Here you go y’all. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. I hope you enjoy reading it as much I enjoyed writing it.
“Wake up sleepy-head,” coaxed a voice that sounded suspiciously like a chipper morning person who was invading my sexy Eric dream.
“Go away,” I grumped, pulling the old quilt over my head, burrowing further down into the warm darkness, and trying to catch the remnants of the dream.
“Well alright, I’ll just have to find someone else to marry that fine vamp of yours then.”
I threw back the covers and sat bolt upright in bed. “Holy crap it’s my wedding day,” I realized waking up fully. “And don’t you dare Tara Thornton, that’s my vamp.” I flopped back onto my pile of pillows and scooched over so she could join me.
She wrapped her arm around my shoulder and I leaned into her. “Yup you’re getting married today. So how’s that feel?”
“Incredible, like I can’t believe it’s happening kind of incredible. I mean I spent so many years barely able to date and here I am waking up on the day I’m gonna get hitched to the hottest vampire in the known universe.” I could feel the excited butterflies dancing in my belly. I spent a moment just enjoying the feeling.
“So…ready for your pre-marriage Mimosa?”
“Huh?” I asked shaking myself of my reverie.
“We’re starting off the day with Mimosas, you know, champagne, orange juice? Celebratory morning drink? Then we’re heading into town for lunch at Café Fresco and then to the salon where we’re gonna get all done up and pretty. How’s that sound to you?”
“Sounds like the perfect day Tara. Oh I’m so glad you’re here. It wouldn’t be the same without my bestie by my side.” I wrapped my arms around her and hugged her tight.
“Good, then that’s decided. Now get your butt outta bed and get dressed. We’ll have a Mimosa or two, then you can shower and we’ll head into town.” She headed into the kitchen and I threw on a pair of old sweatpants and sweatshirt. I heard the pop of a champagne cork. Grabbing a ponytail holder from my dresser, I piled my hair in a messy bun on top of my head and did as commanded.
I found Tara topping off two plastic champagne glasses with orange juice. “Miss Bride-to-Be, your ambrosia.”
“I thank you oh bestie extraordinaire.” We sipped together, giggling. I grabbed the champagne while she grabbed the o-jay and we headed outside to sit on the porch swing like we had when we were kids.
“This is not at all where we thought we’d end up is it?” Tara asked, rocking the swing back and forth slightly.
“Not at all,” I agreed.
“I was gonna marry Jason and you were gonna marry Clark Gable or Michael J. Fox, depending on the week.” She smiled at the memory. “Now I’m married to JB and you’re marrying the King of the Vamps.”
“Who’da thunk it? Certainly not me. I’d just about given up hope before I met Bill.” There was a pang of guilt that flitted to the surface, but I refused to feel bad after everything he’d done. Luckily Tara sensed that I didn’t want to discuss him, which is the great thing about best friends, they might want to know, and she did, but they won’t ask if they know you don’t want to talk. They know when to push and when to let things go.
“The world is very different from the one we grew up in, isn’t it?” Tara commented. “Who knew there was a supernatural world right underneath our noses the whole time?”
I nodded, feeling no need to reply to the obvious, and we fell silent, swinging back and forth, enjoying the beautiful sun that had graced the day with its presence. Tara refilled our glasses and we spent the time reminiscing and giggling about our younger days. When the first of the decorating crew showed up Tara shooed me off into the house to shower and get ready to leave. Pam had evidently gotten her in on the Sookie no peeking plan.
It didn’t take long before we were on the road and headed into town. We spent the day doing what besties do on wedding days. It was a lovely afternoon with none of the worries that had plagued me for so long. No one was trying to kill me, or Eric, or my brother, or anyone else that I knew. The only thing I had to deal with was mani/pedis and bobby pins. It was luxurious. I reveled in the time we spent together knowing that between the twins and my nocturnal lifestyle we wouldn’t see much of each other in the future. As much as we might not want things to change, life marches on and we just have to keep in step or fall behind.
