My bedroom was quiet, warm, the soft glow from the bedside lamp making everything look different. I felt different. I wasn’t sure if I had lost or gained something. Eric was lying on his left side, humming a soft song, and I was lying on my right, tucked into him. I couldn’t close my eyes. Something in me had shifted with regards to him. I wanted him again, and soon. He’d said he was mine, and I his, and I wanted to believe him so badly I could taste it.
A sweet caress on my hair made me look up. The blue in Eric’s eyes had returned, and his fangs had retracted completely. He was glowing brighter than ever, and I wondered if it was as a result of our lovemaking or of taking my blood.
“You look brighter,” I said, reaching up and smoothing his hair a little. I’d left it a mess.
“What do you mean?” he asked, turning his face to kiss my wrist.
“The glow of your skin is brighter,” I explained.
He looked at me with wide eyes, surprised. “You see me glow?”
“Yes. All vampires do. I thought…”
“Only supes can see that.”
“I thought everyone could see you guys that way. But thanks for thinking I’m a supe,” I said smiling. “Why are you brighter? Was it my blood?”
“Sookie, I still can’t believe you can see me glow, give me a minute,” he said, exploring my face, as if it held the answer to his question. “Well, it would make sense,” he mumbled after a moment.
“What would?” I asked, feeling a little peeved for being left out of the mental conversation he was having.
“That you would be some type of supernatural being. Your gift is unusual, Sookie, and it’s stronger than you can control. You may not be fully human.”
“Obviously,” I mumbled.
“Don’t take it so hard, it’s more of a theory than an obvious thing. I spoke without thinking and I’m sorry I offended you,” he was looking intensely into my eyes when he said that.
“I’m not exactly offended. Let’s talk about something else.” This topic of conversation sounded like something we could hash out for hours, and I didn’t feel like talking about anything important. “Answer my question. Why are you brighter?”
“Fresh infusion of your delicious blood, my little Sookie. Thank you,” he said and kissed my nose.
“Your bite didn’t hurt. Was it supposed to hurt?”
“It could have hurt, but why would I hurt you? You’re my lover and gave me your blood willingly. Did you enjoy it?” His eyes were sparkling waiting for my answer.
“Yes, very much.”
“Are you sore? Do you need me to heal you?” he asked, his smile turning into a frown.
“Not really sore. I guess the first time is supposed to be painful, but it wasn’t, just a little discomfort and then it was gone,” I said, feeling like sharing.
“I told you I’d be gentle. You deserve nothing less. Next time there will be no discomfort at all,” he said, sure of himself.
I looked at him googly eyed, just to mess with him. “Will there be a next time?”
“Sookie, you’re something else,” he said chuckling. Apparently there was no way to mess with him, or none that I had discovered. “I would make love to you again right now, but we have to let your body heal a little, and I have to find shelter before the dawn.”
I shifted and pulled myself up a little, to kiss him. He met me halfway and we kissed softly, only our lips touching. “I truly like your kisses,” he whispered huskily, “and I don’t want to leave your side.” He pulled away, but only to tuck me into his chest.
“Don’t run away from me again, please,” he said. His voice in his chest reverberated through my whole body. That’s how close we were.
“I won’t, I promise,” I said, meaning it.
“Would you go on another date with me? Would you like to go dancing again? I know a German restaurant. We can go celebrate Oktoberfest,” he offered.
I chuckled. “Why don’t we go to a movie? Or just stay in?”
“Because you deserve to be wooed and courted, and the only way I know of doing that is taking you out on a date,” he answered, flooring me for sure. He really wasn’t thinking sex only. He was talking of courting, as in gaining my love and admiration. Whoa!
“Movie on the next date, Oktoberfest on the date after that,” I answered, trying to reach a compromise.
Eric waggled his eyebrows. “You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen me in lederhosen.”
I laughed. Hard.
Eric had left at close to five in the morning. He said he’d make it home by six, well before the sunrise. I wondered about his house out loud and he said he’d take me during one of our dates.
I woke up at one in the afternoon, barely believing I’d slept a full eight hours, and most of them during the day. I decided to give myself a lazy day. I was a little sore from the night before, but not where I expected. Apparently there were muscles used during lovemaking that I didn’t use in my day to day activities. My thighs were sore, my abdomen was sore, it was a strange feeling. It only served to make me remember the night before.
