Sookie was still sitting at the kitchen table when there was a knock at the front door. She glanced up from her list to see that the sun was gone for the night. By the brain signature Sookie knew it was Eric at the door. Even with the voids it was easy to tell one vampire from another. She could have invited him in from where she was sitting, but instead she got up and went to the door to greet him.
Her breath caught at the sight of Eric in the black jeans, black v-neck t-shirt and leather jacket he was wearing. He looked delicious, and that was a word Sookie had never before used to describe a man. Her eyes traveled slowly to his, only to find Eric was smirking back at her as she blushed. He was clearly amused by Sookie’s reaction to him.
For what it was worth, she wasn’t the only one feeling a rush of lust. Sookie was dressed in a little pale blue dress that displayed her tan legs and the color of the dress made her skin seem to glow. Her hair was down, and the smell of sunshine clung to her. Sookie couldn’t help but flash a coy smile of her own when Eric’s eyes slowly began to travel her body.
“Mr. Northman, will you please come in?” Sookie invited even though it wasn’t necessary.
The sound of Sookie’s voice brought Eric’s eyes back to hers, and she stepped back to give him room to enter the house. Eric stepped inside with the slow, confident swagger of his. He was like a lion when he moved, all powerful, graceful and keeping a watchful eye on his surroundings. Sookie closed the door behind Eric, and asked if he wanted a blood.
“Please,” he answered politely.
“Have a seat in the kitchen. I’ll be right there,” Sookie said and departed for the kitchen.
Eric went to the living room and looked around a little. He hadn’t really had the chance to do so the night before with Bill in the house. He paused to look at some framed pictures sitting on a small table by the archway. A silver frame held a picture of what appeared to be a young Sookie, probably around the age of six or seven, holding a gray kitten with bright green eyes. She was missing a couple of her teeth and had a rosy glow to her cheeks. Her skin was a little bit bronzed, suggesting it was probably summertime when the picture had been taken.
Even as a child Sookie was beautiful.
Eric was still holding the frame when Sookie walked into the room with a bottle of blood in one hand and a glass of iced tea in the other. She held the blood out to Eric, and smiled at the picture he was holding. He took the blood and set the frame back down on its place on the table.
“I take it that is you?” Eric motioned to the picture.
“Actually, that was Hadley,” Sookie said with a small smile. “But we looked a lot alike when we were little. I’m in the other picture with Jason.”
Eric picked up a red frame on the opposite side of the table and studied it closely. The little girl in that picture looked almost identical to the one in the silver frame. Upon closer inspection he realized the girl in the silver frame had blue eyes—Sookie’s eyes were brown. It was a small detail, but one Eric was surprised he had overlooked, considering the amount of time he had spent looking into Sookie’s eyes in the last two days.
“Thank you for leaving the car here for me. I completely forgot I had given it back to you this morning, and I forgot to set my alarm so I was running late for work and…” Sookie realized she was rambling so she stopped herself and took a breath. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” Eric offered her a small smile.
“I want to tell you everything I found out everything I learned today, but I hoped you would answer a few questions for me before Bill gets here,” Sookie told him, and sat down in one of the arm chairs behind him.
Eric moved across the room and sat on the couch across from her to give Sookie her space. He nearly had to fold himself in half in order to sit on the sofa, and it dawned on him quickly that the furniture in her home hadn’t been designed with men of his size in mind.
“I’ll answer any questions you have for me, as long as you will answer mine,” Eric said, and Sookie lifted an eyebrow in surprise.
“What sort of questions?” she asked.
“Questions about you,” he smiled again, and he felt another burst of surprise. “I don’t know why you’re so surprised I want to know about you, Sookie. Regardless of how well-mannered I’ve been, I do still want to fuck you.”
Sookie nearly choked on her drink of tea, and that got her a small chuckle from Eric. “You’re blunt,” she said once she got herself under control again.
“I have all the time in the world, but why waste it?” Eric sat back against the couch and attempted to make himself comfortable. “Ladies first,” he smirked, and waited for her question.
“Okay, well, last night we were talking about blood bonds and what they can do. You told me that a vampire can influence a human’s feelings, but it can’t create them. Does that apply only to a mutual bond, or does it also apply to a human that’s only had a vampire’s blood?” Sookie asked.
“It applies to a human that’s only had a vampire’s blood. It’s part of the magic that animates vampires, actually, and something we learn early on when our makers explain to us the sacred nature of our blood,” Eric told her, and then paused to take a drink of the vile synthetic he’d been offered. It was hard to drink that sludge when there was a delicious fairy hybrid not three feet away from him pulsing with life and warmth, but he controlled himself.
“Your turn,” Sookie shifted uncomfortably on her chair and nervously sipped her tea.
“If you could do anything with your life, what would it be?” Eric asked, and it was obvious by Sookie’s expression that she wasn’t expecting him to ask her that.
