Petulance: Chapter 6

Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.

 

All mistakes are my own. Slightly NSFW


Chapter 6

 

Sookie’s legs bounced the whole way to Fangtasia. The last time she’d been there, she died. Literally. “I don’t know if this is a good idea.”

“Pam needs help and I can’t leave you alone, so it’s not really up to you.”

“I’m not a toddler in a kitchen full of sharp knives,” she said.

“No, you’re a toddler with a mouth full of knives,” Eric corrected. “Unattended baby vampires have a way of not living long, so I’d rather play it safe.” He parked the car. “Ready?”

“No.” She pouted more than ever. Beyond telling her what to do, he was apparently not going to leave her side for the rest of her life. Yay.

“Too bad.” He got out and opened her door. He offered his arm and she took it because she didn’t seem to have a choice in that, either. His thoughts streamed into her. Mostly about her cleavage and the fact that he was the luckiest man in Shreveport to have Sookie on his arm.

The woman Sookie assumed was Thalia gave them a cool nod as they approached the entrance, so Sookie did the same, inclining her head slightly. Sookie and Eric bypassed the line of tourists and fang-bangers waiting to get in, leaving their lusty thoughts behind: some about Eric, some about Sookie, and others about them together. Humans are very imaginative.

Fangtasia was the same as it had been three nights ago, except for the two highly polished spot on the floor where Bill had met his end and Sookie and Long Shadow had died. A shiver went through her.

Pam rose from the stage where she and Eric usually sat and moved gracefully through the crowd to greet them. “That dress looks amazing on you!”

“You have very good taste. And the shoes? Whoa.” Sookie clicked her heels together and said, “Take me home to Aunt Em!”

Pam laughed.

“Perhaps we should move our reunion to my office. We’re gathering an audience,” Eric observed.

Pam nodded so they moved down the hall together as a group and closed the door behind them.

Eric turned to Pam and said, “Sookie’s transition has been interesting.” He then looked at Sookie. “See if it works on her, too.”

“See if what works?” Pam asked.

Sookie touched Pam’s arm and her head filled with graphic images of Pam peeling Sookie’s dress off her and…

Sookie released her grip. “I’m not attracted to women. Sorry.”

“So it works across the board?” Eric asked.

“What works?” Pam frowned.

“I can read vamps now, too. But only when I touch them,” Sookie explained.

“But,” Eric interrupted, “this information needs to stay between us. No one else can know.”

“Is it because we’re all related?” Pam asked. “We should experiment. Clancy is here tonight.”

“An excellent idea. Please ask Clancy to come to my office,” Eric said.

Pam nodded. “Wait, can you still hear humans?”

Sookie nodded. Their thoughts came in louder than ever. “Most of the people think we’re in here having a three-way.”

“Sign me up!” Pam replied.

“Focus,” Eric chastised. “Clancy.”

Pam gave Sookie a brief hug. “Welcome to the family.”

The gesture almost made Sookie cry. She would’ve if it weren’t for the creepy bloody tears. So she thanked her instead.

The redhead knocked before he stepped inside. “Welcome back, boss. Welcome to the other side, Sookie.”

“Nice to officially meet you, Clancy,” Sookie said, giving a little curtsy.

“What do you need?” Clancy asked Eric.

“I want Sookie to touch you.”

Clancy grinned and closed the gap between them. “Whatever you want, boss.”

“Your wrist,” Sookie clarified, grabbing him.

I thought this was going to be more exciting. What’s she doing, anyway? Is this part of a kinky sex thing? She touches other people and he gets off?

Sookie nodded at Eric. “Thanks, Clancy. You can go now.”

Clancy’s mouth fell open. “But…”

“That will be all,” Eric said firmly. He smiled then added, “Oh, and Sookie, just so we can set the record straight, Bill and Long Shadow fought to the death.”

She frowned. “But you said—”

“They fought to the death, right Clancy?”

“That’s right, boss.” Clancy grinned and rocked on his heels.

“I don’t under—”

“If a vampire dies at the hands of another vampire, that vampire must answer to the dead vampire’s Maker. The last thing I want to deal with is Lorena or Hot Rain.” Eric shuddered. “Now they can deal with each other. Clancy, please get back to work.”

“You got it, boss.” He frowned, but left anyway.

After he was long gone, Eric whispered, “You read him, too?”

“Yep. It works on everyone, I guess. Why didn’t you want Clancy to know?”

“He’s not family. He’s pledged his loyalty to me, but so did Bill and Long Shadow so…”

“So you can’t trust him.”

“Not completely.”

“Bill said something once about you being a sheriff of somewhere. Is that why other vampires pledge themselves to you?”

Eric nodded. “I’m Sheriff of Area Five. There are three other Sheriffs in Louisiana plus the queen, who rules the state and Area One.”

“Queen?”

He smiled. “You’ll get to meet her … eventually. That will be a very interesting meeting.”

She frowned. The sheer amount of information she would have to learn overwhelmed her, but that seemed to be all he was willing to share at the moment.

He glanced through a stack of papers waiting on his desk. “I need to look these over. I assume you know how to make drinks?”

“Duh. I’ve worked near a bar since I was eighteen.”

He narrowed his eyes to tiny slits. “Then get to work. Let Pam know what you’ll be doing.”

She went to the door, but he spoke before she could open it.

“And don’t leave without me.”

“Fine.” She stalked out into the hall and went to the bar where Pam moved in a blur from one end to the other mixing drinks while Clancy mingled. “I’m here to relieve you, I guess. Eric asked me to take Long Shadow’s job.”

Pam’s shoulders relaxed. “You have experience running a bar?”

“A bit. If I run into any problems, I’ll let you know.”

“Good. Thanks, it’s been nuts here the last few nights.”

“Sorry you’re so short-handed.” Sookie looked at the shiny bar.

“Don’t apologize. You had no control over that situation. None of us did. I’m just glad he saved you in time.” Pam smiled.

“Thanks. I’m glad too, I guess.” She wouldn’t admit it to Eric, but it was true. Being a vamp beat being dead.

“I better get back,” Pam motioned to the stage. “Did he say when he’d be out?”

Sookie shrugged. “He had papers to look at.”

Pam rolled her eyes and disappeared.

Sookie set to work mixing drinks, swiping credit cards, and keeping her area clean. Being that close to humans proved more difficult than she anticipated. Not just because she could read their minds, but because she could hear their pulse and feel the heat from their skin. Her fangs had come down and she couldn’t get them to go away to save her life, so she lisped through them when she had to and kept her mouth shut the rest of the time. The patrons of the club overwhelmingly admired her and many thought she was a thousand times better than Long Shadow. They all broadcast loudly, especially a muscular young man lingering at the end of the bar. His friends had dared him to talk to her. Ordering a beer wasn’t good enough. He had to start a conversation with her.

Sookie gave him a fangy smile, which made him recoil slightly, but then his gaze slid south and his confidence returned. He was so zoned out that when she approached, he didn’t seem to notice. “Can I get you anything else?”

“Yeah,” he answered dreamily.

She cocked an eyebrow. “And what might that be?”

His cheeks flushed pink as he realized she’d caught him staring at her boobs. “Another beer.”

She shook her head and laughed before returning to him with another beer. “Anything else?” she asked, trying to help him out.

“Yeah. You.” He gulped and his heart sped up. He wanted her to bite him. He wanted more than that, but her hungry brain focused on what she wanted to hear. He wanted her to bite his neck. Right there, where the vein throbbed against his skin.

She blinked and backed away. A few hours ago, she had cringed at the idea of biting someone, and now, she had to use every ounce of strength in her to resist biting him in front of everyone. Eric wouldn’t be happy. She popped the top off a bottle of warmed blood and swallowed it as quickly as possible, gagging again at the initial taste. Her fangs jarred against the glass, forcing her to slow down. A second bottle filled her stomach, but didn’t satisfy her hunger. The young man watched her with keen interest, thinking that she would prefer the real thing. She didn’t want to admit how right he was.

“You’ve got to be shitting me!” Ginger screeched, getting half the attention of the room, including Sookie’s. She stormed up to the bar and leaned against it, scowling at Sookie. “I thought you were dead! Belinda said you—”

Sookie opened her mouth to respond, showing off her fangs.

“Fuck!” Ginger whispered to herself. “I’m so sorry, master, please forgive me.” She bowed humbly, showing off her ample cleavage. Despite her apology, Ginger hated Sookie more than ever. She’d been waiting and hoping that Eric would turn her. What does she have that I don’t? This is bullshit.

“Is there a problem?” Eric asked.

Ginger squeaked and spun to face him. “No, master.”

“Good. Now go clean the bathroom.”

“Anything for you, master,” Ginger said, pressing her body against his before scurrying off.

Eric’s face remained stony.

“She hates me. She wants to be a vampire and doesn’t think it’s fair that I got so lucky. Lucky!” Sookie opened her mouth, showing off her ridiculous fangs. “I didn’t ask for this! How do I control these things?”

“You’ll figure it out eventually.” He glanced at the young man still glued to his stool. “Him?” he whispered.

“What about him?” Sookie replied, pretending not to know what he meant.

“Do you want to take him home?”

Sookie opened her mouth to protest, but she nodded before she could speak.

“Does he want you?” He clenched his jaw.

“Yes. More than anything.”

“Good. Tell him to wait until the bar closes.” Eric checked the clock on the wall. “Another hour.”

Sookie nodded and watched Eric regain his position on the stage with Pam. Eventually she got up the courage to talk to her date. He would be her dinner date, so to speak. “What’s your name?”

“Mike,” he replied.

“Sookie,” she said and pointed to her chest.

He nodded and smiled.

“Are you here with friends?” she asked, already knowing the answer.

“Yeah,” he jerked his thumb to a booth in plain view of the bar.

Sookie glanced at the other three guys, who all shrank away. “How about you go home with me instead?”

Mike nodded frantically. “Yeah. I’ll tell ‘em.” He slid off the stool and made his way to his huddled friends. There was an exchange of money and then loud congratulations and high fives. He returned, flushed. “Okay, they’re not going to wait for me.”

She looked in his eyes and held his gaze. “Are you nervous?” She knew he was, and so was she, and she figured they both couldn’t be nervous, so she wanted him to relax.

He nodded, never breaking eye contact.

“Don’t be,” she said. “You’ll be okay. Just relax.”

Mike’s shoulders eased down and he nodded again. “Okay.”

Sookie blinked and tilted her head. Why is he so calm now? “The bar closes in an hour.”

“Okay,” he repeated.

While the hour passed, he finished his third beer. When everyone else had left, Mike waited on the stool seemingly unaware that he was the only human in a room full of vampires, well, besides Ginger. Ginger muttered to herself and cleaned tables while Sookie and Pam flipped chairs up off the floor.

“Lock up,” Eric said to Ginger.

“You got it, master,” Ginger replied, batting her eyelashes.

“Come on, Mike it’s time to go.” Sookie tossed her damp bar towel in the laundry bag and strolled toward the front door, following Eric’s lead.

Out in the parking lot, Pam pulled away with a wave out her window. Mike looked at Eric and then at Sookie. He frowned.

Sookie frowned, too. “How are we all going to get home in your car?” The thought hadn’t occurred to her before that moment.

“You’ll ride on his lap,” Eric answered in a cold voice.

“Oh.” She would’ve blushed if she could’ve. As it was, she dreaded the uncomfortable ride home.

“Or we could put him in the trunk,” Eric offered.

Sookie smacked his arm. “That’s not funny.”

Mike followed them through the parking lot silently.

“Why is he so quiet?” Eric whispered.

“I told him not to be nervous,” she whispered back.

He stopped, which made Sookie stop, and then Mike bumped into her.

“Sorry,” he mumbled.

“You glamored him?” Eric said.

She shrugged. “I guess. I didn’t really mean to. He was so nervous. I wanted to help him out.”

Eric shook his head. “That takes years to master. Decades.”

She grinned. “I’m a quick learner.”

Eric opened the passenger door. “Have a seat,” he said.

“Mike,” Sookie added.

Mike nodded and sat into the low seat.

Then came the part that Sookie dreaded. She wanted to die all over again. “I won’t be able to buckle in,” she said, stalling.

“Mike can wrap his arms around you, can’t you, Mike?”

Mike smiled and nodded, opening his arms to her.

Sookie exhaled loudly so everyone understood she didn’t want to do any of this. Mike didn’t care. She held onto the frame of the car and swung her ass onto Mike’s lap, carefully avoiding the bulge in his jeans and ducking her head. She contorted her neck to glare at Eric when he took his seat next to them.

“How far away do you live?” Mike asked, tentatively putting his hands on Sookie’s waist.

“A few minutes.” Eric pulled out of the parking lot with wild movements, forcing Sookie back into Mike’s lap.

Mike groaned and tightened his grip. He projected his desires loud and clear. He wanted to have sex with her. A lot. He didn’t even care that Eric would be watching.

Sookie slithered forward, easily breaking his hold on her. When Eric went around a corner without slowing, she growled at him. “You’re doing that on purpose.”

Eric smothered a smile.

She kept her eyes on the road and began to anticipate the turns and stops, which made the remainder of the trip a lot less uncomfortable for her, and a lot more disappointing for Mike.

“Here we are,” Eric announced.

Sookie bolted out of the car as soon as it came to a stop, followed by a very flushed Mike. They went into the house together.

“We should probably go to your room,” Eric said, motioning down the hall.

“We?” Mike asked Sookie. “Is he coming, too?”

“I guess so.” She sighed.

Mike shrugged and walked down the dark hallway first. “In here?” he asked, pointing to Sookie’s room.

