I looked over the French Quarter from our bedroom window. Pam had gone overboard and booked us into the Executive Suite at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, just a short walk to Queen Sophie-Anne’s… castle? No, Eric had called it her compound. I wondered how compounded it was.
“Sookie, at some point tonight you need to eat,” Eric said again for the umpteenth time.
“Your nails don’t count,” he said, taking me by the shoulders and pulling me away from the window. He made me sit down and enticed me with a praline crème brulee. He’d ordered the food for me, because I’d refused.
As un-hungry as I was, I couldn’t pass up the crème brulee. After all, how many times does one get to have crème brulee? Maybe eating dessert first would get me in the mood to eat the rest of the food Eric had ordered.
“What has you so nervous?” he asked, making his voice soft. I’d been a wreck as we packed, as we drove, during the day while he slept, and now. I had barely slept myself, and had survived on coffee. But there’s only so much that coffee will do before your body gives up and needs rest.
“The Queen wanted me to live here at some point, remember that? What if she wants to keep me?” I asked.
“I’m sure that is no longer her wish,” Eric said. He waited until I looked up confused before he continued. “The King of Arkansas has been spending a lot of time with her writing their prenuptial agreement. She wouldn’t want you too close to him and have you become part of the agreement as well.”
“Well, since you put it that way,” I said, peeved. I wasn’t even mad at him. He was just getting the brunt of my nerves. I took it down a notch or two, for his sake. Eric was being a good sport and putting up with this sudden swing in my mood, and didn’t deserve me being a bitch… particularly after what we’d both gone through.
I tried to eat, but could only manage the rest of the crème brulee and the Caesar salad. The rest looked too rich for my stomach to handle. I did drink the whole liter of water he’d gotten for me. I’d be peeing forever, but nervousness made me thirsty.
Eric stood behind me and began releasing the tension from my shoulders. He moved his fingers to my scalp and the soothing motion almost made me fall asleep right there on the chair. We had been sitting at the small dining table in the suite’s living room, but Eric decided to pick me up and move me to the bed.
He nestled me under the covers, snuggling beside me. He opened the bathrobe I’d had on and started running his fingers over my skin, kissing my lips once in a while. He continued his gentle ministrations, without outwardly hinting at the fact that he wanted me. Eric was going to make me beg for him, I knew he was. But it was okay. I needed a diversion, and there really wasn’t a better diversion than my husband and his innovative way of making me relax. When his roaming hand started to part my legs, I started panting with need.
He was propped up on his elbow, resting his head on his left hand, while his right hand parted me. Eric ran a finger up and down, spreading my juices everywhere. I made an “mmm” sound before opening my eyes to look at him. His gaze was intense. He loved to watch me writhe and beg. And come.
“Please, Eric,” I said, breathless and excited.
“What is it, my love? Do you wish me to stop?” he asked taking his hand away. The meanie!
“No don’t stop, I need you,” I said, too turned on to care about what I was saying. Just as the words escaped my mouth, there was a knock on the door.
Eric and I groaned in unison. “Keep the fires burning, dear one,” he said, kissing my breast before going to open the door. He closed the door to our bedroom before he did that. He might not have had any shame whatsoever (opening the door wearing nothing but his blue boxers and a frown), but he liked to keep me covered. After seeing the photo Bill had taken of us, he’d had every window in my house retrofit with two sets of curtains: a light sheer to let in the light, and a dark heavy drape to close over the sheers every night. I couldn’t blame him.
After seeing the photo I’d felt dirty… and I hadn’t even done anything wrong! I’d been caught having sex with my husband. Inside our house. Not exactly shocking. It was everything I imagined Bill to be doing with the photo that had given me the dirty, creepy feeling.
“Sookie, could you come here?” Eric called from the other room.
I rolled my eyes. Ugh! Who could it possibly be? Just when I had started to relax, now we had company. “Be right there,” I said, tying the robe securely around me and padding over to the door separating the living room from the bedroom. It suddenly hit me that I was truly tired.
I recognized the young man standing in the living room. It was Andre, Sophie-Anne’s second. He was there with a portly man with a kind face, and a buzzing brain. I’d never read anything like it. I blocked it before it gave me a headache. My head wasn’t too far away from having one at that moment, and I didn’t need the extra burden.
“Hello, Mrs. Northman. How are you this evening?” the portly man asked, nodding in that vampirey way.
“Very well, thank you,” I lied. I needed to sit down. I was too tired to remain standing.
“I’m Mr. Cataliades, the Queen’s attorney. I hear you have a case against one of her subjects,” he said. He was very observant, seeing that I was tired he had made a motion with his hand inviting me to sit down on the couch. He sat at one of the chairs. Eric sat next to me and Andre remained standing. This was Eric’s way of deferring to the other vampire, who was higher in rank.
“Yes, sir,” I answered, not knowing exactly what to say.
