Chapter 1: Merry Almost Christmas

Sunset-December 24

“Merry almost Christmas, lover.”

I smiled as I felt the bond between Eric and I flare with love. Or, maybe it was his super soft and kissable lips trailing over my shoulder that made me smile. Or it could have been the incredibly gracious gift poking me in the back. Either way, I was a happy girl at that particular moment.

“It’s called Christmas Eve, Eric. Not almost Christmas.”

“Ahh, okay. So what did you do with yourself on this fine Christmas Eve day? Wow-Christmas Eve day, both an eve and a day. Must be a Christmas miracle,” he nuzzled into my hair and I giggled.

“You’re certainly in a fine mood this evening. Looking forward to our celebration tonight?” I rolled so I could look at him, returning his beaming grin.

I swear I’d never get tired of seeing that perfect smile. Or those mesmerizing eyes. Or those pouty lips. Or-oh hell. Yeah, he’s gorgeous.

“I am looking forward to it. I take it you made sure Godric arrived then?” he began to fan kisses over my chest, tickling me a bit with the ends of his hair.

“Uh-yes. He’s-oh dear lord-he’s in the uh…the-uh…oh right there! Shit! He’s fine,” I gasped and moaned as he took my nipple in his mouth. The cool sensation of his tongue laving at the raised nub was heavenly.

“You’re supposed to be telling me about your day, love,” Eric smiled against my skin and began to nibble his way down my bare body. He dipped his tongue into my belly button and I flinched. He knew that I was sensitive there, but all he did was chuckle.

“Eric, I will tell you whatever you want. But first,” I tugged his hair gently to bring his lips back up to mine, “you have to fuck me.”

“With pleasure.”

He captured my clit between his lips before my next breath and I nearly choked from the immediate pleasure he gave me. He flicked my clit faster than I would have thought possible while his hands mapped out the territory of my chest. Rolling my left nipple in his fingers, he swiped his tongue through my sopping wet folds.

“So tasty lover. I want more,” he redoubled his efforts, even though there wasn’t a need to. He already had me on the fast track to pleasure.

His left hand abandoned its place on my chest and I felt his fingers slip inside me as his tongue got back to work thrumming my clit. He began to hum-and it sounded familiar, but I just couldn’t focus-and I began to feel the fluttering that signals an impending explosion of pleasure.

With one quick quirk upward with his fingers, he had me cumming so hard that I swear I blacked out. When I was finally able to peel my eyes open, he’d already moved up the bed to settle next to my body.

“You must have needed that, love. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten you to your peak quite so quickly. I didn’t even have time to drop fang,” a wicked smile graced his face as said fangs sprang out of his gums.  “Just so I don’t get caught off guard again.”

I giggled and pulled him onto me.  Our lips met and he began humming again. I listened for a minute before I choked out a laugh into his mouth before pulling back to guffaw.

“WHAT? I thought singing traditional holiday songs was a given today.” Eric pouted adorably.

“I didn’t know you KNEW any holiday songs. Would you please just forget about Christmas for the time being and fuck me? Don’t make me-“ I would have said ‘beg’ had he not suddenly slammed himself into me. Thank God he’d already made me cum.

As he pumped his hips languidly, he fluttered kisses over my upper body. Meanwhile I was having trouble remembering to breathe. He hitched my leg higher around his hip as he picked up the pace and I felt my walls tighten around his cock.

“Ungh-fuck-Eric! God…cum…fuck…shit-fuck-fuck-FUCK!” I screamed out and clawed at his back. I felt wetness under my nails and evidently drawing blood was the way to go with him.

I heard him roar and felt his cool seed shoot inside me, which in turn set off another explosion for me.  After another lazy thrust or two, he slowly lowered his body onto mine, making sure to keep most of his weight off of me. I was having enough trouble breathing as it was. He moved to roll to the side, but I tightened my arms around his back.

“Not yet, just stay here with me for a minute. Please?” I couldn’t help the whimper in my voice. I had to share him all night and I just wanted a few more seconds to savor our connection.

“Only for you, lover. Only for you.”

Eric caged my body in his arms and cradled me underneath him. Then he took me with him as he rolled to the side and settled me on top of his body, with his manhood still conveniently buried inside me.

“So, what did you do today my love? You promised you’d answer,” his fingers ran through my hair lazily. It was making me sleepy again, even though I’d woken up from my nap not long before him.

“Well, I was up early and went to have breakfast at Lafayette’s. He, Tara and I did our present thing. Then I went to Jason’s and we put up the tree. Apparently, he’s got a new girlfriend. He was trying to hide it but I knew,” I tapped my temple. “In fact, I know in WAY too much detail.”

Eric guffawed loudly. He knew my brother’s bedroom proclivities and he also knew how I tried my hardest to stay out of his head for just that reason.

“Anyways-“ I smacked his chest playfully as I bit back a grin, “he invited her over for our late lunch, but he didn’t know how to tell me. So he was acting nervous. That’s the reason I peeked. He didn’t want me to be mad that someone was intruding on our time together. But she showed up-bearing a French Silk pie no less-and it was fine. She’s really sweet. Her name is Laurie and-get this. She’s a preschool teacher.”

“Perfect for Jason then,” Eric quipped. I snorted in a decidedly unladylike fashion, but had to admit that Eric had a point.

“Oh that’s not the best part. He was having trouble deciding what to get me for Christmas. So he asked her what to do. She told him to give me something homemade. So-he made me Pillsbury pull apart cookies and a jewelry box,” I sighed as I rested my head on Eric’s chest because I just KNEW  I couldn’t look at his face when I said my next part. “He actually tried to pass the cookies off as his own, except that he used the ones with the snowman shape in the middle. There’s no way even I could make those. And the jewelry box-“

I let out another derisive snort.

“It can’t be that bad. I’ve seen some of the woodwork he’s done and it’s gorgeous. Surely he could create a small jewelry box,” Eric quirked his eyebrow up.

“Oh I’m sure he could. He presented me this beautifully wrapped box and was so excited while I was opening it. Laurie was trying not to giggle-which should have been my first clue. Inside was a box decorated with colored pasta shapes and glitter,” I laughed at the stunned look of horror on Eric’s face. “Apparently he visited Laurie at work and her kids were working on presents of that variety for their parents. So he jumped in to participate. Evidently all her students just LOVE Jason.”

Eric’s mouth was gaping and he seemed like his brain had short circuited.

“Eric? Sweetie, are you in there?” I tapped his forehead and when he blinked I erupted into another fit of giggles before I kissed his nose.

“You gave him our gift, didn’t you love?”

“I did. And he loved all of it. He said that he’d have to take you hunting one night and show you ‘the right way’ to do it,” I smirked at Eric’s raised eyebrow.

Eric had the brilliant idea of buying Jason all new hunting gear since he’d had most of his original gear from when he was a teenager. He’d gone through a few channels to get a top of the line crossbow with two huge boxes of arrows , a variety of hunting knifes, a beautiful new hunting rifle with 2 different night vision capable scopes and 3 sets of camouflage fatigues specifically made for hunters with built in mosquito protection. I had no idea where half of it came from, much less that some of it was even available. Built in mosquito protection? Why didn’t they make that standard issue for ANY clothing in Louisiana?

“Oh and I’m supposed to give you…” I sat up and gently dismounted my Viking steed to cross the room. I grabbed another beautifully wrapped package. “This.”

Eric sat against the headboard as I snuggled into his side. He gingerly tore the paper to reveal a plain brown cardboard box. He opened the lid to reveal a tangled mess of blue Easter grass.

“He does know that December equals Christmas, correct?” Eric managed to hide his smile as he dug carefully through the plastic jungle of chaos. His fingers snagged on some fabric and he lifted it carefully out of the box. He dove back in to make sure that was it, only to pull out what appeared to be a watch.

