We made it to the pool and seeing as it was empty at the moment, I didn’t bother with putting Hunter in one of his swim diaper. The moment we entered the water, the little one turned into an eager little fish. He kept splashing me in between fit of giggles. We had so much fun that I completely lost track of time. It wasn’t until I felt two strong arms circled me, making me scream, that I realized that the sun had finally set.
“Good evening, lover…”
“Eric! You should learn not to try to sneak on me!”
“You were so beautiful, lover, I couldn’t resist. The human incarnation of Rán, the sea goddess…”
With a soft kiss to my neck, he took an overactive Hunter from me.
“And how are, min son?”
The look on Eric’s handsome face as our son called him dada was priceless.
Red rimmed his eyes as he held Hunter closed to his unbeating heart. I looked at the two of them, gently wiping Eric’s tears with my thumb. That’s when I realized that Eric was completely naked.
“Eric Northman! You’re naked!”
He raised an eyebrow. “My son just said his first word and all you have to say is that I am naked?”
“Your son? He’s as much mine as he is yours! And yes, all I have to say is you’re naked! This is a public pool, Eric! People could walk in and you might be an exhibitionist, but I would prefer to be the only one to enjoy seeing your Gracious Plenty, mister!”
He laughed heartily, making Hunter giggled as well.
“Don’t worry, lover. You will be the only one enjoying the view of my Gracious Plenty as you say. I’ve arranged for the pool to be closed for our private use.”
I sighed. High handed bastard… that I loved more than anything.
“Am I forgiven, lover?” he asked, pressing his GP to the center of my core.
“You are, mister, but let’s keep it PG rated. It’s one thing to do it with Hunter sleeping in the same room, but I will not do it with him wide awake…”
He pouted, a really sexy pout, before vamping through the pool making our son scream with delight. I sat on the side of the pool and sighed with contentment. This is what we needed before the fuckery that awaited us. Seeing Eric being so carefree with our son was a breath of fresh air. Gone was the badass Viking Vampire Sheriff, in his place was a young father simply enjoying his child. Seeing the two of them laughing and giggling (yes, Eric was giggling!) made me long… No, I had to stop thinking of it. It was an empty dream, something that would never happen.
Sensing the change in my emotion, Eric joined me to the side of the pool.
“What’s the matter, lover?” he asked gently.
“Your mother thinks she can hide things from me, min Liten Jägare.”
“I’m not hiding… Alright, I am hiding something! But I’m hiding it for a reason… I… I don’t want you to feel the sadness…”
My right hand went to rest on my flat stomach and I knew he understood. As much as I tried to bury my head in the sand, as much as I try to deny my desire…
“You remember the night I gave you my virginity?”
A ghost of a smile appeared on his lips. “How could I forget the night you gave me one of the most precious gift…”
God, could he be any sweeter.
“Well that night, or most likely that morning, I had a dream. I dreamed… I was pregnant and I had two children already, a boy and a girl. They ran up to wake their father… You were human, Eric. And we were married and we were expecting our third child…”
He passed me Hunter before sitting next to me, holding me to his side, his chin resting on top of my head.
“It’s stupid, I know, but I can’t help… I would give everything to give you a child of our own. Not that Hunter is not…”
I looked at the baby, that baby that for some strange reason seemed to be a mix of both Eric and I. Hadley was my cousin and we looked a lot alike, but…
“I understand, lover. And you know that if it was possible I would do anything…”
“I know. The depth of your love for me… It scares me sometimes, but in a good way, you know?”
His big hand cupped the side of my face.
“If you wish to have a baby, a baby you would carry for 9 months, lover, we could look into…”
“No! I could never carry someone else’s baby, Eric! My dream… my dream is that, a dream. The reality is already perfect. I have the love of a wonderful man, a man who would do anything for me. And we already have a child, a perfect little boy who we will raise to be as amazing as his father…”
“And as smart as his mother…”
His lips sought mines and soon all my doubt were washed away.
