Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
All mistakes are my own. NSFW again.
“You’ve been awfully quiet tonight,” Sookie said to Eric when they had finally gotten home.
Eric looked at her long and hard. “Can I say I told you so now?”
“That going to Merlotte’s wasn’t a good idea.”
“Psh. You didn’t know the Bon Temps Killer was going to attack me!”
“So you can’t say I told you so.” She touched her forehead and rolled a strand of hair between her fingers, making flakes of dried blood fall to the floor. “Thanks for saving me. Again.”
“It’s what I do. How are you feeling?”
“Relieved.” She sighed. “Not only did we get Rene in police custody, but now everyone knows about me so I don’t have to worry about coming out. You know?”
“I’m not sure that’s a good thing. What if another one of your friends decides to bash your skull in with a mop?”
Sookie shrugged. “I guess I better avoid going into town for a while. Did you and Sam talk things out?”
Eric scoffed. “There was nothing to talk about. He has no claim on you.” He narrowed his eyes. “He seems very attached.”
“Yeah, Sam’s a little possessive.”
“He has no right. Not anymore. I made that abundantly clear.”
She lifted an eyebrow. “So only you get to be domineering?”
“You’re mine. And if you weren’t so damn stubborn you would know that.” He grabbed her ass and dragged her body against his.
“You don’t get to seduce me out of this conversation.” She poked him in the chest. “When are you going to get it through your thick skull that no one gets to claim me?”
“I’m your Maker!” he shouted, getting in her face.
She shook her head. “Half Maker,” she corrected.
He growled and stalked into the kitchen. The fridge door clattered as he yanked it open. She walked in on him as he slammed an empty bottle of blood on the counter. “You think you’re so strong.” He glared at her. “You could’ve died.”
“Yeah? What about you? Sam had a gun pointed at you!” she shot back.
He laughed. “That wouldn’t have killed me.”
“I thought I did pretty well. I remained in control through it all and didn’t bite anyone and all you can point out is how Rene almost killed me.”
“You’re not ready to be on your own!” he shouted.
Sookie frowned. “Who said anything about me being on my own?”
“You!” he screamed. His face twisted with anger. “You don’t want me to tell you what to do. Well guess what? You’re not ready for the world. It’ll eat you alive! I know what I’m talking about.”
“Of course you do! You have hundreds of years of experience. I’ve never said you didn’t.”
His shoulders fell as the wind went out of his sails. “Then why are you arguing with me?”
“You’re arguing with me!” She stepped closer to him. “The only thing I said was that you don’t get to own me. That’s not how it works with me. You’ve known that all along, and if this is going to work,” she said motioning between them, “you need to acknowledge that. Bill drove me nuts. Claiming me in front of his friends, but acting totally indifferent the rest of the time—”
“What was his claim on you?” he asked.
She wanted to scream. “Who cares? He’s dead.” She exhaled loudly. “Remember the night you begged me to help you?”
He glowered. “I didn’t beg.”
She ignored him. “Do you remember how you ruined everything because you wanted me to yield to you and let you claim me? You’re doing it again.”
“Wait. What do you think a claim is?”
She shrugged. “Like owning someone. That’s the way Bill explained it. I was his property. That as long as he claimed me, no one else could feed from me.”
“That’s part of it.” He frowned. “But there’s more. Can’t you feel it?” He picked up her hand and put it on top of his still heart. His feelings engulfed her. “We have claimed each other. It’s not about ownership. I’m a part of you and you’re a part of me.”
“Oh.” She felt like a complete idiot for not noticing before. “I didn’t feel this with Bill.”
“Probably because you didn’t love him,” he whispered.
“You’re right.” She had been thinking about it all night. Ever since Gran asked her. She knew it was true but had been too afraid to admit it. “I love you, Eric.”
“And I love you. You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
She grinned. “That’s how you win someone over.” She kissed him then and nothing else mattered.
I want you, he thought, as he tugged up her shirt and ran his fingers across her back.
She nodded slightly, never letting go of his lips, and then she caressed his dick through his pants making his hips lurch.
He lifted her onto the counter and pulled her body against his, a ripple of pleasure moving through both of them at the contact. With one swift movement, Eric removed her shirt and buried his face between her breasts. “Mine!” He licked and nipped at her skin and quickly unhooked her bra. She arched her back so he could suck on her nipples more easily.
She rolled her hips, desperately wanting more contact, and growled in frustration when their clothes got in the way.