I sat outside sipping coffee, and the little kitten approached me, weaving her way between my legs. I went and got her another can of tuna. She would love me forever. She was eating her treat when Sam pulled up my driveway. How opportune (my Word of the Day – I’d only known the antonym).
“Sookie, you look well,” he said, and his eyes alighted on the kitten.
“Sam, please tell me she’s a real cat,” I pleaded with the tone of my voice.
“The baby, yes. She’s just a little kitty,” he answered immediately and bent to pet her.
“I guess I can keep her then,” I said. I watched Sam as he picked her up and inspected her, turning her this way and that.
“I’m checking for illnesses,” he explained. I must have made a face. “You can keep her, sure. Gosh, Sookie! That you’re even asking that question is so strange.”
“Yeah… well. I would have brought you inside in a heartbeat if I hadn’t known it was you. I like animals a little too much, and Gran always made me keep them outside. But now the house is too quiet. I wouldn’t mind a little kitty to keep me company,” I said, crouching down to pet my new cat while she ate the rest of her tuna. “Tuna… Tina. I’ll name her Tina,” I said with conviction.
Sam chuckled. “You seemed to have been visited by a vampire recently, so you can’t be too lonely.”
I looked at him like he’d grown another head. “What makes you say that?”
“The smell of vampire is everywhere here, even on you. Was Pam over?” he asked. His smile looked innocent enough.
“Eric and Pam, both,” I lied a little. Well, they both had been here at some point, just not at the same time. “Where are my manners?” I asked briskly. “Can I offer you something to drink? Or eat? It’s past lunch, but maybe…”
“It’s okay, Sookie,” he interrupted with a smile. “I was coming back from the restaurant supply store and decided to visit you for a minute, to see how you’re doing, not so you can feed me.”
“Oh,” I smiled back. “I’m used to my brother stopping by for lunch,” I mumbled by way of explanation. I hadn’t seen or spoken to Jason since the funeral.
Sam and I said our goodbyes, and I curled back on a chair, now with my new kitty climbing over me with her baby claws, when a delivery van arrived. The outside said it all. I was getting flowers.
Boy, was I getting flowers! The delivery guy emerged from the van with a giant arrangement of, apparently, everything in the store. I signed and got the flowers inside, reading the note. In the handwriting I was beginning to recognize from working with him, Eric had written: Thank you for a wonderful night. I am looking forward to many more by your side. Yours, E
I took a shower and ran to the Walmart, to buy everything I needed for my new kitty. She would hate me now that I was going to give her real cat food, but it couldn’t be helped. It felt good to have someone to take care of, something that was mine. I would have to call a vet and make an appointment. Thankfully I still had the money I’d set aside from when I went shopping with Pam that I’d never used. I would use it to take care of my kitty instead.
At Fangtasia I was quickly cornered by Pam, who locked us in Eric’s office.
“He wouldn’t tell me anything,” she said. If she wasn’t always so stoic I would have imagined she’d have pouted.
“What do you want to know?” I asked. I couldn’t help my smile.
“Oh!” her eyes went wide. “Oh! Ooooh! You did it, didn’t you?”
“Pam! Super vampire hearing, remember?” I said, not wanting to share any gossip with anybody.
“But you’re okay, right? He was… attentive?” she asked. Her face was changing quickly with emotions she was trying to suppress.
“I’m only telling you ‘cause you’re my friend, but it doesn’t leave here,” I said, though I trusted her. She wouldn’t go blabbing to anyone, other than Eric. “He was very sweet and we had a wonderful date. Later he stayed until five. He also sent me a beautiful arrangement of flowers.” I didn’t have to go into any more detail. She understood.
“Finally!” she threw her hands up in the air. “Maybe now he will ask you directly what you’re thinking instead of trying to get it from me.”
“That’s very junior high,” I said, frowning.
“Yes, I agree. He doesn’t know how to behave around you. But now things are settled. C’mon. Let’s enthrall the vermin,” she said, pulling me to the door.
Eric was on the other side when she opened it, and I could feel my automatic smile, the one I’d reserved just for him. He was looking directly at me.
“Pam, I need Sookie,” he said, without even looking at her.
