Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest. I must thank SeriousCrush for her help and encouragement. All remaining mistakes are my own. Erica S inspired Sookie’s Present. Erica, I hope it’s everything you wanted.
The story begins before the great Revelation and then gets right into Dead Until Dark…except I’ve moved things around a bit to suit myself.
Sookie’s Present is told mainly from Sookie’s point of view. And since I wrote it as one continuous short story, I had to pick the best places for chapter breaks, so the length of each chapter is inconsistent.
Also, because of recent crackdowns on fanfiction, I will NOT be posting any MA content on their site, not even for a couple of days. So, if you really want the good parts, you better stick with my wordpress.
Chapter 1: Mardi Gras
“Dawn, are you sure this is a good idea?”
Dawn was drumming on the steering wheel to the beat of the music. “Of course it’s a good idea. What better way to celebrate your birthday? Mardi Gras is a party like nothing you’ve ever seen before. It’s also the best place to treat yourself to your special present.” She winked.
Sookie grinned. “A very special present.” She’d been waiting her whole adult life for this special present: having sex. Bon Temps wasn’t the right place for that. New Orleans, on the other hand, was the perfect destination to be wild and anonymous.
Dawn patted her leg. “I’ll help you find someone. Don’t worry. We’ll be staying on Bourbon Street. Right in the middle of all the action. Last year I got forty-four necklaces. This year, I’m aiming for fifty.”
“Fifty?” Sookie swallowed hard. Dawn really knew how to party.
“Yep.” She nodded. “Maybe once you get a little booze in you, you’ll get some too.”
Once they checked into their hotel room, Dawn opened her suitcase. When Sookie saw what was inside, the huge piece of luggage made sense. It was filled to the brim with costumes.
“What do you want to wear? I’ve got a devil, angel, fairy, a bunch of wigs, this leopard-printed body suit, and face masks.” Dawn covered the bed with various outfits. “The parade starts soon, so we should get ready now.”
Sookie ran her fingers over the silky material of the fairy costume. “I like this one.”
Dawn smiled. “Good choice. Here are your wings.” They were tiny and purple, just like the rest of the costume.
While Sookie was deciding if she should let Dawn use the bathroom first to change, Dawn stripped, and slipped into the devil costume. The neckline plunged almost to her belly button. “I need to fix my makeup, and then I’ll be ready,” she said as she left the room.
Alone, Sookie undressed, but unlike Dawn, she left her panties on. The fairy costume hung from one shoulder in silky tiers across her body, hugging her curves and accentuating her breasts. The skirt brushed against her knees in jagged points.
“That looks great on you!” Dawn’s eyelids were covered with red glitter that matched the sequins on her short red dress. A red headband with horns on it was buried in her dark hair. “Do you want a face mask, or fancy eye shadow?”
Sookie sorted through the masks and found a purple one that matched. “This.” She tied it around her head. “Well?”
“You look perfect!” Dawn rummaged through her suitcase for another minute and then she pulled out two tubes of lipstick. “One for me, one for you.”
Sookie cocked her head as she opened it. It wasn’t lipstick at all. There was a spray nozzle hidden under the cap. “What is it?”
“Pepper spray. Just in case your special present goes south.” Dawn tucked hers into her red sequin clutch. Sookie did the same.
Dawn hooked her arm through Sookie’s. “We’re ready.”
The noise from the parade was insane. People filled the street and the balconies above. Music blared from various places, blending into a jazzy-electronic medley. The mask limited Sookie’s vision and her neck began to ache from having to turn her head to look around. Panic gripped her at one point when she realized Dawn wasn’t next to her anymore. It only lasted for a moment, because Dawn pushed through the crowd with two towering drinks in her hands. They were neon green.
Sookie sucked on the straw and a mixture of sweet and sour filled her mouth. “Thanks!” she shouted over the music.
“Happy birthday! Woo!” Dawn took a big drink and then held her hands out to a float going by. Beads flew through the air, right into her waiting fingers. “I’ve got ten already. You need to catch up!”
Sookie smiled. With each sip, the noise from the crowd became a little more muffled. Better yet, she wasn’t assaulted with random thoughts like she normally was. Her limbs were comfortably numb. Dawn tugged her this way or that, taking her to one balcony after another.
“Thirty!” Dawn said.
“How are you keeping track?” Sookie closed her eyes and swayed with the music.
Dawn bumped into her. “I’m gonna get another drink. Want one?”
Sookie shook her head. “No, I’m just right.”
When Dawn came back, she was holding hands with a man. “Look! I found a cute guy. He seemed like the perfect present.” She winked with both eyes.
“I thought you were getting a drink.” Because of her slightly fuzzy brain, Sookie had to focused on the guy’s face so she could listen for a minute. Nothing out of the ordinary: he wanted to have sex with Dawn. “He’s not for me. He’s for you.”
“Are you sure?”
Sookie nodded. “Don’t worry, I’m looking.”
Dawn smiled. “Come on, I need more beads.”
The man smiled at Sookie. “I’m Brian.”
“Hi Brian. I’m Sookie. That’s Dawn. Dawn, cute guy’s name is Brian,” she said into Dawn’s ear.
