Chapter 12

Secrets & Surprises

Eric’s POV

Tuesday, January 5th
I wasn’t sure how long I had been resting when my Sookie ‘called’ out to me. “Eric?”

“Good morning lover.”

“Yeah, Good morning. Eric, when you ‘rest’ for the day don’t usually move do you?”

“No. I die. I wake up in the same spot as I was in at dawn. Why?”

“Because you just rolled over to snuggle me.”

I thought about that for a moment. Perhaps she dreamed it. “Are you sure?”

“Oh, yeah. When I woke I stretched and went to wrap around you but you beat me to it. You went as far as to rub against me. Can you try to move.” It felt very strange but I managed to roll onto my back. When Sookie climbed onto me, it was a struggle, but I got my arms around her.

“This is an interesting situation. The only reason I awoke in Rhodes was because you filled the bond with fear and determination. It was self preservation. I’m still unsure how it happened” I couldn’t resist the urge to touch her, moving my hands along her back.

Well, I’m sure you aren’t going to be going out to cut the lawn or anything. Are you conscious of your body? Are you numb or heavy? What does it feel like?”

“I feel… maybe like walking out of a pool. Like the air is thick, maybe.”

“It’s nice that I can snuggle you for a little bit when I rise. I do it anyway, but part of me feels like it’s necrophilia. Not a problem right now though”

I think my laugh was aloud. “Lover, I think we can do more than snuggle.” I managed to move my hips slightly.

“So it seems.”

As I grew more alert and adjusted to the sensation, I very much enjoyed the experience. I couldn’t explain why this was happening, it was almost like a dream, but I wasn’t willing to think about it for long. It would have been a waste of the moment. I was making love to Sookie during the day and, as usual, it was perfection. It seems every time I am with her, it gets better.

She moved on top of me with grace and agility. Making me want to move more, hoping for more control of myself. I finally gave in and let her manage things. She knew exactly what she was doing to me, I could tell how much she loved being in control of this situation. She kept in perfect time while licking my chest and then my neck, shocking me with the occasional nibble. She sat up and reached behind to pull my arms away from her and I resisted, not wanting to let her go if I could help it. In the end, she won. She took one of my hands and cupped it over her perfect breast and started to bite and lick the fingers of my other hand as her ride became faster and harder. I was savoring every second that she all but danced while I was inside her. If it had lasted all day, it would have been over too soon. The hour that we spent together certainly went too quickly. I had to accept that this was a rare, if not isolated, incident and be thrilled that we had it.

When it was over, she snuggled up to me in her now usual position at my side. I stole a few more moments enjoying the feeling of her breath cascading over my shoulder. I was torn. Turning her would give me a forever of nights dancing and holding each other, working side by side and fucking. I would be the most ridiculously ecstatic vampire in the whole of existence. But, perfection is still perfection, even in the smallest of quantities and making her could change enough about her that I could steal some joys from myself. I have Sookie. Either for today or for forever. I would be happy with what she gave me and however long she felt I deserved her.

I am unsure what we spoke about while I was internally debating her mortality, horrible I know, but for the first time since I met her I made a decision based on loving her, not how to win her.

I wanted to stay awake longer but I felt myself slip back into the stillness of my day…

A while later my mind was restless as I felt Sookie hard at work doing who knows what and then I heard conversation. Sookie and Alcide. I just listened really. I wanted to trust him, but I still couldn’t see why any man with feeling below the waist wouldn’t have made an attempt or acted suggestively. Maybe I am a cad, but Pam has assured me that he isn’t gay, barring that, I don’t understand anyone not desperately NEEDING to be with her.

“Mornin’, Rip!”

“Mornin’ Shug. You’ve been busy.”

“I must be a masochist. Not only am I a morning person, but I love cooking!”

“Hmmm, I love it when you make breakfast.”

“Well then it seems like you have the perfect set up, well we do… Well if you’re going to be in a relationship with a vampire, it’s awesome to have a ‘day-mate’. Eric’s been calling you my ‘day guy’ for the last few days. He used to call you my Were.”

“Does it bother you two that Pam and I are always around? It doesn’t seem like you two get any alone time.”

“If we want some, you’ll know. The other night, we were talking and he said that he loved the 4 of us hanging out. He likes how we all get along. And I think, with you and Pam kinda being together now their dynamic has changed a little. I think he likes being social with her as opposed to having to keep up the maker/child/business partner thing all the time.”

“It’s almost weird, that a year ago, we were all on different pages. I wasn’t happy with just being your friend, Pam and I never would have looked at each other, Eric never would have let me dance with you let alone do what we did last night at the bar. You and Pam get on together like college roomies, Eric and I hang out like old buddies. Our vampires might as well have been married, but look at us. You made me breakfast and we’re sitting in the kitchen and you’re brushing my hair. It feels like we’ve been doing this forever. Don’t get me wrong…”

“Alcide, I was just thinking that.”

She called to us: “Eric, Pam, were you listening in on that?”

“I was. I have to say, I have been thinking similarly since the night before last when your brother told us about our reputation as “the round table”. That we have all suddenly tuned into the same channel. And within our group no matter how we pair off, we complement each other, work together cohesively.”

My Pam toed the line as well “… Like we were always meant to be together. We seem very comfortable.”

My Lover: “Pam, when did you start picking up on that?”

Pam: “The other night after your cookout. Eric said that he trusted Alcide. I have never heard those words come out of his mouth. The next night was so surreal that I couldn’t help but think about it. Master, in light of this… common observance, would I be in the way if I were to stay here more often.”

“I was about to suggest that. I can’t help but think other things might be going on. Maybe keeping the team together is not a bad idea. Mutt, that includes you. Would it be inconvenient for you to hang your hat here?”

Alcide: “It would be no problem at all. Are you sure?”

“As long as you’re housebroken.” I was pleased that he took that the right way. As groggy as I was, I could have sounded like a dickhead. Sookie’s feeling being the priority over his, of course.

My Lover: “Something else…Have you guys noticed that no one has balked? Weres and vampires neither one have had a reaction to us being “mixed company”. The other night at the cookout, no one looked at Eric twice, at the club after, no one noticed that Eric smelled like a Were after all the wrestling y’all did, and last night same thing. Even Quinn, didn’t react to that. He was assuming I fuck you all and tried to figure out who caught and who pitched.” As though there’d be any question, idiot fucking tiger. Sookie did make a good point. As little as a month ago, I’d have been challenged for Sookie for her being my bonded and being seen around town with a Were. More to think about.

Eric: “Speaking of which. Publically, we should consider a bit of a ruse. Several individuals saw you and Alcide together last night and we should prepare ourselves for gossip.”

My Lover: “We might just be better served to not deny the rumors. Let them think what they want. Weres don’t respect Vampire and vice versa, but if both breeds think you two are sharing us, me in particular, the myth could be a deterrent. A Were wouldn’t challenge Eric because they know they’d lose, but would still flirt. Their respect for Alcide would prevent that. A Vampire might have designs on me, but if they think Eric and Alcide are close enough to share me, they’d have to question how safe their resting places are to make an advance since a whole pack would be after them.” I couldn’t believe how much sense it made. As much as it annoyed me, it was logical…A four member nest… I agreed faster than I thought I would and oddly, Alcide was the one to be the last to see the reason in it.

“So what are the day walkers doing today?”

Alcide: “I need to stop by the office and pick up my laptop so I can track my contracts and I guess I’ll go home and get some clothes.”

My Lover “I have a couple of errands to run. Angela’s night off is tonight so I left her a message that when she rises there will be an outfit waiting for her and to be at the club at 9:00. I am buying the two of us matching dresses so that there is a visual connection to your ownership.”

She made it too easy for me to be proud of her.“That is a brilliant idea!”

My Lover:“I want to get to the club before it opens. I want to discuss something with you and Pam.”

“I’m intrigued. Will you give me a hint?”

My Lover: “No.”

I’m going to try to ignore that she just told me ‘No’. I have to remind myself that we are equals at home. “So I can parade Angela around, we can dance with her for a while and call it an early night. Maybe watch a movie.”

Sookie: “Not too early. I’m expecting company at the bar around 10:00. But he’ll only hang out for an hour.”\

This was nearing the unacceptable range. As much as I love her, I have a low tolerance for this shit and she should know it. Trying to stay calm. “Sookie, I have never been too fond of surprises. And two in one evening might not put me in a great mood.”

