I stood at the terminal waiting for Sookie to disembark from the plane. Getting Mom to agree to spend the day with Johan hadn’t been easy. She was chomping at the bit to meet Sookie, but I figured we had some talking to do before Mom got her hooks into Sookie. When Dad stepped in to remind Mom the fate of her future grandchildren could be at stake, she couldn’t get out of the house fast enough. I glared at Dad for encouraging Mom, but mostly I was thankful he’d found a way to get her to agree with what I wanted. I was seriously starting to think Mom needed to be medicated.
I looked out the window at the flurries that blurred the world outside, and I was thankful Sookie’s flight hadn’t been canceled. I probably would have driven down to Louisiana to get her, I wanted her home that much. Even with Mom in it, the house felt empty without Sookie there. All of the talking and thinking I’d done over the last week had put things into perspective for me.
I had some changes to make, and I was going to make them as much for myself as I was for Sookie. I didn’t ever want to go through this ever again. I wasn’t proud of my behavior, or of the way I’d hurt Sookie. At the same time, I didn’t quite regret it either. The whole thing had been a wake-up call that I had some serious shit to work out. So if I came out of this a better person, and my relationship with Sookie was stronger for it, then I would consider it all a blessing.
Then, all of a sudden, Sookie was there. She stopped short when she spotted me. I watched her take a deep breath, and it wasn’t until I was lifting her off the ground that I even realized I’d started walking. Her arms wrapped around my neck, and I buried my face in her hair. I heard a quiet sob escape her, and then her lips were on mine. I kissed her like I was coming home from war, which isn’t an entirely bad analogy.
“Jesus, I missed you.” Sookie pressed her forehead to mine.
“I missed you, too.” I pressed my lips to hers, and it took mere seconds before we were back at it like a couple of teenagers.
Sookie pulled back first and said, “Take me home.”
“I’d love to.” I kissed her once more before I set her down.
She tucked herself into my side, and we walked to the baggage claim together. We ended up needing a cart for her bags, and I was glad I’d driven her car instead of the Corvette. Sookie held my hand the whole way home. It felt good to have her back. It sounded cliché, but it really had felt like a part of me was missing when she was gone. We talked about her trip, and she filled me in on the Stackhouse family gossip. I was surprised at how supportive her family was being about my situation.
“Most parents would discourage their daughter from being with a guy who’s been arrested for a violent crime.” My eyes swung over to hers.
“Most guys wouldn’t pull their girlfriend from a burning car. Face it, Eric, short of you picking up where Dahmer left off, you’ve got all the Stackhouses in your corner.” Sookie kissed my hand and said added, “Including this one.”
To save myself the embarrassment of crying like a little girl I said, “I kind of like you, Sookie Stackhouse.”
She burst out at my underwhelming declaration of affection and said, “I kind of like you too, Northman.”
We kept cheating glances and smiling at each other. I felt those tingles I’d felt when we first met. It was like I was seeing her through a new pair of eyes, and I seriously wondered what the hell I’d done to deserve her. I figured it was probably best not to ask too many questions.
“So, how much crazy is waiting for us at the house?” Sookie asked when I turned onto our street.
“Just Jeter. Johan has custody of the parental units until later tonight. He took them downtown to see Michigan Avenue. Mom wanted to go to the Art Museum. Dad is insisting on deep dish pizza. Johan promised he would keep them out until at least ten, even if it meant getting lost.” I told Sookie. My twin was doing his part to make up for the years of being so wishy-washy, and I appreciated him taking Mom and Dad off my hands so I could have a few hours alone with Sookie.
“Good. We won’t be needing an audience.” Sookie smiled out the window, and my heart skipped a beat.
I parked the car and sent her inside while I got her bags out of the back. I walked inside to find her sitting on the floor while Jeter kept licking at her. I wondered if she sat voluntarily, or if Jeter finally knocked her over. It was obvious the dog missed her as much as I did.
