Another Long Night
Saturday, January 2nd…
“I made coffee. Get in the shower and let’s go shopping! It’s already 10 o’clock.” So I did. I growled about it, but I did it. I wore my chocolate brown low rise boot cut jeans with a baby pink cami tank, soft pink cowgirl boots, and denim jacket. My favorite part of the outfit was a blush pink faux alligator belt with a ‘blingy’ buckle that read ‘angel’ in pink rhinestones. I wore my usual pony tail since I was going to be doing a lot of trying on and moving stuff.
On our way out to the car it occurred to me to ask, “Amelia? Did Eric wake you up or leave you a note?”
“A note. He has pretty handwriting.”
“Not bad for someone who was raised reading runes. Well, he didn’t leave me one what did yours say?”
“In a nutshell. Keep Sookie company. Help her spend money. Take the truck; it has GPS.”
“Sounds like him.”
I needed to call Alcide…
“Hey baby! What’s spankin’?”
“Not much. Are you calling to cut bait on tonight?”
“Wouldn’t dream of it. Just the opposite. I need to catch up with you later around 4.”
“What’s up Puddin’?”
“Eric wants me to deliver some catering to you for the cookout, as a thank you for my friend status”
“He doesn’t need to do that.”
“Try telling him that. Between you and me, I think he’s excited to be doing something new. I would imagine that life can get pretty damn boring after 1000 years.”
He laughed “What are you up to?”
“Headed to Shreveport right now to go shopping. I’ve been ordered to buy something slutty to wear to Fangtasia so Eric can show me off.”
I whispered, “Amelia, mind if Alcide tags along?” she shook her head, “Sure Alcide, meet us at Macy’s in 30 min.”
“You won’t find much by way of slutty at Macy’s.”
“He wanted me to get some things for him too and they have a Crabtree & Evelyn counter there. And the lingerie department is huge.”
“Shit, what am I dealing with today? Are you wearing something that’ll give me a heart attack?”
“I’m kinda dressed like a strawberry rodeo. Except the rides aren’t free.”
“Something tells me that shopping with you today isn’t going to be as much pleasure as pain.”
“We’ll see, big guy. Besides whatever doesn’t kill you makes you longer, right?” Amelia gasped.
Alcide growled into the phone, “Stronger. Sookie, stronger. I’ll see you there.” Then he hung up.
Amelia was seething. “What the hell are you thinking? You’re flirting with other men no sooner than you finally get the one you want?”
“Correction. I am still flirting with the man that my man introduced me to. It’s playful and innocent and Alcide and I would never cross that line and Eric knows it.” If we hadn’t slept together yet, Eric didn’t have anything to worry about.
She literally harrumphed into her seat. I kind of get it. She has witnessed several hot guys throw themselves at me and get thrown off like they were bouncing off of a force field. Part of her understands that it’s just because I am a supernatural phenom but the other part of her is lonely and jealous since she is prettier and less naïve then me.
We pulled into the Macy’s parking lot and my “day guy” was standing there waiting. He was in his black jeans and a dark burgundy T-shirt. When he spotted me he started towards our parking spot, I launched myself out of the truck leaving “cranky pants” behind to climb out modestly. I jogged up to him and gave him a ‘big ole hug’ and whispered, “She thinks that its inappropriate that we are friends now that Eric and I are a couple.”
Alcide replied silently, “I gotta say, I’m surprised that he doesn’t. I almost didn’t want to hug you last night”
I laughed, “Fuck that, I’d kick his ass.”
“Little girl, I bet he’d let you.” If he only knew.
“By the way, I think the look is more of a ‘Neapolitan Barbie’, how about you?” The question was directed at Amelia.
She offered scathingly, “How about we just start calling her “universal remote” since she can turn anything on.”
Alcide and I just stared at her and sent “Is this bitch for real?”
I looked directly in her eyes, “I’m sorry Amelia, I didn’t realize how selfish I was being. I never asked if you wanted to come along. It won’t hurt my feelings if you strike out and go do your own shopping. I’ll call you later to check in, OK?”
A smile appeared on her face and she got bouncy again and said, “Cool, see ya later Sook, Alcide.”
Alcide, the poor guy, was very confused, “I have to know what I just witnessed.”
As we walked into the store I explained, “She’s had bad luck with lovers. She keeps finding ones with ADD. She has a lot going for her: pretty, smart, good sense of humor, trust fund, strong powers and she knows it so she’s a little green right now, since Eric and I are finally together and it doesn’t help that we didn’t know she was home last night until after we broke the kitchen table and then Eric woke her up screaming for help.”
Alcide stopped dead in his tracks. Shaking his head, “Not like that Alcide, well yeah- we rocked the table apart, but the screaming for help was playful. I had his head covered with a pillow.”
I bounced up onto his back for a piggy back ride and pointed over his shoulder, “To men’s wear!”
I found a lot of stuff for Eric, including a pair of charcoal grey jeans with snake skin panels down the seams and snake skin back pockets (who else other than owner of a vampire bar would wear these, really?) and the dark grey silk tuxedo shirt complete with the ruffles but the collar and the yoke were made from snakeskin to match… It was too ridiculous to not get. I found 6 outfits for him; some really dressy and a few casual.
“Once I go to the shoe department, he should be all set.”
Alcide was curious, “He really that dressed up all the time?”
“It’s one of the two extremes. Last night when he picked me up for our date he was wearing a 3 piece Italian silk suit, and when we decided to run up to Merlotte’s so I could eat, he threw on the wife beater and jeans.”
“He took you out and didn’t feed you?”
I held 3 shirts up to Alcide one at a time and put 1 back on the rack. “You should get these, they really set off your pretty eyes… The first place we went was ‘Wine and Song’ but I knew we were going dancing so I ate light, then drank too much, then danced it all off, then I was ready for more food and spirits. Trust me, I have it good. Bill was highly impatient about ‘human needs’. Eric gets it though.”
“Yeah, silly things like bathroom breaks and, well I threw it all in the trash as soon as we broke up, oral hygiene was a big deal, he gave me a kit for my purse. If I ate or drank anything but water, I’d have to immediately scrub out my mouth to appease him, talk about OCD! As a matter of fact, last night when I drank the first Vegas wedding, I skipped the cherry at the end just assuming because of Bill, but when I did the other rounds, Eric participated.“
“Well I wouldn’t have figured that either, if it makes you feel any better.”
“I don’t know if it’s an age thing or just a Bill thing, but it should have occurred to me to ask. I’ve done body shots with Pam before.”
Alcide stopped and held up a finger with his eyes shut, “Give me a minute, the mental picture is developing.” While we were laughing we headed over to Crabtree & Evelyn.
“Mental image not needed, come to the club with us sometime.” I winked
We grabbed the soaps and gels and lotions I was looking for in duplicate and then headed to ladies wear.
I found 5 outfits and 3 sexy dresses for me and 2 dresses for Pam.
“Hey Sookie, do these run on the large side? You grabbed fours.”
“Nope, they’re for Pam. She’s been awesome with the situation with me and Eric”
“This stuff is a little conservative isn’t it?”
“Naw, Pam likes pastels; she’s kinda a Chanel type of girl.” Alcide gave a guyish grunt but continued to eye the dresses.
We went to the shoe department and I found Dr. Martens in Eric’s size and got him 2 pairs in 4 hole (black and brown) and a pair of 8 hole in blood red. And I got us both a pair of black suede Berkie flip flops. Alcide found pumps to match both of Pam’s dresses and some shoes to match my new outfits. I made equally short work of the lingerie department finding exactly what I wanted for each of my outfits and Pam’s and then some. When all was said and done I had spent nearly $4000.
“I can’t believe that I spent that much!”
“Take it easy, he won’t even notice. In fact, he’ll probably take you shopping again soon and put this to shame.”
“If you say so, why don’t we run and get something to eat before we pick up the catering?”
“Sounds good, do you like Mexican today?”
“Love it! Let me call Amelia and collect her crabby ass!”
When I called her she wasn’t cranky anymore. So we headed out to grab some food before doing my duty as caterer.
While we chatted and ate, Amelia became more and more aggravated. She really seemed like she was out of sorts. Finally she blurted out, “I called my dad. My building is fixed. I’m moving home.”
“Oh honey. I’m going to miss you.”
She snapped. “No you won’t.”
“Of course I will. Why would you think that?”
“Because you are too busy flirting with every Supe in ‘3-1-8’ to get your head out of your ass.”
“Wow. Ok. Sorry I asked.” Alcide was really starting to get angry, I could feel it in his brain so I put my hand on his knee to calm him down.
“Why? Does it bother you to hear that you should be embarrassed by your behavior?”
“It bothers me that I’ve done something to make you want to lash out at me without realizing it.”
