Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
GabbieAnnie is great and her ideas are wonderful. That’s all. All mistakes are my own.
Sleep did not come easily. At first, Sookie’s entire body shook as she cried. She cried for herself, she cried for Bill, and she cried for Gran, who would be sick with worry. Weariness took over, forcing her swollen eyes closed. When she woke a while later, it was only to adjust her arm because her hand had started to go numb, shooting pins and needles through her body. Her bladder woke her next, but she stubbornly refused to pee in the bucket Eric had left. She strained against the cuff around her wrist to get a view out of the one small window in her room. The sun would go down soon, and when it did, she would give Eric a piece of her mind.
She shook her foot to try and ignore the urge to use the bathroom, when that stopped working, she stretched out on the bed, giving her bladder plenty of room. The second she heard a noise in the adjoining room, she shouted, “Let me out!”
Her door opened a moment later, and there stood Eric, filling the frame, as usual, but this time, shirtless. Somehow, she forgot her anger and her necessity to be unchained. Her mouth went dry, and not from thirst. He stretched from side to side, like a runner preparing for a race, and then padded over to her with bare feet, key ready.
The handcuffs clicked and sprang loose. He cradled her wrist and pressed his lips together. He released her hand and the spell was broken. She bolted out of the room and sprinted to the bathroom, sighing as she peed. She splashed her face with water and dried off on a musty old towel.
“I may be spoiled,” she said as she walked across the hall, “but you haven’t had to use the toilet.”
Eric tilted his head. “Come again?”
“Last night, you told me to get over it, and that you’ve lived without indoor plumbing for centuries, but you haven’t had to use the toilet in all that time.”
“I’m sure you can appreciate the modern marvel of flushable toilets,” she added.
“It would’ve been wonderful. You’re lucky to have been born this century.”
She laughed, rubbing her wrist absently. “I agree.”
“I’m sorry about the handcuffs.” He looked at the floor. “I’m just—”
“Following orders. I know. You mentioned that.” She inhaled. “Whose orders?”
He looked at her, but didn’t say anything.
“I know, you’re not at liberty to say,” she said, mocking his deep voice.
“My boss has asked me to watch you.”
“You mentioned something about detoxing yesterday. Detoxing what?”
“Compton’s blood. You’ve had quite a bit of it. I can smell it on your skin.” He sneered. “That’s how he has a claim on you, by getting you to ingest his blood.”
“And your boss doesn’t like that,” she guessed.
“No,” he stated flatly.
“So you’re going to keep me prisoner until Bill’s blood is out of my system?”
“Something like that.” He stared at her long and hard. “You have my word that I won’t hurt you, unless you do something stupid.”
“Something stupid like…”
“Try to escape, or try to get someone to come rescue you. That won’t end well.” A dark look slid across his face. He meant business.
“And then what? After I’m detoxed.”
Eric paused, obviously picking his words carefully. “My boss wants to meet with you.”
“A meeting? You’re keeping me captive for a meeting?” She sighed. What did I get myself into? I should’ve listened to all the folks that told me vamps were nothing but trouble. “How long are we going to be here?”
“A while.” He checked his phone, probably for messages, but closed it again. He sighed.
“I need to call my Gran,” she said, looking at the tiny phone in his hand.
“That’s not going to happen.” He set his mouth in a firm line.
“Yes, it is,” she countered, just as stubbornly. “I don’t care how many shits you give about my laws, the last thing you need is a search party out looking for me. That’s what’s going to happen if you don’t let me call my Gran. Now,” she added for emphasis, holding her hand open.
He narrowed his eyes. “What are you going to tell her?”
She thought for a minute, her eyes searching inside her brain for a believable lie. “I could tell her that Bill took me somewhere on vacation … but then, she’d want to talk to him.”
“New Orleans,” he offered. “I could pretend to be him.” He cleared his throat and shrugged out of his crisp voice and slid into a deep southern drawl. “I’m Bill. You’re mine.”
She tried to smother her smile. Hearing his impersonation made her feel slightly better.
“And if you tell your Gran where you are or what really happened, I’ll send someone to get her and I’ll keep you both chained up,” he added in the same cool lilting voice. “We wouldn’t want that, now would we?”
Her smile fell. There was no way in hell she would ever put her gran through that. “Deal.” She held her hand out to his to shake on it, but he just put the phone in her hand.
She straightened her back and took a deep breath as she waited for the line to connect.
Gran picked up on the third ring. “Hello?” Her voice was tight with worry.
“Hi Gran,” she said, fighting the tears in her eyes. “I’m so sorry to make you worry.”
“Oh honey, I’ve just been sick about it. You said you’d be home last night after your date with Vampire Bill, and then, neither of you came home!” She sniffed.
