I didn’t know what to say to that. Eric wasn’t being terribly clear but the way he was looking at me- and the way he would avoid my eyes after his confession- told me who he was referring to. He wanted more. I wanted more. What the hell was I doing still sitting across the table from him? I wiped my mouth with the lovely cream colored linen napkin spread across my lap and left it on the table. No way I could I turn his chair like he’d done for me but I had a feeling if I got up and walked away from the table, he’d be following me right quick.
I was right.
I walked to the edge of the pool and looked at my reflection in the water. Eric came to stand next to me. “Why didn’t you tell me this before? Things could have been very different between us if you had.”
“You made it clear you weren’t interested.” Eric shrugged.
My head snapped up toward his. “Eric, I’m not interested in being one of them.” I said, knowing he would understand what I meant.
“You never would be.”
“How was I supposed to know that?” I turned my body toward his. “In all the time I’ve known you I’ve only ever seen you use girls for one reason or another. Hell, I’ve bought them gifts on your behalf. It’s been my job to keep them placating and distracted from wondering when they would get something more intimate from you than a watch.”
I chose not to think about the number of women he’d had sex with. It was none of my business and I had no right to judge him for the choices he’d made. Who he slept with was up to him. He angled his body toward mine and again held my face in his hands.
“You know my biggest fear, Sookie.” His eyes were pained. Failure. Failure was his biggest fear but what did that have to do with me?
“I don’t follow.”
“If things didn’t work out with us, I’m pretty sure it would end me. I’ve tried to keep it to flirting with you because it was safe. You used to just roll your eyes at me and shrug it off. It hurt like hell that you did, but lately it’s been different. Lately you give as good as you get. I see the way you look at me when you think I’m not paying attention Sookie and I know that expression because it’s the same way I look at you. It’s the same way I’ve looked at you since the second you walked into my office. But I would rather have you in my life as my employee and my friend than not at all. I just figure it’s time you should know the truth. That we could have something different, something better, if that was what you wanted.”
“Say I did. And say things don’t work out and all this really is between us is a build up of sexual tension that needs to be released. Then what happens? Where do we go from there, Eric? I’m not built for friends with benefits. I don’t work that way and I know that if we let this go too far and it doesn’t work, I’m going to have to quit. I don’t want it to come to that.”
“It doesn’t have to, Sookie. We’re adults. We can work it out.”
“I think you underestimate how petty I can be when I’m wounded.” I snickered and he stroked my cheek with his thumb.
“Sookie, if this doesn’t work out it will be because of me. I can feel it.”
I stiffened a bit, my mind circling back to my fear that I would be just another in a string of girls he used to pass the time, but I told myself I was being ridiculous. He’d just said he didn’t see me as one of them. What else did I want? How could he possibly prove to me he was telling the truth if I didn’t give him the chance to do it? Was it worth the risk? I didn’t really get the chance to think about it before his mouth was on mine again.
Every doubt that was swirling in my brain flew out of my head. All that mattered was him kissing me and I was once again overwhelmed by the notion of how right it felt. I moved to step closer to him and instead, I lost my footing and fell in the pool. I took Eric with me, both of us hitting the water hard and coming up sputtering for air. I stood up in four feet of warm water and just froze. For a second I thought I might cry but then my eyes caught the outline of Eric’s body under his t-shirt. I bit my bottom lip to keep from making a sound. Eric’s eyes were traveling me and I looked down to find my white dress clinging to me and my nipples straining against the wet material.
I sunk down into the water in attempts to hide what he had already seen, as if sinking would help him to unsee it. He moved toward me, sending me backing toward the wall of the pool in attempts to get away from him. The predatory look in his eyes told me what to expect when he caught me. Just before he could reach out and grab my I pushed off away from the wall and swam as hard and as fast as I could toward the deep end. Eric gave chase and soon we were wrestling one another in the water.
I ended up floating on my back with Eric swimming circles around me like a hungry shark, just waiting for the right moment to pounce on me. I watched him as closely as I could without changing my position. Then he suddenly disappeared under the water. I prepared myself to be grabbed around the waist and yanked underwater with him. I let my fingers trail along the surface, my arms outstretched. When they grazed material, I turned my head to the left to see Eric pushing his body out of the pool without his shirt. I righted myself and grabbed a hold of his shirt, wondering why he’d left it behind.
