I Hate Everything About You

I paused at the top of the stairs to collect myself. The look Eric had just given me…damn. I was used to his ridiculous come-ons and even more ridiculous innuendo. I was used to the flirting and even his blunt statements about how he wanted to fuck me. It was strange to hear a person say those things. I mean, I’d heard it in the heads of men (and many a teenage boy) before, but not even Bill had been so obvious about what he wanted from me.

But that look Eric just gave me- that wasn’t about sex. That was about longing. I knew what that looked like. For the first time it dawned on me that maybe Eric wasn’t just about sex. For a split second, I felt sorry for him.

Then I shook myself and remembered that was Eric Northman. He didn’t need my sympathy. He had centuries of seducing women under his belt. For all I knew, it was all an act and he was just playing me in hopes that I would invoke one of those silly ‘no fault’ clauses as an excuse to sleep with him. I’d heard more than one guy try to rationalize his infidelity by saying that if it wasn’t in the same area code it didn’t count. Well, I wouldn’t stoop to that level.

I had a man who loved me. He was missing, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t be found. Bill and I had some things to work out, but none of it was anything I would consider to be a deal breaker. So why couldn’t I move my feet?

The problem persisted until I heard who I assumed to Yvetta, panting like she had just run a marathon. I could hear her thoughts. By the looks of her, I also assumed she’d been around the block a time or two and knew good sex when she had it. If her thoughts were true (and I knew how to pick out a lie in someone’s head), then Eric Northman was the best she’d ever had.

I wasn’t jealous.

My feet started to move and I forced myself to leave the bar. Pam raised an eyebrow at me. Her vampire hearing had probably earned her an earful.

“You should stay. The show can be quite entertaining.” Pam gave me one of those fangy smiles that made my blood run cold. “I’ll buy you a drink.”

“No, thank you. I should be heading home. I’m waiting for Bill.”

“From what I heard, you will be waiting for a while.” Pam slithered up next to me. “You can be sure that Eric will find him. My master is nothing if not a man of his word.”

That really didn’t bring me the comfort it should have. “Seems to me your master might have his priorities out of whack.”

Pam touched the underside of my chin with her cold fingertips and looked into my eyes. She really was a terrifying creature. So much more so than Eric.

“I bet you would feel differently if you were in Yvetta’s place.” Pam winked at me and then sauntered off.

I stood there stunned for just a moment until Yvetta’s orgasmic scream burst my bubble and I scurried out of the bar.


I took my time driving home, figuring I didn’t have much to drive home to. My house was still a wreck thanks to MaryAnn. Tara and I weren’t really on speaking terms at the moment. She’s been my friend for as long as I can remember, but one of her biggest flaws has always been that she can dish it out, but she can’t take it. She proved that earlier with her tirade about Bill. Just who I the hell did she think she was, judging me like that?

Eggs seemed like an okay guy. I could cut him some slack for what he did to her while they were under MaryAnn’s spell. I got the impression, however, that Eggs definitely had a dark side that wasn’t entirely a result of MaryAnn’s doing. I worried for Tara’s safety. Bill had never done me any physical harm and I had no reason to think that was going to change.

While Tara might have had a point about it being dangerous to date a vamp, at least I knew what I was getting myself into beforehand. I wasn’t trying to tell myself I was safe all the time. I knew it was a dangerous world to get pulled into. It was a lesson I learned all too well the first time I went over to Bill’s house. Just the thought of those other vamps gives me the creeps.

But I don’t feel like I’m in danger when I’m with Bill. Oddly enough, I don’t really feel that way when I’m around Eric, either. If anything, there’s some level of excitement to being around Eric. I know something is bound to happen, even if it’s not necessarily good. After twenty-five years of predictability, it’s a kind of nice to let loose and do something different.

Not that I ever want to be in another situation like the one I was in while we were in Dallas. I don’t even want to think about what might have happened to me if Godric hadn’t come in just then. I pushed thoughts of Godric out of my mind. Thinking of him would do me little good. All it managed to do was get me thinking about Eric again, and the tearful vampire on the roof of the Hotel Camilla. Seeing Eric fall to his knees as he wept for his maker…No! No, I’m not going down that path.

Eric does not need my sympathy.

