Chapter Twelve

The next morning dawned bright and shiny, promising warmth and sunshine. Despite the fact that today was the first of October, the weather certainly didn’t realize it. I decided to take advantage of the dazzling out of season temperature. As much as I disliked weeding the garden, it still needed to be done. With any luck it’d be the last time I’d have to deal with it for the year. Though I was trying to do the turning over a new leaf thing, I still didn’t understand how my grandmother could work in the garden happily. It was beautiful, that was a given, but goodness, it was sweaty, dirty work. Nevertheless, I pulled on an old ratty pair of shorts and headed out into the yard.

After hours of mowing, weeding, and the like I figured I’d take the afternoon to lay in the sun. I wouldn’t have many more days like this and I wanted to enjoy it while it lasted. I knew it was bad for my skin, but a girl’s got to have a vice, and this was mine. I grabbed a glass of lemonade and the library book I still hadn’t started, throwing on my bikini and flip-flops.

Walking by the living room I saw my letter from Eric sitting where I’d left it on the coffee table. Pam and I had stayed up ’til the wee hours thinking up and discarding several plans. We had a rough sketch to go on, but she wanted to talk to some of her allies before we fleshed it out anymore. We couldn’t do anything until the end of the month, which would be difficult to wait for, but it gave us plenty of time to come up with plan that might not get us all killed. I wanted the letter with me, call me sentimental, but I missed him, so I brought it with.

My lawn chair leaned up against the house and I pulled it open placing it where I’d catch most of the afternoon light. It was ridiculous that it still had the tags on despite the fact that I’d had it for more than a year and I ripped them off, tossing them in the garbage can the rested next to the screened-in porch. I settled down and cracked openUndead and Unwed hoping to get lost in a chic-lit world. Unfortunately the main male character’s name was Eric and it only made me think about the letter sitting next to me. It was distracting, or at least that’s what I was telling myself. Eventually I just gave in to the impulse to reread the words that my Eric had written. My Eric? Why was I still thinking of him as mine? I’d kicked him out and was dating Sam. Sam, boss and friend turned lover. I was only rescuing him because it was the right thing to do, wasn’t I?

Shaking my head, I opened the letter.

Dearest Sookie,
My lover and confidant~

I remembered the nights we stayed up just talking, how comforting it was. Eric always seemed to understand what I meant and never judged me based my opinions or what I thought were my flaws. He supported me in ways that none of the other guys I’d dated had done.

If you are reading this, Mustapha succeeded in hiding it amongst your things where you might find it someday. Know that I needed nothing back from you, I only wished to express my love one last time.

I’d wondered why Mustapha had come over that day. I mean, it was lucky that he had, seeing as Warren had saved my life, but I hadn’t understood why he had come over to get Eric’s stuff. There wasn’t anything of any real importance here, and if I’m being honest the few shirts that he had left were hidden away. I hadn’t wanted to give them back.

As I write this I prepare to depart for Oklahoma, but I could not leave these words unsaid. I love you. It began the moment you walked through the door of a bar in Shreveport and only continued as I learned of your strength and kindness. You are the woman I dreamt of even before I knew what I needed: you.

Sigh…Why had I ever doubted his love for me? He’d done everything to make me feel beautiful, smart, and strong. Yes, he’d been highhanded at times, but he also protected me despite the fact that I was a detriment to his standing in the vampire community.

I understand the anger you must have felt that last night you were summoned to Fangtasia. Know that it was not what I would have chosen. I realize you never truly understood the bond between a maker and child, but I could not disobey no matter how much I wanted our lives to be otherwise. There was so much of the world I wanted to show you.

That night was seared into my brain. He’d tried to warn me, but I hadn’t wanted to listen. I remembered the small prick I’d made in my arm, whereas Eric’s had opened a vein that bled down onto the floor. I’d not noticed at the time, I was too busy showing absolutely no emotion or weakness, but looking back at it now, I saw his pain as clear as if he had opened his chest and showed me his bleeding heart.

There is much I should have explained to you, but I wished to spare you the pain if I could. In the end, I could not, and I regret that I was not as open as I might have been. But know you are the only wife I ever wanted. It wasn’t only to protect you, I wanted you to stand by my side as my equal.

You are the only wife I ever wanted. Those words echoed in my chest as if he stood right here whispering them into my heart. And how had I treated our marriage? I’d never truly recognized it as a marriage. I wanted him down on one knee. I wanted the white dress. I wanted the church and the flowers and the friends there to witness the joining. But I’d only ever told him that I didn’t recognize it as a real marriage. It must have hurt him to hear the words, though I hadn’t realized it at the time. Yes I’d wished he would have explained it to me before he married me without my permission, but looking back I saw his desperation. Felipe wanted to take me back to Nevada to be his own personal telepath. It would have killed me and I saw now that he had been between a rock and a hard place. But it was a lesson for the future. I needed to communicate better with my partner. I couldn’t just get mad and shove any of my qualms into the background hoping they would resolve themselves. I needed to face them head-on.