“Lash out? I’m not lashing out. I’m telling you like it is. You ruined Bill. You played Quinn. You’re using Eric. You’ve neutered him,” as she pointed at Alcide. “Pam would rather be with you than me. Calvin asked you to marry him. Sam wants you to have his puppies too!” She was really starting to get loud and that was a problem. So I put my hand up in a stop gesture. And she did.
“Amelia, you are going to sit there and finish your meal without speaking again. When we leave we will run a couple of errands and you will stay in the car. When we get back to the house you are going to call and have Marley come to get you and take you home. Do you understand?” She nodded and started eating again.
I looked at my big friend, “I’m sorry Alcide. I don’t know what’s gotten into her. She’s not usually like this. You know that.”
“Did you just glamour her?” He was shocked to say the least.
“I think I might have.”
“How many new ‘gifts’ do you have?”
“I don’t know.” I sat there and pouted for a minute.
“Aww. Shug, she’s going through something right now. She’ll come around.” He wrapped his huge arm around my shoulder. “I bet she’s homesick and lonely. Or… was the kitchen table hers?” He made me laugh. I loved that about him.
“Thanks Alcide. I’m glad I have you.”
“Shug. You’ve got me whenever you need me.” And he planted a kiss on my forehead. I put my arms around him to hug his ribs and lay my head on his shoulder until eventually we realized it was getting late. We gathered up Amelia and went about our errand.
We arrived at Palicades’ back door and I went in and explained that I was there to pick up Mr. Northman’s order so everyone snapped to. Within seconds 2 guys were loading beer onto a hand truck and 2 women were rolling a tray full of aluminum buffet trays towards the service entrance.
“What’s in all those trays?”
“Etoufee, gumbo, rice, crawfish, shrimp, Jambalaya, rice, jerk chicken and andouille.”
“Oh, my. Well, who do I see about settling up?”
“Why would you need to do that? This is Mr. Northman’s order right.” I nodded. “Sweetie, when have you ever heard of a person paying for food from their own restaurant?” Figures.
As we all walked out the door and it was piled into Alcide’s truck his eyes grew. “This must have cost a fortune.”
“Not as much as you might think. He owns the place. Don’t forget; ‘anonymous donation’.”
“Right.” We hugged and went on our separate ways. I stopped at the Grabbit Kwick to get a 4 pack of true bloods for Eric and then went home. I unloaded the objects of my spree to the bed in the spare bedroom and started laying things out for perusing. I packed my bag for my night and left it on the bed next to Eric’s duffle. I added Pam’s thank you gifts to the pile of “to go” items and gathered what I needed and went to get in the bath. I hadn’t been there long when Eric playfully pulled back the curtain. As soon as I saw him, my mood improved.
“Lover, how was your day? You are upset about something.”
“Amelia is packing. She’s being very mean. If it weren’t for Alcide keeping me company, I probably would have cried most of the day…. Did you like what I bought?”
“Most of it.”
“The snake skin?” He nodded. I laughed “It was totally made to be worn by a bar owning Viking vampire sex god! It’ll look good under the lights at the club. I wouldn’t wear it to a wedding though.” That idea amused him.
“You might wear it to the wedding of a bar owning Viking vampire sex god.” He stepped into the tub.
“Don’t even think about it.” He chuckled as he rubbed my shoulders.
We enjoyed a G rated shower (if you don’t count that we were naked) and went to the 2nd bedroom to get dressed. He opted for the dressy black jeans, grey Henley and black 4 hole Dr. Martens. He even complemented at how comfortable they were. I pulled his hair back in a low pony tail and then put bands around it in small increments to the end. He put a French braid in my hair in just a few seconds that looked like I had a beautician do it. I guess when you have hair past your shoulder blades for a millennium you learn how to take care of it. He packed the snaky outfit to wear at the bar tonight like I thought he would. I put on my red and blue plaid boy shorts bikini and added my denim micro skirt and put on my brown cow girl boots and wide brown belt with the horseshoe buckle. Eric watched as I shredded a red long sleeved 3x t-shirt to make a shrug and pull on my denim jacket. He grabbed our things including Pam’s gift which he whole heartedly approved of and was happy that I had thought of it.
We headed out and we were at Ledbetter Club right at 6. I had been concerned with the reception Eric would get and from the anxiety bouncing around in the bond, he had been too. When we pulled up all eyes were on us. He got out and walked over to my door and opened it for me. I climbed out and planted a kiss on him and told him to loosen up. He gave a little smile and I grabbed his hand towed him along behind me. “Let’s go meet the pack.”
The first Were to approach was Calvin. I gave him a friendly hug and then Eric offered his hand and Calvin took it. Eric nodded towards the hand I had to break because of my idiot brother. “How have you been?”
Calvin was impressed that Eric knew about it, “Aw, that? Hell! Between those two idiots, I’m surprised that they remember to breathe. One of them was gonna screw up eventually. I’m glad it was Crystal.” Eric nodded in agreement. “Well, I gotta get back; I was just here on business. You two kids take care.”
The next welcome came from Tray who came charging up to me and flung his arms open. I jumped up to hug him and as soon as he released me Tray had his hand out to Eric.
“You’re the Northman, huh. Good to finally meet you, I’m Tray Dawson.”
“I’ve heard of you too, good to meet you.” Tray turned to stand between us facing the same direction he put his arms across our shoulders.
“Let’s get you to the food. You’re getting too skinny little girl. Don’t think I haven’t seen you out running. And if I can see you running by my house, you’re running too much!”
“Tray, I’m in the mood to drink some calories right now. Lead me to the liquor.”
“You got it.” He turned to Eric, “You know I have to warn you, we gossip really bad; so everyone knows you’re here. Beware the housewives. Once they see how pretty you are, there’ll be no dealing with them. You’d be best to keep your old lady in your lap!” He laughed a low deep laugh and Eric joined him.
After 2 or 3 more honest welcomes Eric had relaxed. We were standing by the bar talking when Eric spotted Alcide talking to someone. Eric handed his true blood to me and very quietly circled into position and then ran silently at full speed and tackled Alcide and they wrestled around for a minute without using any of the super strength that they both possess. They stood up and hugged each other like brothers. Everyone, me included, had watched the exchange in awe. It may be the only time they’d ever see a vampire and a werewolf roll around on the ground like that and see both of them get up. After that, it seemed that everyone loosened up. By 7, all of the food was set up the all of the outdoor fireplaces were lit and the DJ had started playing. Eric and Alcide sat across from each other and I DID sit on Eric’s lap while Alcide and I ate. Not because of the housewives. It was the starry eyed teen wolf chippies that were my concern.
For a few of weeks Alcide had been dating a pretty girl, just a year or so younger than me. Carla was tall and slim (I might even call her lanky) with medium brown hair and crystal blue eyes. The one time I met her she seemed really nice but Alcide had barely looked in her direction all night.
While we ate I pried. “Psst. Alcide. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Carla’s been here for an hour and you’ve been on a date with Eric the whole time. What gives?”
“Nothing gives. We got along ok I guess. But she’s really serious and cleans for fun. We just couldn’t get into each other.” He shrugged. “We were out for dinner one night. I ordered the salmon and she talked for an hour about the delicate ecosystem and the global repercussions of eating wild salmon as opposed to the political ramifications of eating farmed salmon.”
Eric said, “No shit?”
“I’m not kidding. It was like that. Grounded is good but that girl sucked the fun out of chocolate sauce.”
Eric again, “She didn’t.”
Alcide fervently nodded his head, “Oh yeah she did!” He switched the pitch of his voice to sound like a nagging woman, “Did you know that the cocoa beans used were farmed in Africa by slave children that were lifted…. Blah blah blah.” During the blahs, his voice became normal again, “I tell you what. While we were together I bought her every style of underwear known to man hoping that one of them wouldn’t ‘twist’!” By now we were all three laughing.
I couldn’t help but wonder though. I had never seen Eric so ‘relaxed’, he was using ‘common’ language and it seemed like he and Alcide were friends. I don’t think I had ever seen them share a paragraph worth of conversation in a sitting but, right now, in front of me, they were wrestling, laughing and getting along like longtime buddies. This was definitely something I would need to talk about later. I just didn’t know which one of them I’d bring it up to.
When I was done eating I stood up and did a very dainty curtsy and looked into my guys firelit faces and told them in a horrible southern trash accent, “Ima go shake me booty, when y’all are done with yer boy talkin’ come n git me so we can git our drank on. Kay?”
Eric looked at Alcide, pretending to need a translation “She’s going to dance. When I’m done, we’ll go find her to go do shots.”
