Disclaimer: Oh, how I love to play with the Viking! Sadly, he’s not mine. I’m not affiliated with True Blood, the Southern Vampire Mysteries or their creators. No profit is being made and no copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: However, Cricket & JP belong to me. 😉
I stood still for a moment after I felt him move a fraction closer and his fingers grazed my shoulder. I may or may not have let out a whimper at his gentle touch, nevertheless, I involuntarily stiffened for a millisecond, then his hand was gone.
Should I say something? Should I wait for him to say something? I should say something.
“Thanks for, um, fixing my shoulder and…you know, everything out there…,” I said, turning to face him.
“Are you are still in pain?”
Of course I am! You broke my heart! Wait a minute. Why did he look like hewas in pain?
“Just sore. Nothing I can’t handle,” I tried to shrug and found myself wincing slightly.
His eyes flinched slightly at my action.
“It seems I cannot leave you alone for twenty-four hours without you becoming injured in some way,” he said, putting on a fake smile that soon faded.
His eyes were warm when he looked into mine.
“Funny, it’s been quite a bit longer than twenty-four hours since we last saw each other, not counting last night, and I haven’t had any accidents at all.”
“Perhaps you were just waiting for me to be near so I could take care of you,” He returned quietly, stepping closer to me.
I could smell his sweet breath when he spoke and the fresh ocean and clean linen combination of his natural scent enveloped me. Tingles ran through my entire body and goosebumps broke out on my flesh. Damn, he’s good! No wonder I was so easily sucked in! I closed my eyes to break the spell of his gaze, taking a step back. After opening them, I eyed Eric suspiciously for a moment, walked to the kitchen, picked up the note Godric had left, rudely turning my back on him. I heard a quiet growl once I picked it up, but I ignored him.
“Or maybe we just shouldn’t be around one another,” I whispered.
What is wrong with me? He’s right fucking here! Turn around, idiot!
“I do not believe that would be a possibility for us,” he said as if speaking to himself and almost too quietly for me to have heard.
I had no idea just exactly what that meant, so I also had no reply. Maybe I would find out… Then again, maybe I wouldn’t. I remained wary of giving him my trust. He seemed to be trying, still I had no idea. I held Godric’s letter and gave it my attention.
Eric stayed behind me for a moment longer, then I heard him sigh and felt as he walked away. I felt his absence at once. The balcony doors opened and I panicked internally. Was he leaving? I wouldn’t blame him. I was being somewhat of a bitch, but I hadn’t known what to do or say at all throughout the encounter. I glanced over as casually as I could. He was standing and looking out at the night sky and I watched while he took a seat. I blew out a sigh of relief, then I read the note.
‘My Dear Chelsea,
I am unsure if I will remain welcome to call you my thygatéra, though it is still true in my heart.
Please know that I am so truly sorry for the way in which you learned about my Childe, about our Eric. I know I must explain myself and I promise you I will. I apologize that I could not be there with you to speak this evening. I have returned to my nest. I needed to let them know that I was well and I felt it was necessary to face them. I wanted to ensure the safety of your friend as well. In order to accomplish that I may have to take measures to ensure she will no longer be aware of our location. I hope you understand that. I have spoken to our mutual friend and she was in agreement.’
Would that mean I wouldn’t get to see Maggie before I left? She would never know that I found Godric. Maybe Octavia would tell her. Maybe I would call her once I got back home. Maybe I could go to her house after I left Dallas before I drove home. It was probably for the best. I would never want to admit to having lied to her. I returned my attention to the letter.
‘I will return tomorrow night and I truly hope you are willing to speak with me then.
I know that Eric is there with you, although I do not know that he is actually by your side, but I am aware that he has stayed at the hotel and has hopes of seeing you. I have not spoken to him of anything that you confided in me; however, I asked him what he had done to piss you off so thoroughly.’
That line made me chuckle, picturing Godric giving Eric shit, blaming him for my reaction, and not taking any responsibility for it, just as the teenager I had initially met would have. Godric had always seemed so angry over the way Eric left me. No wonder Eric seemed to be licking his wounds! He was being blamed for my tantrum and he probably hadn’t a clue as to why I was even upset! Taking off without a word in person was probably standard behavior for him. A little glamour, and he never had to see the woman again and wouldn’t know how to act if had occurred.
‘Enjoy the wine, (yes, admittedly, I might be trying to bribe my way back into your good graces just a little bit).
Please allow Eric an opportunity to speak with you. He was quite perplexed last night. I am unsure if the circumstances are what they seemed.