“I’m sure you do,” she said, earning herself a terse look from him. “Fine, but don’t keep her. It’ll be busy tonight.”
Eric closed the door behind her, and proceeded to close the gap between us. He took my face in his hands and kissed me hard. I hugged his waist, taking in his sweet scent and his taste.
“Hi,” I said pulling away a little.
He was struggling. His fangs had run out and his eyes were dilated. “You smell so good. How do I keep my hands off you all night?”
It was a rhetorical question, but I answered it anyway. “By remembering you’re big, bad, and important, and you have a lot of things to do other than touching me.”
“You are correct, but they’re not half as fun for me. Or for you,” he smiled, his fangs retracting. “Are you free on Monday?”
“I’ll check with my boss and get back to you,” I said.
“Although I don’t think I can wait until Monday,” he said, pulling me close again, and ducking his head into my neck.
“Eric!” I protested, but it was half-hearted. “Eric, thank you for the flowers,” I breathed out. He was nibbling at my ear now, and I loved that in particular.
“My pleasure,” he whispered with an emphasis on pleasure. I felt his tongue explore my earlobe. Oh, God! What had I gotten myself into?
“I think you went overboard,” I gasped. One of his hands was trying to squirrel its way into my dress to touch my breast.
“I never go overboard. Everything I do is just right,” he said, bending a little farther and kissing the soft rise of my chest.
“We can’t have sex here, Eric. I can’t…” I whispered, feeling pretty sure about that idea.
He pulled away from my chest to kiss my mouth again. It felt like a goodbye kiss, a soft peck. “I know, Sookie. I wouldn’t do that to you anyway. This is not the place for you.”
I kissed him back. “Thank you,” I said, smoothing his hair. My hands hadn’t been idle during our brief “session.”
Eventually I made it out and started working, busting my ass all the more so no one would think I was going to take it easy just because I was sleeping with the boss. Nobody seemed to know about us, though, which was fine with me. Eric stayed in his office tending to some paperwork before it was his turn at the stage. Pam was sitting pretty on one of thrones, having taken a liking to a human girl who had approached her. She must have been in a good mood.
I’d left my section to pick up a drink order, and when I returned I found four vampires sitting at one of my tables. One of them was Bill Compton, and he was sitting with a woman and two men. They were beautiful, as all vampires are, but there was something off about them. They were dressed to party, so they fit in the bar just fine. The woman had flawless dark brown skin and wildly curly hair, which she had taken care to tame with a band. Her makeup had been carefully applied, and she had worn a pair of jeggins with a halter top. The men were scary as hell, one of them covered in creepy tattoos (not like Chow’s which were a work of art), and the other guy gave me the willies when he looked at me licking his lips as I approached their table.
I realized what had made me leery was the way they moved. It wasn’t the graceful motions I was used to from the vampires I knew (even Bill). It was the jerky movements of a bird of prey eyeing dinner. I remembered Pam saying she didn’t like the company Bill kept, and now I could see why.
With every ounce of self-possession I had, I asked for their order, keeping it professional though all I wanted to do was run away.
“Who might you be?” the woman asked, way too interested.
I kept it polite. “I am Sookie and I’m your server tonight.” I could feel my nervous smile tugging at the corners of my mouth.
“Sookie? Is this your neighbor, Bill?” the woman said turning to look at Bill instead of me. I had a tiny panic attack. Why was Bill talking about me to these people?
“Yes,” Bill answered her. His face was serious, though all three of his companions’ faces broke into smiles.
“She’s just a little savory morsel, ain’t she?” one of the males said.
I swallowed hard and felt when another empty mind approached me. Eric’s thick arm came sideways and pushed me back behind him so he could take my place next to the table. He stood up to his full height, inflating his lungs and crossing his arms. He looked huge and formidable.
“I don’t believe I know your companions, Bill. Do they owe me fealty or are they visiting?” Eric asked.
A soft hand grabbed mine and pulled. It was Indira. “Let’s give them some space,” she said in a soft voice and we walked away, getting close to the stage.
Pam had disappeared. Chow was in front of the bar instead of behind it. Clancy and George had appeared out of thin air and were standing back, completely still, assessing the situation. The music was still playing loud and the humans were still partying, oblivious to what was going on with the vampires.