I stopped by Bill’s house, hoping to see his lights on. If nothing else, maybe Jessica would be there and she’d know something. He was her maker, after all. I didn’t really understand how all of the communicating through blood worked, but if a maker could call their child, couldn’t a child call their maker? Maybe Jessica would be able to call him for me. I just wanted to know that he was okay. That much would help me sleep through the night.

When I pulled up to the house, it was pitch dark. I parked Bill’s car where he normally did and walked up to the house. I knocked on the door and prayed that Jessica would answer.

“Jessica, honey, if you’re there, it’s Sookie. It’s really important that you let me in.” I had a key to the house but had no intention of using it unless I had to. “Jessica?” I knocked again and decided if she didn’t come to the door in a minute, I was going to let myself in.

No answer. I took a deep breath and let myself into the house. I called out to her again but still didn’t get an answer. I walked around the house in hopes that I would find some trace of Bill, but there was nothing. I sighed and went to Bill’s resting place. I popped the latch and opened the secret door. The hatch to his resting place was open, waiting for him to take shelter for the day.

I went up to Bill’s bedroom and jotted down a note for him to call me immediately. I wrote a second one and put it in his resting place in case he made it home just in time to rest for the day. I put everything back the way I found it and then locked up the house. I kept Bill’s keys, but left his car where I parked it. I walked through the cemetery with the strangest feeling that I was being followed.

I heard branches crack and leaves crinkle behind me. The last time I’d been in that cemetery I’d been chased, choked and almost killed by Rene. I knew he was dead but it still gave me the creeps. I picked up the pace until I was finally running toward the house. I could have sworn I heard something growl at me just as I was leaving the woods. I bolted toward the back door and locked myself inside.

“Tara?” I called out and got no answer. Shit. I really didn’t want to be alone.

I slipped off my shoes, impressed at my ability to haul ass like I had in the heels I was wearing. I unzipped the pretty lavender dress Bill had bought me and hung it on a satin hanger. I let down my hair and washed my face. I took off my jewelry and slipped on a nightgown. I got into bed and held my hand up to look at the ring on my finger.

Could I really wear that ring for the rest of my life? Instead of feeling the same joy I’d felt earlier, I felt something in me crack. I had questions. I had a lot of questions and I knew getting answers out of Bill could be like pulling teeth. I couldn’t go and marry him until I knew everything I needed to know. It wouldn’t be right to make him a promise I couldn’t keep- that I wasn’t ready to keep.

I rolled onto my side and closed my eyes. All I saw was a very naked Eric sauntering toward me with that sad look in his eye.


Sam wasn’t at the bar when I got there the next night. Terry said something about Sam going to Texas but didn’t say why. I thought about calling to check on him. I’d been so wrapped up with the vampires and my trip to Dallas that I’d missed an awful lot over the last few weeks. I got the feeling Sam had some sort of relationship with MaryAnn in the past. Maybe he was taking her death harder than I’d thought. Maybe she hadn’t always been such an evil bitch.

I was thankful for it when the bar closed up for the night. I wanted to start doing some research into Bill’s disappearance, but I wasn’t sure where to start looking. I thought maybe if I went back to his house and did a little digging around I might find a clue of some sort. Normally, I wouldn’t do such a thing since I knew Bill valued his privacy but I figured he’d understand under the circumstances. The second the sun went down I’d turned on my cell phone and put it in my apron pocket.

I didn’t give a flying fig if Terry got mad at me for taking Bill’s call. I was out of sorts but reluctant to tell anyone what the problem was. I put my gift to use and listened to as many brains as I could. I was both hopeful and terrified I might hear something in someone’s head about Bill going missing. I didn’t want to think someone I’d known my whole life could be so hateful, especially after the sacrifice Bill had made to save just about everyone in town but I knew there were a few who would never accept my relationship with Bill.

I didn’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed when I didn’t hear a single mention of Bill all night long. Before I left I dropped my apron in the dirty laundry and made sure Terry was okay closing everything up. He assured me he was fine so I took my leave. I walked out the front door of the bar in time to see a sports car come to a stop in front of me.

“Well, hello, sweetheart.” Eric’s cool tone greeted me. His car probably cost more than I’d make in three years.

“What are you doing here?” I snapped at him. I wasn’t at all in the mood to deal with Eric.

“Research.” He looked me up and down. Where’s a damn stake when you need one? “Get in.”

“I drove myself here, thank you very much. Besides, shouldn’t you be out looking for Bill instead of offering rides to barmaids?”