“I… I don’t know. My options have always been limited because of my telepathy. I had jobs before Merlotte’s but Sam is the first boss I ever had that didn’t make me want to quit on account of the things he thought about me. My disability made it difficult for me to concentrate in school, and by the time I was able to control it at least a little bit the damage had already been done to my record so getting a scholarship for college wasn’t going to happen, and I couldn’t afford to go without one.”
“So if you thought about college, then you did think about your future,” Eric surmised, but Sookie smile coyly.
“It’s my turn,” she cut him off and Eric smiled back at her.
“You didn’t actually answer my question, Sookie. You dodged it artfully, but you didn’t answer it,” Eric challenged her.
“I thought I’d study psychology to help me help other people understand why they think and act the way they do,” Sookie admitted, and Eric beamed at her.
“That wasn’t so hard, was it?” Eric teased her.
Sookie’s smile fell and she said, “It’s never going to happen.”
“Why not?” he asked her, but Sookie’s smile returned in a bitter sort of way.
“It’s my turn,” she cut him off and then asked, “If I’ve have vampire blood, can a vampire influence my dreams as well as my emotions?”
Now that was quite the question, and one Eric wasn’t sure he had an answer for. He studied Sookie for a moment before he said, “I honestly don’t know. Since Pam is the only human I’ve given my blood to, besides you, I can’t be sure. I suppose it’s possible if the vampire that has given blood is aware the human who is hosting it is asleep. The feelings the human has can be manipulated then as well as when the human is awake.”
He hoped Sookie would offer more information, and was rewarded when she confessed to having strange dreams since first taking vampire blood the night after she met Bill. It was a story Eric hadn’t heard before, so he was curious to hear it all.
“The night I met Bill he was attacked by drainers,” Sookie started, and Eric’s eyebrow rose. “They were a couple of white trash morons who were able to lure him out of Merlotte’s. I knew they were drainers because I overheard the man, Mack Rattray, thinking about how much money he could make if he sold Bill’s blood. Sam pulled me toward the back and told me to stay away from Bill because vampires were dangerous and blah, blah, blah. I was just so excited that I couldn’t hear his thoughts that it outweighed the danger. Hearing nothing after a lifetime of hearing everything was a big deal for me. Then I came out and Bill was gone. So were the Rattrays, so I ran outside to make sure he wasn’t bein’ drained.
“Only when I got to the parking lot they had silvered him and started an IV to begin the draining process. They got a few bags of blood out of him before I got there. I managed to get them away from him, but then the next night they decided they wanted payback for me ruinin’ their plans. They nearly beat me to death, and if it wasn’t for Bill showin’ up when he did, I would have died. He gave me his blood that night to heal me since I don’t have insurance, and I don’t know if I would have even lived long enough to make it to the hospital. But after that I started havin’ all these dreams about Bill, and I was doin’ things in these dreams that weren’t like me.
“The dreams were scary and pretty intense,” Sookie admitted, a faint blush rising on her cheeks and Eric guessed they were sexual in nature by her embarrassment, but he said nothing. “I hadn’t had one in a while but then I had your blood in Dallas and I started having them again.”
“Did those scare you too?” Eric asked her out of curiosity, their tit for tat game put on hold for the moment since he found himself interested in this potential side effect of vampire blood.
“No,” Sookie said, and he knew from her blood she was being truthful. “No, the dreams I had that you were in…” she trailed off and her embarrassment rose again. “They were… I felt safe in them. You weren’t scary or mean, and you never tried to bite me or coerce me into doin’ something I didn’t want to do. They were completely different from the dreams I had of Bill.”
“Interesting,” Eric said with sincerity. “I can tell you now that I didn’t influence your dreams. This is something I’ve never heard of, but I can certainly do some checking into it to see what we can discover.”
Sookie smiled and said, “I would appreciate that. I don’t know if it even matters, but it’s something that’s been botherin’ me lately. I started havin’ the dreams again in the last couple of days, so I’m wonderin’ if maybe they aren’t all comin’ from me.”
Eric was about to answer when he sensed the presence of another vampire nearby. His head turned, and could feel Bill approaching. Sookie whispered Bill’s invitation to the house, and it was no surprise when Bill entered the house without knocking.
There was tension in the air that was only intensified by Bill’s appearance. He leaned down to kiss Sookie’s cheek, and just barely nodded an acknowledgement Eric’s way.
“Before we get started would you like a blood, Bill?” Sookie offered him politely.
“No, I think I’ll wait until Eric leaves to feed,” Bill said rather confidently.
Eric smirked and restrained himself from laughing. He felt Sookie’s emotional prickle at Bill’s insinuation. If Bill thought he was ever feeding from Sookie again, he had another thing coming to him. Eric stood suddenly and crossed the room to give Sookie and Bill their space.
“I’ll be just outside, Sookie,” Eric said respectfully, and then walked out of the house.
He could hear everything clear as day and Sookie started by saying, “Bill, have a seat. There are some things we need to discuss.”