My eyes followed him around the pool to a sliding glass door that lead into a bedroom. I wasn’t the least bit surprised when he dropped his jeans on the deck and walked into the bedroom stark naked. It wasn’t the first time I’d see him naked and I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be the last time. He sauntered into the bedroom and emerged a minute later with a towel wrapped around his waist and another in his hand.
“You planning on staying in there all night?” Eric asked me once he was at the edge of the pool.
“I’m thinking about it.” I confessed and lobbed his wet shirt at him.
It landed with a wet thwack at his feet and he grinned at me. “It’s not safe to swim alone after dark.”
“Oh no?” I arched an eyebrow at him.
He shook his head and then dropped the towel that was around his waist. I spun around quickly so I was looking the other way. I’d just gotten an eyeful of the one part of him that he’d kept concealed from me in the past. My breath caught in my throat and I knew I was blushing. My God. I didn’t know if I should feel lucky or scared by what I’d just seen. I didn’t have much time to consider it since there was splashing a second later and the water shifted to accommodate the large man that had just dove into it. Eric surfaced behind me and his hands settled on my hips, pulling me closer to him. I hadn’t realized until just that moment how thin the material of my dress was. I could feel everything through it.
I cleared my throat and doggy paddled toward the wall with Eric right behind me. Reluctantly I turned to face him and his hands braced on the wall of the pool on either side of my head. I watched the muscles in his arms flex as he pulled himself closer to me. Purely on instinct, my legs rose up to circle his waist and draw him even closer. His eyes were on my lips, watching as I licked them. And then without another word we were kissing again. It didn’t take long before I was completely wrapped around him.
My hips ground against his, taking stock of the hardness they found. Eric pulled us away from the wall and kicked his strong legs until we were closer to the shallow end where he could stand on his own two feet. I never let go of him. While my fingers tangled in his hair, his hands ran down my back and grabbed my ass. He began gathering up my skirt and working my dress up over my head. Our lips separated long enough for him to divest me of the sopping wet garment. It landed with the same wet thwack his t-shirt had a few minutes before.
Eric hoisted me up a bit higher and buried his face in my cleavage. My hips jerked against him and I was rewarded with him using his teeth to pull down the cups of my strapless bra. His very talented mouth went to work on my breasts, causing more jerks and grinds from my hips. Again, I say I’m not the most experienced girl when it comes to sexual things but it didn’t seem rational that I should be so close to an orgasm without him even touching the parts I really wanted him to. I’d certainly never experienced anything like that with my other boyfriends. Whoa, boyfriend? Hold up there, Sook, I told myself.
For a minute I tried to convince myself that this was just a fluke thing. I was buzzed on wine. It was my birthday. I’d been dreaming about sex with Eric for five years. My mind was surely just playing tricks on me. But deep down I knew that wasn’t it. I was suddenly hit hard with the feeling that I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right person. Any tension I had been feeling slipped away and I just let myself enjoy the moment. It would be over far too soon as it was.
“Eric, get me out of the water.” I breathed as close to his ear as I could.
He smirked at me and said, “Where to?”
Normally a look like that would make me want to smack him, or at least roll my eyes. “A bed would be good.” I told him when our eyes met.
He attacked me with more kisses as he walked over to the side of the pool. His hands were underwater again and peeled my panties down as far as he could get them with my legs still hooked around his waist. I let go so he could set me up on the wall where he took them the rest of the way off and flung them over near my dress. I leaned back and braced myself on my braced arms. Eric picked up my left leg and kissed from my knee up the inside of my thigh. When he got to my center he blew a cool breath over me, making me shiver. He hooked my leg over his shoulder before picking up the right one and repeating the process.
He looked up at me with a question in his eyes and I nodded. “Lay back, lover. Watch me.”
Hearing him call me something other than Sookie, or Stackhouse, sent chills down my spine. Much like with his kisses, it didn’t feel strange to hear him call me something other than my name. It felt like he should have been calling me that for years. I did as he asked and leaned back so I was braced on my elbows instead. I kept my eyes on his as his thumbs appeared to spread me open before him. I watched his tongue appear from his mouth and the heat of it against me was a bit of a shock. My body jerked again, partially from the heat and partially from wanting him so much. God, why had I ever thought this was a bad idea?
