Sookie was curled on her side, crying quietly when she heard the creak of her bedroom door opening behind her. The stubborn part of her wanted to yell at Eric to go away but she couldn’t find the voice to do that. He’d let her be for the last two hours or so and in that time she’d made a little sense of some things. She was still angry at him for not telling her about what Bill had done but at least she could admit it was more about being scared than angry.
Without asking for her permission, Eric got into bed beside her. He turned on his side and lightly ran his fingers down her bare arm, watching the goose bumps that broke out on her skin. She didn’t say anything; she didn’t even move. Her eyes closed and she took a series of deep breaths, hoping to calm herself down a little.
“I worry about you because I love you,” Sookie finally broke the silence. “I don’t want anything bad to happen to you. Seeing you silvered is bad enough. I couldn’t… it would hurt me if you died.”
“Just as it would hurt me if you died,” Eric told her and she turned to face him.
The sight of tears streaking her face stabbed at his heart. He really hated it when she cried and he hated it even more when he was the reason for her tears. He reached to wipe them away but she stopped his hand.
“I can’t change overnight, Sookie. You want us to be in this together, yes?” he asked and she nodded her agreement. “I’m not used to considering someone else’s feelings when making choices. This is new for me.”
“I don’t expect you to change overnight, Eric. I know that’s not the way it works, especially with someone as old as you. All I ask is that you think of me when you make a decision,” she requested and didn’t think that was irrational.
“Then I ask that you do the same,” he looked into her eyes.
For being more than 900 years his junior, she had as much stubborn in her as he did. Just as he’d said before, he knew they would always fight. Not only was it human nature, it was something that seemed to be innate to each of them. They were both fighters, stubborn to their core.
He drew her closer and kissed her softly. When she didn’t pull away, he licked her bottom lip, hoping she would open for him. Her lips parted slowly and he wasted no time deepening the kiss. Their bond flooded with apology, passion and need. Eric rolled on top of her and Sookie’s little hands moved to pull off his shirt. Their kiss broke long enough for her to pull the material up over his head and then his lips crashed down on hers again.
Sookie managed to get his pants open and pushed them down with her hands as far as she could before letting her feet do the rest. Eric kicked them off when Sookie couldn’t reach anymore and moved onto his back when she pushed him. She was determined to finish what she’d tried to start earlier, and worked her way down his long torso until she was kneeling between his legs. Her eyes met his and he reached down to hold her hair back for her as she licked up his length. He sucked in an unnecessary breath and watched with laser intense eyes as her tongue swirled around him.
She concentrated on just teasing his head, at first, her hand lazily stroking the rest. Sookie kept her eyes on Eric’s, emotions bounding back and forth through the connection they shared. She could feel his impatience and imagined what he might do if he were a different sort of vampire. Just when he was about to lose control, she took him as far down her throat as she dared and he cursed in another language as a result.
Eric’s grip on her hair tightened and he guided her head up and down, her hand continuing to stroke what wouldn’t fit in her mouth. She knew his rebound time was next to nothing and ignored his warnings to slow down when he was close to releasing. Instead she sucked a little harder, hollowing her cheeks and swallowing a little to take him deeper down her throat than before. With one more curse his body went rigid and he released in her mouth.
“My turn,” Eric growled when Sookie moved up his body again.
Instead of flipping her onto his back like she expected he would, he kept bringing her up until she had a knee at either side of his head. His hands held her breasts, teasing her nipples with his thumbs while his tongue darted out and licked at her glistening center. Sookie grabbed onto her headboard, knowing she was in for quite a ride. The more intense his ministrations, the tighter his hands held her.
His tongue fluttered against her clit at vampire speed and she cried out at the unexpected sensation of it. Her head fell back; her hair tickling Eric’s chest. He thought of what it would be like to have her tied to his bed at home, unable to squirm away from him. How long could he go down on her before she begged him to stop or passed out from pleasure? It was an experiment he definitely wanted to try if she was willing.