He inspected both items before he bit his lip and told me to take a look. I grabbed what appeared to be a shirt and the watch and took a closer look. I felt Eric positively quivering with repressed laughter as my mouth dropped in astonishment.

My brother-my loveable and hopelessly clueless brother-had gotten my husband (my vampire husband) a stay cool Under Armor tank top and a watch that monitors your heart rate.

“Well-at least he tried,” Eric managed to gasp out before he crumpled into a hysterical pile of laughing vampire. I shoved his shoulder and as a credit to my brother, he made Eric laugh so hard that I was actually able to catch him off guard enough to roll him off the bed. With the resounding thump that accompanied his landing, I launched myself over to the edge to see him literally holding his sides and rolling over with blood tears streaming down his face. A naked, laughing Eric was a sight to behold, let me tell you.

“Well, I’m glad you don’t need to breathe! He did his best!” I tried to be indignant on Jason’s behalf but honestly I had no idea where his particular brand of cluelessness came from. It was hard to believe that we shared genetics at times like this.

“I know lover and I appreciate it. I do. I will wear them proudly. At Fangtasia. Oh! Pam will be horrified. I’ll have so much fun,” he rubbed his palms together in the universal “evil genius” gesture and smirked at me. I laughed at him as he swiftly levitated over the bed and dropped on top of me. Only problem was, his back was on my front.

“Uh, Eric? Unless you’ve decided to adopt a new lifestyle and have some very specific toys for me to use, you need to face the other way,” I couldn’t contain my smile. Nights like these were my favorite. Where we could just play for awhile and be ourselves. It made the stress of being the wife and bonded of Viking vampire badass Eric Northman that much more bearable. And, let’s face it-the benefits definitely outweighed the drawbacks of being with Eric.

He flipped over at vamp speed and settled himself over me once again.

“I have yet to have my dinner, love. Did you eat tonight?” Eric began trailing soft kisses down my neck. He stopped to nibble on the spot right behind my ear that always made me shiver.

“Jason made enough food for an army and we ate late. I’m fine until later. But Chez Sookie is open for your dining pleasure, sir,” I giggled and craned my neck to the side.

“Ah, that’s a very generous offer. However, I think I’d like something a little more…south of the border,” with that epically arousing thought, Eric vamped down the bed and settled his face between my thighs.

His cool tongue swept a path through my folds and left me quivering. With a wicked glint in his eye, he began swirling his tongue at vamp speed over my clit as he drove two fingers into my depths. Between his thrusting and his licking, I climbed the Everest of pleasure in record time again. I was cresting over my peak and a split second before I burst into my orgasm, Eric turned his head and struck. His fangs glided into my thigh and he moaned as he sucked, which sent pulses of pleasure shooting through me like lightning. He withdrew his fangs, sending one more hit of ecstasy through my system, and languidly sealed his marks.

I’m fairly sure I looked like a broken scarecrow with my legs splayed out and my arms above my head and my breathing coming in pants.

“As much as I would love to continue this glorious activity, we do need to start getting ready, love. Pam will throw a fit if we’re late,” Eric glanced at the iPod docked on the nightstand while he ran his hand down my side. Realizing that for the immediate future, he’d apparently broken me, he barked out a laugh as he rolled off the bed.

“I’m going to shower. Join me if you can get your legs to work,” with a swift kiss to my forehead, he was gone.

I lay there for a few minutes, trying to get the feeling back into my limbs as I pondered what exactly would happen tonight. Pam and Godric had never been all too excited about Christmas and had always ducked out of celebrating. Even Eric didn’t really understand the hoopla surrounding the holiday, but he indulged me. And after last year’s surprise getaway to Vegas to see Phantom of the Opera and a (secret) Maroon 5 concert, he’d come around magnificently. And, let’s face it, he loved to buy me things and this gave him an excuse to spoil me where I couldn’t complain.

Reluctantly, I dragged my body off the bed and trudged into the ridiculously opulent bathroom where Eric was already grooming in front of the huge mirror.

“Damn it! I missed the show!” I playfully swatted his award winning ass as I sauntered to the shower.

“If we didn’t have a deadline, I’d hop right back in there with you lover. Rest assured, I’d much rather be…washing your back,” Eric leered as he pulled a brush through his long blonde locks.

I smiled as I felt the water and stepped in when it was hot enough to be comfortable.

Eric was gone when I was finished. I quickly dried off and grabbed my Satsuma body butter. I slathered myself down and patted myself dry again. Rolling my eyes, I grabbed the brush, the glossing spray and the hair dryer and began tackling the dripping matted mess atop my head.

Twenty minutes later, I gave up and declared my hair to be good enough. It was almost dry anyways.

When I returned to the bedroom, Eric was nowhere to be seen. I opened my mind and scanned the house, finding him in the kitchen. I left him to whatever he was doing and opened the French doors to our massive closet. I scanned my side, trying to decide on an appropriate outfit for the festivities.

“Eric?” I knew he’d hear me despite my low volume. Ah, the joys of living with a vampire.

“Yes, lover?” I twitched as he seemingly appeared out of thin air. He still managed to startle me all the time.

“What is the dress code for tonight? I don’t want to get another ‘fashion ticket’ from Pam,” Eric grinned and tried to reign in his laughter as I rolled my eyes.

Pam, in all her fashion wisdom, had resorted to giving me ‘fashion tickets’ when my outfits weren’t up to her standards. I’d had more than I could count and every single time Eric nearly died laughing. Har har.

I looked at Eric’s outfit. His standard tight jeans-that encased his ass just perfectly-were paired with a slightly dressier top. He wore a black button down shirt with a slim fitting black pin striped vest over top. And of course, his humongous feet were encased in his usual black leather boots. His luscious hair was pulled into an intricate braid and tied off with one of my hair ties. It was a gorgeous and slightly contradictory look, but of course Eric could pull of wearing a burlap sack. I sighed at the mental image of him draped in burlap, strategically covering the most minimal of areas.

He sidled past me to peruse the offerings in front of him. With swift movements, he shot his hand out and grabbed a few things before retreating into the bedroom. I followed and watched as he laid out my outfit.

I smiled at Eric and he kissed my forehead as he left me to dress. First was the lacy black bra and thong. Then came the dark boot cut jeans and black belt. Then the soft grey V-neck wrap around tank. He of course chose blood red accents in the form of my hobo bag and patent leather pumps. My red pea coat was also draped across the bed. After transferring all my necessary items into my bag, I grabbed my coat and shoes and made my way to the kitchen to find Eric.

“You look delicious, love. Is everything already at the club?” Eric set his dirty mug in the sink and turned to me.

I rolled my eyes as I set my coat and shoes down. I brushed past him to rinse out the mug and set it on the drying rack.

“Yes, I dropped everything off on my way to Lafayette’s this morning. Pam also had the decorations delivered and they’re all ready and waiting,” I dried my hands on the dish towel before tossing it into the under counter hamper.

“Alright. Let’s get going then. All the sooner to get right back here, huh love?” Eric wiggled his eyebrows and dropped a kiss to my hair. His hand found its way to the small of my back as he led me out the door. His corvette was already warming up and he helped me in before shutting my door and speeding around to the driver’s side where he folded himself gracefully into the seat. I grabbed the “Oh Shit” handle as Eric shifted and peeled out of the driveway. I’d become slightly more immune to his driving, only because after driving with Pam, his driving seemed positively tame. Godric, on the other hand, drove like the little old lady of vampires. I liked riding with him.

Before my knuckles could go numb from my kung fu grip on the overhead handle, we skidded to a stop in Fangtasia’s parking lot. Thankfully I didn’t see Pam’s pastel blue minivan or Godric’s yellow smart car. I always had to giggle when I thought of my vampire’s choices in vehicles.

