For the first time since I moved into the house, there was something other than True Blood in my refrigerator. Sookie was rather impressed with the selection of clothing Pam had brought for her, although she wasn’t too amused with how excited Pam was over having pawed her way through Sookie’s underwear drawer. I wasn’t very amused either, which only further seemed to enforce Pam’s glee.
Even worse, Pam proceeded to produce what Sookie called her ‘unmentionables’ one piece at a time until I thought Sookie’s head was going to explode. I put a stop to it after Pam produced the third item and Sookie’s anger and humiliation reached its peak. Sookie had quickly snatched away her underthings, grabbed the bag of clothes Pam brought and stomped off toward one of the bedrooms to sulk in private, too embarrassed to be near either of us.
“Was the really necessary, Pamela?” I glared at her.
“I was having a little fun,” Pam shrugged. “I’ll apologize.”
“You would be better off just leaving,” I glared at her, knowing Sookie was going to be in a less than optimal mood for the remainder of the night.
There were maybe two hours before dawn, and I knew Sookie was exhausted. I heard the water running in the bathroom of the master bedroom. Pam described the explosives she found wired on Sookie’s property. The trap wasn’t very sophisticated, and Pam only knew it was there because she could smell the C4. There as a backup charge wired to the interior of the house that was most likely set to blow when the door was opened.
Pam hadn’t spent enough time in Sookie’s home previously to know if anything was missing. Once I was sure the house was clear, I’d take her back and have her do an inventory to make sure everything was as it should be. In the meantime, there was clean up to do, starting with seeing if it was possible to trap Mark Stonebrook during one of his spy missions. If what Pam said was correct, and I believed she was, someone had been watching Sookie steadily.
I hated to admit it, but Bill was the best weapon we had. He could easily come and go from Sookie’s property without it being suspect since he lived so close by. There were two things I knew for certain that would happen when I contacted Bill with the orders I was about to give him. First, that he would think there was a shift in power between us, that by doing as he was told, it would give him the chance to play hero to Sookie. Second, he would go on ad nauseum about how he would do anything to save Sookie’s life when a simple, “Yes, Sheriff,” would be more than sufficient.
After I sent the necessary emails to Bobby with his task list for the day and Pam was on her way home to start logging calls in from the vampires in our retinue, I dialed Bill’s number. He answered on the third ring, obviously less than thrilled to be hearing from me.
“Yes, Eric,” Bill practically grumbled into the phone.
“Now Bill, is that any way to greet your Sheriff?” I smirked, but knew I wouldn’t get much of a response from him. “I’m calling because I need you to keep an eye on Sookie’s home. Don’t go inside it, just make sure there’s no one prowling the grounds who doesn’t belong.”
“Anyone in particular?”
The name got a reaction out of Bill. “The Werewitch addicted to vampire blood? That’s just wonderful, Eric. I’m glad you see no problem with dragging Sookie into your mess.”
As if Bill had done such a wonderful job of keeping her safe in the past. The list of ways in which Bill had failed her was quite long, but I wasn’t interested in a pissing contest. In the end, it didn’t matter anyway since Sookie was still with me.
“Sookie is involved of her own free will, and if I weren’t keeping such a good eye on her, the bombs wired to her home would have detonated this evening after the meeting when she entered the house. You are the vampire closest to her home, which is why I am issuing this order to you. Additionally, I assume you are still invested in Sookie’s safety.”
“Yes, of course I am. I want nothing more than for Sookie to be safe,” Bill insisted, although we both knew Sookie’s safety wasn’t the only thing Bill wanted.
“Excellent. I will have Petri out tomorrow night to see if he can track where Stonebrook has gone, since it’s too late to send him out now. I will also be speaking with Mr. Cataliades to see if he can contact Evol about making a trip up to remove the devices and search for more that Pam was unable to locate.”
“How many devices did you find?” Bill asked, and I explained it to him.
I didn’t know if there were other traps in the woods and it wouldn’t surprise me if there were. Since Sookie was being watched, it wasn’t unreasonable that the Werewitch was prepared for interference from vampires.