“I know. I know. I’m sorry. I really am. I should’ve called earlier, but I was having such a good time!” she lied. “He took me to New Orleans! Isn’t that nice?”
“That’s strange, he didn’t mention it to me before you left.” Her voice sounded more confused than worried.
“Me either,” she said. “I thought we were going to that bar over in Shreveport, but he had a surprise in store for me. We saw the sights and he took me to a nice restaurant.” She chuckled. Taco Bell wasn’t nice by anyone’s standards.
“Is he there? I want to talk to him,” Gran demanded.
“Yep, here he is,” she said, holding the phone to Eric.
“Good evenin’ ma’am,” he said, smiling into the phone. “I apologize for makin’ you worry.” He paused, listening, nodding his head. “Why of course. I would never dream of it. You have my word, ma’am.” Another pause. “Well, I planned on takin’ her to the French Quarter, showin’ her a bit a history.” He nodded. “I will. Good night, ma’am.” He handed the phone back to Sookie.
“I love you, Gran. I really am sorry to make you worry. I’ll be home in a few days.”
“A few days?” Gran gasped. “What about work?”
“Will you call Sam and let him know? I’d sure appreciate it. He’ll take the news better from you than from me. It’s been so long since I’ve had a vacation.”
“I know, honey, and you deserve it. Thanks for calling; I’ll talk to you soon. I love you!”
“You too!” she replied before snapping the phone shut. “You’re going to show me a bit a history in the French Quarter?” She lifted her eyebrows.
“Yes ma’am. Your gran is mighty concerned with your honor,” he drawled. “She asked if we had separate rooms.”
She blushed, her cheeks hot and uncomfortable. “Of course she did. Bill’s the first man I’ve dated, let alone would go on a trip with.”
His mouth hung open and he looked at her from head to toe, only making her blush deepen.
“Anyway, if we’re going to be here for a while, I’m going to need things.”
“Like what?” he drawled.
“Stop talking like that.” She glared at him. “You’re laying it on a little too thick. I need toiletries. A change of clothes. Things like that.”
“And could you please put a shirt on?” she asked, heading into the kitchen in search of more bad fast food.
When he joined her, he was fully clothed. Regret tugged at her, but she had to remind herself that she was his hostage and it didn’t matter how pretty the captor was, it didn’t change the situation. “I’ll need more food too.”
“Make a list,” he said, putting a piece of paper on the table.
“Are we going to go shopping?”
“No. Pam is.”
She had a sudden flash of Pam and Bill’s conversation: Pam berating him, Bill cowering in the corner. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea. Sheriff Pam is pretty important. A high-up, if you know what I mean.”
Eric laughed, startling her. “As her Maker, I’m more ‘high-up’ than she is.” He quoted with his fingers as he spoke.
“You know her?”
He laughed again, softer. “I’ve known her for almost two centuries. She offered to help.” He pushed the paper toward her. “Make a list.”
Sookie wrote down everything she could think of. Everything she would need for a trip and as much food as she would need for a week, stopping to inventory the cupboards for supplies. When she was done, she showed it to Eric and twisted her mouth down. “Is it too much?”
He read through the items quickly and said, “No.” Next, he was on his phone, reading it out loud. Nodding as he listened to the other end. “What size clothing do you wear?”
Sookie bit her lip and looked at the floor. “An eight?”
“Eight,” he repeated into the phone. He looked her square in the eye. “Bra size?”
“You don’t have to, I mean, that’s not necessary, I can just…” she stammered.
“Bra size.” He lifted his eyebrows and waited.
Her mouth jerked into a small smile as a blush crept across her body. “Thirty-six C,” she whispered.
Eric echoed it into the phone without flinching. She had never been more uncomfortable in all her life, but he didn’t seem to mind in the slightest. “Shoe size?”
“Why?” She could go barefoot for all she cared.
“Because Pam is shopping,” he said, as if that explained everything.
“Eight and a half.”
“Yes. Bring a six-pack for me. B positive. No, I have clothes. Yes. That’s everything?” he confirmed, showing Sookie the list one last time.
She nodded. “Thank you,” she said to him and the phone.
Eric smiled. “See you soon.”
She put the paper-wrapped leftovers in the tiny microwave and leaned against the counter.
“You don’t have to eat that,” he said.
She shrugged. “It’s okay. I don’t want to waste it and you’re not going to eat it.” She took her soggy tacos and packets of salsa to the table and spread her makeshift plate out. After choking it down, she cleaned up and walked into the front room. Eric watched her from the table. “Is this what broke last night? I thought I heard something.” She squatted to pick up the broken glass.
“You don’t have to do that.” He got to his feet, and hovered nearby.
