Chapter 8: Ride the Cliche

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Eric landed outside his house and walked at human speed from the backyard to the front of the house. There was a regular lock mechanism in the door, but it was just for show. The only way to unlock the door was with the scan of a thumb print and a numerical code that had to be entered. Eric looked over his shoulder, purely out of habit, and then went through the procedures to get into his home.

He owned a fair amount of real estate all over the world, but in his area alone he had four houses. As he stepped into his main home he decided it was time to look into purchasing something out near Bon Temps. It was presumptuous of him to assume that Sookie and Bill would no longer be a couple in the near future, but given all he had learned that night it seemed a distinct possibility. Eric headed to his home office and started up his computer.

With Sookie’s car disabled for at least the day, he sent a task list to his day man to have a suitable temporary car brought to Sookie’s home before sunrise since he didn’t know when she would be working next. Eric owned somewhere around a dozen vehicles, all of them in excellent condition. He instructed Bobby to select the least offensive of the vehicles—something an ordinary woman might want to drive- and have it brought out to Bon Temps for Sookie to use.

Eric was fully prepared for the lecture he would more than likely receive for sending the car to her but it seemed like the right thing to do. He also requested that Bobby look into properties in, or around, Bon Temps. Bobby didn’t have to find a house necessarily, but at least a plot of land that would be Eric’s. He could always build a house on it. In fact, given the current state of the economy, such a project might be quite a boost to the small town in Renard Parish.

There was also the matter of arranging a meeting with the queen, but that was a request best made personally. Sophie-Anne didn’t respond well to requests from humans unless there was something rare or valuable they could give her in return. So when Eric was finished with Bobby’s to-do list, his next email was to the queen to request an audience with her. It was still a bit of a mystery as to how Sophie-Anne had been able to seize the throne from the previous king of the state. There were whispers that she had been assisted by the Authority, and was merely a puppet.

Of course none of that could be proven, but it was strange that a vampire much the former king’s junior had been able to best him all on her own. Sophie-Anne wasn’t particularly crafty or cunning, and from what Eric could tell her greed was her biggest weakness. Her greed had a tendency to make her careless. Whenever she set her sights on something there was tunnel vision until she attained whatever it was she desired.

On the flipside, it also made her ruthless.

Sookie had been evasive with him, but he supposed that was to be expected. After his computer was shut down Eric went to his daytime resting place and pulled one of the vile TruBloods from the little refrigerator he kept in there. He had tasted Yvetta once and it was enough to let him know there was nothing extraordinary about her blood. He didn’t crave it, nor did he much care for the taste of her. She was good for exactly one thing and it was unfortunate that Sookie had walked in to witness it.

That reminded him he owed Pam a little payback for her earlier stunt. Pam was very well aware of his feelings where Sookie was concerned. In fact, since Godric met the True Death, she’s the only person living or undead who knew. She knew of his confusion, affection, frustration and longing for the little telepathic barmaid, but that didn’t mean she understood it. The hunger for Sookie’s blood was understandable.

Sookie was sunshine personified, and Eric knew just from that one little taste he had gotten that there was also fire in her. He was still curious about why she had come to him, but in the end he supposed it didn’t really matter. She had shown him trust, and he had to wonder just how much damage his little stunt at the end of the evening really had set him back. She was disappointed in him when she ordered him out of the house, but he also knew there was a part of her that was excited by his presence.

She had a beautiful body. So young, firm and tan… and her scent… Gods, he hadn’t smelled anything that wonderful in centuries. Humans like Sookie Stackhouse didn’t just pop up every day. She was something quite unique, which he had suspected from the moment he laid eyes on her. Eric recalled seeing Sookie moving around the bar with Bill at her side even before Pam had come to him to mention Sookie was in their midst.

Pam had given him the most basic information about Sookie—her age, address, whatever information was printed on her driver’s license. Eric remembered thinking there was no way he would ever find anything but rednecks out in Bon Temps, and he was mostly right from what he could gather. Sookie was the diamond in the rough, and he wondered what had brought her to his bar. At first he’d suspected that perhaps Bill was just trying to rile him and flaunt his tasty snack, but then he’d heard Sookie asking questions about a couple of fangbangers that had been murdered.

As long as it didn’t happen in his club Eric didn’t really give a shit what had happened to the women, and it sure as hell wasn’t his problem. Yet, the murders got his interest if only because he was curious as to why Sookie cared about them. What was her stake in solving the crimes? He didn’t get the impression she was a cop, but then she’d known about the raid. Bill had been right to shake his head in warning to Sookie when Eric asked how she had known about the raid, but Sookie had been truthful.

Eric took his TruBlood over to the sofa and stretched out on it. He closed his eyes and replayed every single conversation he’d ever had with Sookie Stackhouse. She was a fiery one, and as frustrating as it was it was also an incredible turn-on. The only person to sass him these days was Pam and even she was careful how far she took it. She certainly wouldn’t ever think to raise a hand to her maker, but Sookie hadn’t thought twice about it.

Her instincts were strong, but unfortunately they were all wrong for someone who was going to survive in his world. Or were they?