“What’s going on?” I asked Indira in the softest whisper I could muster.
“They never checked in with Eric. They’re supposed to do that right away when they enter a new territory for any period of time. They’ve been here for about two weeks, but nobody knew where they were staying. Now that they’re here they’re in trouble.” All this she had whispered in my ear.
In the meantime Pam had reappeared. She stayed behind us, hiding behind Indira. I think she was hiding a weapon, because she was not one to hide at all.
Eric turned back to us, his fangs out, and reached the three of us in two or three giant strides. He took me by the arm and led me to a corner, with Indira and Pam looking on bewildered.
“Look like I’m reprimanding you,” he whispered, frowning in a very irate way. I didn’t have to do much, since I was already feeling confused and scared. I looked down and nodded.
“I want to hide you but they will wonder why. It is best if you stay out here and continue your job as if nothing happened. I’ll be out here to keep an eye on them,” he said in a fast mad whisper.
I nodded again, still looking at my shoes. I had a thousand new worries running through my head, not the least of which was that Bill was my neighbor. My only neighbor. Weird easy-listening bastard.
“Now go back to work,” Eric said in a harsh voice. I looked up taken aback by his tone, but his eyes were pleading with me.
“Yes, Master,” I said, almost choking on the word before turning away.
“I see you were a bad girl and your master put you in your place,” said one of the men sitting with Bill when I approached the table again. He seemed to have enjoyed that I had been “reprimanded,” judging by the wide pleased smile he bore.
“What can I offer you folks to drink?” I asked, again.
“You,” said the guy with the tattoos with a nasty smirk. I think he was rubbing himself under the table.
“She can’t, can you honey? You already gave me some tonight,” Pam said, coming to the rescue. She put her arm lovingly around my waist, and I felt the best thing to do was to… flirt. With Pam.
I gave her one of the smiles I had reserved for Eric and bit my lower lip. I wasn’t sure what to do, but figured playing with her hair was the safest thing to do. I pushed a strand of her hair behind her ear and ran my fingers down her neck a little bit. She returned my smile with a fangy one of her own. Oh, boy!
“Too bad,” said the man. “A True Blood, then,” he said, flicking his hand dismissively.
I’d noticed Bill had been staring at Pam and I the whole time. He knew me a little better, and I was afraid that we hadn’t fooled him one little bit. Oh, well. There was nothing to be done for it at that particular time, so I just went about the business of tending to all my customers, including the creepies.
Eric’s eyes were either on me or on Bill’s table the rest of the night. He didn’t move, didn’t blink, probably didn’t breathe or pretended to breathe. Only his eyes shifted, following my progress or watching the four vampires. They were being loud, boisterous.
Eventually all four vampires were joined by willing humans, and they all left together, and which point I breathed. It was almost closing time already, and I had been a tense mess the whole time.
I sagged on a chair in Eric’s office. I was alone for a few minutes, so I leaned back and closed my eyes. I felt a soft breeze a couple of minutes later and found Pam standing over me with a strange look on her face.
“Are you ill?” she asked.
“No, Pam. Just tired and those friends of Bill were giving me the creeps.”
She moved to sit at Eric’s chair, figures in hand to write checks. I suspected Ginger and Belinda were waiting outside.
“Yes, they’re not usual. Don’t worry, though. They live in Monroe, not with Bill,” she said, but she was too tense for me not to worry. That was not typical Pam behavior. It got worse when she tried to force a smile, and I’d also noticed she hadn’t said anything about our flirting. Pam never missed a chance to drive people nuts or poke fun, and I was ripe for the picking.
I didn’t get a chance to ask her exactly what was making her nervous because Eric walked in. He put his hands on my shoulders and kneaded them softly. I felt his breath on my hair. “I’m sorry for being so cross with you earlier.”
“What happens now?” I asked, because obviously both the vampires in that office were in some serious kind of distress.
To prove my point, they exchanged a charged glance. “You can stay with Pam or me tonight, and tomorrow we’ll have your house made fit for a vampire to spend the day.”
“It would be better if you tell me what you’re thinking about those vampires before I make any decisions or you make them for me,” I said, crossing my arms.
“Sookie,” Eric said my name with a warning in his voice.
I showed him I could sound the same way. “Eric.”
