I’ve Got to See You Again

Eric sat outside of the small white house with pale yellow shutters and a creaky old porch swing, watching for movement inside the house. He’d been parked there for longer than was probably sane. At the very least, he was pushing the boundaries into stalking territory. He rationalized that he was doing it for her safety. It was because of him that Sookie was in any sort of danger at all so it was only right that he follow through and make sure she was safe.

By midnight he was well out of coffee and was starting to drift off. The house appeared to be secure. The last movement he’d seen was almost two hours before when all the lights had gone out save for the ones in the bathroom and Sookie’s bedroom, but those went out in a reasonable amount of time as well. If he closed his eyes, he could see her sleeping on the right side of the bed, curled peacefully on her side and hugging a pillow to her chest. He wondered if she was pretending it was him she was holding onto, but doubted that was the case.

Sookie was a tough cookie. Really, she probably didn’t even need the protective detail he’d volunteered to give her. If she knew he was out there, she would lose her shit and tell him to go, and she wouldn’t be out of line for doing it. Of course that didn’t mean the surveillance would stop; it just wouldn’t be him doing it anymore.

Eric was tempted to get out of the car and take a quick walk around the perimeter of the house but he’d heard through the grapevine that she’d installed a security system that included motion sensors. The last thing he needed was to scare her out of a deep sleep. She’d suffered enough stress on account of him. All he wanted was to make sure she was safe and protected and that his line of work hadn’t put her in any sort of danger.

When he was as convinced as he was going to get that she was alright, he started the car. His hand rested on the knob of the gear shaft for a minute while he took one last longing look at the house. If he wasn’t such a fuck up, he could have been inside the house with her. He’d been there before, plenty of times, but he wasn’t welcome anymore. Too many lies, mistakes and secrets had shattered the trust she had in him.

Eric drove off, taking the long way home and checking his mirrors to make sure he wasn’t being followed. His bosses were urging him to take some time off and get out of town while things cooled down but that wasn’t his style. Eric knew the risks of the job he’d undertaken and he wasn’t about to start running scared now. He’d gone up against worse than Victor Madden in the past, and frankly, Eric was quite sure the little crime family that he’d helped bust up was happy to see their leader get pinched.

Eric pulled into the parking garage of the high rise building he lived in and made sure to smile pretty for the camera. It was force of habit, a way of documenting his arrival in case there was any question about where he’d been. He parked his car in his assigned space, gathered up all the trash that had accumulated over the course of his stakeout and made sure to lock up when he got out of the car. The parking attendant gave a smile and a salute as Eric passed the little booth.

“How’s it going, Detective?” Rasul asked in that raspy voice of his.

“Could be better, could be worse.” Eric said with a shrug as he dropped his trash into the can outside the booth.

“Same shit, different day, huh?” Rasul asked with a knowing smile.

“You got it,” Eric smiled in return. “Have a good night, Rasul.”

“Yessir,” Rasul gave a wave and then went back to watching whatever was on his monitor.

Eric walked over to the elevator bay and pushed the call button. He was up on the eighth floor of the building and lived in one of the nicer corner units. The building was very security conscious and wired with the most hi-tech, cutting edge systems. Where most buildings had just a simple buzzer, the one Eric lived in had video so he could see who was trying to get in. Not that he had many visitors. Usually it was just Pam, his fellow officer who was coming up in the ranks.

Currently, she was deep undercover trying to bust up a ring of human traffickers that had migrated north after Katrina wiped out the trade down in the Gulf. Slowly the business was making its way back south, but Shreveport was a nice out of the way location for all the illegals that came in from Mexico. Having the job Eric did meant there wasn’t a whole lot of free time for socializing and when he did, he was almost constantly watching his back to make sure he wasn’t made by anyone.

While he was working a case, he was generally off limits to everyone in his life. No sense in dragging them into his mess. That was part of the reason why personally watch dogging Sookie wasn’t really such a hot idea. If he was being followed, he was leading people right to her, not that they didn’t already know where to find her. He’d met her on the job, after all, and at the worst possible time.

Unfortunately, he didn’t get a choice in the matter and regardless of whether or not he wanted to hit the pause and rewind button didn’t make any kind of difference. He was deep undercover when they met and from the minute he laid eyes on her, he knew he was in deep shit. They flirted quietly, each of them trying to pretend like they weren’t feeling the same heat and chemistry every time they got close until one night the tension boiled over after the bar closed, and Eric was left with no choice but to kiss her.

The guilt that consumed him afterward was devastating. Sookie was falling for a lie. She knew him as Leif; the newest member of Victor Madden’s little crime family, a rising star in the underworld. Actually, that wasn’t entirely true. Sookie knew him as Leif but she wisely never asked what, exactly, his ties were to Victor. She assumed and he never confirmed or denied; it was safer that way.

Eric got off the elevator on his floor and thanked God, or whoever else might be listening, that Sookie had never been to his home. He’d taken her back to his safe house that was closely monitored by his superiors just in case he got himself into some shit he couldn’t handle, but he’d never taken her home. He’d wanted to and almost did once, but he knew it wasn’t safe there for her. He also knew eventually the truth of who he was was going to surface, and knowing Sookie as well as he’d come to; he knew she wasn’t going to be happy with him.

In fact, when he’d finally revealed the truth of who he was, she was downright furious. He’d planned to tell her everything that night but things got so crazy so fast that he didn’t get the chance. Mostly, she was pissed off she’d had to read it in the morning papers instead of hearing it straight from the source. She’d thoroughly cussed him out and told him to forget she ever existed. He couldn’t really blame her for being pissed. He’d tried to sneak as much of his real self into their alone time as he could, but there were too many lies to be overshadowed by his little bit of honesty.

As per usual, his apartment was locked up tight as Fort Knox when he walked inside. He made sure to bolt and chain the door behind himself before resetting his alarm. Just because the building was safe didn’t mean it wasn’t possible for someone to sneak in. A person could get past the parking lot if Rasul took a bathroom break and then it was just a short elevator ride before Eric could end up with a slug in his head. Maybe to some it was paranoid thinking but to him, it was just good sense.

Eric walked back to his bedroom, shed his clothes and slipped on a pair of joggers and some running shoes. It was late and he was mentally tired but his body wasn’t ready to call it a night yet. He’d been sitting for too damn long and he had energy to burn. If it weren’t so late he would have cranked up the stereo, but since it was getting on to one in the morning, he located his ear buds and put them in place before scrolling through his iPod.

Lots of playlists to choose from, as his taste in music varied depending on his mood. At the moment, he was frustrated and that meant he needed loud, pounding music. When he came across Linkin Park, he hit the play button and started the treadmill. He thought of Sookie and everything that had happened with the case that brought him to her while he slowly increased the pace at which he ran. It wasn’t long before his lungs were straining to get air into them and his feet were pounding against the moving belt beneath them.

