, lover. I will respect that, but just know that if there is ever anything bothering you, I will always be here for you." He was so sweet to me, it sent me into another fit of tears. Everything just came pouring out; once my mouth had opened, I couldn't seem to close it.

"Eric, I hear you. I don't mean I agree with you, and I don't mean with my ears." I tapped my forehead, "I hear you. And I know the only reason I haven't died before is that I couldn't read vamp minds and now I can and it won't fade because you want to keep giving me blood and I don't want to read your mind I love you too much to want to know what you think and... and... Oh, no, I'm so dead." I looked up at my viking, "You hate me now, don't you?"

"No, my love, I could never hate you. Truthfully, I had a feeling this would happen sooner or later. This is much sooner than I thought possible, but our bond is much stronger than I initally believed as well. The test will be if you can hear other vampire's thoughts. And luckily enough, we have two others in my house." He smiled. "Once you get over the shock, dear one, I am sure you will see this as an advantage. Give that time, though. In the meantime, I'm taking a shower. You're hungry, go get something to eat. I'll be up in a bit."

"So... you really aren't upset? I know you guys are really super-protective of your privacy..." He laughed and squeezed me tight.

"I have let you lay with me in my daytime stupor. You know not only where my house is, you know exactly how to get to me inside. We are so bonded that even if you couldn't read my thoughts, you would probably be able to guess most of them. I have nothing to hide from you, Sookie. Only someone with something to hide would be upset." He kissed me and stepped back. "Now get dressed and get some food. If you don't I might be forced to keep you in that bed all night."

He got in the shower and I got dressed. Heading to the kitchen, I tried to get a reading on Pam and Bill so I wouldn't be surprised if I did hear them, but they were still dead. I decided to fry a couple eggs and make toast while my coffee brewed. I had about three seconds of warning before Bill was at the fridge, because I heard him. Oh... shit.

"Good morning, Sookie." She reeks of him. They weren't even speaking before I left and now, not two weeks later, she's living with him. I wonder what he fed her to convince her to do it. My Sookie would never... I decided to keep my new abilities to myself until I spoke to Eric again.

"Morning, Bill. Did you sleep well?" I mentally slapped myself. Stupid question to ask a vampire, Sookie. He was dead all day.

He raised an eyebrow at me. "Same as always." We exchanged more social niceties while he heated up his breakfast. He sat down at the bar a few seats away from where I was eating. "So, you and Eric."

"Yep." I so didn't want to do this right now.

"Why?" Oooh, instant anger.

"Why not?" I looked at him expectantly.

His thoughts were conflicted. Half of him wanted to know... well, actually all of him wanted to know, but half of him didn't want to hear what I had to say. I barely kept my jaw from dropping before he spoke as I registered his next words. "Well, he hasn't exactly been completely honest with you the whole time you've known him."

I snapped. "Oh, yeah, Bill? I forgot that you're the authority on being a good boyfriend. Need I remind you? I think I should. The trip to 'Seattle' when you really went to your vamp-ho maker and tried to pension me off? Or maybe the fact that you raped and almost killed me in that trunk and never apologized, even after I risked life and limb, literally, to save your ass. And that you were forced to be with me and you took my virginity under Sophie-Anne's orders. Or how about when you ran off after those guys in Dallas before making sure I was okay, or even still breathing? And you know what? I'm not even going to touch the whole database thing, especially now that your absolutely fucking brilliant idea is going to get us all killed. Before you even think about saying one more word about Eric, you better take a damn good look at yourself, Mr. High-and-Fucking-Mighty, because in this past week that man has done more for me than you could even imagine. Hell, he treated me better than you did while we were together. Maybe instead of buying businesses and throwing money at the Bellefleurs, who by the way don't give a shit if you live or die, you could have noticed that your girlfriend was on the verge of poverty. But, no, Eric helped me. Not to get in my pants, not to drive a wedge between us, but because he knew I needed it and you were too busy to bother with me. I'm not going to tell him we had this conversation, Bill, but if he asks I won't lie, because that is how a relationship works, not that you would know. And just so you know, if you ever say another bad word about my bonded ever again, I will stake your ass so fast you won't even know what happened."

Bill stared at me in amazement as I dumped the remains of my breakfast into the trash, refilled my coffee and left the room. I went upstairs to the study and pulled a random book from the shelf. I made myself comfortable in a fluffy armchair before seeing what I was about to read. 'Pride and Prejudice', pretty good for a random pick.