“Why do you suppose he’s targeting Sookie?” Bill asked, which was a question Pam had asked as well.
The obvious answer was revenge, but I figured there was something more. Revenge seemed too easy, but we didn’t know enough to be sure of what, exactly, his motives were. We were going to need to do more research on the Stonebrooks and see what we could come up with. Everyone had an Achilles’s heel. I would find his and exploit it.
“Can I count on you, Bill, or should I have another vampire take this task?” I asked him.
“I don’t like that Sookie is with you. I don’t believe anything good will come of it, and I don’t believe you genuinely care for her. I think you’re using her for her ability and for her blood, but she told me herself she is with you of her own volition. I will respect her choice. I don’t wish to see her harmed any more than she has already been. I’ll report back what I find after sundown.” Bill promised.
“Excellent. Until sundown,” I said and hung up.
While Sookie finished in the bathroom, I wrote down the codes she would need to get in or out of my chamber. My chamber was the safest place in the house. I wasn’t going to require she slept there if she wasn’t comfortable with it, but if something suspicious happened, I wanted her to have a safe place to go.
I went into downtime after that, sitting on the couch in the living room while I waited for her. The sound of the bathroom door opening brought me back to life. There was just over an hour to go before dawn. Slowly, Sookie trudged toward me. Her hair was damp and slightly tangled as she combed it out.
“Feeling better?” I asked her when she sat down in one of the chairs near the couch.
“Not really. I need to know what’s happening, Eric,” Sookie said as she continued to rake the comb through her hair.
I leaned forward, bracing my elbows on my knees, and told Sookie everything I’d learned from Pam. I told her about the bombs that had been set on her back porch and at her back door. I ran down the plan of attack to get things back in order, and informed her that Bill would be watch dogging her property until further notice.
“So, I guess this means I’ll be here a while,” Sookie sighed, and slumped back in the chair.
“Does this mean you’re not going to steal my car in the middle of the day and go back to Bon Temps?” I asked her.
She folded her arms over her chest and shook her head. “I’m pissed off, but I’m not stupid. If I would have gone home, I would have picked up that basket and that would have been the end of me. Thank God Claudine warned me.”
“Sookie, how well do you know Claudine?”
“Not very well. We’ve only seen one another a handful of times.”
“How involved was she with the Witch War?”
“Uh, I think she did a little recon work, but I don’t know if she was any further involved. You would have to talk to Pam or Colonel Flood about that. Why?”
“I need to make sure the magic making Nerissa and Nicholas sick wasn’t on account of a dispute with the fairies.” I rubbed my eyes.
Sookie sighed yet again and said, “And you say trouble follows me everywhere I go.”
“Touche, dear one.” I stood quickly and was lifting her from the chair in a blink of an eye.
“What are you doing?” She smiled faintly.
“You’re exhausted. You should rest. I would prefer you sleep in my chamber, but if you aren’t comfortable with that, you’re welcome to sleep in the guest room.”
She was indecisive for only a moment. Her heartbeat quickened and she said, “Someone wants to blow me up and we don’t know why. This same person is responsible for kidnapping people who-” Sookie’s face practically exploded in her smile. “Eric, I’ll sleep in your room.”
“Not that I’m complaining, but what tipped the scale?” I arched an eyebrow and started walking.
“I know you said these new vampires have no recollection of their makers. The sick vampires don’t seem to have the ability to call these newborns. What if that’s just the magic blocking it? I mean, obviously the spell has tampered with their blood if they can’t rest or feed properly. So why couldn’t it block whatever it is that connects a maker and a child? Eric, if someone is snatching humans to turn them…” Sookie, being the firecracker she was, wasn’t afraid, but angry.
It was a very good theory, and I was a little angry I hadn’t seen it sooner myself. There were just so many pieces of the puzzle to consider, but what Sookie was suggesting made perfect sense. Rather than congratulating her on her brilliant theory, I shifted her in my arms and kissed her. Her arms circled my neck, holding me close to her. I had to put her down when I got to the closet in the back, which was unfortunate because I didn’t want to break the kiss.
“I’ll have to remember to thank Pam for bringing me a toothbrush,” Sookie giggled while I entered the code to get into the chamber.