Mr. C. took out a large folder from a briefcase and opened it. It seemed to contain every piece of paper Jason and I had found inside Bill’s house. “I must say, Mr. Compton is upset that you broke into his house during his daytime rest.”
I was already expecting this, and Eric and I had already spoken about what I was going to say. “As Mr. Compton knows, I replaced the lock to his door with a much better one, and did not take anything that did not belong to me or my brother.”
“Except for the disk,” Mr. C. was quick to point out.
“Which I will return as soon as I get his assurance that I will not be mentioned in his database,” I remarked, just as quickly. “I am sure Queen Sophie-Anne would not want to broadcast that I am a telepath, plus my family highly objects.” I threw in my family, with Claudine’s blessing. I’d told her everything over the phone and she had given me the idea. Nothing pulled strings harder than being a princess. And I was a string-pulling princess. Name dropper too. Anything to get me out of this jam and get Bill in trouble.
“Your family?” Mr. C. asked. I could see he didn’t know. Andre shifted uncomfortably. I was pretty sure he suspected.
“I am Prince Niall Brigant’s great-granddaughter,” I said. It was all I needed to say.
Mr. C. took out a pen from his breast pocket and scribbled a note on the inside of the folder. “I will have to ask for proof,” Mr. C. said, eyeing me curiously. He actually looked pleased. Maybe he didn’t like Bill either.
“Be right back,” I said, moving slowly to the bedroom. Inside a velvet pouch that I had carefully packed was my grandmother’s brooch. Claudine had finally told me its history: It had been a gift from Niall to Fintan and Dermot’s mother. When she died, Niall took it back. Many (MANY) years later, Fintan had taken it to give it to Gran. So even though it had been stolen, it really did belong to me, like Claudine had said, since it had belonged to my great-grandmother.
I handed the pouch to Mr. C. and he looked inside it carefully. He took it out, unaffected by silver, and studied it, turning it this way and that. I looked at Andre briefly, who was mesmerized but scared of it. He moved away just a tiny bit. Eric took my left hand in his, threading his fingers through mine. Maybe he’d known what was coming, because Mr. C. intoned something with a demonic voice, and my brooch glowed blue in his hand. I was taken aback by both Mr. C.’s scary voice and the fact that my fairy jewelry liked to glow.
Mr. C. returned the brooch to its pouch and handed it back to me. “Thank you, Mrs. Northman. That is quite a beautiful piece of fairy craftsmanship.”
“Do you have the disk?” Andre asked Eric in a curt manner. That’s really all they cared about: their money-maker.
“Yes,” Eric answered succinctly. What did Andre expect? That we would go back to Bon Temps to retrieve it, after trekking all the way down here? Did he not know the price of gas?
“Very well, bring it tomorrow at nine. We will have a decision made on the case then,” Andre said and turned towards the door.
“Good night, Mr. and Mrs. Northman,” Mr. Cataliades said with a pleasant smile.
“Could you read Mr. Cataliades mind?” was Eric’s first question when we were alone again.
“No, it was all a buzz. Can I go to bed? I’m tired,” I said, more than tired. I was dizzy.
“Did you sleep at all?” Eric asked.
“Because I couldn’t,” I answered. I was too tired to keep away my bitchy side at the interrogation, so I changed the subject. “What is he?”
“Mr. Cataliades, what is he?”
I nodded, getting in bed. “That makes sense.” He was a lawyer, after all.
“They’re not all evil, and he’s only a half demon. You’d get along with his nieces, and they’re full demons,” Eric said, cuddling next to me once more. “Sookie, you need to rest, dear one.” He moved me around to my favorite position and pressed his body against mine.
“Okay,” I said closing my eyes.
I woke up in the middle of the night really needing to use the bathroom. I’d drunk a whole liter of water for dinner, after all. When I returned to bed, I finally noticed Eric’s amused expression. He’d been sitting on the bed, using the headboard as a backrest and working on his laptop. He patted the bed beside him.
I got back under the covers and put my head on his thigh, looking at the screen. He put his arm around me to reach for the keyboard. He’d been answering emails that had to do with his fiefdom. “What’s funny?” I asked.
“Your darling sister,” Eric began. That’s how he referred to Pam nowadays whenever Pam did something he found amusing or he disapproved of, like it was all my fault. “She started a campaign to demand that the NFL include vampires as referees. She even started a blog.” Eric clicked on a tab and showed me Pam’s blog. The girl had too much time on her hands. She also had many people following her, so obviously this was an issue near and dear to many vampire non-beating hearts.
I smiled. “She’s found her calling.”
“It’s a hobby for her. She takes up causes once in a while, backs them, sees them through, then wipes her hands clean when the job is done and moves on. You should have seen her during the Women’s Suffrage movement. Never mind that she couldn’t vote regardless of the outcome,” Eric explained, and closed the laptop.
“Can I ask you something?” I said looking up. Eric rearranged us in bed before nodding. We were facing each other, our legs tangled. “Who was your maker?”
