Chapter 13: I Am the Highway

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Debbie came to slowly, the pain in her elbow radiating up her arm and into the rest of her body. An annoying sting tingled in her neck, almost like a severe case of sunburn. Her head lifted slowly, being that it felt like it weighed a metric ton. When her eyes opened, the first thing she saw standing in front of her was a female vampire—the one who had attacked her. Was it hours ago? Days ago? How long had she been out of it?

The vampire was bleeding from her nose and ears, suggesting it was daytime. She was impeccably dressed, which wasn’t unusual for vampires. Those arrogant assholes almost always seemed to be covered in designer labels. Sure they were actually working for their money now, but they’d had centuries to glamour and steal from innocent, hard working people in order to get by. And they looked down on shifters of any kind for being two natured? Well fuck that noise.

“Who… who the fuck are you?” Debbie rasped. The silver collar around her neck was making it hard for her to breathe.

“I’m your worst nightmare,” Pam smirked. “Want me to fix that elbow of yours? Looks awfully painful dangling like that.”

It was. Her elbow hurt like a motherfucker.

“No,” Debbie shook her head. “I might be pregnant and I don’t want my baby getting’ hooked on V.”

Pam took a step closer to Debbie and inhaled before smiling. “My master will be delighted to know he’s getting two for the price of one.”

Debbie gasped and then looked at Pam with big, sorry eyes. “Am I pregnant?”

Pam shrugged and said, “Maybe. Maybe I just like playing with your mind.”

“Please, I don’t know why I’m here but-” Debbie started to plead but was cut off by a resounding slap from Pam. “What the fuck?” she screamed.

“You tried to kill my maker,” Pam hissed, getting right up in Debbie’s face. “And if it wasn’t for his… he’s ordered me not to kill you. You owe him your life. If it were up to me, you’d be a pile of fur and bones already.”

“Who is your maker?” Debbie tried to step back from Pam but there wasn’t really anywhere to go.

“You’ll see. If you’re hungry, there’s some Kibble over there,” Pam pointed to an actual dog dish on the floor that Debbie was going to have to do some serious stretching in order to reach.

“Wait!” Debbie shouted when Pam started to walk away, but Pam kept right on going. She’d played with the werebitch enough.

oOo ~ oOo ~ oOo

Sookie lay beside Eric, stretched out on her side, just staring at him. Sunrise had come maybe two hours before. She had yet to go to sleep. Every time she closed her eyes she imagined what Tara’s final moments must have been like and it made sleeping impossible. Eric had been spooned up behind her when he died for the day but he hadn’t been holding her too tightly. He always let up on his grip before sunrise so she wouldn’t be trapped beside him all day.

Sookie reached up and touched his face. Not that she expected him to move, but it still struck her as odd sometimes that he didn’t. Eric never had that corpse-like pallor that Bill did. There was something more lifelike in his skin and it had only become more vibrant since he began taking her blood. It was curious, but nothing alarming.

That awful, nagging feeling like she was forgetting something continued to plague her. There was something she was supposed to be doing but for the life of her, Sookie couldn’t figure out what that thing was. She got out of bed after kissing Eric’s chin and went to the bathroom. The bath she’d taken with Eric the night before had soothed her body but her mind had remained just as active.

She needed to sleep. She hadn’t slept in more than twenty-four hours. After a quick shower Sookie went downstairs to see what was in the fridge. She didn’t have much of an appetite but forced herself to have some toast any fruit anyway. She made herself tea instead of coffee and went to the living room. After flipping through the TV stations for a while, she got up and went looking for a new book to read.

Reading had always been one of those activities that both entertained her and quieted her mind at the same time. Maybe if she got lost in someone else’s story she would forget her own for a spell. Sookie selected an old edition of Madame Bovary but was forced to put it back on the shelf when she realized it was in Flaubert’s native language. She’d taken a couple of French courses in high school but not enough to be fluent in the language.

