I agreed to meet Sookie at her place at seven so she’d have time to get home and change clothes before I got there. I could understand needing a few minutes to yourself. We’d certainly been spending a lot of time together but I didn’t mind it at all. Actually, the idea of not spending time with her was more bothersome than the idea of spending too much time together. With her, there just didn’t seem to be such a thing as too much. It was slightly amazing to me how Sookie had just dropped into my life like it was no big deal. There was no rearranging my schedule for her or any big shifts that needed to be made to accommodate her appearance in my life. It was like she was belonged there, which gave me something to think about. I started hearing Johan’s chattering in my head and all of his talk about Sookie and I moving in together. We were just under a week away from the two month anniversary of the night we met.
I found it curious how it would seem like not that much time had gone by, and yet, it felt like I’d known Sookie for much longer than two months. It was a strange paradox I was living in but as long as I had Sookie with me, I’d be just fine. That was one of the few things I was sure of. When the final bell rang I met Johan at my car and headed home. As promised, Pam had left our costumes hanging over the back of a kitchen chair. It took me a minute to figure out what they were but once I did, I couldn’t stop laughing.
Pam was nothing if not creative. She had also been listening to me, for once, which I found shocking. She’d clearly labeled who was supposed to wear what like I wouldn’t have been able to figure it out on my own. But I also knew Pam was in hyper-organize mode, which meant her inner Mistress of Pain was at the wheel. We were all at her mercy until after Friday night. All I could do was hope that Felicia wouldn’t pull one of her disappearing acts. Failure to show up at the bar would most likely result in her termination and there was no way I was forfeiting valuable Sookie time to play bartender for more than one night.
“Where does Pam come up with this stuff?” Johan asked after taking in the costumes.
“God only knows. I’ve learned it’s better not to ask.” I sighed as I handed over Johan’s costume to him.
“You know, this would work much better if she wouldn’t have shot those rubberbands in my hair. That wig is fucked up, bror.” Johan laughed as he pulled it from the bag of props that went along with his costume.
The wig did look like roadkill. “Good luck arguing with Pam over it.”
“No thanks, I like my balls right where they are.” Johan knew better than to argue.
I left him to his own devices with the keys for the Comet if he didn’t want to stick around the house all night and then I headed over to Sookie’s. I planned to get there a little early in the hopes of surprising her in the shower. I pulled up to her house a short time later to find her car in the driveway. I parked along side it and grabbed my bag from the backseat before heading up to the house. I tried the door to see if it was unlocked and it was. I let myself inside and dropped my bag in the foyer. I slipped off my shoes and closed the door behind me.
“Sookie?” I called out but didn’t get an answer. I listened for running water but didn’t hear any. I contemplated the idea that she might be at Amelia’s since she wasn’t expecting me for almost another twenty minutes.
I jogged upstairs to see if she was in her bathroom. Nope, she wasn’t there, either. The clothes she’d been wearing earlier were in her hamper, so I knew she’d at least dropped in and changed. I was just about to stand up when I something relatively hard and thin slapped my ass. I jolted upright and turned around to see Sookie standing there with a smug look on her face. My jaw dropped at the sight of her.
She was standing there in those red heels that always make me want to throw her up against the nearest flat surface and pillage her. She was also back in those pinstripes, that skirt hugged her hips and ass perfectly. She was also wearing the starched white shirt with one button too many left open, showing off her abundant cleavage. Her hair was pulled back and she had her glasses on. Then, to top it all off, she was smacking a wooden ruler against her hand. The word ‘erection’ doesn’t even begin to describe what was going on in my pants.
“You broke one of my rules, Mr. Northman. That’s a punishable offense.” She was talking in her teacher voice, which wasn’t helping to restrain me from throwing her on the bed. “What are we going to do about this?”
I couldn’t stop watching that ruler as it bounced against her hand. “I’ll do whatever it takes to make it up to you, Miss Stackhouse. What did you have in mind?” My throat went dry with the possibilities.
Sookie looked me up and down like she was contemplating her next move, although if I new her as well as I thought I did, she’d been planning this all day. Minx.
“Strip.” She said in an authoritative voice.
“Yes ma’am.” I bit back a smile and slowly began to remove my clothes, watching her watch me as I did so. Once I was naked I asked, “Now what?”
Sookie arched an eyebrow at me and said, “Go stand in the corner. That’s where naughty boys belong.”
I almost laughed to hear her say that. It sounded so cheesy and yet, fuckhot at the same time. I walked over to the corner she was pointing to and she followed right behind me. I couldn’t resist asking, “Should I face the wall?”
