Sookie wasn’t sure about whether or not going to Eric was the right move, but he was the only vampire she was remotely close to trusting. True, Eric had given her reasons to consider his motives as far as his interest in her, but she also had to wonder if maybe Bill’s bias had colored her own judgment. From all Sookie could tell, vampires were a possessive breed. They were quick to claim something as their own.
If she had it to do all over again, Sookie wondered if she would have agreed to Bill’s claim that she was his that first night at Fangtasia. She had spent more time than she wanted to admit thinking about the night she met Eric. It was obvious every woman in the bar was attracted to Eric. Because she had eyes, Sookie was no different. There was something almost magnetic about him. Once her eyes met his it was hard to get them to look elsewhere.
Yet, she was also a little intimidated by the vampire. There was something that felt almost forbidden about him. He had an aura of danger that clung to him, and Sookie had internally snickered at the idea that Eric was the exact kind of man that Gran had warned her about. He was ridiculously good looking, had way too much charm and had she been glamourable there was no doubt he would have done just that and had his way with her. Even more disturbing was that there was a part of her that wondered if she would have enjoyed it.
Sookie stared down at the ring that was resting on her finger and wondered how much longer it was going to be there. It was a beautiful ring, but it wasn’t at all what she wanted to wear for the rest of her life. It was too big, too flashy for a girl like her. If she had to guess the diamond was at least three carats. While diamonds might be some girls’ best friends, Sookie didn’t quite feel that way. She much preferred the idea of wearing Gran’s engagement ring, which was far simpler and definitely didn’t have the same sparkle as the ring Bill had given her.
“Laf, what about the vampire who took you? Why did a vampire take you?” Sookie asked him as they headed for Shreveport.
“Sellin’ V finally caught up to me,” Lafayette said simply. “The source I was gettin’ my product from went missin’, and somehow they were able to trace it back to me.”
“You didn’t… you aren’t a drainer, are you?” Sookie asked hesitantly, unsure of how much more bad news she could handle in one night.
“Hell no,” Lafayette said immediately. “The vampire that was lettin’ me take his blood… we had an understandin’, for lack of a better term.”
The lift of his eyebrow told Sookie there was something romantic entangled in there somewhere, and it was none of her business. She didn’t really want the details anyway; she just wanted to be sure that he hadn’t killed anyone.
“What happened while the vampires had you?” Sookie asked him.
“You don’t want to know,” Lafayette said, and the way he cringed told Sookie he was probably right, but she felt like she needed to.
“Who was the vampire that took you? Did you know her?” Sookie asked.
Lafayette sighed and said, “The one that came into Merlotte’s with Eric that one time.”
Sookie’s jaw dropped. If Pam had taken Lafayette, she had done so under Eric’s order. That meant Sookie had been in Fangtasia while Lafayette was down in the basement and she’d had no idea he was there. Oh, Eric was going to get an earful for this just as soon as she got things straight with Bill.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Lafayette asked when they came to a stop outside of Fangtasia.
“I don’t really have a whole lot of choice in the matter. Eric is the closest thing I have to a vampire I can trust,” Sookie shrugged.
Lafayette leaned over the front seat and hugged her tightly.
“Will I see you again?” Sookie asked, her throat clogging with emotion.
“Maybe someday. For now it’s best if I stay gone and let heat die down a little,” Lafayette said and then pulled back. “Sook, I…”
“You don’t have to say anything,” Sookie put her hand on his. “Thank you for coming to me, Lafayette. You may have saved my life.”
“Ain’t that some fuckedupness?” he snickered and shook his head.
“Take care of yourself, okay?” Sookie said with concern.
“You too, hookah. Oh, and watch out for my fool cousin. Her mouth has a tendency to write checks her ass can’t cash,” Lafayette reminded Sookie, who lifted the corner of her mouth in an awkward smile.
“Don’t I know it,” she sighed, and then climbed down from the truck. “Drive safe.”