It was early evening when we finished up in town. When we got back to my house I was shocked to see a small army of trucks parked down the side of the driveway. Lord have mercy, it looked like Pam had decided to throw the wedding of several lifetimes. Tara commanded me to stay in the car while she popped around, opening the door and carefully covering my eyes. I was surprised she didn’t just whip out a blindfold and make me wear that, but she probably didn’t want me to smudge my makeup. I waited in the living room while she ran around the house closing all the curtains for fear that I would get even a second’s peek at the planning. One day I was going to have to repay Pam for all her kindness today, though I wasn’t sure how, but that was a thought for another day. For now I was going to enjoy my wedding day since it was the only one I’d ever have. I might have been late to the game, but I’d made my choice and I knew it was the right one. Eric was absolutely the right man for me.
We headed into my bedroom. I started to freak out a bit. Was this a dream? Would I wake up tomorrow and find that it was still July and Eric was still in Oklahoma? Would we still need to fight the Queen? I pinched myself just to make sure I really was awake.
“Ouch.” Good. Definitely not a dream.
“What was that for?” Tara asked me confused.
“Just making sure I’m not in Wonderland.”
“Definitely not, but if your dress is any indication, I could see how you might think that. Now sit your pretty self on your bed and gimme a second while I get ready.”
I sat cross-legged on my bed waiting while Tara changed. It didn’t take long before she walked over to the garment bag and unzipped it. I sighed thinking that I couldn’t wait for Eric to see me in it.
“Was that a zipper I hear? I haven’t missed the naked Sookie portion of the evening have I?” Pam snarked as she walked into the bedroom. “Oh good. We’re just getting to the naked part.”
“Pam, you know that Eric would most certainly burn your entire shoe collection for seeing me naked.” I got off the bed and headed into the bathroom to change into the lacy white lingerie I had decided on for my wedding night. I had no delusions that it would survive the night, but I would really enjoy Eric tearing it off me.
“But…” she pouted.
“No buts Pam, especially not my butt.”
I came back out in a beautiful corset and panties. “This will just have to do.”
Tara snickered, but Pam seemed appeased as she picked up the petticoat that accentuated the multi-layered skirt. She held it open for me to step into and then tied it behind my waist. She smoothed it down my hips and I playfully swatted her hands away.
“Can’t blame a girl for trying.” She turned me around to look at her. “Sookie, I’ve never really thought I’d say this, but if Eric had to marry a breather, I’m pleased it’s you. I’m glad Eric didn’t let me kill you last summer.”
I had to laugh. That was Pam’s welcome to the family speech. I’d have been offended if I didn’t know that she meant every word of it and considering how fond she was of killing people, it was high praise indeed. Pam didn’t like to be denied much.
“Thanks Pam, I’m glad you didn’t kill me too.”
“I have something for you.” She held out a dark blue velvet box. I blinked, taking it from her. I opened it seeing a stunning sapphire about the size and shape of a tear-drop that was encircled by tiny pearls and hung on a delicate chain.
“Oh Pam, it’s beautiful. This wasn’t necessary, truly. You’ve already done so much for me.” It would look perfect against the heart-shaped neckline of my gown.
“It’s your new and blue items to check off the list,” her deep blue eyes held nothing but sincerity.
“I had no idea that you were this big of a traditionalist,” I said in awe of the beautiful gift.
“When I was still human I dreamt of my wedding day. Though many of the customs have changed, I have not. I have simply become better at hiding my very human desires.”
“Would you help with it?” I gently scooped up my draping curls. She took the necklace out of the box and quickly clasped it around my neck. Tara looked on and I saw the tears forming at the corners of her eyes.
“Which means it’s my turn. Pam let me know about her gift to you so I took care of the borrowed.” She crossed the room and pulled out a white satin jewelry bag. “This was a gift to me on my wedding day and it brought me so much good luck that I thought you should wear it today.”
I opened the bag, my own tears threatening to overflow, and there was a bracelet of simple and beautiful pearls. I held onto the pearls gently and pulled Tara into a fierce hug. “Thank you guys so much. These are really sweet.”