It wasn’t long before my whole body was shaking as a result of his ministrations. His tongue flicked against my clit before sucking it into his mouth and humming, sending vibrations to all the right places. His fingers slipped inside me, moving at a slow pace that mad me writhing, trying to get more of him. God, he was good at this. The unexpected nibbles to my thigh had me wondering if maybe he was known as “The Vampire” for other reasons.
He returned his attentions to my clit and sucked a little harder, his fingers moving faster to keep pace with his tongue. I made a noise that didn’t sound like it had come from me. I swear I saw sunbursts when my orgasm hit. That’d never happened to me before. My walls clamped down around his fingers, which had curled a little to stroke that special spot inside of me that I didn’t even know existed. My elbows gave out and I fell flat on my back, panting and moaning as I came down from my high. Eric withdrew his fingers from me, making me whimper. He placed a delicate kiss on my clit before removing my legs from his shoulders.
I shivered in the night air (or maybe from that last kiss) and barely registered it when Eric moved through the water to the stairs. The next thing I knew, he was standing over me with a folded towel in his hands, still hard as a rock. I gulped and tried to will my body upright. I was jelly. Eric offered me a smug smile and knelt down next to me. He picked some of my hair off my forehead in a gentle motion, and with sweetness in his eyes.
“Can you stand?” His fingers lingered on my cheek so I turned my head to kiss his palm.
“Not just yet.” I admitted with a hint of embarrassment, causing a blush to creep up from my chest.
“No matter.” Eric pulled me up into a sitting position. “Arms up.” He instructed and then wrapped the towel around me.
Our eyes met and I touched his face like I was seeing him for the first time. Maybe I was. My fingers grasped his chin and I leaned over to kiss him. It was a sweet, lingering kiss that was still going when Eric scooped me up off the deck. He left our wet clothes right where they were and carried me into the house. I expected him to drop me on the bed but he kept walking.
He didn’t put me down until we reached his bedroom. The walls were white like they were in the rest of the house. The bed was enormous and covered with a dark gray and cobalt blue comforter. The furniture was sturdier in Eric’s room than in the rest of the house; heavier, maybe, and definitely more masculine. It felt more like him and less like a showroom. I hadn’t realized until just then that he hadn’t shown me this room while giving me the tour.
I moved to take the pins out of my hair, but Eric stilled my hands. “Let me?” His voice was soft.
I looked up to him and nodded my assent. Where had this Eric been for the last five years? He gently untangled the pins from my hair and deposited them on his dresser. While his back was turned I unwrapped the towel that was around me and let it fall to my waist. When he turned back, he stood before me contemplating his next move. Before he could put his plan into action, my hand came up and wrapped around the rather intimidating length that was between us.
Eric sucked in a breath and his eyes rolled slightly into his head. My hand moved slowly, taunting him with the same slow pace he had started with out in the pool. I kept my eyes on his and when our eyes locked, I leaned forward and took as much of him as I could in my mouth. He growled when my tongue swirled around him. I sucked, stroked and teased him until he forced me off of him.
He picked me up only to toss me further back onto his bed. He went to his night stand and removed a condom from the drawer. I braced myself mentally for what was about to happen. There was no going back after this. Hell, our relationship had already changed. He wouldn’t just be my boss anymore. Now it was a question of whether he would be a one night stand or a potential boyfriend. I heard the foil tear and watched Eric sheath himself in the latex. My heart started pounding, the reality of it all crashing down on me. When he climbed up on the bed next to me, he parted my legs gently with one of his hands. His fingers drifted to my center to make sure I was ready for him.
“Eric?” I squeaked and his head snapped up from my breast.
“What is it, lover?” He feathered kisses across my collarbone.
“It’s been a while for me.” I admitted, pausing for a moment before adding, “Be gentle?”
He kissed my lips as he settled his body between my legs. I felt the tip of him at my entrance and I froze for a second. “Relax, lover.” He purred into my mouth before kissing me deeply. As he did, he began to push inside me.