“Alright, Jeter, that’s enough.” Sookie pushed him away gently. “Man, I hope Johan doesn’t greet me like that.”
“I’d be more worried about Mom, if I were you. Thankfully, Dad’s an excellent marksman, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got a tranquilizer gun around here with Mom’s name on it.”
Sookie gasped and rolled her eyes at me. “You’re terrible, you know that? I think it’s sweet that she’s so concerned for you. She’s invested in your happiness. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”
I laughed and said, “Just wait until she starts asking you how long it’s going to be before we start having kids. Then come talk to me about how sweet she is.” I bent to untie the boots Sookie hated as I talked.
“Ugh, I was really hoping those would be gone when I got back.”
“Sorry, lover, they’re a part of the package.”
Sookie growled and took off her coat. “I think I’m going to go take a shower. There were a couple of sick kids on the plane.”
“I’ll be in the kitchen.” I tried not to sound as disappointed as I felt. I’d wanted to get right down to business and work things out. I needed to get it all out there. It felt like there was a rock in my stomach, and I needed to get rid of it.
Sookie got half way to the bedroom when she paused to look over her shoulder. “You could come with me.”
I wanted to, I really did, but I wanted something more than a few frenzied minutes in the shower with her. Still, I followed her all the same because my body rejected the idea of not being near a naked Sookie. Besides, I was confident in my ability to get her to hold off on her shower. By the time I got to the bedroom, she’d already stripped off her sweater, and was going for the clasp on her bra.
“Allow me?” I bent and kissed a line from her shoulder to her neck.
“Eric.” My name fell from her lips in a breathy moan I associated with a green light.
We took our time undressing each other, leaving trails of kisses on newly exposed flesh as we went along. When I sank to my knees to slide her jeans down, I paused at the intricate lace of the boy shorts she was wearing, and kissed the fabric covering her center. She inhaled sharply, a sound I loved because it told me she not only knew what was to come, but that she wanted it every bit as much as I did. Her panties quickly followed her jeans to the tidy pile of discarded clothes on the floor.
I stood up slowly and scooped her up. She was surprised when I set her down on the bed, and pointed to the bathroom with wide eyes. I just shook my head as I parted her knees and sank to the floor again. Her weak protesting stopped when she felt my breath between her thighs. She obliged me by laying back when I pushed her to do so. Her small hands slipped into my hair, alternately running her fingers through it and tugging gently to guide me where she wanted me to go.
“I love your hair. I’m sorry I didn’t say it sooner.” Her unexpected apology came out in a rush of breath.
I both rewarded and acknowledged her with the first pass of my tongue over her folds, and her body tensed up. I used my thumbs to spread her open before my tongue made another pass at her. She moaned in frustration when I stopped shy of her clit. It was several licks and a less than friendly tug on my hair later, when I finally sucked her clit into my mouth and let my tongue flick against it.
“Holy fuck!” The curse came flying out of her mouth, and it was the sexiest thing she’d ever said.
I let two of my fingers slide inside her and start pumping slowly. Her hips arched up off the bed, and my other hand moved up to hold her down. The sound of her gasps, moans and my name being chanted were the most beautiful sounds. I’d missed them terribly.
I felt her walls start to tighten around my fingers, a sign she was close. I redoubled my efforts at her clit, sucking, licking and even nibbling gently. With a simple hum and a curl of my fingers inside her to stroke that spot I’d found months before, she came loudly- almost violently.
“Ohmygod.” She panted as she started to come down from her orgasm.
Her legs were still shaking when I rose up from the floor. My hands went to unzip my jeans, but Sookie sat up and pushed them out of the way. She held onto one of my hands, bringing the two fingers that had been inside her to her lips and sucking them into her mouth. I groaned, wanting to feel that moist heat on other body parts. Her eyes met mine, while her hands went back to work divesting me of my jeans. She released my fingers with a small popping noise, and leaned forward to leave a trail of open mouth kisses from my naval to the waistband of my boxers.