Pam’s eyes were glassy and she hugged me with what I’d come to think of as Pam’s hug, a small wrap of her arms around my shoulders and a quick squeeze. “Good, now that that’s done, I have things to attend to downstairs. Eric will be here shortly, but don’t even think about trying to sneak off to see him. I’ll be keeping a close watch to ensure it doesn’t happen. Everything will be perfect tonight if it’s the last thing I do.”
“You crack me up. I cross my heart Pam.” I drew a finger in an x across my heart as I promised. “I won’t try and see Eric before the wedding.”
“Good, then I’ll leave you two to it.” She turned and walked briskly out of the room.
“She’s a character. You have no idea how many phone calls I received since the night we picked out your wedding dress.”
“Really?” I was shocked that Pam had gone to that much trouble, assuming she that had a small army at her beck and call to do her bidding as she checked things off her mental list. The idea that she had reached out to Tara warmed me.
Tara smiled. “Yes really. Now, enough shock and let’s move on with the awe portion of the evening.” She walked over, gathering my dress in her arms. “Shall we?”
I nodded and let her help me shimmy into the stunning gown. She circled around and took her quick and nimble fingers to the tiny buttons up the back. She adjusted and straightened and fluffed until she was happy with the picture I created. I slipped on the matching heels that Pam had picked out for me. Tara handed me the gloves and wrapped her pearl bracelet around my right wrist. She took a step back and sat on the old quilt that lay on my bed.
“Oops! Be right back.” Before I could even ask she dashed out the door. She came back a minute later with two wine glasses and a bottle of Pinot Grigio. She handed me the glasses and opened the bottle, pouring out the wine for both of us. “Much better. Now, as I was about to say: Sookie, you are my best friend. We’ve been friends for as long as either of us can remember and more than that, you were my very first friend. Between you and Jason, I made it out of my childhood and grew up to be this fabulous woman you see here before you. I am so happy to be here for you today when you marry the man of your dreams. Sookie, thank you for everything, without you my life would have been very different. Cheers.”
We clinked our glasses together. “I thought the toasts were supposed to happen later.”
“Yeah, but I wanted to make sure I told you how much you mean to me and not in front of a crowd. I love you Sooks.”
Not crying, not crying, not crying. “I love you too Tara.”
“Now, would you like me to sneak your man up here?”
I considered it for a bit, but then decided against it. “Better not, Lord knows what Pam would do if she found out.”
I heard a pop coming from just outside the door. I turned around to see my great grandfather standing there. “Oh my goodness! What are you doing here?” I exclaimed as I ran across the short distance to embrace Niall. He was as elegant and beautiful as I remembered him.
“My dearest Sookie. I found that I could not miss your wedding day.”
“Ummm Sookie, who’s this?” Tara asked confused.
“It’s my great grandfather, Niall. Niall this is my best friend Tara.” He made a small bow to her, and her face was priceless with surprise.
“Very nice to meet you Niall. Maybe I should give you guys some space, I need to check and make sure that the food is ready to be set out, Pam might forget that some of us don’t exist on a liquid diet.” I nodded to her thankfully.
“How?” I asked him simply as I found the bed behind me and took a seat. I had so many questions though I didn’t want to seem ungrateful. I had never thought I’d see him again.
“I decided on selfishness. I temporarily opened the portal into your backyard and then popped up here to see you.”
“So this is a one-time only visit?” I asked quietly.
“There may come a point where I will reopen the portals again, but until I know that humans are safe from the Fairies I cannot risk it my dear. I have several of my allies guarding the portal so that I may spend this evening with you.”
Despite the fact that I wouldn’t likely see him again for a while, if ever, I was happy he was here now. “Then I will simply have to enjoy the time that we have. I don’t have much in the way of family and I’m so glad you’re here now.”
“I have a present for you from your cousin Claudine.” I got a bit choked up thinking about how much I missed her, brought all the more to the front by her visit earlier this fall. “She told me once that she wanted to give this to you, but wanted to wait for the right moment to pass it down to you. It has been in our family for millennia. Since you are a princess of the royal line I thought it only fitting that it be passed down to you on this night of all nights. You have chosen well.” He held out his hand, one moment there was nothing there and the next there sat a tiara that shimmered with diamonds. They lined the curved silver as it rose to a point beneath which a single diamond the size of my pinky hung suspended.