Eric was still staring at Alcide, “I thought Cantonese was ugly, but that was horrible!” They both laughed at me so I turned my back to them and flipped up the back of my skirt as a fake moon. I worked my way to the middle of a crowd of teen wolves and we danced to Lady GaGa and then I slow danced with a young boy (squeaky voiced and pimple covered, about 16) named Travis to a Madonna song and finally, while being sandwiched between 2 linebacker sized boys to Thrice’s version of Send Me an Angel, I was rescued by my guys. In good humor they ‘asked’ the boys if they could cut in and then Eric picked me up with as much effort as moving a pillow.
We got to the bar and Alcide and I debated about which drinking game to call, and we found enough young guys from Barksdale to play the name game, so Alcide and I started pouring shots of tequila. I doubted that I would be able to get through many rounds since Alcide and I had already spent a lot of time with Johnny Walker but I wasn’t afraid to lose the game.
We were still waiting for a few of the guys to gather so I went over to Eric and sat on his lap and gave him a long kiss. I whispered in his ear after a quick nibble. “I wish you could play too. I’ll make it up to you later.”
He smirked at me and wiggled his eyebrows, “Go have fun. I know that I am.”
“Are you really having that much fun?”
“Lover, I can’t remember that last time I’ve had this much fun. You were right about them. It seems that you were right about how boring vampires are too.”
Eric leaned against one of the pillars and laughed at Alcide and I taking our penalty drinks. Alcide had to take 8 and I had to take 10. Most of our penalties came from laughing hard enough to get a time penalty. We were on par with most of the other guys playing. The apparent winner was my horny little valet friend Tobin; he had only gotten 4 penalty drinks. When we were getting up from the picnic table after the game, I realized that I didn’t feel at all drunk so when Tobin challenged me to a keg stand I took the bait. I called Eric over to hold Tobin up. Alcide just stared at me.
“Lover, who will hold you up?”
I smiled at him. “Sexy, what makes you think I need someone to hold me up?” I went over to my keg and put my hands on it and let Eric count it off. When he said go, I lifted myself up and stood on my hands in position. Alcide had started both taps and then I watched him walk away while I drank.
Eric squatted down, having found another spotter for Tobin. “Lover, this isn’t very ladylike. You have drawn quite an audience.” He was smiling. I was pretty sure he was trying to make me laugh. “I heard someone suggest they talk you into a round of smiles. He was being vulgar. What is ‘Smiles’?” I was really close to laughing when I saw Tobin’s legs leaning over and his feet touchdown. I had won the game but I decided I was playing against Eric now, so I continued to drink for moment before I felt my skirt move and watched Eric’s grin become an evil smirk and then I felt ‘it’. The cold. Someone was pouring ice water into my skirt like a punch bowl. I shook my head to get Eric to take the tap from my mouth.
“Alcide! You ARE dead!” I probably would have been more convincing if I hadn’t been laughing. I don’t think I had ever heard Eric laugh that way. Alcide was tipsy enough to have not grabbed my legs tight enough so I wiggled out of them and wrapped my legs around his neck, soaking him too. His arms went around my waist and I did an inverted sit up as fast as I could, knocking him off balance and sending us both crashing to the ground. We laid there stunned for a minute and then moved around and I sat on his chest.
“Alcide, are you ok?”
He grunted at me.
“Alcide, what happens when you mess with the bull?”
He looked like he was going to answer me for a second before he wrapped his arms around my legs and locked them in to roll over, putting me on my back and then lifting onto his knees to put my shoulders into the ground in a pile driver hold. “Sookie, you say it!”
I gave a grunt and I tried to squirm away. I could still hear Eric laughing and through the bond I could tell that he was enjoying the show. When I spoke to Alcide I did it quietly. “Alcide, do you want me to let you win? I don’t want losing to a girl my size to make you look bad.”
“Nice try. Puddin’, you’re going to have to try harder than that to take me off guard. Say it!”
“Not yet.” I tightened my leg muscles around his neck just long enough to surprise him and loosened quickly and rolled out of the hold and back onto my feet. Every Were at the cookout was watching us like we were paid entertainment. “You ready to hit me yet?” We were both nearly hysterical by now. We circled each other slowly closing in. Finally, he lunged for me and I stepped into it and let him take me down by my waist. I bit a hole in my lip when I hit the ground. I didn’t pay attention but Eric noticed right away and tried to shake it off.
“Alcide! A blood offense in front of your pack, huh? You leave me no choice but to kick your ass.” I wrapped my legs around his waist and barley locked my ankles together, squeezing. I arched my back up and had most of him off the ground. I reached up and put the heel of my hand under his chin and pressed up towards the sky. He rolled over immediately. I hopped up onto my friend, still giggling like a school girl, and straddled his chest. I decided to let him have the match to save face. “Herveaux, what happens when you mess with the bull?”
“You get hit.” He lifted his hand a slapped my face playfully.
I licked my blood from my lips and eyed him steadily. “You wanna go and dance?”
“You ready to admit that I have you from hear in three different ways?”
“Then will you still dance with me when I win using one of them?”
I gave him a wicked smile. “Only if you use one of them.” Without hesitation his hand went down to my right ankle and lifted it up in the air and rolled out from underneath me, keeping hold. My face smashed into the ground and I bit my lip again while he pinned my foot to my butt and held me grabbing my left wrist and twisting it up behind my back.
He leaned over me and whispered into my ear. “Say it Sookie. Say it loud.”
I laughed. “You get the HORNS!”
He let me loose and slapped my ass. It stung like a mother too, since my skirt was soaked. “That’s my girl.”
He stood up and offered his hand to help me up and we held hands on our way over to Eric. I gave him a kiss and wrapped my arms around him. He still had a big grin on his face but I could tell that he was concerned about me.
“Sookie, when did you learn how to spar like that?”
I smiled over to Alcide. “Alcide wrestled in high school and college. He showed me some holds and escapes and he even set me up with some guys to spar with that wouldn’t take it easy on me.”
Eric smiled at the new development. “Yeah, I had to pay some guy’s ER bill. She broke his nose. Russell laughed his ass off though.” Ooh, I didn’t want Eric to know that Russell and I had been spending so much time together. Thanks to that damn bond he knew it too. I probably should have let Alcide know that Russell was a secret squirrel activity. Thankfully, Eric filed it away for later.
I grabbed them both by the hand. “Come on you two. I want to dance before it’s pumpkin time.”
“My guys took me to the dance floor and I felt oddly comfortable sandwiched between these two guys. I wasn’t feeling any jealousy coming across the bond from Eric either; it was weird but I figured that it would be a different story if it were a manpire. But there we were, the three of us dancing to a remix and everything was A O K. When the song was over, Alcide excused himself to go sit down for a minute. He was looking a little unsteady. So Eric and I got a slow dance in then went to find Alcide and check on him. He was sitting in a chair knocked out cold.
Eric joked, “Do you have a marker, I’ve never ‘dick faced’ anyone” and laughed but I was too worried to be amused. My best friend wasn’t even slurring his words at all 5 minutes ago and now he was passed out cold.
I found Tray to let him know that I was taking Alcide home and went back to try to get him to wake up enough to walk to his truck and wasn’t having any luck. I had tried patting his hand then his face. I was trying to not draw attention to his unconsciousness by slapping him or having Eric carry him so I finally made a fist and roughly rubbed my knuckles into his sternum. His eyes cracked as he winced but it worked well enough to get him to stand up and make the walk to his truck and get in. I dug his keys out of his pocket while Eric went and got the suburban to follow us and no sooner than we were moving to get to his house across town he slumped over into my lap and used my leg as a pillow. I pet his head as I drove and he practically purred so I laughed to myself at the irony of a giant Werewolf being snuggled into my lap (well, anyone’s for that matter) like a napping kitten.
When we got to his house I needed Eric’s help getting him into the house so Eric lifted Alcide over his shoulder and followed me into the house and back to the bedroom where Eric flopped him onto the bed while I started the water in the shower. When I came out of the bathroom I started taking off his boots and socks, then jeans and t-shirt. I had Eric help me get him to the bathroom and stand him up in the shower. I slipped my feet out of my boots and tossed my jacket onto the counter and got in with him because he was having a hard time standing up and I didn’t want him to fall through the glass doors. I stood there with him slapping his face and trying to wake him up under water as hot as I could stand to try to raise his blood pressure. He finally started to respond.
“Hey there, tall, dark and drunk.” I was really relieved that I wouldn’t have to take him to the hospital. “You think you can finish up in here without help?”
He looked confused and was trying to get his bearings. “Uh… Puddin’, how’d I get home?”
