Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
Thanks to Meridian for looking this over for me. ❤ All mistakes are my own. Padore, if you’re reading this, I hope it’s just what you wanted!
Sookie stretched and bumped into Eric’s still body. She smiled as her memories of the previous night came back to her. When she flipped on the light, she noticed the straps she’d tightened around him still remained attached to his wrists. He kept his promise. All night long. She quickly unhooked him, knowing he’d need to move when he woke that night. It took considerable effort to push his arms down, and he stirred in his deep sleep. A pulse of love came through the bond, reminding her of their new connection. As he slipped back into unconsciousness, the bond went silent, leaving a hole inside her.
She slipped on one of Eric’s massive shirts and shuffled into the hall. When she got into the kitchen, she frowned. “We didn’t go shopping, I’m hungry, and I promised I wouldn’t leave.” That’s when she spotted Eric’s phone sitting on the couch. “I can’t leave, but I can have food brought to me!” She flipped through the phonebook to the restaurant section. After ordering, she pulled pants on, got money out of her purse and stood at the front door, peering through the crescent window.
Fifteen minutes later, a beat-up car pulled up in front of Eric’s house, but the driver didn’t get out. Sookie’s stomach growled as she waited. An uneasy face peeked at her through the windshield. She opened her mind and listened and shut out his overwhelming thoughts a second later. He seemed to be in the throws of a full-blown panic attack. Over delivering a pizza.
She shook her head and stomped down the front path toward his car, stopping on the grassy strip between the sidewalk and curb. As she reached toward the passenger window to knock, a faint electrical currant caressed her hand. That was when she remembered the protection spell and the bubble that surrounded her. She also thought of how queasy the poor delivery guy must be.
He rolled his window down and thrust the flat box through the opening. “That’ll be thirteen fifty.”
She took the pizza with one hand and gave him the twenty-dollar bill with the other. “Keep the change.” It’s the least I can do.
His eyes went wide and then he blanched as another wave of nausea overtook him. “Thanks.”
The second she pulled her hand away from the car, he took off, leaving a cloud of vile-smelling fumes behind. She held her breath as she walked toward the house, and when she inhaled again, the scent of cheese filled her nose. Her stomach growled again.
She watched T.V. while she ate, passing the hours with the shows she never had time to enjoy. Eventually, her eyes ached from staring at the screen so long, so she changed into the bikini she brought with her, grabbed a towel and went into the backyard.
A six-foot tall wooden fence surrounded the meticulously groomed grass, giving her plenty of privacy as she stretched out in the spring sun. She covered her eyes with her arm and basked in the warmth. After a while, she rolled onto her stomach, letting the rays turn her skin a dark golden hue. When the sun no longer reached her, she went into Eric’s room, waiting for him to wake. She didn’t have to wait long.
She could feel him before he spoke. Like something buzzing away in the background; something warm and fuzzy filling her heart with joy.
“Did you have a good day, lover?” he asked without opening his eyes or moving.
“It was a nice, lazy day. I haven’t had one of those in a long time. I’m hungry again, though.” She crawled onto the bed with him.
His eyes opened and his forehead creased. “We didn’t … get … food for you,” he said haltingly. He seemed to be drinking in the sight of her exposed body.
She shrugged. “I ordered pizza. Poor delivery guy looked like he was going to throw up. The spell definitely works.”
“You’re wearing a bathing suit.”
“I did a little sunbathing. You know, indulging my sky fairy roots.”
“I wish I had been able to see it.”
“I don’t think it would’ve been worth the third-degree burns.” She laughed and snuggled against him.
“You smell divine.” He inhaled deeply and cupped her ass, dragging her body on top of his. His hard cock pressed against her covered sex.
“Don’t you need to go to work tonight?”
He sucked on the skin at the base of her neck and hummed. “Mm hmm.”
“How much time do we have?”
“I don’t care.”
She couldn’t fight with that kind of logic, especially when he moved her tiny bikini bottoms to the side and then dipped a finger inside her.
“It feels good to touch you. I didn’t realize how much I would miss that,” he whispered as he started thrusting inside her. “You made me want you more, which I didn’t think was possible.”
She gasped for breath when he curled his finger and pressed his palm against her clit, rubbing it in slow circles.
“I can tell you like that,” he said, smiling and revealing his fangs. “I can feel your pleasure building.” He twisted his wrist, only contributing to the growing tightness inside her. He closed his eyes and moaned. “Come for me.”
Sookie clamped her mouth shut and felt every muscle in her body tense as her orgasm washed over her. She whimpered when he withdrew his hand, but gasped again when he thrust his cock inside her.
“Fuck,” he said, half words, half growl. He gripped her hips and moved her quivering body to meet his thrusts, each more powerful than the last.
