While Sookie made herself something to eat, Eric made the necessary phone calls to get the paperwork started on returning ownership of her house to her. There was nothing he could do about werewolves or shifters breaking into the house but vampires, at least, he could protect her from in that way. He could admit—at least to himself- it had been an arrogant move on his part to assume she would be his so his ownership of the house wouldn’t matter.
Why wouldn’t she be his? He was very well aware of her changing feelings toward him. That kiss in his office before she disappeared had filled in any blanks from the fading connection they had via his blood. The fact that he hadn’t been anxious, or overplayed his hand in getting his blood into her a second time should have been all the proof she needed that he wasn’t like Bill. His reasons for wanting to be one with her were motivated by possessiveness but that wasn’t the only reason the way it was for other vampires.
He didn’t love Sookie to the exclusion of everything else. His feelings for her didn’t tunnel his vision the way he’d once feared they would. In fact, his feelings had opened his eyes. In his many, many years he’d become a little complacent. His age provided him a certain status in his world. He was known for being somewhat untouchable. Taking Sookie as his made him a target, that was for sure, but there were few things in the world Eric enjoyed more than a good fight.
Since he didn’t waste his time claiming every human that came along, that meant he put extreme value on the things he did claim. That meant he would fight for what was his and protect it with his own life. Sookie was living proof that his patience was a virtue. Finally his advanced age had worked in his favor in the best possible way. He had played his cards carefully at all the right moments.
So maybe in that regard he was a little manipulative but he rationalized it was for Sookie’s own good. He had done nothing, as far as he was concerned, but show her the truth she didn’t want to see. He had saved her by giving her the power to save herself. Now that she was his, he would defend her with everything he had, starting with giving her ownership of her house. It was always going to be hers again anyway; it was merely a bargaining chip.
Crafty old Viking.
The lawyers promised they would get the papers drawn up immediately and faxed over to him at Fangtasia for his approval and signature. They would need Sookie’s signatures as well and it just so happened that Pam had been made a notary some twenty years prior. Once that was done he went to find Sookie. She was in the living room watching the news, her purse waiting on the coffee table.
“The paperwork has been drawn up for your house. We’ll need to sign everything and send it back but the house is essentially yours again,” Eric told her from the archway.
“Thank you, Eric,” Sookie smiled and he could feel her happiness and relief.
He nodded graciously and said, “We should get going.”
Sookie agreed and turned off the TV. A little less than an hour later they arrived at the Bon Temps Sheriff’s office in a Mercedes that cost more than probably the entire payroll for the sheriff’s department for a year. The two of them walked into the building to find Kenya sitting behind the desk, looking bored as usual. If she were a little more girly she might have been filing her nails or flipping through a gossip magazine.
“Can I help you?” Kenya started off with an attitude and Sookie put on a smile, thinking that would help.
“Jason told me I was gonna need to come by to fill out some paperwork in order to file a complaint,” Sookie explained and Kenya rolled her eyes.
“This about that lady breakin’ into your house?”
“Breaking in and rigging a weapon that got my boyfriend shot,” Sookie said more pointedly and shifted her eyes to Eric.
“He looks just fine to me,” Kenya stared at him suspiciously.
“I’m a vampire,” Eric said as if Kenya should have already figured that out.
“Oh, right,” she rolled her eyes. Sookie only dates the undead ones.
Sookie cleared her throat and said, “I talked to Jason about it and he said y’all need me to write up a statement or something like that?”
“Yeah, yeah, follow me,” Kenya sighed and led Eric and Sookie down a hall. “Y’all can’t be in the same room. I need individual statements from you both. No emotions, just facts. Write ’em up and bring ’em out when you’re done.”
Kenya put Eric in one room and Sookie in the other, leaving each of them with a pen and a legal pad. Eric shook his head at the practices of the sheriff’s department; although it wasn’t really too surprising the law enforcement was sub par. They’d deputized Jason, after all. Eric’s statement was written up quickly and in his perfect scrawl. He signed the document, if you used the term ‘document’ loosely, with his flourished signature and then headed back to Kenya’s desk to return it to her.
Sookie’s mood was an interesting blend of angry and thoughtful, and he could tell he had a few minutes to work with before she would come out to hand in her statement as well. Kenya got up to take the legal pad from Eric and when she did, he caught her eyes and held them. Her expression went lax and she slipped easily under Eric’s thrall.