Well, that was sweet, even if it was a bribe on his part to tempt me to have a talk with the both of them. Of course he knew I would take the bribe and that I probably would’ve spoken with Eric without it. Buttering me up was smart!
After all, Eric had saved me AGAIN. It reminded me of his past gentle and tender behavior, but I still couldn’t help feeling as if I owed him in some small way for helping me and I hadn’t wanted that.
Besides, I still needed to tell Eric about Godric. I wanted to have hope that Godric had had a change of heart, yet it was too soon to tell, and I knew he had planned on spending at least a few days with Eric. What had Godric meant about the circumstances?
I folded up the note and put it in my pocket, then filled my glass with moonshine. I drank it all in one long draw, and then wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. Classy, Cricket! Looking at my wrist it hit me… Ugh! Fuckface had touched me!
“Eric?” I asked a little timidly, clearing my throat.
He was in front of me in an instant. His eyes were wide, soft, and full of…No! Stop it! They aren’t full of anything. Knock it off, Cricket!
“Yes, Min Sǫngr? Do you need something?” he asked as a tentative smile graced his soft lips.
Why? Why do you keep calling me that? His attentiveness was a bit surprising and that look in his eyes? It was the way Dream-Eric looked at me, so loving, tender, he was always looking straight into my soul. They captured mine as they always had and I found myself speaking almost breathlessly to him.
“No. I…I just wanted to tell you that I was going to get cleaned up. Did you…I mean, do you…are you going to stay?”
“I would like to very much, yes.”
“OK, then. I’ll see you in a few.”
I began walking toward the bedroom, but stumbled on the step at his words when he spoke behind me.
“Will you need any help?”
“You must know it will be difficult to wash yourself thoroughly since your shoulder is so tender,” he said, trying to look innocent, but his crooked smile couldn’t be contained too long.
I wasn’t sure what game we were playing so I rolled my eyes, still I couldn’t hide the small grin on my very flushed face. It was as if he was just as conflicted as me. I thought I was on a rollercoaster, but the two of us together? We were the equivalent of two pinballs, bouncing from bumper to bumper, and every now and then we crashed hard into each other!
“Thanks, but, um… I think I’ll be OK… I’ll be out shortly,” I could feel the heat growing in places other than my face and I knew I needed to escape fast!
I stepped into the bedroom and closed the door. I leaned against it, taking a deep breath, and fighting the urge to sink to the floor. Breathe, Cricket! I was beginning to calm when I felt another wave of peacefulness cascade over me.
“I will be here,” he said very softly from the other side of the door.
Holy Fuck! He was on the other side of the door! I jumped, moving away quickly and quietly toward the bathroom to keep me from opening it. I have willpower! You try it!
Yes, a cold shower was exactly what I needed to cool down my girly bits, but a very hot shower was what I took to relax my muscles. Damn, I’m sore…motherfucking Fuckface! I still washed quickly because I hadn’t wanted Eric thinking I was doing anything other than showering, such as thinking about him while I had a little self-love session. So tempting.
After finishing, I brushed my teeth along with having taken care of all those other bathroom necessities. I debated for a few minutes over what to wear. He’d seen me at my worst. He’d seen me braless in pajamas the night before. Hell, he’s seen me naked while acting all weird and awkward! I felt a shiver of excitement run down my spine. Finally, I decided on black yoga pants and a tee-shirt with a bra. I towel dried my hair and returned to the main room barefoot.
I saw that he had opened my wine and left a glass next to it on the counter. I smiled and looked around to find him on the balcony once again. He turned when he felt my eyes on him, giving an adorable half-smile while he walked into the room. I turned to pour my wine, but suddenly, he was there to do it for me.
“Thank you,” I mumbled, picking up the glass.
“You are quite welcome,” he said with another tentative smile.
He was standing right next to me, but he hadn’t moved away at all, even after he filled my glass. I found it difficult, standing so close to him, not burying my face in his chest, and wrapping myself completely around him. So, rather than doing just that, I cleared my throat, and took a deliberate step back before looking up into his eyes.
“Um, we need to talk.”
I picked up the bottle, carried it with me to one end of the sofa, setting it on the end table. I sat and turned to face the other end, then brought up my legs, crossing them under each other. You can do this. I watched while he slowly approached the sofa as if it would snap out at him at any given moment. It was really cute. When I snickered quietly, his eyes snapped to mine and he gave a shy smile. Was he embarrassed? Oh My God! That makes him even more adorable! How on God’s Green Earth is that fucking possible?
I cleared my throat and said, “Have a seat, Eric.”
He seated himself on the opposite end, turning to face me with one long leg crossed over the other. I took a deep breath and blew it out. He was staring at me and seemed nervous. I was, too, so I took a long drink from my glass before I started speaking.