Eric zipped around to help me out of the car after I had slipped on my heels. Then he led the way to Fangtasia’s backdoor and slid the key into the lock. Flicking the light on in the back hallways, he led me through to the main bar. I set my coat and bag down on the end of the bar and wandered over to the boxes of decorations that Pam had ordered.

“Think she’d be mad if I started to unpack everything?” I ran my hand over the top box and looked back to Eric. He was leaning on the bar with an impish smile on his face.

“Oh I’m sure she would. But I can think of other ways to occupy your time,” his gaze was smoldering as he pushed himself off the bar and began stalking towards me. My breath caught in my throat as he vamped in front of me and pulled me tight against his body. His hand cupped the back of my neck in a possessive hold before his lips claimed my own. His other hand nestled in the small of my back and pulled me even tighter to him so he could grind his ever present erection into my stomach. Our tongues fought for dominance as his fangs dropped, slicing my lip in the process. He swiped his tongue over my lip and became all the more excited as he got a taste of my blood. With a gasp, I turned my head to breathe, only to find a pair of chocolate brown eyes staring into my own. I yelped and pulled out of Eric’s arms, only to fall flat on my ass. I glared up at my husband and his Maker as they tried to refrain from laughing.

“Oh, go ahead. Yuk it up. The human fell down,” I snarled as I hauled myself up.

They burst into hysterical laughter as I threw my hands in the air and stalked away from them. I spotted Pam coming through the back door and veered to join her at the bar.

“Merry Christmas, my telepathic friend. Why are the boys losing their shit?” Pam raised her perfectly groomed eyebrow.

“Godric snuck up on me and I fell on my ass. And apparently that’s just the epitome of funny,” I scoffed and rounded the bar to make myself a drink. “Would you like something Pam?”

“Oh yes please. I’ll try the newest brand. Blood Moon, right there below the royalty,” I swiped a bottle to look it over. “Apparently it’s all the rage in Europe. Eric owns stock in the company and says it’s delicious. They have a new way of synthesizing blood that doesn’t taste like sewage.”

I shrugged and popped the lid and stuck it into the microwave. I grabbed the bottle of Jack Daniels and poured roughly 2 shots into a glass. I proceeded to fill the rest of the glass with Coke from the taps behind the bar as the microwave dinged. Spinning around, I grabbed the bottle and replaced the lid to shake it. Then I handed it over to Pam and watched as she took a long gulp.

Her eyes lit up.

“It’s not perfect, but then again nothing ever will be. But it’s damn close. Oh, this makes coming in tonight worth it!”

I raised my eyebrows. “Thanks Pam. I’m glad I went through the trouble of putting together our Christmas celebration, got Godric to come, and tried to find everyone the perfect presents…” I trailed off as I swiped my drink off the bar and stalked back to Eric’s office. I flipped the switch for the lights and crossed the room to throw myself on the leather sofa, sloshing my drink in the process.

I sat pouting and nursing my drink when I heard a soft tap on the door. Figuring I’d be a petulant bitch for just a little longer, I ignored it. Sometimes vampires were just way too hard to deal with.

“Sookie, can I come in please?” Godric’s soft voice filtered through the cracks around the door. I groaned. I hated when he was all soft and calm and reasonable. Only because then I felt obligated to listen.

“Come in,” I grumbled grudgingly.

He opened the door and entered quietly. “I apologize if I offended you. You and Eric were in such joyous moods earlier that it seemed to filter into me.”

I motioned him over to sit beside me.

“It’s fine. I just kinda feel like the butt of everyone’s jokes tonight. It feels like y’all don’t really want to be here and I’m forcing you,” I hadn’t even realized I felt that way until that moment, but the thought made my eyes tear up.

“That’s not true little one. We just don’t quite understand the significance of this day. But we know that it’s important to you and so we want to celebrate with you. Now-come back out and join us. I’m afraid Eric is quite upset and anxious for you to forgive him,” Godric rose and held his hand out for me to take. I grabbed it and he hauled me up. I threw my arms around his neck carefully to avoid spilling my drink.

“Okay pops. Let’s go,” he rolled his eyes at his pet name, but dutifully led the way back into the bar. Eric and Pam’s heads whipped around to look at us. I smiled sheepishly and started towards them. Eric zipped to meet me halfway.

“I’m sorry lover. I knew he was there, but I was just playing and…” I put my finger to his lips and he stopped babbling.

“It’s fine. If nothing else I should apologize. I would like it very much if we could just start the festivities,” I gave him a smile and took his hand to lead him towards the boxes of decorations where Pam and Godric were already standing.

“So, Pam. What have you got for us?” An errant thought shot through my brain and I froze. “Oh shit! You didn’t buy that pornographic stuff you showed me online the other day did you? The ornaments of Rudolph fucking the elves and penises and all that nasty stuff?”

Pam cackled and I felt my face twist into a mask of horror.

“Oh-Sookie, Sookie, Sookie. No. I think you made it very clear that I was not permitted to order those particular decorations, as amusing as that would have been. No-these are much better,” a glint in her eye made me afraid of what exactly I’d find in those boxes.

“Okay, well let’s put up the tree first. You did get us a tree right?”

Her face blanched.

“You didn’t get us a tree?! Well. Fuck. Okay uh—I guess we can just stick everything up on the walls and be done with it. But for the record, you really do need a tree Pam,” she nodded sheepishly as Eric and Godric looked perplexed.

“Why exactly do you need a tree, little one? And what sort of tree?” Godric cocked his head to the side.

“An evergreen tree. That’s what you hang the ornaments on and what you put the presents under…it’s basically the epicenter of all Christmas decorating,” I explained patiently.

Eric’s face lit up in a smile. “Well then, Godric and I will simply go get one. Is that satisfactory? You and Pam stay here to put up the rest of the decorations and we’ll be back shortly.”

Eric dropped a quick kiss to my lips and they were gone in two blurs of movement.

“Uh-okay?” I sighed and turned to Pam, who was already ripping tape off the cardboard boxes. I had no idea where they were going to find a suitable Christmas tree, much less how they were going to chop it down and bring it back.

I moved to look over Pam’s shoulder at the contents of the boxes. The Avengers stared up at me. Box upon box upon box of the Avengers Christmas decorations.

“Uh-Pam? Why is all of this the Avengers?”

She cast a sneaky glance at me. “Because Eric is a complete weirdo about Thor and has a conniption fit every time he sees anything about this movie since-in his words-that prissy pussy isn’t good enough to play Thor. He’ll have an absolute cow! And-“ she took an unneeded breath, “if you tell anyone this, I will disembowel you happily. I kinda have a thing for the Hulk.”

Her voice was quiet towards the end of her sentence, and I was sure that I misheard her. She could NOT have said what I thought she said.

“You have a thing for what?”

“The Hulk,” Pam sounded almost shy as she fluttered her lashes like a schoolgirl.

“As in Mark Ruffalo, right?” I’m sure my voice sounded disbelieving because quite frankly, I didn’t believe it.

“No! The Hulk! He’s huge and those muscles–,”I saw a subtle shiver flow up Pam’s body, “I mean, seriously I wish those pants would split just a teensy bit more!” She sighed wistfully. “Honestly, they don’t make them like that and it’s a horrific injustice to all the women of the world!”

Pam’s exasperated mini-rant could only have been made better if Eric was there to see it.  And given the huge guffawing laughter I heard coming from behind me I’m fairly certain this was the happiest I could possibly be. Pam’s face drained of what little color she had as she whirled to face me and she shot me an absolutely murderous look.

“Pam, you do know that you’re fawning over a CGI cartoon right?” Eric managed to choke out as he and Godric held each other up through their laughter.

“Sookie! How could you not tell me they were there?!” Pam screeched as she covered her face with her hands.