“We should get back to the suite if we want to be ready for Isabel and her…”
With a groan, Eric reluctantly agreed. Soon we were both dressed and leaving the pool. As we passed the front desk, I looked at our reflection in the huge mirrors. Yes, everything was perfect.
We dropped Hunter with Gran and Jessica before going to the lounge area where we would meet Godric’s second and her human companion. Isabel and Hugo were already waiting for us.
“Northman, Sookie, allow me to present you my human, Hugo Ayres.”
I tried not to cringe too much at her referring to Hugo as her human.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you” said the man.
I dropped my shields a little, trying to get a good reading of the man. All I got was how surprised he was at the way Eric seemed to be treating me. I took the hand he was extending and shake it.
“The pleasure is ours, Mr. Ayres.”
“Please, call me Hugo, Miss Stackhouse. If I understood what Isabel told me, I am to escort you tomorrow…”
I nodded politely and sat down next to Eric, my hand still in his and resting on his thigh. An awkward silence followed.
“How about we let Hugo and Sookie get acquainted, Northman? There is something I need to talk to you about…” said Isabel.
Eric looked at me and squeezed my hand. I kissed his cheek and whispered my approval. Isabel was right, if we were to go undercover at the Fellowship, Hugo and I would need to be better acquainted.
“We’ll be at the bar, lover… If you need…”
“Go, you have vampire business to discuss with Isabel.”
He reluctantly left us.
“Please excuse my bonded, Mr. Ayres… I mean, Hugo. He tends to be quite protective of me.”
“No need to apologize, Sookie. May I call you Sookie?”
“I was told in advance that Northman could be territorial…”
I laughed. “Territoriality comes with being bonded, you know. Are you and Isabel bonded?”
His puzzled look told me they weren’t and that he probably didn’t even know what being bonded meant.
“Yes, did Isabel explain it to you?”
“No… We share blood, I mean she drinks from me and sometimes she let me drink from her…”
“Oh, then what you have is called a blood tie. A blood bond is when a vampire and a human share blood simultaneously. There are three stages to a blood bond, meaning it takes three simultaneous feeding for a bond to be completed. In mine and Eric’s case, our first bonding happened quite accidentally, I had hurt myself and he gave me his blood while he licked my wound.”
I didn’t explain that the first bonding had happened while I was a child.
“Bonding normally leads to a vampire turning his bonded.”
“So Northman plans to turn you?”
I smiled. “I love the sun too much to make a good vampire. Unless something bad was to happen…”
“Dumb blond! Love the sun too much? What about immortality? Eternal youth?”
My crazy Sookie smile was back on. I wasn’t going to tell him I would most likely stay young for a while and that my faeness, combined to my bonding with Eric, would give me something close to immortality.
“Since we are to get acquainted” I said, trying to change the subject, “what do you do for a living?”
He seemed to calm down or at least that’s the impression I got. He was less tensed.
“I’m a lawyer…”
“No way? So am I! I just graduated from Harvard Law School this past spring.”
“One more thing we have in common! I was specialized in family businesses, you know divorces, custody battles…”
“You were specialized? You’re not practicing anymore?”
“Well, you know how it is, right? Being in a relationship with a vampire? The sex alone can be quite… addictive. Then I got attached to Isabel. I changed my whole life to suit hers. I started to miss work. I couldn’t get up in the morning and couldn’t stand to leave her after dark. I ended up selling my practice. Being with her is worth more than what my work gave me.”
As happy as he sounded, there was regret in his voice.
“I… It’s not like this between me and Eric. I’ve known about vampires all my life. My firm specialize in Supes and I’ve been able to adjust well since Eric and I started our relationship.”
He didn’t say anything, but his thoughts were clear as water.
“You’re saying that now, but wait… You’ll beg him to turn you, just like I’m always begging Isabel… Why doesn’t she want to turn me?”
Soon Eric and Isabel were back to the table. Our guests left, Hugo promising to come back the next day so he could escort me. Yeah, as if.