“First, you should know that this room is protected and no one can hear anything said in here, so don’t worry about anyone overhearing what I have to tell you.”
He nodded, waiting for me to continue. I took another drink, trying to put my thoughts in order.
“I need to tell you about Godric.”
His body tensed and again, I heard that low growly rumble from his chest. What was that about?
“You are together,” he stated.
“No!” I quickly replied.
I saw something that looked like relief as he relaxed slightly.
“Oh. I assumed you… You both seemed…”
Oh My God! Was he jealous? Why would he be jealous of Godric? Couldn’t he feel that wasn’t the case? Probably not with the way I acted after having seen them together. Nothing could have been further from the truth! If the situation hadn’t been so serious, I could have gotten lost in how cute he was.
“No, Eric. We aren’t together, not the way you are thinking. We’re…friends… I think. No, I know. I care about him as my friend. That’s what I need to talk to you about.”
He looked slightly confused, but he waited patiently for my explanation.
“Shit, I don’t want to tell you this. I don’t even know if it’s my place. I mean, you’re his Childe and you should know, but… God, I can’t even believe that’s true…. Anyway, you need to know that he’s planning on, um… Well, from what we’ve discussed, he’s planning to meet the sun,” I rushed out in a single breath.
“What?!” he shouted and rose up quickly.
“I know what you said! How do you know of all this?”
“He told me.”
“Why would he tell you?”
I was more than mildly offended by his insinuation that I wasn’t worthy or privileged enough to have been deserving of being confided in by Godric. It started to piss me off some, but then I remembered how shocked and upset he must have been.
“Please sit down, Eric,” I told him as gently as I could.
I realized my hands were shaking when I took another drink. He sat down again, but he looked lost, like a child, and I guess he was. He was, after all, his Childe. His eyes were pleading for me to tell him it wasn’t true.
“You are certain of this?”
“Yes. I’m sure. He told me because we’ve become close over the last week or so. He’s family to me now. I thought we had told each other everything that we had been hiding from the outside world. I guess I was wrong in that. I mean, he didn’t tell me everything. He never told me about you. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. The point is, I want to help him however I will be able. I even tried to find you.”
His eyes widened briefly. I realized what I said, and then tried backtracking quickly. I knew he had never wanted me to look for him.
“I mean; I wasn’t trying to find you specifically. I wasn’t looking for you; I was looking for his Childe. I had no idea that it was you. I’m not even sure what I would have done had I known it was you. I probably would have asked someone else to find you, Russell, I guess. I mean I sort of had asked him, but again, I didn’t know it was you, and then I realized that I shouldn’t involve him. I wouldn’t want to betray Godric’s trust by telling anyone about him. He didn’t want anyone knowing where he was. Russell even suggested that Fuckface, I mean, Bill, might help, but I would never ask that asshole for anything!”
He chuckled for a second, probably at my nickname for Bill, but then a flash of anger crossed his face.
“I thought that if I could find his real family, or someone who loved him, I could talk them into helping me. Seriously, I wasn’t trying to find you. So, you don’t never worry about that… I knew you hadn’t wanted me looking for you. Pam told me what you said. I wasn’t, I promise… I actually came here to find Godric,” I realized I was rambling, so I snapped my mouth shut.
He seemed surprised and I was certain it was due to my admission that I had come to find his Maker.
“Thank you. As much as I do not like hearing this, I am glad it is you who is telling me.”
“Um… You’re welcome?” It came out as a question.
He moved closer to me on the sofa, reaching for my hand. I busied mine by taking another drink of my wine and his arm dropped back into his lap. He looked down at his hand like it had acted on its own and somehow offended him. He sighed. It was strange.
“I believe he would have told me, but, by that point, it might have been too late,” he said, looking at me once again.
“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. So, listen, I’m here. I mean, I’m here to help. You know, to make sure Godric doesn’t do anything that can’t be undone. I really don’t know anything about your world and I don’t know if there’s anything I can do, but…well, he’s sort of family and I wouldn’t want anything happening to him. He’s very worried about you guys revealing everything, all of you, you know, to the outside world. He doesn’t think that the fake blood, or whatever, will be enough. I think that’s why he feels… In any case, I thought you should know, whether or not he was ready to tell you. He might be angry with me for it, but I’m not all concerned about that. He’ll just have to get over it, like I have to get over…”
“No. I cannot express enough gratitude. I can see that you care for him and him for you. It appears he has told you a great deal. I would not have expected that. It is unusual for him to be so open. I am somewhat surprised. Then again, it does not shock me that he might be drawn to you. I know I felt the same the first moment I saw you.”