“I drove your truck. Alcide, stand up on your own so I know you’re ok.” He did. He was a little unsteady, but he did it. Eric asked from the doorway if he could help. “Thanks sweetie. We’re good.” I looked up at Alcide who had gotten pretty pale. Working at a bar for as long as I had, I knew the look and decided to give him some privacy. “I’ll go get you some water.” I climbed out of the tub and left the shower door open behind me so knowing that in a few seconds we would all but fly out of it to be sick. I shut the bathroom door behind me and went to work. Eric followed me around Alcide’s house. In the laundry room I grabbed his mop bucket. In the kitchen I lined the bucket with a trash bag, grabbed a couple bottles of water and a bottle of Motrin and took it all to the bedroom and set it up next to his bed. I grabbed a pair of his sleep pants from his dresser and went in to check on him once I heard him get back in the shower.
I stuck my head in the shower. “How are we doing in here, Sweetie?”
“Unfortunately, I think I’m going to live.” I laughed.
“Nothing unfortunate about that. Who else would I go to Jackson and party with?” He chuckled while he backed up under the water and rinsed his hair. I couldn’t help but laugh when I thought about the trips we had made to Jackson for visiting that ended up as a party weekend. “I’ll let you finish up.”
I grabbed his wet shorts from the floor and took them out and picked up the rest of his laundry and went to start a load for him and when I came back I set his wallet and keys on his nightstand and plugged in his cell phone. Eric and I sat quietly on Alcide’s bed and listened to make sure he didn’t fall or wasn’t getting sick. When he finally opened the door he looked better but still very drunk.
“Thank you. Both of you.”
I gave Alcide a big hug, “That’s what friends do,” and a kiss on the cheek. “Now get in bed.”
Eric, shook his hand, “She’s working at the diner tomorrow night, I’m going to sit at the bar and annoy Sam with my existence if you want to join me.”
Alcide laughed, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
That’s great. Sam was going to be a big enough pain, I really needed him to be in a dither about both of my guys at the bar on the same night. “Oh! Fabulous! Why not take Pam too!”
“That would be great! Then we could use the foreign language paranoia to our advantage. Very clever.”
“That’s what I’m here for, let’s go show me of!” and I grabbed him and towed him along behind me.
Once we were in the car Eric let his concerns be known. “Lover, how much time have you been spending with Alcide? You seem to know your way around his house very well.”
I smiled at him. “There’s the possessive Eric I know. Alcide and I spend tons of time together. We go out to eat and to movies, comedy clubs, dancing and we even went to Dallas for a football game at Thanksgiving and went to Club Dead for a change of scenery. I’ve spent the night at his house a bunch and he has spent a bunch of nights at mine.”
Eric didn’t look over at me but I could feel his panic. “Sookie, it sounds like you two are, or were, dating.”
“The two of us had that talk. With us being such good friends, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine us as a couple but we decided that we liked being best friends. We’ve even slept in the same bed a few times, but nothing has ever happened past 2nd base. When you heard Sam throw Alcide in my face, it was because Alcide had been into the bar at least twice each week to chat me up or so that we could go out after my shift. Sam thought we were dating and we kept up the farce because Sam left me alone. He figured that I had quit Vampires and a Were was a step in his direction. But I guess when Alcide went out of town for Christmas, Sam took that as his ‘go sign’.”
I felt the fear in the bond start to ease up, a lot. “And his sister was your reason for being in Jackson?”
I took a deep breath and blew it out. “We spent one night with his sister, but she isn’t why we were there. Russell throws a MEAN party!”
“So while I was here, in Shreveport, being… baby sat, you and your Manimal buddy were letting the good times roll in Jackson and Dallas?”
I was about to answer him when my phone rang. I rolled my eyes while I dug it out of my purse.
“Hey there, Margaux! How are things tonight?”
“Sookie dear, I didn’t hear back from you today. I emailed you just before I went to rest.” Her Greek accent was more pronounced than any other time I’ve ever talked to her which probably meant that she was riled about something.
“I’m sorry babe. I’ve been busy all day and haven’t checked my email. What can I do for you?”
“You can tell me what the fuck to do with all of these damn refugees. I have received no less than 3 each day for a month. They don’t have waking papers.”
I giggled. “Margaux, why are you asking me dear? This is a patriarchal conversation and I am just a telepath.”
“My white ass! Don’t give me that shit. You are not just an anything. I need to hide 100 vampires so that I don’t look like I’m harboring fugitives.”
“I don’t think you need to worry too much about it. They’re just looking for high ground. Are they all in Frisco.”
“Yes, they are.”
“I’ll call Niki and get her to send her plane and they can just disappear for a week. Sound good, Mama?”
“I don’t know what we’d do without you cookie. You take care of yourself.”
“You too. Kisses.”
Eric had been listening in carefully and opened his mouth to ask a question but I put my finger over his lips as I hit speed dial.
“Hey Nick… we have collateral damage.”
“What might I be able to do for the cause?”
“Margaux has an infestation. It seems that the natives are taking to the trees. Might we be generous enough to send a plane and put them up for a week or so? There’s about 100.”
She cackled into the phone. “Sookie, you know that I couldn’t say no to you if I wanted to. Let Margaux know that the plane will be waiting at sunset to bring them here for vacation. No favor, no payback. I have news for you, but it will have to wait since I have chores to do. Thank you. Kisses”
When hung up I texted Margaux and Eric looked more baffled than ever. “Lover, I don’t like being confused.”
“Eric, would you trust me if I told you that you shouldn’t know. Can you accept waiting?”
He grimaced a little. “I trust you. I can accept waiting. I can promise that it will be all I think about though.”
It was my turn to grimace. I didn’t want him to obsess over it. “Then I propose a deal. You are smart, you have great hearing, you probably already have an idea based on what you heard. If I answer 3 yes or no questions for you, will that tide you over until everything reveals itself?”
He smiled at me and I actually felt pride in the bond. He was pleased that I was negotiating instead of folding. I couldn’t help but smile back at him.
“I think that could pacify me. Yes. You have a deal. Are you in danger?” Aww, that was his first question.
“Is there about to be another power shift for us to suffer.”
“I can’t answer that due to your choice of words.”
“Is there about to be another power shift?”
“Will I have to wait long for the news?”
“No. This will all be over faster than a knife fight in a phone booth.”
It was just after 11 when we got to Fangtasia. The parking lot was full since it was a Saturday night. We went in through the back door Eric had carried our bags and I went to grab a shower in the locker room. I was only gone for about 5 minutes and I came into the office wrapped in a towel. I wasn’t even sure if Pam knew we were there or not. Eric was already changed and leering at me.
“Eric, do we need to talk?”
“What do you mean?”
“Are you ok with what happened tonight? Everything. I don’t want you to be distracted by something…”
“Sookie, I told you earlier that I had fun tonight. Socializing, the water game, dancing, sparring. I very much enjoyed myself even when I was worried for Alcide, watching you take charge impressed me. I am very happy with tonight. I could have done without the worry for Alcide’s sake, but that was no one’s fault.” He came over and hugged me. “Now cheer up and get into that slutty outfit. I’ll send Pam back so that you can give her your gift. I’ll be in our booth when you’re ready.” He kissed me and was gone.
I had my bra, underwear and thigh highs on when Pam came into the office.
She slinked over to me and cupped my breast, “Eric said you had something for me, but I didn’t realize it was you.” We looked at each other and laughed hysterically.
“The garment bag over there is yours, I found some pretties when I went shopping today.” I was done slipping on the shrug and zipping my skirt and digging out my shoes when she squealed. I whipped my head around to see that she was headed my way and she grabbed me while bouncing. “Pam, if you get any more excited you’re going to get me pregnant!” She rolled with laughter. I had buckled my mary janes and was tightening down the last ‘handle bar’ with a pony tail holder when Eric came in. Pam attacked him with a hug too. He smiled at her.
“What was that for?”
“Eric, I like the results when she shops. It seems to be good for everyone. You definitely look the part. I love my new couture; she bought Blaniks! And everyone on the floor is going to envy that you get to go home with the naughty school girl!” He beamed.
I laughed at her, “Pamela, you need to get ahold of yourself, you’re gushing. You have customers to offend. Think of how confused they’ll be when they see that pretty mouth all turned up like a Cheshire cat.” Eric thought that was funny. He held up his hand and I took it. He led me to our booth and beckoned for service, when then waitress came Eric waited for me to order and then didn’t get anything for himself.
“You said that you were going to have true blood.”
“If you were intoxicated I would have.” He took my hand into his and raised it to his mouth. “Last night, when I took from you the first time, you had consumed 5 servings and it did not affect your flavor, later on when I took a small amount, you had consumed 11 servings. I don’t know why, but alcohol isn’t doing to you what it does to normal humans.” He gave my finger tip a quick nip. “Tonight you have had enough alcohol to kill a man and you are not in the slightest bit affected.”
