Ch. 21: Top Ten

The trinity lay entwined, blissed-out and perfectly, wonderfully satiated.

“You mangled your bed,” Lillian laughed when she at last regained the use of her basic faculties.

Eric shrugged and reached overhead. He thumped the thick iron railing with a fist, setting it back into place as if it were no feat.

“Happens,” he said with a smile.

She sighed contentedly.

Top twenty?” Godric wondered aloud to no one in particular while he toyed with a tendril of Lillian’s hair over his lips.

“Oh definitely. Without a doubt.” Eric responded.

A shadow passed over Lillian’s brow, unsure what her lovers meant.

“Maybe top ten,” Godric proposed.

“I’m thinking top ten.”

“Yes, I agree. This is top ten.”

Lillian blanched and shot upright. “What the hell!” Her sudden sick fear tore through the bond. “I realize you’ve probably bedded thousands of people but it’s not particularly nice to remind me of that, even if you are trying to be complimentary!”

“No!” they said in unison.

They had to explain their list. It was The List.

“No, Lila, it’s not that at all.”

“It’s our running count of the most remarkable, profound experiences we’ve shared in our immortality,” Godric clarified.

“It’s not some tawdry ranking of lovers! Is that what you thought?” Eric tickled the soft curves of her belly.

“Nothing merits being in our top twenty solely on the basis of sex,” Godric scoffed. “It has to be so much more than that. It has to be…”

“Life –altering,” Eric offered.

Godric nodded. “It’s when the impossible happens in an eternity where nothing really can surprise you anymore. These are the things that make it worth continuing. They must be remembered and honored.”

“To be bonded with my maker to you…to connect with and through you with our ancient blood…”

“Such intimacy,” The Celt nuzzled her.

“The sweetest ecstasy…”

“This was unforgettable. That’s what we meant.”

“It was simply Top Ten.” Eric gave her a comforting kiss.

“Good lord, you both just about gave me a heart attack there!” Lillian collapsed back into their arms.

While the vision she’d had of making love to them both had been damn hot, it had also given her the confidence to obey the one rule Godric had suggested she follow: no more rules. They had deviated from her dream in several (okay, let’s be honest, more than several) ways. Definitely for the better.

This had been the single most erotic night of her life. Every inch of her body felt worshiped, loved, pleasured. She was also absolutely exhausted. Eric had healed a few bites and then insisted he lick her relentlessly to yet another explosive conclusion. Afterwards she realized his saliva was doing wonders to heal her up from the wild sex. At the outset, she had been worried she wouldn’t be able to adequately please them both or couldn’t keep up. She was plenty glad to learn her worries were unfounded.

“Top Ten, huh? Well when you put it like that… What other things are on your list?”

“Eric’s turning and the first night he arose vampire, obviously.” And every night with my child since, Godric thought to himself.

“Obviously,” she replied with a smile, caressing Eric’s cheek.

“Giving the sun back to my maker.” It was the only gift remotely worthy of what Godric had given him.

“Teaching my progeny how to fly,” Godric chuckled, as if perhaps the event went a little disastrously at first.

“Finding you after…” The words seemed to catch in the back of his throat and he made a strangled sound. The bond swirled through a dizzying set of emotions.

“…after our first separation,” Godric finished for him and rested a hand on his head. There was a story there. But that was for another time.

Eric nodded solemnly, then brightened. “Introducing my maker to my child.”

“I was so proud of you,” he gushed. Godric smiled and tenderly ran a hand over Lillian’s delicate neck while Eric pasted a trail of kisses along her shoulder. “Eric and I forging this dual blood bond with you and consummating it tonight in such a glorious fashion.”

“It’s really that miraculous for you? I mean, I don’t have a top ten and this is easily number one. My life is a meaningless blink compared to yours.”

Eric heatedly spoke something in Old Norse into her ear and rubbed his nose against hers. “Lila, my bonded, my treasure…you are the most exciting thing that has happened to me since I made Pamela. But what you are to me, what you do for me, how I feel about you…” his voice trailed off as though he couldn’t put words to his emotions.

“This is a dream I would never have dared conjure for us,” said Godric.

Deep within her she felt their sentiments pulse through the bond with an unrelenting, almost violent intensity and tears involuntarily streamed from her eyes.

We humans say we know how much we love each other. We clasp our lovers close to us and press their hot skin and scent upon us. We gaze into each other’s eyes and cannot believe we are so lucky to see another react and look at us in the ways we feel and want them to feel about us. We forever declare our emotions in lofty, drawn-out speeches. In the end, however, our experience of love is a solitary one grounded only in our singular bodies. But to actually feel another’s love, to feel it directed entirely at you, within you, and to know it in your bones and in the pit of your stomach and at the top of your throat – your lovers’ swelling, crashing, asphyxiating love for you…Well, that is simply something that no words can capture.