There was an awkward silence while our eyes remained locked on the other’s.
“Um, so I’ve been trying a little to show him that not everything is so bad. In fact, we were out last night before you… Anyway, none of that matters now. You’re here for him, and that’s what is most important.”
“I will speak with him tomorrow when he returns. I trust what you have said. I do not believe he has convinced himself to take that course of action, or he would have done it already. He would not have opened our bond.”
“Good. I mean, it’s good that he’s letting you in. You can fix this. I know you can.”
“I will. Do not worry.”
Another moment of silence passed. I took the opportunity to finish my wine. It was uncomfortable now that I had told him everything, but it unnerved me still that I was comfortable being so near him. In that moment, I wished he was my Dream-Eric. I was never uncomfortable with him! I could say anything to him. He loved me.
“Look, I know you don’t want me here. I understand that you don’t want my help, but, um, if you don’t mind, I would like to know what happens. I mean, I’m fairly certain he’ll contact me once you change his mind, but, um, maybe you could let Pam speak with me again and she can tell me if… Anyway, he wants to talk to me tomorrow. If it’s all right with you, I would like to speak with him before you. I need to apologize and I want to say goodbye before I go, but I’ll leave right after. I mean, you won’t have to see me again,” I was rambling again.
He moved closer to me once again, pulled the glass from my hand, and reached over me to set it on the table. Once again I could smell his combined scents and I couldn’t help but to inhale deeply. I wanted to memorize them. Hey! Don’t judge me! I know I’m a masochist…
He moved back slightly, but stayed closer me than before and took my hand. He said he feels the same when he sees you. No, he said he felt the same when he first saw me. Past tense. Don’t get carried away, Cricket. Holding my hand didn’t mean anything. He just heard something awful and he needed the comfort of a friend. I was the only one who knew of Godric’s plans. You can do that, right? You said you were here for him. I squeezed his hand a little before trying to let go. He didn’t let me though, he held on tighter.
“Why do you continue to say that?” he said in a low voice, leaning in slightly.
He’s so fucking close! Don’t kiss him! Don’t kiss him!
“Why do you keep saying I do not want you here?”
“Because I know you don’t.”
“Why would you think that?”
“You said it.”
“I have never said that to you. I would not.”
“I know. You didn’t want to face me again, I guess. That’s why you made Pam tell me.”
He immediately pulled back.
“I never told her to say that!”
“She said, ‘He left. He’s not coming back. He doesn’t want you to look for him.’ So I didn’t look. Honestly, I didn’t come here to find you. I didn’t even know you would be here. I came to find Godric. I needed to find out…”
Then I stopped myself. I couldn’t tell him about me. He had no reason to be told I was a Siren, a Muse, or whatever the Hell I was. I owed him no explanations as to why I was looking for his Maker.
“You are mistaken.”
“She was pretty clear, Eric.”
“Then she was mistaken.”
I pulled my hand from his and stood.
“Really? Then you tell me. What was it that she was supposed to say? You left. Message received. Whatever.”
He stood, too, and reached for my hand again. I stepped back instinctively.
“That was not… She misunderstood. What she said was not accurate!” he shouted, then began pacing while running his hands through his hair in frustration.
“Eric, you don’t have to make up an explanation just because you are here with me tonight. In fact, I would rather you didn’t.”
He abruptly stopped, turning to me with a fierce look in his eyes.
“I am not… You are not the reason I…”
“Stop. It’s OK. Please don’t lie to me,” I said.
“I would never lie to you,” and he sounded so sincere.
“Fine. Whatever. It’s done. You told her whatever, and she told me. It doesn’t matter anymore.”
“Look, we had our night and…”
“Do you think so little of me?”
“Do you believe that I could have used you and left? I had to leave!”
“No. You obviously do not know! Godric closed the bond. I had to go.”
“No! You do not! Chelsea, listen to me. I could not stay to explain what was occurring. I had to leave. I did not know when or if I would be able to return. I could not make a promise that I was uncertain I could keep. I did not know what I would find. If my Maker had been ended… I could not allow you to accompany me because I did not know what I would be walking into and I did not want you in danger. I could not put you in danger.”
“So then…what you said.”
“Please believe me.”
I wanted to believe him, but it wouldn’t diminish the pain I felt after he had left nor the confusion I was feeling.
“You could have just told me.”
“There was no time.”
“You could have called. You could have…”
He was back to pacing.
“I have spent every waking moment searching for Godric! There was no time!”
“There was plenty of time to call Sookie though, wasn’t there?!”