Eric pushed her onto the counter and divested her of her remaining clothes, rubbing his thumb against her slit before sinking to his knees. She hooked her legs over his shoulder and tensed, waiting for contact. A moan spilled out of her mouth as his tongue descended. He traced the outline of her sex and then pushed his tongue inside, rubbing his nose against her clit. He dug his fingers into her thighs, holding her steady while he fucked her with his mouth, and when she came he lapped at her pussy, only intensifying the pleasure. Mine, he thought as he kissed her one last time.
Sookie focused her bleary eyes on him, following his movements as he stood, yanked his pants open, and withdrew his cock. She put her hand on top of his, encircling his length. “Mine,” she said. He nodded and groaned when she guided him to her entrance.
When he pushed inside her, she cried out as another orgasm worked through her. He pulled her up and held her limp body, supporting her while he thrust into her trembling flesh. She kissed him, tasting herself on his lips. She gripped his ass and said, “Mine,” into his mouth.
He grinned and sucked on her tongue. Their thoughts danced around her head: mine, yours, ours, now, love. She didn’t know which was which, which only proved they were on the same page. Finally. He bit through both of their tongues, their blood mingling and sending them both over the edge one more time. They held onto each other for a while, Sookie breathing hard out of habit.
Sookie sighed. “Can we take a shower now? There’s blood in my hair.”
Eric nodded and carried her to the bathroom next to his room. The warm water was marvelous, and even better was the tender way with which he handled her in the shower and then when he dried her off.
As they stretched out side-by-side, Sookie propped her head up on a pillow. “How old are you?”
“I was turned in the year—”
She shook her head. “That’s not what I mean. How old were you when you died?”
He shrugged. “Mid twenties?”
“You’re not sure?” She laughed.
“It’s been a long time.”
“How long have you lived in the United States?”
“A few decades. I know many vampires who came a hundred years ago, but I refused to be trapped on a ship for a month.”
“And you’ve worked for the queen ever since?”
“Not quite. When I first got here, I traveled quite a bit. I didn’t settle in Louisiana right away. Eventually, when I found a place to call home,” he said, sweeping his hands around his room, “I reached out to her.”
“And she offered you a job as Sheriff?” she asked, trying to understand how it all worked.
“Yes … after a time. But it’s an appointment, not a job. I didn’t ask for this.” He sighed. “It’s politics, same as anywhere else.”
“She forced you into it?” She couldn’t imagine anyone telling Eric what to do.
“No, she presented the idea and encouraged me to agree. I like being in charge. My position affords me certain comforts.”
“What’s she like?”
He took his time, thinking about how to answer her. “Calculating and manipulative. She was born to be a queen.”
Sookie groaned. “And that Andre guy works for her?”
“He is her progeny. They’ve been together for centuries.”
“What does she want from me?” Dread crept into her heart at the thought of it.
* * * *
“Are you sure we have to go?” Sookie asked as she pulled her seatbelt across her lap and fidgeted with the hem of her skirt.
“But Pam’s going to be short-handed. Again!”
“She’ll manage.” Eric shifted into reverse and started the long drive to New Orleans.
Sookie sulked in her chair and turned her attention out the window. The radio played faintly, filling the silence between them, but the closer they got to the city, the more anxious she became. “I don’t want someone telling me what to do,” she blurted out.
Eric put his hand on her knee, radiating calm. “She can’t tell you what to do.”
“But you said—”
He put his finger against her lips. “You have all the power. Remember that. Be brave. Be honest.”
She frowned. How could I have all the power if Andre shows up, demands a meeting, and here we are, a day later having that meeting? Seems to me that the queen holds all the cards. She kept her thoughts to herself, which was no easy feat. She wanted to know who her source was, what the queen knew about her, what she wanted from her, and what that would all mean for her new life.
Eric smiled at her and concentrated on maneuvering through the frantic city streets. Within ten minutes, they pulled up to the gate outside a huge wall. “Sookie Stackhouse is here to see the queen.”
The vampire inside the booth nodded, his inky black eyes locking in on Sookie. “She’s been waiting.” With that, he opened the gate.
Eric returned the nod and rolled through the opening.
Sookie’s mouth fell open as she took in the lavish mansion that sprawled out in front of them. The guards standing watch over the property wore the same uniform as the vamp at the gate; some stood on the front steps leading to the mansion, others patrolled the grounds. The whole place seemed formidable.
Eric parked, opened her door, and offered his hand. You have all the power.
