Style Part 4
My eyes snapped open with the setting of the sun and I rose with one swift motion. My assistant was waiting for me with a steaming cup of BrewBlood. A synthetic blood made with coffee. Even after I became a vampire I never seemed to kick the caffeine habit. I didn't need it, of course, I just loved it. I had it synthesized a couple years ago and now I hardly drank anything else.
"Thank you, Verbena." I said, sipping from the cup and she handed me my ipad with a list of my nights' work.
"Your nine o'clock has been pushed to nine thirty, for the business proposal, there is a sentencing in an hour, and your husband is in the foyer." She filled me in with a smile.
That last bit caught my attention more than even my BrewBlood had and I stopped in my tracks, turning to look at her. Was she joking?
"He is?" My eyes lit up.
"Indeed." She smiled at me.
"Is something wrong?" I was ready to be concerned.
"Quite the contrary. He said he's missed you." She assured me. I smiled again and tossed back the contents of my mug and handed it back to her. I pushed a couple last second buttons and gave her the ipad, as well.
"How's my hair?" I asked, smoothing it.
"Fit for royalty, your Majesty." She assured me.
"Thanks." I smiled, striding from the room.
Verbena spoke to her wrist where she was wired to the main security desk.
"The Queen is leaving her chambers." She said, receiving a garbled reply from the other end.
I entered the foyer and sure enough, there he was, in his signature jeans and Fangtasia t-shirt, complete with a white rose bouquet. Eric Northman was the kind of gorgeous that could ruin your life. Tall as a tree with blue eyes and blonde hair. A stare that looked straight into your deepest desires with a primal warrior hidden under the surface. I practically squealed and Eric's face lit up when he saw me come to him. I jumped up and he caught me, kissing me deeply.
"I am so happy to see you!" I smiled at him, studying every detail of his face as though we had never met before squeezing him again.
"And I am happy to see you." He smiled and kissed me again, swaying us a bit. He set me down and raised a brow at my security behind me who stared at him unscrupulously and I followed his gaze.
"Let's go somewhere private." I took him by the hand and motioned for my guards to keep out as I led my husband back into my room.
"How are you?" I asked, closing my door after us.
"I am well. How are you, my Wife?"
"I'm good. Busy." I smiled.
"Indeed. You have done so well with this." He beamed proudly, taking in the room around us.
"Well, I'm trying. How's Pam?" I inquired.
"She is doing wonderfully. She is very much enjoying having her own kingdom." He chuckled and rolled his eyes.
I laughed out loud. "I don't doubt that!" I said.
"She seems to enjoy living in Arkansas."
"Oh? How do you like living in Oklahoma?" I asked, sitting on my bed.
It hadn't been our plan for Eric to move away, but when you end up with three kingdoms among three of you, you each take one. Plus, to run a state, it requires constant vigilance. Trust me on that one.
"I fucking hate it." He practically spat. I was a little taken aback.
"Why, Honey?" I asked as I scooted closer. I put my arm around him and stroked the side of his head.
"I miss my little piece of Louisiana. I miss my bar, I miss my wife." He said, sitting beside me and taking me by the hand.
"Your wife misses you back." I put my head on his shoulder.
"Good, because that is what I'm here to talk about."
"Talk? So, this visit isn't conjugal?" I scrunched my brow and he smiled at me.
"Well, it can be, but Sookie, I wanna come home. I wanna move back to Shreveport."
I gasped loudly.
"Really?" I felt annoying as I practically screamed, but I was so excited!
"Yes. I still have my house in the city and I miss running the bar. I killed Freyda to get my life back and I still don't have it." He shrugged with a scoff.
"A lot is different." I agreed. "When?"
"As soon as possible. This week." He said, seeming to have made up his mind only then.
"Might as well. Got everything squared away there?" I asked.
"Mostly. Just a couple loose ends that need tying. Nothing difficult or time consuming."
"Goody! I'm gonna have my chambers redone to accommodate the both of us." I clapped my hands in excitement. He returned it with one of his own gorgeous smiles. There was room enough for the two of us, sure, but I needed to have a coffin added for him. Possibly a second coffin big enough for both of us, as well. For when I wanted to go to ground with him.
"How does the brother of my wife fare?" He asked, making himself sound truly old and I repressed a laugh.
"He's good. Michelle is good. The kids are growing like weeds. I see them every now and then."
"I thought you would surely be spending more time with them than that." His handsome face scrunched.
"Well, I am a busy bee and the kids only stay up so late." I conceded.
He motioned with his finger at the mansion around us. "Those out there are the bees. You are the Queen." He leaned in and kissed me. Mmm. "My Queen." He whispered against my lips, giving me chills. I still wasn't comfortable with the idea of me running a kingdom or being a Queen, but I definitely did get chills every time he referred to me as his.