He looked as if the wind had just been knocked out of him when he stumbled. In my defense, it had just slipped out because I was hurting. I hadn’t meant to say that, but once I started, I couldn’t stop.
“What are you talking about?”
“You had no problems asking her to come with you!”
“What is this fixation on me and Sookie?!”
“She’s here, isn’t she? You’re fucking paying her to stay here with you!”
“I asked her to help me find my Maker. She is an asset to my Area for her ability! She can… Yes! I am fucking paying her to stay here. I am fucking paying her to work for me! I fucking paid her to help me find Godric. I am also paying for that worthless asshole to stay with her! It was the only way she would come! Then he touched you! Do you know how angry I was when I saw him with his hands on you?!”
“Oh, get off it, Eric. I saw your reaction in front of the entire tavern when Fuckface mentioned she was worried because we had been gone so long. You stepped away from me. You were cold, indifferent toward me. You even told him to try to glamour me! He touched me then, and you never even reacted. Sookie’s beautiful, smart, funny, and talented. Why wouldn’t you want her?! She’s part of your world! It’s obvious you have feelings for her!”
Yes. I was acting like a jealous harpy. I mean, yes, I was fucking jealous! What the fuck was I doing? He wasn’t mine! He could feel whatever he wanted for whomever he wanted. It shouldn’t matter if he had feelings for her. Why was he even arguing with me? Why wasn’t he just telling me to fuck off? I was so out of line. I was completely out of control, to be honest. Jesus! Calm down, Cricket!
In two strides he was in front of me, cupping my face and cradling it in his large, strong, calloused hands. My eyes went wide at the sudden movement.
“Is that what you really believe?” he asked gently.
It was in complete opposition of how we’d been yelling at one another. I didn’t know what to think and I so desperately wanted to believe him.
“She’s here. You wanted her here,” I whispered.
“I do not want her, Min Sǫngr. I do not love her. I lo… I want you,” he insisted while quietly searching my eyes.
Hold on, back up a second. Had he almost said what I think he almost said? Don’t be ridiculous. He was in the heat of the moment.
“Really?” I squeaked out.
“Yes. Really,” he whispered as his thumb ran across my cheekbone.
He slowly lifted my chin. His eyes darkened and I could see the storms in the blue oceans. It would have been so easy to give in. It would be so easy to kiss him. Could I do that? Was he telling me the truth? Had Pam misconstrued what he had told her? She said he was mumbling about a bond. Had he really been talking about his bond with Godric? It made sense. Was it all a misunderstanding? We were very good at that. We had proven it time and again.
I reached up, placing my hands over his, and gently pulled them away from my face. Could I let him in again? Should I?
“It just doesn’t make any sense,” I said, shaking my head.
“I thought you were with Godric. I was wrong. You thought I wanted Sookie. Why would it not be believable that you were wrong as well?”
He was frustrated. I could relate. He looked away and scrubbed his hand over his face in a very human and unlike-Eric action. He ran his hands through his hair and sighed as he looked down. Then he spoke so softly that it nearly broke my heart.
“I cannot make you believe me. I would never force you to do anything, but know this, I would never hurt you intentionally. I have not lied to you. Every moment that I was not looking for Godric, every moment before I went to my rest and every moment after I rose I spent thinking of you. I want you. Please remember that while you are deciding what you want. I must check in with Godric. Someone is still missing.”
Oh yeah, I had forgotten about that. He should have been there this whole time, rather than with me while I heaped accusations upon him. I was being selfish keeping him with me. I felt guilty for having upset him even more.
He wanted me. The real question was, what would he think when he found out why he was drawn to me? That would change things, wouldn’t it? He would know he hadn’t truly wanted me then. If he…when he walked away again…
Godric said I didn’t affect vampires the way I affected others, but would Eric believe that? Was this all about the connection between us, the dreams? Did he already know about them or was this real?
“I will return,” he said, meeting my eyes once again.
Then he was gone. The only reminder that he had been there was the soft click of the door as it closed behind him. My knees were weak and I was overwhelmed yet again with my feelings. They weren’t full of despair, but were they filled with hope?
I walked into the bedroom on autopilot. I changed out of my yoga pants into a pair of now clean jeans. When I returned to the main room I pulled on my black chucks, grabbed my keycard, phone, iPod, and my bottle of wine and headed to the roof.
Once I was there, I turned on one of the fire pits and sat watching the flames. I drank from the bottle. Why use a glass? It would only get in the way. I thought through our conversation again. Everything within me told me that he was speaking the truth. Pam had been wrong. She had repeated what he said, but it was within the wrong context than he intended. He had planned to return if he survived. That thought made my throat tighten and I washed it down with more wine.
