I gasped, jolted out of my drowsy anticipation of warmth and silence.
A running man: At three in the morning on January first, he was running down the parish road, apparently running for his life.
I slowed down, trying to figure out a course of action. I was a lone unarmed woman. If
something awful was pursuing him, it might get me, too. On the other hand, I couldn’t let someone suffer if I could help. I had a moment to notice that the man was tall, blond, and clad only in blue jeans, before I pulled up by him. I put the car into park and leaned over to roll down the window on the
“Can I help you?” I called.
He gave me a panicked glance and kept on running. But in that moment I realized who he was. I leaped out of the car and took off after him.
“Eric!” I yelled. “It’s me!”
He wheeled around then, hissing, his fangs fully out. I stopped so abruptly I swayed where I
stood, my hands out in front of me in a gesture of peace. Of course, if Eric decided to attack, I was a dead woman. So much for being a good Samaritan. Why didn’t Eric recognize me? I’d known him for many months. He was Bill’s boss, in the complicated vampire hierarchy that I was beginning to learn. Eric was the sheriff of Area Five, and he was a vampire on the rise. He was also gorgeous and could kiss like a house afire, but that was not the most pertinent side of him right at the moment. Fangs and strong hands curved into claws were what I was seeing. Eric was in full alarm mode, but he seemed just as scared of me as I was of him. He didn’t leap to attack.
“Stay back, woman,” he warned me. His voice sounded like his throat was sore, raspy and raw.
“What are you doing out here?”
“Who are you?”
“You known darn good and well who I am. What’s up with you? Why are you out here without your car?” Eric drove a sleek Corvette, which was simply Eric.
“You know me? Who am I?”
Well, that knocked me for a loop. He sure didn’t sound like he was joking. I said cautiously, “Of course I know you, Eric. Unless you have an identical twin. You don’t, right?”
“I don’t know.” His arms dropped, his fangs seemed to be retracting, and he straightened from his crouch, so I felt there’d been a definite improvement in the atmosphere of our encounter.
“You don’t know if you have a brother?” I was pretty much at sea.
“No. I don’t know. Eric is my name?” In the glare of my headlights, he looked just plain pitiful.
“Wow.” I couldn’t think of anything more helpful to say. “Eric Northman is the name you go by these days. Why are you out here?”
“I don’t know that, either.”
I was sensing a theme here. “For real? You don’t remember anything?” I tried to get past being sure that at any second he’d grin down at me and explain everything and laugh, embroiling me in some trouble that would end in me... getting beaten up.
He took a step closer, and his bare white chest made me shiver with sympathetic
goose bumps. I also realized (now that I wasn’t terrified) how forlorn he looked. It was an expression I’d never seen on the confident Eric’s face before, and it made me feel unaccountably sad.
“You know you’re a vampire, right?”
“Yes.” He seemed surprised that I asked. “And you are not.”
“No, I’m real human, and I have to know you won’t hurt me. Though you could have by now. But believe me, even if you don’t remember it, we’re sort of friends.”
“I won’t hurt you.”
I reminded myself that probably hundreds and thousands of people had heard those very words before Eric ripped their throats out. But the fact is, vampires don’t have to kill once they’re past their first year. A sip here, a sip there, that’s the norm. When he looked so lost, it was hard to remember he could dismember me with his bare hands.
Late Author: Morgaine Synopsis: Sookie has some surprising news for Eric.
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