She teased the tops of my thighs with her fingernails, and I could feel the heat of her breath on what was about to be a painful erection. The need to be inside her was nearly overwhelming, but I wasn’t going to rush this. I would let her set the pace from that moment on, as much as I wanted to pin her underneath me and ravage her until we both passed out from total exhaustion. I let my hands sink into the silky strands of her hair as she eased off my boxers, leaving kisses and nibbles everywhere but where I wanted them.
It was fucking torture.
Her hands went around my hips and settled firmly on my ass, gripping it as she pulled me closer to her. Her eyes found mine again, and then her tongue darted out to tease the tip of the officially painfully hard length before her. Her tongue swirled and flicked, and the look in her eyes told me she was enjoying teasing me as much as I had enjoyed teasing her. Her right hand let go of my ass, and wrapped around my erection.
Her hand pumped in time with the attention she paid to the tip, and then without warning, she took me in her mouth as far as she could. My eyes rolled into the back of my head. Her hand and mouth were a perfect partnership, and she knew only too well how to get me close to the edge, only to back just as quickly.
Her efforts were merciless, and by the time she decided I’d suffered enough, I couldn’t stop myself from tackling her back closer to the center of the bed. I kissed my way of her body as I settled between her thighs. Her hands cupped my face, and she looked deep into my eyes.
“I love you, Eric.” Tears shined in the familiar blue orbs I loved so much.
“I love you, too, Sookie.” I smoothed some of her hair away from her face.
She stretched forward to kiss me, and then I was inside her. My strokes were long and slow, setting a leisurely pace. We weren’t usually much for slow and sweet, but this was different. This wasn’t just about an overflow of lust, or a way to pass the time. This was about re-establishing our connection to one another, and maybe saying things with our bodies that we didn’t know how to say with our mouths alone.
I whispered endearments to her in Swedish, and she groaned. Speaking Swedish to her in med was a quick way to really fan the flames inside of Sookie, and pressure of her feet pushing me deeper inside of her let me know the time for slow and sweet was just about up. My hand moved between us so my thumb could tease her clit. She moaned loudly and arched up off the bed.
“Oh, God, Eric, faster.” She had her eyes closed. Her face was contorted into the most beautiful expression, and I loved that I knew what that face meant.
I started to thrust faster and harder into her, and she nipped at my neck in response. She moved fluidly with me when I rolled us over. She sat up on top of me, her legs landing easily on either side of my hips. She leaned back so that she was bracing herself on my thighs, her hair hanging and grazing me as she moved up and down. The sensation of her hair tickling my thighs sent chills up my spine.
My eyes trailed from her face to the bounce of her breasts, before moving down to see where we were joined. I watched myself disappear inside her over and over again, and I had to fight the urge to grab her hips so I could drive myself up into her. But then I sat up, closing the gap in space between us. Sookie adjusted quickly, wrapping her legs around my waist and her arms around my neck without ever stopping the rocking of her hips against mine.
“So close.” Sookie gasped against my neck before turning my face to hers to kiss me.
Six days. 144 hours had passed while she was gone, and it was too much. I never wanted to be away from her for that long ever again. I just didn’t feel like myself when she wasn’t with me. A rapid succession of hard thrusts and a clever maneuver of my thumb against her clit brought her over the edge, and the vice-like grip of her walls brought me with her.
Her shouts mingled with my own, and the release left both of us shuddering and panting. Lazy kisses were exchanged as we came down from our high. Sookie unhooked her legs and remained on top of me when I lay back against the pillows. Her hair made a golden curtain around our faces as we kept on kissing. Eventually, Sookie pulled back. She had a big smile on her face, and I couldn’t help but grin right back at her.
“So I guess this means apology accepted?” She traced a line down my chest.
“You tell me.”
She nodded enthusiastically, and then kissed me again. It was several hours before she finally got her shower.
I was sitting at the island in the kitchen waiting for Sookie to join me when the phone rang. “Hello?”