There was a moment of discomfort, but it was just my body stretching. It was nothing like my first time, back when I was seventeen and neither Alcide or I knew enough about sex to understand the importance of quality foreplay. Eric knew only too well. He was gentle and slow, giving me all the time I needed to adjust.
“So warm.” He murmured against my neck, kissing where his words fell.
Inch by inch he worked his way in until he was buried inside me. It was a flex of my hips that urged him to move. He groaned before pulling back and then pushing in again. My hips rose to meet his. My hands grabbed onto his ass (and what an ass it was), and pulled him deeper inside of me. If I’d had any idea that I would feel so wonderful with him in me, I wouldn’t have held off for as long as I did. It felt like this was what I was made for. Eric fit me perfectly.
We kissed lazily, his mouth moving down to my jaw and then to the column of my neck. His thrusts got harder and faster and I kept up with him. That familiar warmth that let me know my orgasm was approaching began to spread through me. I felt sweat start to bead on my forehead. He sucked my earlobe into his mouth, and the first tremor of my orgasm ripped through me.
“Ugh… faster, Eric, I’m so close.” I gasped for air, pulling his face to mine to kiss him hard.
I wasn’t expecting it when he rolled us over so I was on top of him. I sat up and his hands grasped my hips, rocking me against him. My hands cupped my breasts, kneading them gently. His thumb found my clit and rubbed circles around it until finally, he sent me over the edge. I screamed his name when I came, my walls pulsing violently around him. He thrust up into me twice more and then released his own orgasm inside me. He thrusted a few more times while my walls were still pulsing, taking everything he offered before I collapsed on his chest in a sweaty heap.
Words escaped me. He stroked my hair, letting his hands trail all the way down to my lower back before starting all over again. When I thought I could speak, I lifted my head to look him in the eyes. We were both grinning like idiots and fighting to catch our breath.
“So that’s what I’ve been missing?” I laughed quietly.
He kissed me hard and rolled us over again. “Lover, you haven’t seen anything yet.”
And he set out to prove to me just how right he was. Three hours and many orgasms later, I was starving and exhausted. Imagine my surprise when Eric went to the kitchen to get us a snack and he came back with a birthday cake. I immediately had visions of us eating said cake from one another’s bodies. I wouldn’t complain about that at all.
He climbed onto the bed next to me and held the cake out between us. His face looked lovely illuminated by the glow of the candles clustered on top of the cake. I smiled at him over the flames.
“Make a wish, lover.” He urged. Will he ever call me anything else ever again?
I thought about my wish for a moment and then blew out the candles. I dragged a finger through the whipped cream frosting (Eric knew me better than to get me a cake with regular icing on it), and smeared it on his lips. Before he could lick it off I dove forward and kissed him. I moaned against his mouth. We got locked in another kiss that could have turned into yet another round of brain liquifying sex, except my stomach rumbled. We pulled apart and Eric handed me a fork.
“Happy birthday, Stackhouse.” He smiled as I took my first bite of cake. It was delicious. It had to be at least six layers of chocolate cake with a layer of ganache between each one. Yum.
“Oh. My. God.” I moaned before diving for another mouthful of the sinful pastry. Several bites later I noticed Eric wasn’t eating. “What’s wrong?”
Eric took my fork and planted it in the cake. He set the platter down on the night stand and that was when I saw the problem. Eric was ready to go again. Fuck the cake. Without a second thought I lunged at Eric and pulled him on top of me. His mouth slanted over mine, licking any stray ganache from my lips.
My legs opened to welcome him and he easily settled between them. After our third round I’d told Eric I was on the pill and had a clean bill of health at my last check up. I knew he got tested regularly because I made all of his appointments. He was clean as well, so without stopping to for a condom, Eric slipped inside me for the first time with nothing between us.
“Fuck.” He muttered as my legs closed around him. “You’re so hot and tight, lover.”
My hips rushed up to meet his and it didn’t take long for either of us to find our release. He fell to my side and pulled me close to him. He kissed my face and shoulder before lingering at my neck.
“What the fuck were we waiting for, Sookie?” His eyes darted up to mine.
I didn’t have an answer, so I said the only thing that I thought would matter to him in the slightest. I took his face in my hands and said, “What matters is that I’m yielding to you now.”
