Taking Action: Chapter 20
Thank you, Charlaine Harris. I know you own these two, but I’m taking them for a moonlit stroll.
I used unbelievable self-control in the shower, but knew that Sookie needed to eat. I had no idea what to expect in this tiny seemingly unsophisticated little town, but Frank’s was really quite impressive. Maybe I was misjudging Pawley’s Island. Maybe it was perfect.
Sookie looked like a goddess sitting across from me at the table, the firelight dancing on her perfect features. Her skin glowed from her day on the sand and I could smell the sunlight from where I was sitting of course. I had the briefest thought that of all people, she would miss the sun terribly were she turned. I’m not going there now though.
She realized that I didn’t bite earlier (well, at least I was in control in that department), and I got a little jolt when she called me honey. I hadn’t heard that word since I was cursed, and it makes me feel warmer than I know I am.
I love to watch her enjoy her food. I love to see that she is pleased in any way (some ways more than others, naturally). When I asked her why she chose this island above all other places to go, I immediately wished I had not. I hate to see her cry, and to know that I was the cause makes me feel even worse. I held her hand until the sadness passed, and I sent a subtle wave of a lighter mood through the bond. I don’t think she noticed.
After dinner, we ran out to the beach and held hands while we walked along the water’s edge. The moonlight was positively breathtaking (or would have been if I’d needed to breathe, I should say). I imagined her on this same beach all day and wished I could have shared that with her. “Sookie, could you take some photographs tomorrow when you’re out here?”
She looked very sad, and just said, “of course.”
Then she smiled and told me about her sand castle, and a dog that played Frisbee, and her picnic lunch. She makes my undead heart sing.
We walked a bit more in silence. I hated to bring up a negative subject, but I wanted to clear the air. “About the fight in my office. I owe you an apology.
“Me too, Eric. I’m sorry for things I said. I was so upset.”
“I lost my temper, Sookie, which I never should with you. I am sorry. I hope I didn’t scare you.”
“No. Not really. I know you’d never hurt me.”
“Good. But that awful comment about the human man on a beach. I am sorry.”
“Oh yeah. What in the world was that about anyway?”
“It’s quite ridiculous, I know. But I kept imagining you with a man on a sunny beach, much like this one was today, as a matter of fact, and will be again tomorrow. I know I can never be that man, and I feared that that’s really what you wanted. It is what you deserve, actually. But it’s one of the things that I cannot give you. And, so I dwell on that. But the way I said it was so wrong. I am sorry.”
She stopped and turned to me, putting her hand on my face. “Eric. You give me so many other things. You gave me today and tonight, and this is the happiest I’ve been in a very long time. I’ll never forget that. Yes, I did miss you during the day today, but I knew that I had the whole night to look forward to. I don’t want you to worry about what you can’t give me, okay? I don’t want you to think of me with some other man.” Then she paused, as if collecting another thought. “You do really care about me, don’t you?”
And then I said it. “I love you.”
We walked along the beach in the moonlight holding hands. You just can’t get more romantic than that. He asked me to take some pictures tomorrow and I suddenly felt sad for him, knowing that he couldn’t see the beach during the day. I should have taken pictures today. I could have shown him my awesome sandcastle. I’ll just make another one tomorrow and be sure to take a picture.
Then he brought up our fight in his office. I almost held my breath. I thought of how awful it was. I apologized, but honestly, if I were to dissect it, I’m not sure I wouldn’t still mean some of what I said. I’m not going to think about that right now. He asked if I was afraid of him. That never even crossed my mind. Even when he’s mad, I trust him completely.
Then he brought up his comment about the human man on the beach, and kept apologizing. Honestly, I wasn’t even all that upset about it. I thought it was just too ridiculous to make any sense and just assumed it was some random thought thrown out in the heat of the moment. But then he explained how he had been thinking of me with a man in the day time, and my heart broke for him. I realized that just as I had been haunted with images of him with other women, he had done the same to himself with images of me with a man on a beach.
I stopped and touched his beautiful face. I explained that I was grateful for all the things he had given to me, and didn’t want him dwelling on the things he couldn’t give me. Yes, we are different, and in a way, it is sad. But I am so lucky to have him in my life and didn’t want him to be troubled with silly jealous thoughts. Then I thought, my god, he does care for me. And then he said he loved me. My heart burst as I said, “I love you too,” just before our lips met. It was the most romantic moment of my life. Of anyone’s life. It was amazing. We stood there kissing and holding each other in the moonlight for the longest time. Then he kissed my hair, and took my hand and we walked along some more in silent bliss.