Previously on Your Presence Still Lingers Here
“Fuck a zombie! Sookie Fucking Stackhouse!”
“Good evening, Pam…”
“Tell me I’m not hallucinating!”
“You’re not. It’s me…”
Of all the reaction I could have expected, being hugged by Pam wasn’t one of them. The first time she had ever hugged me, she had been high on the Bill-Warlow blood cocktail. But now she was clearly sober and was hugging me to dear life.
“Fuck, you even smell like Eric!”
I let out a nervous chuckle.
“That would the jacket.”
She took a step back, taking in my clothes. Since I hadn’t packed anything, I was wearing my clothes from the previous evening, but I still had Eric’s way too big leather jacket on.
“I don’t know how you were able to find us, but I’m glad you did.”
“You have to thank Mr. Cataliades. He put me in touch with Gustaf, I mean with King Gustaf… We just came back from Äre…”
“So you know what happened there?”
“Fucking stupid Viking” she said. “Sunbathing in the nude on top of a mountain! He was lucky to trigger an avalanche with his scream, otherwise he would have met his True Death.”
I felt two voids behind me, Gustaf and Thorfinn. Pam stiffened before lowering her head. This was a Pam I had never seen before.
“Your Majesty…” she said, sounding almost like a little girl.
“Pamela, you foolish girl!”
“Your Majesty, I…”
“Don’t!” snapped the King.
By the sharpness of his tone, I expected the King to physically hurt Pam. But instead he took her in his arms and hugged her, whispering softly in Swedish. When he finally released her, Pam had red rimmed eyes. One more surprise for me who had only known Pam as a cold hearted bitch.
“Pammy, you’ve been a very naughty girl” teased Thorfinn.
“Shut up, Finn!”
“Sorry to interrupt your family reunion, for lack of better term, but… Eric?”
“And here I thought you had come all the way from Bumfuck, Louisiana just for me!”
I sighed. “Pam, please…”
“He’s in here…”
I didn’t wait and made my way inside the house. I felt a void behind one of the closed door, a very weak one… That couldn’t be Eric! His void has always been just like him, big, huge, impressive. I opened the door, taking a deep breath. I was welcomed by a sight that shattered my heart in a million pieces. Eric was laying on the bed, a shell of his former self. Gone was the mighty Viking Vampire, in his place was an emaciated, sick looking man. He was shirtless and his skin, even though it had the pink colour of newly healed flesh, was an awful gray.
His eyes opened, but gone was the life that once illuminated them.
“Have I met the True Death and gone to Valhalla? Or are you just like Godric? A hallucination sent to torment me?”
I sat down on the bed, shaking. I cupped his face with both of my hands before kissing him, trying to put all the love I had in me, all the love I had for him, in it.
“Does this feel real enough for you?”
A ghost of a smile appeared on the lips I just kissed.
His lid closed, as if they weighed a ton. I buried my head in his chest, my tears soaking the sheet covering his lower half.
“He’s getting weaker and weaker with each passing night.”
I turned toward the entrance of the room. Pam was standing alone in the threshold, her arms folded across her chest.
“Is it… Is it Hep-V?” I asked, even though I was afraid of the answer. “Is it why he doesn’t seem to heal properly?”
“I wish it was. No, it’s not Hep-V. How can it be Hep-V when the bastard refused to feed!”
“He hasn’t feed since…?”
“At first I had to force feed him… He took some bags of blood in Äre, but it didn’t really help since he was burn to crisp. Since we’ve been here… He took a couple of bottle of Royalty Blend – that’s a brand of expensive synthetic blood that contains a certain amount of human blood, but he flat out refused any donor I brought him.”
“I’ve seen it before” said Gustaf, joining us. “He lost the will to live.”
I was brought back to memories of Godric… He, too, had lost the will to live and not even his beloved Childe had been able to save him. But Eric wasn’t Godric and I would rather die myself than live in a world without him.
“Can you… Can you leave us alone, please?”
They nodded. Pam gave me one last longing look before closing the door. I sighed. Now what next? I hadn’t really plan ahead. I expected to find Eric… well being the good old Eric! Probably feeding and fucking from some willing female. Never in my wildest dream would I have imagine finding him in such a state.
I brought my wrist to his mouth, hoping his fangs would dropped at the scent of my blood, but all I got was a soft moan. I looked around the room, hoping to find something to cut me. A red velvet pouch caught my attention. Jackpot! Inside was an intricate dagger. I bit my lower lip as I slashed one of my shoulders, bringing Eric’s mouth to it.
“Come on, Eric! Drink!”
It took a second, but he started to drink. Moans filled the room and I was surprised to realized they weren’t coming from Eric. No, I was the one moaning. I was gripping the dagger in my right hand while the left held the back of his head.
“Oh my God!”
The door opened swiftly on Pam, Gustaf and Thorfinn.
“Sookie! What are you doing?”
“Are you crazy, Tinkerbelle? He hasn’t fed from a human in nearly six months! He’s going to drain you!”
“I know he won’t” I said weakly. “I can feel him getting… stronger…”
“And we can hear you getting weaker, Sookie!”
In a flash Gustaf was separating us, using a shirt from a nearby chair to stop the bleeding from my wound. Thorfinn and Pam were by Eric’s side, checking him out for sign of improvement. His skin looked better, it was still gray, but it now had a slight glow.
“Come Sookie, you had a tiring night…”
“No, Gustaf, please! I can’t leave Eric alone!”
I was sobbing, trying to fight off a thousand years old vampire.
“Let… her… stay…”
“But Eric, you need to…” started Pam.
“I need… her!”
Still holding the dagger, I went to the bed and curled in Eric’s side. Even though he was still weak, his arms snaked around me, holding me in a death grip. For the first time in more than six months I felt safe. Safe and loved.