As I was getting out of the shower I heard my new phone make a noise, and since I was sure it wasn’t Tara again it had to be Eric. I hurriedly wrapped a towel around my body and ran back to my bedroom to see what he had sent me. Hours had passed since I first called him, but there was a text message waiting for me when I picked up the phone.
You’re very welcome. Meet me at my house tonight.
7896 W. Magnolia Lane, Shreveport
Further instructions to follow via email.
I sent a text back acknowledging his instructions, and then waited for the email to come in while I finished drying off. The doorbell rang and I slipped on a robe to go downstairs and answer the door. My phone made another noise in my pocket just as I was getting to the bottom of the stairs. For the moment I ignored what I assumed was Eric’s email, and opened the door.
A redheaded man I’d never seen before was standing there with a beautifully wrapped package in his hands, and there was a shopping bag hanging from his arm. Without even asking I knew those things were from Eric. I was going to need to get used to him sending me things, I gathered.
“May I help you?” I asked.
“I’m looking for Sookie Stackhouse,” the man said and I gasped.
How did Eric already know my name? Then I realized that my real name was all over my records at The Playground, and he probably had access to that information if he was an employee of the club like I suspected he was. I recovered quickly from my little shock since I didn’t know who this strange man was standing in front of me.
“I am she,” I smiled politely.
“I’m Bobby Burnham, Mr. Northman’s personal assistant. I’ve been tasked with delivering these items to you,” he said, and presented me first with the box and then with the bag. “If there is nothing you require, I’ll be on my way.”
“No, thank you. It was nice to meet you, Mr. Burnham,” I said. I barely got the words out before Bobby was turning around and leaving.
He was brusque, but I assumed it was because he was probably busy. Bon Temps wasn’t exactly right down the road if he had come all the way from Shreveport just to deliver the packages to me. I closed the door and took my presents upstairs to my bedroom to open them.
But first, I pulled the phone from my pocket and read the email Eric had sent me. In it he requested that I wear the contents of the package he had sent to me, and explained that from that point on whenever we met he expected that I wouldn’t wear a bra or panties unless he instructed me to. The sensible southern girl in me prickled at leaving the house without my underthings, but if worse came to worse, I could always take them off before getting to our agreed upon meeting place.
It was times like these that living with Gran could potentially be a problem. If I left the house without a bra on she was going to notice.
I started with the box, and untied the black satin bow that was wrapped around it. I set the ribbon aside and started to neatly remove the thick, crimson paper. I set the paper off to the side as well, and then lifted the lid on the box. Once the tissue paper was peeled back I stopped and stared at my present. Inside the box was a beautiful red dress that I never would have picked out for myself, and was precisely my size. How Eric knew I had no idea, but it was perfect. Even more impressive were the high heels that were also tucked into the box.
They were black and I knew by the red soles that they were expensive. Never, in my wildest dreams, would I ever thought I’d own a pair of Louboutin pumps. Not only were they insanely out of my price range, but I was the kind of girl who shopped at WalMart more often than not. I had splurged the other day when I had purchased that new dress from DKNY and the underwear from Victoria’s Secret. It would take me a year to save up for just the shoes that Eric had given me.
I made the mistake of looking at the label on the dress and my jaw dropped. Herve Leger—that was a name I usually only heard when I was watching red carpet stuff before the Oscars. Small town girls like me didn’t wear designer labels like those on a daily basis. Not just because we couldn’t afford to, but because with the way I had been raised it seemed wasteful. The dress, while beautiful, didn’t seem like it was worth anything more than a lot of the clothes I already owned.
What Eric had paid so much money for wasn’t the dress itself, but for the label that was sewn into it.
I moved on to the bag and pulled out two small, black velvet boxes. The first contained a pair sparkly ruby earrings that matched the dress and the second contained a necklace with a ruby pendant. I didn’t even want to try to figure out how much money Eric had spent on just that one outfit (nevermind the phone), and I was sure there were many more of them coming my way.
I painted my nails to match my dress and then went to the bathroom to put on my makeup and fix my hair. By the time I was ready to put the dress on Gran was coming home to get dinner started. I knew she was going to ask where the dress, shoes and jewelry had come from. I hadn’t rehearsed what I was going to tell her, but I was going to have to tell her something. I was an adult, so I didn’t really need to explain myself to her, but I didn’t feel comfortable sneaking around and lying to her.
All the same, I finished getting dressed and went downstairs to tell her I was leaving. When I got to the bottom of the steps I took a few of those deep breaths Eric had taught me to take to calm myself, and then continued on to the kitchen. Gran was peeling potatoes at the sink, and stopped what she was doing when I entered the room.
