Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
Meredyth Nicole, I absolutely loved your review, and incorporated your ideas into this chapter…I hope you don’t mind.
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Thank you to all of my readers that reviewed (the last chapter or all the ones before all at once, I’m talking to you Jade012, AlwaysMazzy, and Hael2009) on FF. I try to reply to every review, and I want you to know that if I could, I would reply to every single one of you signed up as ‘Guest.’ I loved every single one! Thank you! I might just make it to 1,000!
The most exciting words I have ever read:
‘We loved your story, and I’m delighted to offer you a contract for publication. I’m so excited for you!’ –Signed by the managing editor for Liquid Silver Books.
That means I’m going to be published. Want to read more about it? Visit my book blog (you can find a link in the left column titled Orchids for Lila). 😀
Sookie’s POV (in Eric’s body)
When Fangtasia finally closed, I was relieved. I cradled Eric’s head in his hands and rubbed his temples. What a night.
“They’re not all this bad,” Pam said as she touched his shoulder. “Some nights are worse than others…”
I turned and looked at her. “Why did he come here? He knows I can’t control myself! What was he thinking?”
“I don’t know what he was thinking,” Pam said thoughtfully. “Maybe he was in the area.”
“And he just decided to stop by and drive me crazy?”
“Why are you torturing yourself? If you want him, go be with him.”
“I can’t!” I yelled. Ginger and Chow stopped what they were doing and stared at me. I growled and then slumped back into the chair. “Four more days. Then it will be safe.”
“And after four days…then what?” Pam asked, raising a delicate eyebrow.
“And then I go talk to him. Really talk. I had it all wrong. Had him all wrong,” I mumbled, talking more to myself than to her. “All this time, I thought he was an ego-centric, high-handed asshole.”
“He is.” Pam stared at me.
I laughed. “Maybe…but he’s more than that. He’s also thoughtful, caring, and he has always taken care of me. No one has ever done that before.” It was so hard to admit that out loud. It made me ashamed of my past, ashamed for being someone that no one wanted.
“He is,” Pam said again, but softer. “He would kill me if he knew I was telling you this, but,” she paused and looked around suspiciously. When she spoke again, it was in a whisper. “He has wanted you from the moment you met.”
I scoffed. Why would she be whispering about him wanting to jump my bones? As far as I could tell, Eric had plenty of conquests.
“I don’t mean that he wanted to use you. I mean that he wanted you to be his.”
I stared at her, and then I remembered the conversation Eric and I had before my meeting with Andre. He had mentioned a blood bond as a possibility, and now, by the way Pam talked, it was something that he always wanted with me.
“That’s a big fucking deal, Sookie,” Pam added. “The last person he had a bond with…was me.”
I opened his mouth and stared at her in disbelief. “He wants to turn me?”
Pam shook her head. “Not necessarily. That was my decision.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“Look, all I know is that he’s been obsessed with you for months now, and he wants you. That’s really something. You shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss his feelings.”
“I’m not dismissing anything…I didn’t know he had feelings for me…well, besides the wanting to have sex with me feelings.” I paused and then asked, “Is he in love with me?”
Pam narrowed her eyes. “What do you think?”
I shrugged. “This is why we need to talk. I’ll tell you one thing…I’m done being in his body! His job sucks!”
Pam laughed and laughed. “It kind of does, doesn’t it? I don’t know how you’re coping with it, without feeding and fucking. That’s how he usually relieves stress.”
“I would rather not.”
“Suit yourself. As for me…I’ve got a little of both on my docket for the night, although by now, Mel is sure to be asleep. I know just what to do to wake her.” She gave me a fangy smile. “See you tomorrow night?”
I nodded. “Sure. I’ve got nowhere else to go, and it beats sitting around clock watching.” I took an unnecessary breath. “Thank you Pam, for helping me process…”
She smiled and then left.
I lingered at Fangtasia long after everyone else had left, cleaning up and putting things away. I needed something to keep myself busy.
As I inserted the key into the lock, I made a mental note not to inhale while I was in his house. I didn’t want a repeat of last night with the box o’ Sookie.
I undressed and sat down on his bed. I could already feel the sun pushing against me, and knew sleep would claim me in a few minutes. I relaxed against the pillows and felt like crying. The last time I slept in this bed, Eric was with me. He was drunk and smelled terrible, but none of that mattered when he wrapped my leg around his body.
I missed him, and didn’t know how I was going to get through the next four nights without him.
Pam knew I would be in desperate need of a distraction, so when I showed up at Fangtasia the following night, she had a project all lined up for me.
“Take a break from his Sheriff duties tonight, and work on this,” she said as she pointed to a pile of paperwork in his office. “These are all the receipts for the past year. Eric and I both hate filing, so it is a real mess. They need to be sorted chronologically.”
“Thank you Pam,” I said, and I meant it.
She laughed and shook her head and left me alone.
I worked for three hours straight, and by the time I took a break, I had twelve piles of paperwork on the floor: one for each month. I was only a quarter of the way through the pile.
Pam smiled when she saw me and beckoned for me to join her on the stage.
“I thought you said vampire’s don’t smile,” I whispered out of the side of his mouth.
“Not as a rule.” Pam chuckled. “How’s it going?”
“Making progress. Thank you for the distraction. Although…” I gave her a worried look. “I’m going to finish tonight.”
“Don’t worry. There’s more tedious paperwork for tomorrow and the next day…and the next. Did I mention I don’t like paperwork?”
I nodded. “I don’t mind it. How’s it been out here? Anyone need to see me…I mean Eric?”
“One vampire came to check in. I told her to fuck off.”
I stared at her.
Pam laughed again. “Not really. I told her to come back tomorrow. Don’t look so shocked!”