Sookie: “Suck it up vampire. I can promise, as far as I know, nothing unwelcome will darken your door. You will be quite pleased. And then we can come home and watch a movie. K”

Suck it up? Who the fuck did she think…Behave.  “It seems like I have no choice but to suck it up, Lover.”

Sookie laughed: “I love you. Hey Pammy, you think Angela is a 4 dress 6 shoe?

Pamela: “Definitely a 4, but I’d say she needs a 5.”

I wanted to ask her to come upstairs so that we could discuss how she spoke to me. She severed the connection too quickly. If I didn’t rest, I would be furious by the time I rose. I trust her. Sookie said I would be pleased. She was feeling very proud of herself, more so than I can remember and I didn’t want to rob her of it. Perhaps, I will try to surprise her. I would need some time to think about that.

Our bond caused a stir for me with a sense of surprise and accomplishment. Perhaps even déjà vu.

After another while I was stirred by a feeling of victory and excitement.

Then another small accomplishment.

Accomplishment and pride followed by peace and happiness.

Now that we were together so much, and exchanging blood, I had a sick feeling that it was going to take me a while to get used to feeling her during the day. My Sookie felt so much, and so strongly, now that she had accepted our bond, I had adjusting to do. I suppose it’s only fair since she has left her old life behind. I was also smart enough to know that my Sookie would never truly be on my schedule. With all of my stirrings, I had come up with a way to surprise her. When I wake (completely) I will fall on my sword, as they say, and call Compton. My Sookie who likes to take care of people was worried about her friend Tara’s store and I think I have an idea as to how to help her.

I was roused again, this time by conversation…

Apparently Sookie and Alcide were back…

I heard him growl.

“You don’t scare me.”

“Can I see it?…When can I jump on that?”

“As soon as your clothes are out of the way.”

“Can I get a little taste?… Another one?”  I REALLY didn’t like the sound of that. She is MINE!

Pam was just as curious as I was. “Can someone please explain what I’m missing down there?” I was relieved to hear her ask. I knew that I couldn’t sound level headed if I had.

Sookie started laughing. “Pavlov rang the bell. Apparently, pot roast is to Were as Faerie is to Vampire.”

I couldn’t think of a brilliant way to recover from that scare. “I was wondering what that smell was.”

“Sorry y’all, I haven’t had pot roast since my grandmother passed 12 years ago.”

The house fell quiet soon after that and I finally rested for more than an hour in a stretch.

When I rose, I felt Sookie’s pulse change as it did every night this time as she looked up and noticed the sky growing darker. It made me hard just thinking about how she looked forward to seeing me. I quickly grabbed my phone and texted Compton to summon him to Fangtasia. It would be fun to see the look on his face when I claimed Angela as my pet with Sookie smiling at my side.

I could feel Sookie getting closer.

When she entered the room, I laid perfectly still and watched her flit around the room through cracked eyelids. She hung her dress and laid out my clothes for me before slipping out of her clothing and sitting on the side of the bed.

“I was wondering if you would join me.” I couldn’t help but laugh when she spooked like a wild horse. “I thought you said that you’ve never been scared of me.”

“Scared of’ and ‘scared by’ are 2 different things!” She walked towards the bathroom. “Are you coming?”

When she turned around, I was already behind her.

The sight of her naked in front of me reminded me of all the things that I had wanted to do to her this morning and I couldn’t keep my hands from her. It was as though they had their own force driving them. Her accomplishments that had stirred me from full rest had me curious as well as full of pride in her. She asked me what had gotten into me and I smiled at her.

“I don’t know. I have this feeling that I should be very proud of you. What did you do today?” I dropped down to my knee and stole a taste of her.

She purred at me. “I waited for now.” She was determined to keep her secret, but I was determined to make her want to keep it.

“Sookie? I really don’t like surprises.” She directed me to sit on the edge of the tub and lowered herself onto me as she began to make her argument.

“Yes you do. You just hate not knowing. If I had never said anything, you wouldn’t be any the wiser until later and you will be pleased.”

She was rocking, pushing me deeper and deeper. She was pushing her point and me.

“I am fairly confident that my reason for getting there early will make you happy, and the company will be a friendly, advantageous meeting.” She winked. Yes, the winking was growing on me.

I smiled and continued our back and forth, literally. “I bet you told Alcide. I’ll just get it out of him.”

She pushed down on me more forcefully than I thought she could. It felt so good that I wanted to forget the idea of leaving the house at all tonight. She tightened around me and each time she lowered she added a pitch to her hips and had me at my brink, when she stood up and resumed her shower.

I looked up at her in disbelief, trying to come to a reasonable explanation for her abandonment. When I didn’t come to it on my own, I stood up to ask. “Why did you do that?”

She turned around and smiled at me, actually smiled. “Insurance.”

“Insurance?” I had a feeling I knew what she meant and I didn’t like where this was going.

“Yup, promise me that you won’t be a spoil sport.” I knew it.

I pulled her to me in the hopes that she was joking. “What if I promise? What if I don’t?”

“If you promise,” She grabbed my dick and gave me a squeeze that I felt in my teeth, definitely wanting more of. “Then this shower will finish the way you had hoped and the evening will go the way I planned. If you don’t promise, if you trick Alcide into telling you what little he knows, well… I went 25 years without having sex. There’s no telling how long I could go without it again.”

I thought about this for a moment, unhappy that she was manipulating me to get what she wanted, but I relented as I sat down.  “Fine. I promise.”

She put her legs over mine and slid back onto me and tightened those wonderful muscles around me again and licked my neck. She wasn’t letting up as she whispered into my ear. “What do you promise, Eric?”

I fucking growled. By then, I wanted to come and have it be done with. “Not to do anything to spoil your hard work and secrecy.”

“Good Viking.”

‘Good Viking’ my ass. This was bullshit. When my mind fuck was finally over and I had come and fed, I washed and dressed and went downstairs.

I had no humor for Pam and Alcide who were killing time by groping each other on the kitchen counter and tried to ignore them as I made way to the garage.

“Master your mood is sour. Is there a problem?”

Yes there is a fucking problem, Pam. Thanks for fucking asking. “My sweet, innocent Sookie just used sex to get me to agree to do something.”

Sookie was still too pleased with her behavior. “I threatened to close down the booty bank if he did anything to mess with my plans.”

Pam made the mistake of laughing. I might just make her pay for that later.

Sookie might not be as different as I had thought. She followed me, pushing the issue. “You are making too big a deal out of this. You are getting all upset over something so small. I’m afraid that you’ve built this up too much and you’ll be disappointed.” Pam’s new favorite word rang in my head… What-fucking-ever.

When we arrived at Fangtasia she went to the trunk and took something out and started walking away. Alcide was following her already, so he had been in on this. She was behaving like a child and I was very near the end of my rope with her.

“I heard that! I am not. Follow me.”

“Where are we going?”

“The Book Worm.”

“They went out of business and bankrupted on the balance of their lease.”

“All the better.”

This was a well laid plan. She dragged us to a sealed building and the keys are in my office. “I don’t have the key.”

She had the gall to look angry at me. “Do you have any idea how long your shitty mood is going to continue? Or what’s more, how long my good mood will hold out?”

She hadn’t seen a shitty mood yet, but she was getting me there quickly. “Am I supposed to be happy that you are keeping secrets from me and blackmailing me?”

“I should be in high spirits that the only reason you agreed to a small favor for your fiancée was because you wanted a warm place to put your hard on?” That bit. Probably because it was true.  “What do you think is going to happen?”

“I don’t know. The last surprise I got kept me from you for 2 months!”

She hugged me. She poured salt in a fresh wound and now she was hugging me like it was going to make it all better. I was feeling sympathy in the bond and I started to realize that it hadn’t occurred to her that vampires don’t usually get good surprises. “I wouldn’t do any such thing and you know it. Calm down. Besides, all I’m doing is presenting an idea. One you can say no to.”

I had already started calming down. I felt badly for my kneejerk reaction and I gave her a kiss. “I’m an asshole. Forgive me.”

“Already done.”

She put her hand on the door knob and with a click it was open. I was confused. No one should have been in there for more than a week. “I can ‘move’ things remember.” I smiled at her new ability as she led us through the storage area to the retail space in the front. When we arrived she began her presentation.