Her breath came out fast and ragged and then she leaned over to kiss him, filling his mouth with the sounds of her pleasure. He pushed his tongue past hers at the same moment his dick swelled inside her, filling her again and again.
She collapsed against his chest, cooling her cheek with his skin. “Whoa. That was intense.”
Eric murmured his agreement while caressing her body.
“You’re going to work tonight, right?” Pam called through the bedroom door.
He grunted and then shouted, “Yes!”
“Good. I have things to do.”
“I have things to do, too,” he whispered, beginning to move his hips.
Sookie stopped him, propping herself up to look down at him. “I don’t want to be a distraction. I was afraid of this happening. In your attempt to keep me safe, I’m interfering with your regular life.”
“I don’t give a fuck about my regular life,” he growled.
“I do. And so does Pam. She’s counting on you.” She pushed up and off his body, her legs shaking. Her whole being ached to be with him again, but she fought it. She could feel him calling to her through the bond, summoning her. “Stop it.” She whirled to face him. “I know what you’re doing.”
“And you’re going to resist me?” he asked, smiling sweetly.
She returned his smile. “Yes. It’s time to go to work.”
He rolled his eyes and huffed. “Fine, but I’m not happy about it!” He continued to pout all the way through their visit to the grocery store and as they unlocked the doors to Up All Night.
“Are you going to mope all night long?”
“Maybe. I wasn’t done.”
Sookie wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled his face down to hers so she could kiss him. “Neither was I. I’m not going anywhere,” she reminded him.
His shoulders relaxed eventually, and he deepened the kiss. When they parted, he led her down the hall to his office and swept his hand around the room.
“Yep, this is your office, I’ve seen it before.”
“I know you have. I want you to stay here.”
“There’s no way in hell I’m going to sit in your office all night.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “What am I supposed to do? Read Business Weekly magazines?”
“Do you have a better idea?”
“Yeah, as a matter of fact, I do. You could hire me to clean up this dump.”
Eric frowned. “It’s not a dump.”
Sookie raised her eyebrow, challenging him. “Really? What do you call that?” She pointed to the pile of papers strewn across his desk.
“I suppose those are all important papers.”
“They are!” he answered defiantly.
“Too important to file?” she asked, cracking a smile. When she laughed, Eric’s frown disappeared.
“I hate filing,” he grumbled.
“Well then, this is your lucky day, because I happen to enjoy it.”
He took her hand in his and shook it. “You’re hired.” His other hand snaked around her body, cupping her ass.
She grinned and then narrowed her eyes. “I don’t want you getting any ideas about me. Just because I work for you doesn’t mean you can violate the employer-employee relationship.” She pulled her hand out of his and poked his chest. “You got it, mister?”
He nodded solemnly, trying to smother his smile. “Understood.”
“Good, now go on and git. I’ve got work to do. Put these groceries in the fridge under the bar while you’re at it,” she said as she handed him bags of food and shooed him out of the office, the sound of his laugher echoed down the hall.
She sat in his chair and her feet dangled above the ground. After a slight adjustment, she could roll wherever she needed inside the room. She opened the to-go containers she’d gotten for dinner and ate while she worked. The stack of papers on his desk took two hours to sort. With everything in tidy stacks, she walked down the hall to get Eric.
The smile on Ginger’s face faltered when she looked at Sookie, but thanks to the infusion of Eric’s powerful blood, she didn’t even have to try very hard to block her thoughts.
“Mr. Northman, can I see you in your office for a moment?” she asked, trying to be as professional as possible.
Eric hurried around the end of the bar and followed her. When they got to his office, his face fell. “You really need my help? For work?”
She nodded. “I do. Where is the key to your filing cabinet? I want to see how you’ve got previous years sorted before I go any further.”
“Uh…” He pulled a key ring out of his pocket and slowly unlocked the cabinet, pulling the middle drawer out. Papers thrust out every which way, crammed in tightly. “It’s not exactly—”
“Good lord, Eric. This is a disaster!” She sighed. “So you don’t have files?”
He shrugged. “Sort of. This drawer is for expenses.” He closed it and opened the top one. “This one is payroll. This one—”
“Your accountant must hate you.”
“Probably, but he’s too terrified to say anything. You don’t seem to have that problem.”
She patted his shoulder. “It’s about time someone said something. Do you have file folders somewhere in this mess?”
He tapped his foot against an unopened box on the floor.
“Excellent. Leave it to me.”
After she shooed him away again, she pulled out the bottom drawer and got to work sorting. Her eyes and back ached by the time Eric poked his head in again.
She stretched. “I know it doesn’t look like much, but I’ve made a big dent.”
“I can see that. It’s time to go home.”