Quicker than I would have thought possible that ruler shot out and cracked me on the ass. It stung for just a second and Sookie seemed almost surprised at herself for doing it. She recovered quickly and said, “Do you think this is funny, Mr. Northman?”
“No, ma’am.” I answered with a straight face. Fucking fun was what it was. Or at least I thought it was until she stepped away from me.
“Keep your hands at your sides. Don’t move unless I tell you to. Don’t speak unless spoken to. Are we clear, Mr. Northman?” Sookie kept her eyes on mine. All I wanted to do was jump her.
“Yes, Miss Stackhouse.” I nodded.
“Good boy.” She finally smiled at me, but there was too much mischief in that smile for me to really relax at all.
Then my punishment began.
The bar was filled to capacity much quicker than Pam had anticipated and I’d thought for sure she was overestimating things. I was wrong. Even with the extra staff Pam had hired for the night, the bartenders were still swamped. Pam had decided to open the bar in the under age portion of the club to make it a VIP area. An invitation was needed in order to get into that side of the bar and Pam had been very selective about whom she gifted those invitations to.
I’d gotten to the bar early to help Pam get last minute things all set up. Sookie was planning to meet me. She was coming with Tray and Amelia and would be spending the night- if not more than that- at my house. I was behind the bar with Felicia, Pam and Indira when I heard the unmistakable sound of my brother’s wolf whistle. The look on his face told me he was looking at something good. I followed his line of sight until my eyes met Sookie’s. Goodbye pants that fit comfortably.
“Pam, have I told you that I love you lately?” I leaned over to her without taking my eyes off of Sookie.
“Save the dry humping for your girlfriend.” Pam rolled her eyes at me. “It’s just a dress.”
Pam may have had a point but Sookie looked fuckhot in it. Pam had outdone herself in coming up with costumes for the four of us. I hadn’t expected us to go in what was essentially a group costume, but Pam had chosen well. By Pam’s standards, her costume was extremely conservative. She’d dressed herself, Johan, Sookie and me up as characters from Scooby Doo. Pam, was Velma, the sexually ambiguous smarty. She was wearing a modified version of Velma’s classic outfit. The orange turtleneck was sleeveless and the skirt was pleated- not to mention much shorter than the one Velma wore. Still, she had on the knee socks and sensible shoes and she topped it all off with an odd rust colored wig.
Johan, who was sitting at the bar, was dressed as Shaggy. I was dressed as Fred and wishing the pants Pam had picked out weren’t so tight. Of course, they’d been just fine before Sookie walked in. She was dressed as Daphne and even with the orange wig she was wearing, she still looked amazing. She was wearing a light purple mini-dress and matching go-go boots. The dress hugged all of her curves and the little cut out at the neckline showed just enough cleavage to make me want to… well, that’s not important.
“Who does a girl have to sleep with to get a drink around here?” Sookie teased as she fought her way up to the bar.
“Start here.” Pam winked at her.
“If I can’t dry hump my girlfriend then neither can you, Pam.” I almost growled at her.
Sookie leaned over the bar, putting more of her cleavage on display. I leaned down to kiss her hello and when we pulled apart she smiled up at me. “You look good, Fred.”
“I hate this wig.” I stared up toward the top of my head.
“It’s only for a night. Besides, you should just be thankful that Pam didn’t put you in the Shaggy costume.” Sookie smirked at me.
I could only imagine the field day Johan would have had if our costumes were reversed. Without even having to ask I got Sookie a gin and tonic. I promised I would get out from behind the bar as soon as possible. I wasn’t there to work, but to enjoy a night out with my brother and my girl. I kept an eye on Sookie, even though she was dancing with Johan, Amelia and Tray. Eventually Pam considered me more of a burden than a help and she ejected me from behind the bar.
“Go make nice with your girlfriend so you get proper blood flow to your brain.” Pam said as she shoved.
It just so happened, at that moment, that two people walked into the bar that I immediately wanted to toss. The first was Red Menace dressed in a Tim Burton-like Queen of Hearts costume. The second was a confederate soldier. Bill fucking Compton. I groaned and turned back toward Pam.
“Are you seeing this?” I nodded my head toward Red Menace and Bill.
“That’s the fucker that popped Johan.” Pam started to move out from behind the bar.
“Where are you going?” I asked with mild amusement.
“To have a little fun.” Pam winked at me and then disappeared into the crowd.
Felicia seemed to have the bar under control so I went in search of Sookie. I found her on the dance floor surrounded by Tray, Amelia and Johan. She wiggled her way over to me when she saw me approaching. It was obvious to me she had a bit of a buzz going.