He growled and then kissed me. It felt like he was trying to mark me as his with only his lips and tongue. Turns out he used an entirely different body part to do that.
When I woke up much later in the morning than I usually do, the least of my worries was the sunlight streaming in through the floor to ceiling windows of Eric’s bedroom. For starters, I was naked, and the gardeners were standing outside the window watching me. I scrambled to get under the covers and ended up falling off the bed instead. Eric bolted upright in bed to see what all the fuss was about.
“Sookie, what are you doing?” He leaned over the bed, flashing that world class ass of his at the gardeners.
I pointed toward the window. “They were watching.”
Eric whipped around to see the gardeners attempting to look anywhere other than at us, but it was too late. He cursed under his breath and then launched himself off the bed to let them have it. I called after him to wait up. It wasn’t worth it to go out there. Not to mention, Eric was every bit as naked as I was. I scrambled up off the floor, calling after him but he didn’t listen. I grabbed the first shirt I found in his dresser and yanked it down over my head before following him.
He was yelling in Spanish by the time I got to the front door, my feet smacking hard against the marble floor as I ran. Before I could even get a word out he stepped back into the house and slammed the heavy front door.
“Sookie, I’m sorry.” He apologized, setting his hands on my shoulders, a look of genuine regret on his face.
“Eric, it’s okay.” I sighed and leaned against him.
“No, it’s not.” He held me close to him and I had just pushed up onto my toes to kiss him when a someone cleared their throat behind us.
I jumped and whirled around to see a thin woman with long dark hair staring at us. “I’m sorry to interrupt, Mr. Northman, but I found these things by the pool.” She held up our clothes from the night before.
I groaned internally and buried my face in Eric’s chest. “It’s alright, Liz, just send them out for cleaning.”
“Eric, no, I need that dress back.” I glared up at him. “What else am I going to wear home?”
He looked down the length of my body and said, “My shirt looks pretty good on you.”
I felt stirring in his nether regions and squeaked before burying my face in his chest again. No way were we having sex with another woman in the house. Come to think of it, who was this woman?
“Liz, this is Sookie. Sookie, this is my cleaning lady, Liz.” Eric introduced us.
“Nice to meet you.” My voice was dripping with embarrassment and I refused to look Liz in the eye.
“Likewise, Miss. Mr. Northman, I’ll be heading out to do some shopping. Is there anything special you require?” Liz asked.
“Not if you got my list.”
“Yes, sir, I found it this morning when I arrived.”
“That’ll be all, then.” Eric dismissed her and a few seconds later I heard a door slide shut somewhere else in the house.
“Oh my God.” I groaned while Eric chuckled.
“I think we’re alone now, lover.” Eric scooped me up and carried me back to his bedroom.
He laid me on his bed before going over to his windows and closing the vertical blinds to keep prying eyes from watching what was about to happen. He closed his bedroom door, and then he pounced. I went to pull his shirt off but he stopped me.
“Leave it on.” He growled against my ear. My heart fluttered in my chest but I left the shirt on.
An hour later we were a sweaty mess of limbs and hair, fighting for every breath we took. Eric’s shirt clung to my side, his large hand pulling me closer to him. Our eyes met and we were grinning like idiots again. Obviously chemistry wouldn’t be our problem if we became a couple. We had that in spades. It actually approached a combustible level. The harder part would be adjusting our mindsets. Could we move past the friendship/boss level we’d been idling at for the last five years?
“Wait here.” Eric said suddenly and got out of bed.
I laid there waiting for him to come back from wherever he’d disappeared to in the house. I was surprised to notice a picture from on his night stand behind the remnants of my birthday cake. I hadn’t noticed it the night before. It was a picture of Eric, Pam and me from his last birthday party at Les Deux. Eric was sitting on one of the cushy benches with Pam and I on either of his knees. We were all somewhat intoxicated at that point and were smiling like goons. It was a good night. I had no idea where that picture had come from, but I liked knowing that it meant enough to Eric that he had framed it and kept it. As far as I could tell, that was the only picture in his entire house.
“I meant to give this to you last night, but we got a little sidetracked.” Eric pulled me from my memories and handed me a small box that was wrapped in pretty pink paper with a silver ribbon tied around it.