Sookie’s grip on the headboard was so hard her knuckles were white and by the time she came, her knees were starting to go a little weak. Sookie slumped forward, catching herself on the wall so she didn’t slam into it face first. Eric moved out from under her and quickly got on his knees behind her. Sookie was still trying to get herself together when she felt him at her entrance, hard again and ready to push inside her.
He moved her hair away from her ear and she tilted her head to expose her neck to him. He kissed her pulse point and then the back of her neck, moving all the way down her spine and only stopping when he got to her lower back. Sookie was covered in goose bumps and she smiled lazily over her shoulder at him. If this was how they were going to make up after every fight, fighting might not be so bad after all.
“Maybe we should fight more often,” Sookie mused and Eric smiled against her skin.
“Lover, if all you want is for me to fuck you senseless, just so say so,” Eric nipped at one of her lower cheeks and she squeaked in surprise.
“So,” she smirked at him and he pulled her away from the wall but kept her on her knees.
Sookie braced herself on her hands, her fingers curling around the sheets. Eric entered her slowly from behind, his thrusts shallow and gentle at first to give her time to adjust. When she was ready he pulled almost all the way out before driving into her again. He did it over and over, his thrusts sending a clear message that she was his and his alone. She could feel the possessiveness in his blood; his need to claim her.
His hands gripped her hips, holding her steady as he thrust into her over and over; his mind screaming that she was his with every pump of his hips. It was hard to recall what he’d done for 1,000 years before she’d come into his life. How dull those days had been. She was a frustrating woman but worth every moment of it.
“Faster, Eric,” Sookie pleaded, her inner muscles fluttering around him. “I’m so close.”
Eric sat back on his feet, pulling Sookie back with him. She moved back to meet his thrusts and brought his hands up to her breasts, her head falling to the side again. Eric growled while he considered biting her. He brought his wrist up to his mouth and bit it before putting it in front of her face. Without hesitating, Sookie latched onto the wound and sucked, pulling his orgasm from him as well. Eric growled loudly, a deep, guttural growl, and sank his fangs into her neck. She screamed without breaking the seal on his wrist.
Eric stopped when he felt Sookie’s pulse began to weaken. Worried he’d taken too much already, he willed his own wounds to stay open a little longer to replenish she strength a little. When he knew she had taken enough he willed them closed and then healed the wounds on Sookie’s throat. He pulled out of her and they fell in a heap onto her mattress.
Sookie considered apologizing for being so stubborn but decided against it. Truthfully, she wasn’t sorry for the things she’d said to him. She was, however, sorry for the way she said it and told him as much. She could admit when she was wrong, as hard as it was for her to do. Eric assured her there was nothing to be sorry for and after snuggling for a little while; he was ready to take her again.
Shortly before dawn Eric got out of bed and found one of Sookie’s little nightgowns in one of her drawers. He left it on his pillow for her so she could put something on before going downstairs in the morning. He would have liked to take her down to his cubby with him but the opening was too narrow for that. Eric pressed a kiss to her warm lips and then made his way downstairs for the day.
oOo ~ oOo ~ oOo
Sookie woke just after noon, alone in her bed with a nightgown resting on the other pillow. Eric must have put it there for her, she thought with a smile, and reached for it to put it on. After a quick trip to the bathroom she headed downstairs to get something to eat. Eric’s car was still parked out front, suggesting he was dead for the day down in his cubby. She assumed her house was safe for her to move around in since she’d heard him moving around the night before, checking various rooms for more traps.
Sookie made a pot of coffee and listened to the messages that were piled up on her answering machine. Most of them were solicitor calls but there were a few of interest. One was from Jason; although why he didn’t just call her cell phone she had no idea. The other was from Tara, wondering when she could come by to get her things that had been packed away in the attic.
