I wanted to take it back as soon as it left my lips.
His eyes (oh, heavens! his eyes!) lingered on my face for a long time while the words hung in the air like silken scarves, draped from the ceiling and ornamented with live grenades.
I didn’t move or breathe. My heart was fluttering in my chest like it was determined to make a break for it before the crushing words I knew would follow could be uttered.
Still he didn’t speak.
I fidgeted. I couldn’t help it. I’d like to be able to say that I’m cool under pressure, but I’d lived an awfully sheltered life. So I just sat and squirmed while he studied me.
Honestly! What could be so fascinating? He’d seen my face before. I wished he’d just pull the trigger.
I mean, I’d just rang the vampire equivalent of a dinner bell, right? Guess I wasn’t all that appetizing.
Was I really actively just thinking of myself as an entrée?
I’d actually resolved to walk out the door and go directly home to call Niall so that he could make good on his promise to take me to Fae tout-de-suite, when Eric’s eyes moved from my face to my neck. I swallowed and blushed as they continued to appraise my form. Heat was radiating from me. Everywhere. I felt like the tips of my hair were throwing off sparks.
He made no move toward me but his fangs were definitely descended.
“Anabelle…” He said huskily.
I shivered and moved a step closer.
“Do you understand what it means to belong to a vampire?”
I nodded, but had lost use of my voice just then.
“You are not afraid?”
I shook my head slightly, then reconsidered, and nodded once.
“Good. You should be. I am a very dangerous being, Anabelle Merlotte.”
I could feel myself positively vibrating with tension.
“Every vile, sadistic, violent, and monstrous thing you read in Sookie’s book about my actions was true, and more. I have lived and killed for a millennia and I intend to continue living and killing for much longer still.”
I felt myself furrow my brow then. It was my turn to do the searching with my eyes.
His eyes once again intent on mine, expressed a weariness and age I hadn’t seen until that moment. They were as old as the sea, and as boundless.
Something in me clicked.
I tugged at his arms so that he would follow me back to the couch in the living area. He sat and I knelt before him between his legs.
I held him in my gaze as I began to touch his face. His eyes never wavered as I traced the cool, marble flesh around those haunting sapphire eyes. I let my fingers wander over his nose… his cheeks… his jaw… but I stopped before I touched his lips.
“When you look at me, you see your wife’s little girl, don’t you?”
He made no reply but kept our eyes locked.
I smiled gently. “Does it help to know, we never even met? She never held me. She never set eyes on me. I’m not her little girl. I’m not a little girl at all.”
He was still silent, as I resumed my exploration of his face with my finger tips.
“All my life, people have looked at me for five seconds and sworn I was Sookie come back to them. Maybe I am.”
“No,” I agreed and smiled slightly. That had felt very, very good to hear. I moved my hands from his face, this time trailing my small fingers down his cool lips to his muscular neck. He leaned forward into my hair and inhaled my scent. As if by their own volition, his hands began to explore my back.
“Claude told me today that I’d give you my light. That I’d want to.”
His eyes were now locked tightly onto mine, burning with an intensity that I’d swear would set the whole building on fire.
“I didn’t understand what he meant. I didn’t even know what my light was…”
What I intended to do at that moment made more sense than anything had in my twenty-three years. I could feel the little hum inside getting stronger, growing to fit my need.
Some part of me was screaming that there would be no turning back. I could never un-ring this bell. It would be done, and my life would be changed forever.
I didn’t care.
And after all, when you see a man drowning, do you delay his rescue because you’ve been told you aren’t allowed to swim there?
“I do want to.”
I placed my hand upon his chest and began to….
His cold hand seized mine and brought it gently to his lap.
“No,” he said simply.
“Not yet,” I countered. His eyes filled with blood tears and I pulled his head to my breast. I sighed and smiled serenely. “Eric, I was made for you through her unconditional love. I am her gift to you. You will accept me in the end.”
“What of the needs of your people?”
“Eric Northman, are you… do you care about what happens to fairies?”
He simple scowled and looked away from me.
“Eric, the fairies have been getting along without my help for, well, forever so far. I won’t be the last.”
I dragged his head back in the direction of my own and fixed him with a look that was my own version of southern belle hard-as-steel and don’t-you-forget-it. I leaned back with my hand on my hip.
“I am yours, Eric Northman,” I laughed. “You may use me and my power to lay waste to entire continents. You could rule, seek vengeance, build empires, or turn the Earth into a place of eternal night! Only don’t do any of those things, please? I wouldn’t much like being a part of any of them. Oh, and I can’t bring her back. No spark – no life. Same rules for vamps and fairy magic. Besides, I pretty much know what we’ll end up doing. Don’t take too long making your mind up.”
Tenderly, he allowed his arms to encircle my waist, and he bent to inhale my scent. His fangs gently scraped the delicate skin between my neck and shoulder.
I shivered and felt my temperature rise.
“Are you immortal?” He asked.
I giggled as he ran his fingers through my hair. “I suppose as much as you are while I have my light. Only, much, much more breakable.” He chuckled at that. “You won’t want to wait a long time though, will you?”
He didn’t answer. I could see he was warring on the inside with his darker nature. He’d need time.
“You have to let me in the sunlight.”
He growled into my shoulder. I could tell, I would rarely be out of Eric’s sight from this moment on.
“You have to, and lots of it. Even if I was meant to be for you, I’m a being of sunlight and I need it like I need air.”
“You shall always be guarded.”
I nodded reluctantly. He resumed nuzzling my neck, then began slowly stroking his cheek against mine.
“Biting me… might be bad for you, and most likely not good for me. And you’re going to want to… pretty badly. Now we’ve been so close, it’ll be harder and harder to resist draining me. Busty blonde and all,” I laughed at the absurdity of what I was saying.
His fangs grazed my skin once more. “Wear silver.” He pulled back laboriously. “Perhaps bathe in it.”
Suddenly, I felt very serious.
“Niall… can’t find me…”
“Then we leave at once. Pamela?”
“I will bring the transportation, Master.” She had been silently observing near the wall the whole time.
With nothing but the clothing we wore and the Sookie-Book, we left.