Running, for whatever reason, always cleared his head. Not to mention, it was good cardio. He refused to be like the fat ass cops he always saw on TV, huffing and puffing while clipping at a fast waddle to catch their perp. At the age of thirty-two, he was in the best shape of his life. God help him if he ever had to infiltrate an Overeaters Anonymous group.

He ran until he felt like his shins were going to crack, or maybe his lungs were going to explode, before he lowered the speed on the treadmill. He jogged for another half mile before taking it down to walking pace and just as the odometer was flipping to the nine mile mark, he turned the machine off. He breathed heavily, doubling over and bracing his hands on his knees. His head was clearer, although not completely so.

Off to the shower he went, tossing his iPod onto the bed after stripping out of his shoes, socks and damp joggers. He got the water started in the bathroom and brushed his teeth while he waited for the water to warm. It was time for a haircut, he realized while he brushed. He’d let his hair grow out in preparation for his last assignment, since he didn’t think a Marine Corp style buzz cut was going to work.

No, he’d let his hair get nearly to his shoulders. Didn’t look bad, actually, and Sookie had definitely enjoyed running her fingers through his hair. On more than one occasion, they’d ended up at her place just watching TV together. He’d stretch out on the couch with his head in her lap and she would absently twirl his hair around her fingers, sometimes until he fell asleep there. He missed the quiet of being with her. He never felt alone, and that was a pretty sweet feeling considering the life he led.

He soaped up quickly after getting into the shower and no sooner did he put his face under the lukewarm spray of water than his mind traveled back to the last shower he’d taken with Sookie. It was the night before the bust went down and he knew damn well it was probably going to be the last shower he took with her. He recalled every moan and sigh she made once he had her pinned up against the wall, his body pressed tightly to hers.

In real time his hand ended up wrapped around his cock, stroking almost desperately, all while his brain was very aware his hand was a poor substitute for the slick heat he’d previously found in Sookie. Unfortunately, he doubted he was ever going to get that back. He’d fucked up. He should have recuesed himself from the case and chosen her instead but he was simply in too deep by that point. All of his work, all the resources that had been expended on bringing Victor Madden down would have been wasted and he probably still would have lost her.

There was a silver lining in that dark cloud, it was just hard to see sometimes. Eric’s mind returned to thoughts of Sookie, figuring he might as well finish what he started and it was the memory of her gently biting on his ear before telling him she loved him that sent him over the edge. He was such a bastard. She’d fallen in love with him without ever truly knowing who he was.

Eric sagged against the wall, taking absolutely no pleasure in the orgasm that had just broadsided him. A sharp pain filled his chest and after rinsing off, he stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his hips. A quick comb through the hair later, he was standing at his bedside and frowned at how empty his bed looked. Usually, he preferred it that way. The towel dropped when he released it from his grasp and before he could put too much more thought into it, he climbed between the sheets.

Dawn would be approaching soon and he had a meeting with his Lieutenant to go over all the evidence that had been gathered over the course of Eric’s assignment. He rolled onto his side and hugged a pillow, trying to convince himself it was the beautiful blonde woman he’d come to be so crazy about in a short period of time. He didn’t have many regrets, but fucking her over was a big one. Sleep didn’t come easily for him but when it did, he could pretend he was still with Sookie, and for just a couple of hours the world felt right again.

o.O.o.O.o

Sookie walked out of the police department, her heart still rattling away in her chest. She didn’t want to admit it, but she had hoped she would see Leif, er, Eric, somewhere in the precinct. It was probably better that she hadn’t though. It would be too hard to walk away from him if their paths crossed. Like it or not, love wasn’t something that just disappeared overnight. Even if the person she had fallen in love with didn’t really exist.

She walked numbly through the parking lot to her little yellow car and took one last sweeping look around the parking lot, hoping to catch sight of that tall frame and thick blond hair she had come to associate with him. Maybe just seeing him wouldn’t be so bad. In fact, maybe it would settle something in her. Maybe confirmation that she hadn’t dreamed the whole thing up would help her.

But that was a ridiculous justification for the aching need in her chest to see him again. Obviously she hadn’t dreamed it all up. She’d just spent two hours with Lieutenant Stan Davis, signing affidavits and statements in regards to all the things she’d witnessed while she was still employed by Victor Madden. She hadn’t exactly been given the option of quitting her job when he got pinched, but she would have if the choice had been hers to make.

Now she was not only out of a job, but a boyfriend. Her life was what country songs were written about and wasn’t that just pathetic. She started the car and cringed at the song that came on the radio. Fucking Lady Gaga. Sookie quickly spun the dial to get away from the song. Usually she was a fan, but the talk of Judas really just wasn’t up her alley at the moment. Landing on Katy Perry wasn’t much better, but the lyrics sucked her in.

She was pretty sure the time was coming when she, too, would know what it was like to lie in the arms of a perfectly good man and wish she were snuggled against another. She bit back the tears that were threatening to spill over and put the car in gear. She got as far as the end of the parking lot before she changed her mind. She reclaimed her parking space, reached into her glove box and hoped there was a piece of paper inside.

An old napkin was going to have to do. She dug a pen out of her purse and jotted a quick note on it. She read the words over and over before folding the paper and getting out of the car. With her heart once again thundering in her chest, threatening to beat right out of it, she approached the police station. She walked right up to the desk sergeant and waited for him to address her.

“Can I help you?” he asked pleasantly enough.

“Could I leave something for Detective Northman?” Sookie asked in a faltering voice.

“Want me to check and see if he’s in?” The desk sergeant asked while shuffling file folders.

“Uh, no, that’s okay. Do you have an envelope I can put this in? It’s personal.” Sookie flushed just a little.

“Sure thing,” the sergeant handed over a Shreveport Police Department envelope.

“Thanks.” Sookie smiled at him and then sealed her hastily written note inside.

“Can I tell him who was here?”

“He’ll know. Thank you for your help.” Sookie smiled, curtsied just a little and then made a run for it.

Before she could talk herself into going inside and asking for the note back, she headed home. All she could do was wait and see what happened. The ball was now in Eric’s court.

o.O.o.O.o

Eric strode into the department a few minutes early with a big box of Krispy Kreme’s freshest balanced on one of his big hands. A venti cinnamon dolce latte was keeping his other hand warm. He stopped first at the desk sergeant and offered him first pick.

“Thanks, Northman.” The sergeant raised the pastry.

“No problem, Sergeant Sigebert.” Eric nodded and started toward the elevators.

