While Sookie remained up on the roof with the dog, Eric activated her new cell phone and programmed in the important numbers she might need to have, starting with his own. Pam’s and Bobby’s number followed, and finally, there was Roman. Roman was a vampire seated in the Ministry, a board of vampires much older and more powerful than the Authority. The Authority’s reach was only as far as North America. Each continent seemed to have its own version of the Authority, but the Ministry governed all of them.
Because there were meetings and summits amongst the higher powers, Eric was sure that Nora and Roman had crossed paths many times. While slightly unpredictable, Roman wasn’t a bad vampire to have in one’s corner. Once they were bonded, the protection that Roman had pledged to Eric long ago would extend to Sookie as well. The favor came from an unfortunate incident centuries ago that included a long story that ended with Eric saving Roman’s life. Twice.
Moli came skittering into the penthouse and sat at his feet with her face pointed up toward his. Sookie closed the door and paused when she saw Eric sitting on the couch. He held up the phone he had just programmed, and motioned for her to come closer.
“I’ve programmed the important numbers into it that you didn’t already have. I downloaded a GPS application that will allow me to pinpoint the location of the phone should I not be able to find you by blood, for some reason,” Eric handed Sookie the phone when she sat beside him. “I would strongly advise that you only give this new number to the people who absolutely need to have it. Your brother, Merlotte, the witches…”
“Thank you, Eric,” Sookie said politely, but the guilt she was feeling was troubling to him.
“What’s wrong, Sookie?” he asked her.
She set the phone aside and said, “I don’t want you to think that I’m taking my time with the bond because I don’t appreciate all that you’ve done for me, or because I don’t care about you. I wasn’t expecting my feelings to change where you’re concerned, but they have. I know I have a lot to learn about you, and maybe that’s what’s holding me back.”
“What do you want to know?” Eric asked her.
“I don’t know,” she shrugged. “Anything… everything…”
It pleased him to hear her say that, although there was no way to put it all into a single conversation over the course of a couple of hours. A thousand years of living took a lot of time to put into order, but he would gladly tell her stories if she wanted to hear them. He certainly had plenty of them to tell.
“Right now, at this moment, what would you like to know?” Eric tried again.
“Your favorite color,” Sookie said simply.
Eric chuckled and said, “You could ask me anything and you wish to know my favorite color?”
“Yes. You don’t know what mine is either,” she pointed out.
It was a simple thing, but he realized she was correct. Sookie was quite simplistic when she wanted to be. Flashy, opulent things offended her rather than impressed her. When he thought about that it stood to reason that Sookie would be more interested in his favorite color than where he would next like to travel to. Although, she might be surprised by that answer as well.
“Red is my favorite color,” Eric told her, although he would have thought that would be obvious. “The dress you wore the first night you came to Fangtasia… it was all I could not to tear it to ribbons right there in front of everyone.”
Sookie gasped at his admission, but her blood told him it was a response spawned by desire and not genuine surprise. That was favorable.
“What is your favorite color?” he asked in return.
“Yellow. It’s cheerful, bright and it reminds me of the sun,” she explained, although he could have guessed that information on his own. “I assume red has something to do with blood?”
“In part,” Eric agreed. “But it was my favorite color before I was turned. It hasn’t changed in over a thousand years.”
“So you are capable of commitment,” Sookie joked.
Eric captured her chin gently with his fingertips and turned her face to his. “You will find, as time goes on, that my loyalty is unwavering to those who are worthy of it.”
Sookie nodded slightly and Eric let her go.
“Anything else you wish to know?” he asked her.
“What was your first car?”
Again, he was surprised by her question, but it made him smile.
“My first car was a Stingray. It was gift from Pam back in the 1960s,” he told her. “I still have it, but it’s in storage.”
“You have a car in storage?” Sookie’s eyes widened.
“I have several,” Eric smiled. “Would you like to know how many? I can get you a list.”
The talk of money and assets had Sookie freezing up a little bit.
“Sookie, as I told you once we’re bonded, what’s mine is yours,” he reminded her.
“I have nothing,” Sookie whispered, but Eric heard her loud and clear. “I have nothing to offer in return.”
Again he captured her chin and said, “This isn’t a match based on who has more assets, Sookie. I have more than I will ever need in my lifetime. It will be nice to have someone to share it with.”
Her eyes water and asked, “Are you bonding yourself to me just because you’re lonely?”
“Sookie, if companionship was the only reason I wanted to bond myself to someone, I think I would have selected someone with less baggage,” he teased, and she slapped his arm.
“Very funny,” she tried to look angry, but he knew she wasn’t offended.
“I chose you because you intrigue me, and that is not an ability I have found in any other human. At this point in my life there aren’t a great many riddles left, but you, my Sookie, are an enigma,” he told her.
“I’m not that complicated,” Sookie argued, which got her a raised eyebrow from Eric. “I’m not!”
“Perhaps,” Eric said in a very noncommittal way.
“Then what do you want to know about me that will help unravel the mystery you think I am?” Sookie shifted on the couch, and Eric could tell she was genuinely willing to share things with him.
He’d be a fool not to take advantage of this openness.
“What are your favorite things to do in your down time?” he asked her.
“I like reading, sunbathing, baking and now playing with Moli,” she said without hesitation.
“Do you have a favorite book?”
“Gone With the Wind,” she said, again without hesitation.
“Is that right?” he asked, even though he wasn’t particularly surprised when he considered it for a moment.
“Yes, it is, and I love the movie just as much. I think I’ve seen that movie more than any other,” she admitted.
“See what I mean about you being an intriguing woman, Sookie? Most women of your age wouldn’t be so taken with such an old story,” he told her.
“Gran used to say that she thought maybe I was born in the wrong time,” Sookie laughed quietly, and a coy smile started to play on her lips. “I’ve always been attracted to old things…”
His brows lifted again with her little jab at him, but when he reached over to tickle her, Sookie squealed with laughter.
“Eric!” she gasped for air between giggles, but quickly found herself trapped underneath him with her hands pinned over her head while he tickled her. “Eric, stop!”
“Old man, huh?” he paused his tickling, only to grind his hips against hers to let her feel what her playfulness and laughter had done to him.
There was a flash of lust in her blood that was quite gratifying to him, and when he looked deeply into her eyes he saw the lust reflected there. She wanted him, there was no denying that, but her head, heart and body were at war with one another trying to make a decision.
“Let go, Sookie,” he whispered to her.
“You’re the one holding my hands,” she smiled, trying to dodge what he was telling her.
“You know what I mean,” he rubbed against her again, and the whimper that escaped her was enough for him to dip down and capture her lips with his.
Sookie kissed him back and when Eric let go of her hands, her arms wrapped around his neck. Her legs wrapped around his waist as the kiss continued. Eric forced his fangs to stay put because he knew the second they came out Sookie would be teasing them with her tongue, and any resolve he had would be lost.
When the kiss broke, Sookie gasped for air and Eric continued to trail kisses along her jaw until he got to her ear. “I have an idea,” he whispered to her.
“What’s that?” she asked, her eyes closed and a slow smile spread across her face.
“We’re going on a date,” he told her, and Sookie’s eyes popped back open as shock flooded her.
“You’ve been on one before, yes?”
“Yes, I have… have you?” she looked at him curiously.
“You, dear Sookie, will be my first,” he admitted, and kissed the corner of her mouth. “Assuming you agree.”
She thought it over for a moment and then said, “Why Eric, I’d be honored.”