“9,850 square feet of real estate sitting directly on the main drag. Fire coded for 450 people. Full bathroom and kitchen facilities. Ample parking and room for a proper stage.”

She tore a page out of a journal and handed it to me. It was a sketch, rather a well done rendering, of what this large space might look like as the new Fangtasia. I was impressed enough to hand it to Pam.

“Should I continue, or do you think I’m a fool.”

I’d be the fool for stopping her now. She had my attention, as well as Pam’s. “Continue.”

“I know that you like your quiet end of the strip mall. But a busy parking lot is good advertising as long as someone sees it. The ceiling needs to be dropped and new lighting bought. You’d need a carpenter for a new bar, something unique, and the stage. Lighting, PA, and furniture… About $50,000 to get it together.” She handed me yet another well drawn proposal. “V.I.P. room for private parties, green room for the performers.”  Then another page. “Another 50 to get it to higher end. The bar now is fire coded for 112 and if you-know-who scares many more vamps up here to the land of milk and honey, there won’t be any room for tourists. I found 2 bands that would bring in some fresh blood. $5000 and 10% of the door is there standard rider. I found 3 guys that can actually DJ too. So I was thinking that weekends needed live music and then weeknights can be the normal PA fed music. No less than 3 radio stations would broadcast from the parking lot the night of the reopening and a huge Neon Fangtasia sign on the side of the building would be seen from the interstate. There is an alternate sketch for leaving the ceiling where it is. It would cost a little more to add the mezzanine but it would add to the fire code by about 150. It could be done in a month if there is luck finding the right furniture. The big upside is that the bar would still open, so the income wouldn’t stop. My math says the investment will be paid off in 2 months, mostly from weekends.”

Sookie handed the rest of the journal to me and Pam and I leafed through it. I was impressed enough that I wanted to frame them. The drawings were not just inspired they were very well done.

I instantly hated myself. I don’t know what I expected this surprise to be, but she had put so much work into this and I fought her every step of the way. I would have told me to go fuck myself after the way I acted. I would have deserved it. I will be apologizing to her for my behavior, I owed her that much. My regret was slightly pushed aside by Pam’s excitement, and admittedly, my own.

This… ‘presentation’ of Sookie’s was something I had been thinking of a year ago. I regretted that I had opened such a small place almost as soon as Fangtasia’s doors were open. About a year ago, someone came into my life and distracted me from profit margins.

Sookie had drawn several perspectives of each space and Pam went around, drawing by drawing and talked about the office spaces and the bathroom remodel that would be needed and as we worked towards the back of the space Pam and I took a minute to talk about Sookie again.

“Eric, did you tell her that you wanted to expand?”

“Not a word. The only thing I mentioned about work was that I’d told you I wouldn’t be in except for weekends for a while.”

“Alcide told me that she ‘just knows things’. It seems to be a new power. She has a highly developed intuition.”

“So, the question would be: were my goals or the business itself her muse?”

We were deep in thought and decided to go back to my office to start putting things together. “Eric, I don’t think it matters. I think we’d be fools to ignore this.”

We jumped head long into the investment aspect as soon as we got into the office. We quickly discovered that Sookie’s numbers had been conservative. She had probably based them on Merlotte’s pricing and traffic. Properly publicized, this expansion could very well pay off after only 3 weeks.

Pam and I went back to admiring her drawings. The substance and the scheme were striking to say the least. We both loved the idea of the mezzanine, not only because the club could hold more bodies, but because we thought it would give the club more a French Quarter feeling that the tourists would enjoy. I had always loved wrought iron as an architectural element anyway which is why both staircases and the railing in my house were done that way.

Sookie and Alcide had finally made their way back to us. I was glad for them to join us. Not only did I have an apology to make, but I had business questions.

“Are you sure this could be done in one month?”

The question seemed to confuse her. “Uhhh… With or without the mezzanine?”

Pam said, “With.” I nodded in agreement.

“I’ll have to find a big welding company for that, but it might add a week or two.” I nodded to Pam and she grabbed the folder of expense account info for me and excused herself and Alcide.

I made my approach slowly. I was fully aware that I deserved to be kicked in my dick for my treatment of my Lover earlier. Old habits of suspicion and tactical negotiation were no excuse. I hoped that a flattery might help me to dig out of my self-dug hole.

“How were you not bored out of your mind working for Sam all that time? You were wasting your talents. You have a mind for business…”

“…And sin. Alcide told me the same thing this afternoon.”

I was amused and curious. “Lover, why would he have said that?”

“Eh, get him to tell you the story. So are you mad that I suggested the change? I was just bored. You know how my mind spins.” How could she be so perfect and so insecure simultaneously?

“Sookie, your idea will make millions for us. I’ll take care of the zoning and licenses and inspections. You oversee the rest.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Well you said 100, but Pam and I discussed that we could do 200.”

“That’s not what I meant.” I knew that it wasn’t what she meant, but this type of thing… having faith in someone… didn’t come easily to me.

“Sookie, I love you. I trust you. Surprise me.” I fucking made her cry. I’m a bastard. Why does she put up with my shit? “Please, lover, you know I hate the crying, especially when it’s my doing.”

She seemed to pull herself together quickly. I was pleased to see that. As much as I hated to see her cry though, I deserved it tonight.

“Ok, where are the keys to the car?” I gave them to her. “Go on out to the booth I’ll be back in just a second.”

I chuckled at my luck on my way out the door. “I don’t know what you have up your sleeve, but I’m sure I will like it.”

I did exactly as she asked of me and went out to the booth to join Alcide and Pam. Alcide was telling Pam that Sookie had thought we had walked out as a rejection of her idea and was very excited for her when he found out that it was quite the opposite. The three of us watched Sookie expectantly, working behind the bar as Alcide explained why he had complimented her business savvy. I was wholly impressed that every suggestion she had for Alcide was exactly how I would have handled things, well since corporal punishment was out of the question.

It bothered me to see Sookie behind a bar again, but she seemed so proud of herself, so sure. I wasn’t going to burst her bubble again.

She brought over a tray with a Bloody Mary with a standard stalk of celery in it alongside a rack of test tubes, seemingly filled with Bloody Mary as well.

“They look like blood right?” We nodded. “How much does a Bloody Mary cost?”

Pam answered her.  “$5.50.”

“Well, any bar you go to near the base or the college has test tube shots for $3.” Alcide nodded his confirmation.

I was willing to play. “How many shots does that make?” nodding toward the glass.

“All of them. One $5.50 drink became $24. Test tubes cost $.20 each. I bought 100 today, if you want to try it.” We all smiled at her. I did have a reason to be proud of her earlier. I just didn’t know why or how much.

“Something tells me that Clancy and Felicia will be angry that they’ll have to hand wash the tubes because the dishwasher won’t be able to clean them fast enough.” Pam added.

“So you like it?” She smiled questioningly.

I beamed at her and did my best to fill the bond with pride and awe. “How could we not? I am thoroughly impressed! Lover, are you out of surprises for now?” She nodded. “Well then, Pam, since I am here for opening, did you want to go to your house and collect some of your things so that we don’t need to stop on the way back to our house?”

She looked at Alcide and licked her lips, “Would you mind helping?” Her hand was under the table and she punctuated her invitation by grabbing his dick.

As the two of them walked by Sookie holding hands, she slapped Alcide’s ass and Pam stopped and grabbed Sookie with one arm. She pulled Sookie to her for a kiss, her hand drifted down to cup my Lover’s perfect ass and I got hard as I watched. Sookie put her small hands to Pam’s throat and gave a hard enough squeeze to bring Pam close to coming. I was turned on by the show and both bonds as I watched my girls play.

Alcide whined about fairness. I can’t say that I blamed him. “Either let me join in or stop so there’s some left for me.” He gave her a tug and she gave in and followed him.

Sookie playfully complimented Pam on her new dress as the two left. “That dress is too hot on you. Don’t fuck it up!”

“Well lover, you seem to be making a lot of people happy today.”

“You should go sit in your throne while we still have time.”

She took me by the hand and led me to my seat on the stage. She was up to something but the bond was full of lust and love, so curiosity and my hard on were all I felt as she took her iPod out of her purse and went to the sound system. She quickly ran around to stand on the poled dancing platform in front of me, and waited for the intro to her selection to be over. The music was familiar; the band from the Scottish festival maybe. I didn’t care for more than a second.