I settled back in the chair and began to lose myself in the love of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. A couple chapters in, Eric entered the room. Not from the bookshelf door, but from the hallway. Which meant that he probably heard me rip Bill apart. Sometimes I hated their super-hearing.

Can you hear others? I nodded. Excellent, my love. That bodes very well for us, especially with the dire circumstances that we are in. I smiled. Eric was obviously enjoying that he didn't have to speak to me out loud. And I heard your... defense of me. Pam enjoyed it as well. Oh, wonderful. But what else could I expect in a house full of vampires?

"So, should I say anything? Or is this just for us?"

No, lover, this is something that shall remain between the two of us. I have no doubt that Pam will eventually guess what is happening, but she is incredibly adept at reading people. Bill, however, I doubt he will ever figure it out. I had to agree with him on that. The less that we advertised my new and expanded abilities, the better. Come, Sookie. We must all sit and discuss what we are going to do about the database. Reluctantly, I took his hand and let him lead me downstairs.


A couple hours later we were finished with our meeting. We were all seated in the dining room. Eric, of course, sat at the head of the table. I was on his left side, Pam was on the right. Bill sat next to Pam, intentionally not looking at anyone or anything in particular the entire time. I felt kind of bad that Bill was basically everyone's punching bag, but realistically, he brought most of it on himself. It made me feel even worse when I realized, through both Pam and Eric's thoughts, that I ranked higher on the vampire 'totem pole' than Bill did, and I had no desire to even become a friggin' vamp.

Apparently Eric had already spoken to several of the new sheriffs about the drug, but hadn't yet called anybody about the database. It was reasonable to assume that since it was the only thing to save us during the takeover, that it would mean our deaths now. It had been decided that Fangtasia would be closed for the time being. It was too dangerous to have that many vamps in one place. Eric called all twelve of the remaining vampires that resided in his area and told them to scatter, but to keep in touch. Even though it might be the end of us, we had no choice but to call Victor, Felipe de Castro's man in charge.

Eric left the room for that particular conversation. Even though Pam and Bill could hear him if they wanted and I could read him if I tried, none of us wanted to know what was being said. Pam and I made small talk about unimportant things: flowers (she liked lilies, I was partial to daisies), books (anything with a vamp worked for her -except for that new one, "vampire's don't sparkle"-, I read everything), and shoes (I am a total shoe-whore, she wore loafers mostly).

I felt him coming before he pushed open the door. "Victor is calling Felipe as we speak. He will call me back when they figure something out." Eric stood behind me and lightly massaged my shoulders. "Let's go get our minds off this for a bit. Who's up for a game?"

After some discussion, Eric, Pam and I decided to play darts. Bill sat in the corner and brooded while we took turns. Needless to say, I lost miserably. It didn't help that every time I was up Eric purposely thought lewd things to throw me off. It especially didn't help that Pam noticed I stuck my tongue out a little when I was aiming, and she thought that was just adorable. I managed to block Bill almost completely, but it was clear to everyone that he wasn't happy with my new found camaraderie.

I was well on my way to losing the third game when Eric's phone rang. He answered it immediately and only talked for a minute. "Yes. Yes. When? Everyone? Of course. Yes. See you then." Eric jammed the phone back in his pocket. "Well, get packed. We're going to Vegas."


Bill and Pam needed to go back to their houses to get ready for the trip, leaving Eric and me alone in the house. We took full advantage of that. In the kitchen, on the dining room table, in the living room, on the pool table. He had to bite his finger and heal me a couple times. When we finally made it back to the room, we packed all of our bags. Eric took them all out to the door by the garage.

He insisted on giving me another full dose of blood, saying that the stronger I was the better. If I could read other vampires easier, I would have a better chance of knowing if (when?) we needed to pick up and run. Damn him and his logic, again. After another round of blood and sex, I curled into Eric's side and he softly sang me to sleep.

It turns out that Victor had arranged for one of Felipe's private planes to take us to Vegas. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:30 from a private airfield on the other side of Shreveport. I didn't have time to make anything to eat, so Eric stopped at Wendy's so I could get my double bacon cheeseburger. I wasn't concerned about the calories like I would have been normally. With Eric jumping on me at every opportunity, I had no worries about working it off.