“Sookie, my goodness…” Gran stared at me with wide, surprised eyes. “You look…”
If she said slutty, whorish or like a streetwalker I was going to die of embarrassment right then and there.
“Lovely,” she said with a smile. “New dress?”
“Yes,” I said nervously. “I uh, I’m meeting my gentleman friend again tonight.”
“Oh,” Gran’s smile grew. “Is it getting serious between you two?”
In a manner of speaking…
“Not quite yet, Gran, but if it does you’ll be the first to know,” I promised her.
“Well, I won’t wait up for you tonight,” she said, and returned to peeling her potatoes.
I was getting off the hook way too easy.
“There’s something else I need to tell you.”
“Okay,” Gran said without stopping what she was doing.
“I uh, I got a cell phone,” I told her.
“You did? Well write down the number for me on the bulletin board,” she said.
Again, she was being so casual and asking far too few questions for my taste and I knew it was going to come back to bite me in the ass eventually.
“I will,” I promised, and crossed the room to do as she asked.
When that was done I fidgeted nervously for a few seconds, debating over whether or not I should say anything else. I remembered that old adage about letting sleeping dogs lie. For the moment there really wasn’t anything I was comfortable sharing with Gran, and until Eric and I had established ourselves as something more than a Dom and a sub, I figured it was best I just kept my mouth shut. Otherwise she would be insisting he come for supper on some Sunday afternoon in the very near future, and it would be awkward since I didn’t even know what he did for a living.
I really needed to ask him more questions about himself outside of the club.
“Well, I guess I’ll be going now,” I said, and Gran paused to smile at me again.
“You have fun tonight, honey,” she said, and then returned to her task.
“Thanks, Gran. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
With that I turned and walked out of the house to go meet Eric.
I followed the directions I had written down when I checked online to see where Eric’s house was. He lived in a ritzy subdivision on the outskirts of Shreveport in a gated Georgian style estate set back from the street. He was at the end of a cul-de-sac and I had to wonder how many acres of property his house was situated on. When I pulled up to the gate I had to ring a buzzer in order to get the gate open.
“Yes,” Eric’s voice greeted me.
“It’s Sookie,” I said, figuring using my real name couldn’t hurt. There was a keypad next to the little speaker box and I wondered if he would be giving me the code at some point to get in without having to buzz him.
“Perfect timing. Come on in. Park anywhere you like. I’ll be waiting for you,” he said, and then the gate opened slowly in front of me.
Eric’s house was amazing. Hell, the driveway was amazing. It was made of stone that had to have taken days to lay since it was so long and curved around in various ways once I got closer to the house. The lawn had to be professionally manicured, mostly because it was enormous and there were strategic patches of flowers. There was a fountain to my right that I assumed was easily spotted from the house. When I pulled up to what I thought was a good parking space I noticed Eric waiting for me.
He was standing in this little sheltered area that wasn’t quite a gazebo, but that was what it looked like. The house’s exterior was all sandy/brown shades of brick and the roof was black slate. I spotted two garages that held at least two cars apiece, and given the enormity of Eric’s house I was curious as to how many cars he owned. Clearly he took pride in his residence and had spared no expense when he chose it. I parked my car, feeling like I should be interviewing to be on his household staff instead of going in to sign a contract to be his sub.
Eric came over to the car and opened my door for me before I could do it myself. His large hand extended toward me to help me out, and I hoped I didn’t get my heel caught in the stones of his driveway. If I did I was going to end up eating it in a very tight and skimpy red dress, and with my luck I’d probably break the shoe on top of it.
“I’m impressed,” Eric said when I stood.
“You shouldn’t be. You picked the dress,” I smiled.
“No, not with that,” he said as he closed the car door behind me. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, you look positively stunning and it does give me some very dirty ideas about how to seal the deal we’re about to make, but I was referring to the fact that the antique you’re driving still runs.”
I wanted to be able to laugh that off, but considering the fact that he had just dropped the amount of money on me that he had and I had scrimped and saved for more than two years to be able to buy my own car, his words were offensive to me. My posture stiffened and I let go of his hand.
“It’s not much, but it’s mine,” I said, determined to keep a stiff upper lip.
I wasn’t expecting Eric’s criticism to hurt me the way it did, and it was entirely possible I was taking it a little harder than I should have but I didn’t like the idea of being demeaned when I had worked hard for what I had.
“Sookie, I meant no offense,” Eric said. “I apologize if I hurt your feelings.”