“I know. He introduced himself like a proper gentleman.” Dawn scrunched up her nose and grinned. “Now we just need to find one for you.”
Sookie nodded. It was the only thing she wanted for her birthday, and she wasn’t about to lose her nerve.
Dawn shook her body at the balcony above them, making the sequins on her dress dance. Necklaces rained down on them, and when Sookie leaned back to grab one, the heel of her shoe slipped off the sidewalk, beginning her accent to the street. Her arms flailed as she fell, and she squeezed her eyes shut, but the collision never came. Instead, strong hands cradled her body. Long fingers wrapped around her hips and around her neck. When her eyes finally opened, her face was inches away from the most beautiful man she had ever seen.
“Do you make a habit of falling into strangers’ arms?” His voice was smooth as glass and warmed every fiber of her being.
Sookie smiled. “Do you make a habit of catching falling women?”
“Women, yes. But I’ve never caught a fairy before.” His eyes danced.
A giggle erupted out of her throat. “The wings aren’t real.”
“Sookie are you okay?” Dawn’s voice cut through the intimate space that enveloped them.
It was then that Sookie realized how high off the ground she was. The man lowered her body effortlessly, placing her on the ground. Her body ached to be held again and her head spun as her vision tried to catch up. She looked up to his face and opened her mind to him. She blinked. Silence. She narrowed her eyes and focused. Silence again. Maybe she was drunker than she thought she was and had imagined the whole thing. She frowned and touched his chest. His rock-hard chest. He was real all right.
The corners of his mouth lifted as his eyebrows rose. “Nice to meet you Sookie.”
“Who are you?” Her forehead was still furrowed.
“Who are you, Eric?” She repeated.
“The man who caught you.” His gaze never wavered.
Dawn tapped her shoulder. When Sookie faced her, Dawn’s thoughts bombarded her, so she answered a few of them. “I’m fine Dawn. This is Eric. He saved me.”
“Brian and I are ready to go. Is he your present?” Dawn was inches away from her face.
Sookie’s breath caught in her throat as she nodded. He was gorgeous and silent. What more could she ask for? “You two go ahead. Eric and I are going to talk. Are you going to be okay with him?”
Dawn nodded and patted her tiny purse. “I can take care of myself. Can you?”
Sookie smiled. “Yes.” Something about him was different and she was going to find out what it was.
“See you at the room later,” Dawn said before she pulled Brian away.
“You’re not going with your friend?” Eric stood, unmoving. His crisp dress shirt and his perfectly pressed black slacks made him stand out like a sore thumb among the crowd of costumed drunkards.
Sookie shook her head. “No.” She took a step closer to him. “You don’t look like you belong here.”
“I just came from a meeting. I was looking for a bite to eat, and you fell into my arms.”
“Thank you for catching me. I really appreciate it.”
“It was my plea—” His words were cut off by an impromptu musical performance in the middle of the street. He held his hand out to her and led her away from the crowd down a side ally. “As I was saying, it was my pleasure.” He lifted the mask off of her head and smoothed her hair out of the way. His fingertips were cool against her heated skin.
Surrounded by his silence, she closed her eyes and reveled in it. “Are you still hungry…” She gestured to a restaurant nearby.
“Very.” He closed the gap between them and nuzzled the base of her neck.
Warmth shot through her body. “There’s something different about you.”
Eric inhaled, covering her body with goose bumps. “There’s something different about you too.”
The noise around them was more noticeable than ever. The only thing she wanted was to have him alone in a quiet place. A private place. “Do you want to come with me to my hotel room?” She struggled to say every word, but when they came out, she knew they came from a place of truth.
Sookie fought through the crowd until she got back to Bourbon Street. Eric was only a step behind her the entire way. She could tell by his quiet presence. Her heels clacked down the hallway to her room, but he didn’t make a sound. She stopped outside the door and pulled her key out of her purse. Her fingers brushed against the pepper spray. Just in case.
Eric caressed her hips. “Are you sure you want me to join you?” His breath licked her ear.
“Yes. Please come in.” Her throat was suddenly very dry. She leaned backward against his hard body and moaned when his fingers wrapped around her ribs and pulled her firmly against him. Something hard pressed into her back. She shuddered.
The key was still in her hand. She chuckled softly and opened the door. “We should go inside.”
“Mm hmm.” He hummed against her ear.
Sookie swallowed hard and stepped into the room. Being away from his touch was an unpleasant feeling and she planned to fix that as soon as she could.
Eric walked in casually, closing the door slowly behind him. His face was impossible to read, like his silent mind.
Sookie’s heart was pounding. She was disarmed for the first time in her life. She rambled whenever she was nervous. “It’s my birthday. Dawn and I came down. I live a few hours away, and we thought it would be a good place to celebrate. You know?”
Eric nodded. “Happy birthday. How did you intend to celebrate?”
“With you.” Her voice was a bare whisper, but he still heard her.
“It’s my present to myself. My special present.”
“What makes it so special?” Eric’s eyebrow arched high on his forehead. His eyes danced.
“I’ve never, um, been with a man before.” Sookie was staring at her hands, which twisted together.
Eric touched her chin. “That is very special.”