“What am I? A vampire GPS? I didn’t know they were there!” I held up my hands.

“You’re telepathy can track us! And you’re bond! Oh you’re so on my shit list, missy!” Pam resorted to pouting and began taking things huffily out of the boxes and slamming them onto the tables scattered on the outskirts of the room.

I tried to suppress my chuckles as I started unpacking. Eric and Godric had toted in an enormous fir tree and propped it in the corner.

“Does it just stand here?” Godric’s head was cocked to the side again as he stared in confusion at the plant, roots still attached and all.

“Well, usually you have a tree stand. But…” I darted to the store room. Sifting through the mops and cleaners, I found what I was looking for and hauled it triumphantly to the bar. “We can use this. Stick it in.”

All three vampires stared in disbelief at the bright orange 5 gallon bucket.

“What exactly are we supposed to do with that? It doesn’t GO with anything,” Pam’s arched eyebrows climbed higher than I think I’ve ever seen them. They seemed to disappear into her hairline. I had to stifle my laugh at her incredulity.

“You just worry about unpacking the decorations. Easy peasy. Boys-you stick the tree in the bucket and hold it up for a minute while I find the rest of what I need,” I scampered through the back hallway and out the back door. I heard a whoosh and knew Eric had joined me.

“You know I don’t like you being out here by yourself, love,” Eric’s loving admonishment was delivered with a kiss to the crown of my head. I continued looking around the back of the strip mall and I felt my eyes light up when I found what I was looking for.

“You, vampire hunk,” I was gifted with a brilliant smile from Eric as he snapped to feigned attention. “Grab about 6 of those cinderblocks over there and follow me back inside.”

I felt the whip of wind as Eric sped off to do my bidding and he was waiting by the door to the bar by the time I got there to open the door. I hauled the door open and zipped to the bar and was waiting patiently next to Godric, who was still holding the tree up.

“Just wedge them in around the trunk of the tree and it should stand up,” I demonstrated with the first cinderblock and then left them to it. I made my way back over to Pam, who had put up three stockings on the wall behind the throne.

“How do you like yours Sookie? He’s quite sexy isn’t he?” I looked at the stocking that my name was embroidered on to see Robert Downy Jr. staring at me with his signature Iron Man smirk in place. I felt Eric’s interest in my answer and smiled at Pam, who had obviously decided that this would be the perfect way to retaliate for her ‘Hulk-ing’ faux pas.

“Oh yes Pam. Tony Stark is just my dream man,” I felt a hint of jealousy coming from Eric, before the feeling gave way to amusement. “He’s just the right height, dark and handsome. Everything I look for in a man!”

Eric zipped over and lifted up, pulling me to his chest as he mock growled.

“Oh really lover? Should I dye my hair black for you then?” he nuzzled into my neck as he spun me around.

I heard Pam huff loudly that her plan hadn’t worked. And then Eric froze.

“What is THAT?” I strained to turn around to see what had caused the problem. His arms gripped me to the point where I began straining to breathe.

“Eric!” Godric barked out. Thankfully, Eric came back to himself enough to loosen his arms. I cast a grateful glance at Godric before I twisted around to see what had Eric freaking out.

And I nearly lost it. Hanging directly in the center of the back of Eric’s throne was his own embroidered stocking. With Chris Hemsworth’s face smiling up at us.

“Oh Eric. That’s your Christmas stocking. I had them all personalized and everything,” Pam’s sickly sweet voice belied the mischief she was instigating.

“Pam, take it down.”

“No.”

“Take it down NOW!”

“No.”

“As your Maker-“

“ERIC!” Godric’s voice cut through their argument and the two turned to face him, me still dangling in Eric’s arms. He mimed taking a deep breath. “Let it go.”

I cracked up. Eric, on the other hand, harrumphed and dropped me unceremoniously onto my feet.

I glanced back up to the wall to see Pam and Godric’s stocking hanging next to mine. Eric’s was the only separate one.

Shaking my head, I began to rifle through the remaining decorations so that we could get to the presents.

Twenty minutes later, the bar looked liked some warped kid’s birthday party. There were Avenger’s cutouts and banners and ornaments…Eric had finally gotten over his fit and Pam had gone back to subtly admiring the Hulk. Godric and I just laughed at the other two. Surreptitiously, of course.

Once the decorations were up, drinks were in hand and I pulled them all over to the tree where all the gifts had been arranged underneath.

My macaroni glitter jewelry box and Eric’s pulse watch were also piled underneath, much to Pam and Godric’s amusement. Eric had a grand time regaling them with the story of Jason’s misadventures in Christmas shopping while we all sipped our drinks. When he ran out of steam abusing my brother’s brainpower, they all turned to me expectantly.

“What?”

“Well, what do we do? I mean, I know there are presents, but is there any sort of protocol for distribution?” Only Pam could manage to make passing out Christmas gifts sound so clinical.

“No, not really. Who wants to go first?” I glanced around.

“OH! Me me me me me me me me me me!” Eric bounced up, tossing me out of his lap in the process, and scrambled to the tree to grab some packages.

He grabbed a glittery pink box and tossed it to Pam.

“This is your ‘want’,” he was practically bouncing with excitement.

I rolled my eyes. It seems that when I suggested a way to organize the present buying, my vampires bought into it wholeheartedly. We each bought 3 gifts for everyone else. There was a ‘play’ and a ‘read’ from everyone and then the extra gift was either ‘watch’, ‘wear’, or ‘want’. It seems that everyone had a grand old time sticking to the rules.

“Hum. I wonder. Since I usually just buy whatever I want with your card, you really could have saved yourself the trouble,” Pam snarked as she gingerly lifted the tape from the paper. Glitter rained down on her lap as she carefully discarded the paper. Somehow I just knew that paper was going to be ironed and reused.

She lifted the lid off the box and I watched as her eyes bugged out of her head and she gasped an unneeded breath.

“These-these—“ I have never before seen Pam speechless, but damn if it wasn’t happening now. I craned my neck to see what was so incredible that she had been rendered mute, but all I saw was a pretty pair of shoes.

“Do you like them? Those are the ones right?” Eric bounced from foot to foot as he hovered over Pam.

“How did you manage it? I never ever thought it would be possible!” Pam jumped up, after carefully setting down the shoe box, to hug her Maker.

“I made a few calls,” Eric’s smug smile was truly adorable. I think I’d appreciate it more if I knew what was so damn special about those shoes.

I looked to Godric, who just shook his head indulgently.

“Do you know what they’re babbling on about?” I whispered as I leaned toward him.

“Pam has been pining for this pair of Alexander McQueen shoes. But they only made them in black. She wanted silver. She’s been lamenting that fact for months. And Eric managed to get them for her. Since the original shoes cost about $1,200 I have no idea how much he had to spend to get these custom done,” Godric’s casual voice made my insides freeze.

$1,200 for a pair of shoes?!?!

Eric must have caught my look of horror because he just laughed as he lifted me easily to settle me back on his lap as he sat.

“Don’t worry Lover. I know your tastes just as I know hers. There are no hideously expensive shoes in your future,” he crooned in my ear.

Somehow, my breathing restarted and I turned my head to catch his lips.

“Good gravy! You nearly gave me a heart attack!”

“Technically it was Godric who nearly gave you a heart attack. He’s the one who tattled on the price,” Pam’s sigh broke through Eric’s voice and we all looked to her. She had laced the shoes up and was strutting around in a circle, admiring her feet.

“I’m glad you’re a vampire and thus immune to tripping. Cause that I would never let you live down,” I shook my head at her antics.

“Okay, who’s next?” I settled back into Eric’s chest, making it very clear that it wouldn’t be either of the two of us.

“Well, since Pam has her new shoes, I guess I’ll go next,” Godric stood and crossed the impromptu circle we’d created and grabbed a long box wrapped in a softer, more muted pink paper. “Here, Pam. I hope you like it.”