After deleting the messages, Sookie went upstairs to retrieve her cell phone from her purse so she could call Tara back. Of course there was no answer on Tara’s end so she left a message. “Hey, Tara, it’s Sookie. I’m running by Merlotte’s to see if Sam’s back from wherever he disappeared to. If you get here before sunset and I’m not back yet, you know where I keep the spare key. Also, Eric is in the house so if he rises while you’re here, don’t freak out and try to stake him, okay? He won’t hurt you; I promise. Call me back when you get this and let me know what you’re up to.”
Sookie took a quick shower after that and then got dressed. She put on a pair of gray lounge pants, a lavender key hole sleeveless t-shirt and a matching lavender hoodie. She found a pair of warm, slipper-like shoes to wear and twisted her hair into a loose bun that she pinned at the nape of her neck before heading out. Since Eric had left his keys on the table in the entryway, she took the Mercedes instead of her own car.
She doubted she was going to need to get somewhere in a hurry, but just on the chance she did, Eric’s car was a better bet than her own. It only took a few minutes to get to Merlotte’s and her heart sank when she didn’t see Sam’s truck parked anywhere near the bar or his trailer. Where the hell was he? It wasn’t like Sam to just disappear without a word to anyone. Then again, Sookie wasn’t quite herself as of late either.
All the same, she parked the car a little out of the way to make sure no idiot rednecks smashed or scratched it. Knowing Eric he would just shrug it off and have the entire car repainted to cover the scratch but she would feel badly about it. Sookie made sure to set the alarm before going inside the bar. Lafayette was behind the bar, which wasn’t too surprising. He had a tendency to have a drink or two before starting his shift back in the kitchen.
Arlene and Holly were trading gossip near the hatch and Terry was back in the kitchen, doing whatever he was doing. Tara was nowhere to be seen, nor was Sam, but she wasn’t surprised that either of them were missing. So much had changed in the last couple of weeks. She had yet to determine if it was all for the best or not.
“There you is,” Lafayette came out from behind the bar, dressed in his usual eclectic style. It took a special kind of person to be able to pull off green cargo pants and an orange mesh tank top but it looked good on Lafayette.
“Lafayette!” Sookie ran over and hugged him. “How’s your leg?”
“Good as new,” Lafayette did some crazy dance move to prove it.
“That’s great! I was so worried but it’s been a little crazy the last couple of days so I wasn’t able to call and check up like I wanted to,” Sookie explained.
“Don’t worry about it, chile. Eric woulda healed me entirely but there’s something to be said for seein’ a doctor once in a while. Besides, I got me a nurse at home and boyfriend has excellent bedside manners,” Lafayette said with a twinkle in his eyes.
“Jesus seems like a really nice guy. I’m sorry I haven’t been around much to get to know him. Tara speaks highly of him, though,” Sookie stuffed her hands in her pockets.
“She been lookin’ for you, talkin’ ’bout going back to Nawlins and getting’ with that girl she was livin’ with before you resurfaced,” Lafayette eyed Sookie suspiciously. His eyes went wide and he grabbed her hand. “Come with me.”
Lafayette began to pull her through the bar, back to Sam’s office. “What the heck?” she asked as he dragged her along.
Once they were in the office, Lafayette closed the door. “Yo Gran is talkin’ at me a mile a minute,” Lafayette explained.
“You can hear her?” Sookie’s eyes widened.
“I’m a medium, if you can believe that shit,” Lafayette sat down in Sam’s chair. “Sorry, Ms. Stackhouse, I won’t cuss no mo’.”
Sookie smiled at the thought of Gran giving Lafayette what for just like she’d always done with Jason whenever he let a cuss word slip when he talked. She dropped her shields and listened to see if she could hear Gran in Lafayette’s mind the same way she had in Marnie’s. Gran’s warning had been half right, so far, and she could only hope that the part about things not lasting wasn’t true. Or if it was, it didn’t have anything to do with Eric.
“Can you hear her, or do I need to talk?” Lafayette asked.
Sookie? Sookie can you hear me?