“What’s the matter, lover?”
“I… I don’t think it’s such a good idea for me to go there with him. What he told me, what I heard… And then there’s the fact that I could never pretend to be his fiancée! I’m not that great of an actress…”
“What did you heard?”
Tension filled our bond and I kissed him softly, wishing to appease him.
“Nothing incriminating, just… He’s like an addict, you know? Isabel is his drug.”
“He’s a V addict?”
“No, not in that sense. Anyway, Isabel doesn’t seem to give him that much blood. What I meant is… Their relationship doesn’t seem very healthy. He’s making her the center of his universe.”
“What’s wrong with that?” he asked. “Am I not the center of your universe, lover?”
I smiled. “Of course you are, but I still have a life outside of our relationship. I’m still a sister to Jason, a friend to Pam and Jessica, a granddaughter to Gran and now a mother to Hunter. I can still do my job, although I’ve been slacking a lot lately!”
“Of course you’ve been slacking on your job, lover! You just got a child, isn’t it common for new mothers to take… What is it called? Oh yeah, maternity leave? I think that it is even illegal for me, as your employer, not to give you one.”
“We’ll talk about maternity leave as soon as we get Godric and Jason back… But back to Hugo, he stopped seeing his friends, his family just to be able to spend time with Isabel. You know he’s a lawyer? Or at least he used to be one. He said that in order to adjust his life to Isabel’s he had to sell his practice!”
“Some vampires like to have their pets available at all time” he explained. “Isabel isn’t like this, but I know she appreciate his sacrifice.”
I frowned. “Is this what you would want for me? To quit the practice and…”
“No, lover, I would never ask you for this sacrifice. I know how much you like your work and I appreciate it. And I know you would loath being what you call a kept woman.”
“You talked to Gran, did you?” I groaned. “I know that in your time, women stayed home and took care of the children…”
“But you are an independent modern woman. And I love you for that. I don’t want you to be a kept woman, lover, I just want to take care of you.”
“And you’re doing such a great job at it, Eric.”
He kissed me softly on the forehead.
“So I guess you won’t be going to the Fellowship with Hugo, then.”
I bit my lower lip and shook my head.
“We are facing quite a dilemma, lover. From what Stan said, a woman alone would be suspicious.”
He took a deep unnecessary breath.
“Here’s what I suggest” he finally said. “You could go to the Fellowship with Adele. A woman alone is suspicious, but a woman, her son and her grandmother…”
“You would want me to take Hunter to this awful place?!”
Who was that man and what had he done to my Eric?
“Lover, think about it. What is more harmless than a mother, her child and her aging grandmother? But what they don’t know is that there is nothing harmless about my kick ass ninja fairy…”
He smirked. The bastard smirked!
“I… Eric you can’t mean… How can you even think of putting Hunter in such…”
“You’re underestimating yourself, lover. I know you wouldn’t let any harm comes to our son. You just need to go there, listen to their thoughts and come back, that’s it. I trust you, Sookie.”
Could I do it? It was one thing to infiltrate the Fellowship by myself, but to take my Gran and my son with me?
“You really trust me to keep him safe?”
I felt tears filling my eyes as his trust in me, his love for me filled our bond.
“Alright, I’ll do it.”
We went back to the suite and told Gran our plan. Surprisingly she was up to the challenge, coming up with a back story for us. It was then decided that Victoria Preston, a young military wife whose husband was in Iraq, would visit the Fellowship’s Church with her Grandmother Laura and her young son.
“Everything will be alright, lover” said Eric, as we retired for the night.
After rocking Hunter to sleep, Eric made slow sweet love to me. Afterward, as we were lying side by side, he kept reiterating his trust in me. It worked because the next morning all my doubt had vanished. As we parked the rental car in the parking in front of the impressive church building, Gran took my hand in hers and squeezed it.
“Come on, darling, we have some bigots to fool!”