Instead she found a copy of Wuthering Heights and smiled to herself. Where better to get lost than the English Moors? Sookie settled in with the book and a cup of tea steaming away on the end table beside the sofa. She pulled a throw blanket over her lap and started reading. She got as far as Hindley going off to college before her eyelids began to droop. She tried to fight it but eventually lost the battle.

The book slipped from her hands and fell to the floor with a loud thump. It was there on the couch that Eric found her several hours later when he rose for the night. He made his way to the kitchen and warmed a bottle of True Blood, hoping the opening and closing of the microwave wouldn’t wake her. He’d known she wasn’t asleep when he went to rest for the day. They had lain in bed quietly after her bath but said very little to one another.

His conversation with Bill had been somewhat predictable. Eric had informed the king that there seemed to be a leak in his security team that needed to be dealt with. Bill had promised he would look into it. No doubt it would require Sookie’s skills to ensure he had the right responsible party fired. How interesting was it that Bill would potentially be Sookie’s first paying client, considering they had met after the former queen had wanted to tap Sookie’s skills for her own use.

Of course it never would have occurred to Sophie-Anne to propose a business deal; she would simply scheme and manipulate her way into Sookie’s life. Being direct and frank with someone like Sookie was the best way to go. Eric had learned that if he wanted something from Sookie it was best to come right out with it and ask than it was to play games and maneuver her into a position where she felt trapped. Sookie could be far more generous when she was given a choice.

Eric drank his nasty synthetic blood but did it without complaint. Sookie was exhausted and in no position to tax herself further by feeding him. He wouldn’t take her blood, even if she offered it, which she would if she knew he was hungry. Her self-preservation instincts left something to be desired but he hoped that would change in time. Once she was better educated on just how valuable she was he hoped she would take better care of herself. That meant knowing her limits and denying others even when it would cause them disappointment.

As he had told her before, she was no good to anyone if she was dead.

Eric pulled the blanket up a little higher past Sookie’s waist and brushed a feather light kiss on her forehead before retreating upstairs to check in with Pam. He planned to go down to Fangtasia but didn’t want to do so until Sookie was awake. Then again, Sookie could be asleep for hours and the werebitch needed to be dealt with. Decisions, decisions.

“What’s the status with the werebitch?” Eric asked without bothering to say hello. Pleasantries were unnecessary between him and his child. Pam preferred he get to the point.

“It’s mostly whimpering and pleading for its life. She tried to sweet talk Ginger into letting her go. I’ve gagged her,” Pam informed him. Pam had zero patience for whining, although he knew she got off on the whimpers and begging for freedom. Pam liked being in control but what vampire didn’t?

“I’ll be in before midnight,” Eric informed her.

“Good. I’m sick of listening to her,” Pam said even though he knew that was only half true.

They got off the phone shortly after that and Eric pulled up the information on the various buildings he owned in his area to see if there was space available for Sookie to open an office. He hoped she would take him seriously on the offer to build her own office but he wanted to be prepared with a backup plan in case she refused it. Quite frankly, she would be a fool to turn him down but Sookie had her pride.

He could respect her wanting to do it on her own. Well, at least as much as she could. He had started with nothing and knew all too well the sense of accomplishment that came with building one’s own empire. If Sookie played her cards right she could become a very wealthy woman. The fees she could ask for assisting vampires was considerable since most of them weren’t hurting for cash. In some instances, the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates would look like paupers in comparison. That was saying something about the financial position of vampires.

It was assumed that they were at a weakness because of their requirement for daytime rest and while it was true the requirement did make them vulnerable, it also made them sharper and a bit more savvy. Trust didn’t come easily and violation of the trust was grounds for death. Preferably a slow and painful death for the traitor. He wondered how Sookie would react to knowing part of her job would be sniffing out said traitors.

Her preference, of course, would be to hand the liars, thieves and cheats over to the human authorities but vampires had their own brand of justice and Sookie could do little to change those ways. If she was going to add the codicil that vampires must turn over criminals to human authorities for prosecution she would be out of business before she even began.