Eric gave me the smarmiest grin I’d ever seen. “That’s one of my favorite past times.”

I snickered and rolled my eyes. “I’m going home. Alone.” I reached into my bag for my keys.

“I’ll follow you.” He began the process of turning his car around.

I got in the car and cursed myself for ever going to him. “Real smart, Sookie. Now he thinks it’s playtime.”

I started me car and headed out toward the main road that would take me home. Eric followed behind me. I drove slow on purpose. I had a feeling with a car like the one Eric had, driving slow wasn’t something he enjoyed. He flashed his high beams at me more than once and I had to bite back a laugh. Usually it took me ten minutes to get home. That night it took me just over twenty.

Eric parked his car beside my own. My door was open before I’d even collected my purse off the passenger’s seat. I looked up at Eric, who had extended a hand to me to help me up. I took it since there was no way I could get out of my car without him moving his big hand out of the way. Big hand. Long fingers…I shook myself mentally and remembered he was the reason I hadn’t gotten a whole lot of sleep the night before. It was suddenly much easier to hate him.

“You realize you were driving well below the posted speed limits?” Eric glared at me with those intense blue eyes of his.

“I hadn’t noticed.” I shrugged, knowing full well what I’d been doing. “You in a hurry, or something? Yvetta waiting for you?”

“Jealous?” Eric smirked at me.

“Hardly.” I walked past him to my front porch.

He followed at a leisurely pace, his hands in the pockets of his jeans. A form fitting leather jacket hugged him almost as nicely as that denim, and damned if his t-shirt wasn’t in on the act, too. His hair was slicked over in a different style than the last time I’d seen him. It seemed a bit darker, too. Huh.

iI liked his hair better long/i, I thought to myself before feeling the urge to slap myself yet again. Since when the hell did I care what Eric did with his hair? Or how his jeans fit? Or what he was doing sexing up Euro trash for six hours? Six hours. Six…hours…I had to remind myself to breathe.

“You seem conflicted, Sookie.” Eric leaned against one of the columns on my porch.

“Conflicted about what, exactly?”

“Your desire to find Bill, for starters. I would have thought you had taken the night off to start your search.”

“You said you were going to find him. Something about you being his sheriff and duty bound to locate him, even if you didn’t want to.” I turned and leaned against the column opposite him.

There was that sad look again. His eyes drank me in, starting at the top of my head and working their way down before his eyes found mine. If he kept looking at me like that I was going to be in serious trouble. Damn him.

“What are you doing here in Bon Temps?”

“I believe I already answered that question.” He crossed one ankle over the other in a casual sort of way, his hands still hidden in his pockets.

“Research is an awfully vague answer.” I wasn’t really in the mood to play games with Eric.

“You also seem conflicted about me.” The intensity was back in his eyes. Oh goody, we were back to that again.

“Why in the hell would I be conflicted about you?” I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear the answer to this question.

“I feel you now, Sookie.” He used that damn vampire speed to get right in my face. I fought back the urge to think about just how pretty his face was. “Everything you feel, I feel as well.”

My heart was racing and I knew he could hear it. He could also hear my breathing hard. If it weren’t for those few drops of blood of his I’d taken in Dallas, I could easily chock up the changes in my body to him spooking me. Instead, I knew he could feel…other things. Things that didn’t have a whole lot to do with him spooking me.

“Bill told me what your blood was going to do to me. He said it would make me feel attracted to you. It’s just blood, Eric. It doesn’t mean anything. I love Bill.” I argued with him.

Eric leaned even closer and I heard him inhale deeply. “Having my blood doesn’t make you feel anything, dear Sookie.” He pulled back a bit to look me in the eyes. “It merely amplifies what is already there.”

Fuck. Me. No. No, way! I wasn’t attracted to Eric. He was a great big lying a-hole who would do, or say, anything to get me to sleep with him. I hated him.

“You’re lying.” I shook my head, but somewhere deep down, I knew he was telling me the truth.

“What could I possibly have to gain by lying to you, Sookie?” He seemed amused by this.

“You want to have sex with me,” I said as if that explained everything.

“I do,” he agreed with a lusty grin. “But when it happens, it will be because you choose it.”

When?” I arched an eyebrow at him. “That seems awfully cocky of you.”

His fangs ran out at that. “You have no idea.” He thought for a moment and then said, “Actually, after last night-”

“Stop!” I held up my hand. The last thing I needed was a refresher course on the memories of naked Eric.