Once the music started Sookie began dancing. Just seeing her standing at the pole, willing to dance for me was a turn on. Knowing how well she dances, my excitement was getting the best of me. There was no way for me to prepare for what she did, how well she did it or how quickly she sent my libido careening towards overdrive.

She started dancing around the pole, and then lifted herself onto it. She was bending and twisting in ways I didn’t know she was capable of. She was spinning; upside down from near the ceiling when she unzipped her dress and let gravity remove it for her. Her bra came off shortly after that, bearing her perfect… Mmmm. I was having a one hell of a time staying in my seat. She wasn’t dancing like a girl amusing her boyfriend. She was dancing, swinging, and working the pole better than any woman I had ever seen. This was no flirt, this was seduction. The song was the longest 4 minutes of my long life and yet the shortest.

When the song was over, I didn’t give her feet the chance to hit the floor before I grabbed her and sped to the office, past Pam and Alcide, who were both slack jawed.

For the next hour we completely destroyed my office. Sookie and I lost ourselves in a frenzied blur of sex and sweat and blood. We licked and sucked and pushed and pulled and yanked and shoved and fucked and fed and… collapsed. We laid back on my desk and I held her until her breathing was tamed. She was worried that Pam and Alcide had seen her dance. I thought it was amusing, maybe even ironic. They had both seen her dance. They had both seen her in the nude. It wasn’t an issue unless she thought I’d overreact to Alcide having seen her. Personally I didn’t care if they’d seen it, as long as I did too.

I admired her body, laid across my desk as though she were an offering to the gods as I dressed myself and had to tear myself away to go to the floor to get Sookie’s clothing. In spite of my speed, I noticed that Compton was here. That asshole couldn’t even read a clock correctly. I told him to be here at 11:00. Irksome fuck.

When I returned to my lover I helped her dress and then led her back to the floor where our company was waiting.

Pam and Alcide had apparently had their own fun and were now quite full of themselves. They cheered and applauded Sookie for her talents. I might have been irritated had it not been for the fact that Compton was livid to the extreme of fidgeting from the perfume of our fun and possibly the sounds. This might be a cherry on top of what has shaped up to be a good night.

Sookie sent: “HE IS NOT THE COMPANY I WAS EXPECTING. He keeps turning up like a bad fucking penny!”

I had to fight my laughter. “I summoned him to talk about business but I told him to come later so that he would be here when Angela is presented.”

Alcide put a hand up to ‘high 5’ me and I COULD NOT help myself. It was fun to have a friend who hated the same people I did, and had as much fun showing it. I did have somewhat of a smirk, but it was all that was left of the shit eating grin that wanted to sneak out.

Bill was such a malcontent. Not happy, even when he was happy. His negativity tonight was flagrant.

He didn’t bother himself to observe any etiquette and wait to be greeted. He started with an insult. “Eric, did you have business to discuss or did you wish to rub my nose in your sexual conquests with your floozy?”
He didn’t consider her a floozy while he was fucking her and fucking her over, but I simply replied: “yes.” I stopped fighting my smile and decided that Sookie might be angry enough at him to let me have some fun with the asshole, she looked troubled and was very still for a moment. “Bill, I summoned you for business but it seems that my office is a state of… disrepair. So since most of us are friends here we can discuss things here. I simply wanted to know the amount of the lease for our friend Tara’s clothing store. It seems that the economy has been hard on her business. So in order to help her without having her feel like a charity case, I’d like to set a minimum amount for my staff to spend there on their clothing accounts to make sure that her bases are covered.”

Sookie sent: “Awww, Eric that’s sweet. Thank you.” She kissed me and I was very proud of myself for having the idea.

Bill wasn’t pleased and I knew why, my brain echoed with my own laughter. “Sookie!” he hissed. “You hated me for buying that property and extending you a line of credit at the shops!” I let her have him. She did quite well setting him straight the other night and it was very entertaining.

“You would do well to not only watch your tongue Bill Compton but to realize that I hated that, by establishing a line of credit at those stores for me, you were relieving yourself of the chore of putting any thought into buying gifts for me. And none of that excuses your behavior before or since! Betrayal followed by secrets, followed by abandonment with rape and a draining for dessert. So you should just climb down off of your high horse and learn your fucking place.” I thought it was well put. Sookie must have picked up a thought or two from Alcide and motioned for the couple to leave. I sent to them to stay close.

“Sookie, Eric maneuvered you into your blood bonding. Are you really that stupid that you don’t see that?”

“Go fuck yourself Bill Compton. I am smart enough to see that you are just making yourself more miserable by blaming Eric for all the ways you ran aground in our short relationship even though he had no hand in any of it. How much is Tara’s lease?” This was so much fucking fun I could hardly stand it!

“$1,100 monthly.”

“Now why the fuck was that so hard? And you accuse me of being childish!”

“It was ‘hard’ as you put it because I have been tortured by the smell of your climaxes and I have been plagued by the sounds of you moaning at the hands of the beast that stole you from ME!” He wouldn’t smell anything if he weren’t following her around.

“He did not steal me, you lost me. The first time I had his blood was part of a maneuver, sure, but the other 2 times were to save my life. He never used me, he employed me. The only reason I started dating you was because I couldn’t hear your thoughts, the only reason I stayed once I knew you was in the hopes that you would warm up. I went from being considered a freak by humans into your arms looking for a way to fit in but you made me feel like a freak for being human. You have always been cold and inconsiderate. Sure, Eric flirted with me when I was still ‘yours’. But he stayed with me under fire in Dallas when you pursued dinner, he took me to the orgy and made me feel safe when you would have made me leave, he even let me go after your sorry ass in Jackson and put himself in harm’s way to make sure I was safe. He has never done anything to me that I didn’t want and wouldn’t beg for again. He has asked for my help when it was needed and trusted my opinion while you made a sport of second guessing me and acting ashamed of me or my behavior.” Ha! Take that shit head!

Bill was getting angrier and angrier. “If you two are so in love then what was Quinn and Sophie-Anne and Andre and Alcide? You have had quite a run of bedmates. You went from innocent to professional in record time. Need I remind you that we had the same reason for pursuing you, your telepathy?”

My lover looked into my eyes sweetly as she began her reply. “Quinn was a mistake I made while I was trying to forget something I thought I’d lost.” I smiled at her as she went back to firing her volley at him. “You don’t get to talk to me about Sophie-Anne. I considered her my Queen and my friend and I still mourn her loss. You need to realize that not only did she apologize to me for having sent you but she meant it and Andre was part of that package. Alcide and I are very close friends and I think more of him than I ever did of you and I nearly died for you. You did forget about Pam though. And no, I don’t need you to remind me about either of your intentions.” She was mocking him bitingly. I had to fight a chuckle at her impersonations of us both. ‘Hi, I’m Bill and I’m going to pretend to love you and take your virginity even though I can’t figure out who I hate more: humans or vampires just to get a job done.’ And then there’s him. ‘Hi, I’m Eric, sheriff of area 5. I want to taste you and occasionally I’ll need the help of your talents.’ He has been as honest with me as he could be about everything I have asked of him.”

“I had no choice but to lie! The queen…”

“…Offered to kill you for me when she discovered that you lied to me to get me into bed. Sophie-Anne educated me on her life and her death and how her maker treated her and how she saved herself from him. If I hadn’t begged her for mercy on you, you would not be here crapping on what was a very proud day for me. You’re welcome.”

I couldn’t believe it. “She told you? She trusted you to tell you something she didn’t share with her own children.”

She nodded. “I know about the makers and lives of more than a dozen kings and queens and a few other vampire. It’s funny how these detestable, loathsome and soulless beasts find it in their unbeating hearts to tell me the truth after knowing me for a short time but someone who feeds from me and shares my bed can lie and hide things from me for months.”

I caught myself staring at her. “Will you tell me about Sophie-Anne? I’ve always been curious.”

“I don’t see why not, since her and Andre are gone she has no need for the secret.”

I smiled at my little blond ‘surprise waiting to happen’ while I gathered my thoughts on how to handle Compton. “Bill, I want you to leave Area 5, I’d rather you left the whole of Louisiana but I can’t do anything about that and you know it. I’ll give you 2 weeks to manage your holdings and arrange for new domicile. I’ll give you a fair reference. To be honest, if it weren’t for your lingering infatuation with Sookie, things would be quite different.”