“I do not know yet. Bill seems like a spy, though I don’t know for whom, and the others have taken too much of a liking to you,” Eric said with a growl in his voice.
I gave in. When the people protecting you are stressed, you should take the threat seriously. “I’ll go with whomever, but I have to go home during the day to take care of a few things.” Including the baby cat that needed to eat breakfast in the morning.
“Come home with me, lover,” Eric whispered in my ear.
I was annoyed at myself for wanting to say yes so willingly. “Okay, but I’m mad at you.”
“I like it when you’re mad,” he kissed my hair.
“Get out of here and take your sappy selves home before I do something impossible, like throw up,” Pam said rolling her eyes.
I followed Eric to a gated community in the suburbs of Shreveport. He spoke to the guard briefly, probably telling him to let me through right behind him. The community was full of McMansions, all of them the same, separated by vast expanses of land. We arrived at one nondescript house, much like the houses next to it, and I followed the Corvette into the driveway. Eric opened both garage doors, meaning for me to park next to him.
He came to get my door, and ducked into my car, putting a little box inside one of the overhead storage compartments. “Garage door opener for when you come visit me,” he winked and stole a kiss before helping me out of the car.
“Nice house,” I said, letting him tug me along. All these vampires and their hand holding… I was beginning to get self conscious of my hands, since they were never as soft as theirs.
“I’m glad you like it. Hopefully you like the inside as well,” he answered, unlocking the door that led from the garage to the kitchen.
Everything in the kitchen was either white or stainless steel. White tiles on the floor and on the walls, white cabinets, off white countertop, and the appliances which were steel but reflected the whiteness. Everything was sparkling clean, and the only small appliance on the counter was a coffeemaker.
“Now, I happen to know you don’t drink coffee,” I said, pointing at the (stainless steel) machine sitting by its lonesome.
“It’s for you. I figured eventually you’d visit my house, either as my employee or as my… mine. I believe I have everything you need for it. I also have food for you,” he opened the fridge, which was above the freezer. There were only a couple of things, but they were things I had at my house. The sneak had memorized the contents of my fridge that night after the funeral. He’d even put everything where I had it stored in my own fridge (the True Blood on the top shelf next to the eggs).
I was surprised but touched. “That’s sweet of you, Eric.”
“Are you hungry now?” he asked.
“No, just really tired,” and really concerned suddenly. Vampires didn’t use the bathroom. Had Eric thought of stocking toilet paper? I could live one night without brushing my teeth, but I really needed toilet paper. It’s a must.
“Then come, I’ll show you my room.”
“No, no. Show me your house first,” I said. I knew he wanted to show it to me. It was such a simple thing and it would please him so much.
I quickly found out that the monotony of the kitchen was not repeated anywhere else. Eric liked jewel colors: sapphire blue, amethyst purple, ruby red, emerald green. He used them as accent colors. The brown leather couch in his living room had a red throw neatly folded on the back, and the coffee table held a blue glass bowl. The paintings on the walls had vivid colors. I paused at the giant built-in bookshelf, scanning the titles. Most of them were English, but some were other languages, and the collection was eclectic: best sellers, biographies, history, the classics, some paperbacks. I might have to start borrowing books from here too.
The den was comfortable, with the couch covered in a soft chenille fabric instead of leather. He had his entertainment center there, and it was huge, with towers full of DVD’s or CD’s, a humongous TV, and every other accouterment needed for a home theatre.
“I take back the part about going out to watch a movie. This is probably better,” I said looking around me. The walls were painted a light brown, chocolate. He had the purples in here: purple cushions, and matching purple throws.
“You just want to have me all to yourself,” he said, getting closer and putting his hands on my waist.
“That may have something to do with it, I’ll admit it,” I said, nodding seriously.
His answering smile was wide and beautiful, and made me catch my breath. He hugged me tight, then picked me up with hardly any effort on his part.
“I’ll show you the rest of the house later. You’re tired,” he said as he walked us to the second level.
His bedroom was different from the downstairs of the house. He had a huge four poster bed, probably a king size, with white linens and whatdayaknow? He’d made the bed. The walls of the room were a soft gray. I noticed the room had been pitch dark before he’d turned on a light.
“Can you sleep here during the day?” I asked, looking around.
