It dawned on Sookie when she woke up alone the next morning that she had not only agreed to go on a date with Eric Northman (and that was strange enough on its own), but that she had nothing to wear on said date. All of the clothes she’d brought with her were geared toward lazing about or working at Merlotte’s. She needed to go home and pick up a few more things befitting a night out. Not to mention, since she’d made a deal to stay in an undisclosed location until their bond was completed, she was going to need more clothing as well.
Or the date will go really well and I’ll never want to wear clothes again, she thought with a slight blush creeping up her neck. She reflected on the night before, and even though they had gotten off to a rocky start at Merlotte’s, the night ended much better than she ever could have imagined it would. While it was true they hadn’t shared much about themselves before lust clouded their agendas, she had learned a little something about Eric. The fact that he was willing to share the little things about himself was a big deal to her.
Bill always wanted to glaze over those small details that probably didn’t make much of a difference in the end. Lord knew a favorite color wasn’t something a person could be defined by, but it was part of what made them who they were. Bill didn’t want to know her favorite foods, what she liked to do in her spare time or talk about the books she read. Whenever Sookie tried to bring those things up it felt like he was indulging her chatter, the way a parent would with a hyper-verbal child.
But Eric not only listened, he participated in the conversation. He was curious about her life and wanted to know her. Eric had explained that his frustration with her the night before had more to do with her not protecting herself adequately than anything else. He was also plenty pissed off at Nora for going over his head like that, and she suspected Nora would get an earful for her treachery.
Did Nora really think Eric wasn’t going to find out that she’d made a visit, or proposition Sookie?
She reached for her cell phone, which Eric had to teach her how to use since there were all sorts of capabilities she had with the new phone she hadn’t with her old one. The old one, as a matter of fact, had been quite literally smashed to pieces once Eric helped her convert all of her contacts to the new device. He wasn’t taking any chances, even though he hadn’t found any bugs or wires that didn’t belong on the old phone. She pushed the button to activate the touch screen, and then entered her four digit pin number to gain access to the phone.
A picture of Moli was her current wallpaper, although Eric had graciously offered himself as a model should she ever tire of looking at the puppy. Would you believe he even offered to pose nude? His modesty was astounding at times, as was how pink Sookie’s cheeks could get if she put too much thought into the suggestive comments he made to her. Her phone made a little digging noise, and the mail icon was bouncing on the home screen.
She opened the message, wondering how she’s gotten registered for an email address, but that mystery was quickly solved by the email she’d received since it was from Eric.
Good Morning Sookie,
I hope you don’t mind I took the liberty of starting an email address for you. Email can be quite a convenient way to keep contact with people. I use it frequently for a great many things. This will also allow me to leave you notes… the mind abounds with possibilities there.
I’ve added Bobby Burnham’s email address to his contact information so that if you have something you wish for him to do, or if there is something you require, you can send him your requests. He knows to do as you command as if the orders came from me directly.
When I rise this evening I will return to pick you up. I did a little research before going to rest this morning, and it was brought to my attention that most women need time to adequately prepare themselves for a date. While you aren’t the terribly fussy sort, I assume you would prefer to wear something other than those wonderful, tight pants that make your ass look positively biteable. I considered opening a charge account for you at a local boutique that allows for shopping online, but I suspect you would only be angered by such a thing. Therefore, we’ll take a trip to Bon Temps later so that you can pick up the things you need for the next few days.
If I am allowed a request, I would ask that you wear a skirt of some sort. You have beautiful legs, Sookie. You should show them off more often.
Until dark, lover.
Parts of Eric’s email certainly made her flush a bit, and none of his language had really crossed a line. Then again, she suspected Eric didn’t have a line. She set the phone aside, and when she sat up, Moli’s head popped up.
“Morning, Moli,” Sookie reached over to pet the dog.
It was strange to wake up without Eric out cold next to her. Something felt wrong about it, and that gave her pause. She continued to pet the puppy until her bladder could no longer wait for her to get out of bed. Sookie went to the bathroom and Moli followed behind her. A few minutes later she was waiting for the coffee to finish brewing while she started making a list on the notepad feature of her phone so she wouldn’t forget anything when they went to Bon Temps later.
Sookie spent the majority of the day up on the roof with Moli, basking in the sunlight and playing with her dog. She sent text messages to Jason and Lafayette to give them her new phone number, and then called Sam. When she made her deal with Eric the night before, she had done so without consulting Sam about time off. Her heart sank at the realization that she was, yet again, abandoning him for a vampire. It wouldn’t surprise her in the least if he let her go for this, but it couldn’t be helped.
“Merlotte’s,” Sam said when he answered the phone.
“Hey, Sam, it’s Sookie,” she said brightly.
“Hey, Sook, how’s it going?” he asked.
“Alright. Um, do you have a minute to talk?”
“Yeah, sure, let me go back to my office, though,” he said, and then put her on hold.
Moli was asleep at her feet, her snow white belly exposed to the sun, almost like she was sunbathing the same as her owner would. Sookie couldn’t help but smile at the mental picture of her dog trussed up in a bikini. It was a ridiculous notion.
“Okay, I’m here,” Sam said a moment later.
“So, I talked to Eric last night, and with everything going on I think it’s better if I’m not in Bon Temps very much right now,” Sookie started. “I know I just got back to work, but—”
“You need time off,” Sam interrupted her. Somehow, he didn’t seem surprised.