As a human woman, the concept of a vampire having or taking claim on me was infuriating and to be honest, the whole concept was a bit lost on me. I remembered all my points well enough, but as a vampire my previous concepts were lost on me. I always had thought being someone's progeny was tantamount to being little more than a willing slave, but it was so much more than that. I didn't feel forced or fiendish. Of course, my maker was also my boyfriend. Now he was my maker, my husband and my king. Also, he was Eric. Most vampires didn't have it so good. Including Eric himself.
His lips worked their way down to my neck and I pulled back a bit.
"Honey, I have a sentencing in like thirty minutes." I said, trying desperately to remember my responsibilities as I glanced at the clock and he went back after my neck.
"I'll be quick." He said into my ear with a primal growl.
"Liar." I replied, my voice heavy from his lips.
He laughed and retreated from my personal bubble.
"Very well. I can wait until I can take my time on you. What shall we do til the sentencing?" He asked.
"Do you want some BrewBlood?" I asked, shaking off chills.
" I would. Why don't you show me what you've done with the place?" He suggested.
"I can do that." I smiled. We exited my room and Verbena was waiting again.
"Verbena, would you mind getting Eric a BrewBlood, please?"
"Right away, your majesty."
"For the hundredth time, it's Sookie." I begged and she nodded before departing.
"Sookie, you should not have your subordinates on a first name basis." Eric chided me.
"Yeah? Why not?" I asked him.
"Because it blurs the line."
"What line?" I asked, sensing an argument could be near. There were things Eric and I do very well. At the top of the list? Fucking and fighting.
"Between who is the Queen and who has to do what their told." He said, sternly.
I didn't really like the sound of that. "I won't make anyone address me as 'Master'. Besides, all the employees at Merlotte's were on a first name basis with Sam." I scrunched my brows at him.
"Yes and look at how lines were blurred." He stated and I really took his words into consideration.
"You mean how Arlene had no respect, Holly and Danielle basically did whatever they wanted and we had more than one cook go to the dark side? And Arlene." I scrunched my face in understanding now. I was still a bit sad and angry whenever I thought of my old friend.
"Not to mention that he dated you." Eric practically growled.
Before I could respond to that, Verbena was back with another steaming mug. Eric thanked her, sipped and his eyes widened.
"Wow, Sookie. That is...delicious!" He sounded surprised.
"Once more without the condescending tone?" I chirped.
"No, it's just that I have never really drank coffee so I did not know what to expect." I smiled victoriously as he sipped some more.
"Excuse me, Ma'am, but the sentencing is ready to proceed. They would like you to arrive early." Verbena informed me.
"Okay. I'll go now." I told her. I turned to kiss my husband goodbye, but he pulled away.
"I'm coming with you."
"You are?" I asked nervously, feeling like a student who's teacher was looking over their shoulder.
"Oh, I wouldn't miss this. It's an opportunity to see how you are truly doing with adjusting to running a Queendom." He kissed me on the cheek affectionately.
"Oh. Won't that be fun?" I asked, not totally devoid of sarcasm.
I changed into the traditional ceremonial garb and we made our way out back where court had been set up. There were ten foot torches that had been erected to light the pathway. I still felt weird and overwhelmed knowing that the throne at the front was meant for me. Everyone was in place already, standing in front of their chairs, waiting to be seated. I stood in front of the throne as the vampire, Larry, (yes, seriously) blew into a horn and introduced me. I stood there incredibly self conscious while he did.
"I give you, Sookie Stackhouse-Northman. Queen of Louisiana, wife of Eric Northman, Sherriff of Area 5, King of Oklahoma." Larry shouted. I had my last name hyphenated for simplistic legal issues after the wedding. Eric didn't like it very much, but I wasn't willing to give up my maiden name. He gave Eric a similar introduction, having noticed him next to me. I took my seat and everyone followed suit.
"Why is everything so old timey?" Eric asked in confusion.
I shrugged. "I still can't help but to find it all a bit ridiculous, so I figure why not? It's fun!" I smiled at him and he laughed boisterously in response.
They brought before me a vampire half dragging, half walking. His ankles and wrists were chained together with silver and he didn't seem capable of keepig his feet under him. I immediately felt for him and then I locked that down with a quickness. For all I knew, he was shackled because he had killed an old lady or something. My Gran was murdered; I didn't feel even a little bad for him anymore.
He whimpered when they tossed him at my feet. He pushed himself to his knees, feebly. He put his hands together and bowed before me. Verbena stepped forward from behind my throne and gave me his file. I opened it to scan the contents and felt fire rise in my throat.
"You, Tony Green, stand accused of raping and draining young mothers before you take their babies for, and I quote "snackage at a later date." What do you have to say for yourself?" I practically spat at the feind before me.
" I am discreet, your majesty. I do not hurt the mainstreaming movement with my actions." He replied.
My eye twitched. "I'm sorry, is that an attempt at a defense?" I asked with venom in my voice.