She understood now. Lillian had lost other loved ones – that terrible ache inside came from absence and memory of someone outside of yourself. It was selfish love – you couldn’t again hear their voice, feel their touch, see their smile, give them joy. Human death and rejection is a sensual loss of stimuli from the world beyond one’s person. But to lose your blood bonded…She actually shuddered. She understood what Godric had tried in so many feeble words to explain to her. It was an unthinkable, catastrophic loss. Human love is grounded in a gap, a separation, a difference. Vampires knew no such thing. To be vampire was to close the space between self and other. The only thing a human could know that even remotely compared was to feel the kick of a child within the womb. Blood of your blood. Part of yourself.

“I understand now,” she whispered.

“Hmm?” Eric gazed at her. They could feel her confusion dissolve into revelation.

“I love you both, so, so much.” She didn’t know how such a thing was possible and she didn’t care to ponder it further because it simply was. They were each unique and beautiful and precious. “You are mine as I am yours. Body, blood, and soul.”

“Body, blood, and soul,” Godric repeated. Eric blinked slowly in agreement.

No one spoke for the longest time. They simply clung to each other as if they were holding on to the moment itself.

Let it never end, she thought.

♦♦♦

Close to dawn Lillian’s human needs were screaming at her. They’d spent the entire night in bed and she was absolutely ravenous. Her stomach protested and Eric was all too happy to have yet another way to satisfy her.

Within seconds he reappeared with a tray loaded full of plates and bowls and packages from kitchen. Several of his choices made her laugh out loud.

She picked up a box of couscous. “Hon, this has to be cooked first!”

“Oh,” he laughed. Godric just rolled his eyes. Rather ironic, since he wouldn’t have known better a few years ago either.

Eric tried to take the other box he’d grabbed, assuming the similar packaging indicated that it was also inedible without further treatment. She snatched it back.

“Crackers? You literally love me so much you’d let me eat crackers in bed!?”

“Explain.” Normally he’d take haughty pride in his ignorance of what breathers consumed, but it agitated him to have his lack of knowledge pointed out. She felt his agitation, too.

“They are crumbly and always leave little bits everywhere, no matter how carefully you try to eat them. Eating crackers in bed is like a recipe for discomfort, so it’s a colloquialism some folks have. As in ‘that girl is so hot I’d let her eat crackers in bed.'”

Eric laughed. “I see. Yes, then. You may eat crackers in my bed.”

“Proceed with caution, Lillian. You’re talking to the man who on many occasions happily risked his undead life to sleep in a bed rather than in the ground where a vampire properly should.”

“Eric!”

“What!? It’s not my fault Godric is a savage! Yes, it’s safer, but Odin’s beard it’s fucking unpleasant when it’s unnecessary.”

Lillian dug into the random array of food and was munching away happily when she remembered something.

“Oh by the way, Goh” she said with a mouth full, “did I tell you Eric tried to give me a car befitting James Bond?”

“Not surprising. How do you think we ended up with the G6? Just take it. He’s relentless when he wants something.”

“He gave you that jet? Jesus, I thought it was a charter!”

Godric snorted. “Eric? Borrow something?! You have been made aware that he’s a Viking, right?”

“What was the occasion?”

“You mean the excuse? I’m sure in reality he saw a picture of in the Sky magazine and ordered it on a whim. He tried passing it off with some noise about my restaurant’s success.”

“Lies! I resent that. I giveth, I can damn sure taketh away.”

“Eric Northman, you name me one time you’ve ever taken back a gift to me.” They were all a bit giddy and silly by now. She loved seeing the two so unfiltered and at ease.

“The Shere Khan?”

“That was one of our tall ships,” Godric explained to her. “And no, you didn’t take it back. You sank it on purpose rather than give it to that pirate bastard of a Dutchman.”

“Okay. How about the chateau in Provence?”

“You know damn well the Jacobins would have laid siege to it if we hadn’t left. Abandoning is not un-gifting.”

“Fuck. No, wait! Wait, wait, wait. The entirety of Venice’s courtesans! I…”

“Lillian, plug your ears.” He turned back to his progeny. “Eric, please. That hardly counts. Having your way with all of them before I got home doesn’t count if we’d already ravaged most of them twice over before you even gotten the idea of setting up a bacchanal for me. That’s deciding to keep a gift before you gave it.”

“That should count!”

“It doesn’t.”

“Fuck!”

“Mmmhmmm. Just admit that you are an unrepentant, compulsive gift giver who does not understand the concept of ostentation.”

Eric broke out in a cheeky grin from ear to ear and they all descended into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.

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