“I know,” she said, carefully filling her hand with shards, carrying them a few at a time to the garbage in the kitchen. “I saw a broom in the pantry. Will you get it for me?”
He began searching cupboards, which made her laugh.
“The pantry is the big one in the corner.”
He held the dustpan and broom out, seemingly unsure of what to do next.
Sookie laughed as she looked up at him. “I get the feeling you’re not used to cleaning up after yourself. Doesn’t surprise me though, most men don’t—” She hissed in pain as a shard of glass stabbed into the web of skin between her thumb and pointer finger. She squeezed the wound with her other hand, which only made it hurt worse. “I think I have a piece of glass in there.” Blood pooled in her palm.
The dustpan and broom clattered to the ground. A low growl emanated from Eric as he pulled her to her feet. His pupils dilated and his nostrils flared. His fangs jutted out from his mouth. “Let me help you.”
It wasn’t a request.
She opened her hand slowly, and Eric’s grip tightened around her wrist. His other hand snaked around her body, holding her firmly against his. In case I faint, I guess. He moaned when his tongue made contact with her hand. The sound did something to her; hot, electric pulses shot through her body. The blood that had drained out of her face during the shock of her cut, flooded back, warming her through and through. He cradled her hand inside his very large palm and moaned again when his lips moved across her skin.
She brought her other hand up to his chest, holding on while her legs wobbled. He grazed against her hand with his lips moving toward the wound, carefully avoiding contact with his fangs. He sucked on the tender flesh, reminding her of the pain. He pulled away and smiled at her, showing a piece of glass wedged between his teeth.
“Got it,” he mumbled, spitting it onto the floor and then licking his ruddy lips. “Almost done.” He moved his mouth back over the wound and drew deeply. A tiny vibration went through his body, and then he pulled away, slowly releasing his grasp on her body. “Delicious,” he said as he closed his eyes.
She held her hand and marveled at the healing wound, willing her heart to stop racing. “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that. When Bill—” she stopped short as hot shame washed over her as she thought of him, being held captive somewhere else, probably being tortured while she was letting her mind wander, creating a fantasy around the real-life Viking she was living with for the moment. She hid her face in her hands.
“Sookie, are you okay?”
Hearing her name snapped her out of it. “How does everyone know my name?”
“You’re famous.” Before he could explain, his phone rang. He looked at the screen before answering and then ducked outside.
Sookie squatted under the broken window, eavesdropping while she scraped up the remaining shards of glass with the dustpan.
“Tonight?” he said. “Excellent. I’ll be expecting her.” He came through the door a second later.
“What’s happening tonight?” she asked.
He pressed his lips together, being careful with his words again. “Your detox begins.”
“Goody,” she said, flatly. “Will you sweep up those tiny pieces for me?” She nodded to the broom and held the dustpan toward him.
He obliged and then propped it against the wall. Sookie stood and straightened her dress before dumping the shards and dust into the kitchen garbage.
“Thanks for healing me,” she said.
“It was my pleasure,” he murmured.
“Is that your car?” She looked out the open window at the shiny red sports car. “Looks like something you would drive.”
“Yes. I enjoy it quite a bit.” He smiled, absentmindedly touching his right front pocket.
Keys. “I bet. I’ve never been in a car so fancy, not conscious anyway.” She leaned against the frame out the window and inhaled the fresh air. “It smells good out here.” Not a hint of city could be found. Not the smell or the noise. The faint sound of water rushed by somewhere near. A river. “I wish it would rain. At least that would cool things off for a minute.” She listened hard. Or is it a stream? No, it’s too loud to be a stream. She cleared her throat and pulled her head back inside. Eric watched her intently. “I need to use the bathroom again.” She gave him a little smile and slipped down the hall, knowing he would be right behind her. Luckily, she hadn’t been lying about needing to pee, and after she washed her hands, she kept the water running, stepped into the tub, and opened the window. Her view, although distorted by the screen, was slightly higher than in the front room. She could see some of the driveway in the pale light coming from the house, but not much else. She sighed, turned the water off, and went back to the front room. She was about to sit on the couch when Eric stopped her from his perch on the half-wall.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Sookie froze, the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end.
“It smells bad.” He wrinkled his nose.
“Oh.” She relaxed and then looked around the small room. “Everything here is kind of run down. No offense.” She held her hands up offering a truce of peace. The last thing she wanted was to be on his bad side again. She didn’t like his bad side.
He scoffed. “This isn’t my house. If you can even call it that,” he muttered. Suddenly, he perked up and went to the door, smiling as he opened it. Sookie joined him, standing in the tiny gap left after his massive body took up the rest. A sleek black car purred down the bumpy drive.
I love when Pam goes shopping, don’t you? This chapter was so long, I had to cut it in half. Read the rest here Detox: Chapter 4