Chapter 6

From the front of the station, I could hear slightly raised voices. Searching with my mind, I knew that the receptionist and Bud Dearborn were the welcoming party to three vampires.With my gift I could pick up the thoughts from the humans, which just about now were squarely on the fear and anger side, and the void of silence that was the unique register of the vampires.In my cell, I couldn’t hear the words but could tell that the conversation was edgy. In his head, Sheriff Dearborn was weighing his options. He didn’t quite know what Eric’s position in the vampire world was, but he knew he had trouble on his hands. With two other vampires in tow, Eric’s visit seemed much more official or like a show of force. Bud also correctly gathered that Eric wasn’t here to bust me out. Darn it.In as calm a voice as possible, Bud was explaining that there were no visiting hours.

“Surely, you allow conjugal visits.”

Oh, hell. Bud Dearborn most certainly was not aware of my marriage to Eric as a result of an archaic vampire ceremony. I couldn’t worry about that now. More than anything, I wanted to talk to Eric.

“Now, Mr. Northman, it is not visiting hours. You’ll have to come back tomorrow during regular hours.”

I winced. Regular hours would of course be during day light. Bud’s slip might put Eric over the edge. Eric sounded challenging, forceful, and mocking, but under it all, he sounded concerned.

“That’s during daylight. I have been advised that as a vampire, I can exercise the right to see my wife after dark.”

His voice was now controlled and cold. Bud was busy trying to think of a way to get Eric to leave without causing problems, but saw now way out.

“Mr. Northman, do you have record of your marriage?”

I sharply inhaled. There was no way that Eric had a marriage license that any Louisiana authority would recognize since it wasn’t legal here yet.

“Of course. You’ll see that everything is in order.”

Eric must have handed over a paper, glamoured Bud, and then walked right past him. I heard his footsteps coming down the hall and was relieved that it was just him. Everyone else stayed in the front of the station.

As he entered, I saw that he had the cell keys, so maybe he was here to get me out after all. When I saw him again, I felt the tears begin to well up in my eyes.

“Eric, thank God.”

“Sookie, are you alright? I understand that you are being held on suspicion of murder.” His voice was still cold and controlled, and there was definitely a degree of hesitancy.

I rolled my eyes. I just couldn’t help it. Here I was in jail and he had his big Viking panties in a bundle about Sam. That was my suspicion.

At least, he was here.

“Yes, I’m ok. They didn’t rough me up or anything, if that’s what you were afraid of. Bud arrested me for murdering Arlene last night. Given that she tried to kill me a while back, it might not surprise many people, so I am going to have a time proving I didn’t do it. I’ve got an alibi though since we were…”

I was clearly nervous too. I was babbling and then ran out of steam as Eric’s lips tightened and his eyes went blank at the reference to the Were judgement ceremony. Unexpectedly, I used up my fairy-love magic on Sam and Eric took off like a shot.
When I first saw him through the cell window, I hoped that we could skip this, but I knew that was hoping for too much, especially taking Eric’s pride into account.

There was a long, weighty silence. I just stared at my feet and bit my lip, hoping to come up with the right words. With everything that had happened since last night and Eric’s surprise appearance, I didn’t have time to come up with a good approach to this conversation either.

I was startled when I heard a girlish giggle from behind me. In Eric’s presence, I had plain forgotten about my tipsy cellmate.

“Well, hey there! Aren’t you handsome!”

While I was mulling over my one of my six dilemmas with Eric, Jane had made her way over to the bars and was making eyes at my vampire boyfriend. Thankfully, Eric nipped that in the bud by putting the whammy on her with his glamour. He sent her to the corner with an order to fall asleep at once and not wake until dawn.

At that, I grew a little worried that Eric’s vampire invasion of the Bon Temps police station may have resulted in temporarily taking out the entire police force. I would have to worry about that later.

“There’s just no ignoring it. I know you’re angry with me about the cluviel dor. On my birthday, I didn’t understand what you thought I could do about the Freyda situation. It took me a while to figure it out and then Niall confirmed he’d told you.”

I slipped my hand through the bars and held his. I paused waiting for him to respond, but he waited me out.

“I wanted you to choose me. All on your own. I didn’t want to fix it with magic.”

I said it quietly, but felt him gently squeeze my hand and nod at the words. He already knew as much.