“I can hear her,” Sookie smiled even as tears sprang to her eyes. “I can hear you, Gran.”
The danger has not passed. The woman who wants to hurt you is out there.
As much as it pained Sookie to ask, she had no choice. “Which one, Gran?”
Child, you’re up to your eyeballs in enemies. Let the vampire protect you.
Sookie rolled her eyes at how vague Gran was being. “Which vampire, Gran?”
That woman from the magic shop isn’t gone.
“But she’s dead, Gran. I was standing right there when…” Sookie gasped and her eyes met Lafayette’s when they realized at the same time what Gran meant.
“Awww hell nah! No, that psycho bitch ain’t gettin’ all up in here,” Lafayette put one hand on his head and the other on his chest before apologizing to Gran to cursing again. “There’s gotta be a way to keep her outta me.”
Look in the attic, Sookie. You will find answers there. I should have told you. I didn’t know. Earl knew things just like you.
The connection became garbled then, almost as if Gran was traveling through a tunnel while talking on a cell phone and before Sookie could make out the rest of what Gran was trying to say, she disappeared from Lafayette’s mind. The two of them sat there completely stunned for a minute before Lafayette cursed again.
“Fuck me runnin’, I need to talk to Jesus about this bullshit. There has got to be a way to keep crazy bitches from using me as a Holiday Inn,” he grumbled and reached into his pocket for his phone.
“Laff, wait a minute. Do you have any idea where Sam disappeared to?” Sookie reached out to stop him from making his call.
“I ain’t seen him in a while, Sook. I been lookin’ for him same as Arlene and Terry,” Lafayette dialed his phone and Sookie excused herself so Lafayette could talk to Jesus in private.
After a quick, but useless, conversation with Arlene and Holly, Sookie headed back to Eric’s car. By her estimation there was maybe a half hour to go before sunset. As much as she would have liked to be at Eric’s side when he woke, she had business with Bill. She drove back toward her house but pulled into his driveway instead of her own. A guard stopped her at the gate.
“Name?” he asked her.
“Is the king expecting you?”
“No, but this is important. I have new information in regards to the necromancer,” she said, hoping that dropping that little nugget would ensure her safe passage onto the grounds.
The guard relayed what she said to someone inside the house and she was waved through a moment later. She parked the car in front where she always did and was greeted at the door by a woman dressed in black from head to toe. She was ushered to Bill’s study and asked to wait, as if she had any other choice. Sookie perused the study, taking in the many changes. Once upon a time that room had been the dining room. While the changes Bill had made were beautiful, the house didn’t feel like it was his anymore.
Or maybe it was that she wasn’t his anymore.
Whatever it was, she felt like she didn’t belong there. Sookie took a seat in one of the chairs opposite Bill’s desk and waited for him to appear. She felt Eric come to life just a few minutes before sunset. He would be able to figure out where she was in a matter of moments and she braced herself for the phone call she was sure was coming. No doubt Eric was going to be pissed at her for going to Bill without him but she had a few things to say without Eric getting in the way.
Just as she suspected, her phone rang in her purse but she made no move to answer it. All Eric would do is argue with her and since he was stuck in her house for at least another couple of minutes, there was no point in even getting into it. She was sure he would be at Bill’s house thirty seconds after sundown to make sure Bill didn’t lay a hand on her, although Sookie didn’t think that was necessary. Believe it or not, Bill wasn’t the enemy at the moment. There were bigger fish to fry than a jealous ex-lover.
Her phone continued to ring but she didn’t answer it. Instead she shot Eric a quick text to let him know she was alright and would be home shortly. She doubted it would pacify him but it was better than nothing. His frustration with her continued to rise but that was nothing new. She pushed right back at him and a small argument was taking form in their bond.
By the time Bill arrived in his office, Sookie was all kinds of fired up. “Sookie, what a pleasant surprise,” Bill said as he came around to take a seat in his chair.
“How’s your leg?” she asked, noting that he was walking with the assistance of a cane.