"I know that it is against the law to be caught feeding, but I swear, it was a vampire that caught me!" He insisted, waiting for the moment when the point he was trying to get across would click in my brain.
Tears of bloody anger began to slowly build in my eyes. Yeah, discretion is really what should be discussed.
"Do you believe that that acquits you of any wrongdoing, Mr. Green?" I asked and my voice was surprisingly even. His eyes darted around for a second to register my question.
"Yes?" He sounded like a teenager who thought he might be giving you the answer you want, rather than the truth.
"Are you retarded?" I couldn't help but ask.
"Well, no. I don't think so, Ma'am." He said a bit confused with a dashing smile and a chuckle.
"Are you capable of telling the difference between right and wrong?"
"Yes, Ma'am. I was raised proper. Right here in Louisiana. Straight A's and played football."
"Yet you think that what you have done is in any way forgivable? This is 2018, don't you know better?" I asked. I wanted to make sure he was actually competent to stand trial. Maybe he was challenged, or damaged like Bubba. He could've been anyone's neighbor. He could be my brother. Though, I had a very hard time imagining a ladies' man like Jason needing to rape anyone. I also had a hard time imagining my brother eating babies. Still, it was important that I viewed situations such as these from every angle.
"I'm sorry, your royal highness, I just thought we were fucking vampires." He shrugged, throwing an attitude now. I had heard enough. I didn't enjoy those situations, but I was in a position powerful enough to make a difference, and oh, boy, was I gonna.
I closed his file having made up my mind and the whole court stood with me to hear my verdict.
"I will not stand for this in my Queendom! You, Tony Green are, at this time, being convicted of your heinous crimes and as such, are hereby sentenced to the true death!" I said with an air of finality.
"My maker is very powerful! He won't stand for this!" He yelled in a desperate attempt to save his life. His words reminded me of Draco Malfoy, in a less serious setting I would've laughed, but not now.
"Then, he can burn with you, if he chooses." I said, ruthlessly.
"Burn?" He asked.
"Oh, yes, Mr. Green. Staking is too quick for you. Shackle him to something sturdy and leave him for the sun!" I said to my guards, who snatched him back up.
"I am to die alone?" He asked.
"Of course, not. I'll be here." I smiled viciously and he looked at me confused before the guards gagged him and put a bag over his head. Don't judge me, okay? Even Human Sookie would've felt that was more than justified. In fact, he's lucky that I didn't have him chained in the dungeon and taken apart piece by piece.
I dismissed the court and everyone went their separate ways. Eric and I hung back as all the worker bees went back to buzzing around the hive.
I chuckled aloud, determined not to think about Tony's victims. Despite myself, I started thinking about Michelle and my nieces and nephew. Had it been my family, I know that the dungeon idea was exactly what I would've done and I found that I was second guessing my own verdict.
"What is the matter, Lover?" Eric asked me, watching the plethora of emotions play across my features.
"I want to hurt him." I said, icily. "I want to lock him away downstairs and slowly carve him up until he's paid for his crimes." My voice was heavy with sadness for the mothers and the children that were lost.
"Well, you can." Eric kissed my forehead. "You're my Queen. You can do whatever you want to him and no one will think twice about it."
"I will." I looked up at him and my eyes were full. "I know it's my job to punish him, but I can't play god."
"That is not playing god. That is being the hand of justice." He disagreed.
"That wouldn't be justice." I countered. "That would be vengeance."
"Perhaps, but does he not deserve it?" He asked.
"Well, yes, but he'll get whatever he deserves on the other side." I said looking way up to meet his beautiful eyes. I shrugged as we walked across the lawn, hand in hand.
"How do you know?" He asked with an adorable tilt of his head.
"I believe it." I replied after a moment of thought. "Don't you have any religious beliefs from your human days that you still hold onto?" I questioned.
"Bits and pieces." He nodded. "But I mostly like to be sure."
"I know you do." I smiled. "But, how are you sure? I mean, really; in a situation like this?"
"By locking them in the dungeon and taking them apart. Piece by piece." He said without a hint of sarcasm, his eyes deadly.
"I don't know." I was still unsure. "Two wrongs don't make a right."
"Lover, I won't tell you how to run your land, that's why it's yours, but I will tell you this; you are still looking at things from a mortals' perspective. These things don't apply to you any longer. Those sentiments are for humans." He was still serious.
"Well, if I thought like that, I may as well lump myself in with Tony." I was on the verge of arguing.
"Really?" He asked, rational. "Is that how you see me?"
I stopped in my tracks. "Well, no." I said, sure of my answer. "There was a time, when I first met you that I thought you might be that way, but that was a very long time ago."
"So, is there no grey area, then?" He asked.