“I hated the blood bond because I didn’t know how much of us was the bond and how much was just us, so I broke it. I have loved you without it and didn’t want anymore magic to bind us, especially fae magic. Does that make sense?”

Another nod. “Eric?”

“It would have been much easier the other way.”

“Then I couldn’t have saved Sam.”

Eric stiffened. I knew that wasn’t the right thing to say, but the shock of nearly losing Sam and then bringing him back had been haunting me all day.

“Eric, I’m so sorry about that. Sam’s my best friend. He has been for many years. He’s one of the only people who’s ever believed in me besides Gran. I just couldn’t let him die like that. Not when I could reverse it.”

“I understand. Sookie, you’ve got to understand that I can’t simply ignore my maker. His agreement is binding.”

Oh, hell. I was done with hearing about this mythical power of the maker. In for a penny, in for a pound.

“Fuck your maker. I’m your wife.”

He was silent, eyes searching. His guard suddenly dropped. It was just like those precious few weeks when his memory was wiped and his responsibilities as sheriff forgotten, defenseless and vulnerable, he had fallen in love with me. All this time, he had been waiting for me to yield, to accept our marriage, to fight for him.

He pulled me closer with the bars of my cell between us and kissed me for all he was worth. Which is quite a lot. I felt dizzy with the thrill of his forgiveness and confirmation that he wanted me too. When we broke apart, his eyes were still searching my face and his fangs had run out. I was feeling pretty hot and bothered myself, but given my current situation that was going to have to wait.

Eric gave me another long, lingering kiss and then stepped back.

“We need a plan to get you out of here. We’ll deal with Freyda later. I have lawyers that we employ for time to time for issues with the bar, but have not required criminal defense.”

He was back to being practical. After his kisses, it took me a few minutes to regain my focus. Apparently, Eric wasn’t ready to talk more about Freyda, Sam, or the cluviel dor. That all would need to wait.

“Thanks, Eric, but I have my own attorney.”

That took him by surprise. There it was again — his high handedness. I took a deep breath and realized that he was trying to help by putting his connections at my disposal. I was the one in the jail cell, the one in trouble, so I needed to keep a level head.

“Beth Osiecki helped me put together my will on my birthday. She does estate planning, but can do the general stuff too. Come to think of it though, I wouldn’t mind getting some help from Mr. Cataliades if we can get a message to him.”

He let out a snort at the idea of a small town attorney taking on my murder case, but I didn’t think it would get all the way to trial. I just needed someone in the room when I got questioned. I kept telling myself I’d be out before dusk tomorrow.

“I’ll make some calls to track him down. I heard he’s been on the run from hellhounds.”

“Oh, that’s not a problem anymore. He and Diantha took care of that.”

Eric gave me another look of surprise and laughed. It was so good to hear him laugh. We hadn’t had much laughter since his maker made an appearance. It was definitely a surprise to regain this while I was in jail.

“There’s more where those two came from.”

We talked through my legal options and came up with a plan for my interrogation. Eric reluctantly agreed to send Pam to meet with Sam to synch up a palatable version of our night with the Weres. I was breathing easier knowing that Eric wasn’t going to Sam’s trailer himself, but there wasn’t time. He would already be missed at the bar.

On his way out, Eric gave me one last kiss. We hadn’t dealt with Freyda, but I let myself enjoy the kiss. I was going to have a long night and an even longer day ahead of me.

As Eric walked down the hall, I heard someone else making their way day the hall. Suddenly, Bubba was at the door.

“Hey, Miss Sookie. Eric and Bill said I should keep an eye on you tonight.”

“You’re good company, Bubba. Thanks for coming.”

Apparently, Eric had glamoured the Bon Temps police into letting me have a vampire guard. I wasn’t sure that having someone high profile vampire like Bubba was the best plan. The vampires typically kept Bubba under wraps since he was practically the most famous man on the planet during his human life. Bubba’s appearance certainly explained the commotion when Eric entered. Bubba always made an impression, wherever he went.

“You should get some sleep, Miss Sookie.”

To humor him, I laid down on the bare bench in the cell. Bubba started humming low and deep. I thought I would be up all night, but Bubba sang me to sleep with a good, old Gospel.

“Swing low, sweet chariot…”

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