“Yep.”

“Where should we…” his heart sped up and he hesitated.

“On the bed,” she suggested.

“I’ve never done this before.” Mike stammered, “The biting part, I mean.”

“Me either,” Sookie confided. “That’s why he’s here.” She motioned to Eric, who leaned against the doorjamb.

“So he’s not going to … join us?” His heart hammered inside his chest.

“No.”

That seemed to relax him a little. “How does this work?”

Sookie’s hunger overpowered every other urge in her body. “Sit down,” she said, pushing him down onto the edge of her bed. “Take your shirt off.”

He complied, his breaths quick and shallow.

She wedged herself between his legs and tilted his head to the side. Somehow she knew what would work the best. Instinct taking over again. She licked his neck. He moaned.

“Do it.” Touch my dick. Please.

Sookie shook her head, her face an inch away from him. She dug her fingers into his muscular shoulders. “I’m not going to touch you anywhere else.”

If she’s not going to touch me, I will. He popped the button on his jeans and pushed his hand inside. He needed relief, and Sookie was too hungry to let that get in the way.

She opened her mouth and pierced his flesh. She groaned when his hot blood coated her tongue, and got dizzy the first time she swallowed.

Mike moaned again as his hand moved frantically inside his pants.

She swallowed again and again.

“That’s enough, Sookie,” Eric said from the door.

She ignored him and swallowed again. Shit. Nothing has ever tasted this good. She wanted to rip his throat out and bury her face in the wound.

“I said, that’s enough,” Eric repeated louder.

Don’t stop. I’m almost there. Oh God. Please don’t stop. A low hum emanated from Mike’s lips and his head lolled backward as ecstasy built inside him. All his thoughts came in so clear. He had never been so turned on in all his life.

“As your Maker, I command you,” Eric shouted.

She wanted to tell him to fuck off, but that would require her to move her mouth. She didn’t want to move her mouth. She swallowed again and again, and then Mike grunted and something wet splattered against her arm. She released her hold on him and stared at the glob of cum dripping from her skin. “Ew.” With a flick of her wrist, she wiped it on Mike’s shirt. Her fangs finally retracted.

Eric shoved her out of the way and bit into his finger before wiping at Mike’s still bleeding neck. Mike didn’t care one bit about who was touching him or what had just happened. He’d just had the best orgasm of his life. Eric licked Mike’s skin clean and said, “Get dressed.”


At least she didn’t kill him, right? Read on Petulance: Chapter 7

Petulance: Chapter 5

Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.

 

All mistakes are my own. The Wizard of Oz references in this chapter and next are to the book, not the movie.


Chapter 5

 

Sookie gasped and sat upright. Something moved under her. She tentatively touched her damaged neck, but frowned when she found perfect, smooth skin. The light in the room had a weird glow to it. Wait. That’s me. I’m glowing. She frowned and looked at her arms then down at her chest. Where’s my dress? What am I wearing? She jumped up, hitting her head on something. She glanced up. Ceiling.

“Don’t panic,” Eric said.

She spun to face him. She’d been sleeping on top of him on a bed. They were in a room. A bright strip of light glimmered under the door. “What happened? Where am I?” she said carefully, realizing she had full control over her voice again. “Where are my clothes? What time is it? Why are you here?”

He held his hand up to stop her.

Pain shot through her stomach, sending her to her knees.

Eric handed her a bottle. “Drink.”

She squinted at it in the near darkness of the room, unable to read the label. It was familiar. She tilted her head backward and opened her mouth. When the foul liquid touched her tongue, she gagged.

“I know. Drink anyway. Trust me, you’ll feel better.” He rubbed soothing circles across her back.

For some reason, she obeyed and fought the urge to puke and swallowed instead. Sure enough, the pain dulled. “More,” she said. He was ready with a second bottle. After she finished it. Pieces started falling into place. She had just downed two bottles of synthetic blood. That’s why it was familiar. She’d seen the bottles on display and smelled it on Bill’s breath. But only vampires drink bottled blood. It doesn’t work on humans.

Oh shit. I’m a vampire.

Sookie cradled her face in her hands and rocked back and forth. “Oh my God! Oh my God!”

“It’s okay. You’re safe. Nothing can hurt you.”

“Of course it can’t!” she snapped at him. “I’m immortal!” She sighed. “Oh my God! What happened?”

“Calm down,” he commanded.

She glared at him. “Don’t tell me what to do!”

“I’m your Maker, it’s my job to tell you what to do.”

“Go to hell!” Sookie screamed, slipping off the bed and yanking the door open. The light blinded her. She covered her face with her hands, shielding her eyes. They didn’t want to adjust. She shook her hair over her hands and peeked at her clothes. She wore a giant shirt with FANGTASIA scrawled across the front. Just like the ones on display above the bar.

Eric came up behind her and touched her covered shoulders. She whirled around and swatted his hand, managing to smack herself in the face in the process. “Don’t touch me!”

He tightened his grip.

She growled and then fought against him, but he was stronger. She finally sighed and let her arms hang limp. “Where are we?” Her eyes had adjusted slightly, but all she could see was a set of stairs.

“In my house. I stayed with you the whole time.”

“What whole time?”

“During your transition.”

“How long was that?” She opened her eyes wide and regretted it. She went back to observing him through angry slits.

“This is the third night.”

“I’ve been gone three nights?” she screamed, and then she started breathing fast and shallow. Of course, it didn’t have any effect on her, since her body no longer required oxygen. “My gran must be worried sick. And Sam! I’m sure he’s freaking out.”

“I handled it.” Eric ran his hands across her shoulders.

“What do you mean you handled it?”

“I called Sam and let him know what happened. He wasn’t happy.” He shook his head slightly. “But I convinced him not to blame either of us, so—”

Me?” she screeched. “Why would he blame me? If anything this is all your fault!” She jabbed him in the chest. “You asked me to work for you, one little job, no big deal. Remember? None of this is my fault. Now I’m a vampire!” As the last thought left her, tears filled her eyes. As they streaked down her cheeks, Eric wiped them.

I’ve never seen anyone react like this. I wonder if it’s just her stubbornness or—

The thought stopped immediately as he licked his finger.

She didn’t know what was more disconcerting, the fact that she had bloody tears or that she seemed to just hear Eric’s thoughts. “Touch me again.”

He put his hand on her shoulder. Nothing happened.

“No, on my skin.”

He smiled and put his hand back on her face. Yes. Finally. This might not be so bad after—

Sookie pulled away. “Shit.”

“What?”

“I can hear your thoughts.” She groaned. “This is the worst day of my life.”

“What do you mean you can hear my thoughts? And technically you’re not alive, also, it’s night.”

“Shut up!” She stormed past him and back into his bedroom. The light was killing her. She flopped onto his bed.

Eric followed her. Of course. “Can you hear my thoughts now?”

“No. Only when you touch me.”

“Like this?” he asked, running a hand up her bare leg. She’s so soft.

She hit him again. “That wasn’t an invitation.” She pulled her legs under her and stretched the baggy T-shirt over her knees. It barely covered her ass, but at least she was still wearing underwear. “Where’s my dress and bra?”

“I burned them along with all the other bloodied clothes.”

“That was my favorite dress.” She pouted.

“I’ll buy you a new one.”

That cheered her a little. “Tell me what happened. The last thing I remember is Long Shadow stabbing me.”

“He punctured your kidney. The wound was deep.”

“And then he tore my throat open. I couldn’t talk or breathe.”

“Belinda was making so much noise I didn’t even realize he’d gotten you. When she saw what happened, she started screaming and flailing even more, which made it more difficult to get to you.” Sorrow filled his eyes and then he apologized, “I’m so sorry he hurt you.” More than hearing his apology, she felt it somehow.

She touched the side of her neck as the memory of the pain came back.

“I threw Belinda down the hall and rushed back to you. Belinda was screaming. I broke her arm. Thalia was going crazy. Clancy and Pam worked hard to restrain her. Your blood is very aromatic, to say the least, and Thalia isn’t great at controlling herself. They finally dragged her outside while I cut Long Shadow’s head off.”

“Ew!” She grimaced as she realized she’d survived death by drinking Long Shadow’s blood. How much did I drink?

Eric nodded. “I didn’t think of what would happen after, I just needed to get his head away from you, so that’s what I did.”

“And his body fell on top of mine, smothering me.”

“Yes.”

“And his blood was all over me.”

“And yours,” Eric added. “It took hours to clean the floor.”

“Sorry for the inconvenience,” she sassed.

Eric glared at her. “Then I took you to my office and brought you back to life.”

“So I passed out and you decided to undress me?”

“I did remove your dress and clean your skin, but only because I knew you wouldn’t want to wake in a crusty layer of blood. I didn’t do anything,” he added. “I wanted to. But I didn’t.”

“How noble of you.” She sighed. “So then I spent three days and two nights unconscious with you, in your bed.”

“Again. Nothing happened.”

“Thanks for clearing that up. Tell me about Sam.”

“I called him and let him know what happened,” he started, the same way he’d done last time. “He was furious, but quickly came around to understanding the gravity of the situation. He said he would call your grandmother and explain that your job would take a few days and that you would be home as soon as you could.”

“So I have to tell her? I have to go home and tell my gran I’m undead?” She dreaded that conversation more than anything. Gran had pinned all her hopes of having great-grandbabies on Sookie. Sure, Jason could probably knock up some skank, but raising kids didn’t seem to be part of his path in life. No great-grandbabies for Gran. She frowned. “Sam is already short-handed at work. It must’ve been nuts the last few days.”

“He’ll manage.”

“Where’s Pam?”

“At Fangtasia. Running things. Without me or Long Shadow she’s taken on the entire business, which is no small task. We need to go. She’s waiting.”

“Long Shadow and Bill were working together,” she said.

“I heard.”

“Bill was going to use me. Long Shadow, too.” She shuddered.

Eric nodded solemnly.

“Why does the light hurt my eyes so much?”

“Everything changes, including your vision. You’re more adapted to seeing in the dark now. It wasn’t an issue when I was young, since electricity hadn’t been invented yet. Now,” he said with a shrug, “it’s painful.” Again, he felt sorry for her and she knew it somehow.

“I’m not ready to see my gran. Not yet.” A terrible thought entered her head. What if she bit her?

“I understand. When you’re ready to visit, I’ll go with you.”

For some reason, that comforted her. But what did he mean by visit? Did he understand how dangerous it would be for her to live with her grandmother? Where would she live? Who would take care of Gran?

“How can you read my thoughts?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. I couldn’t before. Maybe something happened during the transition. It’s different with people. They’re like radios that are on all the time. Touching them makes the radio louder, so to speak. But you’re not transmitting anything, like your radio is switched off. I have to touch you to turn you on.” The moment the words left her mouth she knew what he would say. A cocky smile slid across his face. “Shut it. You know that’s not what I meant.”

“Touching me is definitely the best way to turn me on,” he said. It was like a compulsion. He couldn’t help himself. She wanted to punch him.

“Did you find the money?”

Eric nodded. “Long Shadow had it hidden all over his apartment. I found all but ten thousand.”

“Maybe it’s at Bill’s house.” Sookie frowned. “I bet it’s Bill’s new electrical upgrade! I wondered how he could afford to fix up his house without a job. I just thought he had a savings account or something. I guess he was using your money to update everything.”

“Mystery solved. I sold his car, so now we’re even. Well, I’m even, he’s dead.”

“What am I supposed to do now?” she asked, drawing her knees closer to her chest and hugging them. Her whole world got turned on its head and for the first time in her life, she didn’t know where she fit. “I don’t have a job or a home or a family.” She squeezed her eyes shut and willed the tears not to fall. She couldn’t stand the thought of having blood on her face again.

“You can have Long Shadow’s job.” He smiled. “As for your home, you should live here while you learn how to survive. It is my duty to look after you. That also answers the question of family. Pam and I are your family.”

“Pam?”

“I’m her Maker.”

Sookie tilted her head. “So we’re like sisters?”

“I guess you could look at it like that.”

“I always wanted a sister.” She smiled. “When you say that I should stay here, do you mean in your house, or in your room?”

“You know what I would prefer,” he answered. “But there are other bedrooms if you would feel more comfortable for now.”

“For now?” She scoffed. “Don’t push your luck.”

He went on as if she hadn’t spoken, “In fact, Pam already went shopping for you. There is a closet upstairs ready for you, so if you’d like to use that room, you may.”

“Isn’t there sunlight upstairs?”

Eric shook his head. “No, everything is light-tight. Custom built. I’ll show you.”

He turned all the lights off and led her upstairs to a plain room. The closet was packed with clothing. Expensive clothing. He pointed out a dresser filled with bras and panties.

“How did she…”

Eric pressed his lips together. “She read the tags on your ruined clothes before we burned them. No one touched you.”

“Thanks for clarifying again.” She pulled out a beautiful green cashmere sweater and held it across her chest. Perfect fit. “Can I have some privacy to try some of this on?”

Eric nodded and motioned to the adjoining bathroom. “Make yourself at home.”

After he left, Sookie locked the door. Not that a dumb doorknob could keep Eric out, but it still made her feel a little better. She whipped the T-shirt off her head and threw it on the ground. A shower was in order. Her panties joined the shirt and then she had the best shower of her life. The water tinged pink when she rinsed out her hair. Eric must not have gotten all the blood off her. Shampoo did the trick. When she was done, she wrapped herself in a plush towel and paraded through the room to the full mirror. With the lights off, her skin glowed softly like amber.

Eric knocked on her door.

Sookie opened it just wide enough that she could see him with one eye.

“You might not want to wear your favorite tonight.”