“It isn’t healing like it should. I have a member of my staff looking into it,” Bill assured her.
“Have you been to Dr. Ludwig? She’d probably know how to fix it,” Sookie suggested and Bill smiled.
“Dr. Ludwig is at a loss, sadly. She suggested that a spell may have been placed on me at some point but she can’t say for sure,” Bill offered.
That made sense. Sookie recalled hearing Antonia chanting at several points. She wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if one of them prevented Bill from healing. Sookie began to debate with herself whether or not it was wise to try and heal him herself the same as she’d done with Pam. But then she’d decided against it. Bill could have ended all this nonsense with the necromancer much sooner but he’d been too busy trying to be politically correct to handle it the right way. She found it incredibly smarmy that everything was about public relations and appearances with him, not to mention how hypocritical it all was.
“So what brings you here? My chief of security tells me you have information on Marnie?”
“Not quite; I just needed a reason to be here,” Sookie told him. She would tell Eric about what had happened with Lafayette but Sookie trusted Bill about as far as she could throw him. Knowing Bill, he’d have Lafayette killed just to make sure that Marnie didn’t make his body her host while she finished what she’d started—assuming that was even possible without Antonia’s help or power. Either way, it wasn’t worth the risk.
“Then what can I do for you?” Bill asked.
“Why did you appeal to Nan Flannigan for a death warrant for Eric while he was cursed?” she demanded angrily, just as a commotion could be heard on the front lawn.
Seconds later there was the sound of gunfire and both Sookie and Bill were on their feet, looking out the front window in time to see Eric fighting Bill’s guards. “Excuse me a moment, Sookie,” Bill stepped away from the windows and started toward the office door to let himself out.
Sookie didn’t waste time with that and instead opened one of the windows in the office. She stuck her head outside and yelled, “Eric, stop it! I’m fine!”
Eric growled and released the guard he was holding onto. It was too late, however, and a fresh wave of guards appeared and silvered him. Eric dropped to his knees, was cuffed and brought up to the house. Sookie marched out of the office and glared at him. What the hell was he thinking showing up like that?
“Take him downstairs and let him cool off,” Bill nodded toward the door that would lead to the cells downstairs.
“Bill, is that really necessary?” Sookie asked.
“Just until we finish talking. Then he’ll be free to go,” Bill promised.
“You touch her and I’ll kill you,” Eric swore.
“Eric!” Sookie glared at him. She could feel the possessive need in him rising again. Ugh, vampires and their bullshit.
“I mean it. If just one hair on her head is out of place, I will rip out your heart and use it as a juice box!” Eric threatened and Sookie had no reason to think he was kidding.
Bill said nothing while Eric made his threats, just simply nodded for his guards to carry on. Sookie stood there somewhat helplessly, watching as a silvered Eric was brought downstairs to a cell. Bill stood beside her, leaning on his cane, watching the very same thing. There was no emotion on the vampire’s face and she definitely couldn’t feel his blood but she was sure if she could, she would feel pleasure for Eric’s pain. Bill, of course, would blame that on being a vampire, as according to him it was their nature to get off on the pain of others. Maybe that was true but Sookie suspected it would have more to do with the specific vampire that was in pain.
“Why did you want him dead?” Sookie asked, although she suspected she knew the answer to that as well. Bill had tried to kill Eric once already and had failed.
“You know why,” Bill stared at her and then returned to his office.
“Don’t you dare say you did it to protect me,” Sookie shook her head, following after Bill. She was totally unwilling to believe the line of bullshit he was trying to feed her. “You saw him, Bill. He wasn’t hurting me when you so rudely barged into my house.”