“Your birthday present.” He looked at me like I was a little slow.
“Right.” Oh yeah, I turned thirty yesterday. I untied the ribbon and set it on the bed next to me and peeled back the paper to reveal a white box hinged box that jewelry came in. I looked from the box to Eric with a nervous smile on my face.
I had definitely not purchased this for him so I had no idea what was inside it. It was a small box, which was a good sign. But then ten carats of diamonds didn’t take up a whole lot of room. Whatever was in the box, I had no doubt it would be beautiful and something I’d love. Eric definitely knew my tastes and his gifts never failed to disappoint me. I kept my eyes on his while I opened the box. I looked down and my heart skipped a beat.
“Eric, you didn’t!” I gasped, staring down at the bracelet from Fred Segal I’d been eyeballing for quite a while. I wanted it but I just couldn’t justify spending more than a thousand dollars on a bracelet, as beautiful as it was. “I love it, but it’s too much.”
Eric rolled his eyes at me. “It’s your birthday, Stackhouse, not a Thursday. I’m allowed to go above and beyond. Besides, you do all sorts of nice things for me all the time. This is just my way of saying thank you. I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but I’m glad you’re here.”
My eyes welled with tears. I knew he wasn’t just talking about work. He plucked the white coral beaded bracelet from the box and put it around my wrist. It was a one size fits all bracelet that hugged my wrist perfectly. There was a diamond crusted heart charm that sparkled up at me and I knew, without fail, that every single time I looked at that bracelet, I would think of Eric. I took a deep breath and smiled up at him.
“Thank you, Eric. It’s beautiful.” I leaned over to kiss him.
“You’re welcome.” He tucked some of my hair behind my hear and stroked the side of my face with his thumb.
I moved closer to him and we settled back against the mountain of pillow behind us. It took me a few minutes to work up the nerve to mention it, but it had to be done. “So, Monday morning, what do I call you?”
“Eric will be fine, assuming you having changed your stance on calling me Master.” He chuckled underneath me and I punched him playfully in the side for it.
“The day I call you Master is the same day I ask for my birthday spanking.” I rolled my eyes at him.
He groaned and I heard it in his chest. “What a day that’ll be.”
I laughed and snuggled against him. “Well, I hope you can dream about it because that’s the closest you’re ever going to get to the real thing. Although, maybe I should call you sir from now on.” I looked up at him to see his reaction.
His eyes were a bit glazed over. “Only if you’re in pinstripes while you do it.”
“Pinstripes?” My eyebrows shot up. Huh. There’s a kink I wouldn’t have known anything about, but it certainly explained the look I got from him every time I wore my pencil skirt and red heels. “I’ll have to remember that.”
“Sookie, you can call me whatever you want.” Eric pulled my body on top of his and I moved so I was straddling him.
I decided to have a little bit of fun with him. I nibbled his chest and up to his neck. When I got to his ear I whispered, “Pookie it is.”
“Oh hell no!” Eric vetoed that real quick and it left me in stitches. I found myself trapped underneath him, his hardening length pressed against me. My body twitched in anticipation and I knew right then that was figuratively screwed just as much as I was about to be literally. His face got serious for a second and he looked me in my eyes. The expression there stifled my giggles and I listened carefully when he said, “Someday I hope you’ll call me husband. For now, boyfriend will do.”
My heart did back flips at the idea. I guess that was the deciding factor. I was surprised to find there was no little voice in the back of my head telling me to run the other way, that I was making a huge mistake. There was only a voice telling me to nod my agreement and kiss him already before he changed his mind and ran away from me. My legs wrapped around his waist and I kissed him hard. It was a kiss that sealed a deal.
The next thing I heard was the sound of fabric ripping. Goodbye, shirt, you served me well. Eric pulled the material from my body and flung it across the room before making his descent to my breasts. It was obvious from the amount of time he spent there that he enjoyed them quite a bit. But then, I was probably one of a very few women in LA who did have, or need, breast implants. I was working with what my Mama gave me and it was a natural bounty.
This wasn’t what I expected when Eric picked me up a little more than twelve hours ago, but like he said, I was certainly glad I was there with him.