I heard his soft chuckle and all I wanted was to melt into my porch. I began to dig into my bag for my keys. It was late and I was exhausted.

“While you were doing your research did you find anything?” I questioned as I found the right key on my ring.

“I’ve made a few phone calls and alerted the appropriate parties. I didn’t find anything out of sorts at his home. I assume you were there recently?”

“I stopped by there last night after I left Fangtasia. I was hoping he’d be there.” I tried not to get sad but that was pretty unavoidable. “I figured maybe Jessica could get in touch with him since he’s her maker.”

Eric seemed impressed by my line of thinking. “Have you seen her?”

“Jessica? No. She wasn’t there when I got to Bill’s last night, but it was pretty close to sunrise. She might have been resting.” I didn’t know where Jessica rested in Bill’s house and I knew it wasn’t my place to ask.

“I’ll summon her. She might be an intricate part in finding Bill.”

I turned to face Eric and was about to speak when he held up a hand to silence me. He was listening for something that I couldn’t hear. His eyes were intensely blue and all of a sudden they were full of rage. He sniffed the air and his fangs ran down. I heard rustling in the trees that lined my property.

“Invite me in.” He said quietly.

“What? No.” I opened the door and was about to walk inside when Eric grabbed me by my shoulders and pushed me up against the wall.

“Invite me in.” He growled at me and two seconds later, I heard growling coming from behind him.

I looked over his shoulders to see six pairs of glowing eyes. Those eyes were attached to wolves. The wolves clawed at the ground, snarling and snapping their teeth. I gulped and looked at Eric who didn’t look much more friendly than the canines behind him.

“Invite me in!” He demanded, snapping me out of whatever thoughts I’d been having. My mind was racing. I’d never seen wolves on my property before. This couldn’t be good.

“Eric, please come in.” I barely whispered it but that was good enough.

Eric hauled me into the house and slammed the door. He looked around at what had once been a modest farmhouse. The place was still pretty messed up from the makeover MaryAnn had done on it. I had yet to get all the spray paint off the walls. Half of my furniture was due to make really great kindling at the end of summer. Curtains were tattered. My floor was a clusterfuck of scuffs, scratches and divets. My poor Gran was probably spinning in her grave a few hundred yards away.

“Why in the world do you have werewolves following you, Sookie?” Eric looked me up and down.

“What? Were- what?” Werewolves were real? “What the hell are you talking about?”

“Do you have firearms?”

“Gran used to keep a pistol in her highboy.”

“Do you know how to fire it?”

I gave him a look as if to ask if he was kidding. “I grew up right here in Louisiana. What do you think?” Dangerous question to ask under other circumstances.

“I think if you have silver bullets this will go much better.”

“You’re serious?”

“No, this is my funny face.” Eric dead panned, his expression blank.

The wolves were advancing on the house. I started for Gran’s old room and prayed that MaryAnn hadn’t moved the gun. Hell, I didn’t even know if it was loaded. Gran had it, but I’d never seen her fire it once. For all I knew, it was just for show. Thankfully, I found the gun right where it had always been for as long as I could remember. Even better, the gun was loaded.

“Here.” I handed the gun to Eric.

“A gun won’t help me. It’s for you.” Eric handed it back to me.

“For me?”

“A gun would only slow me down.”

“You’re going to fight six wolves with only your hands?” I asked incredulously.

There was that damn smirk again. “Prepare to be amazed.” With that, he kissed me.

I tried to push him off but it was pointless. He wasn’t going anywhere he didn’t want to go. The only thing I can say for myself is that I didn’t kiss him back. Not that it mattered. That kiss was going to be seared into my brain for eternity. That would be the thing that would wake me up out of a dead sleep or keep me warm on a cold winter night. Damn, could he kiss.

“Enjoyed that, did you?” Eric arched an eyebrow at me as he moved toward the door. The wolves were almost to the porch.

“Eric, focus!” I pointed the gun toward the front door.

“Be careful where you point that.”

“Why? If I shot you, would it kill you?” I smirked.

“Only if the bullets are silver.” He was looking out the front door. “You stay back. They won’t need an invitation into the house. Once they are injured, they’ll shift back to human form. Do not, under any circumstances, come out of this house unless I tell you it’s safe.”

“What about you? What if you get in trouble?” I wasn’t worried, per se, so much as I didn’t want to clean vampire guts off my porch. At least that’s what I told myself.

