Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
hurley1215 and uvgottobekidding, thanks for the awesome ideas for Bill’s continued punishment. You are twisted and hilarious!
Even though we are separated by 7,000 miles, SeriousCrush still lets me use her brain on a regular basis, and this time, she got me past a block that had stopped this story cold. I will never be able to express my gratitude enough for the time you have sacrificed for me. I love you so!
The Tilted Kilt Chapter 8
Eric could still taste Sookie on his lips. She was sweet with a hint of bitterness from the wine. It had been years since he had enjoyed a kiss so much. He never allowed himself to get close enough to humans to share moments like he had with Sookie. Every time he was around her, he had a difficult time controlling his fangs. The blood he licked from her wounded hand was the last meal he had, and although he wished it were enough to satisfy him, it only piqued his appetite. He wanted more and he hoped she would give it to him. Eventually. She was nervous and inexperienced, and he knew exactly what she needed: time.
He had time. He just hoped his patience would last.
Eric was frustrated by having to go to New Orleans again, and he wished the Queen had discussed all the business at their meeting last night, but that wasn’t her way. The position of Sheriff brought with it the necessity to deal with the Queen as often as she wanted. He knew it was an especially important meeting because she had called him herself. Of course, she apologized for forcing him to make the drive for the second time in as many nights, but when she mentioned the nature of their meeting, he understood her urgency.
Nearing The Tilted Kilt, he decided to stop in and tell Pam what was going on.
The crowd was unusually loud for a Sunday night, and as Eric made his way through the dining area, he figured out why. The Kilt had a new mascot: Bill.
Pam was grinning from ear to ear as she gave him directions. Bill was not happy about any of it, but clearly knew his place. Bill marched up to Eric and said, “Welcome to The Tilted Kilt, would you like a booth or a table?”
Eric had to force his mouth shut. Bill was wearing a Tilted Kilt uniform, and it was very short. Bill looked grotesque in the normally sexy bikini top, with bits of dark hair curling around the edges of the red plaid. Eric shuddered.
Pam laughed. “What brings you in tonight, boss? I thought you were going out this evening.” She looked past Eric.
“I have business I’d like to discuss with you.” Eric nodded toward his office.
“Bill, be a good pet and stay. You know what will happen…”
Bill nodded and smiled wide. He teetered for a moment, and it was then Eric realized he was wearing high heels.
Pam patted the top of Bill’s head and then followed Eric to his office.
“I see you’re enjoying yourself.” Eric flipped through a pile of papers on his desk, signing forms quickly.
“Tremendously. What do you think of my new Jimmy Choos? Bill is very generous, isn’t he?” Pam kicked her foot up, showing off her shiny blood-red shoes.
Eric smiled. “They’re stunning. Now, the Queen asked me to meet with her tonight.”
“Again? Weren’t you just there last night?”
“Yes. She explained she’s having problems with our investment.”
“I see. What does she need your help with?”
“I’m not sure, but all the Sheriff’s will be there, and I don’t think it would sit well with her if I declined because I was on a date.”
“Give Arla a slap on the ass for me.” Pam winked and turned to leave. “I’ll hold down the fort, even if we run out of booze.”
“Excellent. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Eric pulled up to the Queen’s mansion just as the meeting was getting started. Eric joined Sophie-Anne, Arla, Cleo, and Gervaise, representing all five Areas.
The Queen stood and straightened her back. “Thank you for coming on such short notice. I have called you all here for two reasons.”
The small group remained silent and waited patiently for her to go on.
“One, the clans are nearly unified in our choice to go public.” She narrowed her eyes at Gervaise, who was rolling his eyes. “Two, the local resistance to the movement lies with a problem with TrueBlood, the synthetic blood being manufactured here, in the United States.”
“What kind of problem?” Eric asked before anyone else could.
“Contamination. We believe someone at the research and development facility is tampering with the formula. None of the batches produced this month have passed inspection.” Sophie-Anne started pacing. “Obviously, if we’re going to go through with the Great Revelation, we must have a supply of synthetic blood or humans are going to panic.”
“Yes of course. This contamination, is it being caused by humans or vampires?” Eric leaned toward her.
“Humans. I’m certain of it.”
Cleo interrupted, “So just kill the lot of them, and get new ones.”
“That isn’t very progressive, is it?” The Queen touched Cleo on the shoulder. “If we’re going to mainstream, we can’t go around killing humans left and right. What I need is for someone to put in the hours needed to find the source of the problem.”
Eric immediately thought of Sookie and her gift. He wondered if she would be willing to help him, and then spoke before he thought of how she might answer. “I’ll take care of it.”
Sophie-Anne gave him a gracious bow. “Thank you Sheriff Northman.” She returned to her chair and went on with the meeting.
The Great Revelation was going to take place in one week, as long as Eric could take care of their little problem at the research and development facility in Alexandria. She continued to stress her interest in the success of the plan and reminded everyone of her financial investment in the lab. After the general meeting, Sophie-Anne pulled Eric aside.
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your willingness to handle this situation. I have tried to deal with it myself, but my position here does not allow me time for a full investigation.”
“Remember, I have an interest in the success of this plan as well.” Eric invested in the Alexandria lab at the same time the Queen had. “You can trust me.”
“I know I can. Thank you.”
Just as Eric was getting ready to leave, Cleo stopped him. “I like your skirt.”