What was it that I really wanted?
I pulled out my phone and called JP.
“Hey Tartlet! I was just thinking about you, sweetie!”
He sounded so happy, I felt bad for calling, but I needed him.
“Uh oh. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. Everything. I don’t know.”
“I’m still in Dallas.”
“Is that a bad thing? Aren’t you and Maggie having fun?”
“She never came back.”
“What? What the hell is going on? Where is she?”
“Have you talked to her? Is she OK?”
“Yeah, well, sort of. I mean, yes, she’s OK, but I’m…I don’t know. I didn’t really call about that. I just…I needed to talk to you.”
He was quiet for a minute.
“Are you on the ledge?”
“Yeah, I think I am.”
“OK, Harlot. Start at the beginning.”
“You don’t sound happy about that.”
“No, I am. I mean, I think I am. I’m so fucking confused.”
“You know, he’s got some fucking big ass balls to just show up.”
“He didn’t know I was here. However, I can testify that he certainly does have some big balls among other pretty big things.”
That made him laugh for a second before he became serious again.
“Did he bother to tell you why the fuck he took off?”
“Yeah. He pretty much explained everything.”
“Do you believe him?”
“I think I do. I mean, he was pretty adamant about the fact that he was telling me the truth,” I sighed.
“But you’re not sure?”
“It’s not that exactly.”
“You know, I’m not there with my pliers to pull your teeth out for answers. Now, I know you’re drinking, so take a big swig and tell me.”
“How do you know I’m drinking?”
“Oh please. Who knows you better than me?” I could hear the eye roll.
“That’s right, so ‘Drink your juice, Shelby’ and get to talking.”
As instructed, I took a big swig and blew out a breath.
“He said he wants me.”
“Well, we already knew that, you Tramp. You two did it in our bathtub, for crying out loud!” he snorted.
“No. He wants me.”
“Oh guurl, he looooves you,” he said in a sing-song voice.
I didn’t say anything.
“Holy shit! He does?!”
“I don’t know…I mean, I think he almost said it.”
“Almost? What the hell does that even mean?”
“Like it almost slipped out. He was telling me that he didn’t love Sookie.”
“Oh, My God, guurl! When are you gonna stop obsessing over him and Sookie! Jesus! Enough with that shit!”
“Fuck off! I’m not obsessing.”
“OK. So get to the love part.”
“You’re one to talk, my love.”
He snickered and I could picture the blush on his face.
“We are not talking about me right now.”
“Fine. Anyway, he said he doesn’t want her and that he doesn’t love her. Then he said ‘I lo…I want you.’”
“Oh yeah, he was about to say it.”
“I thought so, too, but, Fuck! Do I want him to say it? He’s Eric Fucking Northman!”
“What the fuck difference does that make? He could be Joe fucking Schmo! The point is you’re in love with him and he practically told you the same. What’s the problem?”
“It’s just…Fuck! I don’t know. What if it’s not true? What if he only thinks he does because of, you know.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, again with the Siren thing?”
“Yes, again with that! Peej, I draw people in. I make them feel things. How do I know I’m not doing the same with him?”
He sighed and I could practically hear him thinking.
“Well, I guess you don’t, but how do you feel?
“You already know how I feel,” I huffed.
“Are you going to tell him?”
“Do you…want him?”
“Don’t be a jackass. You know I do.”
“So, I ask again, what’s the problem?”
“I just told you the fucking problem, dumbass!”
“You know, you don’t have to decide everything right now.”
“I know, but I don’t know how long he’s here or how long I’ll be here for that matter. I think I’m leaving after tomorrow night. I mean, he told me he hasn’t stopped thinking about me and…I just don’t know what to do!”
“Just take a little time to think and if you can’t figure it out, then tell him you need more time. I mean, fuck, he hurt you and I know you said he explained it and that’s great, but I know you and, well, just be sure. Take your time. If he really does want something with you…wait, you didn’t fuck him again, did you?”
“NO! I won’t do that unless…I’m not ready to do that.”
“Yeah, I know you little Puritan.”
“Shut up! I’m not a Puritan. I’m just not a whore.”
He gasped as if he was affronted.
“You wound me, Milady.”
“It’s just a flesh wound!”
We laughed together for a minute. It was therapeutic. I really missed him.
“So, what’s the plan?”
“I don’t have a plan.”
“You always have a plan.”
“Not this time.”
“My professional advice is to drink whatever you’re drinking. Think whatever you’re thinking, and call me if you need to.”
“I have not been in love, my sweet, but I know you and when you love, you’re all in. You love me after all.”