“Why?”

“I’m going to teach you how to feed from a human. Sometimes it’s messy.”

“I couldn’t!” She gasped and released her grip on the door.

“They will be willing. More than willing.” He frowned as he looked across her exposed shoulders and said, “How is your skin the same color all over?”

“We’re not discussing my tan. We’re discussing me biting someone. I don’t think I can do that!”

“Your instincts may change your mind.”

“I don’t think so,” she argued.

He sighed. “Fine. I won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do, but just in case, wear black.”

“Whatever.” She closed the door and locked it again. Why does he always have to be so high-handed? Jeez. Facing the closet again, she sorted through the dresses until she found a silver one with a plunging neckline. Screw him.

With her ensemble fastened and her breasts wiggled into place, she kneeled in front of her new shoes. Pam must really like shoes. Like, a lot. She counted twenty pair. Not the cheap ones from Payless, either. Some were probably handmade! The matching silver shoes were a no-brainer. They hugged her feet as if they were made for her. She suddenly felt like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz: about to begin a strange journey.

When she walked out into the kitchen, Eric turned to face her.

His mouth fell open, but he finally said, “I said black.”

She pouted. “You don’t like it?” She smoothed the fabric at her waist over the curve of her hip.

“That’s beside the point.”

“So you do like it?”

He groaned with frustration. “Pam is expecting us.”


Eric is going on a strange journey, too. He just doesn’t know it yet. 🙂 Read on Petulance: Chapter 6

Petulance: Chapter 4

Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.

 

All mistakes are my own. Hold onto your hats!


Chapter 4

 

Sookie stood outside at nine on the dot, but she couldn’t see hide or hair of Bill. She paced the length of the front porch twenty times before his car rolled up. He lived a quarter mile away. Why had it taken so long to get there?

“Are you ready?” Bill asked, standing at the bottom step and glancing at the closed front door before taking her in from head to toe.

“I am, thank you.” She took the steps carefully. The last thing she wanted was to fall in front of him.

He held her door open and then took his seat as soon as she was safely inside. He drove in silence for the first twenty minutes, occasionally glancing at her, and then he said, “You look very pretty.”

Sookie scoffed. “I don’t get you. I ask you to take me out and you say nothing about the way I look, and now, you’re doing an errand for Eric and you can’t stop looking at me.”

“I always thought you were beautiful.”

“You never said so,” she retorted. “If you don’t speak your mind, how am I to know? I can’t read it, remember?”

“I know he came to see you. Has he claimed you?”

“What is it with you vamps and your claims on people?” She rolled her eyes.

“Has he?”

“No!” She crossed her arms over her chest and shifted in her seat until she was facing the window.

“Perhaps that is the reason for tonight’s visit.” Bill scoffed. “He wants to humiliate me.”

She bit her tongue. Bill’s jealousy was ugly and it wasn’t her job to soothe him.

When they arrived at Fangtasia, Sookie got out of the car before he could offer, and as they waited for the vampire checking ID, Bill put his arm around her shoulder.

“Don’t touch me,” Sookie said, offering her driver’s license to the stony-faced woman guarding the door.

The vampire snorted and waved them by. “He waits in his office,” she spoke in stilted English.

With little nudges in the right direction, Bill ushered her inside, but instead of taking her to Eric’s office, they stopped at the bar.

“Can’t stay away, gorgeous?” Long Shadow asked as they approached.

“You’ve got me figured out!” Sookie said with fake enthusiasm.

Bill and Long Shadow exchanged a few uneasy glances before Long Shadow said, “Everything okay?”

“We’ll see,” Bill replied.

Sookie frowned. What was it with those two? “Can we go to Eric’s office now? He’s waiting for me.”

Long Shadow mouthed Eric’s name and his scowl deepened. Bill shrugged and then pointed down the long hallway with the sign for the restrooms.

The noise from the bar faded as they walked toward Eric’s office. Sookie’s heart was still racing, but now it seemed to be going double fast. She lifted her hand to knock, but before her knuckles met the wood, the door opened.

Eric nodded to Bill. “Thank you, Compton. Stay close.” He waited until Bill retreated before talking to Sookie. “Looking as luscious as ever,” he said, stuffing his hands into his pockets as if he were having trouble keeping his hands to himself. He nodded toward one of the chairs in front of the desk.

“He thinks he’s here because you plan to claim me and humiliate him.” She shook her head. “I think it’s just so you have an excuse to drive me home again.”

“You didn’t discuss your work?”

“Not with him.” She exhaled. “Let’s get started,” she said, her stomach a ball of nerves.

“Changed your mind, I see.” Eric smiled and slithered up against her, taking her in his large arms. He nuzzled the base of her neck.

A ripple of pleasure moved through her, easing some of the tension out of her muscles. She swatted at him and backed away. “The job.” She chuckled.

“Later?” he asked, his eyebrows making a hopeful arch. “We wouldn’t want to disappoint Compton, would we?” He started laughing, too.

She smiled. “So tell me what’s going on.”

“As you know, someone is stealing from the bar. I think it might be the accountant. It has to be someone who works here. Whoever it is knows what they’re doing.”

“Aren’t most of your employees vampires?”

“Half.”

“What should I do about them?”

“Nothing can be done. Focus on the humans and I’ll worry about them.” He exhaled. “I mean the police will deal with them,” he added.

“Got it.”

“If you find anything. I mean anything that seems off or suspicious, let me know. Only Pam knows why you’re here. You implied you spoke to someone else about your work here. Who?”

“It wasn’t in detail, but my boss and my gran both know where I am. It’s my safety net. If anything happens to me, you’ll have to answer to them.”

His eyes danced. “Noted.”

“Who’s first?”

“Bruce.”

Within ten seconds, Pam came in, escorting a sweaty, balding man.

“Lovely to see you again, Sookie,” Pam greeted, thrusting the terrified man into the chair next to Sookie.

Sookie looked at Eric. He nodded. It was time to work. She reached out to shake Bruce’s hand but regretted it immediately. It was like holding a slug. “Nice to meet you, Bruce.”

His eyes widened and he flinched with every word.

“Don’t worry,” she whispered. “I’m not going to hurt you. I’m here to help.” She was trying to put him at ease and get his thoughts going. She already got a flicker of his thoughts with the brief, slimy handshake. Deciding against holding his hand again, she pushed back his sleeve and touched his wrist. She closed her eyes and opened her mind to him.

She jerked back as his thoughts bombarded her.

Who the fuck is she? Why am I here? God. I know why I’m here. Why did I even point out the problem with the books if I didn’t have an answer as to where the money was going? Lillian doesn’t even know where I am. She thinks I work at a law firm. Why is this woman holding my wrist? Why won’t she let go? Does she know who took the fucking money? I sure as hell hope so, because they think it’s me. Why did I take this job? What’s wrong with me?

Sookie released her grip. She’d heard enough. “Bruce, do you know who took the money?”

He shook his head, making sweat drip off the tips of his thin hair. Sookie recoiled. “I wish I did,” he mumbled.

Sookie looked at Eric and then Pam. “It’s not him.”

Pam grimaced before gripping the driest patch of Bruce’s jacket and yanking him out of the chair. “Come on.” She dragged him out and fear rippled off him in waves.

“Where is she taking him?” Sookie asked.

“To the storage room. He’s fine. If you say he’s not guilty, he’s not guilty.”

In a minute, Pam returned with a woman dressed like the queen of all fang-bangers. For all Sookie knew, she might be. She certainly had bite mark scars to prove it. She’d been ridden hard and put away wet for years and it showed.

“Hi, sweetie,” the woman said to Eric, full of confidence.

Sookie scoffed. Eric hadn’t responded at all. She knew what it looked like when he wanted someone. That wasn’t it.

“Ginger, answer this woman’s questions,” Eric commanded.

“Yes, master,” she said, and she bowed low enough that her ample cleavage nearly spilled out of her low-cut dress. When she sat, she left her legs open, as if she were tempting Eric.

Sookie reached out to touch her, but Ginger pulled away and screamed, “Don’t touch me you servant!”

“Pam, please restrain her.”

Pam happily gripped Ginger’s arms, pinning them to the chair. Ginger squirmed, but she figured out eventually that she was just wasting her energy. Sookie touched her wrist and closed her eyes. Ginger’s mind was the exact opposite of Bruce’s. Instead of an onslaught of thoughts, there were none. But unlike JB’s mind, Ginger’s had been altered somehow. Thoughts floated around, but they weren’t coherent.

“Ginger, who took the money?”

Ginger shook her head and started crying.

“She knows who it is, but there’s no name. No images. Nothing. Like a hard drive that’s been wiped clean.”

“She’s been glamored.” Pam shook her head sadly.

“Does she have any friends?” Sookie asked.

Ginger’s cries turned into wails.

“Belinda,” Eric answered.

“Should she stay or go?” Pam asked Sookie.

“Go. She’s distracting.”

When she and Eric were alone, she whispered, “It’s a vampire.”

Eric frowned and held up his finger. He left the room without an explanation. Moments later, his voice boomed through the bar. “Fangtasia is now closed. Patrons, please leave. Employees, stay behind.” A chorus of questions filled the room. “I said leave!”

Sookie poked her head down the hall and saw a flood of people rushing toward the exit. A handful of vampire remained, including Bill and Long Shadow who still lingered by the bar. Noting the change in venue, Pam brought another woman to the main room, which seemed spacious with all the empty tables.

“Belinda, sit. Pam, lock the doors,” Eric commanded.

Sookie counted quickly. Six vampires. Two humans. Plus Ginger and Bruce in the storage room, wherever that was. Pam returned. “Both doors are locked.”

“Good.” He scanned the room, letting his gaze linger on a red-haired vamp, then the vicious looking woman who had been checking IDs. He looked at Long Shadow and Bill and finally to Pam.

“What’s the meaning of this?” The redhead said.

“Belinda is going to answer a few questions,” Eric replied.

Belinda nodded. Despite the fact that she and Ginger wore the same dress, Belinda looked twice as good in it. Classy somehow. Her fear mounted with each passing second.

Sookie reached out and touched her. “Who is Ginger dating?”

Belinda scoffed. “Anyone who will have her.”

Sookie locked eyes with Eric and she nodded, confirming it to be true. “Here, at the bar. Who is she seeing here?” Belinda didn’t have to say his name. Sookie could see him in her mind, having sex with Ginger in the ladies bathroom. Sookie grimaced and then blinked hard. She couldn’t help but look at the bar.

“It was his idea!” Bill shouted, running for the door.

“You fucking coward!” Long Shadow bellowed, going after him with the wooden handle he’d just snapped off of the beer tap.

The other vampires moved out of the way as Long Shadow tackled Bill to the ground and then sank the makeshift stake into his dead heart. Bill howled and then his skin melted away from his flesh, which liquefied and slowly seeped across the floor. Pam and the redhead held back the petite dark-haired woman, who was obviously excited by the fight. So much so that it took both of them to restrain her.

Eric grabbed Belinda and Sookie, dragging them down the hall to the storage room. Belinda panicked and thrashed against Eric as Long Shadow pulled Sookie out of his grasp and gouged her with the weapon in her low back. White-hot pain split her body in half and she crumpled to the ground. The back of her head hit hard, making her vision blur. Belinda howled with pain somewhere near. The ceiling was replaced by Long Shadow’s ugly face.

“And you.” He spat in her face with each word. “Bill thought you’d be the perfect rent-a-meal. All we needed was start up. Fuck him.” He opened his mouth wide and ripped into her throat.

Holy shit. That hurts. Where’s Eric? Is Bill really dead? Am I dying? Something warm and wet pooled under her head, like a cozy blanket. That’s nice. The commotion from the other room died down along with everything else. She couldn’t open her eyes and screaming was out of the question. Long Shadow crushed her esophagus and trachea. Hey, I remembered the real names. My ninth grade biology teacher would be so proud!

The darkness called to her, willing her to stop fighting. So she did the only thing she could: let go. Just as she exhaled her last ragged breath, the pain in her neck subsided and then something cold and metallic coated her face while a heavy weight fell on top of her. It was like being crushed by a tree, but it didn’t matter, she didn’t need her lungs anyway. She swallowed. How do I know that taste? She swallowed again and again. Power, hunger, strength, and desire. I know this taste. Swallow. The noise from the room returned, but she still couldn’t open her eyes or breathe.

“Get her out of here!” Eric shouted. He did something that made Sookie’s body light, and then she was floating. “Sookie? Hang on.” She wasn’t floating. She was flying. Flying with Eric toward the darkness.

Almost there. She hadn’t taken a breath in a while. How can I breathe with a hole in my neck? How is my brain still functioning? That’s a weird thought. How many seconds is it before I get brain damage? Or is it minutes?

Eric interrupted her internal tangent. “Drink,” he commanded.

She wanted to tell him he was too demanding, that you got more flies with honey than vinegar, that he was a good kisser, but she couldn’t say anything. Something wet touched her lips. The same thing she’d just tasted. Blood! I finally figured it out. Vampire blood! But this blood tastes different. She swallowed faster and faster, latching her mouth over his wrist, feeling better with each passing second.

“Thalia’s gone,” Pam said from somewhere near.

“She’s a loose cannon,” Eric growled.

“Is she going to make it?”

Wait … are they talking about me? I really did almost die, didn’t I? Who cares? I feel amazing!

“We’ll see,” Eric said, as he caressed Sookie’s sticky face.

Aww. He’s worried about me. How do I know that? What happened out there?

All the questions rattling around in her brain came to a screeching halt and everything went black.


What are you waiting for? There’s more! Petulance: Chapter 5

Petulance: Chapter 3

Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.