The events of the months that we spent together are inscribed on my heart and will soothe me in my captivity. There is not much I take with me, but know that the memories I share with you are all I need. I gave an extra hundred years to see you safe. To know that you will live and love and continue to learn; you will marry and bear children who will share your love of the sun; you will grow old and your memory of me will pass like so many sunsets.

The idea that it was our love that might sustain him in Oklahoma was like a balm for my soul. I’d thought that the extra hundred years was an effort to keep me safe, but seeing it in black and white cracked open my heart a little wider. I’d been so good at keeping the memories I shared with Eric hidden away, never bringing them out into the light of day. Reading his letter…well it took all those memories and set them on the window-sill so that I saw that though they were dusty they didn’t mean any less to me. I wiped my eyes, refusing to cry anymore. It seemed that all I’d been doing for the last week was crying, but I missed him. I missed what we had shared. I knew that there were people who thought it was just his Gracious Plenty that enabled me to stay with him, but I wasn’t some sex-addled teenager, there was so much more to us than great sex. Though, it really was fantastic. I smiled thinking back on our nights together.

I told you once of my human wife Aude, but I never told you that during my amnesia the time I spent in your house reminded me of everything that I lost so very long ago. I cannot change who I am, there are too many who depend upon me, but if there were a way I would gladly give you all that you desired. I would give you the children you long for. I would stand by your side as we watched them grow. We would give them a life filled with joy. I would watch as they grew to embody everything that I found so stunning in you. But these are only words whispered into the evening and blown on the wind; a kiss to say goodbye my dearest love.

The truth hit me. I didn’t want to say goodbye to him and the idea that I might have lost him forever broke my resolve. I was crying again. Crying for everything we had lost. Crying for everything I had denied him. Yes I wanted children, I’d even dreamt about having his children, and though he was a vampire, it didn’t mean that we couldn’t have adopted. It wasn’t something I’d even discussed with him. I’d just made it a roadblock to any happiness I might have shared with him because he was a vampire and, contrary to Stephanie Meyer, vampires couldn’t procreate. Then again, they didn’t sparkle in the sunshine either so…there was that. I laughed a little and it eased the pain that had taken over my body.

I wanted to talk to him. I wanted to tell him how wrong I’d been. There was a part of me that wanted to try and sneak into Oklahoma now and apologize to him, repeatedly. But Pam and I were working on a plan and God willin’ and the crick don’ rise, a month from now he’d be back where he belonged. Maybe he wouldn’t want me back, and maybe he wouldn’t forgive me, but I would try my hardest to make him understand that I saw how wrong I had been.

There are plans being set in motion and know that if I succeed I will do everything in my power to protect you. You will never suffer another vampire using you for their own ends. Know that even if I do not, I will die with your name on my lips. Know that I will take as many of them with me as possible. It is the only way I know to truly ensure your safety. You will have your freedom, as I will have mine.

I wouldn’t let him die. The world would never be the same without him. I would never be the same without him. I’d felt like a robot for the last few months and I hadn’t even realized it. I’d buried all my feelings and used Sam for sex and comfort.

Wait! What? Did I really just think that? If it was true, and I searched inside me to see if it was, I was using my friend to get over my love. It wasn’t right and I couldn’t let it go on. I had to be honest with him, no matter how much it hurt him. He deserved someone who really loved him. And if I carried the thought one step further I realized it wasn’t the Cluviel Dor, though it was a convenient excuse. It was just like the blood bond, except that when I had broken that I’d known for certain that I loved Eric all on my own.

I looked back on my behavior and saw my decisions for what they were. Sam had just died and it was just easier to use him as a rebound. I’d been so hurt by Eric leaving that I totally shut down, but I was so used to having someone around that I couldn’t be…no, that’s not exactly true, I didn’t want to be alone. But now that I’d realized it, I couldn’t use it as an excuse anymore. I had to take responsibility for my actions. Even if Eric and I never got back together, and I wouldn’t blame him if he didn’t want anything to do with me, I wouldn’t allow myself to use Sam as a convenient bed partner. I wanted more. I’d just have to be patient, which seemed to be the buzz word of the week.

Only one question remained. If the Cluviel Dor hadn’t changed my feelings for Sam, what had it changed? I knew there’d be consequences so when I fell into bed with Sam, and that is exactly what I’d done, I’d assumed that was the repercussion. If it wasn’t, then what was?

*next*

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