I was lost to my thoughts. He was right, after all. I wasn't human and should stop looking at everything like I was. At the same time, I also needed to keep my identity and my own world views. I never liked the idea of grey areas, but wasn't I a walking, talking grey area? Even as a human? A lot of people thought I shouldn't exist based simply on what I was. I had always emphathized with vampires. In that aspect, we were the same. Though people felt that way about me, I never felt that way about myself. I was just a human with extra abilities. I still had emotions and instincts and I went to work every day and brushed my hair. Vampires also have instincts. The same ones I have now, and can now understand. Perhaps, I did need to loosen up a bit.
I agreed to have Eric sit in on my meeting and I held it in my office. As was appropriate. We chatted happily to take my mind off Tony's victims until there was a beep from my intercom.
"Yes?" I asked with the press of a button.
"Your 9:30 has arrived, Queen Sookie." Came Verbena's voice.
"Fantastic. Send them in!" I said.
A light knock came at the door and two businessmen vampires came in looking dapper.
"Your highness." Said the first with a friendly manner and a bow. He elbowed the second one to follow suit. I felt so self conscious as they bowed, but at the same time, I had to refrain from rolling my eyes. We vampires are ridiculous.
The first was tall and obviously middle aged when he was turned. He was thin, with auburn hair down to his shoulders and his head was bald on the top. Unfortunate. He had it slicked into a ponytail.
His partner was a couple inches shorter with black hair and striking green eyes. He was incredibly good looking and obviously young when he was turned. Maybe 25, an ideal age to become a vampire. His curly hair was only a couple inches long and gelled meticulously into place. His suit fit well and had hints of designer origins. He was nervous, I understood that. The first time I met Sophie-Anne Leclerq the previous Queen of Louisiana, I was ready to chew my nails, but Sophie-Anne was good to me and I would be good to them.
"Welcome, Mr. Martin." I said cordially. "This is my husband, King of Oklahoma and Sheriff of area 5, Eric Northman." I kept my voice calm despite my excitement. I got giddy whenever I got to introduce him to anyone. Husband! Married to Eric Northman and here I thought I would die single. Hmm.
"King Northman." They both bowed again. Ugh. I didn't understand how Eric was so cool and collected when people spoke to him that way.
"It is fortuitous that you are here, as well." Mr. Martin said to Eric. "After all, this is your area." He smiled politely.
"Indeed, it is. However, as the Queen, whatever my wife decides is final. If you knew her...Well, let's just say that changing her mind is a feat all it's own." Eric smiled back and I resisted the urge to stick my tongue out at him. Martin chuckled and motioned to his colleague.
"This is my progeny, Mr. Ellis. Robert, say hello." He nudged the boy.
Okay, so not a colleague. Exactly. Robert looked as though he would stutter horribly.
"Thank you for having us in your beautiful mansion, my Queen. May I say, that it's beauty pales in comparison to the fairness of your face." Not only did Robert not stutter, he positively oozed with charm. Wow.
Before I could answer, Eric let out a low rumble of a growl from beside me. All eyes turned to him.
"Flattery will get you nowhere. At least, not anywhere good." Eric said in a low tone. Possessive much?
The boy cleared his throat and stood back out of the way. Apparently flattery had been his main goal. Which meant, Eric wasn't just being rude, he was setting a standard. You cannot bribe a Northman. I tucked that away to remember later. Why? Well, for a moment there, it almost worked and I had yet to even hear their business proposal.
"What can I do for you, gentlemen?" I asked nicely and clasped my hands together on my desk.
"We would like to open a bar." Martin spoke now, the largest weapon in his arsenal having bombed so quickly. "A vampire bar."
"And?" I asked.
"We would like to do it in Shreveport." He added, knowing we had come to the most sensitive part of our conversation.
"Absolutely not." I uncrossed my hands and sat back in my chair, shutting down.
"May I inquire as to why?" He asked very humbly.
"Conflict of interest." I said bluntly. Why not? It was true.
"Conflict of interest?" He asked.
"Yes, my husband owns and runs one of the most successful vampire bars in the country. And it's in Shreveport. For someone who wants into the business, you don't seem to have done your homework. I mean, who's never been to Fangtasia?" I laughed.
I was attempting to keep the mood light, but Eric was staring stakes at my guests. I almost wanted to send him out of the room, but that would look bad. A king being told to behave by his Queen? I didn't want him to look weak. Weakness gets kings killed. I knew that with absolute certainty.
"Of course, we've heard of Fangtasia! That's the reason we wanted to do this in the first place." Robert chimed in with a smile painted on his face from ear to ear. His maker smiled, too, and kept going.
"Yes! Mr. Northman, you've been such an inspiration to vampires who want to run a business in this day and age. Your success rate is through the roof! Not to mention what your bar has done for the mainstreaming movement! Fangtasia has changed everything. People not only want to see vampires anymore, but they actually feel safe while they're there!" He boasted and Eric looked proud. All of this was true.
"Yeah, we just figured with Fangtasia gone, we could carry on its' legacy!" Robert said enthusiastically. That wiped the smirk right off Eric's face.