“Oh! Hang on a second, Northman. I have something here for you. She didn’t leave her name…” Sigebert extended a sealed envelope in Eric’s direction. “Pretty little thing. Blond hair about the same color as yours, bright blue eyes…woulda thought she was your sister if I didn’t know any better.”

Eric’s heart faltered for a second at the description. Sookie. The woman Sigebert was describing had to be Sookie. Eric smiled and nodded, cursing himself for having two busy hands. He considered dropping the donuts right there on the lobby floor to get at the envelope. Instead, he set the coffee down on the desk and took the envelope. He tucked the paper into his back pocket, picked up his coffee and headed upstairs.

The donuts were gone in record time, not that he expected anything less. He stuffed the empty box into the recycling bin near the elevators and then headed to his own desk. There was a stack of papers that he needed to eyeball before heading into his meeting with Stan. He set down his coffee, started his computer and debated over whether or not to read Sookie’s note before meeting with Stan. He needed to be on his A Game when he went into that meeting, and no doubt whatever Sookie had to say was going to rattle his cage.

Although, ignoring it wasn’t going to keep him any calmer. In fact, he was pretty sure his ass was toasted where that envelope was resting. He pulled the envelope from his back pocket, tapped it against his hand for a few seconds and then decided it was going to kill him if he waited to read it. He carefully cut the envelope open and then his brows furrowed when he realized it was a napkin inside.

He imagined it said, “An asswipe for an asswipe.” He would have deserved that much.

Eric unfolded the note, took a deep breath and then let his eyes focus on the beautiful and obviously feminine script scrawled out on the McDonald’s stamped white paper.

I still love you. I need to see you.

In just nine words, his entire life shifted. It didn’t seem possible, but those words were really written on that napkin. His chest tightened for a few seconds with gratitude, and then it was like the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders. She still loved him. Of course, this didn’t mean she would forgive him, but this was a start, right? She wasn’t cursing him to the grave and back anymore.

Hope filled him and every couple of seconds his eyes shifted over to the napkin just to make sure he’d read it correctly. Maybe his eyes had been playing tricks on him. But no, those nine words were still there and in the same exact order he’d read them the first time.

She loved him. His Sookie still loved him.

o.O.o.O.o

Sookie floated in her tub with her eyes closed and her brain full of images of her whirlwind romance with Eric. She’d been working at Vic’s Roadhouse for just over six months when she met Eric. Back then Sookie had suspected there was something else going on at Vic’s besides the occasional friendly bet over a basketball game but mostly, she kept her head down and her nose out of the side business going on.

In looking back on things, she should have known there was something different about Eric the night one of Victor’s rivals, Felipe de Castro, came into the bar with a loaded automatic weapon and Eric immediately shifted in front of her, using himself as a human shield in case Felipe decided to open fire on the man that turned out to be his former protégé. It was a scary night and of course, when Felipe left a crew was sent to get payback for the intrusion.

Thankfully, Eric hadn’t been on that crew since he was too new to the organization and Victor wasn’t quite sure he could trust Eric yet. So instead, Eric was given the job of seeing Sookie home since she was too shaken up to drive herself. That was the night everything changed between them. They’d been flirting since the night they met a few weeks before but when Sookie invited him inside, she was pretty sure she knew what was going to happen.

She was shocked when Eric merely did a sweep of her house to make sure everything was secure before kissing her goodnight right on her cheek. She had invited him to stay for a drink or some coffee, but he had reasoned it was probably a bad idea for him to get involved with her on account of his ties to Victor. Sookie had nodded respectfully, although the disappointment that registered on her face wasn’t something she could even try to hide.

“Leif, wait,” she’d said, using the name he’d given her back then. Thinking of him as Eric was still a little strange to her. “I know there are probably a million reasons why you shouldn’t stay, but I would really like it if you did. I don’t really want to be alone tonight.”

The pleading of her eyes must have worked because he closed the door and bolted it behind himself. After sliding the chain into place, he took her hand and let her lead him to the living room. He closed the curtains just to be on the safe side and then followed her back to her bedroom. At first, they had just settled together on her bed, her head resting comfortably on his chest, listening to the even beating of his heart. It was quiet, comforting and very innocent; just what both of them really needed at the time.

The morning, however, brought something new. Sookie woke in Eric’s arms with him spooned up behind her. His quiet snores told her he was still out cold, but there was definitely morning wood pressed against her backside. As much as it had killed her to do it, Sookie had wiggled her way out of bed and headed for the kitchen to make coffee. Having sex with him would have been amazing, no doubt, but they hadn’t even been on a single date. Just because they flirted didn’t mean he was really interested.

As a bartender, flirting was part of the job description; it didn’t mean she wanted to date everyone she flirted with. She was slinking back into her bedroom to get her robe when Eric’s eyes fluttered open. He looked good laying there in her bed, almost like he belonged there. When he held his long arms out to her, she dropped her robe and closed the distance between them to find sanctuary beside him. She liked the way it felt when he held her. She felt safe with him; like he would do anything to make sure she was good.

They had stayed there, safe and snuggled together, until she couldn’t wait any longer for a cup of coffee. Like it or not, she had to get her day started. While he showered, she made them both breakfast. And it wasn’t until they were both stalling for reasons for Eric to stay that he finally gathered up his courage and asked her to go on a real date with him. A smile so big it threatened to crack her face in half was all the answer he needed, although she did say yes anyway.

They went out together on her next day off and spent the day walking around a public garden. She’d packed a picnic for them since Eric had no idea how to cook and it was better than paying the ridiculous amount of money to eat at the garden, considering how mediocre the food was. It was a great date, perhaps the best of her dating career, and when he brought her home in the early evening, he left her with a gentle kiss brushed against her lips. There was no pressure for more, although she could have happily spent a few hours examining just how good of a kisser he was.

But it had snowballed quickly from that point on. They tried to keep their relationship quiet but it didn’t take much for anyone who frequented the Roadhouse to know they were seeing each other outside of the bar’s confines. Victor never said anything about it, exactly, but he had definitely hinted at the idea that he didn’t really care for his employees to be fraternizing with one another. If he thought Eric was giving up his secrets, he was wrong.

Eric didn’t talk about his work and she was just fine with that. She’d seen enough of the Sopranos to know it was better if she didn’t ask. It’s not that she ignored Eric’s profession; so much as she knew enough to have an idea of what his role in the organization was. She also knew how he was with her when they were alone, and the difference was night and day. The man she’d fallen for so quickly was nothing like the one Victor was employing.

A couple of weeks before Victor got arrested and Sookie learned the truth about the man she’d given her heart to, Eric had tried to convince her to quit her job at Vic’s Roadhouse. In looking back, the urgency in Eric’s demeanor as he talked should have been a dead giveaway that he knew more about what was happening than he was willing to say. He was trying to protect her, she realized, but she was still angry at him for not telling her the whole story.