“We’ll figure it out later.” And gave him a little smile, “So, how did you imagine ‘showing me off”?”
“What do you mean?”
“You wanted to bring me here. What did you have in mind? What is appropriate for me to do with you, to you, while you watch, especially here?”
His sexy, up-to-something smirk took over. “I think that we might have to adopt a trial and error approach.” He waggled his eyebrows. The waitress brought over my drink and gave me a nasty look
“Master? Are you sure I can’t bring you a true blood?” is what she said but she was thinking ‘you would you feed from that slut, when you could have me?’
I got nasty, “Since you’re new here, I’ll explain this to you… You need to watch what runs through that head of yours since I am a telepath. More importantly, I am his telepath and his own personal juice box. Got it?” Eric was wearing a very nasty look on his face. Gran would have called it: ‘giving her the hairy eyeball’.
“Yes ma’am, so sorry ma’am.” As she backed away, I heard Pam cackle. You gotta love their better than great hearing.
Once she was out of ear shot, Eric mentioned in passing, “I’ll have Clancy remove her from the schedule.”
“Aww. That’s sweet but she’ll behave now. She needs the money. She’s got a baby and her parents kicked her out when she got pregnant. She’s a nice girl, she just got ahead of herself. Right now, she’s really angry at herself.”
“If you’re sure that she won’t be a problem.”
“Not until she gives her notice in August to go work for a pharmaceutical company. She’ll work her hump off for you now though.”
“I guess it’s a new thing.”
“Interesting.” I took a sip of my drink and gave him a wink. He scooted around and pulled me in for a deep kiss. “Mmmm, I had always wondered what those tasted like.”
I scooted the rest of the way over to Eric so that our thighs were against each other. I placed one fingernail on his knee and dragged it deeply up towards his inner thigh and he groaned. I fanned out my fingers the next time and repeated the action and he groaned a little harder and squirmed a little. So, I brought my knees up under me on the bench and quickly maneuvered to straddle him. A flash of lust flared across his beautiful blue eyes. He rested his hands on my lower back as we kissed and I gave him a close quarters lap dance. I moved my mouth over to his ear to nibble and tug on his lobe and then down his neck to tease him with some nibbling but more scraping. He slid away from the seat and pulled me towards him pressing himself against my center. I reached behind my back to untie my shrug, opening it to expose a soft pink lace bra and his hands were immediately on them grasping, pinching and pulling. I whispered against his neck, “Look around, no one notices.” I felt him get more excited hearing those words. He retreated for a moment and looked around to confirm that in a room full a vampire that could smell arousal like a farmer can smell rain, no one, not a single being noticed that we were a thin layer of denim away from a letter to FangBanger monthly. He looked up at me with lust and slight panic in his eyes. It’s a look that I’ve seen before when he was fighting a losing battle to control an urge. “Eric,” I bent my head over and ran my tongue from his collar bone to his ear where I lingered to nip and pull. “take it.” And he did. He stabbed his teeth through my bra and drew my blood into him. It was like having a fire stoked. The more he took, the closer I got and soon I was stifling the moans of my orgasm wishing that I had an unlimited supply of blood so that this could go on forever. When he was done, he slowly pulled his face away from me and my mouth attached to his using a kiss as cover to carefully clean my blood from his lips and chin. He looked at my bra and nodded to point out that one side was badly stained. I shrugged and reached behind to unclasp it and did the “bra/sleeve maneuver” to remove the bra and then I retied my top and sat back. We stared into each other’s eyes and hypnotized one another for a while until Pam came over. She sniffed the air, her eyes rolled back into her head.
She purred a little, “Sookie are you free for a dance now?”
I leaned forward and gave Eric a quick kiss and used my finger to catch a stray droplet and licked it away. I put both hands on the booth on either side of Eric’s shoulders and used it to balance myself to pop up onto my feet standing on the seat with him gazing up at me as though he was impressed with something. “Sure am.” I told her as I took the 2 steps to the edge of the bench and nonchalantly walked off the edge and landed in front of her.
“It appears that you’ve been robbed of your undergarment.” She said with a mixture of emotions in her voice not the least of them being lust. Eric and I both laughed.
I explained, “Pam, one cannot be robbed of which that they freely dispose.” And I gave her a spank that flew her eyes open wide and made her fangs run out slightly. I put my hand to her chin and gave her a sweet kiss, “Come on, let’s dance.” I grabbed my boyfriend’s child and took her to the dance floor just in time for the song to change. How appropriate that it was “Pretend That We’re Dead!” We didn’t dance as much as we preformed a completely clothed sexual act. Sure our legs were moving to the music but we were groping at each other and for more than half of the song our tongues never left each other’s bodies. I started slow waiting to for Eric’s cue to stop but as he watched us, lust was building in the bond and because of it, between my legs. When the song was over we went to sit down in our booth. Pam mentioned casually, “I’m very pleased with how sexual you’ve become of late, Sookie.”
“I’ve always been me. I’ve just never had an outlet.”
“But surely while you were with Bill, he let you explore?” I felt a little uncomfortable talking about sex with a former lover in front of my future husband but Eric didn’t seem to mind.
So I laughed. I was still laughing when I answered, “Explore? With Bill? Not even close unless you count missionary work!!!” They both thought that was amusing.
Eventually, I was interrupted by my phone.
“Mr. Madden, how are you enjoying your Saturday evening?” Eric and Pam’s eyes widened like saucers and their fangs ran out. I managed to fake charming and sweet.
“Sookie, I insist, call me Victor.” He hissed my name and it gave me goose bumps. “I am in need of your services. I am missing several vampires. They are underlings, but I have been unable to contact them.”
“Victor, have you heard rumblings? Do you think it could be the fellowship?”
“I can’t confirm it. That is why I would like your assistance. I will pay.”
“You’ve heard about the love I have for the Fellows. Is Thursday soon enough?” Eric furrowed his brow and shook his head. I took his hand and laced our fingers together.
“That will do. I must say, I am surprised that you are cooperating.”
“You know how girls are. You just have to dangle the right carrot.” The way he laughed at that sent chills up my spine. “The possibility that I could be part of catching Newlin makes the intrigue irresistible. I can drive down during the day so the work can start as soon as the sun sets. I’ll have Herveaux with me to help and watch my back. Do you think you could have someone put together some info for me? My telepathy is advancing and I’m becoming a bit of an intuitive as well so if I know more about the missing vampire, I might get a pull in the right direction. No guarantees though. I’m still exercising.”
“I’ll arrange for lodgings for you and the Packmaster and you’ll have the info you need soon. I look forward to working with you.”
“Victor, don’t worry about that. I have an apartment in the city. I will call you about the info you send me. I could get a lead that your people can follow before I get there. Goodnight.”
“Thank you, Miss Stackhouse.”
“You’re welcome, Victor.”
When I hung up the phone Eric launched into conversation. “How could you agree to go down there?! It could be a trap. It isn’t safe. I don’t trust him…” He went on and Pam was nodding in agreement. I maintained eye contact and let him finish his laundry list of fears. When he finally finished, I took my turn.
“A knife fight in a phone booth.” Eric’s eyes locked down as he processed the clue. He wrapped his arms around me when he came to the realization that things would be over before I would be going on the little trip. He relaxed immediately as did Pam, but she was unsure as to why.
“Master, can you please explain what is going on?”
“No. I don’t even know. But it seems that Sookie might be a better Vampire than either of us. She has gotten quite duplicitous.” There was a lull at our table for a few moments while Pam soaked in that I was up to my eyeballs in Vampire politics and not complaining for once. She decided to change the subject and ask Eric how he enjoyed the cookout. I started wading through the dozen or so texts I had been getting all night and answering them.
Eric told Pam that she should tag along to the next cookout we get invited to, which shouldn’t be too hard since we are in good with the new pack master. And then he described the different things that he noticed as though he were reporting back to ‘the mother ship’ , especially taking note that cast was an issue because he observed groups of ‘like aged’ (who says that, really?) individuals and the merging and separating on the subgroups of sex within the age groups.
Eric finished his total recall about the pack/Were paradigm and I butted in, “Pam are you gonna come out to Bon Temps tomorrow night and terrorize Merlotte’s too?”
“That sounds exciting, am I invited?” Looking to Eric who nodded.
“Absolutely, I want to hook you up with Alcide. As long as you are nice to him, that is.”
“You want to pimp me out to your Were friend?”