It was while Eric was reading through some of his emails that he felt Sookie awaken downstairs. He finished reading what was in front of him before going downstairs to greet her. She was sitting on the couch, rubbing her eyes and trying to figure out what time it was. He could feel her confusion and in spite of how long she’d slept, she was still exhausted.

“Good evening, lover,” he moved over to the couch and sat beside her.

“Hi,” she said sleepily and collapsed against him. “What time is it?”

“Just after eight,” he kissed her head. “Did you sleep well?”

“Like a rock. I didn’t mean to sleep for so long,” she yawned and stretched a little.

“You needed it. You’re still tired,” he wrapped an arm around her.

“I’ll sleep better after the funeral tomorrow,” Sookie said although she wasn’t sure that was true. “I keep having these dreams… I see Tara and what might have happened and…”

“Shhh…” Eric stroked her hair and hoped she wouldn’t start crying again. Damn tears were like acid drops falling on his heart.

“What are you doing here? I thought you would be at Fangtasia dealing with Debbie,” Sookie pulled back and looked up at him.

“I wanted to wait for you to wake up first,” he reached for her hand.

“I don’t want to go with you,” Sookie told him and he felt relieved at that. It was probably best if she didn’t. “Have you decided what you’re going to do with her?”

“Not yet,” Eric played with her fingers.

“Part of me says she should be turned over to the police. She tried to kill you and she definitely killed Tara. The other part of me says that she’s an addict and that isn’t going to change. She dangerous as long as she’s alive,” Sookie couldn’t finish the rest of her thoughts. Suggesting that Eric take her out was… well, it wasn’t very Christian of her.

Not to mention, she worried for Alcide. Sookie knew what it was like to love someone who was no good for her. She had stayed with Bill for far too long. She had given too much of herself to someone who didn’t really appreciate what he was being given. The knowledge that he had lied to her from the very beginning, and had essentially used his blood to drug her, made her wonder just how much of their relationship was true.

Had she ever really loved him all on her own, or was it just fresh doses of his blood that kept the feeling going? Since she would never know for sure, it was hard to let go of the past and forgive him for all the things he had done. But she wanted to forgive him. Carrying the weight around was draining and ultimately, she was punishing herself more than she was him. How could she not have seen it sooner?

“You will be safe, Sookie. I promise you that,” Eric kissed her softly, his promise echoing through their bond.

oOo ~ oOo ~ oOo

A shock of cold water hit Debbie, jarring her from sleep. How she’d managed to fall asleep on her feet with that damn silver collar around her neck she’d never know. Her elbow was still a great source of pain and her legs were tired from standing for so long. The cold water was an unpleasant way to wake up but it was better than some of the other methods that could have been employed.

Debbie’s eyes opened to find the female vampire was back and this time, she had company. She vaguely remembered the much taller vampire that was standing in the background. She had seen him before but it was hard to remember where. She searched her V addled brain until she thought she had it. Russell Edgington’s; she was sure she’d seen him there before.

“I know you,” Debbie ignored the female.

“You know of me,” Eric stepped forward.

“I’ve seen you before. You were at Russell’s. You were there the night that cunt killed my Cooter,” Debbie’s lip wibbled and Pam’s head whipped around to face Eric.

“Is this bitch for real?” Pam could barely contain her fangs. “Sookie killed her Cooter?”

Eric didn’t find the exchange nearly as amusing as his progeny did but the confirmation in his blood had Pam cackling. Debbie glared at Pam but said nothing. Eric took a few more steps forward. He looked menacing standing at his full height, dressed in black jeans and a matching black tank top. His marble-like alabaster skin almost glowed in the faint light of the basement/torture chamber. Silver chains and other implements hung on the walls, all ready to be used at a moment’s notice.

Eric sniffed the air and Pam stopped laughing in time for him to figure out what she already knew. Debbie was pregnant. Eric smiled over his shoulder and in Vietnamese said, “Two for the price of one.”

