Eric’s Story: Chapter 6
Sookie and I have been here in Asheville now for five nights. It really is a charming little city. If you haven’t been here lately, I highly recommend it.
I was here in the 1970’s and I liked it then. The surrounding mountains are what make it so beautiful, really. Apparently while other cities were booming after the Great Depression, Asheville didn’t have a lot of money or growth. The result of that fact is that the downtown architecture wasn’t spoiled by bad taste and the old buildings have helped the city to retain a classic look and feel to it. I quite like it.
Since we loved our beach house so much at Pawley’s Island, we decided to rent a little house here as well, rather than stay at a hotel. I found this place online. It’s a small rustic cabin on a mountain, but only a quick five minute drive away from the center of downtown. One side of the house is a stone wall, set up against the mountain and there’s a light tight room attached to it where I can safely spend my days. Sookie takes the rental car and drives all over the area exploring during the day. When I wake, we lie together in bed in our cozy cabin while she tells me about her adventures and we look at her pictures on the laptop. The mountains look stunning in the daylight. Then we map out Sookie’s plan for the following day together.
At night we drive into the downtown area to eat and enjoy the nightlife. I was amazed at the number of quaint but very sophisticated restaurants and clubs. The streets are teeming with people even on week nights, and it’s easy to find almost any kind of live music at the different little night clubs and cafes. There seems to be a rather large supe population, and the local humans have adapted and accepted them better than I would have expected from a smallish southern city. Sookie and I have spotted quite a few other supe/human couples and no one seems to take notice that we’re so different.
Sookie has been able to spend some time with her new friend Danielle. She works at a little shop in an area called the Biltmore Village that has unique stores, many of which feature the work of local artists. This area is rich with folk art and music, and there seems to be a large number of artists living and working in Asheville and the surrounding towns. When I called to check in with the local area sheriff, he seemed unusually friendly for a vampire and even went so far as to invite Sookie and me to hear his bluegrass band perform at a local barbeque restaurant. I’ll admit that I expected some sort of hillbilly music, but when I looked the band up online, I learned that they were the first all vamp band to ever win a Grammy. And they were quite good. Sookie’s friend Danielle and her husband met us at the restaurant and we had great time.
The first day here, I sent Sookie out to buy us some clothes more suitable to our now mountain vacation. We can still use some of our beachwear, but we needed a few more things. I was so pleased when she took the cash from me without even blinking, and came home with a fairly substantial selection of clothes for the two of us.
I didn’t think things could get more romantic than they were at the beach until we made love in front of the fire in our cabin on the first night (and all the other nights as well actually). One night after we’d been out to eat and to listen to some jazz, we stopped by the cabin to pick up some blankets and I flew Sookie up to the top of the mountain in my arms. We found a clearing that overlooked the city and made love under the stars with the twinkling city lights beyond. It was quite spectacular. It was there that I decided we needed to have one of the many talks that I had lined up in my head. I told her more about the phone conversation with Pam that she had overheard at the beach, and how I do respect her desire to remain a human, but that I am conflicted about turning her in the event of her accidental death. She knows how much I love her and would never want to lose her, but I told her that I would suffer continuing on without her if it was truly what she was certain that she wanted. But I need to hear that certainty from her. She mostly listened and I told her to take her time before she gave me an answer. Saying that it’s an important decision is quite an understatement.
When we got home, I showed Sookie my little fanfiction story that I had written, and watched the tears roll down her cheeks as she read the ending. She put her hand on my face and said, “I think I’m starting to understand.” Since then, she has joked with me about it (“I can’t believe you killed my brother, just like that!”), and mentions Gina at every opportunity, especially sexually (“Oh you want me to do that? Why don’t you just get Gina to do it?”). I love to see that twinkle in her eye. It gives me joy to see her tease me, but I know that beneath that lies a dark decision waiting to me made, and I dread her answer.