“You’re going to track down Debbie Pelt. When you do, you’re going to call me at this number,” Eric produced a business card to hand to Kenya. “You’ll let me take it from there.”
Kenya nodded and took the card. She slipped it in her pocket and repeated what she’d just been told. Eric released her from the glamour and went to take a seat in the small lobby to wait for Sookie.
oOo ~ oOo ~ oOo
Fangtasia was as busy as ever, considering it was a Tuesday night. Eric hadn’t spent much time at the club since regaining his memories and there were things to go over. Pam was doing a fine job taking care of things in his absence but he liked being more hands-on in the business. Not to mention there were his duties as sheriff that needed his attention. He didn’t like the idea of everything going through the king.
It really would be to everyone’s benefit if Bill would move his headquarters down to New Orleans where there was the greatest population of vampires. Not only would it get him away from Sookie, but it just seemed like the more rational place for him to rule from. With the debt Sophie-Anne had accumulated having been cleared up, there was finally a bit of a surplus in the kingdom.
Unfortunately Bill didn’t seem to know shit about how to grow a business. There was money to be made in being a vampire but Bill didn’t seem interested in capitalizing on that. Eric had no aspirations whatsoever to be king but if there was one thing he knew how to do, it was business. Revenue needed to be built up again and there were several ways to go about doing that if the king would stop flaunting himself in front of the camera.
Eric led Sookie through the back door of the club and ushered her into his office. He closed the door behind them and was pleasantly surprised when Sookie grabbed him by the lapels of his jacket and pulled him down to kiss her. The last time she’d been in his office they were in a similar position and all Eric could think was that he hoped Pam didn’t come in for some stupid reason. She’d already cockblocked him once that week. To do it again could be perilous to her undead life.
Sookie broke the kiss and began to unbutton her coat. Eric slipped if off her shoulders and tossed it onto one of the chairs in front of his desk. He moved in with the intention of pulling her toward the leather couch against the wall but Sookie put the brakes on before he could go any farther.
“We’re not having sex in here,” Sookie told him.
“Why not?” he nearly pouted. “I can be quiet as a church mouse.”
“But I can’t,” Sookie said with a hint of a blush. “Besides, don’t we have papers to sign? You need to straighten some things out with Pam. I should let you get your work done.”
“Speaking of work…” Eric snatched Sookie off her feet and parked her in his lap on the couch anyway.
“Eric!” she tried to squirm off his lap but that did little to calm the party that was starting in his designer pants.
“Were you serious about considering coming to work for me the other night?” he kept his hands on her hips, holding her in place.
“Do you really need another waitress here?” Sookie arched an eyebrow at him.
“I wasn’t thinking of hiring you as a waitress, lover,” he wiggled his eyebrows at her.
Sookie slapped his shoulder and said, “You are not suggesting you pay me for sex, are you?”
“Of course not,” Eric looked mildly offended at what she was suggesting, although he would if she took no offense to the idea. “I’m suggesting I put you on the payroll as a telepath.”
“Oh sure. That’ll go over well on my tax returns,” Sookie rolled her eyes. “The fewer people who know about me the better, don’t you think?”
“No,” Eric said firmly and Sookie leaned back to catch his eyes a little better.
“Sookie, you have an ability so few others have. Yes, you could spend the rest of your life trying to hide that ability from the Supernatural Community, or you could turn it into a business. You’re bonded to me and Bill is the king of Louisiana. Those are powerful allies to have in your corner. You would be able to work on your own terms. You would be able to set your own prices, guidelines and cherry pick the people you wanted to help. You could set up an office in Bon Temps or somewhere here in Shreveport. You would be your own boss and call all the shots,” Eric laid it all out for her.
“That… that actually sounds kind of interesting,” Sookie admitted. “But you said I would be working for you.”
“On paper, yes, you would be,” Eric nodded and then explained the slightly more complicated channels of vampire politics and business in the Supernatural World.
Sookie would be able to file her taxes as a freelance consultant. Eric could bury the business as a subsidiary of another business he already owned. Fangtasia wasn’t his only enterprise; it was merely the most public. He owned several businesses in Shreveport but those weren’t the only ones. His long lifetime had afforded him the ability to study trends in the financial market, to say nothing of the great many college courses he’d taken over the years.
Really, what else was he going to do with his abundant free time? Adaptation was crucial to his existence. Staying at least a step ahead of the current trends was part of what had ensured his longevity. Keeping himself in the mindset of a Viking warrior would do him next to no favors. He hadn’t forgotten where he’d come from by any means but he was smart enough to know that standing still wouldn’t do him any good. Not to mention, it was dangerous not to keep up with the times.