She could have easily told Victor she’d found a new job across town at a little backwater dive bar that had recently opened. Sure her boss would have been pissed that she was leaving, but she could handle that much better than she could Eric lying to her. But no, she kept her job at Vic’s Roadhouse, thinking Eric was just exaggerating the state of affairs. Felipe wasn’t the last tough guy to come into the bar, packing heat and looking for Victor. It seemed Victor had a lot of enemies in a lot of different places and all of them were looking to cash in on their vendettas.

The night Victor was finally taken into custody, Sookie was behind the bar like usual. Eric had been tense all afternoon, but so had everyone else in the bar. His eyes kept shifting to her and then pointedly staring at the front door, like he was telling her to get out of dodge before shit went down. Unfortunately, she brushed off his warnings and focused on work. At ten that night everyone shifted back to the private party room where Victor was supposed to be having a meeting.

Sookie maintained her position behind the bar and was talking to a couple of regulars who had gambling problems, but no real ties to Victor’s business outside of a few bets they’d placed with him. She’d turned around to refill a basket of peanuts when the front door of the bar was nearly yanked off its hinges. Guys in SWAT gear, guns drawn and shields up began to snake into the bar. Wisely, she kept her mouth shut and got down on the ground with her hands in the air.

She had no reason to believe she was being arrested but she wasn’t about to fight with guys carrying artillery like the SWAT guys were. The gamblers about fell off their stools but managed to keep quiet. Sookie was on her knees behind the bar when she was approached from behind by someone who identified himself as Sergeant Herveaux and hauled her off her feet. Sookie was escorted from the building and loaded into the back of a dark van. No one would answer her questions but she hadn’t been placed under arrest.

She’d sat in the back of the van, practically chewing her bottom lip off while she listened for the sound of gunfire. When the shots rang out, she was terrified Eric was hurt and if it wasn’t for the fact that the van was locked from the inside, no doubt she would have taken off running for the building. A short time later, paramedics were entering the building and those capable of walking out on their own were being led by police officers, either to waiting ambulances or squad cars.

It was a few minutes later that Eric emerged, handcuffed, and was led to the van where Sookie was waiting. Her heart both lifted and sank all at once. On one hand, she was grateful he was unharmed. On the other, she was devastated he’d been arrested. How was she going to explain to her family and friends that she had fallen in love with someone who was mixed up with all kinds of criminal activity? That was something she hadn’t really given much thought to. She’d blindly followed her heart and look where it’s led her. It figured the one time she let go and jumped into the free fall she would end up hitting rock bottom like that.

The van opened and Eric was roughly shoved into the back with her. She tried to catch him but he landed hard on his side. The van door slammed shut and she helped him into a sitting position. When he was upright, she leaned in to hug him around his neck.

“Thank God you’re alright,” she’d whispered in his ear, an unexpected sob tearing out of her throat.

“Sookie, there’s something I have to tell you.” Eric was suddenly stiff as a board under her fingers.

“You’ve been arrested, I know. Leif, it’s okay. We’ll figure something out.”

“Reach into my left back pocket for me, will you? There’s a key in there.” Eric leaned to his right side and Sookie dug into his pocket.

“Leif, this is a cuff key. How did you get this?” she asked while palming the small piece of warm metal.

He sighed, closed his eyes and said, “Sookie, I’m not who you think I am.”

“What does that mean?” she looked deep into his eyes.

“Please just unlock the cuffs and I’ll tell you everything,” he pleaded with her.

“Uncuff you? Are you insane? Do you know how much trouble I could-?”

“I’m a cop, Sookie,” he revealed, his eyes still trained on hers. “My name is Eric Northman and I’m a detective with the Shreveport Police Department. For the last fourteen months I have been assigned to investigate Victor Madden.”

Just like that, the world had fallen out from under her.

o.O.o.O.o

It was a risky move to make contact with Pam, considering how deep into her own cover she was, but desperate times call for desperate measures and he needed the opinion of a woman on what to do. The obvious answer was to get directly in his unmarked and haul ass across town to Sookie’s place, but he wasn’t so sure that was smart. It took some convincing, but he got Stan to make a phone call to Pam out in the field.

She agreed to meet him but he was going to have to pose as a potentially interested buyer, which meant he got a crash course in the trafficking of humans just in case anyone busted in on their meeting. Eric met Pam at the agreed upon location, which was a nicely remodeled farmhouse just outside of Shreveport. What appeared to be a carriage house out back had actually been converted into a place for all the hi-tech surveillance equipment being used to capture each of the meetings, buys or whatever else Pam was a part of.

“What do they think you do out here?” Eric asked once they were safely barricaded into the small building.

“Would you believe I’m posing as a trafficker with a penchant for pottery?” Pam smirked. “They think I keep my clay and kiln out here or some shit.”

“Clever,” Eric said as he took a seat.

“So, let me guess…Sookie?” Pam parked it on one of the rolling chairs across from Eric’s. He nodded and she said, “You sure fucked up with that one.”

“I know,” Eric nodded his agreement. “But you and I both know that compromising the case would have been even worse.”

“You did the right thing by not telling her. Just one false move and she could have gotten a lot of people killed.” Pam agreed with him but the expression on his face caused her to continue. “She could have been one of those people, Eric.”

“That’s what I keep telling myself but it doesn’t really change the fact that I fucked up.”

“It was a rock and a hard place situation. When she gets a little distance from it, she’ll understand.”

“She was at the station today. She had a sit down with Stan.”

“So she’s signed all the paperwork?” Pam asked and Eric nodded. “That’s good right? So why are you here talking to me and potentially fucking up my case?”

“Because she left me a note at Sigebert’s desk. Said she still loves me. She wants to see me.” Eric confided and Pam smirked.

“Again, why the fuck are you here? You think I have some magic answers for you?”

Eric rolled his eyes and said, “I was hoping you could tell me if going to see her was a good idea.”

“Seriously?” Pam glared at him. “In spite of your admitted fuck ups, she loves you and wants to see you. Even if she just wants to tell you to fuck off and never talk to her again, isn’t that better than nothing? Then maybe you can start to move on and stop acting like a level eight clinger. Don’t think I don’t know about that self-assigned protective detail you put her on. Victor’s gone and she knows shit about shit. If the department had any reason to think she was in danger, they’d have someone sitting on her twenty-four seven and you know it.”

Pam was right, of course, but admitting that meant admitting to himself that his reasons for being there weren’t just personal, but driven by guilt. Not until he met Sookie did Eric ever really stop to think and wonder if maybe being an undercover was a bad call. Since he didn’t have a whole lot of family or friends, disappearing for weeks or months at a time wasn’t a big deal. But getting involved with someone meant he was going to have to reconsider. It wouldn’t really be fair to the person he was with if he disappeared for extended periods of time, and quite frankly, if that person was Sookie, Eric wasn’t sure if he could leave her for that long.