“Usually I have a very strict no clothing policy in my bed,” I glanced over my shoulder at Sookie, who gave me a disbelieving look. “But I’ll let it slide just this once.”
“Once, huh? Maybe I should sleep on the floor.” Sookie stood with her hands on her hips.
“You can if you’d like, but I think you’ll be much more comfortable up here,” I said as I began to turn the bed down.
Sookie moved to help me on the other side of the bed. She stacked the throw pillows neatly on the floor in the corner before folding back the blankets. She was dressed in an old Bon Temps football t-shirt that was at least two sizes too large and a pair of yoga pants that hugged her curves. Her was still damp, but starting to curl just slightly around her shoulders. I knew her hair was naturally wavy and as it dried, it returned to its usual golden blonde.
“Which side of the bed do you sleep on?” Sookie asked.
“The middle.” I smirked, getting me a disapproving look from her. “I sleep alone, Sookie. The last woman to share a bed with me during my daytime rest was Pam.”
“Oh,” she looked down for a moment. “I sleep on the right at home.”
“Then sleep on the right here. There’s plenty of room.”
Sookie eyed the bed for a minute before nervously climbing up onto it. She settled back against the pillows on her preferred side of the bed. Her legs crossed at her ankles and she ran her fingers through her hair. It struck me then how right she looked sitting there. She, once again, was the bright spot in a dark room.
“Well, you got me into your bed,” Sookie ran her small hands back and forth on the smooth sheets beneath them. “Now what?”
In a flash I was hovering over her so she was trapped under me. “You’re lucky it’s so close to sunrise.”
Sookie gulped, but she tried not to look at all nervous. “Does that mean I can trust that you won’t molest me in my sleep?”
“I won’t move at all once the sun comes up, so perhaps I should be asking you that question.” I teased her.
She looked properly offended and said, “I can keep my hands to myself, thank you very much.”
“Pity,” I smirked, then leaned in and kissed her.
I was expecting her to push me back but she didn’t. I started to think about what I would have done if she had gone home, despite Claudine’s warning. If I had let her talk me into letting her leave, she would be dead. I wasn’t sure what I felt for her yet. There was still the same intrigue I had when we first met, but I knew it wasn’t just that. I knew I cared for her, I just wasn’t sure how to define it. The journal told me I had been in love with her but the Sookie I knew and the Sookie she was when I wasn’t myself weren’t the same person either.
I wanted to peel her clothes off and get lost in her scent, but the sun started to rise, slowing me down quite a bit. Eventually, and much to my disappointment, I had to pull away from her. It was very amusing when I pulled back, only for her to pull me close again. I really didn’t want to pull away, but I didn’t want to collapse on top of her either.
“Daylight, Sookie,” I whispered against lips that were red and swollen from kissing for so long.
“Right,” she pouted quietly.
I kissed her forehead then went in search of acceptable clothing to sleep in. In the back of my closet I located a pair of black silk pajama pants I’d probably had since the seventies and hadn’t been worn since I first acquired them. I changed clothes quickly and returned to the bedroom to find Sookie stretched out on her side.
Her eyes were closed and her heart was beating slowly in her chest. She wasn’t asleep, but she wasn’t quite awake either. I slid into bed and turned on my side so I was facing the back of her head. My arm drifted over her and her hand moved to cover mine. I was careful not to grab her too tightly, or she wouldn’t be able to move when she woke up.
“Goodnight, Eric,” she whispered to me.
Before I could respond, I was dead for the day.
My eyes weren’t even open yet when I felt Sookie’s warmth and caught her scent in the air. Every predatory instinct in my body was screaming at me to stalk, hunt, capture and devour. She was turned on her side so she was facing me. The room was dark except for the little bit of light coming from the bathroom. Her eyes sparkled at me and she smiled softly.
I was on top of her before she had a chance to say anything. Her heart rate jumped. If I wouldn’t have been able to hear it, I would have seen it in the pulse of her neck. My lips dipped down and dragged over the dancing artery. She was naked. My fangs burst out of my jaw and nearly punctured the unmarred skin of her neck. If she was teasing me, she was going to be sorry.