I expected him to storm off in a huff, not lunge across the table and put his hands around my neck with his fangs out. Oh, I wanted so much to reach up and twist this mother fucker’s head from his shoulders. I knew something needed to be done about him but I promised myself that I wouldn’t risk losing Sookie over a game that I had clearly already won. I looked down to Sookie briefly for a hint as to how she would react. She was holding out a stake. I took a second, maybe two, to make sure I was seeing this. Sookie had in her sweet little hands, the ones that attentively cleaned the blood and gravel from my frozen feet a year ago, the hand that trembled under the weight of the explosive soda can, the hands that brought me back from a darkness unknown to me, had her first lover’s murder weapon in her hand.

She held it up slightly more, urging me to take it and I saw Compton see it then his eyes met hers as I took it from her and drove it into him, with satisfaction.

I watched Sookie insist on helping with the clean up. She had removed her shoes and was vacuuming Compton’s ashes out of the crevices in the seat. She quickly grabbed a bar towel and sprayed the seat down with cleaner to rid the vinyl of his residue. Pam had the larger shop vac, getting the carpet clean. Alcide and I watched while our girls cleaned up after Bill’s murder in less than 5 minutes. As soon as they were done, Sookie gave me a nod as she slid her shoes back on to let me know it was time to open for business. She seemed blank. Like she had shut down and it had me very worried.

As the vermin filled the bar I put my arm around her and took her to the office for some privacy. Pam closed the door when she and Alcide came in.

I realized that we were all staring at her and I was sure that eventually she would become uncomfortable with the silence.

“Lover? Are you ok. You seem angry?”

“I’m pissed that I couldn’t do it.” Did she want to do it and hesitate?

She looked up at me and explained. “I’m jealous that you got to do it. If it had just been us, I would have drove it in slow. But, if I had killed him, it would have made you look weak, as though you needed your pet to save you. Holding him down and going back later would have appeared to be premeditated. The only viable option was for you to do it in self defense. Eric?”

It shocked me that she had processed that in the few seconds that the event transpired. “Yes Sookie?”

“Are you going to be in trouble?”

I’m worried about her resolve and that she’ll grow to hate me and her concern is that I might be put in time out! “No, I will be fine. Don’t worry about me. There are security cameras here and there are witnesses that saw him come after me first.”

She hugged my waist. “Promise?”

I wish I could. If it were Sophie-Anne, I’d be able to say I’d be rewarded. The new power structure was less predictable. “You know I can’t do that. But I can’t think of any way that I can be held accountable for ending a lower vampire for coming after me.”

“Ok. I’ll accept that.” She reached up to kiss me. “I’m going to go get something to eat. Call me when Angela gets here.”

Alcide followed her out, leaving Pam and I to do the business end of the clean up and keep her company.

I pulled my phone out of my pocket and started dialing and Pam started picking up the office. I had 5 numbers for Madden and 3 for de Castro and no one answered any of them. That was very bizarre.

After a few minutes, I looked up at Pam. I don’t know how long she had been staring at me but she was infuriated.

“What? What are you angry about?”

“I sent to Sookie, to make sure she was ok.”

“What did she say?”

“It’s not what she said, Eric. I don’t think she meant for me to see it, but I saw something, like it was in her head.”

“Well?” I was getting impatient.

“I never found out where Hallow was getting her blood from, or why she targeted you.”

“You got the answer from Sookie?” Why would Sookie know and not have told us?

“Eric, you need to talk to Sookie about it, but from what I can tell Sookie had a vision, or whatever it was, when the two of you sat at the table. Eric, it was Bill.”

“What was Bill?”

“Bill set up the whole thing. He sent Hallow after you and gave her HIS blood to be strong enough to curse you. Bill was responsible for all of it and had her go after the Weres to take out Alcide too. Then his hands would be clean and he wouldn’t have any competition for Sookie. He is even the one who took Clancy, so that they could use him as a blood supply closer to the battle.”

I was dumfounded. “Why was it that I ended up with Sookie?”

“Because Bill told Hallow to curse you to get what you were ‘asking for’. So she used her ‘heart’s desire’ spell. If she had understood what he wanted, she’d have cast a ‘comeuppance’ spell.”

I smiled at her and she returned it. “He was going to kill you Eric.”

I snorted. “Not with Sookie watching my back, apparently.”

“No Eric. That’s why Sookie helped you end him. She saw past and future in the same vision. It was a big party and a lot of vampire were there, it might have been a wedding. You and Sookie were dancing and he came up behind you and took your head off with a sword.”

I thought about that for a few minutes while Pam tidied up out of frustrated energy. It didn’t make me as mad as it should have. I know that I never would have had the chance to win Sookie’s heart if she hadn’t seen that I could shed the bad ass vampire bullshit and just be a man who adores her. I had already come to thank the curse for that. I knew that if I hadn’t seen her for all that she was capable of while SHE looked after ME, I would have continued to look at her as an entertaining game to play instead of viewing her as a woman who is loving and caring and protective and definitely who I wanted to spend her forever with. Knowing that at some point he was going to try to end me, didn’t even really bother me. The thought of Sookie’s devastation did. It tore at my soul to picture her covered in my blood. But I had to honest with myself, I couldn’t think of a better way to cease to exist than to die in her arms. I had two problems with this situation at the moment. Sookie’s mental state seems shaky and that mother fucker got to die looking into her eyes. I should be so lucky.

I watched Pam go to the closet and pull out a couple of scented candles and set them on the desk. The smell in here was still quite intense. They were the chocolate scented candles that Sookie had sent to me for Halloween. When I received them I noticed they were hand made in Jackson, Mississippi and it puzzled me as to why she’d have been there. Something occurred to me so I went to the closet and pulled out the other ‘gifts’ that Sookie had sent to me while we were estranged involuntarily. All candles and I’d foolishly taken them as romantic gestures.

“Pam…Sookie sent those at Halloween. They’re stamped ‘Hand Made In Jackson, MS’.”

She nodded. “Why?”

I handed her the cherry pie scented candles that she sent right before Thanksgiving. “Look at where they were made.”

“Dallas?” I watched a smile sneak onto her lips.

I handed her the cider scented pillars sent to me before Christmas. “And these.”

“Georgia… She’d been letting you know she was up to something all along. That she wasn’t ‘sneaking around’ with Alcide.”

“How did she get to be smarter than us?”

We just smiled at each other. I could tell that Pam was just as proud of our Sookie as I was. She joked. “Smarter than you, maybe.”

I reached up and grabbed her face squeezing her cheeks together to make her lips pucker together. “Ooh, you’re such a bitch.” I gave her fishy lips a kiss and let her go with a smile and swatted her ass.

She smiled. “I learned from the best. Come on, let’s go admire Sookie from your booth. Angela should be here soon.” I smiled up at her and took her advice.

On the way out, we checked in with Felecia to see how things were going tonight.

“Sir, we’re about normal for a Tuesday, but Clancy is fit to be tied over these new test tubes. We’ve sold more than 300 of them and it feels like all we’ve done since we opened is wash them.” She was smiling at me, so I knew that she wasn’t complaining. Clancy on the other hand was being disagreeable from the sink so we talked to him for a moment then Pam and I laughed our way to the booth and sat down.

“Eric, how do you feel about what’s going on with Sookie? She’s very different now.”

“I think I’ll keep her.” I smiled at her. “How are you and Alcide working out?”

“He’s refreshing. He’s funny and honest and he’s a lot of fun. You and Sookie made a good call.”

“That was all Sookie. I never would have said anything. You know that I’ve always stayed out of your love life.”

“Eric, this might sound like an odd question.”

I raised my eyebrow at her, waiting.

“Do you find yourself, more trusting or just liking Alcide more in general when Sookie is near?” That was a prize taker as far as ‘odd’ questions go.

“Why?”

“Because he mentioned it. He thinks it might be a new power. That she probably doesn’t even realize she’s doing it, but he’s just about as puzzled at our sudden friendship as I am. He said that the feeling is directed at you more, but he said that he doesn’t second guess you at all when she’s around. He knows where he stands with Sookie, but still questions how you feel about him being around… unless of course Sookie is present.”

“Does he think that she’s making us get along? Or that she’s pushing her trust in us at each other?”

“He doesn’t know. Have you thought about it?”