“Face it, Northman, she got to you. It’s not good for your career but you seemed like a happier little shit when you were with her, even though I know you hated lying to her.” Pam sat back and crossed her legs. “Besides, this doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. You can still be on the job and have the girl, too.”

“I could switch departments, but I couldn’t stay undercover.” Eric said and received a ‘no shit’ look from Pam. “You know she could just want to tell me she hates my guts and she never wants to see me again.”

“I don’t think so. I think if that was the case, she would have caught you creeping on her and just come right out and told you. Besides, if she was going to tell you to fuck off, why would she tell you she loves you?” Pam pointed out. “Face it, Eric, it’s time to nut up or shut up. But for the love of God, don’t fuck it up this time.”

They exchanged small talk for a few minutes without talking a whole lot about the case Pam was working. She escorted him back to his car with enough time left over for her to go inside and get changed for her meeting with the scumbags she was trying to bust. Eric left the desolate area with a swirl of emotions going through him. Oddly enough, there was no worry for Pam’s safety. She was about as bad ass as they came and he knew she was going to be well protected, although she wasn’t bulletproof so all it would take was one clear shot to the head and… Yeah, he wasn’t going to go there.

He needed to focus on what he was going to say to Sookie. He’d apologized as much as she would let him in the past but he hadn’t said nearly enough. He was hoping she’d gotten enough distance from the whole situation to realize he was trying to do the right thing. There was such a delicate balance to it all, and the simple truth of the matter was, if he could go back and do things differently, he wouldn’t. Sookie was either going to forgive him or she wasn’t, but that was a decision beyond his control.

By the time he got back to town, it was late afternoon. The sun was starting to sink below the horizon. Daylight would be gone soon. He pulled up to her house and parked across the street the way he had so many times since their relationship went into stasis. She’d never actually said she was through with him, so technically, he supposed, they were still ‘together.’ A car he recognized as belonging to her friend Amelia was parked in Sookie’s driveway and his heart sank.

Amelia hated him with a passion. Even before the truth got out about who he was, she had warned Sookie that he was dangerous. Of course, Sookie had taken the warning with a grain of salt and mostly laughed it off. Her feelings for him had tainted her vision and he knew all too well how that felt. He clearly recalled putting himself between her and Felipe’s loaded gun the night he’d come in to have a little chat with his former underling. He’d been prepared to take a bullet for her then and she wasn’t even his to save.

There was just something about Sookie that he couldn’t get away from. Every time he got near her, his instincts screamed at him to protect her and make sure she was taken care of. It was the craziest thing and it really had happened at the worst possible time. However, he realized, was there ever really a convenient time to fall in love with someone? Even in the best of circumstances, it was always messy and a little on the painful side.

Giving away a piece of yourself to someone else was always a nerve wracking process. There was no guarantee the other person was going to cherish that piece, or even recognize it had been tendered to them. Eric had been careful with his words and while he was sure his actions spoke for the things he couldn’t say, he hadn’t told Sookie he loved her. He did, most definitely, but he wanted those words to come from him, and not the alias he had been assigned.

He didn’t want her to think his love for her had been a lie, or part of an act. His feelings for her were very real and more than anything else, he wanted her to know that. Hopefully the gods were on his side and Amelia hadn’t talked Sookie out of whatever it was she’d needed less than twelve hours ago. Eric waited rather impatiently in his car, not willing to bust up the girl talk that was undoubtedly going on inside that little house he knew so well.

He could just imagine the look on Amelia’s face when Sookie told her she wanted to see Eric again. Surely the look would be comprised of revulsion, annoyance and what-the-fuck-are-you-thinking. It was fine with him, on some level, since Sookie was a smart woman capable of making her own decisions, even if they weren’t popular ones. While he could appreciate Amelia being protective of her friend, he got the impression she was looking out more for her own best interests than Sookie’s and that was a problem.

Soft light glowed from the big bay window in Sookie’s living room. If it were just a little cooler outside, she would probably have a fire going. She’d told him once she loved the smell of burning wood because it brought back memories of camping trips with her parents and brother when she was a child. She’d loved those summer road trips to vast, empty places where they could pitch a tent, build a fire and tell ghost stories until they fell asleep. It was hearing those little things about her, the things that really shaped the person she had become, that made him fall in love with her.

Little things that wouldn’t be obvious to any schmuck on the street were what stuck with him. Like finding out she was afraid of basements, or that she never ate orange M&M’s for reasons even she didn’t understand. Runny egg whites made her nauseous. When she was small, she thought the fireworks on the 4th of July were late birthday celebrations for her, since her birthday party always coincided with Independence Day. She loved psychological thrillers, but hated slasher flicks. Her favorite spot on her body was a tiny birthmark on her right hip; although Eric contested her breasts were far more fun to look at.

By the time the front door opened and Amelia stepped out of the house, the sun was gone, replaced with the moon and stars. He watched as the rake thin brunette made her way to the mini-van and climbed into the driver’s seat. Sookie looked right at him, although he was sure she didn’t see him staring back at her. She looked a bit forlorn as she glanced up at the bright moon overhead and then closed her door.

Eric waited until Amelia’s car was out of sight before climbing out of his own car. From the opposite side of the street, he watched as Sookie picked up empty wine glasses and padded in the direction of her kitchen. He took a deep breath and then crossed the street. It was now or never.

o.O.o.O.o

Sookie stood at the sink, carefully washing the wine glasses her Gran had given as a house warming gift when she’d moved into her own place three years before. The glasses were beautiful and had once belonged to her Great Granny Stackhouse. There were pictures of her with her great granny, but the woman had died before Sookie was old enough to have any memories of her. She appreciated the glasses all the same and always took good care of them.

While she rinsed the glasses she thought over the things Amelia had said to her. Talking to Amelia about Eric was probably what most would consider to be a bad move but Sookie had long ago learned that it was usually wise to do the opposite of what Amelia advised. Amelia was a good person, but she was a spoiled brat more interested in how the choices of others would come to affect her than anything else.

Frankly, being Amelia’s friend was a bit exhausting, which was part of the reason why Sookie had pulled away. Even before Eric had told her the truth of who he was Amelia was harping on her to cut him loose. She said there was something untrustworthy about him and it wasn’t that she had been wrong, necessarily, so much as Sookie sensed Amelia’s real reasons for not liking Eric had more to do with jealousy than anything else.