I was speechless so I simply knelt down so that he could place it on my head. It fit perfectly around the white orchids woven into the braids that wound around my head and turned into curls in that fell down between my shoulder blades. I took one look in the mirror and gasped. I was prettier than I could have imagined, not just because of the tiara, but because everything together gave me an ethereal beauty that I didn’t realize I possessed.
“Oh Niall…” I didn’t thank him, one never thanked a fairy, but I did throw myself into his arms.
“It suits you my dearest child.” His smooth hands slipped into mine. “Claudine would have loved to see you in it.”
“She can great grandfather. She visited me before the battle and showed me how to use my fairy powers. She said she was always keeping an eye on me. I think you’ve probably made her very happy, as you have me.”
Niall looked overwhelmed until a small smile broke out of the sadness. “She was doing well?”
“Yes, she’s working her way up, just like she always wanted to and she’s still looking out for me, albeit from much farther away. But now that you’re here I have something to ask you.” I paused, unsure if I it would be asking too much. I knew that he could dampen his scent so as not to inflame the vampires’ senses, but I wasn’t sure if he wanted to stay mostly incognito. I pushed on, it couldn’t hurt to ask. “Would you walk me down the aisle? I know it’s a very human thing to ask but…”
“Of course Sookie, there are few things that would give me more pleasure.” He glanced over me, taking me in completely. “You are stunning my dear. Completely worthy of the title of Princess of the Brigant line. Now, I believe it’s about time, are you ready to go join with your vampire?”
“Yes, yes I think I am.”
He held out a bent elbow to me. “Shall we then my dear?”
I slipped my glove covered hand into the crook of his elbow. “Let’s.”
We walked out of my bedroom and were greeted by Pam. “Tara is already out with the others and they are simply awaiting your appearance. Eric is about ready to jump out of his skin. Shall we go put him out of his misery?”
“Absolutely. I’m very much ready to become Mrs. Northman.” I’d considered hyphenating my name or staying as a Stackhouse, but I liked the idea of an outward show of belonging to Eric. I used to fight against it. Now I reveled in it and wouldn’t have it any other way. Besides, he belonged to me just as much. I had, however, forgone a veil since it was a remnant of a bygone era when brides were given no voice in their choice of a husband. I wouldn’t bring that into my marriage to Eric. He and I chose each other willingly.
“Alright, I’ll head out and you follow when you hear the music.” She rushed over to me, handed me a bouquet of white Gerber daisies and pink hydrangea, and kissed me gently on the cheek before walking out.
The music filtered in and Niall went before me to open the door. The vampire band I had seen a few times before was off to the right and they were playing my song. The first glimpse I had of my backyard floored me. The trees were layered with tiny white Christmas tree lights tied with white hanging ribbons making the space look like a twinkling wonderland. The chairs were covered in white linen and tied with a pink satin bow. There were thousands of pink and white flowers everywhere the eye roamed. There were roses, orchids, hydrangea, calla lilies, and jasmine. There were even more Gerber daisies. Pam must have found out that they were my favorite from Tara. Candles spread across the yard as far as the tree line and there were as many of them as there were flowers. A white runner lined the walk from my back door to the wooden trellis that was covered in calla lilies, hydrangea, and more twinkling lights.
Tall candelabras lined the walkway that lead to Eric who stood straight and tall with a look of awe playing across his features. He was more handsome than I’d ever seen him before and that was saying something. He wore a black tuxedo with tails and a double breasted five button vest and cravat that matched my dress and made him truly look like Mr. Darcy come to life. I nearly fainted at how sexy he was. Sexy and all mine. I wanted to run down the aisle and into his arms. I could feel his incredible happiness filtering to me through the bond and I knew that he was feeling the same. I took my first step towards him and the assembled crowd rose in anticipation.