“Let me think about it,” Sookie said and he could tell she meant it. “I have no idea how I would even get something like that off the ground.”
“I’ll help you,” Eric promised and kissed her softly. “I know a thing or two about business.”
“I noticed,” Sookie laughed and then lifted herself off his lap. “Now are you going to get your work done so we can go home or not?”
“Bossy,” Eric smirked at her but got up off the couch.
Sookie felt a blast of energy come from him and a few seconds later Pam appeared. Ah, so that’s what it feels like on his end when he calls Pam, Sookie thought. She stayed right where she was on the couch but crossed her legs. Pam was wearing something similar to the dress she’d been wearing the first night Sookie went to Fangtasia and Sookie wondered how many cows had to die to make all the leather. She kept her questions to herself out of fear that Pam had slaughtered the cows with her own bare hands.
“Are you thirsty, Sookie? I can have a drink brought back here for you,” Eric offered her.
“I am, but I’ll go get it myself and give you two a chance to catch up without a third wheel,” Sookie stood up and tucked her clutch under her arm. “Just text me when you’re through.”
Pam glided across the floor and sat in the vacant seat across from Eric. “A fax came in for you an hour ago,” she nodded to the machine in the corner. “You’re seriously giving her the house back?”
“It was always hers,” Eric didn’t really want to discuss it.
“I like Sookie about as well as I like any human,” Pam said, choosing her words carefully. “But are you sure it’s wise to get so involved with her? She’s been nothing but trouble to you since you met.”
“Are you forgetting that she warned us of the raid her first night here? Or maybe that she healed you after you got yourself cursed by the necromancer? She’s useful, Pam, and I love her,” Eric said definitively. “Your opinion is valued but not necessary.”
Talking to Eric when he’d made up his mind about something was somewhat futile. He had decided Sookie was valuable to him and while Pam could certainly concede Sookie wasn’t useless, she was concerned for her maker. This was new territory for them both. Pam wasn’t used to sharing him, nor was she used to seeing him so attached to a human. A blood bond was a serious thing and definitely not something Eric took lightly, as no vampire should.
From then on they talked business. Pam got Eric caught up on the things he had missed with the vampires in his retinue. He was going to have some bullshit grievances to settle in the next few days and there was a request to start a new business on the east side of town. He would look over the business proposal before dawn, after Sookie went to sleep.
When Pam was finished talking, Eric looked over the papers that would give Sookie her house back. Everything looked on the up and up and he signed them before Pam left the room. He would have Sookie sign them when they got home. He could feel her getting tired out in the bar and decided it was time to get going.
“Oh and Pam, one more thing,” Eric said just as Pam was getting to the door. “Debbie Pelt is ours once the Bon Temps police get a hold of her. I may need you to retrieve her for me but you will not harm her.”
“Not even a little?” Pam nearly pouted but then smirked.
“You’ll get your chance,” Eric smiled at her.
oOo ~ oOo ~ oOo
Eric was more than willing to unzip Sookie’s dress for her when she asked him to. The whole way back to his house, anticipation and lust had been bouncing back and forth between the two of them in the bond. The dress fell to the floor and rather than unhooking it, Eric ripped Sookie’s bra off.
“Eric!” she gasped but that was all she had time for before she found herself bent over his bed.
He ripped her panties off as well and dropped to his knees to finish what Pam had so rudely interrupted the night before. “What have you been thinking of, lover, to make you so wet for me already?” Eric asked after just one lick between her thighs.
The only answer he got was a whimper but it didn’t really feel like time to talk. He watched her hands curl around the sheets and held her up when her knees began to buckle. The side of Sookie’s face was pressed against the mattress and her eyes were trying to search his out but that wasn’t going to work in the position they were in. Eric spread her legs a little wider, kissing, sucking and even gently biting at her swollen flesh. Her moans and whimpers got louder and louder with the increase of pleasure in their bond.
Sookie’s legs gave out on her entirely when she came and the well placed bite on her thigh brought about one hell of an aftershock. Eric only took a mouthful or two of her blood before healing the wound on her thigh. He lifted Sookie and placed her in the middle of the bed. Her eyes were closed but he knew she wasn’t sleeping. There was a blissful smile on her face and her hair was fanned out around her like a great big halo.