“It’s just that I was raised with the things I needed and not much extra. Even now there’s no money for cell phones or fancy clothes. My laptop is my big luxury item, and it took me several years of saving birthday and Christmas money in order to be able to afford it. I got held up when the fridge conked out on us two years ago and I had to devote a large portion of my savings to buying a new one. I help my Gran pay the property taxes every year and I pitch in with the monthly bills because Gran took me in when she didn’t have to. I owe her more than I can ever possibly repay, and that means I make sacrifices. So yes, my car is an old tin can that makes a weird noise every time I go faster than fifty miles per hour, but it gets me to work, church and into town to run my errands so it’s good enough for me,” I said, and then realized I’d just given him the sort of tongue lashing Tara had warned me about just hours before.
Eric looked properly chastised for a few moments before he smiled at me. That damn smile was going to be the death of me.
“You’re right,” he said, and bent to kiss my forehead. “I admire your dedication and loyalty to your family. Those are two of the reasons I’m so sure that we’re a good match.”
“Are you close with your family?” I asked him.
“I used to be,” he said in a somewhat cryptic way. “Come, let’s go inside. Your dinner is getting cold.”
“You’re not eating?” I asked as he led me to the house.
“Late lunch,” he patted his stomach.
“Oh,” I said, and walked into the house when he gestured for me to go ahead of him.
He had duel front doors that were mostly frosted glass, but had cherry wood inlays in them in an interesting circular pattern. There was a Persian rug right there at the front door on top of cherry stained hardwood floors that matched the door inlays. Straight ahead was a fireplace that had openings on all four sides of it. There was a beautiful antique grandfather clock to my right, and beyond the open archway there was a formal living room.
When I looked to my left I saw a sitting area and two staircases. One led upstairs to the second floor and the other was gated and I assumed led down to the basement.
“After this evening when you enter the house you’ll leave your shoes here,” he pointed to a space near the grandfather clock. “Heels out and toes to the wall.”
“Okay,” I nodded, and reminded myself of that.
“After supper I’ll give you a tour of the house,” he said, and led me to the left.
The house was warmly and elegantly decorated. There were lots of expensive looking chandeliers hanging in various rooms of the house, and I tried not to look around too much so I wouldn’t fall behind. Eric ushered me to the dining room where there was a meal waiting for me on very pretty china. A gorgeous chandelier hung from the ceiling that Gran would have been absolutely in love with, not just for its design but for the warm glow it cast over the room.
“Have a seat,” Eric said, and pulled out a chair for me.
“Thank you,” I said as I sat down. I set my purse on the chair next to mine.
The table was wooden and matched the floors and all of the trim on the walls perfectly. Eric took a seat across from me at the table that sat six. There were two manila folders on the table beside him, and there were two pens perfectly lined up just waiting to be used. I suspected the contracts we were going to sign were in the folders, but Eric didn’t make a move to touch them.
My meal consisted of sautéed white meat chicken, roasted new potatoes and steamed vegetables. There was a glass of what I assumed was white wine, along with a goblet of ice water.
“This looks delicious. Did you make this?” I asked him.
“No,” Eric smiled. “I’m not much of a chef, but I’m a pro at calling for takeout. I ordered based on what you said your preferred foods are.”
I picked up my silverware and cut into the chicken. I took a bite after dipping the chicken in the sauce that had been drizzled over it, and smiled as I chewed.
“It tastes as delicious as it looks,” I said, and Eric nodded.
“Good. It appears as though you eat a mostly healthy, balanced diet which is important. Not just for weight maintaining, but a balanced diet promotes better sleeping habits and psychological wellbeing.”
Those things I knew so I just nodded along. I also knew he had plans to put me on a fitness plan, which was actually a good thing. I liked my curves and I hoped that he did as well, but there was always room for improvement. Not to mention, a little toning wouldn’t hurt me and there were ways to accomplish that without having to drop a lot of weight, not that I thought I needed to.
“So, Eric, do you mind if I call you Eric? Or would you prefer that I call you Leif?” I asked since that was something simple that needed to be addressed.
“I’ll leave that up to you,” he told me. “When we’re not in play, or at the club, Eric is fine with me. If you prefer Leif, that’s alright as well. I’m used to responding to either one.”
“I think I prefer Eric when we’re alone,” I admitted. “Of course being a Dom is part of you, but it’s not all that you are and I don’t want to confuse the different roles you’ll be playing in my life.”
“That’s acceptable. Does that mean you would prefer that I address you as Sookie when we’re alone?”