“No. I want to introduce you to my friend Alcide. But trust me, if you like me, then you’ll like him. We’re a lot alike. He’s a real stand up guy, between the 2 of us, we have that brother/father/sister/mother dynamic covered so the only thing missing for him really is sex, what else you want to put into it is your call, as long as you don’t fuck up chocolate sauce for him.” Eric and I laughed at the inside joke. “He doesn’t know that I was going to mention it, he never mentioned it so if you meet him socially and get a cold fish, whatever. But he’s good looking and has a great sense of humor worst case scenario: y’all have great sex for a while.”
“What’s his background with women?”
“He wants to settle down, he wants to be part of a couple but, last we talked about it, didn’t want to pass the Were genes on. Debbie was a psycho and he was really relieved when he severed those ties however it happened. Then Maria-Star died and the next girl he saw on the regular was a Were too but was more sober than the pope… I think he looks good in his work clothes, but he dresses up really nice, as a matter of fact, when I told him those 2 dresses were for you and why- he picked the shoes to match while I was shopping. He keeps his house up very nicely and has really good manners. I think your biggest adjustment will be rebound time in between,” we shared an evil grin and Eric rolled his eyes, “and he’s probably going to have biting issues but if things go well, I’ll work on that for you.”
After a long quiet I added, “I’m not saying that you two should get married. I just think you two could enjoy each other’s company. And even if you say no, you are still invited to wear your new pretties and keep me company at work to fuck with Sam’s head.”
Eric had intently listened to the conversation and finally added, “I trust him.” Pam’s eyes flew open and if she was a breather, she’d have gasped.
She thought about it for a moment. “Well, any man who knows a good shoe when he sees it is worth an introduction. I’ll be at Merlotte’s, dressed to kill. No promises.”
“Good. I work until 8 so we can go do something after.”
We talked for a while before I demanded a dance. Pam mentioned that she had work to do if she was going to be off tomorrow night. So Eric and I went to the dance floor. Die Another Day (a remix) was playing and Eric and I put on quite a show for the now tiring patrons. Most of the time my back was to him and we were shaking and writhing pressed against each other as if an outside force were at work. When the song was over, he pulled me to him and we danced to Nothing Else Matters romantically. We felt more from this song than the others. The lyrics really fit the two of us like it had been written for us. We decided without discussion that this is our song. I heard him think that he couldn’t wait to dance with me at our wedding and that we should start planning it so that we could do it before the nights got too short. I sent to him “March 20th.” And he squeezed me tighter. When our song was over, he pulled back with his arms still around my waist and asked if I was ready to go home. “I’m going to go to our booth and wait for you to get done with your phone calls.” He looked at me quizzically. “You have 3 messages to return.” He bent to kiss me on the forehead and went to his office.
I went to the bar and asked for a coke and Pam came over to me with a stranger.
She stomped her last step as she tends to do “Where did the Sherriff go?”
“Sherriff Northman is in his office returning business calls.”
She nodded towards the stranger. “Sookie, babysit the ‘check in’ while I offer my assistance.”
“Yes ma’am.”, I fought the urge to salute. “Sookie Stackhouse.” I grabbed my drink and ordered a B+ from the bar, ushereding her to our booth.
“Oh. Unlucky coincidence.” She nodded. She had beautiful short ringlets of flame red hair and her eyes were grey like a storm cloud that took charge of her face filled with otherwise delicate features.
“So where are you from?”
“I grew up in Amarillo but most recently Orange down on the gulf.”
“Wow, that’s a long way. How’d you end up there?”
“I went to Texas A&M. When I graduated I took, my idea of, the perfect job in Orange. I was happy there…” She trailed off as she covered her face and started to cry. I jumped up and grabbed some napkins from the bar and slid back on the bench next to her. I put my hand on her back and rubbed across her shoulders shushing her.
“How long since you were turned, sweetie?”
“Aww. That’s rough but you’ll be fine.”
“I’m worried about the sex. I’ve never had sex with anyone I didn’t date for a while. The girls in my sorority called me the Angel, and not in a friendly way.”
“Well, first of all, you should track them all down and key their cars.” She gave a giggle. “But what sex are you worried about?”
“With the Sherriff. I ran into another vampire who told me to find somewhere to live and report to the sheriff and told me that I would have to have sex with him or he’d make my life miserable and I’d never find a nice one because they all know each other.” I shushed her and rubbed her shoulders some more. “Are you what they call a fangbanger?”
I gave a weak laugh. “Of sorts.”
Eric’s voice boomed behind me, “You most certainly are not.” I scooted out of the booth so that Angela could too and do the appropriate bowing. “I am Eric Northman, Sherriff of Area 5. Who is your maker?” and made a gesture towards the booth for us to sit.
She had started sobbing again. Eric mentally sent “I hate to see a woman cry.”
I sent back “She was told that you would require sex from her.” He frowned. “Introduce me as your fiancé. She’s only 3 months old.”
“I assume you’ve already been introduced to my fiancé, Sookie Stackhouse.”
She started to calm down quickly at the thought of a monogamous vampire.
“Why is it that your maker isn’t with you at your age?”
“I never met him or her. I was in a car accident and I died and I woke up in a refrigerator at the hospital. My parents were on their way to come get me and take my body home for my funeral.”
“Do you have employment? Shelter? Vehicle?”
“I interviewed today for a job at the 24 hr. Wal-Mart and I’m staying in the V room at the red lodge right now.
“Ridiculous. What did you do before you died?”
“I was a teacher. I taught elementary school I always liked working with kids.”
He pulled out his phone and dialed. “Hey princess, sorry to wake you… miss you too. Kisses… do you know of any families that need a tutor/night nanny/governess? I have young vampire here that was a teacher before she turned…. Ok keep your ear down for me…lick your own… tomorrow night then, wear something pretty for me.” He returned his phone to his pocket and smirked at me, got up and kissed me on his way to the back.
After a few moments he sent: “Bring her to the back.”
We walked into the office. He quickly introduced Pam and told Angela that in his absence, she was to answer to her and gave her a list of important phone numbers including mine. He directed us to the car. On the way to the motel he informed her of how things work in vampire life… er, society. He focused on his role over her. We pulled up and I went in to help her get her things and we were back in the truck again in 10 minutes and Eric was just getting off the phone. He drove us to a parking lot and handed her a Fangtasia key chain and pointed to a champagne colored Dodge Caliber and told her to follow us. I sat quietly taking it all in. We were only in the car for another 10 minutes when we pulled into an apartment complex. We all got out of the car and Eric grabbed her things and a case of true blood and carried them to the 3rd floor. He took the keys from her and opened her door for her. She walked into a furnished apartment with no windows and he put her things on the couch.
“Welcome Home Angela. This apartment is yours to do with as long as you so choose. Leave it as you found it. Feel free to take a roommate for the extra money. The car is yours too. And this.” he handed her an envelope with a few thousand dollars in it. “Consider it from the welcome wagon. There is a business card in there as well. They are expecting you tomorrow night at 6pm, I assume that since you went to college you have waited tables.” She nodded. “You’ll need to wear jeans and athletic shoes. A pair of shorts or jean skirt will garner more tips if you are so inclined as long as it is blue denim. Uniform shirts will be provided. It is a sports bar and open until 2 so for now the hours will be good, but you should explore the teaching avenue as summer gets closer.” I was shocked. So was Angela. His hands had been in his pockets and when she hugged him he was helpless and he looked it so he kept talking. “The phone and cable are taken care of with the other utilities but you should get a cell phone as soon as possible. The local Packmaster, Sookie and I will be on the watch for child and/or education opportunities for you and something will come up soon. Do you have your hunger under control?”
She nodded. “I drink a lot, but never live.”
“I’ll have Pam set up a delivery from the local bank. At your age you should have real blood at least twice each week. Right now, you could get by but if you were to see real blood in quantity as from an injury, you wouldn’t be able to control yourself.” She nodded. “Welcome to Shreveport Miss McCourt. I hope you like it here. Call your family and let them know you are safe. Don’t forget that you have our numbers. We’ll check in on you often, especially this one.” And nodded towards me.
She grabbed me and hugged me, thanking me.
When Eric and I got back down to the car he was pissed. He was stifling it while we were with Angela but he was fuming now. I let him have at it. He drove too fast. He turned without looking. When we stopped, he stomped on the brakes. When we went, he left skid marks. I let it go on for a few minutes before I spoke.
“Want to talk about it?”
“Talk about what?” He yelled, “The soulless bastard that turned her and left her? The vampire that told her she’d be enslaved? Or her family who left her on her own?
“There’s that, or we could talk about how lucky that girl is that she chose the northbound train.” And I put my hand on his shoulder in an attempt to calm him.
He shrugged my hand away. “I’m sorry Sookie. I just need a minute to be angry.”
“Fine. Can I keep talking though?”
“That depends. Are you going to try to rationalize things and make me feel better?”
“Did I hear you tell Alcide to wear something pretty for you?”