She frowned. “Already?” She glanced at the clock. Sure enough, it was a little after three in the morning. “Oh, well in that case,” she said as she stood and walked over to him, “you’re not my boss anymore.” She unbuttoned his jeans and grabbed his dick, squeezing it lightly. “Are we alone?”
Eric nodded and returned the favor of undressing her. Too impatient to wait, she wiggled her ass out of her jeans and bent over his tidy desk, wedging her pants around her knees. He spread his legs wide behind her and they both sighed when he pushed inside.
For the next twenty minutes, they filled the empty bar with the sounds of pure, unadulterated bliss.
“If every night ended like this, I wouldn’t mind working nearly as much,” he murmured against her neck before he kissed it.
“I think every night should end with this,” she panted against the smooth desk. A strangled sound escaped her throat as he pulled out and zipped up his jeans. “We should get a couch in here,” she said as she straightened her body and dressed.
“An excellent idea,” Eric said as he kissed her before they left his office. He held her hand tenderly, until they approached the door. She pulled the hood of her jacket over her head, as she had every time they’d been out together. His grip tightened and his fangs descended. Every muscle in his body tensed as they walked outside. He held her tightly and escorted her quickly to his car, his eyes scanning the parking lot and the sky above them.
He gripped the steering wheel so hard Sookie thought it would snap off in his hands. She kept her eyes on the side of the road, trying to find some sort of threat in the blur of trees passing by her window. She didn’t relax until they were safely inside the bubble of protection around Eric’s house.
Groceries in hand, Sookie headed for the kitchen and unpacked them, filling the barren cupboards with boxes, bags, and cans of food. Eric disappeared into his room as Pam came down the hall.
“How was work?” Pam asked, leaning casually against the counter.
“Busy. I spent the night organizing papers in Eric’s office.”
Pam snorted. “You’re a brave woman. Taking on a fairy is one thing, but taking on Eric’s disaster of an office is another.”
“I know, right? He’s such a slob!”
Eric cleared his throat. “I am not a slob. Everything worked out fine the way I did it.”
Pam and Sookie laughed at the same time.
“You’re ganging up on me. That’s not nice,” he chided.
“Okay, so maybe you’re not a slob,” Sookie conceded. “You’re just lazy.”
Eric shrugged and nodded. “That sounds more accurate.”
“How was your night off?” Sookie asked.
Pam smiled. “Great. I took Marie out, and then we came back here to fuck.” She paused. “Just so you know, it’s a good idea to invite someone into our house about a block away. I thought she was going to be sick, but the second I asked her to come in with me, she felt better.”
“Good to know. We wouldn’t want our protection spell to get in the way of you fucking,” Eric said, dryly.
Obviously ignoring him, Pam asked, “Are you working tomorrow too, since you had two nights off?”
“Yes, we’ll go in tomorrow, then we’ll go back to every other day.”
“Great. Have a nice night!” Pam grinned and started to head back to her room but stopped as she passed Sookie. She inhaled deeply and held her breath. She looked Sookie straight in the eye. “You smell like him.”
“Um…” Sookie looked away.
“Sookie and I are bonded,” Eric stated. “That’s why she smells like me.”
Pam cocked her eyebrow and smiled. “Staking your claim?”
“It’s not like that.” Sookie said. “We both wanted it. To be closer.”
Pam chuckled. “I’m happy for you.” She patted Sookie’s arm and walked down the hall.
“Are you tired?” Eric asked.
“Yeah, but you don’t have to come to bed yet, if you don’t want to.”
“I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to hold you.”
* * * *
Sookie slept through most of the day, hunger waking her in the late afternoon. When she rolled out of bed, she noticed Eric’s hand clenched tight around something. After trying to pry his fingers open unsuccessfully for a few minutes, she pushed a finger inside his palm. The tiny vibrations of fairy metal warmed her fingertip. She checked her pocket and found her knife there, so she assumed it was his medallion. Why is he sleeping with it in his hand? She frowned and then her stomach growled again, reminding her to eat.
She fixed herself a huge meal, ate outside in the waning sunshine, and then cleaned up the kitchen. With a rag and cleaner still in her hand, she worked her way down the hall to the bathroom, where she scrubbed furiously, making the faucet and sink gleam. She worked on the tub next, finishing just as Pam and Eric emerged from their rooms.
“You don’t need to clean,” Eric said, trying to pull her out of the bathroom.
“Sure I do. I’m contributing to this mess, and how are you going to get Beth to come clean? Someone would have to invite her in. Plus, what if she did come to work and then sees my stuff?”
Eric nodded. “True. I’ll call the agency and tell them I don’t need cleaning service this week, but that doesn’t mean you have to clean the whole house. Pam and I will help.”
“Don’t volunteer me!” Pam said indignantly.
“I could make you do it, if you prefer,” he said.