“It’s an Orkney tartan from the seventeenth century.” He never liked Cleo, and his opinion of her wasn’t getting any better.
Cleo scoffed. “Try not to torture and kill everyone at the lab. The Queen wouldn’t be happy with that.” Her face contorted with mock concern. “Everyone’s gone so soft these days.”
Eric smiled. “I have other ways of getting the truth.”
Now, he had to convince Sookie to go with him. He checked the clock on his phone. He had just enough time to get back to Shreveport before sunrise. As he passed Arla, he remembered Pam’s request and smacked her ass. “That’s from Pam,” he said over his shoulder as he left.
Eric drove by the facility in Alexandria, which was dark and deserted during the middle of the night. He rehearsed his conversation with Sookie during the rest of the drive and got home just before the sun made it above the horizon.
“Well? How was your meeting?” Pam was waiting in Eric’s office Monday evening.
Eric looked around. “Where’s your new toy?”
“Chained up at my house watching OWN. If any woman can knock sense into that old-fashioned head, it’s Oprah.” Pam nodded her head and smiled. “I wouldn’t dream of bringing him to work tonight. Sookie’s on the schedule.”
“Thank you for not subjecting me to seeing that again.” Eric grimaced.
“The meeting?” Pam raised her eyebrows.
“Chow needs to be here too.” Eric called for him and a split-second later Chow was in his office. “The Queen informed me they are going through with the plan in one week.”
Pam rolled her eyes. “I’ve heard that before. She said the same thing last month.”
Eric put his hand up to stop her. “Once I take care of a little problem with the Alexandria lab, the Queen will give the green light. We need to be prepared for the repercussions. Pam, I need you to discuss the possibility of closing the restaurant with the servers. Chow, have you finished the security upgrades we discussed?”
Chow nodded and crossed his arms over his chest.
“We have one week. Next Monday everything will change.”
Pam cocked her head to the door. “Ginger just got here.”
Before she could leave, Eric added, “Send Sookie to me as soon as she gets here.”
A knock on the door was exactly what he’d been waiting for. Eric inhaled and picked up the faint fragrance of Sookie from the other side of the door. He opened the door and smiled when she squeaked in surprise.
“You wanted to see me?” Sookie’s hair was in a French braid and the end rested against her neck. She was playing with the elastic tied around the end.
“Yes, please have a seat.” Eric waited for her to move into his office, and then he locked the door.
Sookie shifted on the edge of the chair, making the material of her skirt scoot up her legs. She didn’t seem to notice how much skin she was showing, but Eric did. It took everything in his power to focus on the conversation he had practiced in his mind.
“I need your help.”
“With what?” Sookie tilted her head and frowned.
“I need to get information from someone, and I cannot do it myself. I need you to use your gift.” He could sense her hesitation.
“What kind of information?” Sookie leaned back in her chair.
“Vampires are coming out, so to speak. There is a lab in Alexandria developing synthetic blood, and someone there is tampering with the recipe. If we do not have a reliable synthetic blood supply, the majority of the human population will not accept us. Please, Sookie. I need your help. There isn’t much time. You will be compensated for your work.”
Her mouth hung open. “Like all vampires, everywhere?”
Eric nodded. “There will be a synchronized press conference with vampires all over the world. Monday at six a.m. Eastern Time.”
“Why are you telling me all this?”
“If all goes as planned, you’ll know anyway, but I need you.” He needed her in more ways than one.
Sookie smiled. “When do we leave?”
“The sooner the better.”
“I have an outfit in my car, I’d like to change before we go.”
She was back in a couple of minutes, and despite his desire to stay and watch her change, he stepped out and gave her the privacy of his office. When she opened the door, Eric couldn’t take his eyes off the sleek black pants and tight pink shirt she was wearing, or rather, what he knew was under the fitted clothes.
Once they were in his car, Sookie turned to him and gasped. “I didn’t even think about my area, is someone going to cover for me?”
“I took care of it. Don’t worry.” Eric smiled and brushed a strand of hair off her cheek.
Sookie’s mouth opened and closed a few times, as if she were going to say something to him, but no words came out. In a move that surprised him, she lunged across the armrest and locked her mouth on his. Her lips were hot and demanding, and soon her arms wound around his neck, pulling him closer. She pushed her tongue into his mouth, overwhelming his senses. She opened her eyes slowly and moaned softly. “Sorry, we can go now. I just had to do that. It’s all I’ve been able to think about.”
“I hope you had sweet dreams after I dropped you off last night.”
She blushed. “You could say that.” She pressed her lips together and nodded toward the steering wheel. “We should go.”
“Mm hmm,” Eric answered absently. His mind filled with visions of Sookie stretched out on her bed, with him nestled between her legs. He shook his head. “Yes. We need to go.”
Eric’s mind wandered during the drive to Alexandria, which was made worse by Sookie wiggling in the low seat.
“I’m glad I’m wearing pants this time, it was so hard to get in and out like a lady last night.” Sookie flashed him a smile.
“No one said anything about you needing to act like a lady.”
Sookie swatted his arm playfully as her heart raced. “Do you know more about what is going on in this lab?”
Eric shook his head. “No. All I know is that it is a human causing the problem.” Before they could discuss much more, they arrived at the facility. “Follow my lead.”
Who’s ready for more?
On to The Tilted Kilt: Chapter 9