Chapter One Hundred and Forty Four
"Listen," Eric whispered.
We were standing in the snow covered fields about five kilometers north of Uppsala. This was Gamla Uppsala called "Old Uppsala" and it was very cold. The stars, tiny pinpoints of light, glittered overhead, illuminating the fields and three burial mounds ahead of us. To our eyes it was as bright as day. A human might have made out the general shape of the mounds against the sky but little else.
"What am I listening for? What do you hear?" I whispered back.
He hadn't been alarmed so I was listening to the sounds of the night, the sounds of the city to our south, the village nearby, all the myriad noises that make the tapestry of sound I had learned to tune out as background ambience. Nothing stood out in either sound or smell to cause me concern. There was a were-wolf in the nearby village, but it was very faint. She must be a resident of the village.
"I can hear the past, the burial songs of Kings, the roaring funeral fire sending his soul to Valhalla. I hear the crowds, weeping women, the mingled languages of the Vikings and Romans. I hear history being made," Eric said.
I listened real hard but I still could only hear the present. I realized he was hearing the memories of sounds he had experienced in this very place. This place had meaning to Eric, therefore it had meaning to me too.
He looked down at me, his eyes glowing a beautiful blue with the power of his nostalgia. "There were three large wooden statues of Odin, Thor and Freya. They guarded the spirit of the King on the pyre and welcomed him to paradise. So much has passed away Sookie there is no way to tell of it. Yet, here I stand, where I stood so many centuries before as a newly Turned vampire."
I couldn't tell if he was sad about this or not. "Were you happy back then?" I asked, snuggling closer to him. We began to slowly walk around the mounds to the side where you could see there had once been an excavation.
"We did not think in those terms. Happiness is a modern invention. There was the wild joy of battle and blood lust, women and victory. There was the secure feeling of having a safe place and gold put away for the future. But happiness, as I am happy now? No, I was not happy." His tone was somber.
"You have brought my happiness to me," he added, his voice choked with emotion. Then slowly, slowly, he kissed me. He wanted something from me, something powerful.
We moved to the base of one snow covered mound and made love again, the icy feel of the snow adding to our pleasure. We rolled naked in the snow like children when we were done, laughing and hugging and celebrating our life together. He spoke to me in tender tones using the beautiful lyrical language I couldn't translate into English, yet my heart understood what was meant.
I knew that Eric wanted to tie the present to the past, to have it all be part of a whole. He was bringing me into his past and perhaps changing some of the bad things he experienced into more hopeful and better memories. I surely hoped so. He wanted me to act as a bridge between his Viking warrior past and his present role as father, grandfather and husband. I would try to reach out to his past experiences and be part of both now and then.
I thought of my momentary flash trip into an alternate dimension when I was talking with Jure. Perhaps someday I would actually have the ability to visit Eric in his human life, as a newly Turned vampire, during his darkest hours. The thought was intriguing but terrifying. If I changed one tiny thing in the past the whole present might be different. The very idea made me fearful. I clutched onto Eric and told him how much I loved him, that he was my whole life and how happy I was in our life together.
He threw his head back and laughed, his eyes twinkling with affection and the elation of lovemaking.
"You sound as if something or someone might come along and take it from you. Nothing can tear us apart, my Sookie. I knew that from the first time I laid eyes on you. I saw your innocence and courage. You stood up to me despite your fear. How I respected that spirit of yours and wanted it for my own."
I didn't mention my thoughts preceding my declaration. Anna Hita had explained that it was only the work of the witches summoning the past that had thinned the present enough for me to momentarily break through. It was a one time event, I told myself. I am firmly planted in the here and now.
On the way back to the hotel we discussed our phone conversations with the girls and Fangtasia. To expedite things both Eric and I had made calls at the same time. Eric called Pam to check on the club and discovered she was visiting Jason. It was almost dawn there so she was in a hurry to leave. She gave the phone to Jason so he could discuss the latest jobs with Eric.
The most important job he was over seeing was the renovation being done to the safe rooms and top secret labs in the Research Center. Hard to believe it had been built so long ago it now required more modern and efficient accommodations. It seems like just yesterday the top secret center, devoted to discovering a way for vampires to walk in the day, was being excavated and built underground.
"Your brother said there seemed to be something big going on in the Research Center. Of course they would not allow him to know anything of their business but he said many of the "big wigs" were there in a meeting. Does "big wigs" mean important people?" he asked me.
"Yes, it does."
"He is almost done with the updates," Eric said. "If there is a development with Daynight we will be notified."
I told Eric my news. "Linda told me she had spoken to Jason about redecorating the office. With Jure's help she's almost done organizing the paperwork. She's hired an office worker to enter a lot of the paperwork into a data base, thus eliminating the need for paper files. She's storing the information on a cloud so it can't be lost."
Eric stopped and looked up. "A cloud does not seem very stable."
"I think the term cloud means keeping the info at a remote location. She said it wasn't anything that you might want to keep private. Just records of our billing with our distributors, band engagements, all things that are publicly known," I assured him.
I changed topics. "Why was Pam at Jason's house?" I asked.
Eric and I had reached the hotel. I was glad. Sex always made me hungry. Didn't seem to make a difference that I'm a vampire. We stopped at the desk and I asked for two donors to be sent to our room. The girl working the desk was terrified of us. Her hands shook as she made out a request and her voice was barely audible as it squeaked out. She spoke English to me with a strong Swedish accent.
"We'll have that sent right up, Mrs. Stackhouse. I mean ... them ... I'll have them ..." her voice trailed off. She was afraid she might have somehow offended me at her answer.
"Thank you Agda," I said in a reassuring tone, reading her name from a plastic badge on her suit jacket..
She looked completely freaked out. "How do you know my name?" she gasped. The smell of her fear was making me hungrier. My fangs came out. I turned my face from her so as not to alarm her further.
"My wife read your name tag," Eric said, pointing to her badge.
She must not have been expecting Eric to say anything or move because she jumped and gave a tiny shriek at the sound of his deep voice and the gesture of his hand. She looked at him with the whites showing around her fjord blue eyes.
The manager glided up on tidy patent leather shoes and said, "That's all right Agda, I'll see to these guests."
He said, "Please excuse Agda, she's new here and still learning the routine."
Agda had backed up to the farthest corner of the reception area, her hand on her neck. I don't think she was aware she was doing it. I didn't think learning the routine was her problem, I thought being scared half to death of vampires was her problem.
He looked at the request form and said smoothly, "We'll fill this immediately. Will there be anything else?"
Eric told him no and went to our room to wait for my dinner. It was a reality check to come across a human that was still afraid of me. Most of the folks I dealt with were completely used to vampires.
Once in our room Eric smiled a wicked little smile and touched the tip of my fang with a finger. He knew the girl's fear had turned my appetite on high. "You are going to love the re-enactment," he assured me.
A knock at the door, a tip given to the waiter ... Eric escorted two healthy young men in and I tucked in, putting my questions aside til later.
more to come ..... (Greetings Fanpires! So glad to see you here. Ah, life is almost normal for me again. Hope your lives are also the way you would like. See you next Saturday!)