Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
All mistakes are my own and there are probably a lot. I’ve been fighting some stupid cold for the past week and it’s sucking my will to live (not to mention derailing my train of thought). BTW, this chapter is NSFW. 🙂
Sookie pulled on the one remaining dress on her bed, the rest packed away.
Eric glanced inside her nearly empty closet. “You’re taking everything?”
She looked at the floor. “Yeah?” They hadn’t discussed any plans for the future, the one where she basically moved in with him and used his house as home base for their future work together. “Should I not? I just thought it would be easier if…” Doubt crept into her heart.
He wrapped his arms around her and surrounded her with love. “You are more than welcome at my home. You know that. Does your grandmother know you’re leaving?”
She nodded. “I told her tonight. She took it better than I imagined.” Finally, she met his eyes. “Are you sure it’s okay? We didn’t really discuss moving in together. I just assumed.”
He grinned. “As you should. We are bonded. Nothing can keep us apart.” And then he kissed her.
When they parted she sighed. “I can feel everything. It’s almost like reading your mind, but instead, I’m reading your heart.”
“So you know what I say is true.”
She nodded. “I do. I still worry though.”
“I know. I can feel it, too.” He touched his heart. “Are you ready?”
“Yes. Let me say goodbye to Gran.”
* * * *
Eric focused on the dark road ahead of them. Sookie had spent the first half of their journey crying as she watched her familiar life disappear out the window. The sorrow of her farewell still lingered in the car, so he remained silent, respecting her need to process her loss.
An hour outside of New Orleans, she finally spoke. “You’re going in with me, right? When we meet the queen?”
“Yes.” He gave her a reassuring smile and flooded the bond with love.
She relaxed and returned his smile. “I’m so glad I have you. Can you imagine what would’ve happened if we never met?” She shuddered. “I’d probably still be with him.”
Eric’s jaw clenched. He couldn’t bear to consider such a sick alternate universe: one where Compton used her and abused her for his personal pleasure. His grip on the steering wheel tightened.
“But now, I’m starting a new life with you,” she said, her eyes shining. “I think I owe the queen something for bringing us together, so I plan on offering her first dibs.”
“First dibs?” He frowned.
“Yeah, you know, like for conferences and stuff. If she and someone else want me for the same job, she’ll get preference.”
He nodded. “I think that is a good decision.”
“Don’t be,” he said, trying to keep his voice calm and his own anxiety to himself. “I’ll be right there with you.”
“Thank you,” she replied, squeezing his leg. “I need to be strong. I can do this.”
“Yes you can.”
When the palace grounds came into view, Sookie’s heart sped up. By the time they walked up the front steps, her apprehension overwhelmed him. She paused midway and frowned before continuing up. He put his arm around her and reminded her to relax.
It didn’t work.
* * * *
Sookie’s heart hammered in her chest as they waited in the long hallway. The queen’s voice drifted out of the same room where they had met the first time.
“You may enter.”
Sookie swallowed hard and took a deep breath. Eric gave her shoulders a gentle squeeze and then they walked in together.
Queen Sophie-Anne rose from behind her ornate desk and bowed demurely. “Sookie, I am so relieved to meet with you again.” She gave Eric a long look. “Eric, I am so delighted you called.”
“I had a lot on my plate,” Sookie started. She wasn’t about to apologize for putting her family affairs first.
“Have you had time to consider my offer?” Sophie-Anne said, pointing to a lengthy legal contract between them.
“I have,” Sookie said, taking the seat across from the queen. Eric stood guard, more protective than he’d been the last time. Sophie-Anne returned to her seat.
“There’s been a change in plans.” Sookie smiled despite the daggers in the queen’s eyes.
“Before we begin negotiations, I’d like to know your relationship with Hadley.” She’d been dying to know how her cousin fit into everything.
“Hadley?” The queen’s eyebrows rose delicately, but something changed in her face. It was the look someone gives when they know something you don’t.