Bill hissed at that memory. He was very well aware that Sookie hadn’t been in pain. In fact, it was her sudden rush of longing and desire that had propelled him to move faster. The last thing he had expected to see when he charged into the house was the love of his undead life nearly naked under the one vampire who pissed him off more than any other. Sookie moving on to Eric wasn’t really a surprise but it felt like a betrayal all the same. He’d hoped she’d moved onto that werewolf she’d been with in Jackson. A werewolf would be much easier competition to take out. Eric being cursed by Marnie like he was turned out to be a blessing and the opening he’d needed to sanction Eric’s death.
“And he threw you around the room like a rag doll because he’s 900 years older than you and he was protecting me. He didn’t know you but the second I told him you are his king, what did he do? He surrendered himself, didn’t he? He apologized to you and you silvered him right in front of me for it and then had the audacity to say that you don’t care who I sleep with? That’s bullshit and we both know it. Eric isn’t a danger to me, Bill, and he’s no more dangerous to any other human than you are,” it felt good to unload all that on him. She’d been holding back for way too long.
She didn’t mention that she could have lost Eric because of the blood Bill fed her. There was no point in bringing that up. What was done was done and if Bill ever tried to get his blood in her again, she as pretty sure Eric would follow up on his threat to rip Bill’s heart out. As far as Eric was concerned, Sookie was off limits to Bill, king or not.
“Do you want to hear that I’m jealous of him? I am. He doesn’t deserve you. He doesn’t see how truly special-” Bill gave her one of his sad, pleading looks and she held up her hand.
“Stop! He’s 1,000 years old, Bill. His eyes work just fine. He sees me in ways you never did, that much I know. You can think he’s a master manipulator and that he’s got me fooled, but I can feel how much he loves me. I can see it every time he looks into my eyes. I can’t say I ever felt those things from you,” Sookie shook her head.
“Is this why you came here, Sookie? Did you come here to rub your relationship with Eric in my face?” Bill hobbled around her and headed to his office.
“I came here to ask you to have the warrant voided. Eric is himself again. The only reason for you to kill him now is because you’re being petty, spiteful and vindictive. If you truly want to hurt me, that’s the way to do it, but you once promised you would protect me. You swore on your own life to keep me safe. If that vow means anything to you then surely you know protecting me means protecting my heart,” Sookie pointed out.
Hey, vampires weren’t the only ones who could be manipulative assholes.
It was obvious Bill didn’t like the request that was being made, even though Sookie was right. Eric hadn’t really given Bill a reason to believe he was a danger to anyone until Marnie had put a second spell on him, turning him into a zombie. Eliminating the competition was an easy way to ensure victory in the end and if he wanted Sookie back, getting rid of Eric was a great start. It didn’t ever occur to him that winning, or more accurately being the best, was about going head to head with the best there was and beating them.
Besides, killing Eric would only solve half the problem. Death didn’t end love. Bill had thought Sookie as dead and yet he’d continued to love her. He’d wanted to purchase Sookie’s home so he would have a place to go when he missed her but he’d acted too late. The house was purchased right out from under him and when he learned that it was Eric who’d bought the house, he’d been furious. And of course Eric showed up the night Sookie returned, looking to point out how everyone else had given up on her, making Sookie feel like he was the only one who cared about her when that simply wasn’t true.
“Why him, Sookie?” Bill asked.
“Because I love him,” she shrugged, trying to come up with another answer. “I can’t explain it and even if I could, the reasons don’t matter. What matters is that I love him. I trust him. And quite frankly, I think if I wasn’t in the picture, you would consider him one of your greatest allies. This pissing contest between you needs to end, Bill. I made my choice and right now he’s silvered in one of your cells.”
Fuck. It dawned on Bill then that killing Eric, as good as that might feel, was the way to ensure Sookie never turned to him again. Bill groaned internally and turned his chair away from Sookie. The room was tense and remained silent for a minute or so before Bill finally relented.
“I’ll speak with Nan and reverse the warrant,” Bill told her.
“Thank you, Bill,” Sookie said with relief.
“If you’ll wait in the entryway, I’ll have Eric brought upstairs.”
Sookie said nothing else, just backed out of the office and closed the doors.