“Yes, I do, and I understand if you have to let me go,” she told him. “It’s not fair for me to keep putting you through this, Sam. You have a business to run and it doesn’t revolve around my demands for time off. You need someone reliable to be there when they’re scheduled and—”
“Sook, slow down a second,” Sam interrupted her again. “Eric called me about this already.”
“He did?” Sookie asked, caught off guard by the confession.
“Yes, he did. He explained the situation and he offered to send me one of the waitresses from Fangtasia who would be willing to work days to cover your shifts,” he said.
“Oh,” Sookie felt relieved.
“So barring this waitress doesn’t know what she’s doing, you’re covered for as long as you need. You still have a job here whenever you’re ready to come back,” Sam told her.
“Are you sure about this, Sam?” Sookie asked apprehensively. “I mean, I know this puts you in a bit of a spot. Even if she’s an experienced waitress there’s still training, and on top of that she’s not used to the locals…”
“It’ll be fine. Besides, it’ll give Arlene someone new to gossip with,” Sam pointed out with a laugh.
He was being much more supportive than Sookie had anticipated he would be. He hadn’t reacted in an outright negative way when she told him what was going on with Eric, but he hadn’t exactly pushed her to move forward with it either. The fact that he was saying nothing negative at all now made her wonder just what it was, exactly, that Eric had said to him the night before.
“Did Eric threaten you or something?” Sookie asked suspiciously.
“Surprisingly no,” Sam answered, and she wished she was in the room with him so she could peek into his mind to make sure he was telling the truth. “Eric explained the situation to me and just how dangerous things are for you in Bon Temps right now. I don’t want you to get hurt any more than you already have, chér.”
Sam’s sincerity was sweet and she was glad that he was being reasonable about all of this.
“I wish there was a better option for you than Eric, but he seems genuinely concerned about your wellbeing. I never thought I would say that,” Sam confessed.
Sookie snorted and said, “Believe me, I know what you mean. Listen, my cell number changed so I’ll give you my new one. That’s probably the only way we’ll be able to contact each other for a while.”
She gave him the number and they chatted for a few minutes until Holly came in to talk to Sam, so he had to go. She hung up and then gathered up Moli to take her inside while she showered. Sookie was ready and waiting when her phone rang just before sunset. Eric’s name and picture flashed on her phone. That charming smile of his sparkled back at her, and she her heart skipped a beat when she realized she’d missed him all day. Even though he would just be lying in bed, waiting for the sun to set at least he was close by.
“Good evening, Eric,” Sookie said when he answered the phone.
“Good evening,” he returned her greeting. “How was your day?”
“Very nice, thank you. I got a lot of thinking done, and I’m also going to have to play around with this email stuff since I’m not used to it,” she said with a smile.
“I will happily play with you. I’ve gotten quite good at writing dirty limericks,” he said in that teasing, yet seductive tone of his.
“No nasty talk,” Sookie said, although not as strongly as she would have liked.
“Of course not, lover,” he said so that she could hear the smirk on his face. “Will you be ready to go shortly?”
“I’m ready now. Should I meet you on the roof or in the garage?”
“No, I’ll come to the penthouse. We’ll need to take your and Moli’s things with us when we go, so we’ll go in the SUV,” he told her.
“What about my car? Isn’t it ready yet? I haven’t heard a thing from Tray,” Sookie said.
“I’ll check in with him,” Eric said. “I’ll be leaving here as soon as the sun sets, so I’ll see you shortly.”
“I’ll be waiting,” Sookie promised, and a moment later they hung up.
She went back to the bedroom to make sure she had everything all packed up, and then went to go empty Moli’s food and water bowls and washed them out. Moli was getting better at following commands, and Sookie had to admit she was enjoying little bits of Eric’s native language here and there because of it. Maybe someday she’d learn the whole language if Eric had the time and patience to teach her how to speak it. It would almost be like they had their own secret language since there were so few who would know it. Old Norse was one of the dead languages, after all.
Sookie was sitting on the couch with Moli at her side, watching television, when the secret door leading to the freight elevator and roof opened, and Eric appeared. He was dressed in black jeans and a black t-shirt. He looked good enough to eat, and she figured he knew how she felt when his smirk claimed his lips.
“Ready to go?” Eric asked from the doorway.
Moli jumped down off the couch and ran over to him, her little tail wagging and her head craning for pets, which Eric stooped down to give her. He spoke to Moli in Norse, and she whimpered her responses to him. They were a little too adorable for the comfort of Sookie’s ovaries.
“I’m ready,” she turned off the TV and stood up.
Eric assumed most of her bags while she leashed Moli for the ride down to the car. Eric was just sliding into the driver’s seat beside her in the SUV when his phone rang. He pulled it from his pocket to see an unidentified number calling him.
“Northman,” he answered, but Sookie couldn’t hear the other side of the conversation. “Yes, she’s with me. One moment,” he held the phone to Sookie.
“Who is it?” she asked.
“Nora,” he said, and she took the phone.
“Hello,” Sookie said when she took the phone.
“Sookie, have you reached a decision?” Nora asked.
“Yes, I have,” Sookie said without any hesitation or nervousness. She and Eric had discussed it at length the night before and had come to a conclusion together that they were both comfortable with.
“And?” Nora prompted.
“And after discussing things with Eric I have decided that I’m not going anywhere near Bill Compton until Eric and I have completed our bond. I don’t know when that will be, but when it happens Eric will contact you. Until then, any requests you have for me will go through him first. As my future bonded, I trust his judgment,” Sookie told Nora.
There was a pause before Nora said, “This is very disappointing news, Sookie.”
Before she could respond, Nora hung up.