“My cousin, Hadley. I believe you know her.”
“What leads to think so?”
“Those pictures in my family file were from her. How did you get them? Do you know her?” Sookie leaned forward and held the queen’s gaze, never flinching.
“Yes,” Sophie-Anne finally admitted. “I met Hadley a year ago.” A smile flickered across her lips. “She was very forthcoming with information.”
Sookie glared. “About me?”
“Among other things. She’s a darling creature.” The queen sighed. “Hadley and I … are very close.”
Sookie’s mouth hung open. I’d like to give her a piece of my mind! “So that’s how you knew about me. That’s why you sent Bill to collect me, except he had other plans.”
Sophie-Anne’s eyes narrowed. “I’ve seen the tape. You got him to confess more in thirty seconds than my team did in four days. You did very well. I didn’t think you had it in you to give him the True Death. I guess I was wrong.”
“I wasn’t performing for you.” Sookie spat the words out as she gripped the wooden handles of the chair. Anger flared inside her. Eric flinched. She could feel hesitation and warning coming from him.
The queen tilted her head and looked from Sookie to Eric. She inhaled deeply and narrowed her eyes. “I see you’ve relapsed.”
“You have no say in the decisions I make in my life,” Sookie challenged.
“Don’t I?” Sophie-Anne rose from her chair and leaned on the desk. “And what makes you think I won’t kill you both right now?”
Sookie straightened her shoulders. “I can name two reasons.”
“And they are?”
“One, you need me. Telepaths are hard to find, especially the non-demon kind that are willing to work with vamps.”
The queen nodded, encouraging her to go on.
“Two, there’s a portal on the stairs leading up to the palace. I don’t think you want to start a war with Niall, do you?” She inflated her chest with confidence. “We’ve become quite close in the last few days.”
“Is that true?” Sophie-Anne looked at Eric, waiting for confirmation. He nodded solemnly. The queen wilted into her chair.
“You see,” Sookie said, pausing for effect, “my great granddaddy is happy to be a part of my life, which is why he’s offered to protect me and everyone in my family with magic. Powerful fairy magic. So if you, or anyone else gets any ideas, you’ve got another thing coming!” Her legs trembled as adrenaline pumped through her. She’d been saving that bit of information for the perfect moment and it worked better than she anticipated.
Completely defeated, the queen sighed. “So you’re not going to take the position?”
“I’m going to offer something different,” Sookie started, waiting for the shock on Sophie-Anne’s face to settle in before going on. “I’m going to offer my services to anyone willing to meet my terms, including you.”
“I have to share?” Sophie-Anne aske with disdain.
“Yes. But because you brought Eric into my life,” she replied, reaching out and touching his hand. “I’m going to give you preference.”
“How kind.” The queen’s words were chemically sweet.
“If you’re not open to this arrangement, Eric and I will leave.” Sookie stood and came up to his side. He put his arm around her, soothing her raw nerves. When they reached the door, Sophie-Anne spoke.
* * * *
Eric hovered over the queen’s desk while she and Sookie went through yet another revision of the new and improved contract. He read each word and shared his feelings with Sookie through the bond when he found something suspicious.
Sookie glanced at him. “Which part?” she asked, as if he’d spoken to her.
“There,” he said, pointing to the clause the queen had just added.
“I don’t like the wording of this. It’s too open for interpretation,” Sookie said. “The rest is good.”
Sophie-Anne growled and glared at Eric as she scratched through the words. “Why are you here?”
“I’m her partner. We work as a team.” He loomed over her.
“That’s right. If you want my services, you have to hire us both.”
Another growl. “Fine.” Sophie-Anne referenced her calendar. “I’ll need you for the summit this fall and then for an Amun meeting in December.”
Sookie looked at Eric and only agreed once he nodded.
“We will require a separate contract for each job,” Eric said. He couldn’t hide his smile. Having the upper hand with Sophie-Anne didn’t happen often.