Sookie hadn’t been looking for a relationship when she met Eric. In fact, the last thing she wanted was a relationship, which was part of the reason she’d flirted but that was it in the beginning. She had assumed, wrongfully, that all there was between her and Eric was flirting and some harmless teasing. When he put himself between her and a loaded gun, she realized there was something else going on and since their first date had been the best of her life, it was hard to hide her happiness from her friend.

From the get-go, Amelia seemed to think Eric was a little too perfect, which meant he had to be hiding something. Again, she wasn’t wrong, but that didn’t mean Sookie wanted her bubble popped so crudely. Amelia had no problem saying exactly what she thought which wasn’t an entirely bad thing; she simply lacked the tact to say it in a way that didn’t sound judgmental.

Not to mention, Amelia was the type who could dish it out but couldn’t take it. If Sookie had ever talked about one of Amelia’s boyfriends (or sometimes girlfriends) the way she had talked about Eric, Sookie would catch a whole lot of hell for it. And there were plenty of flings where Sookie had to bite her lip and roll her eyes, knowing nothing she said about the person Amelia was seeing was going to change the woman’s mind.

But then Sookie had called Amelia because she was hoping Amelia would tell her that seeing Eric again was a mistake and Amelia had more than delivered. In fact, she’d gone off on one hell of a rant on how big a mistake it would be for Sookie to let Eric into her life again. Not only had he been lying to her from the beginning, he associated with criminal types who were involved with drugs, violence, death, gambling and God only knew what else. It didn’t seem to matter to Amelia that Eric knew those people only because it was his job to know them.

It was Eric’s job to get them off the street and make the world a little bit of a safer place, and the personal fall out from that aside, it was admirable work. It also couldn’t be easy on Eric to live such a secluded life. She recalled the number of times he’d muttered something quietly about how lucky he felt to have her. More than once he’d wondered aloud what he’d done to deserve her. She’d always internally rolled her eyes at such a thing but now she wished she could take that back.

Once the glasses were resting comfortably in the dish rack to dry, she rinsed her own hands and turned the water off. It was while she was reaching for the towel hanging from the oven door that the doorbell rang. Assuming it was Amelia coming to reclaim something she forgot—since she almost always seemed to forget something- Sookie walked to the front door with the towel still in her hands.

Only when she looked through the peephole just to be sure, she gasped to see Eric standing there instead. He’d gotten her note. She had figured he would call before coming by like a normal person but Eric wasn’t a normal person. For all she knew, he was just breezing by on his way to the station. She took a few deep breaths and called upon her slight wine buzz to keep her nerves from frazzling her completely. With slightly shaking hands, she slipped the chain out of its track and then threw the deadbolt.

The door felt like it weighed a thousand pounds as she pulled it open slowly to reveal the giant standing within hugging distance of her. Immediately she was hit by the smell of him, such a familiar scent. Getting it out of her sheets had been damn near impossible and he didn’t even wear cologne. He smelled of Irish Spring and man, which as it turned out, was an intoxicating combination.

“You got my note,” Sookie said rather breathlessly, fighting with her knees to keep herself upright.

“I did,” he nodded and she noticed his hair was all but gone.

“Your hair,” she gasped again, reaching up to touch it but then pulling her hand back.

“Oh, yeah,” Eric ran his hand over his newly shorn locks. “I grew it out for the job, but I usually keep it like this.”

“It looks…different,” Was all she could muster. It wasn’t good or bad, just different. “Do you want to come in?”

Eric nodded and she stepped out of the way to let him in. She closed the door behind him, throwing the bolt over again and putting the chain back in its track. Eric’s heavy footsteps went in the direction of her living room and as she followed, she started to wring the towel between her nervous hands. He looked around like he hadn’t been in her home for years when it had really only been a matter of weeks.

“So, how’ve you been?” Sookie figured it was best to start out small.

“Truth?” Eric asked and got a sharp nod from Sookie. She’d had enough half truths and flat out lies from him already. “Awful. I’ve been awful. The case is solid, but that’s not really as important to me as it used to be.”

There was sadness in his voice and in his eyes and it weighed on her heavily. She refused to feel guilty for the way she had recoiled from him. Her reaction, as far as she was concerned, was perfectly normal. What had he really expected her to do when she found out that just about their entire relationship had been a lie?

“How’ve you been?” Eric asked when Sookie didn’t say anything.

“Truth?” she asked and he nodded as well. “Awful. I miss you. I shouldn’t, but I do. I don’t even know you and I can’t get you out of my head. Don’t even get me started on what you’ve done to my heart.”

Eric sighed so heavily it was like he’d deflated entirely. “Goddammit,” he muttered under his breath, although Sookie knew that curse wasn’t intended for her. He was blaming himself; she could see that much. “Sookie, I never wanted to hurt you.”

“I know that,” she acknowledged, which brought his head back up so his eyes could meet hers. “I get that things had to be the way they were. I just don’t know how I’m ever going to trust you again after this. Do you have any idea how bizarre it is to mourn someone who never really existed?”

“I wish I knew what to say to make that better,” Eric rubbed his eyes.

“You showed up,” Sookie shrugged, which surprised Eric as well. “Just showing up takes a lot of courage on your part.”

“I’m not here because I’m brave,” Eric shook his head.

“Then why?” Sookie asked and straightened up slightly when Eric crossed the room so he was standing right in front of her.

“Because you asked me to see you and because there was something I couldn’t tell you before even though I wanted to.” Eric tilted her chin up when she tried to look away from him. His hands felt so warm and reassuring on her face, like they belonged there. “I never said this before because I didn’t want you to think it was part of my cover. I always hoped that when you found out the truth, you wouldn’t run. You have every right to, but if you’re going to tell me that whatever we have is really over, then I want you to know that I loved you. I do love you and I will always regret that I had to lie to you.”

“You’re in love with me?” Sookie’s voice cracked and Eric nodded slowly without removing his hands from her face.

Her eyes closed as she let the words sink in. She’d always assumed that it was one sided between them, that maybe he’d figured a girlfriend would give him a hint of normalcy in a less than normal world he was associated with. She’d thought maybe she was a nice distraction from all the violence and cruelty of his professional life. But she should have known from the very beginning that wasn’t the case. His actions bolstered the words that had gone unspoken for so long. They had always been hanging there between them but Sookie never pushed for more.

“The truth of the matter is, I probably should leave you be. My life is chaos, at best, and it would be really unfair of me to drag you along for the ride. I never know where my job is going to send me, or how long I’ll be gone. I can’t make you promises about a future of us together because I don’t know what’s going to happen. All I can give you right here, right now, is the truth. That and my word that I will never again lie to you, Sookie. Ever. I realize that doesn’t mean much to you right now, but I swear if you give me the chance, I will prove to you that I mean it. I miss you.