 

All mistakes are my own. Slightly NSFW.

 

AN: While trying to stay true to book canon Eric, I wrote him as high-handed and presumptuous. I always assumed he would do whatever he could to get what he wanted, including trying to influence Sookie to have sex with him (which he does several times in the first three books). I want to be clear that I don’t condone that kind of behavior. One of the reasons I write is to be a voice against rape culture where I can bring consensual relationships to life.

There’s nothing sexy about a person who forces someone else to do something they don’t want to do.

In this story, instead of changing Eric’s character completely from the beginning, I view his lack of morals as his flaw … something he’ll overcome, which was my plan all along. Since I love creating stories that bring Eric and Sookie together, let me assure you that he has a lot of growing to do before that happens.


 

Chapter 3

 

Sookie stood at the end of her driveway for a full minute, long after Eric’s taillights were out of sight. She pondered what had happened on the bumpy drive toward her house. He told her he wanted her and then he kissed her twice. That tongue. Those lips. Those hands. She shook her head. And then he tried to influence her to have sex with him. “What’s wrong with him?” She couldn’t deny her attraction to him, but that didn’t mean she was willing to give him everything. Especially after he demanded it. Things might’ve gone differently otherwise.

She was agitated enough that sleep didn’t come quickly, and when it finally did, it was full of vivid dreams. Featuring Eric … of course.

His lips moved all over her body. Instead of being on her car, they were in her room. Except it wasn’t her room. It was her bed outside, and they were both naked. He kissed her neck and licked her skin all the way down her body, hovering over her swollen sex. She moaned and writhed under him, because unlike her real experience, Dream Eric kept his big mouth shut. He rolled her nipple between his thumb and finger and pushed his talented tongue inside her, followed almost immediately by a long finger.

Sookie woke abruptly as she came, her finger still working industriously as wave after wave of pleasure washed over her. Her hard nipples scraped against the sheets, because although she’d gone to bed in a nightgown, she was now fully nude. Just like in her dream. The rest, including Eric, had been fabricated by her sleeping mind, which was good considering the sheer amount of sun streaming through the window.

When she shuffled into the kitchen, Gran was busy making lunch.

“Sleep well?”

Sookie shook her head. “Not really.”

“When did you get home?”

“Three-thirty.” It would’ve been three, but Eric happened.

“I’ve got my Descendants meeting tonight! I hope Vampire Bill shows up.” Gran couldn’t contain her excitement.

“Me too.”

“Would you like a sandwich?”

“Sure.” Sookie smiled. After lunch and a few chores, she changed into a slip and went to her secluded spot where she could sunbathe nude. Gran never went that far from the house, which was perfect because Sookie hated tan lines. With her slip draped on the end of her chaise lounge, she stretched out in the sun. As far as she was concerned, there wasn’t a better way to spend her day off. She followed the sun for a while, and then covered up and went back to the house so she could read a book in the swing out back. Gran could hardly stand still all day, and left for her meeting an hour early.

She threw a dress over her slip and switched from her book to the T.V. She deserved a real day off every now and then, and that meant sitting on her lazy ass.

She groaned when the phone rang. She had to answer it on meeting night. “Hello?”

The faint sound of people talking and a radio playing filtered through the phone, but no one spoke directly to her. It sounded like a bar.

“Hel-lo?” She scoffed and went to hang up when someone finally spoke.

“Sookie?” Eric asked.

“Oh. Hi.” Her pulse quickened. “What’s up?”

“I’m getting in touch to let you know I need your services Monday night.”

“I work that night.” She glanced at the calendar on the wall, and added, “But I’m free the next night.”

Eric didn’t speak for a few seconds. As time passed the background sounds changed, too. The noises drifted away and Sookie had to strain to hear. “I need you here Monday.”

“I can’t,” she stated. It wasn’t the whole truth. She had plenty of time to switch shifts with someone else, but it seemed like a lot of hassle to go to for someone who was asking a favor. Besides, something about the way he asked made her dig her heels in.

He sighed. “Fine,” he finally replied.

“Okie dokie! I’ll be there Tuesday night. What time?”

“Compton will bring you.”

“I’d rather drive myself.” The idea of a forty-minute brooding car ride didn’t sit well with her.

“Compton will bring you,” he repeated, his voice firm.

“Whatever. What time?”

“Be ready at nine. I’ll need your information so I can transfer money to your account.”

“Okay.” She gave him all the information he would need to deposit the five thousand dollars into her shared account with Gran. It would be nice not to have to worry about utility bills for a while. “I’ll see you then.” She waited for him to say goodbye, but it never happened.

“Sookie?”

“Yes?” Apparently he wasn’t done talking.

“I’m sorry about last night,” he whispered.

“What? I can hardly hear you.” Truthfully, she wanted to hear him apologize again.

“I’m sorry about last night,” he repeated louder.

“Which part?” she asked, needing clarification.

“When I tried to glamor you.”

“That was wrong,” she stated.

“I understand. That’s why I’m apologizing.”

“You don’t regret kissing me?” she asked, smiling.

“No,” he replied. “In fact, if you’d given in to me, I would’ve fucked you right then and there.”

She groaned. “Don’t say that. Don’t say give in or yield. That’s not how it’s supposed to be.”

“So you’re okay with the fucking part?”

Her cheeks burned. She’d purposefully focused on the other part of his statement. “What I’m saying is that it’s not supposed to be about you wearing me down. It’s all about winning me over. See the difference?” She really wanted him to understand.

“Not really.”

She couldn’t tell if he was messing with her or if he really didn’t get it. Either way, their conversation had reached a dead end. “Goodnight, Eric.”

“Goodnight, Sookie.” The way he said her name made her nerves twinge. The line went dead, but she stood there, holding the phone in her hand anyway.

* * * *

Working the dinner shift on Monday meant Sookie got to spend the better part of the night with her brother and his friends. Jason, Hoyt, and Rene took up more than half the bar nursing a pitcher of beer. It wasn’t good for business, but Merlotte’s wasn’t hopping, so Sam didn’t mind. That’s probably why they chose weeknights to hang out.

During a lull in business, Sookie leaned against the counter and chatted with them.

“My mama said the last Descendants meeting was the best one yet. Vampire Bill really put on a good show,” Hoyt said.

Rene tensed like he did whenever Hoyt talked about his mama.

“I heard,” Sookie replied, wiping the immaculate counter for the tenth time.

Hoyt put his beer down. “You weren’t there?”

“No sir. I was watching a movie at home.”

He frowned. “I thought you and Vampire Bill were going steady.”

Sookie laughed. “This isn’t high school, Hoyt. Besides, Bill never seemed all that interested in me to begin with.”

“Not the way I seen it,” Rene piped in.

“Yeah, Sook. Everyone’s been talking about you and him.” Jason’s eyebrows jumped.

“Well they better stop, ‘cause there’s nothing to talk about.” She looked down and folded her rag neatly. Without meaning to, she picked up on a wisp of thought all snarled with hate. Maybe she doesn’t deserve to die next. She frowned. Who had it come from? Who were they talking about? Her hands got cold and clammy.

“You okay?” Hoyt asked, tilting his head.

“Yeah, got dizzy for a minute. Hey, Rene, is Arlene still sick with that cold?”

He nodded.

“Maybe I picked it up from her,” she said. “I think I’ll sit down for a while.”

She excused herself from their friendly conversation and went out the back door. She sat on the porch, letting her feet dangle over the gravel. Within a few minutes, Sam joined her. He leaned against the pillar holding the roof up over the porch.

“Everything okay?”

She looked up at him and shook her head. “Someone in there plans to do something bad to somebody.”

He frowned and then squatted next to her. “How do you mean?”

“I heard someone. They said something about someone dying.” She tapped the side of her head.

He nodded, knowingly. “Do you know who?”

That was one of the things she liked about working for Sam. He never made a big deal about the rumors about her, and even though she just admitted they were true, it still didn’t matter. She shook her head again. “That’s the part that worries me.”

“Should we call Bud? Andy’s all but passed out in there.”

“And tell him what? That I got a really bad feeling?”

Sam scrunched his nose. “I suppose that won’t work. Just the same, I’m going to make a list of everybody in the place.”

“Good idea. I’m going to sit out here a bit longer and take a few deep breaths.”

“Take all the time you need.” He stood and opened the back screen door.

“Thanks, Sam.” She swung her feet back and forth and eventually shook the nasty feeling inside her. By the time she got back inside, a few of the tables had emptied, which meant she had bussing to do. As she kneeled on the booth cushion and wiped the far corner, she filtered through the thoughts in the room and caught a disturbing image of her being choked while someone was having sex with her. She was naked. Just like Dawn. Well I guess that narrows down the who’s going to die part. She whipped her head around, but no one moved. She looked at each and every person in the place. Rene lifted his beer and smiled. She returned the smile and got back to work. Before long, Sam closed up and ushered out Andy and Jane into their waiting rides. Andy’s grandmother had sent a car, as per usual, while Jane’s son sat behind the wheel of his car, looking embarrassed and exhausted all at the same time.

“I have a list,” Sam whispered as he locked the door.

“It happened again. Only this time, it was an image.”

“Of?”

Her cheeks flushed. “Me being choked.” She didn’t have to mention the fact that she was naked, did she?

“When?” He frowned and looked at his list, written on the back of a ticket.

“When I cleared off table ten.”

“So that rules out Fred, Mack, and the Listers. They all left about the same time.”

“Who does that leave?” She looked over the list and pointed to Andy and Jane’s names. “They were both too drunk to have a coherent thought. I nudged Andy’s chair to see if it was him, and he couldn’t even open his eyes.”

“Without them, we’ve got five suspects. JB, Eggs, Rene, Hoyt … and your brother.”

“It can’t be him.” She shook her head.

“I know you don’t like the idea of your brother being a killer, but we can’t rule him out just because of that.”

“In the image, I was naked. I’m pretty sure whoever is killing these women is raping them, too. Jason may be a womanizing dirtbag, but he’s never had thoughts about me like that.” She shuddered.

“Oh. You didn’t mention the naked part.”

“Why would I? It’s embarrassing.” She sighed. “Jason is the perfect candidate though. He’s been with both Dawn and Maudette. He’d be easy to pin it on.”

“He better be really careful about what he says and does.”

Sookie laughed. “My brother’s never been careful.” She pinched the bridge of her nose. “I’m off tomorrow, so maybe I’ll go around and visit a few people.”

“That’s dangerous, Sookie. You shouldn’t go alone.”

“I won’t be alone. Gran and I will go together. Who would hurt a little old lady?”

“I don’t know,” he answered. “Maybe the same sick bastard who killed Dawn.”

“I’ll be careful,” she said. “I promise.” She wanted to tell him about her job in Shreveport, but thought better of it. He already had enough on his plate.

“I’ll keep an eye out if any of them come in tomorrow.”

“Good plan.”

* * * *

Instead of her normal, leisurely day off, Sookie woke up early and set to work baking. Everyone loved cookies, right? Even people she was going to investigate for murder. She made up a story about losing a bet with her brother the previous night and asked Gran if she wanted to visit him at work.

“Well of course I do. I haven’t seen that boy in ages. How’s he been?”

“Same old, same old.” Sookie smiled and packed the cookies into a few separate containers. “Let’s go, shall we?”

Gran grabbed her purse and held the cookies while Sookie drove to the construction site where Jason, Hoyt, and Rene worked. When they pulled up, Sookie nodded to her brother and pulled him aside while Hoyt and Gran talked about Vampire Bill’s visit to the Descendants meeting.

“Hey, Gran thinks I lost a bet to you and that I owe you cookies.”

“Great. What kind?”

“Shh.” She put her hand on his and opened her mind. It wasn’t hard. He never tried to hide his thoughts from her, even when he should’ve. Mostly he was thinking of cookies, but also about Jen, the twenty-year old who ran the Grab It Quick. No thoughts about Sookie or anything else for that matter. “She’s pretty,” she said.

“Get outta my head. Damn.”

“I’m sorry. I just had to be sure.”

“Sure about what?” Jason frowned.

“Last night, at work, I heard the thoughts of a killer. Seemed like the same guy who killed Dawn. Just had to be sure it wasn’t you.”

“Of course it’s not me!” he shouted, interrupting the other conversation.

“Be careful, Jase, you’re connected to both of the women who have died, and as far as I know, the cops don’t have a good lead. So you’re as good as any.”

“But I’m innocent.”

“I know that, and I’m going to try and help.” She smiled. “Play along, okay?”

He nodded, a hint of panic still lingering on his forehead.

“I made you cookies,” she said, rejoining Gran. “Where’s Rene?” She hadn’t noticed until that moment that it was only Jason and Hoyt working together that day.

“He’s home taking care of Arlene,” Hoyt responded.

“More like nursing a hangover,” Jason added in a stage whisper.

“How have you been, Jason? Sookie brings me up-to-date every now and then, but it’s not the same as seeing you in person.” Gran gave him a gentle hug.

“Hungry. What kind of cookies did you bring?”

Gran laughed. “Chocolate chip.”

“I made enough for the three of you, but since Rene’s not here, I’ll have to deliver them another time.”

“These are good,” Hoyt mumbled around a mouthful of cookie.

“I used to take them into work. Dawn loved them, too.” Sookie had prepared for the comment, but no one else had. It was still too soon, and she knew it. An overwhelming sadness came from the other three. Gran thought it was a real shame, Jason felt pretty much the same (except the additional she had a nice ass thought), and Hoyt wished he could find the monster that killed her. He meant monster literally, as he assumed a vampire had killed her, but not Vampire Bill, who, according to Hoyt, was a real stand-up kind of guy.