The moment the question left my mouth I was sorry. Eric’s face took on a pained expression that I hadn’t seen in a long time, not since he had a bullet stuck in his shoulder. There was a strange kind of apprehension, almost like fear, cascading through our bond. I wasn’t sure what to do other than tell him to please disregard the question.
He rearranged his features. “You deserve to know. It is a valid question from my wife.” I felt as if the bottom was dropping from my stomach. Once in a while, whenever Eric was trying to remember something from a long time ago, I felt like that. “His name is Appius Livius Ocella. He was a Roman. Nowadays he spends his time in Scandinavia, ever since the Great Revelation.”
I tried to think about another question, but couldn’t come up with one that wouldn’t hurt him. I understood that Eric had been turned while he still had a family waiting for him at home. Now I knew his maker was a Roman man. I hadn’t been around newly-made vampires, so I wasn’t absolutely clear on their relationship to their makers, other than they loved each other. I knew Eric and Pam had a very sexual early relationship, though I didn’t like to think about it too much, and it hadn’t lasted very long. Eric himself had explained how makers and children were connected that way. Therefore, by pure deduction, Eric and his maker had been lovers. Somehow I couldn’t see Eric with another man.
He read my mind simply by looking at my surprised expression. “I’ve always preferred women, but I love my maker,” he explained in a deep voice.
“I’m not judging. I understand,” I said in a small voice. Another fear invaded me, a real one that made my heart sink right into my spleen. “Can he call to you and take you away from me, like Lorena did to Bill?”
Eric studied me with his turquoise eyes, gauging my reaction before answering truthfully. “He could, but he won’t.” He pressed my body to his. I put my head on his chest and he put his chin on my hair. “Don’t worry anymore, my beautiful love. Nobody can separate me from you.”
I looked up. I wanted the kiss that was supposed to come with a statement like that. Eric looked down, knowing what I wanted and meeting me halfway. He ghosted his lips over mine, sending the good kind of shivers down my body. I deepened the kiss, taking his lower lip into my mouth and biting a little. Immediately his fangs started running down. “Can we make love now?” I asked, knowing that dawn was just around the corner. He’d already lowered the day shutters over the windows of our room.
“Yes,” he hissed and undid the belt of the robe I was still wearing. “You better be ready for me,” Eric said, running his fingers between my legs. I wasn’t quite there, so he proceeded to ply me gently with his fingers. He dipped one inside me, to bring the wetness closer. “You like that?”
“Mmm-hmm…” was my intelligent answer. He fastened his lips around my left nipple then dipped his finger inside me again, pulling it out to play with my little nub, only to dip his finger yet again. For a moment I thought he’d make love to me for the rest of the night with only his naughty digit.
In a quick move, he’d turned me to my stomach and straddled my legs. “Bring your butt up a little,” he said, with one hand under my pelvis to help me. He stuck a pillow under my lower abdomen and began to knead my cheeks, parting them, searching. For a horrible moment I thought he would take me the wrong way, but he didn’t. He found the opening he was looking for, and guided himself inside me. The new feeling was amazing. He was rubbing that secret spot he’d found inside me, the one that made me shake every time he touched it and gave me the best orgasms. At that very moment it had me moaning into a pillow.
“Let me hear you Sookie,” he ordered, his voice husky.
I turned my head and moaned into the room instead, noticing something I wasn’t expecting. The dresser was to the side of the bed, and so was the mirror. Even though I couldn’t see me from the angle I was in, I could see Eric in all his magnificent beauty. He was looking down, no doubt watching as he disappeared inside me. It added a new dimension to our lovemaking, and I couldn’t look away. He bared all his teeth when he growled, at the same time that he started moving a little faster. “So good, so good…” I gasped. He put his hands at either side of me, coming down a little and thrusting faster.
“Harder, Eric,” I commanded. He pushed harder, slamming his pelvis into my bottom, grunting with each thrust. I lost all control and yelled every time he hit that sweet spot, getting closer and closer, hearing him get closer too. “Eric, bite.”
When he bit my upper shoulder he came, and so did I. The whole world stood still as wave after wave of pleasure crashed into me, some from my own body’s release, and some from what I experienced through our bond. It was wonderful. It was astonishing. It made me cry from all the emotion it produced in me. Eric was quick to realize what happened and rearrange us so he could soothe me.
“Shh… I have you, my love. I have you, I am here,” he said, smoothing my hair. He smelled like sex, and blood, and him. “I love you, Sookie. Everything will be alright.”
I wasn’t sure if he knew why I needed to hear those words. Even I didn’t know why I needed to hear those words. Was I still worried that the Queen would keep me? Was I worried of being punished for breaking into Bill’s house? Was I worried that Eric’s maker would come get him, or worse call him? None of it mattered, because Eric’s words, said with such conviction, made me calm down enough so I could sleep.