“If you don’t mind. As you saw out on your driveway I’ve got a mouth on me when I’m not in sub mode,” I said with a hint of a smile, and Eric laughed one of those hearty laughs I’d only heard once before.
“Indeed you do, but I like that. Being a sub doesn’t mean being a doormat, Sookie. As I told you before, I don’t want you to lose your sass or your fire; I only want you to recognize that there is a time and a place for it.”
“Understood,” I nodded.
“And for the record, I think I prefer Sookie more. It suits you.”
“That’s good to hear.” I lifted my wine glass and took a sip.
Usually I wasn’t a big wine drinker, but whatever it was that Eric had poured for me was sweet and tasted almost like candy. If I wasn’t careful I’d end up drunk before the night was over and I had a long drive home ahead of me.
“So, Eric, can I ask what it is you do during the day? Are you an employee at the club, or is that just an interest of yours?” I asked him.
“The club is more than an interest; it’s my business,” he revealed.
“You own The Playground?” My eyes went wide. I wasn’t expecting that. I thought maybe he was a member of the admissions committee or something, but I didn’t think he was the owner.
“I co-own it, but I handle the business end. Madame Raven oversees the staff and the bartender is actually our head of security.”
“Oh… wow…” I didn’t know what else to say.
“This is confidential information that I expect will go no further than this house, Sookie,” he said in a firm tone.
“Of course not. It’s not my business to tell anyway. I’m good at keeping secrets, maybe a little too good sometimes.”
“And that’s a habit we’re going to work on breaking, but I understand that if I want your trust I need to earn it and that means sharing important details as well as basic information about myself.”
“We are sort of on an uneven playing field right now. You know a lot more about me than I do about you,” I said.
“You’ll learn. I will tell you things, but the two of us spending time together will teach you all you need to know about me. In time you’ll learn my tells and cues, and you’ll be able to anticipate my needs as if they are your own.”
“That sounds like it’ll take a lot of training.”
“It will,” he agreed. “We’ll start out on a trial basis to make sure this is a good fit for us. Things have gone well so far, but once we get into a scene you might find that I’m not what you’re looking for, or the chemistry may fizzle.”
“I don’t think that’ll be a problem,” I admitted as my cheeks started to flame up.
I hoped it wouldn’t be. I was insanely attracted to him physically, and after the massive orgasm I’d had on Sunday I could only imagine what fucking him would do to me. We continued to make small talk during my meal. He spoke a bit about the membership he’d signed me up for at a gym closer to my house so that I wouldn’t have to come all the way into Shreveport. I would work with a personal trainer for one hour three times a week, and the goal was just muscle tone. Eric also signed me up for a yoga class that would help me improve my flexibility and teach me ways to relax.
“I’ve always wanted to take a yoga class, I just couldn’t ever afford to do it,” I told him.
“Well, now you can,” he said as I pushed my plate to the side. “Are you full?”
“Yes, thank you. Dinner was fantastic.”
“You’re welcome.” Eric picked up one of the folders and slid it toward me. “Your copy of the contract is in there, as well as the punishment chart I’ve devised for you.”
I took the folder and flipped it open. Eric sent a pen skittering across the table toward me, and I caught that as well. Gran had always told me never to sign anything without reading it first, and while I wanted to trust that Eric hadn’t snuck anything into it that we hadn’t agreed upon, it still seemed smart to double check it before signing my name to it. The contract wasn’t in anyway binding in a court of law or anything like that, but it was a safeguard for both of us and I knew we both took it very seriously.
Everything looked to be on the up and up, so I filled in my given name and my initials were I was supposed to, and then signed the last page of the contract. Beyond the contract was the punishment chart that Eric referred to. The chart was organized by levels of infractions, and for each level there were three different punishments listed there.
“That chart doesn’t necessarily mean those are the punishments you will receive, but I will always make sure the punishment fits the crime,” Eric said as I read.
It was good to see that not all of the punishments I could receive were physically painful, although I was curious about the kneeling for an allotted period of time. True the most time I spent on my knees was usually at church, but that was only for a few minutes before we were either seated again, or standing to sing hymns or take communion. I made a mental note to try it when I got home since my bedroom had hardwood floors.
None of the punishments that he had listed would violate my hard limits, although some of them did seem pretty daunting, especially if he paired some of them up. Of course that was just motivation to ensure I wasn’t on the receiving end of those punishments.
Eric passed me his copy of the contract for me to sign, so I traded him mine and then signed off on his copy. He signed mine, and it was a done deal. I was officially his pet, and he was officially my Sir.
And my life is never going to be the same.