His face scrunched up fighting the smile. “Damn it Sookie!”
“You told him ‘kisses’.” He started to laugh. “Y’alls little BROmance better not interfere with the wedding!”
“BROmance, huh? I don’t think you have to worry about that. By the way, I think that Pam & Alcide are a good match too. I had thought of that but if I had suggested it, Pam would have done it whether she wanted to or not.”
“Well then, I hope they are as happy together as we are.”
He reached out and found my hand to give it a gentle squeeze and looked at me, “Thank you.”
We were getting to a part of town that I recognized, but we drove straight through it and into the wooded outskirts of Shreveport. We weren’t driving for long before we reached a heavy iron gate with a keypad. Eric stopped at the keypad and typed something in and we drove on through. The driveway was so long that I was starting to think we had entered a gated community and then I saw it. One house. The house section was twice as big as the garage portion and there was room for 1…2…3…4…5…6 . The two story 6 car garage was not the biggest part of the house. Wow. He hit a button on his driveway, bringing the garage door to life and drove into the bay. There were 4 other cars in there already.
He climbed out and came around to open my door. When I slid out, he led me over to look at a brand new cherry red Dodge Charger! The license plate read ‘BONDED 1’. “Oh, my god ERIC!… when did you do this?”
“A few months ago, when the old one was burned. Tara gave you her car before I had the chance to give this to you.” He wrapped his arms around my waist, hugging me from behind. “It’s been here ever since.”
I turned around and looked up into his beautiful blue eyes. “You didn’t give it to me because you knew I’d be a brat if you tried to. I’d have thought you were trying to best her gesture.”
He frowned as he nodded slowly.
“Eric, why do you put up with me?”
He smirked at me. “I’m patient. I’ve always known that you would come around to my way of thinking.”
“What way would that be?”
“When you recognize that we belong together.” He bent over and kissed me sweetly.
“I’ve recognized it for too long. I have no idea why I fought it for so long.”
He simply smiled at me and took my hand to lead me into the house. On our way through, Eric pointed out the pantry, laundry room and kitchen. Separated by a glass wall from the kitchen, was a huge pool and hot tub. Why didn’t that surprise me? He led me past the office and a set of stairs into a den that must have been the size of Fangtasia. There was a TV on the wall that was bigger than I had ever seen in a house and there were 2 large cream plush L-shaped couches facing the entertainment center; each had their own large dark wood coffee tables and matching end tables. In spite of the huge furniture and electronics, the space still seemed under furnished. There were sliding glass doors along one side and built-ins for storage along the other.
I was impressed and giggled a little bit. “Nice man cave, sweetie. Do you ever spend any time here?”
He tried to hide a smirk. “Not often, I moved in around the time that you started… making things exciting.”
I couldn’t hide my amusement. “Oh! So, it’s all my fault.”
He answered me by kissing my forehead and taking my hand to lead me back to the front and into the dining room, then through to the formal living room and up the front stairs. He stopped at the first door we came to and opened a door and pulled me into a closet (?) and then shut the door behind us and then opened the next door and showed me the room. It was beautifully decorated with white and blue paisley wallpaper and a navy blue damask comforter on the bed. It was light tight and I spent a second thinking about how feminine this room was; that it’s SO not how I pictured Eric’s bedroom being… at all.
“This is Pam’s room. She has needed to stay here from time to time.”
I smiled at him and giggled. “That makes sense. I didn’t picture you as a blue paisley kind of guy.”
“Interesting. Out of curiosity, what kind of guy do you think I am?”
I closed my eyes for a second and then I opened them to meet his. “You prefer texture to patterns and for some reason, even though the only color you’ve associated yourself with is red (the club, your car, the gift’s you’ve bought me) I get the feeling that you prefer orange.”
He opened the first door to the room and held his hand out for me to take with a smile on his face. “We’ll see.”
He took me around the corner to the beginning of a very long corridor and opened the first door and let me look in. It was very plain. The matching dresser, side tables and head board were very dark wood the bedding was a plain white duvet. The cushion on the settee was even white.
“The six guestrooms on this hall are all the same except for that the odd ones are for humans and the even ones are light tight.” I smiled and nodded as he closed the door. I was relieved that this wasn’t his room. I would have been embarrassed to have been so far off the mark.
Eric took my hand again and took me further down the hall and it opened up into more a balcony overlooking the kitchen and pool area and out onto the portico. When we got to the other end of the house to the other flight of stairs he opened the door to another ‘human’ guestroom. This one had a large window and built-ins around it complete with a window seat all in dark stained wood and a king sized pedestal bed. The walls were painted dark green and the bedding was a khaki color. It had a very lodgey feel to it, very masculine.
When I turned to look at him he smiled and pointed to the last door. “The last one is ours. Are you ready to grade your intuition?”
I squinted up at him, took his hand and nodded. He led me through the vapor lock door way and turned on the light and a smile spread across my lips. The bed had a blond colored woven raffia headboard and was dressed in an orange smocked coverlet and pillows with ivory sheets. The bench at the foot of the bed was upholstered with orange shantung and the dresser and high boy were both very light wood. The wall behind the headboard was painted to match the coverlet with some kind of bronze and gold finish that he called a color wash. Hanging on the wall over the dresser hung a beautiful painting. I had seen it before. The design was breathtaking; circles within circles being blown from the branches of whimsical trees, one leaning slightly over the other in the wind under an orange sky. I caught myself staring at it and he put his hands on my shoulders and started telling me about it.
“I saw this as a painting a couple of months ago at a gallery in New Orleans. The artist’s name is Natasha Wescoat.”
He came around to look at me. He looked amused. “Lover, how do you know?”
I smiled at him. “Amelia bought a print of it for me for Christmas. I went with her to visit her father shortly after the takeover and we were out shopping when I saw it through a gallery window. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.”
He took my hand and got very close. “Lover, what did it make you think of?”
I shook my head slightly. “You’ll laugh.”
“I promise not to.”
I almost didn’t, but I went ahead and explained with a huff. “It made me think of us. The larger tree is reaching for the smaller one. The branches of the larger tree are conflicted; one is reaching for the small tree and the other, away. The smaller tree’s base is sure of itself and the rest is leaning away in spite of what the trunk wants….” I trailed off. By the time I was done explaining myself, I was near a whisper. He hadn’t laughed, just as he promised, but the corners of his mouth had started to turn up slightly. “Go ahead. Make fun of me.”
I was prepared to be called naïve. I was prepared to be called silly. I was ready for a lot of things, but I wasn’t ready for the kiss he gave me. It was the longest, most romantic kiss I could ever remember sharing with him. It warmed me from the inside and I thought that if it never ended I would be fine with that. Every part of my body was tingling.
When he finally pulled away from my mouth, he smiled at me. “So lover, I suppose you got an A for your intuition.”
I giggled. “Maybe a B+… I would have bet that you wouldn’t have something as contemporary in here. I would have figured you for a Klimt, but then again Wescoat’s trees are really similar.” Eric looked a little amused. “What did I say?”
He rolled his eyes at me and chuckled. “That is where ‘Tree of Life’ used to hang. How did you know it would be Klimt?”
I took a deep breath and tried to answer him to his satisfaction. “It makes sense to me because you’re fashionable, you keep yourself current; you drive this year’s car, you have modern furniture, you loaded my ipod with everything from classical to techno, and the last attention worthy art movement was symbolism. Klimt and Munch were at the front but you wouldn’t enjoy something as dark as Munch hanging in you resting place that’s why you have Vampire hanging in your office instead. You don’t cling to the old for the sake of it being old, you appreciate newness.”
I smiled at him in spite of feeling interrogated at this point. “I read a book about the psychology of color once. Orange is controversial because people either love it or hate it. It’s fun and flamboyant. In different cultures it symbolizes love, happiness and gluttony. It’s the color of the Sacral chakra too, Mr. Sex God. You might as well have been born orange.” He smiled a little bit but was still looking a little suspicious. “Oh yeah, and in Reservoir Dogs, Mr. Orange was the good guy pretending to be a bad ass! Anything else?”
He chuckled at that. “How do you know about so many things?” His curiosity was really starting to grate my nerves, but I knew that this was all new to him, I had a couple of months to get used to all of my new gifts slowly. Weeks ago, Alcide and I had started calling it ‘sponging’ because I tended to absorb info and hold onto it easily. Eric had been slapped in the face with, pretty much, a new Sookie.