“Yes. It’s light tight,” he answered.
I thought he would set me down in his bedroom, but he kept walking through a set of double doors. That was the bathroom. It was the size of my own bedroom and bathroom combined. He set my feet down on a thick rug in front of a family sized tub. It wasn’t as large as the hot tub I’d seen at Home Depot, but it was large enough. Eric leaned past me and turned on the faucet.
He returned to me and unzipped my Elvira dress, planting soft kisses on the skin he revealed as he pulled the dress down. My heart was beating as fast as the night before, and I had a shred of brain cells left to wonder if the newness would ever wear off. Then I wished it wouldn’t.
I helped with his clothes this time, going slow because my fingers were trembling. He let me take my time while he worked on the rest of my clothes. I was naked before he was. Standing in the bright bathroom light, with all my flaws exposed, I found myself shy again and turned away.
“Why do you turn Sookie? I was looking at you,” he said and pulled me to him by my shoulders, hugging my waist and burying his face in my hair.
I couldn’t answer him, so I shrugged. He wasn’t having that. “You’re so beautiful. Why do you do this to me? Why do you run away?”
I breathed deeply. He was right. I ran away, sort of. I turned around and closed my eyes, holding my hands at my side balled into tight fists. I probably looked like I was waiting for somebody to hit me. I heard him shuffle clothes in front of me and ventured to open one eye. There he was, naked again, beautiful and ready for me.
Eric stepped into the tub and pulled me to sit in front of him, using him as backrest. I could feel Mr. Happy against my back, but there was no helping that. He was excited to see me. Eric pulled my hair up into a bun and tied it around itself. He was really good with hair, I noticed. Then he pushed me forward a little bit so he could work out a knot at my back. I closed my eyes and thought happy things, mostly about what we’d done last night and what I was hoping to do tonight.
The water sloshed as Eric pulled me back against him. He lathered his hands with soap and began washing me, starting with my shoulders and making slow progress over my chest. He lingered over my breasts, as if they needed particular attention. I found that I calmed down considerably if I touched him too in some way. I caressed his legs, from his knees to the middle of his thighs and back. However concentrating on this soft motion didn’t help me at all when Eric’s clever fingers found my center. I gasped and leaned back against him, as he held me tight and worked out my tension in his own novel way.
I pushed against his hand while the motion sent little thrills from my center and out. I moaned loudly and couldn’t stop. I was building up to another delicious explosion when Eric whispered in my ear, “come for me, Sookie,” and I was undone. I trembled against him for a few minutes, reaching up and threading my fingers through his hair, while my other hand caressed the one that had given me such pleasure.
He dried me with a white fluffy towel, and then used the same one on himself, doing it at vampire speed. I watched agog. That vampire speed could save so much time!
We snuggled into the bed, and he found his place above me, kissing me softly, pressing against me in a soft rhythm. He reached between us to see if I was ready, and I was because his fingers glided easily inside me. He’d been right too: there was no discomfort this time, just the desire to have him inside me all the way as he stretched the way slowly, being careful.
“Eric?” I said his name as a question, and he looked at me with a question in his own eyes. I nodded, giving him permission to do with me what he would. I trusted him.
He knelt between my legs, throwing the covers off us and running his large hands from my breasts down to my hips, bringing them up to rest on his legs as I opened for him, momentarily forgetting what to expect. I felt the soft pressure at my entrance, so I pushed down, filling up with him.
He pulled out almost all the way only to thrust himself deeper inside me, each time grunting as he reached the deepest part. I held onto his arms, feeling his muscles ripple as he moved within me or moved me on him. It wasn’t enough. I asked for him, holding up my arms, waiting for Eric to fill the empty space. Instead of coming down to me he pulled me up to him. Not only did my arms find his shoulders, my lips found his face and I made love to him that way.
“Sookie, look at me my lover,” he whispered. I obeyed, getting lost in the darkness within the blue, losing control of my voice, breathing harder as the small thrills built up again within me.
At the last possible moment Eric ducked his head and sunk his fangs into my shoulder, sending me into a beautiful oblivion of satisfied need. I slowly came back into myself, only to hear the most satisfying sound in the world: my man, bellowing incoherently as he came inside me, as he took his pleasure from me.