Yes. The fact that I was ready to rip him apart when I heard their pot roast conversation and then just recently had no problem with her grabbing his ass and being seen doing that… dance. “It’s something to consider. Do you notice a difference in your feelings where Sookie is concerned?”

Her body language answered for her. Her eyes left mine and the sinew in her neck twitched. “I do like him more when Sookie is around.”

“But it’s just ‘like’?” Taunting her proved to be quite fun even though she kicked me under the table.

“When she’s around, I like talking to him. When she isn’t, I’m looking for somewhere to fuck him. Happy?”

I started laughing. I couldn’t help myself. “Well thank you for sharing.” She kicked me again, causing a swell in my laughter. “It would seem then, along with her other new found abilities she is now an empath as well. I was charging the bond for my trust in Alcide, but if you two are both experiencing similar phenomena empathy would be the better explination.”

We watched the crowd for a moment with nothing but quiet between us. “Eric, you’re being sneaky.” She eyed me. “Normally, you would outsource the expansion; you’re having Sookie do it so that she doesn’t have time to get a job.”

I shrugged. “Do you think she doesn’t know enough about bars to handle it?”

“No. I think she’ll spank it just right. I’m just surprised that you’re being devious with her… still.”

“Pamela, she told Alcide she was going to trick me into letting her bartend once it opens because she doesn’t want to be bored and I don’t want her to work. That’s not being underhanded, its giving her what she wants without making her be sneaky.” She wasn’t buying it and I knew she wouldn’t. We just smirked at each other.

Sookie and Alcide finally came back and as she slid into the booth I smelled the ice cream on her and I wanted to taste her all over again. Pam was staring at her and making her paranoid.

“What?”

Pam answered, “Clancy wants to turn you just so he can torture you.”

She laughed dryly. “I guess then he is washing a lot of tubes.”

I filled her in.“They have sold 300 test tube shots and this is a light crowd. He said that if we are going to do this he wants to have at least 1000 tubes. He said he is too old to be a dishwasher.”

She laughed, which I was very happy to see, and went to the stereo system and changed the music to an upbeat pop song. When she turned to me, she beckoned me to join her on the dance floor with her finger. As we danced I congratulated myself for buying the iPod for her. I didn’t always like the music she did, but I do enjoy the way she moves when she gets into the music. Worth every penny. Oh God, was it worth it. From what I could tell, she loved this song. She didn’t stop moving for a second of it and most of the time, her hands were over her head and her ass was rubbing against me. When our song was over, I handed Sookie off to Pam to give myself the chance to calm down. So I thought. Watching my girls grind against each other didn’t do anything to help with my growing problem. I looked around and realized that I wasn’t the only one. The two of them had caught the eye of nearly everyone, man and woman alike.

When the girls joined us in the booth again, we ordered drinks and talked for a while before Angela arrived. She was a vision. Almost as beautiful as Sookie, but in there matching dresses (Sookie had been right) I looked like one very lucky mother fucker! Sookie had gotten out, hugging her and letting her slide in between us. The child blushed when I told her how nice she looked. A shame really, that she wasn’t comfortable with how pretty she is. We sat for only a few minutes before Sookie dragged us back out to the dance floor. I laughed to myself when I realized the song we started dancing to was ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’. I was impressed, for such a sweet, demure little thing she moved very well in a threesome. She must have been in sorority. I’ve noticed that sorority girls and whores are fairly apt to dancing in groups rather than pairs, and Angela was no whore. Regardless, I found myself having fun enough to want to dance a second song before we returned to our seats.

No sooner than her ass hit the bench, Sookie took off like a shot towards the front door and I had to lean across poor Angela to see where she was going. I heard her yell “Russell!” So did Alcide. He looked at me with a huge smile on his face.

“Don’t worry old man, I know why he’s here. I just didn’t know he was coming tonight.” I leaned again and I saw her hugging him. Hugging HIM? Like they were best friends and he was hugging her back. What the fuck? When did they get so friendly?

She grabbed his hand and started pulling him through the crowd and waved to us to follow her to the back. I stopped and told Felicia to go keep ‘my new pet, Angela’ company and to be friendly.

When the nest and Russell were in my office, Russell closed the door and locked it, leaving his guards in the hall and turned to my lover with a very serious look on his face.

“Sookie, what did you know?”

“Russell, surely I have no idea what you are talking about. Why would a human be informed on such matters?”

He smiled at her. “You are fascinating! If I had different tastes, Northman may have a challenge on his hands.”

I faked a laugh and they went back to their greeting. “I missed you.” She gave him another hug. “Oh, How is Bart?”

“He seems well. We talk every night though. Where are you planning to honeymoon? You heard that Virginia, Georgia and New York are fighting over you.” Who is fighting over her? Why? Someone needs to explain before my head explodes!

“We’ve only set a date, we hadn’t talked about it. I was thinking Vale or Aspen or Telluride, if we were to go somewhere tropical, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy a fireplace.” She winked at him as I processed my surprise that she didn’t want to spend her honeymoon in the sun. I was still waiting for some kind of information and not getting it.

“Oh… I forgot to mention it. Eric and I ended Bill tonight.” Why would he need to know that?

Russell laughed, “It’s about damn time! You finally realized what I’ve been telling you for months, huh?”

She laughed as she explained. I was very pleased to see that it wasn’t a distressing topic for her, but surprised to see her ‘over it’ so quickly. “Well, he went after Eric, so I called a stake from back here and handed it to Eric while they struggled. What could we do? Okay, now your majesty. Out with it! You have news for us.”

He finally peeled his attention from her and stared me down.“Well, I am here to tell you that there is new management for Louisiana… again. Eric you are relieved as Sherriff of Area 5.”

I wanted to scream! What the fuck is going on? I was ready to kill someone when Sookie yelled at him. “Damn it, king or not, I will kick your ass! Knock it off and get to the good news or I will call Bart and tell him how mean you’re being!”

It scared me. Mine or not, she had just threatened a King and he had the right to put her in her place.

“My, my Sookie! You have gotten a business edge to you!” He was laughing? “Okay, okay, sweet girl, you win! Eric, I’m sure Sookie has already explained her little visions. Thanks to her, I recently discovered that Bart and I were next on de Castro’s hit list. It’s no secret that I was no fan of his after his deeds in gaining control of Louisiana and Arkansas. My dilemma was that if I killed my aggressors, I would become the king of three more states and I barely get to see Bart as it is, I’m sure that you understand that after your last couple of months.”

That, I understood all too well. Sookie came over to hug my ribs while we listened.

“Bart and I have discussed it and we believe you to be the best choice as Regent. So it is yours. Louisiana and Arkansas both. I never wanted them, I just couldn’t bear letting something happening to Bart. Sandy is gathering the information for you and she’ll have it all for you by week’s end. I gave Nevada to Stan. We are now one big happy southern family my friend.” He slapped my arm as though we were hunting buddies.

“Florida, Georgia, Carolina, Indiana, they are all in agreement. We all endorse you. I’m sure you’ve noticed that we stick together as much as possible and don’t worry; the only string attached is the job itself. As for a Sherriff for New Orleans, Georgia has a sheriff that she will send to help you rebuild, she has experience in the area. She’s like the Vampire version of FEMA. She helped Ray after Andrew and Hawthorne after Hugo.”

I found myself waiting for Allan Funt to jump out. “Come on Eric! You should have taken over after Rhodes and you know it!”

“I don’t want to move to New Orleans, never did.” Sookie would never have come with me.

“Sookie was right, you are a retarded genius! As King, you make your own rules!”

Whatever ‘retarded genius’ meant, it was funny to Pam and Alcide and I gave them the best look I could muster to shut them the fuck up and then looked at Sookie.

“Hey! We were having a sleepover and we were talking about you and Bart and how much we missed you both!”

Russell smiled and continued explaining. “We are BGFs, and don’t be mad at me for this little maneuver. Sookie formulated this little coup. We’ve all got her on speed dial. I’ll be back on Monday. That should give Sandy plenty of time for information and document gathering. We can help each other wade through that ocean of holdings and financials.”

Sookie was suddenly giddy. “Russell, you should see if Bart can come with you and you can stay with us. Let me know how much security and how many of what (fangs and furs) you’ll bring with you so that we can make sure to have somewhere to put them up. I guess we’ll need to hire our own anyway.”

“What of Stan? He’ll be here too.”