“Six is a lot, but I’ve survived a fight with nine before.” Eric spoke so casually.

“You’ve fought nine wolves?”

“Impressed?” Damn. That. Smirk.

“Appalled, is more like it.”

“Wait here.” He completely ignored my commentary.

The next thing I knew, the front door was thrown open. Eric was a blur of motion, attacking the wolves so fast they didn’t seem to know what had hit them. I slammed the front door shut and watched the fight. One by one, the wolves either shifted back to their human form, or retreated into the woods. Eric looked around like he was waiting for a second wave of wolves to emerge from the trees.

Then, all of a sudden, one of them came crashing through my living room window. Before I knew what was happening, Eric was flying in front of me to stop the wolf from attacking me. Unfortunately, at that same moment, instinct told me to fire the gun.


Just when I thought my life couldn’t get any weirder, I had an unconscious man I’d never seen before on my living room floor and a vampire bleeding from a gunshot wound to the stomach laying close by. Eric barely moved as the bullet worked its way out of his body. I watched as he healed himself, while the werewolf just stayed down. Smart wolf. Sort of.

“Blood.” Eric demanded in a less than stable voice. Hunger filled his eyes.

If he thought I was going to be his last meal…

“I don’t have any True Blood.” I shook my head, knowing full well he planned on having me.

“Blood.” He simply demanded again, the look in his eyes intensifying.

I groaned and then knelt down. I’d shot him. I hadn’t meant to, but if I’d shot him and he was trying to protect me. I offered him my wrist. He had the gall to look me in the eyes and ask for my neck instead.

“This is my one and only offer. Take it, or leave it.” I thrust my wrist at him.

His eyes never left mine as he took my wrist. He kissed it, his tongue bathing the spot where he would bite. I wanted to ask him what he was doing. It seemed completely unnecessary for him to be doing the things he was doing, even if it was more pleasant than I would admit out loud. If he could do that with his tongue on my wrist, then…

“It won’t hurt as much if you’re aroused.” Eric stopped his ministrations just long enough to get those eight words (so what if I was counting?) out of his mouth and then went right back to it. It was working.

His eyes stayed on mine as he continued to get me all hot and bothered just by licking, kissing and sucking on my wrist. It wasn’t until I squirmed that his fangs emerged. He placed on more gentle kiss on my wrist and then he bit. I squeaked just a little but was surprised it didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would. Bill had only ever bitten me once when I wasn’t prepared for it and it had been followed with fairly rough sex in the cemetery.

My eyes widened and were hopelessly locked on Eric’s. I felt my pulse speed up even more and it was already racing. My head went light and fuzzy. Somewhere out of the corner of my eye I saw movement behind Eric. I moaned his name and he growled in response. My moan came out sounding more pleasured than it did frightened.

“We have company.” I reminded him, finally taking my eyes from his to look at the werewolf who was quickly regaining consciousness. Eric took one final big draw on wrist and I felt something snap inside me.

He licked my wrist and I could see swirls of blood mixed with his healing saliva. He kissed my wrist once more where he had bitten, and released me. I slumped backwards, feeling little aftershocks like I would after an orgasm. I refused to believe Eric biting me had caused one. I couldn’t look him in the eye after that. He looked like he had a whole host of things he wanted to say to me, but there wasn’t time. He was on his feet at full vampire speed and pulling me up beside him.

I was breathing hard and didn’t quite feel like I was in my own body anymore. I don’t know if it was the blood loss, the lust that had momentarily consumed me or my fear over what was going to happen next. My best guess is that it was a combination of all three. I fell against the wall, my legs barely able to support me.

“Be strong, Sookie.” He whispered to me.

“What are you going to do if he wakes up?” I was staring at the werewolf. He was naked. It might have been impolite to stare but I couldn’t take my eyes off him.

“What is necessary.” Was all Eric would say. He picked up the gun and handed it to me. “Try to shoot him next time.”

That got me to tear my eyes away from the werewolf. I glared up at Eric instead with the overwhelming urge to slap him silly. He just smiled at me and moved me out of what he assumed to be harm’s way. He walked over to the werewolf and kicked him.

“Rise and shine, princess.” He said in a condescending tone before grabbing the werewolf by the hair.

“Vampire.” The werewolf growled.

Eric yanked the werewolf off the ground and spun him around to face me. “Now who would have sent you to kill such a lovely creature?”

