I still couldn’t read the journal.
After trying for several hours, I still found that as soon as I reached the end of one version’s entries I couldn’t recall anything more than what Pam had contributed or been part of in some way. But most of that was jeering about various Eric’s infatuations with their Sookies and pridefully beaming about being an ‘Auntie’.
It was as maddening as it was embarrassing. I didn’t have a problem retaining the information the other Sookie had given. I didn’t ‘data dump’ anything My Sookie said…
Since I hadn’t found enjoyment in reading of any kind in years, I was beginning to see a connection. I hadn’t read anything for leisure since shortly after I lost Pam… I was just a few pages into a novel when I remembered the way she used to interrupt to tease me for being boring. I had my books crated and hadn’t lifted a novel since then.
I managed to come to the conclusion that I should call Sookie… It wasn’t as though I would mention it to anyone else even if I could.
She sleepily joked that I wanted her to read them to me as ‘bedtime stories’… but, surprisingly, she wasn’t mocking me. She was offering to read them if that’s what it would take because she felt it was important that I knew the information.
Long before I died she sent an email. In spite of her plans to drive to Amsterdam in just a few hours, Sookie sacrificed resting in order to edit the journal and send it to me. Every mention of Pam had been deleted.
As I read, I caught myself noticing passages where Pam had once been mentioned… and still forgot the rest.
It was useless and I hated replying to Sookie’s hopeful email to explain her efforts had been wasted.
Not only was I beginning to think Sookie had been right when she suggested I was a ‘lost cause’, but I felt slightly guilty that she’d wasted time to help me.
I could have blamed Miles for distracting me by singing Dur Dur D’etre Bebe in the kitchen because Saskia refused to make cookies for him. I couldn’t decide if he thought it was amusing or if he was using it as a method of torture. The only break he took from his ‘serenade’ was to argue that Nestle was an inferior chocolate and Saskia should be embarrassed to make cookies for guests with it. She should use the Nestle bits she’d bought for his cookies and buy Cadbury bits for when the children returned.
…But once the chocolate cookie debate ended (and only because Saskia gave Miles the bag of bits so he’d leave her alone) I tried reading again.
Reading WAS a lost cause, but by the time I was done with another attempt, Sookie called and promised to think of something by the time she returned to Eijsden.
She was proud of me for trying.
Her only suggestion for the interim was that perhaps my survival instincts would help… there could be something in the journal that could save my life. But knowing that Sookie was clever and perceptive, she would have noticed while she read it.
And after spending another hour wallowing in futility, I was past being annoyed and embarrassed.
I died for the day infuriated.
As I came back to myself that night, I heard Miles and Bastiaan arguing about football, so that much was normal…
But the breathing and heartbeat next to me weren’t.
I was still waiting for my senses to return to me when ‘it’ moved to put its arm across my chest and rest its head on my shoulder. It wasn’t until I heard a whimper that I could identify my guest as Sookie.
She cooed, “Hello there,” and pulled her leg up to wrap it around mine.
I struggled, waiting for control to come back… I usually only had to wait for a few minutes and I couldn’t decide if there was some sort of delay or if it just felt like longer. It wasn’t as though I was used to rising next to anyone, let alone cuddling with Sookie.
She stretched up to give me a kiss and giggled, “Annoying, I know… they’ve been going at it for a while because football came up at lunch. The kids wanted to play, but the rain interfered. Too warm to snow, too bitter to play… we’ve been keeping ourselves busy though. Spent most of the day in the kitchen.”
The forecast was why they didn’t drive to Amsterdam?
I opened my mouth to ask, but I was distracted by another question…
“Do I taste… is that… honey?” Yes, Sookie was in my fucking bed… I asked about honey.
Before I could finish asking why she was in my bed, or back at the castle in spite of her plans, or any of the other questions trying to rush out of my mouth simultaneously, she kissed me again.
As though the two kisses were anything alike.