Every time the back door opened I wanted it to be her. The first time it had been Tara and then Pam, who kept walking in and out of the house as if she were as excited for the wedding as I was. I wanted to strangle her. I knew that I wasn’t the most patient man, but I was eagerly awaiting Sookie. We had been separated for most of the last twenty-four hours and I could hardly wait to wrap my arms around her again. Except that the next time I did so, she would be my wife. Sookie Stackhouse had agreed to marry me and I would make sure she never regretted that decision for even one second of the next several centuries. I never thought that I would marry, but now that I had found her, I couldn’t wait to start our life together.
I felt surprise flare in our bond right before Tara had exited the house and it took every ounce of willpower I owned not to shake her until she revealed every last detail of what had just occurred. I glanced over the crowd; everyone that we were expecting was here. Was everything okay? Did she need me? Was she being attacked? I studied the bond and noted that there was no fear, only joy. I forced calm into my bloodstream. The Ancient Pythoness stood to my right and she showed no worry whatsoever, but I swear I caught her look of amusement at my inability to chill the fuck out. I focused on the serene atmosphere that enveloped everyone but me. Pam had done an exceptional job on the decorating and, while I personally didn’t care since I would have married Sookie at the Justice of the Peace, I knew that Sookie would love it. The door cracked open again and it was Pam…again, but this time she looked directly at me and I knew that it was time. I stood a little taller.
To say she was stunning was an understatement. She looked like the Goddess Diana come to life. Her off-white gown showed off the delicate line of her collarbone and shoulders tapering to her waist and flaring out so that she was a vision of my own personal angel come to save me from the emptiness of the centuries. White flowers adorned her head around a tiara that exuded magic, which made me realize that the man who accompanied her was Niall. That must have been what her surprise was about. For every step she took closer to me my heart yearned to take one to her until I carried her down the aisle to stand in front of the Oracle. I could barely wait and every passing second seemed like an eternity. Finally they reached me and Niall placed a kiss on her hand before relinquishing her to me. I gently clasped her hand in mine and we turned to face the Oracle. I was locked in a gaze with the love of my life and it wasn’t until the Ancient Pythoness spoke that I turned my attention away from Sookie.
“We are gathered tonight, humans, vampires, weres, and fairy, to join together these two in eternal bonds, forged in adversity, and grown under the love they share as they’ve fought for and with each other. They have proven that their love is stronger than any trial that may come upon them. They have chosen each other despite the stumbling blocks set in front of them and they have overcome each and every test of their love. They have chosen to write their own vows, as unique as the two that stand before you. Eric if you will.”
I turned to face her. “Sookie, I have wandered the centuries, seen thousands come and go, passing as no more than a breeze that ripples through time. I did not know what my life was missing until the first time you stood before me, as you do now, in another white dress, and in that moment the life that I knew before flittered away like that same breeze. I have endeavored to be worthy of your love and I will continue to do so for every moment that is granted to us in the centuries to come. I would have chosen you in every lifetime, no matter when or where I’d met you. I ask you to dream and share the world with me as we walk side by side, hand in hand, your heart held precious within mine.”
Her eyes shone with the light of our shared love and she began her vows to me. “Eric, love of my life, before I met you I walked the roads of the same small town I grew up in, my world limited by small town dreams. The chances of us meeting were tiny in the grand scheme of the universe and yet we found each other. Brought together by fate, you are my soul mate, my best friend, and the man who fills the spaces that I thought would remain empty. More than that though, I choose you every day for the rest of our lives: you and no other. I ask you to dream and share the world with me as we walk side by side, hand in hand, your heart held precious in mine.”
I had only known the shared last line of our vows and my heart swelled with her words. She loved me and we would never part, never again. Pam walked up and handed the Oracle the rings and a beautiful jeweled knife I had crafted for just this occasion.
“Eric, do you promise to protect and cherish the woman who stands before you?”
“I do.” I slipped the glove from her hand and took the knife first, slicing a small cut across her palm and dripping her blood into the chalice below. After it was done I brought my lips to her palm, sealing the cut and slipped the ring onto her finger. I gazed down at her lovingly knowing that every word I said here tonight would be true from now until the end of time.
“Sookie, do you promise to protect and cherish the man who stands before you?”
“I do.” She took the knife from my hand, making a small cut and turned my hand to allow our blood to mingle together. She handed the knife to Pam who backed away slowly.