The smirk on his face suggested that he knew she’d like it, but I still watch anxiously as she unwrapped the box. Gasping yet again, she pulled out a pretty navy dress.

“Oh Godric! You’re the best!” She zipped to her Maker’s Maker and grabbed him into a bone crushing hug.

I still didn’t get it. I gave Eric a questioning look.  “It’s an Alexander McQueen dress she’s been eyeing. She hasn’t been able to find it in her size anywhere.”

“PAM!”

Deciding that she just couldn’t wait to try on her new dress, she’d stripped right there in the bar. Frankly, I’d gotten so desensitized to seeing Pam’s goods and her seeing mine that I was really just acting horrified.

“Oh, shush. You know it doesn’t bother you, love. I think our immodesty is rubbing off on you,” Eric purred into my ear as he wrapped his arms around me torso and pulled me to him.

“I know something else that’s rubbing off on her,” Pam quipped as she smoothed down her dress.

I felt my face flush and Godric’s laugh did nothing to help my mortification.

“Can we please just get on with it? How about if we just finish off Pam’s gifts then?” I know my voice was on the screechy end of the spectrum, but honestly.

“Surely. I never say no to getting gifts. You should know this better than anyone, my telepathic friend,” Pam sat primly in her seat, as if she was the queen, just waiting to be showered with tokens of affection. I rolled my eyes as I stood. I eyed Godric and Eric who nodded their heads.

“Alright Pam. This is your play gifts. From all of us. We collaborated,” I lifted a huge box, struggling under its weight, and lugged it to her. “Yeah, don’t feel the need to help guys, thanks.”

Eric and Godric chuckled as they pulled their chairs closer together. I retreated and leaned against Eric’s side as Pam pulled the paper off the huge box I’d hefted into her lap.

As she opened the top, she peered inside and froze. Then she let out the loudest cackle I’d ever heard from her.

“This is perfect! My old ones were wearing out!”

My face flamed even brighter and I dropped my face into my hands.

“It was your idea, Lover,” Eric reminded as he pulled me around to sit on his lap again.

Pam began unloading the box and laying everything on the floor in front of her, to my supreme and ultimate horror.

Within a matter of minutes, she was surrounded with more whips and paddles, ball gags and dildos than I could ever imagine using.

“I told you it wouldn’t be a prank to her, little one. This IS the epitome of Pam at play,” Godric managed to keep a straight face and a stern tone to his voice. And then he burst out laughing. Which only set Eric off. Which, in turn, set me off. Let’s face it-my mortification is always funny to them.

“Alright, alright. I believe she’s got a few more presents,” I motioned toward the tree. Godric flitted over and lifted two more packages up.

“These are from Eric and me. The glitter is from Eric and the other is mine,” Godric deposited the gifts into her lap and she gave him a grateful nod.

Without pausing this time, she tore the paper off of Eric’s gift, only to be brought up short.

“What the fuck is this?!?”

She held up a book and I nearly choked on my mouthful of Coke when I read the title. ‘The Tuff Chix Guide to Home Improvement’.

“What? Now you can do your own home improvement instead of calling Herveaux for every tiny thing that happens to your house,” Eric’s sly grin just made it harder to contain the laughter I was trying so hard to suppress.

“Unless…is there another reason you always call Herveaux?” Godric’s voice cut through our laughter and if Pam’s face could flush, it would have. My eyes went wide and I shot Eric a glance to see his had done the same.

“Pam?” Eric’s voice actually wavered. And…I was trying to hold back laughter once again.

“What? It’s an old house, things go wrong!” She stood up huffily and went behind the bar. I heard some shuffling as I stroked Eric’s hair, trying to rid him of his shell shock.

She emerged a moment later with the large industrial trash can and began gathering the discarded wrapping paper. I did notice her surreptitiously tuck the pink glitter paper into the shoe box that was now lying empty by her chair. I had to choke back the laugh that was fighting to bubble up.

“What did Godric get you?” I pointed to the last gift still sitting on her chair.

She looked at the gift blankly for a moment and then swiftly sat to tear the paper off.

Her face lit up in a brilliant grin as the last bits of paper fell away. She cast a beatific smile at Godric and got up to give him another hug.

She flashed the cover of the book to us and I had to admit that Godric got it right. The Big Book of Dear Abby. That shit was like Pam-crack. I can’t even begin to count the number of times she’s quoted some little tidbit to me.

After a moment of poignant silence, Pam retreated to her seat.

“There’s still your ‘read’, little one,” Godric pointed out, biting back a smile. I grinned at him conspiratorially.

“Okay, but you two have to open them together,” I left Eric’s lap and grabbed two identically sized boxes that only differed in their color. Without much ado, Pam and Eric ripped into them once they’d been passed out. When the contents were revealed, the reactions were all very different, but equally hilarious.

Pam squealed, Eric groaned and Godric snorted.

“Very funny, lover. Very funny,” he cast his copy of the Twilight books to the side, only to have a shower of glitter shoot out of the pages at him. He leapt up to avoid the spray of metallic confetti, only to be hit with Pam’s batch as she aimed her books at him.

Godric couldn’t contain his laughter as he pulled his hand out of his pocket to throw another handful of glitter at his unhappy progeny. Eric gave a resigned sigh as he shook himself like a wet dog.

“I thought that you’d enjoy them,” I smirked as I played innocent. “Look! You fit right in. Glittery vampires are all the rage!”

Eric growled as he vamped back to his office, presumably to try to de-glitter himself.

“This is great! I’ve been wanting to read these. The movies were a bit…lame,” Pam thumbed through each book lazily and cast a smile my way as I sat back down.

“Should we wait for Eric?” Godric twisted around in his seat and stared at the doorway leading back to the office. He got a far off look in his eyes and shook his head. “Nevermind.”

Eric vamped back into the bar and glared in my direction. “I can’t get it all off.”

Sure enough, every time he moved, a small shower of glitter rained down around him. I stuffed my fist into my mouth to try to stifle the laughter. Somehow, he saw right through me. Go figure.

“Alright children. Let’s get on with this. Who’s next?” Godric clapped his hands together and reclined back in his chair.

“I have mine for you,” I darted to the tree. Shuffling through the gifts, I pulled out a large box and a smaller package and slid them both across the floor to Godric.

Without fanfare, he ripped the striped paper off the smaller package on top. Seeing what was underneath, his eyes lit up. Pam and Eric strained to see the gift. When Godric held up the ‘Bubba Gump Shrimp Cookbook’, they looked at me incredulously.

“Why in the world did you get Godric a cookbook, love?” Eric mock whispered to me. “You do know he’s a vam-pire, correct?”

“Yes I know. He said he wanted it,” I may have been a tad bit defensive, but he did.

“I did. I have been wanting to learn to cook for quite some time. Sookie has promised to teach me,” Godric explained as he began tearing the paper off the large box. “Aw! Awesome!”

Eric’s eyebrows jumped up into his hairline.

“Pots and Pans?”

“The best pots and pans. Wolfgang Puck. It’s a whole set AND it comes with a set of utensils as well,” I crossed my arms and crossed my legs and glared at my husband.

“I love it, dear one. Thank you!” Godric crossed the circle and engulfed me in his arms and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

“Why do you want to learn to cook Godric? It’s not like it does us any good,” Eric questioned and I shot him another glare.

“Well, I would think the answer would be obvious. And I would think that it would be something worth learning, especially since it benefits your human,” he cast me an apologetic smile, “Honestly Eric. She feeds you. You could reciprocate once in awhile.”

“I take her out many nights,” Eric’s indignation was a bit endearing, if only because he was oh so cute when he thrust his lip out to pout. “And what do you mean it should be obvious?”