“Of course Stan is welcome too! When you speak to him, tell him to call me with his rider. Just y’all though. No entourage. We’ll keep it quiet and informal. I like the way wear your jeans!”

Russell looked at me. “Old friend, I’m sure that she is why you didn’t step up after Rhodes. Judging by what I have seen of her in recent months, it was a gross miscalculation because she will embrace being your queen as much as our community has embraced her already. Our Justice won’t let any of us down. I won’t hold it against you though. Protecting those we love is our silver and our gold, is it not?”

“You understand too well, Russell.” I gave Russell a deep nod.

“Can you think of any question you might need for me to answer?”

My mind was swarmed with questions but I was sure Sookie could resolve most of my curiosity. “At the moment, I am at a loss. Tomorrow your phone will suffer though. I am sure.”

Russell led the way through the office door and onto the main floor. All of the vampires in the room dropped to one knee and lowered their heads. The humans watched in confusion. Russell surprised himself, “I almost forgot!” He held out his hand, and a pair of manila folders was delivered to his hand. He handed one to Sookie and the other to Alcide. “You should look these over and make your decisions before we return. Mr. Herveaux, you will be the ranking, uh, officer on the grounds when we visit. Might I trust you to coordinate the forces?” Alcide nodded. Russell began to exit with a flourish. He bowed to us all. “Justice,” towards Alcide, “Lieutenant,” towards Pam “Majesties,” towards Sookie and I. We all bowed back to him and left us.

When he was gone, Sookie released an ear shattering yell and started doing what looked to me like a victory dance.

I watched her for a minute before I gathered my thoughts and leaned over to her ear. “This will change everything.”

“Will you stop loving me?”

“Of course not.” Why the fuck would she ask that?

“Then tonight, right now, let me be happy that we don’t have to be afraid for a while!”

What the hell had she been afraid of? She had the formal protection of de Castro and Alcide’s pack. I didn’t have the chance to ask before she grabbed Alcide and me by the wrists and took us to the dance floor.

While we danced, several vampires came to me and dropped to one knee and swore fealty to me. I was reeling. Pam hugged me in front of the whole club to congratulate me, us. Until closing time, everything was a blur.

When their excitement died down enough, we finally made our way home.

I didn’t want to think about being king right now. I wanted a distraction. I grabbed the folders that I’d had Pam grab and sat at the kitchen table. Sookie stood at the counter and watched me while snacking. When Alcide and Pam came in, she fed him a strawberry and they all made their way over to the table. Sookie brought a plate of chocolate covered berries and mimosas for her and Alcide and blood for Pam and I.

She interrupted my modicum of concentration as soon as she sat down. “What are you three doing?”

I might have grumbled “Looking through Bill’s will of sorts. As his sheriff, I have to make sure that I execute his wishes.”

“Wow, that’s funny. I never thought that vampires would think about wills and whatnot. If you want I can contact the Bellefleurs for you once you line everything up. I’ve known Andy forever.” She gave me a kiss and turned her attention to her phone and then borrowed Alcide’s because her battery was low. I listened. We all did.

“Your majesty!”

“I’m not queen yet.”

“You’ve always been queen, you just didn’t know it! So why didn’t you just tell me the other night that it would be over so soon?”

“Because I didn’t know it would be tonight until this morning and even if I had known earlier, it’s not absolute. It can be changed. I didn’t want details being overheard by the wrong person.”

“Gotcha. Cookie, when are you coming to see me?”

“I wish I knew. Things are going to be crazy here for a while. Ray is trying to pull us out to him, Russell, Bart and Stan are coming for a visit, Alcide and I have our indoctrination at the end of the month in Boston and you heard about Virginia, Georgia and New York. I’m starting a remodel on the club, planning a wedding, hiring security, we’ll be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and I have to find out what Russell has planned for crowning Eric since it’s being passed to him. It’ll be crazy until the honeymoon.”

“Well then, you leave me no choice. I am formally announcing a need to reserve a room at Chateau de Northman for Mardi Gras. By the way, I have a Sherriff who can officiate for you. He followed Northman’s lead when he found out who married Bart and Russell.”

“Thanks, but I’m going to have David Thrash do it.”

I heard the queen laugh. “How do you propose to do that?”

“He’d better do it for me. I saved his fucking ass. I’m going through his wife, she’ll tend to it.”

There was a lot of background noise suddenly. “Cookie, I’m very happy for you but we are actually in the middle of our own Northman party and my guests are getting a little rambunctious. Tell your Master: California is proud and grateful for him. I will talk to you soon.”

“You bet, kisses.”

Everyone at the table was staring at her “Eric, did you hear Margaux’s congrats?”

I nodded. “Lover, what indoctrination?”

“Oh, Alcide and I are going to be judges. The Weres and Shifters are going public soon but after the speed bumps Vampires had and still have, it was decided on to set up a ‘judicial branch of supernatural government’ and have it in place for a while before they go public. That way there are facts and figures to present to the public for when they panic over how to legislate them too. Things are already in place. In each kingdom the Regent will be the judge and jury but there will be neutral judges for inter kingdom disputes. The Weres are going to defer to their Packmaster but inter Pack disputes will be judged by the ‘Lunar’ court. I’ll be on the inter species council. Apparently, I’m known as a friend to all.”

Alcide laughed. “I’ll say! You got a hand written Christmas card from your daemon lawyer!”

I couldn’t help but laugh at the idea of a daemon Christmas card. “It was probably the only one he sent out. So will this be a day job? Where will you work?”

I watched her and Alcide share a look and got a sick feeling. She can’t leave…

“Don’t worry sweetie. We are going to be a circuit court. Every other Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, as needed we will travel to a different city. All three courts will convene at the same time, so when I travel I will have Alcide with me. Security, travel and lodgings will be the responsibility of the host king or queen. All 30 have agreed. Plus someone is going to D.C, with the information. We’ve heard rumors from within the human government that since Supes are making such a huge gesture by forming a legal system for ourselves that we can have hate crimes by humans against Supes in the inter species court.”

We shared a wicked grin at the thought of the last bit of information, but the bigger part was that I was relieved that she’d still be here, and mine. 3 days apart at a time, I could do. “Would you feel comfortable sentencing a human who harmed a Supe? You have been known to be squeamish in the past.”

She stuck her tongue out at me. “Bite me. I will have to wait and see if we even get that privilege, but after what the fellowship has done to me, I am pretty sure I can handle it. Anything else?”

“Why would David Thrash want to perform our wedding?”

She grinned. “Before you went bowling for Vampires at the Abbey, I told him and his wife to get the fuck out of Dodge while they could. I thought he’d be a good choice for the job unless you have someone else in mind.”

“No, you’re right. Having a Were Lieutenant Governor marry the Vampire King and Queen would be appropriate.”

She smiled at me when she realized how proud of her I was. “So, what’s up over there? Did Bill leave a lump to Old Miss Bellfleur or did he split it up between the three of them?”

I didn’t know how to tell her, but I couldn’t think of a way to put it gently. “He left everything to you.”

“Really? Ok. Well, I guess that means we don’t need to worry about Tara’s rent now.” She was joking. She had to be. I just stared at her. “What? Did he leave me with a mortgage?”

“I think you should see the file for yourself.” I grabbed the leg of her chair and pulled her over to me. “Sookie, the file has copies of 34 deeds, a list of tech stocks that he bought when the companies first went public, he owned 12 strip malls and then there are Lorena’s assets that he inherited from her. She owned a lot of real estate and then there is the matter of her jewelry and then both of them had a lot of cash.”  I put the copy of Bill’s account list on top for her to look at. She stared at it for a minute before she grabbed the bottle of champagne and guzzled it, finishing it off.

“Bottom line, Eric”

“The bottom line is that you have more than $100,000,000 in cash and assets. Most of it was Lorena’s but apparently she and Bill were very shrewd.” She stood up and kissed me then turned to walk out. “Lover, where are you going?”

“I’m going to bed before something else happens. Today has been big enough already.”  I followed her. She was not handling this the way I thought she would. At the very least I expected there to be some relief in the bond, but there wasn’t anything. It was like she was numb.

Once we had climbed into bed and she had snuggled up to me, I couldn’t hold my curiosity any longer. “Why didn’t you tell me about Russell?”

