Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest. All mistakes are my own.
It was her last day off. Tomorrow would bring a dinner shift at Merlotte’s and the stress of being around other people. On one hand, she couldn’t stand to be alone, too afraid something was going to happen to her. On the other hand, she didn’t want to be around anyone. Well…anyone but Eric.
Just thinking about him made her relax.
Out of habit, she checked for mail, which was silly, because it was still on hold. What she found on her front porch made her heart pound in her chest. Her luggage. The only piece she owned. The one she had taken to Dallas.
Bill must’ve come home. Sookie peered through the trees as if she could see his house from her front porch. When did he drop it off? He didn’t even say hello. She chided herself for even thinking that. She was still so angry at him. Seeing him was out of the question.
While she unpacked, she noticed everything had been shoved inside haphazardly. No note, no apology, no gifts. She sighed. Would an apology letter do any good at that point?
Sookie got in her car and drove to town. She had bills waiting for her at the post office, and she couldn’t pretend to be gone any longer. It was nearly lunch, so she took her pile of mail to a diner where no one would talk to her. Or so she thought.
As she was sorting the important pieces from the junk mail, Jason plopped down in the seat across from her and ordered a sandwich and beer from the server.
“Hey Sook. How was Dallas?” He radiated big brother protection.
“It was…” Sookie took a deep breath. How could she answer that? She had been kidnaped, nearly raped, rescued, watched an ancient vampire meet the sun, and been part of a terrorist attack. “Fine,” she said finally.
“What’s with you and Bill?” There it was, the question he had been trying to figure out how to ask her.
“I got mad at him. We haven’t talked for a few days.”
“Why?” Jason leaned forward.
“He broke a promise to me.” He killed an innocent kid. Not that he cares about that.
“He was seen over in Monroe last night.” Jason winced when he said it. Obviously terrified to be the bearer of bad news.
“With someone else?”
He nodded. “Yes.”
Jason took a deep breath. “You’re not going to believe this. Portia Bellefleur.”
Sookie’s mouth hung open. Not only had Bill moved on, but he’d also moved on pretty damn fast…with her complete opposite. Tears filled her eyes and she buried her face in her hands.
“I’m sorry Sook, I didn’t mean to make you cry. You’re better than them. He’s the one who’s missing out. Not you.” He touched her hand until she looked at him. “We may not have money, but you’re nicer and prettier than the whole Bellefleur family put together.”
“Thanks.” Maybe he’s wrong. Jason’s been known to get things mixed up. She sniffed and dabbed at the corners of her eyes with her napkin. “How’d you know I was here?”
He shrugged. “I didn’t. Just stopping in for lunch and there you were.”
“How are things with Liz?” she asked. Anything would be better than talking about and thinking about Bill.
“Going great.” He grinned. “We’re real steady.” He proceeded to tell her how good he was doing at not looking at other women, as if he wanted to be rewarded for being monogamous. Sookie laughed. Her brother was a piece of work, but a welcome distraction from her shitty life.
Before they parted he apologized for telling her about Bill.
It hurt, she couldn’t deny that, but at least she would be prepared for when she saw them together.
Sookie spent the rest of the afternoon keeping herself busy finishing projects at home. Even after everything she got done, she couldn’t unwind. The shadows around her house poisoned her mind, filling her with dread. Every noise set her on edge.
With her keys in her hand, she locked her house and drove to Shreveport. She smoothed her sundress in place and walked toward the front door. There was no sense in letting Pam find her again. She didn’t think her heart could take it.
There was a line outside, and as Sookie waited, she pulled her drivers license and money out.
Pam greeted her with a friendly smile. “Back for another visit to his couch?”
Sookie’s cheeks burned with embarrassment but she nodded and handed her the cover charge.
“I don’t think Eric would want me to take your money,” Pam said as she pushed the money back toward Sookie.
“Thank you Pam.”
The bar was noisy, just like it had been the night before, but Sookie didn’t mind. She moved through the crowd toward Eric, letting his calm wash over her. Her shoulders relaxed and by the time she was standing in front of him, she was downright drowsy.