The first one had been a simple peck. Plain. Casual. Like the way I’d seen her kiss her young fan last night… It was uninvited, but it was unremarkable other than the taste she’d left behind.
The second kiss was anything but unremarkable… There was a split second when I considered pulling away from her, but it was too easy to let myself enjoy the taste she had to offer. It had been centuries since anyone’s mouth could be considered better than ‘barely tolerable’. Something about the way the taste left behind by food festered in their mouths made blow jobs and feeding from their wrists a winning combination… the runner up would be fucking them and feeding from their ankle as long as they’d bathed recently.
Sweet and warm, nibbling my lip as she backed away just enough to breathe, “I wanted to surprise you,” before coming back…
Twisting her fingers into my hair and rubbing her body against me…
I didn’t even care how she tasted like honey, I was too preoccupied enjoying it…
Completely unfazed when my fangs dropped…
I never said she was unattractive, just impossible and if she thought ‘breakfast in bed’ was going to improve my focus, I couldn’t think of a reason to stop her…
But that might have had something to do with the way her tiny leg was rubbing against my cock.
I rolled towards her as she pulled away for air, sampling her skin along her jaw… discovering her skin tasted impossibly sweet under her coconut and rose oil…
She breathed, “Go ahead,” just as her pulse point throbbed against my tongue.
She said she wouldn’t feed me, so I had to wonder what changed her mind until she lifted her chin and used my hair to tug me closer as an invitation…
Sookie didn’t as much as flinch when I bit… taking a quick breath, exhaling slowly while I dragged from the wound…
Taking the puncture better than any donor…
But once the taste of her blood hit me, I was lost.
Somehow she’d eaten enough honey for her blood to taste like it. Not tainted. There wasn’t anything unnatural about the flavor…
A perfect combination… the sweetness wasn’t overpowering the taste of her blood.
I only regretted having to pull away, but I’d definitely decided to let her use her blood as a bargaining chip. I could be convinced to comply from time to time in exchange for feedings.
She smiled. “I’m glad you like it. I almost turned Saskia down when she offered me a cup of tea.”
“How do you plan to manipulate me then?”
“Manip-” Her eyes widened and she began pushing against my shoulders. “No. Oh God… Noooooo… Let me up. Let me up…”
“It’s a little late for that…”
“I’m going to be sick. I can’t believe… I’m going to be sick…”
That was all I needed to hear before I rolled off of her.
She dashed from the bed, stumbling over my jeans and bashing her head against the doorframe on her way into the bathroom…
The door slammed just in time to muffle the sounds of vomiting.
Sookie was still heaving and retching, sobbing and sniffling, when there was a pounding on the door to my chambers.
Miles shouted, “Oy! Majesty! Hate to interrupt, but do you remember Sookie’s tattoo?” Of all them times for him to be eccentric.
“Her tattoo?” I’d seen a small marijuana leaf tattooed on her hip for a moment while she was showering, but what the fuck did that have to do with anything?
“Yes Majesty. She said it was code when I spoke to her just now. You should know what it means.”
“You spoke to her ‘just now’?”
“Yes Majesty. Just now. Disconnected less than two minutes ago, I did. She said it would bring your attention to something. Is there something I need to know? Was she warning you about a threat?”
Fuck. Just now. My Sookie called just now. My Sookie called just now, which means I just fed from another Sookie.
“Dismiss the staff for the rest of the shift. Everyone can resume their scheduled watches at Midnight. Find my phone and bring it to me before you leave.”
For the next twenty minutes, I waited for Miles to return with my phone so I could call My Sookie and let her know there was an extra Eric on the loose.
Not that it fucking mattered. Without any hints as to where honey-flavored Sookie was meant to be or where she came from, her version of Me wasn’t likely to trip over My Sookie.
She knew who I was and was willing to feed ‘Me’, so I was trapped in an absurd debate as to why she’d be overreacting to a mis-delivered donation during a skip.