"With Fangtasia what?" Eric asked. I saw the conversation headed somewhere dangerous and I jumped in.
"Fangtasia is not gone. It's still open." I stated.
"Well, yes, but it's not the same since King Northman left. The profits are plummeting and the staff doesn't care anymore. It's kinda like it's gone." Martin said gently.
"The staff what?" I asked. I knew that profits were down, because people went there because they loved Eric and Pam and they were moved away, so you can expect there to be loss, but I had no idea about the staff not caring.
"Look, you didn't hear this from me.." Martin started, but I interrupted him.
"Tell me." I commanded. My temper fueled my queenly attitude.
"They only work like they're supposed to when you're not there. They slack off, the bar is a mess, people don't feel safe; they're openly feeding on the dance floor." He was scared to tell me.
Flames sparked in my eyes. So they played good on my night to sit in and they broke laws when I wasn't there. They were driving Eric and Pam's dream into the ground on my watch. I flew from my chair.
"Verbena!" I shouted, ignoring the intercom. She came rushing in, looking terrified.
"I am going out, tell no one. Do you understand?" I asked, suddenly trusting none of my staff.
"Yes, Ma'am." She said seriously.
"What about your meeting?" She asked.
I looked at my guests. "We're done here. See that they're compensated appropriately. For my walking out." I added at the end. It wouldn't do good to have people thinking they were my paid informants, but they had given me valuable information and I wanted them to know I appreciated it, despite my bad mood.
"You may open your club in Oklahoma." Eric said. "I'll see to it that you have wonderful locations to choose from. You have done us a great favor." He rushed out after me.
"Sookie, it's okay. It's just a bar." He said.
"It is not okay. And it is Not 'just a bar'! We met there, Eric! And Pam loves that place maybe even more that you do and can I trust none of my staff?" I yelled and my voice echoed through the corridor.
He grabbed me by the arm and whirled me around. He looked deep into my eyes before he spoke.
"No." He said simply. I flashed back to him telling me this very thing when I was human. Trust no one. Him and Pam only. Right. I nodded to myself. Apparently I had needed a reminder. What my guests had told me still wouldn't stand, though, of course.
We hopped into his Corvette and flew down the highway that took you from Bon Temps to Shreveport. When we arrived we parked next door to the club so as not to be seen. When we got to the entrance, the vampire working the door stopped dead in her tracks. Fear flashed across her face and she dropped to her knees. She knew there would be hell to pay.
"Your majesties!" She gasped, wide eyed.
"You wanna take lead on this?" I asked Eric as we strolled past the girl still practically kissing the ground.
"No. Your kingdom." He shrugged, but I could see the anger and the hurt in my makers' eyes. I would get him justice, even if I hated every second of it. Which I knew I would.
"Come." I told the girl and she sprang to her feet. Staff all around turned their heads as we walked through the bar. I motioned for each of the vampires to follow us to Eric's office.
Once everyone was in and the door was closed, I could feel my anger floating through the room.
"Kida." I said to the door girl, pronounced (Kee-dAh). "Can you tell everyone how you got your job here?"
"Yes. Queen Sookie found me in a prison cell two years ago. The police called her and she came down personally to address the issue. I was framed for a murder that I didn't commit and she saw that. I had been turned and abandoned and had no where to go. I'd never killed anyone, I was just scared and conveniently blamed. She had all my charges cleared and gave me a job. I never looked back." She shrugged.
"Wow. That sounds like a good person." Eric said. "Someone who has earned not only trust, but also respect." They all nodded in agreement.
"Then why?" I asked. "Why do y'all think it's cool to lie to me, betray me, and shirk your duties? Why do y'all think you can get away with breaking the law? Right here, in a royally owned establishment?"
The bartender spoke up. "But we.." I held up a finger for silence.
"If you ask around, you'll find that Fangtasia bartenders kinda have bad luck around me. Always have. So, I beg of you; think twice before you lie to me."
It was true. More than one bartender had met their demise when I was around. Though, it technically wasn't my fault, but they didn't need to know that. I saw Eric's repressed smile and hoped I was the only one.
"So, I'm asking all of you. Who has been feeding in the bar?" I asked in a dead serious tone. They all exchanged glances at each other.
"This is incredibly serious on a level much larger than us." I warned them. "We don't need this going any higher up the chain than it already has. We were informed by an outsider. Others will know, as well. Now, hand over the perpetrators or we will have to make an example out of everyone."
They looked at each other again.
"You know," Eric chimed in. "It would only take me about an hour to set up a mass execution." Every eye widened, including my own. Their continued silence only angered him.
"Fine. So be it. You can all die together or one of you can die alone. You have ten seconds." He looked at the clock on the wall.
"It wasn't me!" Kida shrieked, throwing herself at my feet. "Please, your highness, I have begged them and begged them to follow the law; to not anger you. I have been harassed, threatened and beaten into submission. Please! Don't kill me!"