Eric had been watching her approach with obvious pleasure, but Sookie was too tired to chastise him. She spent the day on an emotional rollercoaster, and that had taken a toll.
“Can I go to your office and lay down?” Sookie whispered.
Eric beamed. “Of course. I’ll escort you.” He stood, towering over her, and then they walked down the hall.
Sookie ignored the glares shooting across the room at her by every human in the building and followed him. Once they were alone, she looked at her feet. “I’m sorry to show up like this again.”
“Don’t be. You are always welcome.” He gestured to his couch and then tidied the paperwork on his desk, turned the light off, and said, “I will make sure no one disturbs you.” And just like that, he was gone.
She sat down and yawned. She couldn’t fight her fatigue anymore and stretched out on Eric’s couch. The leather warmed under her body, lulling her to sleep.
He’s here. I can feel him, even though we’re separated by a giant chasm. Sookie stood on one side, Eric on the other. She fixated on his mouth, wishing it were on her. Kissing, sucking, and licking. But he was too far away, and no matter how much she tried, she couldn’t reach him. Just a little farther…
Something jarred Sookie. Her hazy mind woke slowly, piecing together her surroundings. Eric’s scent intoxicated her. She had been sleeping on his couch, having a frustrating dream, but had apparently fallen off onto the lumpy floor, and when she shifted her body to sit up, the ground moaned.
Her hands spread out, coming in contact with a hard body. “Eric?”
“Mm hmm,” he answered, inches away.
No wonder it smells so good in here. “Why am I on top of you?” Her knees dug into the carpet on either side of him, her skirt stretching between her thighs as it inched up her legs.
“Because you can’t resist me.” She could hear the smile in his words.
She scurried away from him and fumbled with the light switch. It blinded her. Squinting through a gap in her hands, she looked at the floor a few feet away, where Eric was still stretched out, hands behind his head. His fangs jutting out from the bottom of his lip. He was staring at her legs. She couldn’t help but notice the bulge in his jeans. She had bumped it in her exodus. Just thinking about her body pressed against his made her head swim.
She walked carefully to the couch so he couldn’t see up her dress, sat back down, and closed her eyes. Did he know about her dream? It was the same one she’d had the night before. Both times she’d ended up sleeping on him. Maybe that’s why she was having those kinds of dreams. Normally, Bill was the lead in her dreams. She sighed and opened her eyes again. Eric watched her with amusement. “I was on the couch, and then, I wasn’t.”
“You rolled off. Good thing I was here to catch you.” He pushed himself up on one elbow.
“You had nothing to do with that?” She narrowed her eyes. She wouldn’t put it past him.
Eric laughed, revealing the full length of his fangs. “I was tempted.” His smile spread. “What were you dreaming about?”
She swallowed hard. “I can’t remember,” she lied.
“Sounded nice. Better than the nightmares you’ve been having.”
So much better. Time to change subjects. “Why do I sleep so well when I’m here?”
Eric shrugged with one shoulder. “It’s a very comfortable couch.”
“Thank you for sharing it with me.”
“Will you be back tonight?”
Sookie shook her head. “I work the closing shift at Merlotte’s for the next week.” She sighed. “I should get home. It’s late.”
“Early,” he corrected, and then he stood and stretched. It was a sight to behold. “It’s almost dawn.”
As she left, pain tugged at her heart knowing she wouldn’t be able to come back for a while. I wonder if Eric feels the same way.
Eric consumed her thoughts for rest of the day and into evening, which was good, because if she thought about how long her shift was without the promise of sleep that night, she would’ve cried. She managed to avoid answering most of Sam’s questions by bringing up the Dallas shifters. He didn’t seem interested for some reason, and finally gave up asking her about her trip and the fading bruises on her face. Nothing much changed in Bon Temps, so it only took her a few minutes to get caught up on the latest gossip with Arlene.
Everything was going well until Bill walked in at midnight with Portia on his arm.
Stupid Bill…on to Stay: Chapter 6