Pam cackled again and answered in the same language, “That’s what I said earlier.”

Eric smiled in Debbie’s direction, his eyes intense and blazing blue. “You tried to kill my lover.”

“She stole my wolf!” Debbie argued.

“Whether she did or not is irrelevant. Sookie is mine,” Eric said evenly. Werewolves were territorial but they didn’t hold a candle to the possessiveness of a vampire and she damn well knew it. “You have exactly thirty seconds to convince me not to kill you.”

Debbie looked from Eric to Pam, her eyes wide with fear, sputtering for something to say.

“Tick tock,” Pam taunted, smiling from behind Eric.

“Alcide is mine. He belongs with me and she just couldn’t stay away. She claimed to be trying to help but every time she got near him, he pulled away from me. If I could just make her go away, I would have him back,” Debbie argued weakly. “All I ever wanted was to find a good wolf and have babies. Alcide was the one for me.”

“Annnnnnnd time,” Eric didn’t look at all impressed.

“Can we kill her now?” Pam sounded completely bored.

“Let me the fuck out of here!” Debbie screamed, finally showing a little will to live.

“You killed a woman two days ago,” Eric stood with his arms folded. “A woman you assumed was Sookie. How did you get into her house?”

“The first time I went in through a window in the dining room. The second time I jimmied the back door open. Her house isn’t very secure,” Debbie took on a smug tone. She really just didn’t know when to curb her attitude at all, did she?

“And you did all this alone?” Eric stared Debbie up and down.

“I can take care of myself,” Debbie almost growled.

“I am very happy to hear you say that,” Eric smiled and turned toward Pam.

Now can we kill her?” Pam’s fangs popped out and Debbie began screaming for release again, causing one of Pam’s epic eye rolls.

“Debbie, Debbie, Debbie… screaming won’t help you now,” Eric’s fangs flashed and then both he and Pam descended on her.

oOo ~ oOo ~ oOo

Sookie was lying on the couch watching a movie when she felt Eric getting closer. He was in one heck of a mood and even from miles away his lust was nearly overpowering to her. She’d never felt anything like it. At first it wasn’t so bad but the closer Eric got, the more powerful the feeling became. Even stranger than that, she felt the urge to run. Not like she was in danger, exactly, but something was… By the time Eric’s car pulled into the garage her thighs were rubbing together and she was almost writhing. Well, this was certainly a way to distract her from her grief. Eric must have barely put the car in park before abandoning the vehicle and racing into the house to get to her. He stood in the doorway looking all intense and powerful. She expected to see him covered in blood, ready to celebrate his victory, but he was as clean as when he’d left.

Sookie wanted to know what happened but that was going to have to wait. Eric wasn’t in the mood for talking. “Run,” he told her.

“What?” Sookie gasped.

“Run,” he ordered with intense eyes.

“Why?” Sookie asked nervously, slowly getting to her feet.

“Because I’m a hunter by nature and when I catch you, I’m going to rip off your clothes and fuck you against the nearest flat surface. Now run,” he spoke calmly but the bond was in an uproar. Sookie hesitated but when Eric again yelled for her to run, she did.

Sookie ran as fast as she could up the stairs but of course, Eric was right behind her. He wasn’t moving at full vampire speed but his long legs gave him an advantage all the same. Eric caught her in the hallway and pressed her against the wall. She gasped at the realization that he’d not only caught her, but had managed to get his clothes off before going after her. Sookie was torn between wanting to fight him off and letting him have his way. In the end, he would get what he wanted anyway. Eric Northman always did.

He pinned her arms over her head and held them there with one of his. Just as he’d promised, the other hand tore open her nightgown. He growled at the heaving of her chest and bent to inhale her intoxicating scent. Eric wasn’t sure what he wanted more, to fuck her or bite her. He would just have to do both at the same time.