Jason broke the tension and said, “Any time you want to bet with me again, I’m happy to take you up. Just so long as you bring me cookies.”

Hoyt smiled, finally pulling himself out of his sad thoughts. “I’m just glad I get to be here.”

After a few more minutes of chatter, Sookie and Gran left, letting Jason and Hoyt get back to work. Relief made every muscle in Sookie’s body relax.

“Are we going to visit Rene?” Gran asked.

“No. Arlene’s been out for days with that cold. I don’t want to risk getting it from her!”

“What are these other cookies for?”

“We’re going to stop by JB’s, if you don’t mind.”

“Nice kid,” Gran said.

Her intentions for seeing JB were two-fold. Away from the competitive macho environment of the bar, JB was about the sweetest man she’d ever met. Easy on the eyes, too. Also, she wanted to clear his name with Sam. As far as she was concerned, Jason, Hoyt, and JB shouldn’t have been on the list to begin with, but it was probably a case of wrong place at the wrong time. She was lucky it hadn’t happened on a busier night or her cookie errands would’ve been much longer. JB lived in the dumpy apartments near Main Street. She knew he’d be home because the night before, he’d told her that he’d been laid off.

“I’m going to run these in, okay?” Sookie said to Gran. “He seemed sort of down last night, and this might cheer him up.”

“Seeing your pretty face won’t hurt none either.” Gran grinned and pulled a crossword out of her purse. “Well go on!”

Sookie grabbed a container of treats and knocked on his front door. After waiting a minute, she knocked again.

“I’m a comin’, I’m a comin’,” he called out on the other side of the thin door. When he opened it, a wide smile spread across his face. He was still pulling a T-shirt over his head. “Sookie Stackhouse!”

“Hiya, JB. Have you got a minute?”

“Shoot.” He laughed. “I’ve got all day!” He motioned for her to come inside, and closed the door behind them. It was obvious by the musky smell in the air that it had been weeks since he’d aired the apartment out. You could get away with that in the spring, but come summer, it would be another story. “What can I do for you?” he asked.

“I was thinking about your current job situation and figured cookies might cheer you up.”

His mouth fell open. “Aren’t you the sweetest thing?”

“Nah,” she said, dismissing his compliment.

“You baked for me?”

She nodded. “I took some to my brother, too. You know what a sweet tooth he has.”

JB smiled and bit into one and then smiled some more. “That’s real tasty.”

“I know what it’s like to feel down. I still haven’t gotten over the shock of Dawn.”

JB’s thoughts popped into his head and then spilled out of his mouth. “Me either. She was such a nice gal. What do you think happened to her?” As he asked the question, he tried to think of a possible scenario, but he came up with nothing. His brain was literally empty. Beyond what the police had reported, he had no idea who would hurt someone like Dawn. Sookie read him like an open book.

Sookie shook her head. “I don’t know, but I hope they catch whoever did it. I don’t feel safe.”

“I get that!” He nodded vigorously and munched on another cookie. “You sure brightened my day.”

“It was good seeing you. I should go, my gran’s waiting in the car. Don’t give up, JB, I know there’s a job out there for you!”

“Thanks, Sookie. You’re a good friend.” He hugged her with one arm and gripped the cookies in the other.

“See ya, JB.” She let herself out and sighed again. Another name off the list. Once she was back in the car, she drove the long way home passing by the run down house where Eggs lived. Mrs. Talley’s car sat in the driveway, which was more than enough to keep Sookie at bay. Mrs. Talley wasn’t the friendliest person, to say the least. She had a mean streak a mile wide and wasn’t shy about telling you just what she thought. Eggs would have to wait another day. Three out of five isn’t bad.

As soon as she got home, Sookie called Merlotte’s and asked for Sam. As soon as they connected she said, “You can cross three off. Hoyt, JB, and Jason.”

“What if they’re hiding the truth?” Sam whispered.

“Besides what I heard today, you know why Jason doesn’t fit. Hoyt thinks a vamp killed them, and JB is too simple to hide his thoughts from me.” She sighed. “I shouldn’t have said that,” she added. Everyone knew JB was dumb, but that didn’t mean it was okay to point it out.

“I know what you mean,” Sam said. “What about Eggs and Rene?”

“I’ll have to get them another time. Mrs. Talley was home when I drove by, and Rene was home with Arlene.”

“I’ll keep an eye on them if either come in today. Unless you have time to socialize tonight,” he added.

“As much as I’d like to hang out at work on my days off, I’ve got plans tonight.”

Sam must’ve picked up on something in her voice because he asked, “Where are you going?”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but I’m going to Fangtasia again. The owner asked me to help with something.” She considered telling him more, but didn’t know how much Eric would want his financial troubles known, so she kept her mouth shut. “He’s paying me, so it’s like a side job.”

“I don’t like the sound of that,” he said in a warning voice.

“I know, but I don’t think Eric would hurt me.” Not intentionally, anyway, unless the hood of a car was involved.

“What makes you say that?”

She blushed and then came up with a brilliant answer. “I’m too valuable. He needs me to read someone’s mind. Telepaths are hard to come by, you know.”

“I’m aware,” Sam replied. The way he said it seemed sort of cryptic, like he knew something he wasn’t letting on to. Whatever it was, he wasn’t about to tell her. “Be careful.”

“I always am.”

* * * *

The closer to nine it got, the antsier Sookie became. In addition to two hours spent on meticulous grooming, she changed three times, finally deciding on a soft pink sundress that swished when she walked. That time, instead of dressing for Bill, she was dressing for Eric. Well, not really Eric, for Eric’s job. She looked at herself in the mirror as she applied the perfect shade of lipstick and laughed. She couldn’t even fool herself!

“Going out?” Gran asked.

“I got another job,” Sookie said. “In Shreveport. I’m helping a friend, Eric.”

“You look beautiful,” Gran said. “How late do you think you’ll be?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. A few hours? I really have no idea. He’s having a problem at work and wants me to help talk to the employees. I guess because I’m friendly.”

Gran stared at her. “I’m sure there is another reason.”

“Maybe because of that.” Sookie looked at her feet. “Bill is driving me, just so you know.”

“I thought you were taking a break from Bill.”

“I am. It’s not my choice. Eric wants me to arrive safely and I guess he trusts Bill. In any case, he’ll be here in a few minutes, but I don’t want him to get too friendly, okay?”

“I understand.”

“I’m going to wait outside.”

“Be safe, honey,” Gran said, giving her a gentle squeeze.

“Will do,” Sookie promised.

Turns out, she couldn’t keep her promise. How could she have possibly known what was going to happen that night?


What are you waiting for? On to Petulance: Chapter 4

Petulance: Chapter 2

Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.

All mistakes are my own.

 

Chapter 2


 

Sookie tried to put the events of the previous night out of her mind while she worked. During a lull, Sam nodded his head toward his office. She followed him and asked, “What’s up?”

“You went on a date with Bill last night, didn’t you?”

Her cheeks flushed. She’d picked up her paycheck before leaving for her date and everyone, including Sam had looked at her in a way they never had before. “I’m not so sure it was a date,” she said finally.

“You certainly looked like you were going somewhere special.”

Sookie tried to stay out of his head, she knew by the look on his face that his snarly thoughts would be more agitated than usual. “I asked Bill to take me to Fangtasia—”

“What? Why would you do that?” he interrupted. “Do you know how dangerous that is?”

“Let me finish! I went so I could ask about Dawn and Maudette.”

At the mention of Dawn’s name, Sam’s expression changed. “And? Did you find anything?”

She nodded and looked at the ground. “They’d both been there. One of the vampires said they wanted to die. That anyone who spends time around vampires wants to die. But I don’t think it was a vampire who killed them. Why would they be strangled to death and not drained?”

“I agree. That’s what makes it even more frightening. If it wasn’t a vamp, who did it?”

“A regular ol’ psychopath, I guess.” Sookie clicked her tongue. “I’m real sorry about Dawn. She didn’t deserve to go like that.”

“Thanks, cher.” He touched her shoulder lightly and shifted his body toward hers as if he were going to hug her. “I appreciate you trying to find an answer, but you shouldn’t have gone. I couldn’t stand to lose you, too. Maybe you should lay low for a while, stay away from vamps.”

After the night she’d had, she couldn’t agree more, but she didn’t think she had much say in that. She also didn’t appreciate his possessiveness. “Thanks for being worried about me. I should probably get back out there. Table two probably needs more ranch by now.” She slipped out of his office and avoided him for the rest of her shift.

By the time she left work, the sun had been down for an hour. She stopped at the store on the way home, cashed her check, and bought groceries. With a bag over each arm she called out, “I’m home!”

Gran laughed and then replied, “We’re in the kitchen, honey.”

We? She didn’t have to wonder long who was sitting with her grandmother. Bill’s calm face came into view the second she rounded the corner. “Oh. Hi, Bill.”

He stood when she entered the room. “Sookie.”

Gran took the bags of groceries and started unloading them. “Vampire Bill and I were just talking about the next Descendants meeting. He’s offered to speak for us, isn’t that wonderful?” Her old cheeks glowed.

“Truly,” Sookie answered because she knew nothing would make her Gran happier. “How kind of you,” she said to Bill.

“I wondered if I may have a word with you,” he replied.

“Sure, what’s on your mind?” she said.

“In private.” He glanced at her grandmother.

“Why don’t we go into the living room?” She figured he would want to speak to her outside, but she wasn’t stupid enough to leave her house with him without knowing how he felt first.

“You made a lasting impression last night,” he started, his voice more calm and cool than ever.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I think you know what it means.” He glared at her for a fraction of a second before going on. “Eric is quite taken with you.”

Her heart skipped a beat. “Good for him.”

He took a step toward her and grasped her elbow, pulling her toward him. His cold, stagnant breath puffing against her forehead as he spoke, “What happened?”

So Bill wasn’t spying on us. I would’ve thought he had gotten home before us, what with our little detour. “Eric took me home, just like he said he would. End of story.”

“Did he bite you?” Bill whispered, caressing the side of her neck with his free hand.

“What? No!” She pulled away from him. “You vamps always assume we’re going to give you anything you want.” She snorted.

“Because you usually do,” he answered casually.

“Not me.”

He frowned. “He didn’t touch you?”

She thought back to the brief moment when he’d held her hand and touched her with his large, cool thumb. A shiver of pleasure echoed through her. “He offered his hand to help me out of his car, that’s all. Why?”

“Because you’re mine.”

“No I’m not.” The only time he showed even a hint of interest toward her was when another vampire was involved. She narrowed her eyes. “You keep saying that. What makes you think I want to be yours?”

“It’s for your protection,” he answered.

“Ha. Just like with Diane, Liam, and Malcolm, right? You claimed me so they wouldn’t ‘feed’ from me.” She quoted the word with her fingers. “Has it ever occurred to you that I don’t want to be owned by you? I saved you, after all.”

“From humans.” His face contorted with disgust as if humans were the most pathetic creatures ever to walk the earth. “Don’t forget how dangerous we are.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” she said, unable to hold her tongue.

He reached out to grab her arm again but she saw his movement and jumped backward. “Don’t touch me again. You gave me a bruise last night. It hurts.” She turned her inner arm toward him and lifted the sleeve of her shirt. “That doesn’t seem like a very mainstream thing to do.”

His eyes flashed anger and then he put his hands behind his back. “I apologize.”

“So that’s the only reason? For claiming me?” she asked, getting back to the question of the day.

“I’m trying to protect you.”

So he’s not interested in me. He just sees me as a project. She didn’t know if she should be relieved or disappointed. “Are we done talking? I’ve been on my feet all day.

“Eric would like to see you again.”

“No thanks. I’m taking a break from vampires.”

Bill scoffed. “That’s not how it works. Eric is Sheriff of Area Five, and when he requests an audience, you cannot turn him down.”

“He’s not my sheriff.” She stared at him. “I appreciate your offer to help my gran, but as far as I’m concerned, we’re square.”

“Square?”

“I saved you, you saved me. Even.” She walked toward the front door and held it open. “Goodnight, Bill.”

“Goodnight, Sookie,” he whispered before leaving in a blur of movement.

She rolled her eyes and joined her gran in the kitchen.

“Everything okay, honey?” Gran asked.

“Yeah. I’m taking a break from Bill.”

Gran clicked her tongue. “He’s such a nice young man, too bad it didn’t work out.” A frown worked its way across her forehead. “Do you think he’ll still come to my meeting?”

“I’m sure he will. He did that because you asked him to, not me.” It was kind of the truth. Sookie had asked Bill to consider it, but Gran sealed the deal.

“What happened?”

“He never actually seemed interested in me. Not like that. Besides, he’s too possessive. I don’t like it.”

“I can understand that. No one likes to be controlled.”

Sookie laughed. “Maybe you should tell that to all the vampires out there!”

* * * *

The next day came and went. Sookie worked the dinner shift and made enough money to cover a few expenses. Her paychecks supplemented Gran’s retirement and social security, neither of which were enough to keep the house afloat. Waiting tables made her back ache and her feet swollen, but it paid the bills. Closing always brought in the most customers, especially on a Friday night, but it meant she didn’t get home until three in the morning.

She rubbed the back of her neck as she turned toward Hummingbird Lane, but stopped abruptly before turning down her driveway. Mostly because she couldn’t. A shiny red Corvette blocked it. She sighed, turned her car off, and got out. She tapped on the dark driver’s side window, which eased down with a mechanical whir.

“Could you please move? You’re blocking my way.”

“No. I’m afraid I won’t move.”

She let out a loud, exasperated sigh. “Why not?”