“Every day I wake up and I hate myself a little bit more for hurting you. All I ever wanted was to keep you safe and I failed. I can’t apologize enough for that. All I can do is hope that someday you’ll forgive me.” Eric stared deep into her eyes, pleading for her forgiveness and understanding.

Sookie dropped the dish towel she’d been holding and let her hands settle on his warm, broad chest. She felt the wild beating of his heart under her fingertips. He didn’t really show it in his face but he was clearly nervous. Her left hand shifted, moving over the length of his forearm until she reached his wrist. Slowly, she peeled his hand back from her face and linked her fingers with his. Their palms pressed together while her right hand snaked up his chest and around his neck, pulling his face down to hers slowly.

She breathed deep when his forehead met hers. God, that smell, she could never get enough of it. She’d missed it terribly when she finally managed to chase it out of her sheets. Eric’s hand moved from her face down her neck and around to the back of her head, gently stroking her silky blond waves in that familiar and comforting way of his. He could be so gentle and sweet with her, such a contrast to the hard ass she knew he had to be the rest of the time.

It was then that she realized she wanted both versions of him because to ask him to be anything less wouldn’t be fair to either of them. Loving someone meant loving all the parts, not just the ones that suited her. She pulled back a little and tilted her face up again. Their eyes met and the regret she saw staring back at her was heartbreaking.

“I forgive you, Eric,” she whispered against his lips. “This might kill me someday, but I forgive you.”

Before either of them could say anything else his lips crashed against hers, and the hand she had around the back of his neck pulled him closer. His arms wrapped around her, lifting her off the floor like she was nothing more than a rag doll. Her legs hung limply while her arms circled his neck. The kiss was so familiar and somehow new at the same time. She figured out, as he started to break the seal of it, that it was because he wasn’t holding anything back anymore. Finally, he was giving her everything.

“I’ll do it right this time, Sookie,” he smoothed some of her hair back from her face carefully with one of his hands.

She nodded and when he kissed her again, she ended up pressed against the bookshelf behind her with his hands clamped on the shelf on either side of her head. Her hands stayed on his face until the kiss broke so they could breath. Eric’s forehead pressed against hers, just breathing while Sookie fought to keep herself from crying. They stayed like that, quietly breathing and holding onto each other until Eric finally put her down. When she tried to walk away from him to sit on the couch, he wouldn’t let her go.

“Stay with me,” he whispered, pulling her close again.

“I’m just going to the couch,” she whispered in response and giggled quietly.

Without releasing her, he pulled her with him to the couch and sat down; bringing her down so she was straddling him. She sat in his lap so they were face to face, nose to nose for a little while. Eric’s hands rested on her hips and her hands found a comfortable place on his chest.

“If we’re going to do this for real, I want to know everything,” Sookie told him. “From the beginning, I want to know it all.”

“Not everything I told you was a lie. I tried to tell you as much truth as I could.” Eric assured her.

Over the next couple of hours she did most of the listening while Eric talked. She learned that he had been truthful about his family situation. He was an only child and both of his parents were dead. He’d never met any of his grandparents and it was only because he was so close to his eighteenth birthday that he hadn’t become a foster child. Ward of the state, yes, but the inheritance that had been left to him was monitored by a court appointed guardian until his eighteenth birthday three months after his father died.

He’d spent four years in the Marine Corps (that was new info and certainly explained the haircut) before deciding he wanted to go into law enforcement. Being a cop was perfect for him because it allowed him to stay in a somewhat militarized structure with ranking officers and a chain of command, but it wasn’t quite as brainless as being just another soldier. Not that being a Marine was for dummies, but his job required him to be a fast thinker and it was because he’d learned how to blend in while in the military that he was a natural for being an undercover.

She learned he spoke his father’s native language, Swedish, in addition to English and a little bit of Spanish that he’d learned while serving over in Afghanistan. Although the bulk of the Spanish he’d learned wasn’t really fit for polite company. After getting out of the service he’d gone to college, gotten a degree in criminal justice and then took the exams to become a police officer. He’d considered being a firefighter (Lord knows he had the body for it) but he wanted to catch bad guys instead of putting out fires. He’d seen enough of that during the war and it brought back some nasty memories of roadside bombs.

All of that was new information to her and she was grateful to have heard it. She never would have guessed he was a former Marine based on the way he’d acted in the past and in some ways, it was kind of cool to get to know him all over again. He’d always been vague about his history before, only telling her that he had no family and very little friends. He’d never mentioned where he grew up or how he’d ended up in Louisiana so it was nice to connect all the dots.

He had been telling the truth about the little things like his favorite movie or holiday and all of the stories (not that there had been many) he’d told her about his childhood were true. He’d played basketball in high school and took piano lessons when he was in elementary school before deciding he was more athletically inclined. His favorite color was still red and when he wasn’t driving a department issued Crown Victoria, he had a cute (Sookie’s word, not his) red Corvette he’d bought when he got out of the Marines.

“I don’t know anything about cars,” Sookie laughed and leaned against him on the sofa. “All I know how to do is check my oil and refill my windshield wiper stuff.”

“Well, that’s more than some women but if you’re interested I can show you more.” Eric offered.

“Will you let me drive your car?” Sookie asked with a great big grin on her face, her eyelashes batting like crazy.

“We’ll see. That’s a privilege that has to be earned,” he told her.

“I am so happy you said that,” Sookie smirked at him and then got off the couch.

“Where are you going?” Eric’s head turned as far as it could to watch her walk out of the room.

“Bed,” she shrugged.

“Am I coming with you?” he asked almost nervously.

“Gee, I don’t know. That seems like a privilege that needs to be earned,” she smiled smugly, stuck her tongue out and then took off running when Eric jumped up to catch her.

o.O.o.O.o

Eric looked over the papers on his desk to make sure there were no typos anywhere and then quickly scrawled his signature at the bottom. Assuming Stan would sign off on it, he would be transferring out of the undercover unit and into an open spot over in the Juvenile Division. Some might see it as a step backward, but Eric had seen enough violent crime for a while. Besides, it might be nice to be able to help some people before they ended up being tracked by his co-workers over in vice, homicide, narcotics or even worse, forensics.

The decision had been an easy one for him to make and he’d done it all on his own. He’d asked Sookie for her opinion on the possibility of him transferring into another unit and all she would say was that he should do what he felt was right for him. She didn’t want to hold him back from doing something he wanted to do and she didn’t want to be attached to another one of his regrets. Sookie had promised him that no matter what he decided to do, they would find a way to make things work.

Eric knew Stan wasn’t going to be thrilled with the request but he knew it was the right move to make. The past three months with Sookie had meant more to him than anything else in his life that he could remember and if there really was a future out there for them, he didn’t want to be in it part-time. As much as he loved doing the undercover thing, he’d gotten the best possible thing out of it that he could when he met Sookie.