"You little bitch!" The bartender lept at Kida and Eric caught her, mid air by the throat with one hand. Shawnna made a gasping sound and Eric looked at me.
"You were right. Your little friend isn't a burden. I guess it's a good thing you talked me into keeping her." He said of Kida. I sighed in relief. I really liked the girl and it hurt to think that she may have betrayed us. Then again, I hired them, I liked them all.
"We are not without mercy. Anyone else not involved?" I asked.
"Your majesty." Ray took a knee. "I am innocent."
All the others scoffed.
"Oh, please!" Said Anna. "You orchestrated this whole fucking calamity! No way are we going down for you! He said that you're weak royalty and he can do whatever he wants." Her tone had a 'nana nana nana' air to it. She was telling the truth.
"Orchestrated?" I asked Ray who still knelt before me. "Weak? Now, it's no secret that being queen is not a dream job of mine. I'm not comfortable in my position. It goes against my beliefs having so much power given to one individual. Kinda gives me the vampire equivalent of anxiety and I think it shows. Perhaps that is what you have mistaken for weak. With that said, I am a fucking Northman!" I bent down to his level and locked eyes with the now terrified vampire. "We don't have the word 'weak' in our vocabulary."
I know that I seemed harsh, but I did tell you what happens to weak authority, right? I sounded like Eric, too, but I figured that was bound to happen. After all, he was my maker and I spent exorbitant amounts of time with him. I used to turn my nose up at his attitude, especially in my early vampire days, when I understood only as a human could. I got over it, though. I had to, if I wanted to survive. I tried to stay in the moment, but was involuntarily sucked into the past.
"How is she?" Eric asked.
"She's fine, Stupid." Dr. Ludwig said with her natural charm. (Heavy on the sarcasm) She motioned with her finger so I would lean down where she could reach me. She grabbed me by the face and pulled me down further, shining a light in my eyes and ears.
"Open." She barked and shoved a popsicle stick in my mouth to flatten my tongue and stare down my throat. I wanted to bite her. She pulled the stick out and grabbed my hand. She stabbed my finger with a skewer I hadn't seen in her holding and put a cotton swab to the blood. I hissed and my fangs dropped.
"Oh, hush." She forced the swab back into the wrapper and tucked it away in a pocket.
"I'll do some tests on her blood just in case there is something wrong with her, but it looks to me like a pretty clear case; she was part fae as a human and now she can walk in the sun as a vampire." She shouted up at Eric with her head tilted back so far that I thought she may tip over.
"What do we do about it?" He asked, arms crossed in front of his muscular chest. Being so new made me easily distracted by every emotion I had. At that particular moment, it was lust.
"Do? Nothing!" She turned away and then stopped, turning back around with her finger in the air. "On second thought, have you thought about selling her out as an attraction? Could be pretty profitable." She waved the thought away. "What you should really do, is quit fussing over her! She's immortal. She isn't made of glass!"
He looked at me expressionless. I raised my brows at him.
"I couldn't have said it better myself. I feel strong!" I smiled.
"And that is all good and well." He said to me and then spoke to Ludwig. "But how long will it last? Is it going to fade? Is she going to be out for a walk one day and burst into flames or melt away? I don't want to wake up to that, Dr. Ludwig."
"Well, like I said, I'll have it tested. In the meantime, avoid leisurely strolls by yourself." She said to me with an eye roll. "Just don't do anything retarded and you'll be fine." She snatched up her bag and walked away.
"And the test results?" Eric asked after her. She waved a hand of dismissal behind her as she walked away.
"I'll call you." She said over her tiny shoulder.
"Thank you, Doctor." I called, but she only continued her walk out.
I shook my head to bring myself back to the present. The test results were never very clear, but that was years ago and I haven't felt the deadly aspect of the sun yet, so I assumed it was permanent. If I outed my secret now, no one would question me as a leader anymore. I would receive respect... I would receive attention and become renowned, worldwide. I might even be experimented on. Others will want the gift of 'daywalking', ylu can count on that.
I couldn't decide if that would be worth the cooperation I would receive in return. I just didn't want to face situations like the current one. Where trusted employees and friends had to be executed by law, and it was my job to enforce that law. I sighed.
"Anna, Kida, take them to the dungeon." I said heavily.
"No, no! Please!" Shawnna shrieked. "It was all Ray! I should be able to speak in my defense!"
"You're absolutely right." I agreed, ready to give her the benefit of the doubt. "Go ahead, then." I waved a hand at her, praying that she had a solid defense. Eric dropped her and she crumpled to the floor before standing quickly.
She had panic flashing in her eyes as they darted around the room. I could see her struggle to come up with anything good to say. I closed my eyes and dropped my head.