“Yeah, I really do.”
“OK. Go. Get your head on straight. Figure out what you really want.”
“Thanks for listening, JP. Tell Russell I said ‘hi.’ He better be taking good fucking care of you or I’m going to have to kick his ancient ass!”
“Anytime. He is and I will. I am the fairest Princess of them all! Love you, Strumpet.”
“Love you, too, Floozy.”
We hung up and even though I didn’t really figure anything out, it was nice to just get it out of my own head a little bit.
I drank several large gulps of my wine, then stood and carried it with me, setting it on the ground next to me. I put in my earbuds and leaned against the wall, looking at the lights in the dark night. It was always so peaceful. I felt so far away from the rest of the world in my own little retreat and secret hiding place. Well, for a while it was my secret hiding place shared with Godric, but I pushed that thought away when I pulled out my iPod and hit shuffle. I closed my eyes as I thought about Eric. He wanted me. What do I want? Could Fate answer that question? As the song started, I realized she could.
I felt the rush of peace come over me and turned around to meet his brilliant blue eyes dancing in the firelight. He kept his distance, but his gaze locked with mine and I found myself in his hold as the words poured out, and I sang them with as much truth and feeling that I had inside.
I’m home in my head
And now the unknown
So I want this instead
Could you stay a little longer
His eyes widened only slightly and I felt the butterflies in my stomach fluttering like crazy. Was I really telling him this? Yes, and I meant every word.
I forgot ’bout this room, and the view,
Way above the things I fear it towers
And it’s you, feelin’ you again,
It makes me, open up just like a flower
Could you stay a little longer
I did want this. I wanted him. The risk would be worth the fall. It was incomprehensible that it was real, but I was going to do what I could to hold on to it for as long as I could. I pulled out my earbuds and continued the song as I stared into his eyes. I couldn’t look away. I wanted him to really hear me.
‘cuz I want to give you more for
Nothing in return
Oh I did wait for you darlin’,
Did ache for your darlin’
And now you’re here,
I want you dear to stay
His brows furrowed only briefly at the lyrics, then a brilliant smile crept onto his face. I could see pure happiness in eyes. He was glorious. He began walking toward me and my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest the closer he came. God, I loved him.
Oooooooooh Ohh ohh ohh ohh ohh
Could you stay a little longer
And then… longer
When he stopped in front of me, his eyes were rimmed blood red almost as if he was about to cry, but that was insane. Eric fucking Northman would never cry. Not over me. He reached up and placed his hands on either side of my neck, caressing my jawline with his thumbs.
“Are you certain?” he asked in a soft, tentative voice.
His smile was blinding as his eyes roamed my face, flickering to my lips and back to my eyes.
“Do you want to be mine?”
I nodded. My heart was thumping so hard I was sure he could feel it.
“Tell me,” he whispered as one hand moved to the back of my neck, sliding into my hair while the other slid down to the small of my back.
“Yes,” I replied breathlessly.
He leaned down and brushed his lips across mine. My arms ran up his chest until they found the sides of his neck, mirroring his earlier actions as I pressed my lips softly against his.
The thrill of the moment easily outweighed the pain in my shoulder.
“I do not want him to call you Chelsea any longer,” he mumbled against my lips, causing me to grin into the soft kisses
“Then tell him to stop.”
He pulled back slightly and I felt his hand rubbing small circles on the small of my back as he pressed our foreheads together.
“He is my Maker. I cannot command him.”
I shrugged and fought the urge to wince at the pain.
“Well, then, I guess he’ll keep using your name.”
He growled and I felt it reverberate in my fingers that were running up the back of his neck and playing with his hair. The growl was mixed with a moan and my fingers fisted into his soft hair.
“You are mine.”
“Mmhmm, but I’m still not telling your Maker what to do,” I giggled and he grinned.
He pulled me closer, but when he wrapped his arms around me, I couldn’t help but whimper at the pain in my chest and back. He pulled back immediately and his eyes looked at me with concern.
“I am sorry. I was not thinking. You are still in pain.”
“It’s OK, Eric. It’s not that bad.”
“I want to kill him,” he growled.
“Not tonight. Come with me,” I took his hand and bent to pick up the bottle.
I took a step toward the stairs when suddenly, he swept me into his arms gently hooking one arm under my legs. An instant later we were on my balcony. I smiled up at him.
“It is quicker,” He smirked.
“I know,” I said, walking into the suite, “that’s what Godric said, too,” I said teasingly.
I heard the doors close quickly and a low growl come from him. Damn, these little growls are sexy! He pulled me to him around my waist from behind. I felt his lips on the back of my neck and I could his him whispering ‘mine’ over and over again between each kiss. I have to admit, it was turning me on like nothing ever had before.