She had taken initiative in finding out the truth of her fairy lineage, and it was obvious that she was shaken by it. Eric found himself wondering if Bill was aware of this unexpected surprise in Sookie’s blood. It would certainly explain a lot of things. Any vampire worth their fangs would be quick to put a claim on Sookie just because of her looks and scent alone, but then throw in the taste of her blood and her little gift? She was practically a vampire’s wet dream.

It felt like there was something more he should be doing to win her over, but it was confounding to him as to why he wanted Sookie’s affection. Sex would have been wonderful, and her blood… yes, he wanted that too, but it was something else he wanted from her that bothered him the most. For so long Godric had told him that having feelings for a human was a mistake, and letting them lead a vampire was a sure way for the vampire to wind up meeting the True Death. Eric took his Maker’s teachings very seriously—they were words to live by.

But then Godric met Sookie, and it was quite clear that she had wormed her way into his heart pretty quickly. Godric had seen the same charm and spark in Sookie that Eric had. There had been a change in Godric, however. In the last few years of his life he had become quite introverted, and the news that he had volunteered himself to meet the sun was a complete shock to Eric’s system. He couldn’t figure out why Godric would want to meet the True Death.

Perhaps, more importantly, it forced Eric to realize how lonely his existence was going to be without Godric. Yes, in his long life Eric had amassed a wide network of associates and acquaintances that he could count of for various things, but the only person he could really share anything with was Pam, and he was even guarded with her at times. Godric was the only one Eric felt completely comfortable laying himself bare before. There were no words to express what he had lost when Godric met the sun.

Even if Sookie had asked about it, he didn’t think he could possibly explain how painful it was to lose Godric. Yet, he wanted the chance to try. His intuition told him that if anyone would understand his feelings, it would be Sookie. No matter what emotion she was feeling at any given moment, there was always an underlying sadness that never seemed to leave her. He knew about the death of her beloved Grandmother.

After their first meeting at the bar Eric had taken no chances, and had sent an investigator to do some digging around in Sookie’s past. He hadn’t learned too much since Sookie lived a fairly simple and quiet life before vampires became a part of it. Eric knew of her parents’ death when she was a child, and how she had come to live with her grandmother; he knew about the disappearance of her grandfather and that he had been presumed dead for the last twenty or so years. There was whispering about a scandal with another family member when he was suddenly banished from the Stackhouse family property. Sookie had graduated high school, never had many friends and had worked several dead end jobs before being hired as a barmaid at Merlotte’s.

From what the investigator could gather, her first contact with a vampire had been Bill Compton shortly after he checked in and requested permission to reside in Area 5. None of the information the investigator could provide pointed to any clear cause for the melancholy Eric felt in Sookie’s blood, but he was actually glad for it. He would much rather hear it straight from her.

Eric’s phone rang and he wasn’t the least bit surprised to see Bill’s name flashing on the screen. In fact, he was wondering what had taken Bill so long.

“Northman,” Eric answered his phone.

“I just thought I should warn you that Sookie and I will be traveling soon. I have an assignment that will take me out of state, and I have asked Sookie to marry me,” Bill said in that haughty, annoying accent of his that grated on Eric’s nerves.

Eric smiled in the darkness and said, “Sookie didn’t mention an engagement. Are you sure she’s responded favorably?”

There was a pause before Bill once again reminded, “Sookie is mine, Eric.”

“You’re beginning to sound like a broken record, Bill,” Eric said with boredom, although in his mind he saw the image of a billboard with Sookie’s picture and those very words spray painted on it.

She would love that.

“Why are you informing me of this?” Eric asked, since Bill didn’t need his permission to leave the state.

“Because you have a deal with Sookie, and while I don’t support it I know that Sookie will take that into consideration when I inform her of the assignment,” Bill said with a hint of annoyance.

“Sookie is quite the loyal human, isn’t she? So rare in a breather,” Eric remarked.

“Cut the shit, Eric,” Bill said sternly. “You haven’t exactly hidden your interest in her. Just what is it you want with Sookie, anyway?”

“The list is long, Bill, very long. I suspect you, better than anyone, would know what’s on that list,” Eric continued to smirk, and envisioned the rage on the toddler vampire’s face.

“Stay away from Sookie,” Bill hissed, and then hung up.

Eric chuckled and hung up as well. Dealing with Bill really was like dealing with a small child, but since he didn’t quite seem to understand there were consequences for his actions that made Bill dangerous. Even worse, it made him a threat to Sookie. Unfortunately, until Sookie relinquished any claim that Bill had on her there was nothing to be done about it.

As much as Eric didn’t like Bill, he wouldn’t break vampire protocol. The best thing Sookie had going for her was the fact that Bill hadn’t formed a blood bond with her. Although, he supposed, there was a distinct possibility Sookie didn’t know what such a thing was. If that was the case, she needed to know before Bill formed with her without her consent. Considering what Bill had lied about before, it wouldn’t be too surprising if that was precisely what he was planning to do.

If it wasn’t so close to dawn, Eric would had flown back to Sookie’s. As it was, the sun was just about rise and there was no time. All he could do was hope that Sookie would be home at sundown and Bill hadn’t gotten to her yet.

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