“Is it safe to bring Mom and Dad back?” Johan asked quietly, suggesting they were close by.
“Archie and Edith are giving you trouble, are they?” I joked.
“Seriously, bror, I don’t know how you’re living with them right now.”
“It’s only for a few more days.” I shrugged.
“Mom’s been talking about Sookie all day.” Johan warned and I sighed, although I wasn’t terribly surprised.
“So is it safe?” Johan asked just as Sookie walked into the kitchen wearing one of my t-shirts. Fuck me.
“I guess.” I said absently, and Johan laughed on the other end of the line.
“You’re lucky I like your girl. I’ll take my time getting back. I’ll text when we’re ten minutes out.”
“Thanks, storebror. Talk to you later.” I hung up before he could say anything else. I turned my attention to Sookie who was bent into the fridge. Damn. “You know, it’s interesting how seeing you in my clothes makes me want to see you in nothing at all.”
Sookie looked at me over her shoulder without standing up straight. “Haven’t you had enough?”
“Never.” I grinned at her.
She rolled her eyes and returned her attention to the refrigerator. “We need to go grocery shopping. Does your family do anything traditional for Christmas dinner?”
I hadn’t given it much thought, to be honest. Mom usually took care of food stuff, and I was pretty sure she had a plan in place already. “The usual, I guess. Mom usually makes ham.”
Sookie swiveled around with a big smile on her face. “So does my Mom. How about if I take your Mom shopping tomorrow? You can spend the day with your Dad and Johan, or something.”
“I should probably warn you that Mom and Pam don’t get along very well, and Pam will be here for Christmas.”
“Why doesn’t your Mom like Pam?” Sookie leaned against the counter after closing the refrigerator.
“She doesn’t approve of her relationship with Johan. She thinks Pam is rude and crass.”
“It’s not my place to judge, but your Mom isn’t entirely wrong. Not everyone is as open minded as you are when it comes to Pam. Besides, I wasn’t a big fan of Pam when I first met her.” Sookie revealed to me.
“I believe the first words of our your mouth were something about a marriage proposal.” I reminded her.
She scoffed and said, “I said she was my hero. Besides, Pam had coffee and I was hung over.”
“Well, if you wouldn’t have practically had one foot out the door when I woke up, I would have made you coffee.” I crossed the room and wrapped my arms around her.
Sookie kissed my chest and said, “I’m glad I stayed.”
“I’m glad you did, too.” She smiled up at me and I bent down to kiss her. We stayed like that for a while before I pulled back and said, “So, I think there are some things we need to talk about.”
Sookie nodded her agreement and said, “Yes, I think there are. Do you want to start, or should I?”
“Ladies first.” I kissed her forehead and then backed off to give her some space, knowing she had a tendency to pace when she had something important to say.
Sookie took a deep breath and then pushed herself up onto the counter. “Okay, so, I want to start by apologizing to you because I think that’s probably the hardest part. I know I overreacted in a lot of ways to what happened, and I’m not going to make excuses for it. I let my past get the better of me, and I made the mistake of comparing you to Quinn.”
“Oh. Was that why you freaked out during sex?”
“Partly. I got too deep into my head, and I started thinking about all of the promises that had been made to me in the past, and a commitment was a big part of it. I know you’re not him, but I just starting thinking about all of the things I was willing to overlook to keep him in my life, and I don’t want to make those same mistakes with you. I let a lot of things go because I thought he was worth that little bit of unhappiness because he made me happy in other ways. But I could never talk to Quinn the way I’m talking to you right now. He would never have taken me seriously, and I know that you will. I know you’re in this as much as I am, and that’s what kept me from leaving the day you came home.
“I also want to apologize to you for pushing you away. Instead of looking at the bigger picture and trying to see things through your eyes, I was being a little bit selfish. I was scared. I was scared that I had been all wrong about you. I was scared of losing you. I was scared that everything was a lie. I realized while I was in Louisiana that I should be measuring the people I love by the best examples instead of the worst. So I’m sorry for all those things.”