Vampires didn’t dream, or I might have worried that was what I was doing. Her fingers tangled in my hair, redirecting my mouth to hers. There she teased, licking my fangs and tugging at my bottom lip with her teeth before letting my lips collide with hers. The delectable fragrance of her arousal drifted up from under the blankets when I shifted above her.
The quiet moan that escaped her was quickly swallowed, almost like I wanted to savor it later. These memories I wouldn’t forget. I would remember everything about her. The softness of her skin, the noises she made and the way her breasts felt against my chest when she arched her back. There was the gentle pressure of her foot digging into my backside, forcing me tighter against her.
There was the fresh taste of sunlight on her skin, suggesting she had left the room at some point during the day. The knowledge that she had willingly returned to me and left herself as an offering wasn’t lost on me. I didn’t intend to waste the gift she was offering. I could have spent hours at her breasts alone, nipping, tasting and teasing, but the writhing of her hips and the fire in her blood drew me further down her body.
I looked up to see she was watching me, waiting impatiently to see what I would do next. The pulse of her thigh called to me and the impatient groan I received for the kisses I placed there sent up a victory cry in my head. She pleaded with me to ‘get on with it,’ but I had no intention of rushing things along. I planned to enjoy this and maybe even beat a record I had set but couldn’t remember.
The sweetness between her thighs was unlike anything I had tasted in the past. The words I’d written in my journal didn’t do her justice, but then I wasn’t sure words could ever really describe what I was experiencing. The longer I teased, the less of the southern belle I had come to find such amusement and frustration in was visible. She became wild and demanding, her hips lifting off the bed to try and get more of what I was offering her.
I kept my eyes on hers while my hands found hers. Our fingers laced together while my tongue worked against the sensitive little button at her center. Gasps turned into moans, which turned into pleas and then screams. The sound of my name falling from her lips that way was beyond anything I ever could have imagined.
I felt it in my blood when she exploded, and it nearly pulled me along with her. It took all the will I had not to follow. Instead, I shifted my position, kissing my way up her body until my lips found hers. They were trembling as much as the rest of her. When we rolled over, she easily straddled me. Her mouth moved down my jaw to my neck. She bit, but not hard enough to draw blood.
Her hips rocked warmly and lifted slightly. She reached between us and stroked me while her lips fastened around one of my nipples, mimicking the movements I’d made with my own tongue on her body a while before. When she bit again, I bucked up into her hand. I felt the surge of power in her blood, and I flipped her onto her back.
Our eyes met as she positioned me at her entrance. I pushed slowly, careful not to be too rough. Her eyes widened as her body stretched. She bit her lip for just a second. She wasn’t in pain or I would have stopped. All the same, I reached down and rubbed her clit, which made her muscles pulse. I slid deeper inside her and buried my face in her neck. Her nails dug into my back, her hips raising to meet mine.
The desire she felt mingled with my own in an intense way I’d never felt before, at least that I recalled. I moved slowly at first, pulling almost all the way out before sliding right back in. Each stroke was like torture, and the tightening of her muscles around me told me she felt the same. Her body moved to meet mine, ensuring I was getting as deep inside her as I could every time I pushed forward.
In, out, in, out over and over again. She clawed at me at first before fisting the sheets instead. I watched her watching where we were joined, her breath catching with every stroke inside her. My eyes drifted to the sway of her breasts, but then moved to her face when her hands settled on my jaw, directing my mouth to hers.
“Bite me, Eric,” she whispered against my lips.
A quick trail of wet kisses later, I had arrived at her breast. I wouldn’t mark her where anyone could see unless she asked me to. She wasn’t just some fangbanger and I wouldn’t treat her like she was. I kissed her flushed skin and felt the thrum of her heartbeat underneath. Her walls began to clamp around me, desperately trying to keep me inside her. I timed my bite perfectly, and with the first wave of her orgasm, her blood filled my mouth.