“There you are. Mistress Pam finally let you off the leash, huh?” She pushed up on her toes to kiss me.
“For now.” I let my fingers lace with hers and she started to pull me toward our friends. “Wait, come with me for a second.”
“Where are we going?” She asked as I pulled her off the dance floor.
We walked through the crowd toward Pam’s office. I didn’t want to have a conversation with her about Bill on the dance floor. Once we were in the office I closed the door behind me. Sookie walked over to the couch and plopped down like her legs had simply given out on her. I sat down beside her and she slung her legs over my lap.
“So, what’s going on that we had to come in here?” Sookie asked.
“Bill Compton and the Red Menace are here.” I informed her.
“That’s it? That’s why you brought me in here?” Sookie giggled, making me think she was a little more drunk than I’d originally thought. “Eric, who gives a shit if they’re here?”
“This is my bar, Sookie. I don’t want another stupid fight to break out, especially on a night like this. There are too many people around and I don’t want anyone getting hurt. Especially you.”
“Eric, I’m fine. If Bill so much as looks at me funny I’m sure there are at least five people around who would be willing to toss him. I’m not worried about it and you shouldn’t be either. Let’s go have fun.” Sookie started to get up.
“Just promise me that you’ll stick close to someone if I have to get back behind the bar.” I grabbed her hand.
She gave me a look that said I was being silly but she indulged me all the same. “I think you’re being paranoid but if it’ll make you feel better, I promise to adhere to the buddy system for the duration of the evening.” She even held up three of her fingers like she was giving the Girl Scout pledge.
“Thank you.” I smiled and stood up.
“It’s sweet of you to want to protect me. I do appreciate that you care, even if you’re being weird about it.” She pulled me face to hers and kissed me. Yep, she was definitely drunk. How had I missed that?
We went back to the dance floor where I was able to dance and hang out with Sookie and our friends for a while before the bar started to get backed up again. I kept scanning the crowd for Bill and the Red Menace since I didn’t trust either of them. I didn’t know if they had come together or if it was just coincidence that had them showing up at the same time. I didn’t really care what the circumstance of their arrival was so long as they didn’t bother Sookie at any given point. I knew Johan was keeping close watch on her and I appreciated that.
“I threw them out.” Pam stepped up beside me when she caught me scanning the crowd.
“You did? When?”
“Almost as soon as they walked in. I told them their presence wasn’t appreciated, gave them their money back and told them never to set foot in my bar again.”
“And you couldn’t have mentioned that a few hours ago?” I glared at Pam. My night certainly would have gone smoother if she had.
“I like watching you squirm.” Pam shrugged and went back to pouring her beer. Bitch.
Finally, the bar was winding down. Last call was announced and Tray offered to drive Sookie back to my place since it was going to be a while before I could leave. Johan was going to stick around to help with the close up and since Sookie was in no position to stay, I figured it was best for him to take her home. Not to mention, she wasn’t going to fit in the car with Johan and me anyway. So Johan handed over his keys and I helped him carry Sookie out to the car. She and Amelia were officially smashed.
“I want to stay with you.” Sookie pouted when I scooped her up to carry her out to the car.
“I’ll be home soon, I promise. You should drink some water and get to bed.” I kissed her forehead.
“But I had tricks and treats planned for you.” Sookie slurred and giggled as I walked toward Tray’s car.
“How about a raincheck?” I suggested.
“Only because you’re a very good boyfriend, Mr. Northman.” She snuggled against me and closed her eyes.
I had no doubt she’d be passed out by the time I got back to the house. I got her buckled into the backseat of Tray’s car, which was a small victory in and of itself. I smoothed the ridiculous fake hair away from her face and smiled at her.
“I love you, Sookie.” I whispered and kissed her forehead.
“You too.” She whispered back with a small smile on her face.
I handed Tray the keys Johan had given me and showed him which one was for the front door. “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure she gets to bed.” He promised me.
“Thanks, Tray, I owe you one.”
“Think nothing of it. Sookie’s a good friend. I owe her for all those times she let me crash on her couch.” Tray laughed.
I stepped back and watched Tray get in the car. I stood by while he back out of the space and headed out of the parking lot. I was just getting to the door of the bar when I heard the sound of tires squealing and then the horrible crunch of metal and the breaking of glass. I whirled around to the left to see Tray’s car smashed in on the rear passenger’s side. My stomach dropped immediately.
“Sookie!” I screamed as I ran toward the accident.
Before I could get there, flames appeared under the hood of the car.