Eric stripped off his clothes quickly, leaving them in a pile on the floor to be dealt with later. Sookie rolled onto her side as Eric stretched out beside her on the bed. His sheets were soft enough to feel like silk but she wasn’t sure they were. Her hands pillowed under her face and Eric turned so he was facing her.
“I had a dream about you after I had your blood the first time,” Sookie admitted, knowing they weren’t finished yet but wanting to tell him something first.
“That’s common,” Eric smiled at her.
“We were in bed together at the hotel,” she smiled softly and Eric reached for one of her hands, taking it has he had in her dream and kissing it softly. “You were sweet.”
“Are. I didn’t see it back then but you didn’t really give me the chance to see you that way,” Sookie watched their fingers twine together.
“I wasn’t ready to let you see me that way. My feelings for you confuse me,” Eric told her and she looked a bit surprised. “Centuries of feeling nothing for humans changed me, Sookie. Then you appeared before me at Fangtasia with all your light and sass. You’re different from any human I have ever known. You intrigue me.”
That was high praise coming from him since being around for as long as he had meant he’d seen, and done, just about everything there was to do. He was familiar with human nature; he’d been studying it for centuries. Sookie was something else entirely. Not only had she managed to capture and keep his attention, she’d also been the first human he cared anything for in a great many years.
“I wouldn’t have been ready for you when we first met,” Sookie admitted and laughed along with Eric. “Bill was my first… well, my first everything.”
“Not everything,” Eric cupped her face in his free hand and leaned closer to kiss her. “What am I feeling right now?” he whispered against her lips and felt her smile.
Their bond opened slowly and Sookie gasped at the intensity of all the feelings swirling in him. She had no idea he’d been holding back and the realization that he was left her unsure of what to think, but she’d consider it later. In her dreams she had known he was capable of feeling a great many things. His reaction to Godric going missing had proven to her that Eric did have a heart in there somewhere, that he wasn’t just made of cold, hard stone as she’d first thought. He was capable of love; she knew it because she felt it intensely in those moments. But love was too basic a term, as complicated as it was. There was so much more lurking inside him.
Trying to put a name to all of his emotions would have taken hours and they simply didn’t have that kind of time. The sun would be up soon. So rather than waste time with more words she pulled him closer and kissed him back. Eric rolled on top of her, his hand sliding from her face into her hair, holding her mouth to his as he deepened the kiss. Sookie probably wouldn’t believe it if he told her, but she was the first human he had kissed in well over a decade.
Since the vampires had come out of hiding, they had all become so predictable. She really had saved him from monotony and kissing her was unlike anything he’d ever experienced. She put a great deal of herself into her kisses. He would know, even without the blood connection, how she felt about him by the way she kissed. Passion like that couldn’t be faked or forced, and it delighted him to no end to know he brought that out in her. He wondered if she was always like that or if it was just because of her feelings for him that she was able to let go.
Dawn was coming soon and Eric found himself cursing its arrival, something he hadn’t done often prior to Sookie coming into his life. He watched her eyes as they traveled down between their bodies, watching him as Eric stroked himself. She watched as he pushed inside her and the expression on her face matched what he felt in his blood. She was so hot and tight around him, her small hands reaching to pull him deeper inside her.
There was no time to waste and they wasted none. Sookie’s hips rose to meet his thrusts, her eyes never leaving where they were joined. He preferred she look into his eyes, but watching her watch them wasn’t so bad either. The slight shift of his hips changed the angle he was sliding into her at and he found the spot inside her that drove her crazy. Her fingers dug into his ass and they moved together, faster and faster; the pleasure they were both feeling feeding one another and overwhelming them both at the same moment.
Eric didn’t bite her again. He was saving that for his wake up later on in the evening. Taking care not to feed from her too often was crucial. As delicious as she was, he wouldn’t treat her like his personal drinking fountain and he wouldn’t wear her down because he couldn’t control himself. After giving himself a moment to recover, Eric pulled out of her and took Sookie with him when he rolled onto his back. She rested her head on his chest, half laying on top of him.
“I think I want to take you up on your offer,” Sookie whispered, her exhaustion matching his own.
“We’ll discuss it after dark,” he kissed her head and she nodded against his chest.
“Dream of me?” Sookie smiled against his skin.
“Be here when I wake up?” Eric twirled his fingers in her hair.
“Mmm… naked and waiting,” she promised and with that, they both drifted off.