I couldn’t help but wonder how protective another Me would be over His Sookie, especially when she tasted like that… If He tried to kill me for feeding from Her, would that be considered a suicide attempt?
When Miles finally returned to remind me I’d broken my phone, explaining that he’d found it ‘in crumbles’ on the floor of my office, I gave up trying to put the puzzle together on my own and tried to get some answers…
Anything. I was confusing myself to the point I might have had a headache.
As soon as I opened the bathroom door, Sookie scurried into the shower like a cockroach and cowered in the corner with her face buried against her knees.
“I thought you were my Sookie. Where should your Eric be?”
Other than continuing to act as though I was going to kill her, she didn’t respond.
“I can only assume My Sookie is aware of the skip given that she called Miles to try to warn me. It’s possible Your Eric rose in Amsterdam with her.” It was the only explanation I could think of. How else would he have found her there?
I wasn’t even sure if she was aware that I was speaking to her… but stepping closer to get her attention definitely caused a reaction.
She began to pant and gasp for air. Sputtering through the blood flowing from her nose and eyebrow… She’d bashed her head against the door frame hard enough to break her nose and put a deep gash in her forehead.
There was blood smeared everywhere between the toilet and the corner she was hiding in, all over her hands and face… her hair…
“I’m not going to harm you. I wasn’t coherent yet. I thought you were My Sookie. My first experience with skipping didn’t include rising together. Where should you be?”
She offered nothing by way of explanation as to which Sookie she was or why she was terrified and while I waited, hoping she’d calm down enough to speak, her eyelids began to flutter.
She’d worked herself into such a state that she collapsed, slumping against the marble wall.
Since I sent the staff away from the property, there wasn’t anyone for me to send to my office for my laptop. I was trapped in my room with an unconscious lunatic without any way to contact My Sookie to hear any form of update.
Amsterdam was two hours away with several areas without cell signal for her to drive through, even if she were willing to accompany another Me… All I could really do is wait until the sun set so I could email her and hope her phone was connected to her account.
I paced my room, listening to honey-flavored Sookie’s breathing settle to a more normal rate…
Hoping that once she regained consciousness, she’d be calmer…
Biding my time until sunset so I could leave the room…
I found myself staring at the heap in the corner of my shower from the doorway…
If I’d seen her first, I’d have known she wasn’t My Sookie…
Every bit of her was too thin… emaciated as though she’d been starved.
Having seen My Sookie nude, I could say without question she was shapely… but that Sookie didn’t have curves. She had sinew. Knobby knees and hands, pale skin… her hair was even ashen as though she’d been deprived of sunlight for months.
What the fuck was wrong with her?
I squatted next to her, pushing some of her hair out of the gash on her face. “Sookie?”
She didn’t react at all as I repeated her name, nudging her…
Curiosity made me wonder about her tattoo… If she’d have pot leaf like My Sookie, possibly the peacock the first Sookie used to cover it…
Pushing her little black slip out of my way, then her panties…
No cannabis. No flamboyant cover-up. No ghostly outline left behind by a tattoo removal…
No stretch marks, not that My Sookie had any to speak off. No scars…
So… no children, no car accident, no tattoo… the tattoo happened while the Sookies were still in high school…
There was no way too know how differently honey-flavored Sookie’s life had been for nearly a decade.
Fuck… Yes, there was… All I needed to do was read the fucking journal.
I explained, “I’m going upstairs to find my laptop so I can try to contact My Sookie. I won’t be gone but a minute…” As soon as I spoke I second guessed myself. Hearing that I’d be back probably wouldn’t be as comforting as waking alone…
As I left, sure she’d still be unconscious while I was gone, my imagination ran riot with reasons for Sookie to be so unhealthy.
If she was childless, she might be thinner. It was possible Sookie was naturally slender and motherhood had filled out her curves. Then again, the first Sookie I met had three children and was nothing if not athletic…
I was at a loss as I climbed the stairs… and then it hit me.
Not a theory regarding Sookie’s state.
And everything went black.