“I will,” Lafayette promised and waved to Sookie as she closed the door.
Sookie watched Lafayette drive away and then walked into the crowded bar. She was almost immediately face to face with Pam and it was for the better that Lafayette hadn’t gone in with her. From the look of things Pam was only slightly amused to see Sookie standing there alone.
“I was just thinking I could use a late night snack,” Pam looked Sookie up and down.
“I’m sure there are plenty of people willing to provide that for you, Pam,” Sookie sighed, being in no mood for any of Pam’s flirting or innuendos.
“I’m sensing bitterness instead of your usual sunshine and sweetness,” Pam’s eyes finally met Sookie’s. “What’s that about?”
“I need to speak to Eric. Is he here?” Sookie glazed over Pam’s commentary and question.
“He’s around,” Pam’s eyebrows danced.
Sookie inhaled sharply and asked, “Well, could you get him for me? This is important.”
Pam’s eyes went to the ring on Sookie’s left hand, and Sookie quickly folded her arms to hide the ring from view. The last thing she wanted was to discuss her relationship problems with Pam, assuming Pam would even ask. More likely than not, Pam would make some snide comment about Eric being the better vampire and Sookie just wasn’t in the mood to hear it.
“Follow me,” Pam crooked a finger and led Sookie through the crowd.
The last time Sookie was there was after the Maenad attack. It still mystified her as to how she ended up owing Eric a favor when she had been scratched as a message to him. Damn supernatural creatures, and now, maybe, she was one of them! At least in part. Until Sookie read those letters with her own two eyes she wasn’t going to believe anything.
Pam led Sookie through the door to the hall that would take them to Eric’s office. Pam didn’t bother knocking when they got there; she just threw the door open to reveal a trashy looking woman with streaked hair and fake breasts bouncing on Eric’s lap at an inhuman speed. Sookie gasped and averted her eyes. The bouncing stopped, as did the accompanying slapping sound.
“Pam,” Eric growled.
“She said it was urgent,” Pam shrugged, a coy smile playing on her face as she appreciatively eyed the woman on Eric’s lap. “I’ll be happy to entertain Yvetta for you while you entertain Sookie. Perhaps then we could trade.”
“I’m not here for entertainment,” Sookie said pointedly.
Eric spoke in a language that Sookie didn’t understand, but then moments later the woman on his lap stood up and walked toward the door on shaky legs. She smiled at Sookie and followed Pam down the hall to another door. Sookie looked into the office and gasped again at the sight of Eric bent over while he retrieved his pants from the floor.
Her eyes shifted away, but traveled back again without her permission. Eric took his time putting his pants on and when he turned to face Sookie it was obvious he was still quite aroused. She couldn’t get herself to look him in the eye.
“What brings you here so late, Sookie? I don’t suppose it’s just to let me taste you,” Eric took a seat behind his desk.
“Not on your life, mister,” Sookie folded her arms over her chest again to keep her engagement ring out of his view.
Eric smirked and gestured to the chair across from him. “Sit, please.”
“After what I just saw, I think I’ll stand,” she stepped into the office and closed the door.
“Suit yourself,” Eric leaned back in his chair.
“I’m here because I need answers. You told me in Dallas that I could trust you, and then you pulled that stunt after the bombing. I really don’t know what to think when it comes to you but right now I’m in a sticky situation and you’re the only person I can think of that might be able to help me get out of it. This could be the difference between life and winding up undead, Eric. Will you help me?” Sookie pleaded with him, her eyes searching his, hoping that he wouldn’t jerk her around for an hour before finally giving her what she wanted.
Eric looked her up and down, taking in her posture and the desperation in her eyes. He had noticed the sparkly ring on her left hand and knew what that meant to a human. Being the opportunist he was, he figured now might be the perfect time to get what he had been waiting for since the moment he met her.
“Talk,” he said, and waited for her to speak.