The werewolf looked me up and down again and growled some more. His attempt at intimidating me earn him a swift punch in the kidney and he buckled. I flinched at the impact of Eric’s punch. That couldn’t have felt good. I stepped back a bit further and cheated a glance outside to make sure the other werewolves Eric had left on the lawn were still down.

“Fuck you, Northman.” The werewolf very unwisely answered Eric. Another punch to the kidney.

“Who. Sent. You?” Eric asked again with even more menace in his voice.

“Fuck you!” A third punch, only this one landed in the werewolf’s ribs. I heard a cracking sound. That couldn’t have been good either.

The werewolf howled in pain but refused to give up any information. The brawl began then and I stood back while Eric and the werewolf tumbled, clawed and fought their way around my poor living room. I had a brief thought for a moment that I should just give up the idea of ever having my house supe-free again. Instead I should start selling tickets to whatever supernatural showdown was scheduled to go on a given night and just host the damn thing myself.

Eric looked like a goalie, kicking the werewolf back when he got too close to me. They seemed to be communicating in a series of grunts, growls and punches that a mere mortal like myself couldn’t possibly understand. I held the gun, poised to pull the trigger a second time if necessary. Somehow, the werewolf got Eric down on the ground (must have been much stronger than the wolf looked to do that).

Eric was already propped on his elbow and reaching for the werewolf’s arm when he bellowed, “Who sent you?” In a tone of voice that both terrified and excited me at the same time. There was such control in his voice, despite the fact that I felt like this was a rather desperate situation.

Eric was down and I had a shot, so I took it. I fired the gun a second time and it hit the wolf in the side. He looked my way and snarled, but that was all the opening Eric needed to grab a hold of him again. I opened the front door and Eric took the werewolf out to the front yard with the others.

“Last chance, were. Who sent you?” Eric had his hands around the werewolf’s neck. It was pretty obvious how this was going to end.

“She told me not to say.” Were the last words the werewolf ever spoke because right after, Eric broke his neck.

I stood there stunned, the gun slipping from my hand. In yet another display of vampire speed, Eric caught it just before it hit the ground. Thank God he did, or I probably would have shot myself in the leg.

“Wait for me inside. I’ll dispose of the bodies.” Eric’s voice was quiet and full of calm again.

I nodded and went into the house, locking myself inside. I thought about rescinding his invitation, but knew I couldn’t do that. If I had werewolves stalking me now, I was in bigger trouble than I ever could have imagined.

“Bill, what did you do?” I muttered to myself before sitting on the steps and having a good cry.


I was working diligently to get the tiny shards that was once my big living room window off my floor. Easier said than done with those shards find their way into the crevices of the floor. I sighed, not willing to admit defeat just yet. I lost track of how long Eric was gone, disposing of the bodies that had littered my front yard. Suddenly, MaryAnn didn’t seem so bad, and that was saying a lot.

“It is done.” Eric announced, sneaking up on me and scaring me half to death.

“Holy shit, you scared me!” I fell back on my butt when I tried to spin around to look at him. Eric smirked at me. “What’d you do with the- wait, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”

“You certainly are a magnet for trouble.” Eric looked at me in an appraising fashion after helping me to my feet.

I glared at him. “I wasn’t until I started hanging out with things with fangs.”

He snickered and then flashed his fangs at me. It was a move made with sex in mind, I could tell from his expression. I just stood there glaring at him. If he thought I was going to jump his bones, he had another thing coming.

“Why do you have werewolves looking to kill you, Sookie?” Eric looked more curious than accusatory.

“Beats the hell out of me. I didn’t even know they existed until tonight.” That was mostly true. “I heard something in the woods last night when I was coming back from Bill’s, but I didn’t think a whole lot of it. There’s lots of things prowling around in the woods at night.”

Eric looked disturbed by this revelation. “They’ve been watching you for some time.” He was thinking out loud. “Bill never mentioned to you his involvement with weres?”

“Like I said, I didn’t even know they existed until tonight.” I folded my arms over my chest.

I was thankful I hadn’t worn my engagement ring to work or Eric would have seen it. Then again, what the hell did I care if Eric saw it? It would probably be better for all of us if he did. On the other hand, would a piece of jewelry really stop him from trying to seduce me? Probably not. I sighed, feeling rather hopeless. There was always a hornet’s nest floating in my mind where Eric was concerned.