“Yes you take her out, but it’s so much better when it means something,” Godric pointed out. “And it just seems like a useful skill to have. Anyways, let’s forget about this for the moment. I love the gifts. Thank you Sookie.”

I inclined my head to him and gave him a smile.

Eric slowly got up and crossed to the tree. He knelt down and sifted through the boxes to retrieve his gifts for Godric.

He presented 3 packages to his Maker and retreated to sit underneath me once again. Godric pulled the paper off the first package to reveal a beautiful leather bound journal.

“Oh, this is perfect min son. My last was nearly full,” Godric inclined his head to Eric, who returned the gesture.

“Now, the fun ones,” Eric began to vibrate in anticipation once again. This man loved to give gifts and it was the funniest thing. I honestly was surprised that he managed to keep it a secret for as long as he did…he nearly always spoiled the surprise just because he couldn’t wait.

Godric ripped the paper off the second package, only to drop it to his lap and fist pump the air.

“It’s a DS!”

“A what?” Pam and I were unanimous in our confusion, although I nearly choked on laughter at Godric’s show of excitement.

“A Nintendo DS. It’s a handheld game system. Perfect for when I’m traveling and can’t leave my coffin,” Godric started to tear into the box.

“Uh, gramps? There’s another box there,” Pam pointed to the forgotten package lying next to the chair.

“Oh, sorry,” Godric’s sheepish expression spurred another bout of laughter. He joined in as he once again tore the wrapping paper away.

“Of course. What would a game system be without the games?” Godric began inspecting his new games. I patted Eric’s hand, which had once again snaked around my torso. I felt his contentment seep into the bond. He loved making his Maker happy.

“Can I give you a gift now, Lover?” a shiver ran down my spine as Eric’s breath ghosted on my ear.

“Uh-sure,” I cleared my throat to clear my head as Eric motioned for Pam to grab a thin package atop a basket wrapped with burlap.

“Open the thin one first,” he instructed when my hands automatically went to the large basket.

“Oh, okay.”

Following my instructions, I ripped the paper off the flat, thin package. “You know this should really count as 2 presents, buster. You’re bending the rules.”

“You’re my wife, I can bend whatever I like,” Eric’s wolfish growl gave me another chill as my hands fought to not tremble.

I pulled the paper back to reveal a picture of the yard outside the house. Except there was a nice fence surrounding a patch of land, and some soil was tilled up.

“Oh my God!” I tore at the ribbon holding the burlap around the bag. “A gardening kit?! You remembered! Oh, thank you!”

I unloaded the basket and stared in awe at the variety of vegetable seeds and gardening equipment.

“Of course I remembered, love. I remember everything you say,” he squeezed me in a hug and nuzzled into my hair. A gagging noise from Pam broke us out of our little bubble of happiness.

“Well, then Godric should open my ‘play’ gift next!” Pam jumped up and presented Godric a huge box in a blur of movement. I couldn’t even see him around the gaudily wrapped box.

Chuckling, he stood and placed the box on the floor, then bent to tear the paper away.

“Ah, it fits the theme nicely,” Eric snorted as Godric stepped aside to reveal a bronze portable fire pit.

“Exactly. He can use it at home, or bring it when he visits. Or, ya know, he could just move here and that’d be the end of it,” Pam’s careful examination of her perfect manicure didn’t fool us.

“All in due time,” Godric pulled her to him and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead.

Eric smiled at his Maker and his progeny and I felt the love surge up for them. I knew he felt my love for them surging as well and it just made him even happier.

“Okay,” Pam turned around and we could see her swiping at her eyes. When she turned back, she had two other boxes in her hands, which she thrust at Godric. “Well, here’s the other two.”

Godric beamed at her as he opened the first to reveal a small green book.

“What is it?” I had to ask, since neither of them seemed too keen on enlightening Eric and me.

“’It’s not easy being green’. Pam knows of my affinity for the Muppets,” Godric smiled bashfully as he placed the book reverently next to his chair.

I barked out a laugh before Eric ghosted his fingers along my side, making me giggle.

“It’s true, lover. His main ringtone is ‘The Rainbow Connection’,” Eric informed me.

How did I not know this? Truly, people who think vampires are all boring and violent and only interested in sex and blood…they should really get to know my vampires.

Godric revealed the contents of the other box, which turned out to be a stunning grey suit and black vest with a black button up shirt underneath.

“Well, you needed some clothes that don’t scream ‘I’m an unwashed hippie’ or ‘I’m a frat boy’,” Pam once again was examining her fingernails. “Honestly, I don’t know how I’m seen with you people sometimes.”

Her smile gave her away. Eric motioned for her to come to him. He squeezed her to us and laid his head on her hip.

“I don’t know either Pam, but thank you for trying to correct our fashion missteps,” I stifled my laughter as he patronized her.

She huffed back to her chair and flopped into it. She rolled her eyes, yet again.

“Pam, you better be careful,” I warned. “Your eyes might get stuck like that.”

I choked on the snort trying to escape me as I felt Eric’s amusement through our bond. He hid his face in my hair again as Pam cast a withering glare our way.

“Coward,” I muttered, only to be met with a sharp jolt as his body tried to contain his gleeful laugh.

“Damn right, lover,” he managed to whisper as he emerged from the mess that is my hair.

“Your turn darlin’,” I motioned toward Godric, who popped out of his seat and shuffled through the few remaining presents under the tree. I shifted myself so that I was no longer on Eric’s lap, just in time for Godric to plop a moderately sized box unceremoniously onto Eric’s lap.

I smiled, knowing what Eric was unwrapping. As he gleefully ripped into the paper, Godric gave me a smile. I was, after all, the one who orchestrated this gift.

A gasp escaped Eric’s mouth as he uncovered the PS3 inside.

“This is the ONE piece of technology I’ve wanted, but haven’t gotten yet!”

He let out a squeal, much like a stuck pig, and I had to stifle my giggle. His huge grin told me just how much he didn’t care in that moment. As Godric deposited his ‘play’ gift onto Eric’s lap, I retreated into my head. I knew what was coming-a boxful of PS3 games-so I let my mind wander as my vampires continued their celebration.

It wasn’t so long ago that Godric was unhappy, Pam hated me and my relationship with Eric was on shaky ground. But now, my family felt complete. Because that’s what they were to me-my family. Yes, I was technically married vamp style to Eric, which made them actual family to me. But vampires didn’t tend to see family connections the same as other species. After a lifetime of my family dwindling down to nearly nothing, now I had more family that I could keep track of. Granted my fairy family was by and large mostly absent from my life, but they were there should I ever need them. And my husband, my Eric…his huge smile and booming laughter, his high pitched giggle and his goofy side…I knew how lucky I was to be privy to that. I felt my heart swell with love for him as he ripped into the package Pam had just given him. Coming back to my senses as he unveiled a boxful of Blu-Ray DVDs, I grinned widely. This was home.

“And now, I can’t really decide if this present is more for you or for Sookie,” Pam snarked as she deposited another box onto Eric’s lap. I quirked my eyebrow and Godric guffawed loudly.

“You should see yourselves right now,” at his prompting Eric and I glanced at each other and immediately burst into laughter. I had apparently picked up Eric’s signature raised eyebrow without even realizing it.

Eric calmed himself enough to pull the paper away from the box and toss the lid aside. The hilarity continued as he lifted two handfuls of…underwear.

I shook my head at Pam’s sense of humor. Not only did she pack in as many pairs as she could, she included every style I had ever seen.

“You’re always complaining that Eric has no modesty and needs to wear something to cover his ‘man parts’. So I figured this would do the trick,” Pam smiled at me indulgently, as if she was granting me a benevolent favor.

“First off, I haven’t said ‘man parts’ in a very long time,” the blush on my face just proved that I’d come a long way, but not nearly far enough apparently, “and how is this-“ I held up a bright red sequined thong, “supposed to provide ANY coverage whatsoever?”