"Shawnna, you're almost a hundred; you know our laws. You know that even though I have always considered you a friend, that I have to send you to the true death." My voice cracked at the end. She shook her head fervently. "If I don't do it, it will still get done by somebody else. Someone who will make it slow and painful. You know this." I said helplessly. I was angry at her stupidity. I was hurt by her betrayal, but I held my conviction. It must be done. She seemed to accept it.
"You'll make it quick?" She asked her attitude having changed from desperate to stoic.
"You know I will." My lips quavered and a red tear made its way down my cheek. She nodded.
"Very well." She dropped to one knee. "Send me to the other side with your forgiveness and your friendship." She asked, making her final request with her head bowed.
We grabbed up Shawnna and Ray and took them to the dungeon. The dungeon that had seen the end of so many humans and vampires alike. They were on their knees with their hands bound and I let the tears flow free.
"I want it to be known that I HATE doing this! Stop making me kill my friends!" I said to the others who were witnessing. Eric approached Shawnna with a silver tipped stake.
"Wait!" I said. He looked at me trying to convey that it had to happen, but I knew all too well. "I'll do it." I told him and he nodded, handing me the stake.
I remembered turning down Eric's offer to kill Freyda, the simplicity of it. I wished I still had that luxury.
I stood in front her and she bowed her head. "I forgive you." I brought the stake down on her back and she fell with a grunt. The last of her immortality leaving her body.
I approached Ray next. "Why?" I asked him. He shrugged.
"I thought I could get away with it." He chuckled. "I'm glad to see I was wrong about you, Sookie." He dropped my title, knowing it didn't matter. He would never face the consequences for not using it, and honestly, it was refreshing.
"I forgive you, too." I told him and then I plunged the stake into his chest.
I laid on the couch in my boudoir in silence, my head in my husbands lap. I had my eyes closed and growled lightly as he ran his long fingers through my hair. It made me melt. All he ever needed to do was put his hands in my hair and I turned to willing putty. Besides, it was so much better than the previous night that I gladly forgot for a while.
I'd had to cause a lot of death. No! They brought it on themselves, knowingly. I'd just been the hand of the law. I still didn't have to like it, though. Two friends that I had executed myself and not to mention the man that had burned at dawn. I barely slept and woke when the vampire outside was set to die. He stared at me with resentment as the sun came up. Him, I hadn't felt sorry for and I said a silent prayer for his victims as he burned. I prayed they found peace.
Over the years I went from nocturnal to what closely resembles a human sleeping pattern. Sometimes I slept during the day and sometimes I slept at night. It all depended on my work schedule. I had tried sleeping with Eric during the day, but it was no use; I was heartsick.
"Eric?" I asked as he stroked my hair with one hand and held a book with the other.
"Hmm?" His reply was deep in his throat and the simple sound made me hungry for him.
"I hate being a queen." I said it simply but when the words came out, I had to fight back the tears that seemed determined to accompany my confession.
"Are you asking for a divorce?" He joked lightly. "Because, vampires don't really get those. Especially royalty. You are stuck with me." He leaned down and planted a kiss on my brow. I smiled and squeezed my eyes closed despite my inner turmoil.
"No, I don't believe in divorce." I said meaning every syllable. I was raised against it. If you need a divorce, life either handed you a shit deal, or you didn't need to be married in the first place. I learned from being in the heads of everyone around me my whole life, that nine times out of ten, they had no business being married to begin with.
I remembered our wedding fondly. It had been quite the affair; bigger than I would've liked, but that's what happens when you wed a king, I suppose. Especially one so well liked. The guest list tends to pile up. He'd agreed to my insistence of a traditional wedding gown, to my immense surprise. Jason and I had dug out my mother's gown and it fit almost perfectly. I had it altered just enough to fit better...and, okay, I had it altered to be a bit more modern. I got rid of those god awful shoulder pads and had some lacey decals added.
Other than that, I had been told to expect a traditional vampire wedding. I'd attended one or two, so I knew what to expect. Or at least, I thought I had. Can you imagine my surprise when I got up there and Eric broke out with his vows? Vampires generally didn't have vows and he even wrote them himself. He lifted my veil gracefully to speak to me, his tux taking him beyond dashing, straight into daydream material. I had a hard time remembering he was real; he was just too perfect. He spoke to me intimately, as though we were the only ones in the room. He didn't need index cards; he'd memorized what he wanted to say.
"Sookie. Lover, I know that I said to never expect this from me and that is because I did not expect it of myself. It seemed silly and human; sentimental, inconsequential. It had been so long since I had anyone that I truly loved who wasn't blood. I kept all those around me at a safe arms length. Except you, Pam." He pointed at her in the front and received polite chuckles from our guests.