Pam got to the airport the same time we did, and Bill arrived about 20 minutes later. We settled into our seats for the ride. Pam and I sat across the table from each other and after the plane had leveled off, we played a few card games. Eric was thinking how much fun it would be to initiate me into the 'Mile High Club', especially since my ex was sitting right there. Bill was miserable, and he radiated unhappiness.

Eric was right about Pam, she was really, really observant. She saw me shoot a few glances at Eric, and I could see the gears grinding as she tried to figure it out. She definitely knew something was up, but she couldn't quite put her finger on what it was. If I hadn't known she was planning on my reaction, I would have jumped when I heard her 'speak' to me. Sookie? Sookie! Can you hear me? I ignored her as best as I could and concentrated on my next play in Rummy. She reconsidered what was going on, but couldn't think of anything else.

A few hours later we arrived in Vegas. We were whisked off the plane, into a limo, and away to our hotel. We drove down the strip and I was the stereotypical tourist. I bounced from window to window, trying to take in the spectacle that was Las Vegas at night. Apparently my attitude was contagious, as Pam and Eric were grinning at my excitement by the time we got there. Even Bill snapped out of his funk for a bit. We checked into Moonlight, a vamp-exclusive hotel just off the main strip.

We were given adjoining rooms on the 15th floor, Pam and I registered in one, Eric and Bill were to share the other. Much to Bill's disdain, as soon as we recieved our key cards Pam and Eric switched. Our room was beautiful, and in keeping with the theme of the hotel, was mostly done in blues and silver. I had just finished unpacking my makeup when Eric got a phone call. I was trying to avoid reading him as much as possible, so I poked my head out of the bathroom to ask him who it was.

"Felipe's assistant. We have a meeting with him at 1:30." I looked around the room till I saw a clock, 11:21. Good, plenty of time to get ready.

"Dressy or casual?"

"Dress up. The rainbow dress would be perfect. While you get ready, I'm going next door to strategize. Come over when you're ready, love." He kissed me before walking through the door into Pam and Bill's room.

A little while later, I was showered, shaved, made up, dressed and ready to go. I knocked on the door between the rooms. When it was opened, I was greeted by Bill, who couldn't keep his eyes off of me as I walked in and sat by Eric on a small loveseat. Pam was probably in the bathroom getting ready.

Eric saw Bill's reaction to me, and although he was proud at having a date that made other men drool (stupid guy complexes), he was pissed that it was Bill who was drooling. "Compton, avert your eyes before I remove them." Bill promptly lowered his gaze, but kept sneaking peeks at me when he thought Eric wasn't looking. We soon excused ourselves from the room so Bill could get dressed.

Immediately after closing the door, Eric wrapped his arms around me, kissing me with such passion that my knees buckled. "You are stunning, my love. If we weren't short on time, I would insist that you join me in the shower. I am going to insist that you drink from me again, though. I want to go into this meeting with as many advantages as possible, your ability included." Before I could protest, his bleeding wrist was at my mouth. I sucked at the wound until he moaned and I felt a wave of pleasure run across the bond. Eric tried to convince me to come with him in the bathroom, but I just laughed and shoved him in, shutting the door behind him.

We had decided it would be better if we all arrived en masse, so a little after one we met outside our rooms. Eric wore a black suit, Bill had brown on. Pam looked... wow. She was wearing a pale, pale pink knee-length dress with a big rose on the front. Her hair was down and perfectly straight, not a single strand out of place.

Eric led the way to the elevators. We rode up to the penthouse level in silence. Eric was worried about what Felipe would try to do to us, but was ready to fight for our lives if he had to, his mind running different scenarios and how he might be able to act accordingly. Pam's thoughts were about the same as Eric's. Bill, however, was already resigned to the idea that he was a (finally) dead man. He wasn't wallowing in self-pity, but he was going through his life and thinking about what he would have done differently. I noticed that quite a few of those thoughts revolved around me.

By the time the doors opened, I was ready to run the other direction to avoid this. Eric noticed my bleak mood and grabbed my hand, trying to project strength and calm. Stand tall, lover. We cannot afford to show any more weakness than we already have. His eyes flicked toward Bill.
I stood up straight, lifted my head, and walked towards Felipe's guard like I was a queen. Eric and the guard exchanged nods. I took a deep breath as he opened the door.

"Mr. Northman, Miss Stackhouse. Welcome to Las Vegas."

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