I turned in his arms and buried my face in his neck. I wanted so badly in that moment to tell him how I felt, but it was way too soon for that. Instead, I stood on my toes a little and gave him a chaste kiss on the lips. His hands slid down and our fingers twined together as he walked backward and I followed him to the sofa. He sat and pulled me to his lap to straddle him. He raised his wrist and brought it to his lips before I stopped him.
“I have missed you so much. I want to take care of you,” his eyes were soft and his brows furrowed.
“I know, but…” he silenced the rest of my sentence with a kiss.
“Let me,” he breathed out between kisses.
I nodded when I felt his tongue nip at my lower lip and I opened my mouth to invite him in. His tongue explored mine and they danced together, relearning each other. The sweet taste of his mouth was better than I had remembered. The whole thing was surreal. I never thought I would be here again with him and I felt completely content, almost as if part of me had been missing and was returned.
After a few minutes of kissing, his fangs slid down and I tasted the dark rich flavor of his blood in my mouth. I ran my tongue along his, taking the drops, and swallowing them down as I sucked. I knew it wouldn’t be long before I felt better and I pulled back to take a breath.
“Thank you,” I said as I ran my nose along his breathing him in.
He nodded as his fangs retracted and he pulled me in for another kiss, wrapping his arms tighter around my waist. I couldn’t help myself, I started moving my hips against his and I felt him harden beneath me, causing me to moan. His hands moved to my hips and pushed me down onto his erection and he moved against me.
I pulled back and pressed my head into the crook of his neck.
“Eric, I…”he interrupted me before I could finish.
“Min Sǫngr, as much as I want to make love with you, and I do, you should rest. Your body needs to heal itself and I want to hold you while you sleep. Would that be acceptable?” he asked while gently petting my hair down my back.
Oh My God! He is too fucking cute for words. I ran my nose along his jawline, inhaling his clean scent as I pulled back to look at him.
“I was just about to say the same thing to you.”
“Shall I run you a bath?”
“No. That would probably not lead to rest.”
“Then may I take you to bed?”
He smiled and kissed me again before standing. His hands cupped my ass and I went with him. My legs wrapped around his waist while my arms wrapped around his neck. When we reached the bedroom, he placed me gently on the bed.
“I assume you will be clothed while you sleep, though I wish you would not.”
“Yes, I will be clothed,” I pointed to the suitcase and he pulled out a pair of pajama pants and a tank top.
After handing them to me, he stepped back and looked at me.
“What?” I asked.
“I am waiting for you to change,” he smirked.
I stood and started walking toward the bathroom, shaking my head.
“Eric, I’m not going to give you a striptease. I need to brush my teeth anyway,” I giggled.
I changed my clothes and took care of my needs. When I returned to the bedroom he was standing by the window talking on his phone. A dim lamp was on next to the bed. When I entered, he turned his head giving me another brilliant, beautiful smile and nodded toward the bed.
I climbed under the covers while he finished his phone call. I watched as he pressed a button under the window and a light tight panel slid down to cover the glass until not a sliver of moonlight could be seen. He hung up and began undressing. I quickly averted my eyes and he chuckled.
“Chelsea, you have seen me before and you know I am not bothered if you look at my body.”
“I know, but this is…it’s as if this is new. That probably doesn’t make sense to you.”
“I find I can relate,” he said as I felt the bed dip down and the covers moved.
“Really?” I asked, turning to face him.
“Really,” he said, chuckling again.
I moved to rest my head in my favorite snuggle spot against his chest and he wrapped his arms around me protectively. It was bliss. I wondered if I would dream of him now that he was actually there with me. He kissed first my forehead, then the top of my head. I moved so that I was looking at him and opened my mouth to speak, but he placed a finger on my lips.
“Shh. No more talking tonight. Let me hold you,” he leaned up to kiss me goodnight.
I kissed him and turned so we could spoon. It was hard, pun definitely intended, to ignore what was pressed against my ass, but I found myself cocooned by all things Eric and sighed.
“Good night, Min Sǫngr.”
“Good night, My Viking.”
I barely registered that we had said that to each other in one of my dreams before I was out like a light.
Longer – Clare Bowen & Sam Palladio
Aurelia Gliwiski as Chelsea ‘Cricket’ Kerrigan
Alexander Skarsgård as Eric Northman
(sorry, links still aren’t cooperating correctly so click below to go to previous chapter)
click on the link below to go to Chapter 23
Thank you for reading!
Please review and tell me your thoughts!