“Eric, growing up, I only had one friend so I did a lot of reading. I don’t always read nonfiction. I got embarrassed from time to time because I didn’t know stuff since I didn’t get out much so, I would go to the library and check out a book about it so it wouldn’t happen again. I can name all 206 bones in the human body because I didn’t know what a boxer’s fracture was when Jason got one. I know all about labor and delivery and by extension blood pressure and diabetes because I was too embarrassed to ask Holly what it meant that she was ‘dilated’ when she was pregnant with Cody. I can recite the tenants of every faith and name most of the Gods and Goddesses because I’ve waited tables on enough Sunday afternoons to have been curious. I can tell you what kind of plants to landscape with based on the soil you have here that won’t attract bugs or animals. I can tell you that your house is done in a modified Usonian style of Architecture since the first floor is completely comparable to Frank Lloyd Wright’s openness. I bet you had to show your fangs to the architect to get him to replace the car port with a garage, wall in the pool and put the built-ins in the den.” He smiled and nodded. I grinned back and kept talking. “I can take care of maintenance on my own car because my father is dead, my brother is too busy being him and I was always too much of a freak to have a boyfriend to do it for me. I know about art because on a field trip to an art museum in Shreveport in middle school, I realized how quite they were. People didn’t think in words as much as feelings, so I would have Gran drop me off whenever she had something to do in town. I love sports because arenas are full of screaming fans and you can’t tell what voices are internal or spoken. Over the last few months I have re-read the Art of War, Markings, The Philosophy of Civilization and The Measure of a Man all because I have been up to my ass in politics. The funny thing is that, in spite of reading nearly every book in the library, I still come across as naïve because the only thing you can’t learn about by reading is how to act around people.”
Eric’s face had softened dramatically during my little monologue. He came over to me and put his arms around me, hugging me close and kissing my forehead. “Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for.”
I hummed against him. “I always liked Dag Hammarskjold even though he was a politician. He also said: ‘Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment’. That’s kind of ironic since I found a dead man that makes me so happy.”
He gave me a tight squeeze and gave a little chuckle. I could tell that he was impressed that I even knew who Hammarskjold was and what’s more threw a little sentiment on top of it all. “So you have an appreciation for Scandinavian politicians?”
“So it seems.”
“I didn’t want to allude to anything in front of Pam earlier, but I don’t know if I am impressed or worried about how you lied to Madden earlier. We’ve exchanged blood in the last 24 hours and when I searched the bond, I didn’t pick up on any sort of deception.”
I leaned back a little to look into his eyes. “Do your recall thing. I didn’t lie, plus, I was uncooperative about the lodgings so that I wouldn’t seem like I was his puppet, otherwise he would have seemed suspicious.”
He had stared off into space for a moment while he replayed the conversation in his head. He gradually started to smile. “You were very sneaky…You told him that you had an apartment.”
I giggled. “Yeah, that was a dig. When he took over he had designs on taking over the Abbey as his residence. Mr. Cataliades had fun telling him that Sophie-Anne had commissioned the repairs and given the title to me as a thank you gift for helping her that night.”
Eric thought that was hilarious. He could be so evil sometimes. “Lover, you are endlessly entertaining.”
“Oh really. How entertaining could I be? We’ve been in here for half an hour and we still haven’t made it onto the bed.” I waggled my eyebrows at him. I had felt like we’d spent more than enough time on being serious and was ready to move on. I started unbuttoning his shirt and he reached behind me to untie my shrug and unzip my skirt. We had taken off every stitch of clothing and I wrapped my legs around him as he picked me up to carry me to the bed. He sat me on the edge and we pawed at each other while we kissed and chewed at each for a while before I decided to show off another gift.
“Run out your fangs.” He grinned and ran them out excitedly. I pricked my finger on one and touched it to his tongue and surprise took over the lust on his face.
“What do I taste like?”
I pricked my finger and rubbed my finger on his tongue again
“What about now”
And after the third ‘taste test’…
“What do I taste like, Eric?”
He growled the answer, “FAERIE.”
“Do you like the way it tastes?” he nodded
“What do you want to do about that?” And I projected a strong faerie scent
His eyes were completely glazed over. “I want to fuck you and drain you.”
I grabbed his mouth with mine and kissed him again as he grabbed me and put me in the middle of the bed. He shoved right into me without preamble. He drove his fangs into my neck and pulled while he aggressively pounded me until we reached our end at the same time. He went right back to work and I released another wave of faerie scent and he became an animal. Wildly chiseling away at my insides and hitting every button I had as he did. I released another wave and he shook his head and growled. He went up onto his haunches and grabbed my legs nearly splitting my in half as he did. I was coming again and I realized I was releasing more faerie airs every time I did. Eric had my leg pressed up against his trunk, my ankle was right next to his face.
Through gasping and moaning “Go ahead. I’m yours.” He did. He turned his head and latched onto my ankle and as he sucked from the wound he growled and his thrusting became harder and more erratic. He suddenly pulled out of me, flipped me over and took a big bite out of my ass and pulled and drew and sucked. I felt myself slipping so I threw his fangs back in and he stopped. He was in me again and hammering away. I had to close my eyes so that I wouldn’t be blinded by my own orgasm. I shot straight up on my knees and as every muscle in my body tightened around him I screamed his name, he replied by growling a deep guttural vibration that I felt come from the floor. We collapsed into the bed and he gathered me to him and trembled like a scared animal.
“Are you ok?” He didn’t answer.
“Honey? Talk to me.” I waited for what seemed like forever for some kind of answer that I never got. Eventually, he stood and picked me up and cradled me to him as he carried me into the bathroom and to the huge bath tub. He set me down and started the water. When he turned around his eyes widened and he stared at me in horror. He paced around me. I was dumbfounded. I went to him and hugged him and kissed his shoulder.
“Eric, talk to me. What’s wrong?”
“Sookie, I’m so sorry… I didn’t mean to hurt you…”
“Shhhh. Eric honey, you didn’t. I’m fine. I’m right here and I feel good. And what we just did felt great and I can’t wait to do it again.”
“Sookie. Look.” He walked to the bathroom door and closed it so that I could use the full length mirror. What I saw was shocking to say the very least. Sure, I had a fair share of bite marks. But the bigger issue seemed to be the no less than a dozen large purple bruises. I looked like I lost a fight with a fast pitch softball pitching machine.
“Wow” Is all I said while I was admiring my markings. “Humph… well done.”
“Sure. Can I get in the tub now? I’m chilly.”
“Chilly? This is the worst I have ever seen you mangled and marred. And you are chilly?”
“Ok sweetie, explain to me how or why I should be upset and I’ll do my best to comply.” And I walked by him to climb into the warm water.
He was leaning against the sink with his arms folded across his chest, his face was guilt ridden as he watched me submerge myself.
“You look like you’ve been hit by a truck and it was at my hands.”
I giggled “…and mouth and teeth and legs.”
“I am not laughing Sookie.”
Tonight had been enough of an emotional rollercoaster. I was half way past fussing and coming up on the light at yelling… “Eric Northman! Will it make you feel better if I lied to you and told I was in pain? Oh, Eric you big mean Viking you should feel bad about this. Buy me something expensive to make amends. I am sure as shit not going to ask you to not to fuck me like that anymore because it was awesome and I’ll rock a few bruises like Harry Winston diamonds to come like that again. They are my marks. If they hurt, or anything did I’d stop and/or tell you. Now get in the tub I’m lonely.” He did, hesitantly. I continued calmly, “You were about to tell me why you clammed up.”
He stared at me. I could tell he was afraid to talk to me. So I turned my back to him and pushed myself against his chest. He hadn’t made a move. I reached up and pulled his hand off of the side of the tub and laced our fingers together. “I’m sorry I yelled.” He didn’t say anything. “Eric?” Nothing. I stood up and walked to the towel rack and yanked the towel from it and wrapped it around myself. “Then take me back to Bon Temps.
“Why not? What is the point of me being here if you are going to hide in your head instead of talking to me!?”
He bellowed, “Because I can’t live without you!”
I answered the call and bellowed right back, “Then UNFUCK YOURSELF ENOUGH TO TALK TO ME!”
He sat in a thoughtful silence for a moment before he stood slowly and came over to where I was standing my ground. He stared at me while he thought and finally spoke. “I saw us… when we came… I saw, I don’t know, flashes… of us. Our life and children and friends… did you?” I nodded.
“Is that what you were stifling?” He nodded so I punched him in the arm. “Asshole! Why would you hold that back?”
“Because I am over 1000 years old and I have never loved anyone like I love you. You are the first thing to scare me in as long. This is new to me. I’ve been closed off for so long I… I’m trying.”
I couldn’t help but be floored by the sincerity. It instantly calmed me. “I know you are. Come on, let’s finish our bath before the sun messes everything up.” I dropped my towel and grabbed him by the wrist and towed him to the tub. We quietly washed and shampooed and conditioned each other and then took turns toweling each other. We climbed into his giant bed and made love until the sun came up and Eric died in my arms.