Eric and Godric’s heads were volleying back and forth.

“Well-a girl’s got to have something to look at,” Pam’s perfectly colored lips curled into a sultry smile.

I knew she was joking-after all, she’d much prefer to get ME in bed than her Maker-but my possessive side just tore out. Eric felt my surge of ownership and anger and pulled me into his lap.

“As tempted as I am to send Godric out for some KY and a kiddie pool, this really isn’t the time. Pam, restrain yourself. Thank you for the undergarments. I will use them wisely,” he wiggled his eyebrows at me and my ire ebbed away.

“Sorry Pam.”

“Sorry Sookie.”

“Want to kiss and make up?”

Godric’s ill timed and all too eager sounding suggestion caused everyone to erupt into giggles yet again.

“Alright, there are a couple more for Eric here,” Godric gave him a small fabric covered gift and he held it in front of my stomach, peering over my shoulder. “You might want to give Sookie up for a moment while you look at that, Child.”

I could hear the softness and love in Godric’s voice and it warmed my heart. I knew this was something special and I gladly moved to my seat next to Eric.

He gingerly pulled the fabric aside and looked down at the worn book in awe.

“How did you do it?” Eric’s voice held so much reverence, and when I glanced at the cover, I knew why. Dracula. Godric had somehow found a first edition, Romanian version of Dracula.

“Open it,” Godric quietly commanded.

Eric flipped open the cover and glanced at the page. He and I gasped as one.

Somehow, my husband’s Maker had gotten a first edition, Romanian version of Dracula and HAD IT SIGNED by the elusive vamp himself.

“How-I mean-how…?” speechless Eric was not something anyone saw very often and Godric just smiled.

“I know how much you idolize him. He’s an old friend. It wasn’t hard to do,” Godric’s nonchalance countered with Eric’s contained excitement were wearing on me.

“Why don’t you go put that in your safe, love?” I encouraged, knowing he’d feel much better when he knew it was as safe as it could be.

“Sookie’s turn?” Pam asked as Eric settled himself back into his chair and lifted me easily into his lap again.

“Yes, of course,” Godric bounced up to retrieve his packages. He handed me the smallest first. “I didn’t quite understand what you were talking about before. You’ll see what I mean.”

I cast him a perplexed glance as I rifled through the tissue paper artfully arranged in the small blue bag.

I pulled out a tin and lifted the lid-then smiled hugely. He’d gotten me a watch. Instead of a gift to watch, he’d actually gotten a watch. And an awesome Fossil cuff watch at that.

“It’s perfect! Thank you!” I reached over to give him a one armed squeeze since Eric was still holding me firmly to him.

Godric deposited another package on my lap and I grunted. It was heavier than it looked.

“Now for your ‘want’.”

I tore through the wrapping and pulled out two books.

“Oh! Thank you! I’ve been wanting these!” I waved my two newest cookbooks for Eric and Pam to see.

‘The Smitten Kitchen cookbook’ and ‘Les Petits Macarons’ were two cookbooks I’d been dying to add to my collection, but had never seemed to remember to buy. I remember lamenting to Godric last time Id’ returned from the bookstore without them. I glanced into the box and nearly choked on my saliva as I saw the title of the last book in the box. ‘1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die’.

“I figured you and Jason could bond a little bit,” Godric cast me a small smile. “There’s still one more.”

I followed his eyes to the floor next to our chair. Eric lifted the box easily onto my lap. I eagerly tore through the paper and pried open the large cardboard box—only to be struck dumb.

Eric felt my shock through the bond and a growl ripped from his throat as he clutched me tighter to him. Immediately I tamped down on my feelings and sent him waves of calm, even as I noticed Godric giving him an indulgent smile.

“No, baby, it’s good. Holy crap, it’s good,” I moved away from him in order to lift the books reverently out of the box. It was a complete collection of Jane Austen works, and from the slightly worn quality of the tomes, they had to be first editions.

“It’s nothing, little one. They were in my collection and I know how you love her works. I’d much rather they go to someone who would fully appreciate their value,” he accepted my offered hug and stroked my hair. I didn’t realize I was crying until he did that.

With a sniffle, I straightened back up and cast a grateful glance to him as I returned to Eric. He pulled me in for a hug and tipped his head to Godric.

I remember a time when Eric was so concerned about Godric accepting me. Now though, Godric’s like the father I never had. The weird part comes when I think about that and then look at him-I mean, he looks all of 17. It’s weird. But then again weird sort of defines my life, so I roll with it.

“My turn?” Pam sauntered to the tree without waiting for a reply. I gathered myself as she gathered her packages.

She thrust a large box into my hands and handed something small to Eric, presumably to hold.

“This is your ‘play’ and your ‘read’,” she informed me as she sat. Then she nodded to her Maker. “He’s got your ‘wear’.”

“Thank you, Pam,” I nod appreciatively as I begin unwrapping the box in front of me.

“I’m not so sure you should thank her yet, lover,” Eric muttered, his face hidden in my hair. From the small amounts of dread and huge amounts of mirth coming through the bond, I knew that he knew what I was delving into.

I soldiered on and plunged my hand into the now open box. I came up with a variety of objects that I immediately dropped as if they’d burned me.

“PAM!!!” I knew I had to be brighter than a Valentines heart and I buried my head in my hands.

Her cackle told me just how amusing she found my embarrassment.

“Keep going, my friend. You still have to find your ‘read’,” her gasped reply was only made funnier since I knew she didn’t actually have to breathe.

I shook my head as I sifted through the vibrators, dildos, butt plugs, clamps, cuffs, and a few other toys that I wasn’t in all honestly sure of what they did until I came to a book. I grabbed and yanked it out, trailing a riding crop that got stuck between the pages.

I yanked the crop out and hastily tossed it back in the box before looking at the book. I rolled my eyes and felt my face burn brighter. ‘Cosmo’s Steamy Sex Games’ was Pam’s brilliant idea.

I admit I may not be the most sexually experienced person on the planet, but I was getting the job done with Eric. Wasn’t I? Maybe he’d told her something?

Eric must have felt my insecurity and he tightened his grip on my hips as he glanced at the book over my shoulder.

“This should all be fun to play with, Lover,” he grazed his lips along the shell of my ear and lowered his voice, “however, none of it is necessary. Trust me, love. You satisfy me more than I’ve ever been before. I love you.”

I shook off my momentary melancholy and reminded myself that I was dealing with Pam. She loved making me uncomfortable and I knew I shouldn’t read too much into it. Besides, maybe this would be fun.

I smirked. “Thanks Pam! I can’t wait to try this stuff out!”

She blanched and the guys cracked up. I gave her a grin and she cracked a smile as well.

“Alright, alright. Give her the other one, oh Maker of mine,” Pam leaned forward eagerly.

I took the envelope from Eric’s hands and lifted the flap. Out came a variety of embossed papers, which I gathered and lifted to read. Each one was for a different upscale boutique, twelve in all, and were for insane amounts of money, from $500 to $3,000.

“Oh! Thank you!” I gave Pam a beaming grin as she leaned back smugly.

“I know you’re holding off on having an aneurysm, but remember I’m going with you. I’m glad you accepted graciously instead of squawking like a wounded parrot.”

The image that evoked was apparently too much for Eric and Godric because they burst into laughter. I caught a tear falling from Eric’s eye and licked it from my finger, which only stopped him cold, but set off Godric and Pam.

“Pam, please calm yourself and grab the other book under there for Sookie,” Eric’s gruff voice commanded. I felt the result of my little show poking me in the rear since I was perched on his lap. I could feel him trying to calm himself down in the bond and I grinned.

Pam tossed the wrapped package to us and he caught it deftly before handing it over to me. I peeled the paper back and uncovered two books about Vikings.