She screamed my name when she climaxed, her hands tangling violently in my hair, holding me to her while I drank. I had tasted her before but never like this. I could taste the passion in her blood as easily as I felt it. There was the extra sweetness that was unique to her, as well as something a little more wild. Her blood was unlike anything I’d had in my thousand years. I would never get tired of tasting her. I had to force myself to stop before I took too much.
Between the pleasure I got from drinking her blood and what I felt in the connection we shared, my own circuits were overwhelmed. I thrust into her a little harder, growling at the ripples of residual bliss that tremored their way through her. I nearly bit her again, but instead threw my head back and came with a roar before dropping on top of her.
Sookie held onto me tightly, wrapping her arms and legs around me rather than pushing me away. I couldn’t have asked for more. I was completely enveloped in her and the tenderness in her blood at that moment was unexpected. Things had certainly changed in just a manner of days.
When Sookie attempted to get out of bed, I realized she wasn’t the only one who had changed. I didn’t just see her as the sassy telepath who presented me a challenge and forced me to fight for her anymore. She had become something else. In my very long life I’d slept with more women than I could count. Yet, this was the first human I’d had sex with in a very long time that didn’t bore me and wasn’t just a meal. There was an emotional connection between us that both intrigued me and gave me pause.
Getting attached to a human wasn’t really the smartest thing to do. I pondered whether or not I had a choice in the matter while I held her and listened to her breathing. Certainly, I’d done a lot of thinking in the past where Sookie was concerned. I’d tried to tell myself I wanted her only because of the challenge she represented. She didn’t yield to me easily. Money, material things and immortality didn’t impress her. She wasn’t interested in the things I could give her. She expected nothing from me, aside from the person I was.
Sookie saw me for what I was. She had been witness to the darkness of vampires and what we were capable of. Of course there was more and Sookie did have a tendency to be a bit naive about things, but she wasn’t a fool either. She didn’t look at vampires in romantic way like the fangbangers at Fangtasia did. She understood the danger and realized it was a risk to be tied to me.
Being together was dangerous for so many reasons. Yet, I couldn’t stay away from her.
I remembered how my instincts had screamed at me to feed on her, fuck her and kill her not so long ago. It would probably be best for self-preservation purposes. Hell, it might even be the kindest way Sookie could leave the world. I tried not to think of all the ways she could conceivably be used against me. It was a terrible paradox to feel such strong urges to protect her and get as far away from her as I could all at once.
“Your phone is ringing,” it was Sookie’s voice that brought me back to the present.
Pam. I grabbed the phone from the nightstand. I had no intention of leaving my bed unless it was absolutely necessary. I wasn’t finished with Sookie just yet.
“What is it, Pam?” I asked when I answered her call.
“Indira hasn’t checked in. I thought, perhaps, she returned to her nest too late to call, although it isn’t like her to disregard an edict you hand down. Nearly an hour has passed since sunset and she has yet to call. I’ve spoken with her nestmates and they haven’t seen her since the meeting last night.” Pam told me.
“Send Petri and his team to her nest. Call me with updates.” I probably shouldn’t have been delegating things to her given the situation we were in.
My priorities were a little off line but I justified my decision by reasoning that Sookie needed to be watched. I needed to make calls in regards to getting someone out to her house to dismantle the bombs. I needed to check in with Bill. I needed to find a witch capable of further diagnosing the sick vampires in my basement. I needed to find out where the makers were for these makerless vampires.
As if on cue, an email came in from the Queen, wanting to discuss the attack that had happened at the carnival. She wanted fangs to roll for this. That meant telling her about what had been happening if there was any chance whatsoever of sparing Mary Elizabeth’s life. Once again, I felt the headache rising.
“Everything okay?” Sookie asked when I hung up the phone.
“No. Indira has gone missing.” I dropped the phone on the nightstand.
Sookie’s eyes widened with worry. “Do you think she was taken?”
“Most likely. She’s reliable and takes her fealty very seriously. Trackers are being sent out after her. I’m afraid, however, that I won’t be able to spend the evening enjoying you the way I’d like to.” I pulled her on top of me and kissed her deeply.
“Then I guess we’d better get in the shower,” she said with a bashful smile before jumping off the bed and hightailing it to the bathroom.
She was going to be the death of me.