For all his intensity, Eric paid close attention to what his blood told him. Sookie was a little scared but she was also curious and turned-on. He ripped her bra open and then went after her panties in a similar fashion. Sookie gasped with each rip and her body responded in ways she wouldn’t have anticipated. Her heart was racing and the feelings of possession and lust had only increased in Eric’s pursuit. Being a hunter by nature, her running from him was a big turn-on. Eric was rubbing himself up against her, inhaling her scent while he did so. She smelled like herself, of course, but he could also smell his blood inside her.

He growled deeply and moved her hair away from her ear. “I like when you run from me,” he told her in a voice that would have been terrifying if she wasn’t so sure this wasn’t about hurting her.

“I like when you chase me,” she answered, figuring there was no harm in playing along.

Sookie had experienced bloodlust in the past but this time it was different. Now she could feel all the things Eric was feeling and she knew that if she threw up the stop signs, he would back off. Eric had never pushed for more than she was willing to give him sexually and she didn’t think he would start with that now. It was hard to think, though, with Eric’s fangs at her neck and his fingers pressing at her entrance. The lust she’d felt had left her wet and ready for him, which was a good thing since he was naked and definitely ready to follow through on his threat to fuck her up against the nearest flat surface.

Sookie squirmed against the wall, her hips moving away from it to try and get a little more friction where she needed it but Eric seemed to be in somewhat of a teasing mood. His mouth crashed down on hers and his fangs nicked her lips as a result. The sweetness of her blood flooded his senses, alerting the predator in him that a tasty treat was just a bite away. Her tongue slid bravely over his fangs, one at a time, teasing him back for not giving her the friction she wanted between her legs.

“I thought you were going to fuck me,” Sookie breathed when his mouth moved to her neck.

“Are you challenging me?” Eric growled, his fingers finally making contact with her clit.

“It’s not like you to back down, especially when you’ve given your word,” Sookie fought the smile that wanted to break free.

Challenging him was dangerous and if she didn’t absolutely trust him, she would think she was crazy for trying to get him even more riled. But then she was curious to see what he was like when the vampire in him took over. Bill had always been reluctant to show her that side of himself, like he was ashamed of what he was. Not that Sookie needed to see it all the time, but she wanted to know who she was with. Bill had always kept pieces of himself tucked away and they were never the good parts. The things he hid from her always ended up hurting Sookie in the end.

But Eric… Eric was a live out loud kind of guy. He saw no reason to pretend to be something he wasn’t. He was comfortable in his own skin; he knew exactly what he was and he wore it on his sleeve. While it was true Sookie had been waiting to see the vulnerable, sweet side of him, she was glad she hadn’t met that side first. Seeing him being ruthless, sneaky and cruel after seeing the other side would have ruined things. She had been witness to Eric at his best and his worst, and still she loved him.

“You’re smug,” Eric called her on the feelings in her blood and before she could come up with a retort of any kind, he had her on the hardwood floor of the hallway, flat on her back. “Maybe I should tie you to my bed and blindfold you. You would never see me coming.”

His lips crashed down on hers, stopping her from speaking anymore. He kissed her brutally hard and the kiss only broke when she pulled her face away to breathe. He could feel how lightheaded she was and liked that she was thrown off balance. The predator in him roared and his lips fasted around her nipple. His fingers slid inside her, pumping in and out slowly while his thumb rubbed circles over her clit. Her hips lifted off the floor, her feet pushing them higher and higher.

He had just sucked her other nipple into his mouth when the sporadic fluttering of her inner muscles around his fingers began to get more intense. Sookie’s body twisted as she cried out with her orgasm but Eric didn’t stop there. He did, however, let go of her hands and then shift his body on top of hers, putting his cock right at her entrance. Eric pulled his fingers out of her and instead of putting them in his mouth like he usually would have done, he traced them over Sookie’s lips and then kissed her.

He sucked her fluids off her lips and considered dipping his fingers into her again but instead made sure his cock was lined up properly and pushed inside her. Sookie gasped at the single fluid stroke. He filled her immediately and without waiting for the usual rock or roll of her hips, he began to thrust into her hard and fast. He warned her he wasn’t going to be gentle. He was going to be rough with her, bite her and make her scream for more.