“You always said you wanted to know more,” he pointed out as I lifted the hardbacks out of the paper.

‘The Vikings: A History’ and ‘Viking Art of War’ had apparently gotten my Viking’s seal of approval. He was notoriously picky about where I read about Viking history, stating that most everything out there was wrong. I’d been encouraging him to write his own book about Viking history, but he claimed he was too busy.

“Aw, thank you darlin’,” I twisted around to plant a kiss on his lips. “I have another for you as well.”

“Oh do you, Lover? Is it you, under the mistletoe?” Eric’s smirk played across his lips.

“No.” I huffed and retrieved the box to set in his lap.

He ripped into the paper giddily and lifted the lid. His expression softened.

“I know how you think Gran’s old quilt is ugly. So here’s some new stuff to snuggle under,” my cheeks flushed as I imagined what we could do before and after said snuggling occurred.

“These are perfect, love. Thank you,” Eric leaned to kiss my kips softly before holding up his newest gifts for Pam and Godric to see.

There were 2 quilts and 2 furs. The first quilt was made up of Eric’s old T-shirts and surrounded with a border of black. The other was a scrap quilt comprised of a multitude of different fabrics once again surrounded in black. There was also a bright white fur and a muddy brown fur.

“Sorry, the furs aren’t entirely real. I just couldn’t bring myself to get actual fur,” I glanced at my feet.

“I love them. Did you make these quilts?” I nodded. “When did you find the time?”

“I made the time. Mostly during the day, the few odd nights we weren’t together I worked on them. Also, I’ve been working on them since about May, so…”

Eric sent me a burst of love through the bond and I felt my legs buckle under the force of it.

“Thank you, love,” he scooped me up and wrapped me in his arms. “I can’t even think of a better gift than these.”

He laid a gentle kiss on the top of my head, then one on my forehead, then my nose, then finally on my lips. I sighed into his mouth before pulling back.

“Did any of y’all notice that you didn’t get your ‘watch’ gift?”

My vampires glanced at each other. Godric shrugged.

“I didn’t. I’ve been having such a wonderful time. I wasn’t keeping count.”

Pam and Eric nodded in agreement and I felt Eric’s curiosity.

I motioned for Eric to set me on my feet and made my way to the tree and picked up three identical packages. I distributed them and stood back to watch as they all ripped into them.

“A picture?” Pam got hers unwrapped first and looked at me in confusion.

“It’s the Aurora Borealis, Pam. The Northern Lights. It’s gorgeous back in my homeland,” Eric looked a bit wistful and Godric agreed.

“Well, there’s more. Pull off the back of the frame.”

They all did as instructed and I was delighted to hear their collective gasp. Eric’s head shot up to meet my eyes and I couldn’t help the overwhelming surge of happiness. I felt his happiness just as keenly as my own.

“Tickets? To Sweden?” Eric’s astonishment was endearing.

Pam and Godric were just gaping at the ticket in open mouthed shock.

“Well-I thought, maybe, we could all take a vacation together. Ya know, like as family?” I was a bit ashamed of how unsure my voice sounded in that moment. I know vampire’s aren’t too into the whole ‘family vibe’, but I also know that my vampires are different than most.

“Well, then I guess this would be the perfect time to give you this then,” Eric set his ticket on his chair and vamped to my side. I glanced at his face questioningly. He produced a newspaper out of somewhere and handed it to me.

I looked down to the front page article.

‘All Marriage Legal in Louisiana!’ screamed the headline at the top of the page. I looked up at Eric with what I’m sure was a puzzled face. He took a step back and dropped to his knee. I’m sure my mouth was hanging open as he held up a small black velvet box.

“From the second I saw you, my life has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. But through all of that, all I’ve wanted was you. Just you. I couldn’t help falling in love with you. Every single sunset, I wake with a smile on my face and every morning at sunrise I go to rest happy-all because of you. You’ve become my sunshine. I never thought I’d miss the sunshine after I was turned, and I didn’t know I needed it until you came into my life. You’ve bonded with me, you took care of me when I needed it and most of all-you love me. It’s unfathomable to me, but you love me. And all I want is to make you as happy as you make me every day of my existence. So-Sookie Stackhouse-will you marry me?”

I was frozen. His beautiful azure eyes were hopeful as he gazed up at me and I blinked.

“Yes.”

With that one word, he whooped and jumped to his feet, sweeping me up in his arms. He pulled me to him and laid the mother of all kisses on me. His tongue swept across my lips and I granted him entry without pause. Our tongues battled for dominance until I needed to come up for air.

With a huge effort on his part (I know, I felt it) Eric set me down and held up the ring box once again. Gingerly reaching up, I popped the lid open and gasped. Pam and Godric’s gasps only confirmed that the set of rings displayed before me was truly spectacular.

It looked like a flower vine. A modest diamond nestled in between two leaves comprised the engagement ring and an accompanying vine of leaves made up the band. In my mind it was gorgeous and perfect.

Eric leaned down to whisper in my ear. “I’ve had this ever since I was cursed. It reminded me of our first time together.”

I blushed as I remembered making love outside in the woods surrounding my property. We had nestled down in a clearing, in vines much like the ones displayed before me.

“It’s beautiful. Thank you,” I leaned up into him as I felt him slip it onto my ring finger before his arms snaked around me once again.

“So, of course I’ll get to help plan the wedding, correct?”

I couldn’t help exhaling a laugh right into Eric’s mouth as I quickly broke our kiss.

“And that’s Pam with the horribly timed interruptions ladies and gentleman!” Godric cackled after his mock announcement. He then held his arms out for me. I looked to Eric, who relinquished me (reluctantly, I might add) to his Maker.

“You’re like a daughter to me and I love you just as much as I love Eric. I am forever in your debt for keeping me on this Earth. And I am in your debt for making us into a family as well,” Godric placed a kiss on my forehead and pulled me to him.

I reveled in the contact and held onto his slight frame.

“Thank you Godric. You’re the best—Maker-in-law I could ever ask for,” my vampires chuckled at my expression as Godric released his hold on me.

We all gravitated back to our respective chairs and began examining our gifts.

I snuggled into Eric’s side as I pulled Eric’s phone out of his pocket. He wiggled his eyebrows at me before Pam asked him something and his attention was drawn away.

The bright display of his iPhone lit up to display the time.

12.03 am

“Hey guys?” Pam arched her eyebrows. “And Pam.”

They all raised their eyebrows. Family trait, I assume.

“It’s after midnight. Merry Christmas,” I smiled around and then turned to Eric.

His eyes lit up and he dropped another scorching kiss to my lips.

“Merry Christmas, little one. I hope you don’t expect the same treatment as Eric gave you though,” Godric smiled as he reclined further in his chair.

“No, thank you. I appreciate the thought though,” Pam laughed as Eric growled. I patted his check lightly. “So. Has this Christmas experience lived up to your expectations?”

“It has very much. I got some very stylish shoes and a dress I’ve been searching for everywhere. I got my fix of Dear Abby-and of course we mustn’t forget my new stash of sex toys,” my face flamed again. “So, yes I’d say it was a raving success.”

“I concur. I got some things I’d never think to get myself,” Eric rolled his eyes at Godric’s reference to his cookware, “and spending time with all of you has been the highlight of my year. Thank you for setting everything up, my daughter.”

I beamed at Godric. I felt Eric’s joy through our bond and it just made my smile wider.

“And I made a fiancée out of my wife,” Eric nuzzled my neck again. “Although I think there’s something a little off about that sentence. But I couldn’t be happier, love.”

“Good. I’m glad. Because this has truly been the best Christmas ever,” I hugged his arms around me tighter. “Now-when do y’all want to go to Sweden?”

Pam's GiftsGodric's giftsEric's giftsSookie's gifts

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