“Not until you agree to come to Fangtasia again.”

“You’re seeing me right now. What’s the difference?” She took a step backward as his door clicked open.

Eric rose to his full height, unfolding his large body from the compact seat. “Let me explain.”

She sat on the hood of her car, resting her feet on the bumper, and pressing her elbows against her thighs. She slumped forward. She couldn’t stand to be on her feet any longer, and it didn’t seem like this was going to be a quick conversation. “Look, I’m tired, okay? Can we just get this over with?”

A smile tugged up the corner of his mouth. “You are very interesting.”

“You keep saying that.”

“Because it’s true.”

“Can we just cut the crap? What do you want?”

His smile grew. “I want many things, including you, but that’s not why I’m here.”

Heat crept up her neck. Eric certainly didn’t hide his feelings the way Bill did. “So why are you here?”

He took a step closer to her, making her straighten her back. When he spoke again, he whispered, “I need your help.” He looked around at the dark woods as if someone were listening and then stepped closer, his body touching her knees. “Someone is stealing from my business.”

She frowned. “How much?”

“Sixty thousand.”

She blinked. Thousands of dollars. “And what do you want me to do?”

“Find the thief. Listen to them.” He touched the side of her head.

She closed her eyes and leaned into his hand. She jerked in surprise when his lips fell onto hers. She pulled away and touched her mouth. The kiss had only lasted for a split second, but it had warmed every cell in her body. “What will you do if I find them?” she mumbled, trying to get their conversation back on track.

Eric licked his lips, revealing his fangs. He blinked and focused on her. “What did you say?”

“The thief. What will you do with them?”

“Kill them?” He shrugged.

She shook her head. “No. My answer is no.”

“Fine. I’ll reprimand them.”

“Or you could let the police do that. It’s their job, after all.” She sighed. “There are vampire and human officers who handle all sorts of legal issues.”

“Shh,” he said, touching her mouth. “Secrecy is crucial.”

She listened to the woods. No human brains and no blank spots, either. “There’s no one around to hear.” Her lips rubbed against his finger with each word.

“Oh?” His cocky smile reappeared.

“That’s not what I—”

He silenced her with another kiss, and that time he didn’t hold back. Boy, could he kiss! His tongue pushed inside her mouth, wrapping around hers and pulling it. She leaned back on the hood of her car and Eric followed, wedging his body between her legs and hovering inches above her. The soft sound of crickets disappeared. All she could hear was the beat of her heart and the slippery sound of their mouths moving.

When she pulled away to breathe, Eric’s hands moved across her hips, dragging her body down toward him. Her head swam as something pressed against her brain.

“Yield to me,” he demanded. “Let me claim you.” He stared into her eyes intently, the same way Bill had the first time he’d tried to glamor her.

And just like that, the spell was broken. “Excuse me?”

“I bet you’re sweet. I’d like to find out.” His fingers moved to the button holding her tight black pants closed.

“Hold it right there, buddy.” She pushed herself up and knocked his hands away. “I know you’re used to people throwing themselves at you, but that’s not who I am.” She had to take a few deep breaths to get her lust under control. “Also, I can’t be glamored, so you should stop trying. When someone wants you, they should want you because they want you, not because you influenced them. That’s what consent means.” Anger flared inside her. “Is that how you get what you want? By forcing people?”

“No.” He frowned and pulled away. “They offer.”

“So when I didn’t you thought you’d try to influence me?”

“I—”

“You should be ashamed of yourself.” She stood and poked his chest. She also made the mistake of looking down at the very large bulge in his jeans. She swallowed hard and tried to stay mad. “I need to go to sleep. Please move.”

Eric tightened his jaw. “Not until you agree to help me.”

“What’s in it for me? Getting involved in the financial affairs of a vampire’s business is a big risk.”

“I’ll pay you. Please?”

“How much?”

“Five.”

“Hundred?” Sookie asked.

Eric frowned. “Thousand.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh. That’s a lot.”

“It’s nominal compared to how much I’ve lost. Do you want less?”

“No. Five thousand is great.”

“Are you changing your mind?” He smiled.

“Maybe,” she answered, holding her finger up to silence him. “But only if you promise to turn whoever it is over to the police, and you keep your hands off me. I’ll be working, so it needs to be professional.”

His smile fell and then he nodded. “I agree to your terms. I’ll be in touch.” Without another word, he got in his Corvette and sped away, flicking rocks at Sookie and her car.


She drives a hard bargain, doesn’t she? Read more! Petulance: Chapter 3

Petulance: Chapter 1

Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.

 

All mistakes are my own. Thanks for all the brilliant ideas, GabbieAnnie.


Chapter 1

 

Sookie stood in the middle of the bustling room, taking in her surroundings when Bill gripped her arm, pulling her close.

“You look like a white candle in a coal mine.”

She laughed, because it was true. Everyone else wore black or gray, including the vampires. She wondered if they dressed that way because it was their preference, or because the clientele expected it.

Bill dragged her toward the bar and pushed her, unceremoniously, toward the bartender.

The wiry man smiled at her, his fangs on display and his nostrils flaring.

Bill ordered a warmed bottle of blood, while she ordered a gin and tonic. A few of the fangbangers were sipping bottles of blood, too, but it just made them more pathetic than they already were.

“Long time no see, Bill,” the man said, combining the liquids in her short glass. “Is she your meal for the night?”

“She’s the one I was telling you about,” Bill whispered. Sookie focused on a couple standing nearby, but heard him and didn’t miss the meaningful glance the bartender gave her. “Sookie, this is Long Shadow. She has a few questions.”

“Anything for such a special woman. Do I get to sample the wares?”

“She’s mine!” Bill puffed out his chest and glared at his friend.

A few uneasy moments passed before Sookie pulled out the newspaper pictures of Dawn and Maudette. “Have you seen these women here before?”

“Yes,” the bartender answered.

“Do you know who they spent time with?”

His eyes narrowed and his mouth pressed into a grim line. “That’s not something you should ask. Privacy is important to us.”

She looked away and mumbled an apology before trying to pull the papers back toward her.

Long Shadow put his finger on Dawn’s face. “She wanted to die.” Something about the way he said it made her believe him. “Perhaps you do, too.” He leered at her and licked his thin lips.

Bill dug his fingernails into the tender flesh under her arm and started pulling her away.

“Leaving so soon?” Long Shadow asked.

“I’ll be in touch,” Bill whispered before forcing Sookie into a recently vacated booth. Her drink sloshed onto the table.

“What was that all about?” She scowled at him and rubbed her arm at the same time. “You were hurting me.”

“He would do much worse,” Bill stated.

“Why would he say that, about me wanting to die.”

Bill shrugged slightly. “That’s what we are: death. That’s what most of these people want.” He gestured at the pitiful fang-bangers and terrified tourists.

Sookie closed her eyes and listened to the room. “Nope.” She zeroed in on one young man, slumped at the bar. “Okay he does, but everyone else is here for sex.” Her heart raced as her mind was flooded with graphic images. Most of them featured either a blond woman or a blond man. She frowned and tilted her head. “They’re all thinking about the same vampires.” She glanced around quickly finding the beautiful couple everyone with a pulse pined for, only to see that they were both staring at her. She swallowed hard. “Who are they?” The man wore boots, jeans, and a vest. His pale skin glimmered in the dim lights.

“Eric and Pam,” Bill said, his voice going cold. “He’s the oldest thing in here.”

At that moment, Eric signaled to Bill. Bill sighed and slid out of the booth, dragging Sookie with him.

“Where are we going? My purse is on the table.” She tried to reach for it, but he had her in his iron grip again.

“He wants to meet you,” Bill whispered. “We mustn’t disappoint Eric.”

They pushed through the crowd and stopped about ten feet away from the raised platform where Eric and Pam sat.

“What have we here?” Eric asked, looking Sookie over from head to toe for the third time, lingering a little too long over her curves.

Sookie curtsied and bowed her head slightly, taking cues from how Bill interacted with other vampires. No one seemed to shake hands, which didn’t matter much since they were so far apart. “Sookie Stackhouse.”

“Aren’t you sweet?”

“Not particularly,” she sassed, earning a raised eyebrow from Pam.

“Sookie, this is Eric and Pam, they own the bar,” Bill explained.

Sookie nodded. They were beautiful and powerful. Of course everyone wanted them.

“Out for a night of thrills?” Pam asked, showing her wicked fangs as she smiled.

Sookie cowered. “Actually, I have a few questions, if that’s okay.”

Pam rolled her eyes. “Like how old we are and how big his dick is?” She pointed her thumb at Eric, smiling again when her words sank in and made Sookie blush.

“No, I… I… My friends have pictures.” She squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath. “I mean, I have pictures of my friends, if you wouldn’t mind looking at them. They’re in my purse.” She looked over her shoulder, hoping it hadn’t been stolen from their abandoned table.

“Fetch it, will you,” Eric said to Bill, as a demand not a request.

Bill nodded and released his hold on her.

Sookie rubbed her arm and inspected the soft flesh, which already had a bruise forming. When Bill returned, he pushed her red purse into her hands and then reached out to regain his hold on her. “Stop it, you’re hurting me.” She twisted away from him and stepped toward Eric. Bill didn’t follow. “Have you seen these women before?” She pulled the folded newspaper clippings out of her purse and held them out.

Eric’s blue gaze slid down her neck, hovered over her breasts, and then followed her arms to where the pictures rested in her shaky palms.

Pam leaned forward and then looked at Eric. She seemed to be waiting for him to say something.

Eric nodded. “Yes. I’ve been with her,” he said casually, touching Dawn’s picture.

Pam nodded. “I’ve never been with either, but that one was pathetic. Desperate to fuck anything undead.” She flicked a finger toward Maudette’s picture.

Sookie scoffed. “Like most of the people in here?” She listened again and that time, gasped as a new thought broke through the wall of lust.

“What about you?” Eric asked, his eyebrows formed a hopeful arch.

“No. I’m more concerned with getting out of here. Right now.”

Pam straightened her back and looked around them. “Why do you say that?”

“There’s going to be a raid,” Sookie whispered.

Eric looked at one vamp after another, giving them a different signal than the one he’d used with Bill before he stood, towering over Sookie. He offered his arm to her, which she took out of habit. His arm felt like steel.

Bill made a growling sound behind them.

“Careful, Compton,” Eric said, escorting Sookie outside while the other vampires came up behind them. Once they were in the parking lot, Eric paused and looked down at Sookie. “How do you know?”

“A cop saw a vamp in the bathroom biting a fang-banger. He called for backup. I read his mind,” she said with a shrug. While she normally kept that detail hidden from regular people, she didn’t think it would be the weirdest thing Eric had ever heard.

“Interesting.”

“As much as I’d love to chat, we should probably go,” Sookie said, trying to pull away from Eric. He put his hand on top of hers.

“I would be happy to drive you home,” he offered. “So we can continue our conversation.”

“She’s mine,” Bill said for the second time that night.

“Are you attached to him?” Eric asked, ignoring Bill.

“I… We are… Um, I mean, I don’t—” Sirens in the distance cut her off.

“I’ll take that as a no.” Eric turned and faced Bill. “I’ll take her home tonight.”

Bill opened his mouth to respond, but promptly shut it. He nodded briskly and moved in a blur to his shiny Cadillac.

Eric guided Sookie into the passenger seat of a bright red Corvette. Of course he drove a Corvette.

Sookie took a deep breath and then sat on her hands. She couldn’t get them to stop shaking. Nervous didn’t begin to explain how she felt. She happened to be getting a ride from the most beautiful and dangerous man she had ever met. Scratch that. The most beautiful and dangerous vampire she’d ever met.

Eric pulled out of the parking lot just as the police entered through the other driveway. Once they were a safe distance away, he asked, “Where do you live?”

“Bon Temps,” she answered. “It’s about—”

“I know where it is.” He looked at her sideways. “You don’t seem like Compton’s type.”

“Oh?” she asked, her voice unusually high. “What are you implying?” Bill had already made her feel like shit by not complimenting her outfit, so she was fully prepared for whatever insult Eric was about to dish out.

“He usually gets his meals from much more willing humans.”

Sookie snorted. “He’s mainstreaming.”

“So he says.” Eric paused and looked at her again. “You don’t seem willing … despite the dress,” he added, a hint of a smile tugging up his lips.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Her anger flashed like a stove fire threatening to consumer her.

“Your outfit is meant to show off your body and yet, you’re awkward and uncomfortable.”

“Maybe you’re making me uncomfortable!” she retorted.

He growled and pulled the car over to the shoulder, stopping their progress.

She covered her mouth and couldn’t look away. Sassing a vampire might not be the best move.

I’m making you uncomfortable?” he asked, leaning toward her, pulling her hand away from her mouth. His lips inches from hers. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. “Has Compton ever told you how delicious you smell?” He ran his thumb across her palm, sending a shiver through her.

“He may have implied it,” she whispered. The memory of him licking her forehead after the Rattray’s attacked flickered into her head. Do I taste different than other people? Yes. What are you?

“Are you fucking?”

Heat crept up her cheeks. “Not that it’s any of your business, but no.” She yanked her hand away from him.

“Interesting,” he replied, inhaling again.

“Like my telepathy?” she asked, wishing desperately to change the subject.

“I had a psychic once. It was magnificent.”

“Did they think so?”

“At first…” He smiled and leaned back in his seat, probably reliving some gruesome death scene. “I’ve never had a telepath.” His dark, hungry eyes roamed over her body.

“I’d like to keep it that way,” she said curtly. “You promised you’d take me home.”