She swallowed hard and stepped outside, never letting go of him.
They moved past the guards at the front door and walked inside. They had been invited, after all. Eric nodded to each vampire they passed and then stopped abruptly when they reached a massive room with arched ceilings and a handful of chandeliers scattering rainbow-tinted light on the exquisite furniture.
A tiny woman floated toward them. Her chestnut hair perfectly styled, contrasting sharply against her milky white skin. Sookie figured she had been about fifteen when she had died.
That’s the queen, Eric thought.
Sookie broke away from him and smiled widely while pushing her hand toward the queen. “You must be Queen Sophie-Anne,” Sookie said, gripping the queen’s delicate hand and shaking it lightly.
Her resemblance to my Hadley is even more striking in person. She doesn’t seem meek at all. Nothing like Andre—
The queen removed her hand and tilted her head. “It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Miss Stackhouse.”
Sookie nodded, maintaining the same strained smile. She had been prepared for snippets of thoughts, but none that pointed fingers at her cousin. So she does know everything about me. Thanks for nothing, Hadley. Her frustration would have to wait for another time. She was fully aware of the faux pas she had just perpetrated, and Eric put off waves of anxiety over her greeting.
“Eric, thank you for bringing her.”
Eric bowed. “My queen.”
“How has her transition been?” the queen asked Eric, completely ignoring Sookie.
“Does she obey?”
Sookie wanted to laugh when Eric answered, “Yes.”
“Excellent. Perhaps you should teach her some manners.” Sophie-Anne glanced at Sookie. “I see the appeal.”
In spite of how badly Sookie wanted to tell the queen exactly what she thought of her and her stupid opinions, she kept her mouth shut. She had the power. Now she just had to figure out how to tap into it. The first step was to ignore this woman who was evaluating her like an obedient dog.
Sophie-Anne motioned to a table, where Sookie took the seat closest to Eric. Eventually she looked at Sookie. “Please tell me about the night you died.”
Sookie nodded and laced her fingers through Eric’s. She knew Andre suspected Eric had lied, so it was imperative that their stories be identical. “Eric saved me,” she started, sorting through Eric’s thoughts and putting them in her own words. “Someone was stealing from Fangtasia. Bill and Long Shadow had an argument. I got in the middle. Long Shadow tore my throat out. I fell onto the ground and don’t remember much after that, except that Eric picked me up and saved me.” She smiled at him. It had been true, so it was easy to tell.
“When did you meet Bill?” Sophie-Anne asked.
Sookie shrugged and folded her hands neatly on the table. “A couple of weeks before then. He came into the bar where I used to work. Why do you ask?” She wanted the queen to admit that she had been behind Bill’s mission to procure her.
The queen clenched her jaw, but didn’t answer the question.
“I never understood why he picked that bar on that night.” Sookie smiled. “It was almost as if he were sent there…for me.”
Sophie-Anne narrowed her eyes. “Did he claim you?”
“Yes,” she admitted, leaving out the part that she didn’t like it. “He had me fooled for a while. I thought he cared about me. Nope. He was just priming me to be a, what did Long Shadow call it?” She paused, pretending to search for the answer in her brain. “That’s right. A rent-a-meal.”
A frown flickered across the queen’s serene face for a split second.
It’s reassuring to know she wasn’t a part of that plan. Sookie sighed. “That’s why they were stealing from Eric. For startup.”
“I see,” the queen said calmly.
“And when things went south, they turned on each other. I know that’s why you sent Andre to Fangtasia, to find out if Eric was lying about that night. And that’s why I’m here tonight, isn’t it? To see if you can catch me in a lie.” Her fangs descended.
Sophie-Anne didn’t respond, so Sookie went on. Time to go all in.
Sookie stood and leaned on the table. “You’re angry with Bill.”
The queen nodded.
“He betrayed you. You gave him an assignment and he didn’t follow orders.” Everything is so clear now.
“You didn’t know he’d made contact with me, let alone claimed me.”
“No. I didn’t.”
“You didn’t know that I saved him from a couple of drainers, and in return, they nearly killed me. They beat me within an inch of my life because I stuck my neck out for a vampire, and you dare question my integrity?” Sookie stood and loomed over the center of the table. “Hadley should’ve told you more about me.”
“How did you—?”
“Because I know everything!”
Sookie’s not about to roll over and let the queen walk all over her. I almost feel sorry for QSA. Almost. Read on to find out how she responds! Petulance: Chapter 16