“Of course you do,” the queen mumbled. She closed her eyes and within a few seconds, Andre walked through the door.
“How may I serve you, my queen?” Andre bowed low.
“Please prepare these documents and make two copies.”
“Three, if you don’t mind,” Sookie added quietly. She shrank into her chair away from Andre.
Sophie-Anne nodded. “Three.” She dismissed Andre and smiled. “Now we discuss payment.”
“Ten thousand per job, with a three-night maximum, including travel time,” Eric said before Sookie could answer. He could feel her uncertainty and gladly took over. Negotiations were one of his strongest skills. “Expenses paid.”
“And if I need you for more than three nights?”
“It will be an additional five thousand per night.”
The queen considered the offer for longer than she needed to, but finally said, “I agree to your terms.”
Sookie exhaled loudly. “Great.” Her shoulders relaxed, but tensed again when Andre returned.
Andre handed the third copy of the contract to Sookie, bowed and left the room.
Sophie-Anne signed the first one and then slid the contract across the table. Sookie signed and then Eric signed. They repeated the process with the second set of paperwork and then everyone stood.
“You know how to contact us,” Eric stated, flashing his phone.
“I look forward to the summit,” Sookie said.
“It’s been a pleasure,” the queen replied.
Sookie curtsied and dipped her head while Eric bowed. He quickly escorted her out of the palace and into his car.
Trained by her previous meeting, Sookie remained silent until they were a long distance from the royal grounds before she said anything.
“We did it!”
“Yes we did.” He pulled into a dark, empty corner of a parking lot. “You played her beautifully.”
“My heart is still racing.”
He touched her chest and the vibration of her heart pumping blood through her body made his fingertips tremble. “You were amazing!”
“No, you were amazing,” she replied.
He slid his hand down and cupped her breast, which made her breath catch in her throat. She closed her eyes and rested her head against the seat. He leaned across and kissed her slack mouth, pushing his tongue inside while his fingers migrated farther down. She opened her legs while he pulled her dress up. When he caressed her lace-covered slit, she moaned. He shoved her panties to the side and rubbed her clit. She gasped and squeezed his cock through his pants.
He moaned at the same moment he plunged a finger inside her. Her hips rocked in the seat, meeting his hand with powerful thrusts. Her pussy fluttered around him as she came, gasping and writhing under him.
When she finally caught her breath, she wrapped her arms around his neck and climbed onto his lap, ducking her head and tucking her legs neatly on either side of his body. She tugged at the material of her dress until it fanned around them and then rubbed her heat against his straining erection while she fumbled with the button holding his pants closed. He dug his fingers into her ass, guiding her body, trying to fulfill his need to come.
He groaned when she freed his dick and pumped it with her hot hands. They worked together; she lifted her body and aligned his cock while he held her panties to the side. She kissed him sweetly and then licked his fang before puncturing her tongue.
She licked her lips, leaving a crimson trail across her flushed skin. “Oops,” she said and then she thrust her bleeding flesh into his mouth. He rammed into her and came instantly, surrounded by her heat and satiated with her blood. Her body quivered on top of his. He sucked on her wound until it stopped bleeding and when his dick hardened, he gripped her ass and held her steady so he could fuck her hard and fast.
Her head bumped against the roof of the car with each thrust and then her moans morphed into a scream as she came. With one final lurch, he joined her. She relaxed and rested her head against his shoulder, her hot breath warming his cool skin.
He smoothed her tousled hair and smiled. “I love you.”
“Mm,” she answered, but he felt her love surround him.
I am so grateful for the lovely reviews/comments. It is the main reason I write FF. As much as I know many of you are enjoying this story, there is only one chapter left. I considered making this one a little longer and ending it here, but I thought you’d all like a little notice before I pull the plug. Don’t worry though … I’ve got two Eric and Sookie story ideas swirling around in my head. Now I just need to decide which one to write first.
On to the final chapter Relapse: Chapter 12