Pam huffed. “Fine. I’ll clean my own room.”
“And vacuum,” he added.
She rolled her eyes and mumbled something under her breath.
“I heard that,” Eric said, shaking his head as he watched Pam walk down the hall. “Did you get something to eat?”
“Yes, and I packed food so I can eat at the bar later. All I need to do is shower, and now the tub is clean, it seems like the perfect time to do that.”
“May I join you?”
Eric pushed the door closed and undressed, turning his attention to Sookie’s pajamas. Once they were taking turns under the stream of warm water, she asked, “Why were you sleeping with your medallion in your hand?”
Her question surprised him, she could feel it. “When I hold it, I dream.”
“Oh.” She turned to face him, but he wasn’t looking at her. “What do you dream about?”
“My human life.”
“Do you usually dream?”
He shook his head, but his gaze was still focused somewhere else.
“The medallion is waking up your human memories while you sleep?”
“Yes,” he blinked and looked at her. “Today, I dreamt of paddling a boat into lake Mälaren. It was so sunny and beautiful. I was … ten?”
Sookie smiled as she imagined Eric as a skinny boy, playing in the water. He didn’t say much until they left for work, and even then, it was to remind her to stay close to him.
“Sorry I’ve been so quiet tonight. I haven’t had that memory for centuries,” he said as he unlocked the front door to Up All Night.
“I understand, don’t worry, okay?” She kissed him sweetly. “I’m going to get to work.”
“Let me know if you need anything,” he said before walking behind the bar and getting things organized.
“Will do.” She went down the hall and picked up where she left off the previous night. After sorting for a while, the door opened. Eric strolled over to his desk and sat down.
“Everything okay?” she asked, sensing his unrest.
“Yes, just bored. Not a lot of business on a Thursday night.” He turned his computer on and smiled as the screen hummed to life. “Let’s see what Pam’s up to.”
“Eric! That’s a violation of her privacy!” Sookie’s mouth hung open.
“I won’t look in her room.”
Unable to resist, Sookie left her pile of papers on the floor and stood behind Eric. There, on the screen, was Eric’s front room. Everything just where she’d left it before going to work.
“I should’ve put those clean dishes away,” she said, shaking her head.
Eric started talking, but Pam’s voice cut him off.
“My roommate asked me to vacuum,” Pam said, irritation oozing through her words.
Eric switched to the hall camera and followed Pam and another woman out of her room.
“She just walked past the closet with the vacuum,” Sookie whispered.
“If I only knew where the damn thing was…” Pam’s voice trailed off as she opened cupboards in the kitchen, making Eric laugh harder.
The woman touched her shoulder. “Let me help you look for it.” She walked back down the hall, past the bathroom, and right to Eric’s door. She reached for the knob and said, “What’s in here?”
“That’s his room. I don’t think we store the vacuum in there.” With a lucky guess, she opened the door next to the laundry area. “Ah. Here it is.” Moments later, the sound of the vacuum drowned out everything else. Eric switched the monitor off.
“Is that Marie?” Sookie asked, recalling Pam’s blunt description of her previous night.
“Yes. I haven’t met her, but I’ve seen her a few times.”
“How does that work? Does she glamour her every night?”
Eric shrugged. “Only if she feeds from her. Discretion is a must.”
“I can only imagine how the general public would react if they found out vampires are real!”
“We might get a chance to find out,” he said under his breath.
Sookie frowned. “What does that mean?”
Eric looked away. “Coming out. There are those of us who support the idea.”
“Is there an organized group of vampires or something?”
“Something like that,” he replied, still not looking at her. Uncertainty and hesitation flooded the bond.
She took his hand. “You can trust me.”
He smiled and his eyes met hers. “I know. And I’ll tell you, but not now. Right now, I need to get back out there.”
She kissed him before he left, and kept herself busy with the mountain of disheveled papers.
Sookie waited all night for Eric to tell her more, but he didn’t say much of anything. She didn’t want to push him, so she waited patiently. When they got home, she stubbed her toe on her piece of luggage. As she shoved it back under Eric’s bed, she cursed herself for being so careless. She rubbed her sore skin as she and Eric watched T.V., and later, just like the previous night, he tucked his medallion inside his palm before stretching out on the massive bed and opening his arms to her.
Sleep didn’t come easily, exhaustion finally forcing her to mind to quiet. The next time she woke, it was to Eric’s voice.
“Marina,” he said, the name forced through clenched teeth. Sorrow overwhelmed her all of a sudden.
Sookie rubbed her eyes and stared at the clock. The sun is still up. How…?
A sob escaped his lips and then he said something in a language she didn’t understand.
She flipped on the light and recoiled in shock as bloody tears streamed down his face.
Eric’s dreaming again, find out what it is in Up All Night: Chapter 20