“I did.” He didn’t seem to be certain about why he had agreed to that. She thought he might change his mind, but then, he pulled back onto the main road. “Can you hear my thoughts?”

She smiled wide, partially out of relief, partially because she reveled in his silence. “No. You are blissfully quiet, like all vampires. Humans are very noisy.”

“I can only imagine.” Several minutes passed in silence before Eric spoke again. “If you’re not fucking, how does Compton have a claim on you?”

She crossed her arms over her chest and looked out the window. “As I said, that’s none of your business.”

Eric let out a startled laugh. “You are full of surprises.”

She kept her eyes on the scenery that passed by her window in a haze. Soon enough, the familiar wood that surrounded Bon Temps came into view. She sighed. Almost home. “Turn left in a mile, down Hummingbird Lane.” She considered telling him to let her off at the Grab It Quick, but couldn’t imagine walking a mile in her shiny red heels. Not to mention the fact that Bill might be home and furious with her. Being out at night unaccompanied probably wasn’t a great idea. Plus there was the Bon Temps Killer on the loose.

Eric slowed his car, carefully avoiding the ruts in the worn driveway before coming to a stop.

The porch light glinted off Eric’s glossy car. “Thank you for driving me home.”

“It was my pleasure,” Eric said before rushing out of the car and opening her door. His eyes trained on her golden thighs.

Acutely aware of how much skin she showed, Sookie twisted clumsily out of the low seat in an attempt to keep a little of her body hidden. Eric offered his hand, but she refused to take it. When she had finally managed to stand upright, she smoothed her dress into place and took cautious steps across the uneven gravel. She extracted her keys from her tiny red purse and shuffled up the front stairs trying to minimize any movements that might be construed as sexual. Eric blew past her and relaxed against the doorframe.

“You move fast for such a big man.”

“You have no idea.”

What the hell is that supposed to mean? Sookie frowned and then unlocked her door, stepping across the threshold. “Goodnight.”

“Until next time.” He bowed and then retraced his steps to his car.

Next time. Shit.


 

Bill doesn’t stand a chance. Read on Petulance: Chapter 2

Petulance

blood-75302_960_720

This story begins in chapter 4 of Dead Until Dark when Bill takes Sookie to Fangtasia for the first time … only my version takes a VERY different turn (bye bye canon!). When she tells Eric there’s going to be a raid, he rewards her by driving her home. She can’t stop thinking about him, despite how dangerous he is. And then he shows up and begs her to help him discover who’s been stealing from him. How can she say no? Especially when he promises to make it worthwhile. During the investigation, all hell breaks loose and Sookie gets caught in the middle of a fight to the death. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time means big changes for our favorite telepath.

GabbieAnnie and I brainstormed this last year, so I figured it was about time to get it out of my head.

Petulance: Chapter 1

Petulance: Chapter 2

Petulance: Chapter 3

Petulance: Chapter 4

Petulance: Chapter 5

Petulance: Chapter 6

Petulance: Chapter 7

Petulance: Chapter 8

Petulance: Chapter 9

Petulance: Chapter 10

Petulance: Chapter 11

Petulance: Chapter 12

Petulance: Chapter 13

Petulance: Chapter 14

Petulance: Chapter 15

Petulance: Chapter 16

Petulance: Chapter 17

Petulance: Chapter 18

Relapse: Chapter 12

Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.

 

All mistakes are my own. Short and sweet and NSFW. 🙂


 

Chapter 12

Alternating POVs

 

Sookie’s POV

 

“I still can’t believe we did it,” Sookie said as she and Eric drove toward his house. “What’s a summit?”

“A conference of sorts, where representatives from all the clans come and discuss pressing matters.”

“Pressing matters? Like business stuff?”

Eric nodded. “Among other things.”

“So we’ll be able to offer my services to a new audience then, right?”

“I don’t think we’ll have to wait that long.” He turned the car off and was outside her door with her luggage in his arms in the blink of an eye.

She looked at him and then at the ground. “Are you sure it’s okay? Me moving in with you? You never asked…”

He put her bags down and pulled her out of the car and into his arms. “Sookie, will you please move in with me?”

She looked up at him and kissed him. “I would love to.”

“I’m glad to have that settled.” He hoisted her things back into his arms and walked toward the front door. “Would you mind getting the keys?” A mischievous smile flickered across his lips.

She grinned and dipped her hand inside his right front pocket. Of course she knew where his keys were. She couldn’t forget the first time she found them, at the cabin on Willow Bend Road, while she plotted her escape. If someone had told her then that she would be moving in with her detox warden, she would’ve laughed herself silly. But now it seemed like the only logical choice. No one had ever cared for her and understood her like he did. She smiled and shook her head, clearing the thoughts away.

“If you keep touching me like that, we’re not going to make it inside,” he said between clenched teeth.

“Sorry,” she whispered and then rubbed his dick intentionally. “Sorry, not sorry.” She laughed when he groaned and then unlocked the front door.

“Where would you like to unpack?” He asked with a little growl in his voice. “The closet in the spare bedroom is empty.” He strolled to the room and put the suitcases down on the plain bed.

She frowned. All the notions of moving in together suddenly changed. It seemed that instead of lovers, they would be roommates.

“What’s wrong?” Eric asked.

“Nothing, I just thought… I assumed that we would be…” She struggled to keep tears out of her eyes.

His eyes widened. “Wait. Do you think I want you to sleep in here?”

“I don’t know. Maybe?” She shrugged.

“Do you want to?”

“No. Do you?”

“No,” he answered without any hesitation. “I want you to sleep with me. I thought you might want your own closet since mine is full.”

“Oh. Okay,” she said, brightening.

“Before you unpack, we should go shopping. You need food.”

Sookie clicked her tongue. “But we were just out. Why didn’t we just stop on the way home?”

Eric laughed. “I think you overestimate the size of my trunk. You’re lucky both pieces of luggage fit in there!”

* * * *

Eric’s POV

 

Eric hummed along with the music over the speakers as he pushed a shopping cart. They went up and down every aisle, Sookie examining each shelf before moving on. She selected food, pots and pans, plates, bowls, and utensils; everything she would need to make herself at home. Things he hadn’t even considered.

Instead of heading home, he made a detour to an all-night hardware store.

Sookie frowned. “What do we need here?”

“A key.” He smiled and took her hand. Within five minutes, he had a copy of his house key. “Now it’s official.” He had lived alone for decades and the idea of sharing his space with someone made him anxious and exhilarated. Sookie seemed to understand the gravity of the gift.

“Thank you for trusting me.” She pressed the key to her palm and closed her hand around it.

“I love you,” he replied.

She responded by kissing him.

When they got home, he motioned for her to try her key, so she did, smiling when the lock clicked as it opened. She paused before stepping inside. “What if I need to go somewhere during the day? My car is in Bon Temps.” She smacked her forehead with the heel of her hand. “I didn’t even think of that!”

“You should buy a new car.” He wrinkled his nose at the thought of her piece of shit car. He couldn’t believe she would want it.

“How?” She lifted her eyebrows.

“With money from our future jobs.”

“I might need to run to the store some time before fall.” She sighed.

“News travels fast in the vampire community.” He lifted the bags. “Come on, I’ll unload your food while you unpack. Don’t worry. If you need to go somewhere, you may borrow my car.”

She gulped. “Maybe I’ll just walk.” She disappeared down the hall and into the guest room while he set to work unloading all the new items for the kitchen. He had just finished putting the last bit away when she joined him. She opened a drawer next to the sink and laughed.

“What?”

“Plates typically go in a cupboard. This drawer should be for forks, knives, and spoons.” She smiled and lifted them out.

Eric shrugged. “I’ve never purchased plates before. Or any of these things.” He pointed to the cupboards where he’d put things away.

Sookie made short work of rearranging everything. She laughed again. “At least you put the food in the right place.”

They spent the remaining hours of the night talking and cuddling in bed, until the sun finally forced him to sleep.

He knew where Sookie was the moment he woke. He rushed outside and found her in the swing, which hung from the tree near his driveway. Her bare feet brushed against the lush grass as she rocked back and forth. He came up behind her and inhaled deeply. The sweet fragrance of the sun still clung to her skin.

“Did you sleep well?” she asked, twisting on the wooden board to look up at him.

“I always do when I’m with you.”

“Sorry I left an hour ago.”

“I can understand why. I would sit in the sun, too, if I could.” He smiled and gripped the ropes, giving her a push. She only wore his T-shirt, and with each swing forward the hem ruffled up her legs.

“I was thinking about Gran. I hope she’s okay.”

“You should call her.”

Sookie frowned. “Yeah, about that… How would you feel about me getting my own phone?”

“That’s a wonderful idea. Is there anything else you need?”

“You,” she answered, and then gasped when he moved around her, stopping the motion of the swing and wedging himself between her legs. “Inside,” she added, looking around suspiciously. “There could be someone watching.”

“That didn’t stop us last night,” he said, caressing her hard nipples through the thin material of his shirt.

“Having sex in your car is different than having sex out in the open like this.” Despite her words, she leaned into his hand and moaned softly.

He lifted her into his arms while she wrapped her legs around him and carried her inside, determined to fulfill her request before his resolve evaporated. Before they had crossed the threshold, she plunged her hands inside his pants. He slammed the front door and pressed her against it, kissing and licking along her jaw and neck while she pulled out his cock.

“Yes,” she hissed as he sucked on her throbbing vein. “Bite me.”

His dick twitched and cum dribbled out the tip at her command. He wanted to be inside her while her blood filled him, so he said, “Not yet.”

She pouted, thrusting her bottom lip out, which only made him want to bite her more. “Why? What are you waiting for?”

He aligned their bodies and sighed when her slick sex opened to him. He pushed inside her and said, “This.”

She arched her body and held onto him tightly with one hand while the other pressed his face against her exposed neck. He couldn’t resist any longer and sank his fangs into her hot flesh. The moment her blood coated his tongue, he came hard, slamming into her. Her body quivered and then she gasped.

Eric pulled his mouth away and scanned her face. “Did I hurt you?”

She shook her head. “The door did.”

Blood seeped out of her wound and trickled down her collarbone. Eric lapped at it before carrying her to the empty guestroom, which happened to be the closest room with a bed. He sat on the firm mattress, cradling her in his lap. “Better?”

She nodded and then rested her forehead against his. “Am I still bleeding?”

“A little,” he answered, unable to take his eyes off the bite mark on her neck.

“Do you want more?”

“Always,” he answered as he started rocking their bodies gently back and forth.

She closed her eyes and tilted her head to the side, offering her neck again.

“Mine,” he said before kissing the skin he had punctured. His hips jerked as he extracted another mouthful of blood.

“Yours,” she murmured, wrapping her arms around him and pressing her covered nipples against his chest.

He could feel her contentment but also her hunger. Even though she hadn’t asked, he knew she wanted more. He pulled away from her neck again just long enough to bite into his wrist and offer it to her, and when she latched her mouth on, he said, “Yours.”

Her body trembled as an orgasm crashed over her. She sucked hard while she tilted her hips down, crushing her clit against him with each thrust. He healed her neck and watched her beautiful face flush with ecstasy. When she finally pulled away to breathe, she licked his healed wrist and said, “Mine.”

He pulled her into a kiss, letting their blood mingle on his tongue. Only one word could describe how he felt in that moment: whole. They came together one more time and then stretched out on the bed, holding each other until Sookie’s stomach reminded her that she had needs beyond what Eric could provide.

While she danced around the kitchen, utilizing all the new supplies they purchased the night before, Eric made his way to his bedroom and retrieved his phone. He smiled as he listened to the message from the King of Arkansas.

Sookie froze mid-step when he rejoined her in the kitchen. “What is it?”

“We have a meeting tomorrow.”

Her eyes widened. “We do?”

“I told you. Word travels fast.”

She flung herself into his arms. “It’s really happening, isn’t it?”

He nodded and kissed her. “And this is just the beginning.”

 

The End


 

As I mentioned before, I have ideas for future stories. The problem is, I have THREE ideas … so now I have to narrow it down and get my brain to focus on one so I can get it written. I’ll be back as soon as I have something worthy of posting. Until then, know that I appreciate you!

 

For now, please review and let me know what you thought of Relapse!

Relapse: Chapter 11

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. 🙂


 

Chapter 11

Alternating POVs

 

Sookie’s POV

 

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’s POV

 

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.”

“I’m nervous.”

“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 POV

 

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.

“And?”

“There’s been a change in plans.” Sookie smiled despite the daggers in the queen’s eyes.

“Oh?”

“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.

“Wait.”

* * * *

Eric’s POV

 

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

Relapse: Chapter 10

Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.

 

All mistakes are my own. NSFW again! 🙂 Real Life was a demanding bitch this week, but I’m hoping to get time to write soon!

______________________________________________________

Chapter 10

 

Alternating POVs.

 

Eric’s POV

 

“Hear me out,” Eric said, holding his hand up defensively. Sookie was lying on top of the other one. She looked like she might hit him at any moment. “You have something to offer that no one else can.”

“Why don’t they just ask a demon to read minds for them?”

He frowned. “Vampires and demons don’t work well together. Occasionally, half-demons are willing to accept jobs, but overall, they keep to themselves.”

“So she wants me because I’ve got demon traits without all the demon baggage?”

“Essentially. You need to start viewing your telepathy as an asset. As soon as you do that, you’ll be able to see how valuable you are.”

Sookie looked him straight in the eye. “You honestly think I should be a telepath-for-hire?”

“Yes. Ultimately, it’s your decision, but you should consider it.” He smiled. “Especially now that you have a reputation.”