I smiled at her, and when I noticed a fangbanger watching us, I turned and growled at him. “Go think of a three-way with someone else!”
He jumped and looked at me like I was crazy.
I was used to that look. As if I was the crazy one…he was the one thinking it!
“You heard him!” Pam barked at him.
The fangbanger scurried away.
“I don’t know how you deal with that.” Pam touched the side of her head. “It’s bad enough seeing the look on their faces, but to hear the thoughts that go with it must be brutal.”
“It is, although it’s not as bad as when I was little. I had no filter at all, and didn’t understand that I was special. How do you explain to a four year old that the things they hear aren’t spoken out loud, and that they shouldn’t repeat them?” I shrugged Eric’s shoulders. “Being around vampires is a very welcome break.”
“What do I sound like?” Pam asked leaning closer to me.
“Nothing…like a big blank hole.” I paused. “I would love to get rid of it, but I know it will never happen. Anyway, Andre would be mad if I did, since I work for him now.” I gave her an uncomfortable smile. “He gives me the creeps!”
“I know what you mean. But he is devoted to Sophie-Anne.”
“That’s supposed to make it better?” I scrunched up Eric’s nose.
“Well, no, but I admire their relationship. They have been together for over a millennia.”
I thought about it for a minute. “I can’t even imagine being alive for that long…let alone in a relationship with someone for the entire time.”
Pam smiled. “The last century has certainly made living more worthwhile, what with airplanes, running water, electricity, and fabulous shoes.”
I scowled as she mentioned the shoes. “I can’t believe Eric, spending so much money on shoes for me.”
“They’re for him…for now. You should thank your lucky stars that you will inherit them after you switch back…however that might happen.”
I looked away. I had a pretty good idea about how to make it happen, but it would have to wait until after my body was done smelling so irresistibly good.
Only three more nights.
True to her word, Pam had another filing project lined up the next night.
I was buried in a mountain of statements when someone knocked on his office door.
“Sheriff?” a woman’s voice called out. It wasn’t Pam.
I looked up and stared into the face of a beautiful brunette.
“Pam said I should come back tonight to talk to you…but if you’re in the middle of something…” Her unassuming manner set me at ease.
“Not at all. What do you need?”
“I just moved into the area and wanted to check in.”
“Where about?” I asked.
“A little town called Bon Temps, it’s not too far from here,” she explained.
I smiled. “I l…have a good friend that lives in Bon Temps. What part of town do you live in?”
“Near the old Bellefleur mansion.”
She smiled at me. “Wow, you really know your Area, don’t you?”
I shrugged. “Let me know if you need anything, and be careful. Bon Temps is filled with lots of people just waitin’ for a reason to stake a vamp.”
“That seems to be the case in most places!” She laughed. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Sheriff Northman.”
“Charlotte Moorland,” she added.
“Pleasure meeting you Charlotte.” I nodded to her just before she slipped out of his office.
I should have guessed that all vampires weren’t like Vinnie and Dan, and Charlotte was as different as the night was long.
I wondered how Andy and Portia liked having an undead neighbor. I bet they didn’t even know. I made a note to check on her the next time I was in Bon Temps…after I talked to Eric, obviously.
Eric really did seem to care for me, and did plenty of things that were nice enough to make me think that he did have feelings for me that extended beyond lust and stalking.
Bill had never made me feel treasured like that. He made me feel wanted, but only in a sexual way.
Eric was different. He seemed to want me…all of me. And that was something I wasn’t used to.
The fact that Bill treated me just like everyone else was one of the things that helped me heal from the wound he gave me. His honesty was heartbreaking, but not surprising. Bill was no different than the people I interacted with at Merlotte’s, I was just fool enough to honestly believe him when he said he loved me.
Now I could see what love really was.
I kept myself busy the next two nights, sorting, filing and organizing everything in Eric’s office. Pam brought in a labeling machine, and I went to work labeling folders and cabinet drawers. I felt satisfied when I finished.
After Fangtasia closed for the night, Pam came into check on me and she was impressed with my progress.
“You could do this for a living, you know,” Pam said with her hands on her hips, taking in the sight of his organized office.
“I could get business cards that read ‘Sookie Stackhouse, Telepath and Organizational Expert.’” I laughed.
“It could happen. I might just hire you to take care of my personal paperwork…”
I raised an eyebrow at her. “It’ll have to wait. I’m going to talk to Eric tonight, so I won’t be coming to work.”
“I really hope you work things out. You are both ridiculous.” She rolled her eyes.
“I know,” I admitted guiltily. “Believe me. No one is more ridiculous than me…but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and I know just what to say to him.”
It turns out that I didn’t.
That night, when I flew to my house, I landed quietly and had to stifle a gasp when I saw what Eric was doing.
He was hunched over the flowerbed just under my kitchen window, delicately moving soil around and burying pretty little annuals around the bottoms of my over-grown rose shrubs. It seemed like he was wearing my bikini under the lightweight cover-up I used for trips to the pool.
I leaned back against a tree and watched him work. I thought vampires hated working, and I had never seen or heard of any of them literally getting their hands dirty! I was so touched by this kind act that I forgot I didn’t need to breathe. I inhaled deeply and the scent of the freshly turned earth made me smile. It also confirmed that I had waited long enough to come see him. Eric made it through an entire period.
I had no intention of disturbing his work, so I waited until he was finished before I moved.
He clutched at my chest and was breathing deeply. He gave me a startled and worried look, but didn’t leave when I walked over to him.
I’m still trying for the 1K Viking Club, so please review it here to help me get there. As you might have guessed, the next chapter is going to be a lemon fest (finally!). So let me know how much you want to read it.