I took the chalice and held it to her lips and then she held it to mine. We both drank deeply of our mingled essence.
“Where there were two, there is now one. I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
I wrapped my arms around the stunning woman before me and pressed my lips to hers, claiming her for my own, while she claimed me back just as fiercely.
“Mine,” I whispered against her parted lips.
“Mine,” she promised right back.
“May I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Northman.”
As soon as it was said and we walked back through the crowd the gathered friends and family offered their congratulations and Pam ensured that the chairs were pulled off to the sides of the yard so that there was room for the dancing. Jason came running about to Sookie, grabbing her in a huge hug and spinning her around in circles. She giggled merrily in her brother’s arms.
“Well little sis, how’s it feel to be a married woman?”
“I can’t imagine anything in the world that I have ever wanted more.”
She was enveloped in a series of embraces that took her warmth away from me for seconds at a time. I didn’t want to let her go, but I didn’t want to keep her from her joy. And she was ecstatic. I could feel it in the bond as surely as she could feel the same from me.
After they were all done I took Sookie in my arms once again and kissed her as if our lives depended on it, and I didn’t actually doubt that they did. I knew that my life was forever entwined with hers forever and always and I couldn’t be happier about it. We mingled for a while in between toasts and well wishes and kisses. Tara brought Sookie a plate of food, making sure that she ate in the moments between. But for now I had one last surprise for her. It was time to dance. I glanced at Pam, letting her know it was her cue. She wandered over to the band and I took Sookie’s hand in mine.
Pam’s voice carried across the gathering. “Everyone…It is time for the couple’s first dance. Sookie, Eric,” I led her into the center.
“This is for you lover.”
The band began playing the first strains of what would forever be our song. I gathered Sookie in my arms and I saw the tears roll down her cheeks.
“Oh Eric, this is perfect. Thank you so much. I couldn’t imagine a more fitting song for us.”
Wise men say only fools rush in
But I can’t help falling in love with you
Shall I stay
Would it be a sin
If I can’t help falling in love with you
I spun her out and back into the circle of my arms. “Everything for you, everything, all my life, all my love, forever and always. My wife and the light of my life.”
Like a river flows surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be
Take my hand, take my whole life too
For I can’t help falling in love with you
“There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you Eric. Nowhere I wouldn’t go, no path too long or too hard. You’ve wooed me and won me and you’re mine, forever. My husband, my one and only.”
Like a river flows surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be
Take my hand, take my whole life too
For I can’t help falling in love with you
For I can’t help falling in love with you.
“Some things truly are meant to be my love.” I dipped her low when the song finished and kissed her again. And again. And again. I would never tire of her lips, her body, her mind, her soul. Never I promised her silently.
We spent the rest of the time in and out of each other’s arms. She danced with Jason, I danced with Pam. She danced with Niall, I danced with Tara. She, Holly, Halleigh, Tara, Win, and Pam danced to some song I’d never heard before, but her effusive elation was contagious. Genevieve and Jean-Pierre offered us use of their pied-à-terre in Paris, though it was more of a penthouse suite. Win and Ritchie begged us to visit in Las Vegas. Sookie tossed the bouquet and Win caught it. I used my fangs to remove the garter from her leg and was so overwhelmed by her beauty that I didn’t even pay the least bit of attention to who caught it.
At one point, Niall pulled me to the side. “Northman. I want you to know I happily give my great granddaughter into your keeping. I’ve always known you are worthy of her. Protect her with your life.” I promised him that I would.
It was well past two am when I finally swept my bride away from the reception. All of our guests lined up down Sookie’s driveway to see us off. Pam had attached several tin cans onto the back of my Corvette and if she hadn’t made this evening perfect for both of us I might have strung her up with the same string that was tied to the bumper. At least she hadn’t written on the back windshield. It didn’t matter. I was too happy to care. Sookie and I drove away, leaving a house full of guests. Pam would be staying there tonight anyway. Let them drink and dine and dance for until the wee hours of the morning. I had a wife to seduce.
In case you all didn’t know. Sookie and Eric’s song is I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You by Elvis Presley.