“So, Miss Stackhouse, do you enjoy working for the Authority?” Eric asked once they were alone.
Nora had to get back to headquarters but she promised to keep in touch. Sookie knew to fly the bat signal if anything went wrong but she was cautiously optimistic she wouldn’t have to do that.
“It’s Sookie, please. Some days are better than others, but it beats serving cheap beer to pervy rednecks that seem to think my ass is a stress relief ball,” she said. Sookie tapped her temple and added, “Going to college wasn’t an option for me with this ability of mine. It’s easier to be around people now than it was when I was a kid, but it can still be trying if I’m in a large crowd for too long.”
Sookie was curious about Eric. She couldn’t even imagine the stories he had to tell. The dossier she had been given provided basic information about him, but he was so much more than his height, hair color and position in the vampire community. From what little she had been able to read, Eric was comfortable with being out in the public. There was a surprising number of vampires that weren’t interested in living public lives.
Sookie supposed it was from year after year of living a nomadic lifestyle and sticking to the shadows. Suddenly being able to show their fangs anytime, any place had to be a little strange.
“What about you, Mr. Northman? Do you enjoy being a sheriff? A vampire of your age could easily be king.”
“I have zero interest in being king of this state or any other. Politics don’t interest me, nor do bureaucrats. Being a sheriff gives me the freedom to do what I want while still being in a position of authority,” Eric explained. “And for now you can call me Eric.”
“For now? What will I be calling you later?” As soon as Sookie said it a part of her wished she hasn’t.
“Whatever it is I hope you’ll be moaning or screaming it,” he returned without missing a beat.
Her cheeks flushed again, without her permission. This wasn’t why she was here. Flirting with Eric, while potentially fun, was a dead end road for several reasons. It was better to not even go down it.
“What about pets?” Sookie asked, again immediately wanting to take it back.
Eric smirked and said, “I have no use for pets. Between TruBlood, the registered donor pools and the countless number of desperate humans that come into my bar on a nightly basis, I’m not lacking for food or sex. Though I am feeling a bit peckish at the moment.”
His eyes roamed over her, sending a very clear message that he was indeed interested in everything she had to offer. Eric was going to be trouble. Her senses were all at DEFCON 1, knowing she wasn’t dealing with the average vampire. More likely than not, he would keep at her until he got what he wanted from her.
Sookie moved her hair away from her neck and tauntingly ran her fingers down the side of it, shamelessly teasing a vampire that could drain her dry before she even knew what was happening. She heard the unmistakable sound of fangs punching their way out of Eric’s jaw. She probably should have been scared, but she wasn’t. Eric knew what she was capable of if he moved on her in an unsavory way.
“Where I come from, that’s considered an offer, Sookie,” Eric said in a tone of warning.
“And where I come from it’s just a girl moving her hair away from her neck because she’s warm,” Sookie countered, and then removed her cardigan as well. Her shoulders were bare and her skin was tanned from days spent tanning on the roof of Authority headquarters.
“So will you be returning to Bon Temps tonight?”
“That’s my plan. I’ll call a cab shortly. I’m sure you have better things to do tonight than make small talk with me.”
“Actually, I was thinking it might be a good idea to come up with a plan for this investigation of yours,” he said.
“I have a plan. Tomorrow night I plan to meet with the king. For my own safety he’ll be meeting me in my home so that I can evict him at any point, should things take an ugly turn. What I learn from that conversation will determine my next move.”
“Does the Authority suspect the king of having a role in these murders?”
“I’m not at liberty to discuss suspects at this point in time.”
“How am I supposed to adequately protect you if I don’t know who the enemy is?” Eric pointed out.
“Point taken. I’m sure you’re aware there are vampires that oppose the mainstreaming movement. The Authority has reason to believe these murders might be the work of a rogue vampire trying to essentially kill two birds with one stone. They’re hoping that by going in alone without their presence that I might pick up something from the minds of the human consorts of the vampires they have targeted as potential suspects,” Sookie explained.
“There’s a flaw in that logic,” Eric said. “Most vampires aren’t just going to roll out the welcome mat for a human, especially one who is known to have your talent.”
“Then what would you suggest? I’m open to ideas.”
“If you want to get closer to these vampires you’re going to have to have something they want in return,” Eric said. “And it has to be something they can’t get just anywhere.”
“I’m a telepath, Eric, and part fairy. That right there gives me two things I can–” Sookie stopped when she realized what he was suggesting. “You think I should trade my blood for answers?!”
“If you taste as good as you smell, they’ll be falling all over themselves to answer your questions.”
“No,” Sookie shook her head.
“Option two would be to go undercover as my pet,” he suggested.
Sookie snorted and said, “You don’t keep pets.”
“I don’t, but it wouldn’t be difficult to convince other vampires that I simply couldn’t let you go once I had you,” he smirked. “And I can tell you now that once won’t be enough after you’ve had me.”
Sookie could have sworn she heard angels singing, but she mentally shook it off. Eric was a cocky son of a bitch, that was for damn sure. Usually comments like those would be a serious turn-off to Sookie, but there was something about his personality that made all of his swagger make sense. As she looked him up and down she also had no doubt he could back up every single one of his claims.
She didn’t know if she should be nervous, excited or scared.
What Sookie didn’t want to admit was that Eric’s plan was much better than her own. If the point of her going in without a team of V-Feds at her six was to get information, what could she give in return? Vampires weren’t the sort to do favors out of the kindness of their hearts. If they were going to do something for you, they would absolutely be expecting something in return.
But giving her blood? Sookie wasn’t sure she was okay with that.
Being Eric’s pet might not be so bad, though… It would just be for appearances. There was no harm in that.
“If I go along with this pet story we need to get the details straight. And just so we’re clear, I’m not having sex with you,” Sookie said.
There was that smirk again, and she had to stop her thighs from rubbing together. How many other women had fallen victim to that same look? The number she imagined cooled her jets a little. But then there was no comparing her lack of a sex life to what she imagined was his overactive one. Oh the things she could learn, if only she gave him the opportunity to teach her.
She expected him to say something like, “We’ll see about that,” but he didn’t.
“So does that mean you’re agreeing to be mine?” Eric lifted an eyebrow.
Right. Vampires were the possessive types. She should have seen that coming.
“In front of other vampires, for the duration of this investigation, yes,” Sookie agreed.
“Excellent. Then we should be going,” Eric said.
“Going where?” Sookie asked.
“My house. Well, one of them. If you’re my pet, you’ll be staying with me,” he said.
Sookie opened her mouth to argue, but shut it quickly. He was right. No way would it believable that a vampire of Eric’s age and position leave his pet living in an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. It was all an act, right? Sookie told herself she could pull it off. Besides, she could still go visit Gran during the day.
“Alright,” Sookie stood up. In a voice far more sultry than she intended she continued, “Lead the way, Master.”
Eric locked his eyes on hers and said, “I was wrong. You should call me that from now on.”
“Dream on,” Sookie rolled her eyes and then put a little extra sway in her hips as she walked toward the door.