“Now… About Eric’s whereabouts…”
I held my breath.
“I’m sorry to report that I don’t have a lot to offer. We thought there might have been a sighting in Äre, but it was during the daytime…”
“Wait a minute, when was this sighting?”
“About six months ago, but it was during the daytime…”
I bite my lower lips. Six months ago during the daytime would be right.
“And… The description matched Eric?”
“Yes, but during the daytime…”
He sounded restless, if I could have read his mind I’m pretty sure he was thinking something along the line of ‘are you dumb or what? I just told you it was during the daytime!’
“Then it was Eric. When he disappeared, he had the ability of day walking.”
I then proceeded to tell Gustaf all about the whole Warlow disaster back in Louisiana. In order to do so I went back to the very beginning, to my fairy ancestor who had literally made a pack with the devil, selling off the first fae-bearing female of his line. I then went on telling him about my parents’ murders by Warlow, skipping the part where my daddy had planned to drown me in the river, and about Claudine who had sent him in another plane.
“About the same time as when shit hit the proverbial fan back in Louisiana with the late Governor Burrell incarcerating vampires in his Vamp Camp, Warlow escaped the plane where Claudine had sent him. He was hell-bent on making me his faepire bride… In the end his blood, by proxy through Bill, saved the vampires who were imprisoned had Vamp Camp, allowing them to walk in the sun. But as soon as my brother Jason staked him…”
“The magic of his blood stopped?”
“Since it was night time back in Bon Temps, it didn’t have any consequences for the vampires who were there, but if Eric had been in Sweden at the time…”
“Then it was daytime…”
I felt the familiar sting of tears escaping my eyes.
“Then it is in Äre that we will start our search” he said, handing me an embroidered handkerchief.
“Thank you… Where is it?” I asked, curious about this place where Eric had gone to drown his grief.
“Äre is located in Jämtland which is in the North West.”
“Is it where Eric is from? Where you are from? I thought Viking lived by the sea, you know, dragon boat and pillaging villages on the coast…”
He smiled. “No, we are from Öland, an island South of Stockholm. Although Eric’s mother’s clan was from near Gamla Uppsala.”
“I… I’m sorry but my knowledge of Sweden’s geography is practically non-existent…”
“Don’t worry, you are a smart girl, you’ll learn quickly. But back to Äre… I know Eric has a residence there. In fact he owns most of the ski resort there.”
“A ski resort? It’s in the mountain?”
The vampire King nodded. I closed my eyes for a moment and was brought back to this nightmare I had so many nights… Eric is all his naked glory, sunbathing on top of a snowy mountain before bursting into flames.
“Sookie… My dear, are you all right?”
“Yes… I mean, no… I don’t… You’re gonna think I’m crazy just like everybody else…”
“Crazy? Who think you are crazy?”
“Well my fellow Bon Temps citizens, for starter. I’ve always been Crazy Sookie, because of my telepathy. And Bill and Alcide must think I’m crazy going on a scavenger hunt for Eric when I basically rejected him all those months ago…”
“Let me tell you something, little girl, those people from your hometown are the crazy ones for not seeing the magnificent person you are. As for King Compton, from what I’ve gathered from my contacts, he’s not the smartest vampire to have ever walked the Earth. And who’s this Alcide?”
“My boyfriend… Ex-boyfriend. He’s the pack master of the Shreveport weres…”
The look of disgust on Gustaf’s face told me that he was just like any vampire I had ever met, except for Russell Edgington, and that he had a universal disdain for weres.
“I know… I wanted to escape Supes and dated a werewolf. Pretty stupid on my part, I know.”
“We all make stupid mistakes, even us, millennia old vampires.”
I couldn’t help myself but laugh.
“Back to why I would think you are crazy, dear?”
I smiled. He was so nice to me, so… paternal. It was something I hadn’t experienced in years and with my newfound knowledge about what my daddy had wanted to do to me the night he and mama had died, I longed for this sort of paternal attention.
“I’ve been having dreams, nightmares really. I… I see Eric, sunbathing completely naked on top of a snowy mountain. Then, all of the sudden, he burst into flames… I would then wake up… They’re just nightmares, but…”
“They were not nightmares, dear.”
I didn’t need him to tell me that. I knew that they weren’t nightmares.
“While I have never bonded with a human, I have heard about the connections that exist between a bonded couple.”
“But we’re not… Mr. Cataliades said we aren’t fully bonded…”
“Eric is nothing if not thorough. And you, my dear, are quite a unique creature. Forget the how. From what I’ve gathered, what you and Eric share is even more unique.”
It was then decided that we would leave for Äre the next evening. We continue talking, or more exactly Gustaf continued talking. He told me many stories about Eric, some embarrassing, some that brought tears to my eyes. One story in particular made me laugh so hard. Apparently Claudine wasn’t the first fairy Eric had drunk dry.
“And there they were, Godric and Eric, completely high on full fairy blood! I’ve never seen anything more entertaining in all my 1000 years!”
“You think? Did Eric went skinny dipping in a gator invested pond thinking he was Ægir, God of the sea? Cause that’s what he did when he drank my fairy godmother dry!”
I couldn’t remember laughing so hard in… God, it had been so long!
Thorfinn was standing at the entrance of the room, Tara, Willa and Lafayette next to him.
“I see the rest of your party have arrived.”
“Tara, Willa, Lafayette, allow me to introduce you to his Majesty, King Gustaf Olafson, vampire King of Sweden. Your Majesty, Tara Thornton and Willa Burrell, respectively Pam and Eric’s progenies, and Lafayette Reynolds.”
Willa and Tara looked quite intimidated while Lafayette did a rather silly curtsy.
“Please, none of that! We are practically family.”
Intimidation made place for confusion.
“King Gustaf is related to Eric” I explained. “From their human lives.”
“And here Lala thought that all Swedes were made on the same model.”
I couldn’t help myself but laugh.
“It’s a pleasure to welcome you to Bjärka-Säby. May I offer you a blood?”
Gustaf was a very attentive host and, after telling Lala, Tara and Willa about our plan for the next evening, entertained us until it was nearly dawn. We were then shown to our accommodation for the night… well day. Willa and Tara bunked together while Lafayette disappeared with Miklos.
I was left alone in my luxurious suite of room. I took a minute to check my phone, smiling at a text from Jason. Apparently my brother wanted me to bring him a souvenir from my trip. I quickly replied that I would do my best before deleting Bill and Alcide’s messages.
As I lay down on the comfortable bed, my dreams were filled not with nightmare, but with expectation. I was getting closer to finding Eric. Soon I would be able to amend my mistakes… I could only hope that Eric would be able to forgive me.