“First of all, the ‘I dub thee king Eric of Louisiana’ thing was as much news to me as it was to you. I thought he was coming to tell us that he was the new king. I didn’t know he was fighting for something he didn’t want. Secondly, you were being overseen and I knew they were watching you. At first, I needed someone who could explain things to me and to work through suspicions with. Pam was in the same boat as you and Alcide and Amelia knew even less about vampire politics than I did. He had already been leery of that tool Madden and even more so of Castro so when I told him about the formal protection, he knew something wasn’t right so he put his ears down. When I gave him a hug when we got to Jackson for our first visit I had my first ‘flash’. I passed out from it. It was horrible. Felipe was going to send in a kamikaze to wound Bart and then torture and kill them together just for sport. So we set a plan in motion. Everyone had heard of me because of Rhodes. No one liked Nevada because of what a coward he was about Sophie-Anne. It took me no time at all to get us the allies we needed. Just so you know, this was a joint effort 14 kingdoms came together on this and they all agreed that you should be ‘the’ guy. I haven’t told you this week because I was watching out for the possibility of a visit from one of the double mint twins.”

I laughed at the new nickname. I think I would use it. I processed the information and started feeling smug. “So you hid something from me because you were watching out for me?”

“Go ahead and say ‘I told you so’, I know now that there is a time full disclosure and a time for small omissions.” It wasn’t any fun to say it when you’ve been invited, so I didn’t. She changed the subject. “What is Bobby’s background?”

“Legal. He is great for contracts and such. Why?”

“I think I am going to need him the day after tomorrow to help with the contractors for the club, going over bids and looking at contracts.” So much had happened tonight. I didn’t even have a grasp on what had piled up for her, even when she was rattling off a list to Queen Margaux. It was only now dawning on me.

“I will call him tomorrow and let him know what time you will need him. What do you propose to do about lodgings for our company?”

“I was thinking that I could go rent a few RVs. They tend to sleep up to 6 people so we will need 5 of them. We can just line them up next to the garage. I just hope I can find one that is light proof. I can rent an enclosed party tent, tables, chairs, and temporary floor as a dining area. I think we should cater the bodyguard’s meals. If we split it up between Palisade’s and Cheap Seats and a few other places and have Bobby’s teen wolves drive delivery the burden shouldn’t be too much for any of them to bear. What do you think?”

“I think it is a lot.” Complete understatement.

“I’m sorry. I should have asked before I offered your house like that. I’m sorry.”

“Our house, Sookie. Our home. Don’t be sorry. I was impressed that you were behaving as a gracious queen would. The cost is of no consequence so don’t worry about that. My concern is that you might be taking on too much at once. Are you sure you want to do it all. Would you like to hire an assistant?” Please say yes. I’m man enough to admit that I want to be with her as much as possible and watching her go crazy while keeping all of these balls in the air was not my idea for our life together.

“Eh, Don’t worry about me. I need to make a lot of phone calls and other than going to the RV dealer and getting more test tubes, I will probably end up watching a movie or two and chill out tomorrow.”

Tomorrow wasn’t the problem, it was everyday for the next hundred years or so that worried me. “I am sure you will surpass everyone’s expectations.”

“I couldn’t care less what everyone thinks, as long as I make you proud.”

Of course, she’d make me proud. She had already. I hugged her closer to me and ran my fingers through her soft hair. “When did you decide on snow for our honeymoon, Lover?”

“I never considered anything else. Why?”

“I would have taken you to a beach. I know how you love the sun.”

“Why? I’m honeymooning with you. I’d rather you teach me how to ski in the moonlight and we can make love in front of a roaring fireplace. Besides, I always thought of you as a cool weather kind of guy. Do you want to do something else?”

“I love the idea. I am just surprised, not at all disappointed.” I remembered something Russell had said. “Sookie, what did you and Russell mean about those states fighting over you?”

“Oh that!” She giggled. “They all want us to honeymoon there so we can visit.”

I sat up and looked at her. I couldn’t believe my ears. Why the fuck would any of them care where we honeymoon? I didn’t understand. I fucking hate being out of the loop. “Sookie, have you become friends with these vampires? I don’t understand.”

She sat up and handed her phone to me. “You didn’t know. I was sure you were checking my phone. I got something like 50 texts tonight. I wouldn’t call us all friends as much as very friendly pen pals. They are all really fun.”

I started scrolling through her phone at her invitation and she had the phone number of almost every queen and king in the country and a couple of foreign monarchs. Her list of texts was riddled with spam jokes and silliness. Some of it gossip, some of it was state related and I shouldn’t have seen it, let alone her.

“This is interesting. You have most of the Kings and Queens in your contact list and they have all texted you today like you have been friends forever.” She nodded. “You didn’t think to tell me that you had so many allies?” I hate being confused.

“I had kind of been running on the assumption that it was because of you that they were so friendly with me.”

That was laughable. If I knew so many American Kings and Queens that well, I wouldn’t have had to deal with de Castro. “Sookie, I don’t have half those numbers and would never forward a joke to any of them. You are far more familiar with them than I am.”

“Is that bad that I’m friends with so many of them.”

“Sookie, I think that it’s a wonderful surprise. I think that it will be a very good thing for the Queen of Louisiana to have powerful friends. There are a lot of things that we need to discuss about our new positions.”

“Such as?” Her tone didn’t make it sound like she was going to like the conversation. Tread lightly Northman.

“Well, we will be finding ourselves entertaining guests so we might need to move to a larger house. I need to find proper offices befitting a king. And we will need security as you said before. Do you have any ideas or opinions on the matters?”

“Well, I really like this house. I could talk to an architect or two about having some light tight guest houses put on the back of the property. As for security, the room over the garage is plenty big enough for a comfortable dormitory for say, 6 guys full time. Not that it would be needed, but so that it would be available and I can get a bid on the renovation when I deal with the contractors if you want.”

“That sounds perfect. But a lot of work. Are you sure you are up for it?” It would take Pam and I weeks to line all of it up. I knew she could do it, but again, I want to spend time with her, not watch her sleep. I had done enough of that.

“Eric, I’m more afraid of spending the money than I am doing the work.”

“How much do you think it will cost?” Like cost was an issue. It was almost like she didn’t just inherit millions and my net worth was still several times what hers is.

“Well, the guest houses, landscaping, renovations, plus the club, the RV rentals and catering… I’m afraid it might be close to a million dollars. The offices are a separate matter. Do you not want to use the offices at the new club?”

“I would be surprised if you came in under 2 million and I am afraid that a noisy night club wouldn’t look very professional. Besides, Pam can use an office there as lieutenant and I can use it for less formal meetings.”

“Well if you can use them for less formal meetings, then you could use the house for more formal things.”

She made a fine point. “You are right. Russell did say that as King I could do whatever I wanted.”

“That’s the way it should be. I’ll make sure that you and Pam both get a soundproofed office.”

We talked about our… everything. It was fucking absurd how much was going on now. When we left the house tonight, my biggest plans were getting her to the altar. It could have been a Justice of the Peace wedding at the Bon Temps rec center for all I gave a shit. It didn’t matter to me; as long as she was still willing say yes when we got there. Now… Now… Sookie had come to terms with my responsibilities and vampire drama. Even though she helped overthrow the hierarchy of three states (and I had to wonder how dirty her hands got in the process) AND she accepted a supernatural political position, I wasn’t sure she knew what she was getting into.

Just because she had matured immeasurably didn’t mean that the physical exhaustion wouldn’t scare her away. I didn’t wait this long and try this hard to lose her now…

When the sun came up, I was pulled to rest. Sookie stayed for a while, but I don’t think she slept at all before she left the bed. I was worried. It had already started.

3 thoughts on “Chapter 12

  1. Kristie Yamber says:

    I love when you do Eric’s point of view, it clues us in on how and what he is thinking during SPOV chapters. MY favorite part was when she looks at Eric and tells him that Quinn was a mistake, that she thought she had lost him…. It makes me sniffle a little each time i read it. please keep that one in resurrection. my best Kristie

  2. loveallsvmtb says:

    I love the way you show Eric’s reasoning for not liking surprizes and his take on the events leading up to bill’s death. the way you hint at Eric’s mind reading and the suttle way he is changing, . when she said that Sophie had told her about her turning i could imagine his expression at the hope of learning something about his maker. each time i read this story i love it a little more.

  3. lilydragonsblood says:

    wonderful! love this story x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s