Eric wasn’t going to stop until she was passed out, too exhausted to keep going.

Sookie wrapped her legs around him and like magic; he was able to stand with her wrapped around him. He slammed her up against the wall and continued to drive into her over and over. She tilted her head to the side, exposing her neck to him and the invitation was far too tempting for him to decline. He kissed along her neck, sucking gently on the spot where he intended to bite her. When he saw that her skin was just a little bit red he knew he’d succeeded in drawing her blood to where he wanted it. Without warning, he bit and drew hard on the wound.

“Oh Jesus!” Sookie screamed, her body going into overload at the blurred line between pleasure and pain. Her nails raked his back, probably drawing blood as well.

And still, he pounded into her, her second orgasm even more powerful than the first. Her toes curled and her eyes rolled in her head. Eric moved from the hallway to his bedroom. He at the edge of his bed with Sookie still wrapped around him and grabbed her hips. Her juices ran down her thighs and onto his.

“Ride me, lover,” he growled against her neck, lapping at the little beads of blood that continued to dribble from the wounds he’d made.

Sookie rocked her hips against his; creating a rhythm he couldn’t quite follow since she changed it up so quickly. Rock, lift, down, roll, rock, roll, lift, down… it kept changing. She unlocked her legs from around his waist and planted her knees on the bed. Sookie leaned back and braced herself on Eric’s legs beneath her and met his thrusts when he pumped up into her. Fast and hard, over and over he drove into her. The change of positions meant he was hitting her g-spot with every thrust and before she came again, Sookie leaned forward and bit him.

He hadn’t been expecting it, but the tear of her teeth at his neck kicked him into a gear he’d only experienced when high on fairy blood. Sookie pulled on the wounds, swallowing the blood of the ancient vampire who was doing his best to fuck her into oblivion. Even though his blood should have been having the opposite effect, Sookie started to feel a little lightheaded. She stopped drinking before she took too much but it seemed the damage had already been done.

What was once Eric’s bedroom took on the look of that Scandinavian winter wonderland. It was snowing but it wasn’t cold. The lush comforter on Eric’s bed became super soft fur pelts Sunlight streamed down between the tree branches. Nothing about it made sense; it was a world full of contradictions.

“How did we get here?” Sookie looked around at the snow falling everywhere but on the bed.

“I don’t know,” Eric seemed as dazed and confused as she was.

“This never happened with Bill,” Sookie said, as awkward as it was to mention considering Eric was still… well, he hadn’t finished yet.

They both looked around in complete awe of what they were seeing. Why did this keep happening? The first time Sookie could have chocked it up to some crazy blood side effect since she was completely healthy and she had never taken vampire blood without being injured before. She’d taken his blood again since then, obviously, since they were bonded, and this hadn’t happened. So why now? What was the common factor that brought about these bizarre highs?

Sookie lifted herself off of Eric’s lap and climbed off the bed. She stood in the snow but it wasn’t cold either. Wet, yes, but not cold. Was she doing this? Was Eric? Maybe it was a combination of the two of them. Sookie turned slowly, looking through the trees for something but she wasn’t sure what. Just when she thought she saw a face everything faded back to the way it belonged and Eric’s bedroom became what it was supposed to be.

Sookie stood there, trying to process it all and wasn’t paying attention when Eric spun her around and bent her over the dresser so she was watching their reflections in the mirror. He entered her again from behind with yet another fast and hard stroke. She grabbed onto the smooth finish of the dresser and held on for dear life as he pounded into her, intent on finishing.

He grabbed her hair, using it to tug her back to meet his thrusts. If she’d thought he was fucking her hard before, that was nothing. He moved at vampire speed, something she’d never experienced before and in seconds she was screaming in pleasure. Her orgasm came quickly and it just kept coming until finally her knees gave out and she collapsed against the top of the dresser.

Then everything went black.

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