He had no doubt that she was the one he was supposed to be with and what some might see as a hell of a sacrifice by changing jobs, he didn’t feel that way at all. To him, it was a step in the right direction. Stan was out of the building that day, attending a hearing for one of the bigger cases in their department. Eric dropped the paperwork in Stan’s inbox and then went back to his desk to shutdown his computer.

Quite frankly, the chances of Stan not approving the transfer were slim to none. Stan was the kind of guy who only wanted to work with people who wanted to be there. If Eric wanted out, Stan would find a way to make that happen. Eric grabbed his messenger bag that contained his laptop and some paperwork and headed for the elevators. He was looking forward to a more regular schedule and fewer hours.

The ride home didn’t take long since rush hour had ended more than an hour before. Thanks to Stan’s wife Isabel, Sookie had been hooked up with a job at the law offices of Lancaster, LeClerq and Santos. It just so happened that the receptionist, a newly married woman named Halleigh, discovered she was pregnant and decided she wanted to stay home to raise the baby. Sookie didn’t know a whole lot about legal proceedings but she was a fast learner, had a cheerful disposition and knew how to keep her trap shut. It helped having Eric and Stan vouch for her in the wake of all that had happened with the Madden investigation.

The hours she was working meant every night he was able to spend with her, he got to wake up next to her and more often than not, they went to bed together too. Sookie was even talking about going back to finish the degree she’d put on hold when she had followed an ex-boyfriend up to Seattle for a brief time when she was in her earlier twenties. The whole fiasco ended badly when she discovered he was fucking his boss behind her back and it had thrown her off track with her education. She moved back to Bon Temps, her hometown, with her tail between her legs and nowhere to go but her Gran’s house.

She’d stayed there for a while until she was back on her feet. She worked a lot of double shifts at a local watering hole to pay off her debts and save up enough money to be able to move into her own place. Unfortunately, the bar she was working at didn’t fall in favor with some less than savory characters and the place was torched. Losing her job at that bar was the reason she’d ended up working at Vic’s Roadhouse in the first place.

Fate had certainly worked hard to get the two of them in the same place at the same time and as far as either of them was concerned, it would be bad karma to walk away from something that had clearly been orchestrated by a higher power. When Sookie had told Eric she forgave him, she meant it. She didn’t bring it up in arguments or hold it over his head to constantly punish him. It was in the past and as far as she was concerned, a fresh start meant leaving all that behind them. For that, Eric was grateful.

Eric pulled into the driveway and parked his car beside Sookie’s. She would be leaving before him in the morning as she almost always did. He walked to the front door and grimaced when he realized she’d left the door unlocked. While she hadn’t been accosted by any members of Victor’s gang, he was still constantly reminding her to take proper precautions. Maybe in Bon Temps it was still safe enough to leave doors unlocked but Shreveport was another story.

“Honey, I’m home,” Eric said when he walked in the door, expecting to hear noise coming from the kitchen as she cooked dinner. “Sookie? Sookie, where are you?”

He didn’t intend to panic but it happened anyway. It would be just his luck that he finally found something worth fighting for or holding onto, only for it to be taken from him in a senseless tragedy. A horrible image of his beautiful girl splayed out on the kitchen floor, soaking in a puddle of her own blood flashed into his mind. He quickly shook the image off. Thinking negatively like that wasn’t good and he really needed to stop assuming the worst. He raced from room to room, calling out her name.

After setting his laptop bag down near the door, he pulled his gun from the shoulder holster he wore and flicked the safety off. Eric moved from room to room, continuing to call out Sookie’s name as he advanced. He saved the bedroom for last because he was hoping she’d just gone to bed early, even if seven o’clock was slightly ridiculous. The bedroom door was left ajar and he could see soft light flickering inside. The smell of clean linen wafted out from the room and when he realized it was just lit candles he smelled, he lowered his weapon.

Opening the door with the toe of his shoe, he smiled to see Sookie stretched out on her bed dressed only in a barely there red nightgown. “Don’t shoot,” she said with a smirk and then dangled a pair of handcuffs from her index finger.

“Where did you get those?” Eric asked with amusement while putting the safety back in place on his gun and then tucking it back into its holster.

“I Winona Rydered them out of your apartment last time I slept over,” she admitted without a hint of embarrassment.

“You stole my handcuffs?” Eric asked with disbelief.

“Not stole, just borrowed. I thought they might be fun to play with.” Sookie shrugged, letting the metal swing back and forth on her finger with a devious look in her eyes.

“I think it depends on whose being cuffed,” Eric said as he began to remove his weapon and then his clothing.

“Oh definitely you,” Sookie nodded, her eyes sparkling as her smile grew.

“Me?” Eric wasn’t the slightest bit rattled. In fact, he was intrigued by the notion since it was one he’d never considered before, and if it were anyone other than Sookie, the prospect would be shut down immediately.

“Yes, you,” she got up on her knees and her other hand appeared. “But if it makes you feel any better, I’ll be wearing the blindfold.”

Eric gulped, a thousand images flooding his mind at once and all of them, it seemed were relayed to his cock which was suddenly all kinds of anxious to get the hell out of his pants and into the sultry blonde woman kneeling before him. Breathing was a good thing, yet he didn’t seem to be capable of it.

“So, what do you think, Eric? Do we have a deal?” Sookie teased the already very low neckline of her nightgown.

He could tell her later about his impending transfer. He never actually said yes, but he figured pouncing on her was good enough. She laughed quietly at his enthusiasm but those giggles of hers quickly turned into moans and it wasn’t long before there was the clinking of the cuffs closing around his wrists so he was stuck to her headboard.

“You’re absolutely sure you want to do this?” Sookie ran her nails up and down his chest, watching his eyes to make sure he was being completely honest with her.

“I trust you,” Eric smiled up at her, his hips starting to rise off the bed.

“Oh no you don’t,” Sookie climbed off of him. “This is my show. Just lay back and relax.”

“Have I told you lately what an awesome girlfriend you are?’ Eric asked as she slipped the blindfold over her head. It was one of those sleep mask deals but it would work just fine.

“I think you just did but I’m going to give you the chance to show me very soon,” she promised, which got her a growl of approval from him. With her eyes covered, she leaned down and trailed her lips up his neck to his lips. She brushed hers against his softly and then whispered, “You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”

“I love you,” Eric whispered in return and then stretched forward to kiss her. She lingered for only a moment before pulling back.

“Lets see if you still feel that way when I’m through with you,” her voice was low and full of promise.

Eric groaned quietly and then settled in for what he was sure to be the best worst night of his life. He knew, without question, she was the best thing that happened to him, too, and as soon as he had his hands back, he was going to show her… all night long.

– FIN –

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