“Apology accepted.” I said without hesitation. Frankly, I didn’t expect an apology from her, nor did I think one was necessary, but it was still nice to hear. I went across the room and her knees parted for me to stand between. I rested my hands on her hips and said, “I owe you an apology, too. I’m sorry that I gave you a reason to doubt our relationship, or who I am in it. You are the most important thing in the world to me, and I’m sorry if I gave you a reason to think there is anyone else in my heart besides you. You are the one I want. Only you.”
She nodded as a tear fell down her cheek and said, “Apology accepted.”
She leaned forward to kiss me just as my phone rang on the island behind me. I sighed and pressed my forehead to hers. “If that’s Johan calling already, I’ll kill him.”
Sookie stroked my cheek and said, “I’ll get it if you want.”
“No, no, it’s okay. You just stay there and look sexy in my shirt.” I winked at her and then turned to grab my phone off the counter. I answered in Swedish without looking at the caller ID.
“Uh, I’m looking for Eric Northman or Sookie Stackhouse.” Detective Twining’s voice greeted me.
“This is Eric.” I said quickly. “What can I do for you, Detective?”
Sookie’s head snapped up, and I’m pretty sure her heart rate jumped as much as my own did. I listened as Detective Twinings told me he’d just finished taking a statement from Amelia about her memories from the night of the accident. I didn’t even know Amelia and Tray were back in town. Last I’d heard, they were still doing whatever it was they were doing in Las Vegas. I wondered if Sookie knew they were back, and just what Amelia knew about the situation she and I had been in lately.
“So, what happens now?” I asked Detective Twinings.
“Well, we’ll pull Miss LeClerq in for an interview and see if we can find any holes in her previous story. From all the evidence we gathered from this case, Lorena Compton was our strongest suspect, but Miss LeClerq was on the list right below her, along with Mr. Compton. Have you had any contact with either Miss LeClerq or Mr. Compton since the incident at the bar?”
“No. I haven’t seen so much as a light go on in Sophie-Anne’s house in weeks. Bill had mentioned something to Sookie about the two of them moving out of state the night they came into the bar.” I looked at Sookie, who breathed a sigh of relief that I wasn’t about to be hauled back into jail. I had to admit, I was feeling the same way.
“We’re looking into that. If you see them, do give me a call right away.” He instructed.
“Oh, don’t worry. We’ll be calling.”
“And Eric, don’t do anything stupid.” The detective sounded like a protective father.
“I think I learned my lesson.” I smiled over at Sookie, who looked confused. “Thanks for calling.”
“What’s going on?” Sookie slipped off the counter and stood in front of me.
“Well, for starters, the new Mrs. Tray Dawson is back in town. Did you know that?”
“No. I haven’t talked to Amelia since the morning you were released. I guess she went to the cops?”
“Yep. She told them everything she remembered. The police are looking for Sophie-Anne and Bill as we speak. Bill didn’t mention anything to you about where they were headed, did he?”
“He said south, but that could be anywhere.” Sookie rubbed her forehead, suddenly looking exhausted.
“He grew up close to where you did, didn’t he?”
“He grew up in Louisiana, yes, and Lorena’s family is from Mississippi.”
“Then I’m extra glad you’re home.” I didn’t want to think about what Bill might have done if he had been able to get Sookie alone.
Assuming he had something to do with the accident, and I was more convinced than ever that he did, I was pretty sure nothing good would come from Sookie running into him alone. One thing was for sure, I was definitely going to be paying closer attention to what was happening next door. It was definitely to my advantage that Dad had a tendency to get up in the middle of the night for a snack that Mom pretended not to know anything about. I was sure his military training would have him surveilling the house for the duration of their stay.
“Eric, there’s something else I need to tell you.” Sookie looked up at me with a serious expression on her face.
She had just opened her mouth to tell me whatever it was, when the phone rang again. Fucking Johan.