"But then you came along and no matter how much I hated it, I had to be near you just to feel happiness and I was swiftly losing myself in you. It was maddening and amazing. Emotions I thought long dead came from every direction. I felt passion and jealousy and anger and so much more for the first time in a thousand years. But then, things changed, I had to leave and I always expected that with how beautiful and kind and smart you are that you would find this for yourself. How could you not? I tried to think of it as good. After all, you deserve everything good life can offer, but it began to fill me with a gut wrenching sadness, because I realized that I did want to give this to you; I just couldn't. I had commitments that you know I was unwillingly locked into, and I could not give you all that you deserved. I grew resentful towards my life and my maker. The things I used to enjoy no longer meant anything to me. Then, my worst fears were realized. I actually got you killed, but we were both determined to not let that be the end. Now, we are the same and my blood flows within you and I will not go another day without you as not only my Queen, but my wife."
As if I wasn't already crying enough, a ring bearer came forward. The size of the ring alone made me feel spoiled. It wasn't fair; I got Eric and a beautiful ring? I waited terrified, for to all disappear. He looked at me with a conviction I had never seen as he slid the ring on my finger. It was the look of forever. I had never seen it, but it was impossible to mistake for anything else. I couldn't have spoken even if I knew what to say and I felt like an idiot blubbering in this beautiful gown with this beautiful man pulling me in close.
The crowd went wild when he he dipped me low and kissed me. Was this real life? It felt like a dream or a movie or something that happens to normal girls; not me. He kissed me long and tenderly and when he reluctantly pulled away, there were passionate red tears in his eyes as well.
So much of our relationship, our marriage was so different from when I was human. When I was alive, he cared about me and he was fun and he told me his thoughts, but there was a distance. There was a piece of himself that he'd kept secret from me and once he turned me, he gave himself to me fully. There was no longer anything of him that he didn't want me to have. Eric's question brought me rocketing back to the present.
"Then what is it?" He asked with concern clouding his beautiful blue eyes. It gave them the effect of a cloudy sky. I instantly regretted speaking, for I wanted nothing more than to hive him crystal skies and all the happiness that he gave me.
"I just meant that, I get it; I understand why you never wanted to be king." I looked up at him.
"Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down." He quoted to me.
"Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown." I finished the Shakespeare line.
He kissed my head again and then my lips, bending his knee to bring my head up to where he could reach me.
"Indeed. The only ones who want to rule, have never had to do it. It is not easy, it never will be. It's hard work, Lover, but you are doing so well. I could not be more proud of you as your maker or your husband. I have always known you would do well, but I did not imagine this. You are fair and wise and firm. I have seen your faith shaken in the last 48 hours, yet you took the correct path, unwaveringly." He smiled at me and it pulled a smile straight from my roots. I never understood his pride in me, but I was so grateful to have it.
"You really think so?" I asked. I didn't feel nearly as sure as he sounded.
"Absolutely. I'm starting to think that you were made for this. It is your self questioning and your insistence on justice that makes you so good at it. You constantly ask for council and don't believe yourself to be better than anyone residing in your domain. These are qualities that make for truly great royalty. Not to mention that those who live here love you. They show unwavering loyalty."
"It certainly doesn't feel that way right now. Not after the other night." I said dismally as I stared at the wall.
"Don't do that to yourself. Their treasonous behavior is not on you. You cannot ask for loyalty from those who possess none to give. Even those who betrayed you loved you well. I don't imagine the vampires in my kingdom care for me as such." He chuckled.
"Well, you are a bit of a hard ass." I teased him playfully. "But I think you're sweet." I tacked on at the end.
"Well, they just don't see that." He said, mock hurt in his voice.
"Cuz you save it all for me?" I asked brightly.
"Save it? No, you're the only thing that brings it out of me." He hugged me close.
"And Pam." I corrected.
"Yes, but for her, it is finite." He said in a darker tone.
"Only cuz she goes out of her way to annoy you." I said a bit too chipper. "I would, too, if I wasn't so desperate to have your unconditional love." I revealed, sitting up to press my lips to his.
"Well, if your annoying behavior changed my feelings about you, then it wouldn't be unconditional, would it?" He raised a brow.
"True." I said wiggling a hand under him to pinch his perfect ass. He jumped and glared at me.
"Still love me?" I smiled sunnily.
"Yes, I do. I didn't think I would, but I can't seem to help myself." He teased with a confused expression and pulled me closer, pretending to attempt to fight himself with every movement. I squealed as he nuzzled my neck and I tried to squirm away, but there is no escaping the clutches of Eric Northman.
He was having none of it and in the blink of an eye, I was lying on the bed and he was on top of me. Eric was between my bent knees with his hands behind my neck, twisting in my hair. He leaned in to kiss me and worked his way to my neck, running his nose up an down the thin layer of sensitive skin over my jugular. I moaned escaped my lips in response.
"Yes, Lover?" He whispered heavily in my ear and the pressure between my legs let me know what wa som his mind.
"Do you think we'll always be in love the way we are now?" I was scared of the answer. Eric is always realistic.
"Of course, we will, Sookie. A love like this is timeless. We never go out of Style."