“For being a vampire killer, thanks to you.” She lifted an eyebrow. “You really think that’s going to keep me safe?”

“It’ll help. And I’ll be your bodyguard.”

“And manager or agent or whatever you’d call it. You would find me jobs—”

“Us,” he corrected.

Adele called down the hall, “Sookie? I’m home. I got those strawberries you wanted!”

“Be right out!” she yelled over her shoulder and then frowned. “You sent her out for strawberries?”

Eric shrugged. “There weren’t any in the refrigerator, and I know how you enjoy them.”

She shook her head and went on in a whisper, “So, you would find us jobs where I would work and you would keep me safe. Is that it?”

“Yes.”

Sookie sighed. “And what makes you think these other vamps are going to leave me alone? Someone will figure out I’m not scary and decide to expose the truth about me.” She shivered.

He hugged her, cradling her against his chest. “If we were bonded, no one could touch you without my permission.”

She pushed away from him. “That sounds an awful lot like me being your property.” She narrowed her eyes into tiny slits. “Is that what this is about? So you can use me?”

“No,” he said, but it was too late, she had already slithered out of the bed. She tugged her dress into place, covering her sublime ass. “Don’t leave,” he begged.

She glared at him and staggered away, throwing his shirt at him before slamming the door behind her. The fact that she couldn’t walk straight made him smile.

A light blinked on his phone, indicating he had a message waiting for him. It turned out to be from Queen Sophie-Anne.

“I would like to discuss my offer with Sookie, but seeing as how you’re not home, I guess I’ll have to wait.” She let out a long sigh. “Where have you taken her? Please return my call.”

Please? I never heard her use that word.

After getting dressed, he joined Sookie and Adele in the kitchen.

“I don’t know what came over me, but I thought we would enjoy a little midnight snack of strawberries and angel food,” Adele said from the cutting board, where she was chopping strawberries. “I’m sorry you can’t enjoy it, Eric.”

Sookie scowled at him as she sliced two pieces of fluffy white cake.

“You know I had to drive clear out to Shreveport to find a store open this late?”

“Is that so? I wonder who gave you that idea?” Sookie glowered his way.

Adele shrugged. “It just popped into my brain and it sounded so good I just had to go get it.”

Eric sat at the table and watched Sookie and Adele eat their dessert in silence. When the dishes were done, Adele excused herself to go to bed, leaving him alone with Sookie.

She turned in her seat and poked him in the chest. Her words flowed out of her mouth in a venomous whisper, “You’re just as bad as the rest of them. You keep secrets from me and manipulate me!” Tears welled in her eyes. “All this talk about us and how you want to be with me. Is that why you insisted on healing me? So you could get one step closer to owning me?”

“No,” he said, wiping the tears off her cheeks. “I would never influence you to take my blood even if I could! I want to be bonded to you so we can be connected.” He touched his heart and then hers. “You didn’t let me finish. No one would be able to touch me without your permission, either.”

Her face relaxed. “Oh.”

“It would link us in every way. I would be able to find you no matter where you go, and you would feel me, as well. It’s not one-sided.” He kissed her and then added, “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” she said, her warm breath caressing his lips. “I just thought… After everything that happened…”

“I’m not Compton. I’m not going to hurt you.”

“I know!” she replied quickly and then sighed.

“You can trust me. I want you to be happy, and I think this will make you happy.” He smiled. “The queen called. She wants to know where you are.”

“Has she been to your house?” Her eyes widened.

He shrugged. “Probably.”

Panic made her voice tighten. “Is she mad about Bill? I could explain how it happened and she would believe me, right?”

“You don’t need to explain anything. I told you, she doesn’t care about Compton. Before he killed himself, he admitted to insubordination. He did the world a favor.”

She let out a shuddering sigh. “I just can’t help but think that won’t come back and bite me in the ass.”

“The only thing that’s going to bite you in the ass is me,” he said, showing his fangs.

She laughed. “Don’t tell me, that’s part of the vampire mating ritual, too?”

“No, just a personal preference.”

“She won’t be happy … if I turn her down.” Worry furrowed her forehead. “What if she comes after my family?”

“She won’t. She’s too smart for that. Besides, you’re not turning her down, you’re just not accepting the job she described.”

Sookie’s heart pounded in her chest. “I need to talk to her and tell her, don’t I?”

We do,” he said reassuringly. He could feel her hesitation before she spoke.

“And if we’re bonded, that will help.” Her statement came out more as a question.

“Yes.”

She blew the air out of her cheeks. “Can I have some time to think about it?”

“Of course.” He just hoped she didn’t wait too long. Sophie-Anne wasn’t known for her patience.

* * * *

Sookie’s POV

 

Sookie stretched and covered her face. The bright sunny afternoon hurt her eyes. As she made her way to the kitchen she blew a kiss to her sleeping vampire tucked safely in the crawl space.

Gran hummed from the back porch over the noise of the washer and dryer. “Hello, honey. Did you sleep well?”

Sookie shrugged and fell into one of the chairs at the table. She slept much better with Eric, not to mention everything that was on her mind.

“Have you got any dirties that you need washed?” Gran nodded to the baskets waiting for the washer. “I’ve got room in here for your sheets so you can have a fresh bed tonight.”

“I don’t think I’ll need it.” Sookie looked away.

“Oh?” Gran whispered.

Sookie sighed. “It’s time for me to start my life. With Eric.”

“You’re leaving?” her voice cracked as she shuffled across the worn floor.

“Yes,” Sookie murmured. “I’ve been offered a job and it’s too good to pass up. I’ll be traveling a lot.”

“I always knew this day would come, but that doesn’t make it any easier.” Gran joined her at the table.

Sookie looked at her. “Are you going to be okay?” Besides the possible risk of attack from the supernatural community, she had to admit that her grandmother was old.

Gran smiled, deepening the wrinkles around her eyes. “Of course I will. I can take care of myself. I’ll miss you though.”

“I’ll miss you, too,” Sookie said, reaching across the table and taking her hand. “I’ll come visit. This will always be my home.”

“I’m glad you still feel that way. I really am sorry about everything. I never meant to hurt you,” she whispered.

“I know. I’m glad we got a chance to talk.”

“You’ll always be welcome here. Both of you.” Gran looked down the hall. “I like that young man of yours.”

Sookie laughed. Many words described Eric, but young wasn’t one of them. “I do too.”

“When are you leaving?”

“Tonight, as soon as Eric wakes.” He didn’t know that yet, but she was sure he’d be fine with her decision.

Gran nodded. “I’ll make us dinner in a bit. Are you hungry now? I could make you a sandwich.”

“That would be great. I’m going to change and then take a walk, get a little sun.” Sookie squeezed Gran’s hands and then slipped back into her room. As she sorted through her clothes to find something to wear, she realized she would have to pack, too. Later. I need to do something first.

Dressed and ready for the day, Sookie thanked Gran for her sandwich and then headed outside. She ate while she followed the worn path through the woods, stopping at the spot where she and Eric had been interrupted the previous night. She moved her fingers through the air. Niall came through a portal that was right here…somewhere. And then something happened. A little electric pulse warmed her fingertips. She found it again and saw a faint distortion of the air around her, like heat rising from a sidewalk.

“Niall?” she whispered. No answer. “Niall?” she repeated, louder. Still nothing. She scoffed. It had been a stupid idea anyway. He showed up when he wanted to, not when she needed him. That was obvious. She shook her head and turned back the way she’d come, but stopped abruptly when Niall replied.

“Sookie, it’s so wonderful to see you again.”

She turned to face him and marveled at his beauty. He was even more striking during the day. “How did you know I was here?”

“I could feel you,” he replied, arching his hand through the portal, making the air shimmer. “The same way I could last night. Do you need something?”

She nodded. “Protection.”

He arched a delicate eyebrow. “Northman should provide more than enough protection.”

“Not for me. For my family. I’ve made up my mind about what I want to do and I don’t think the queen of Louisiana will be happy. Eric said she wouldn’t dare go after my family to try and manipulate me, but I’m not so sure.”

“You are wise beyond your years.” Niall smiled.

“Can you help me with that? Do some sort of magic or something?”

He nodded once. “I can arrange something, if it’s important to you.”

“Of course it’s important to me. They’re my family.” Just the fact that she had to explain her reasoning made her furious. They were his kin, too. She fought the temptation to give him a piece of her mind by reminding herself that he had offered to help. Worry about her family, Gran especially, had been eating her alive. “Thank you,” she added.

“What have you decided?” Niall asked. “That the queen won’t be happy with.”

“I’m not going to work for only her. I’m going to be a freelance telepath for the vampire community.”

He nodded and a flicker of surprise crossed his face.

She frowned. “Do you think it’s a bad idea?”

“Working for vampires is dangerous, especially considering their predilection for fairies.”

“We thought of a way around that.”

Niall’s responded by lifting both eyebrows.

“If we are bonded, he would be able to fully protect me.”

“True.” Niall’s eyes narrowed. “You’ve already had his blood?”

“Twice.”

“Do you trust him?”

“Yes,” she answered without having to consider it. “Do you think that’s a bad idea?”

Niall smiled. “For someone who is capable of making her own decisions, you certainly ask for a lot of feedback.”

“But you like him, right?” she asked eagerly, bothered by how much she valued his opinion.

“I do. He’s a fine choice, as I already said. However, being bonded is a commitment. The spell required to break the bond can be lethal to both parties.”

Sookie shuddered as she remembered the pain she had endured to detox her system of Bill’s foul blood, and they had only exchanged blood once. “I believe that.”

“What I’m saying is, consider what you want to do with your life. What does your future look like? Does Northman play a role?”

Sookie smiled and nodded. “Yeah, he does.”

“Then it would seem to be a good decision.” He looked over his shoulder and stared at the invisible portal.

“Can you see through there?”

Niall nodded once. “Yes. I need to return.”

“Thank you for your help … and advice.”

He picked up her hands and kissed them. “I am glad I can finally be a part of your life. I am happy to be of service. Until we meet again!” He released her and stepped backward. His foot disappeared and then his leg followed.

“Bye,” she called out.

He smiled and then completed the disappearing act.

She walked back to the house with a spring in her step as if a giant weight had been lifted from her shoulders. And it had, because she no longer had to worry about her grandmother, brother, or cousin.

She packed and helped make dinner, spending her last few hours enjoying her gran’s company. Just before the sun set, she stepped into the shower and waited.

* * * *

Eric’s POV:

 

Eric woke to the trickling sound of water running in the pipes next to his head. He pushed the wooden door up and out of the way as he emerged from the tight crawlspace. Sookie’s happiness overwhelmed him. He knocked on the bathroom door where the shower ran. “Sookie?” he asked.

“Come in,” she called, poking her head around the edge of the curtain to smile at him. “Join me,” she said.

He locked the door and undressed quickly, leaving a cloud of dust to settle on the tile floor. “Where is your grandmother?”

“Watching T.V.”

He stepped into the small tub behind her and sighed when the warm water splashed across his chilly skin. She wrapped her arms around his body and rested her head against his chest. “You’re happy,” he stated.

“I am.”

“You had a good day?”

“I did.” She looked up at him through wet lashes. “I’m ready.”

“For…”

“My future with you.”

He smiled. It was the best thing he’d ever heard.

Her hands slid down his back until she cupped his ass. “I want to be bonded to you.”

“Are you sure? You’ve had enough time to think about it?”

She nodded. “I’m sure.” He could feel it, too. Her certainty. “Do you want me?”

“Very much,” he said, kissing her.

She moaned into his mouth and dug her fingernails into his skin. He lifted her with ease, pinning her against the side of the shower. She squealed and her body tensed.

“Cold tile,” she explained. “It’s okay though, it’s warming up.” She gripped his cock with her hot hands and pumped him several times, making a little cum dribble out. “I want you,” she begged, tilting her hips until her pussy hovered over his dick.

He gripped the base of his cock and pushed against her opening, her heat burning him, and then she engulfed him. Her tiny cry of pleasure was enough to send him over the edge, his hips jerking erratically as he came inside her. She gasped and joined him. While she still fluttered around him, his dick hardened. He held onto her tightly and started moving again, enjoying the way she tried to remain quiet. She watched him carefully as he positioned his tongue under his fangs. She nodded and opened her mouth, ready to receive his offering.

Blood smeared across her lip as she sucked him in. She moaned and came again, the sounds muffled by his mouth. She dug her teeth into his tongue, milking more blood from him as she rode out her orgasm. When the wound finally healed, she released her hold and licked her lips clean.

“Bite me,” she demanded.

“Gladly,” he said, and then he slid his fangs into her taut neck. The second her warm blood coated his tongue and throat he could feel it pinging around inside him, bonding with his. The magic of their third exchange stunned him and he almost lost his footing.

“I can feel it. Can you?” Sookie whispered in his ear.

He moaned as a response, still feasting on her blood.

“I love you,” she murmured.

He finally broke free and said, “I love you, too.” And then he healed her neck and proceeded to fuck her until his legs went numb and they came together one final time.

Sookie gasped for breath and smiled at him. “Wow. That was… Wow.”

He kissed her and lifted her off of him, holding her tightly until her legs worked again.

“Thanks for joining me,” she said.

“Thank you for inviting me.” He washed his body quickly and then turned the shower off.

“I’m ready to go, well once I’m dressed. I’m all packed.” Sookie’s voice was muffled as she dried her face.

“We’re leaving tonight?”

“Yep. Will you call the queen and let her know we’re on the way?” she asked.

“I will.”

______________________________________________________

I just can’t seem to stop writing sex in the shower! Maybe it’s because of CH’s inspiring scene… In any case, who’s ready to meet with the queen?