“Bill hasn’t told you much about our world.” It wasn’t a question and it made me damn nervous.

“Then why don’t you fill in the blanks?” I stepped closer to him, challenging him.

Eric smiled at me and it was one of his scarier smiles. The charm was missing from it. There wasn’t any warmth to it. If anything, he looked at me with pity.

“You’re in over your head, little one.” He shook his head, his fangs retracting.

“I can handle it.” I didn’t sound nearly confident enough to say the words I’d just said.

“Why don’t we start by you telling me what you know about our world, and I’ll fill in the blanks from there?” Eric suggested and made himself comfortable in what had been Gran’s favorite chair. If it’s possible, he looked even bigger than usual. His legs went on forever.

It took me all of about a minute and a half to tell him everything Bill had ever told me about vampires. Eric kept his poker face with the exception of the light in his eyes. He watched me move around the room, trying not to look at him as I talked. Looking at him never seemed to get me anywhere good. When I was done, my eyes briefly met his and he was giving me that same sad expression again.

“Stop looking at me like that!” I shouted at him.

“Like what, dear one?”

“And stop calling me anything but my name! You keep looking at me like a sad puppy. I’m with Bill. Get over it.”

Eric was up and out of that seat in less than a heartbeat. “I could take you.”

“Then why haven’t you?” Stupidest. Question. Ever. What the hell was I thinking berating a vampire who could probably kill me with the flick of his wrist.

Eric hissed at me, his fangs running out again. I gulped for air and backed up. For every step I took in retreat, he advanced. Finally I was backed against the arm of the sofa with a very big vampire looming over me. I tried to figure out if he would really kill me just then. There was a part of me that said he wouldn’t. On the other hand, if I was too much trouble, why would he bother keeping me around? My ability might be rare, but was it so valuable it was worth risking his own life for? Vampires didn’t get to be as old as Eric by being soft.

But rather start on a rampage that would begin with my neck, Eric changed his demeanor. “Is that what you want, Sookie?” He purred into my ear.

Oh hell.

“I haven’t taken you from Compton because I am patient. It is only a matter of time before you change your mind. You’re young. You have much to learn about the world. Compton cannot possibly keep you safe. Nor can he give you what you really need.”

“And you can?” Me and my big stupid mouth really needed to just rescind Eric’s invitation and go to bed before I ended up dead.

Eric looked at me with amusement. “I think you will find I can give you everything you ever dreamed of.”

That was certainly a loaded statement, if ever I heard one. I wondered then if he knew about the dreams I’d been having since Dallas. Did he know that in my dreams he wasn’t an egotistical a-hole that I couldn’t wait to stake, but instead, someone who loved me and was very open and honest with me? The dreams, as sexy as they were, were more about us being intimate with each other than it was about the sex itself. In the dreams, he needed me every bit as much as I needed him.

“The only thing I want you to find is Bill.” I said stubbornly, earning me one of Eric’s devastating smirks. God, I hated him.

He held my stare, challenging me to say something more to him. Instead I walked around him to the front porch. If he stayed in my house for much longer I had a feeling something was going to happen I would regret in the morning. Damn vampire blood had a way of screwing with my brain, not to mention my hormones. Eric followed me outside. I leaned against the railing, thankful he wasn’t standing too close to me.

“I will find Bill, Sookie, trust me on that.” Eric’s eyes were intense. I don’t know why, but I believed me. “In the meantime, I’m going to send someone to keep an eye on you. I may need your help in finding Bill and you won’t be of any help to me if you are dead.” He turned to leave.

“Yeah, I’m sure my death would really ruin your day.” I rolled my eyes.

Eric turned around sharply, his eyes traveling the length of my body. He licked his lips when his eyes made it to my chest and then his fangs ran out when he looked at my neck. If I were a different kind of girl I would have looked down to see if there was a noticeable bulge in his pants. After my trip to Fangtasia I would never again have to wonder if Eric was in proportion all over.

In a totally deadpan voice, Eric said, “We haven’t fucked yet, lover, and I am very much looking forward to when we do.”

I had no retort to that. I just stood there looking stunned, even though in my mind I was doing little cartwheels of happy. I watched as Eric swaggered back to his car. He gave me one last smirk and then he was gone.

That night I dreamed Eric and I had sex in my Gran’s chair that put his romp with Yvetta to shame.

-THE END-

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