Sookie quickly pushed up from the cushioned blanket that she and Eric had just made love on. Reaching for her recently discarded dress she slipped the small black sheath over her head in a rush, cursing impatiently when her arm got tangled.
What was she going to do now? Vampires, especially Eric would be furious.
She had to get outta here.
Think about her next move away, far away from Eric and his currently vacant stare that was sending Sookie’s frayed nerves further over the edge. His presence was throwing Sookie off her game. The game right this moment was run. And run far. Her mind was spinning with a tilt-a-whirl of panic, terror and longing as she plucked her heels off the ground.
“Don’t even think about it lover.” The sound of Eric’s husky voice traveled over her bare neck in the way a cool breeze rustled the yellow leaves in the fall.
“Do what?” Sookie asked innocently.
“You are better than this lie you are attempting to pull over me. Do you forget so easy that I can feel you now, through our bond? Your fear and anxiety is so high, I can taste them.”
Sookie swiveled her hips on the blanket to see Eric propped up on his elbow, he had not moved an inch since she had rushed from the spot next to him. Eric’s still naked and incredibly gorgeous body were full display. She was sure she had blushed eight different shades as she checked out every hard plane he had to offer her hungry gaze.
Eric growled in response to Sookie’s arousal, she blinked. He kicked out all of the fear she had bouncing around in her head with that one possessive sound. It was music to her ears.
“Come to me” Eric held out his hand to Sookie and she took it willingly. Tugging her gently to him, he laid her back on the blanket and covered her once more with his long lean body.
How Sookie wished she had not dressed, she wanted to feel Eric’s cool skin against her overheated frame. She was terrified and edgy for his next words. Surely, they would change everything.
“You heard my thought, that I think you are beautiful” Eric’s stare reminded her that he could feel it if she tried to lie, so Sookie nodded in agreement and waited for the other shoe to drop.
“So what.” Eric murmured as he kissed her jaw and trailed chaste kisses to the corner of her mouth. Al the while his fingers played with the golden locks of her soft waves. It was comforting, she felt love and calm blow through her heart. Thawing some of the fear that had solidified there.
“So what? Vampire’s like their privacy, so what! You, you like your privacy!” Sookie cried and stiffened beneath him in an attempt to hold her tears and panic back. Even with Eric’s gentle assurance, she was spiraling out of control.
Other vampires would find out, they always did! What then! What if Eric had to kill someone to protect her? What if he was killed protecting her! Not her Eric! He didn’t deserve to live so long to have a back water bar maid take him down. Sookie felt determined to get away and leave everyone, if only to protect them.
Everyone she loved was in danger because of her and what she can do.
Eric’s head descended to Sookie’s throat inhaling deeply he groaned in satisfaction. Licking the column of her neck up to the sensitive spot behind her ear.
Damn him, he knew all her buttons.
Goosebumps chased his wicked tongue’s path, making Sookie’s thighs dampen anew with another wave of need. In her haste to dress she had forgotten about her panties. And now she was grateful that she had. All Eric had to do was spread her thighs he would see the evidence of her desire for him.
This man was truly deadly to her. Probably in all the ways Sookie could ever think of. But would he ever hurt her? Really? No. Maybe at one point when Eric needed to know of Bill’s secret project and had threatened her for the information. But looking back, Sookie knew Eric was bluffing. He was checking her loyalty.
“Hm, so you can’t hear everything.” Eric purred against her skin.
“Huh, what?” Sookie was in a daze with the sensations of Eric’s hands and mouth.
Eric leaned back from her a few inches and looked deep in Sookie’s eyes. “Lover, I just replayed some intensely gruesome battle scenes from my past. And instead of being repulsed or panicking your excitement bloomed due to my actions. The images in my mind were closed to you.” Eric was calm, maybe even a bit relived.
“Now, you are either turned on by violence and gore or you can hear me when you choose to.” Eric soothed her fears with his reasoning.
Could it really be that simple?
Sookie opened herself up to Eric again, or at least what she thought was opening herself up to him. Closing her eyes she felt for him inside of her. Seeing the blackness and then feeling the need to follow a pulse, a feel of home. It took a moment, but Eric was there, or the bond was there.
Both of their lights, their marks were entwined and vibrating around the bond. The bond was alive and beautiful, steady and true it shown like the sun connecting their hearts and bodies as one.
Determination and acceptance barreled through Sookie, filling up all the space around the enchanting sight of their bond, their magic. Sookie would have never experienced such an amazing feeling without Eric. His love for her set new heights in their world.
Sookie’s eyes opened, she gasped at the shock of Eric’s power. His eyes were vivid blue and his fangs were down. Glowing whiter than his pale skin. A normal person would definitely be afraid of such a predatory vampire hovering over them, naked. Hungry.
And maybe on some level Sookie could understand the fear. But she had never been normal and in this moment, Sookie felt her whole life finally click into place.
Eric was never more dominant or terrifying than when he let his easy going manner take a back seat to the vampire he was.
On the other hand, Sookie mussed. This Eric was captivating. All her fears, her insecurities vanished and in the eye of the storm she felt protected. Eric would do anything to keep her safe and she wanted nothing more than ensure he was left in peace as well.
“Sookie, you are mine!” Eric’s tone brokered no argument. Not that Sookie could have thought of one issue with declaration at this point.
“You do not run from me ever again. Our world is full of dangers, some predictable, other not. I will protect you, I will love you. Always. Do you understand?” Eric’s words were rough and pleading, not forceful in the slightest. Sookie could feel his deep desire to do everything he mentioned echoing through her chest.
Sookie nodded, too overcome to speak.
Eric stared for a moment longer, as if searching for the truth in Sookie’s non-verbal answer. If she hadn’t been so tongue tied, she may have laughed at their new situation. Oh, how a few hours can change a whole life. It was more like her to argue every point, like an immature brat. Not a reasonable woman.
When Eric finally seemed convinced of her sincerity to submit, he raised up off of Sookie and grabbed his pants from the edge of the blanket.
Sookie’s nerves raced anew, where was he going? Her voice gained a footing.
“Just like that? You don’t care that our bond made it so that I can maybe, sometimes, hear your thoughts?” Sookie asked incredulously.
“Not in the least.” Eric bounced, pulling his pants just over his hips and zipped up the fly. He winked at her and held out his large hand to help Sookie to her feet. Good thing too, because all of this turmoil had her weak in the knees. Not to mention a very wanton part of her was eager to taste what Eric had stowed away.
“It grows late lover, and we have much to do.” Eric kissed her knuckles gently.
“We do?” Sookie questioned, tilting her head.
“Yes, I know you will have questions. You may even fight me on some issues but the most important subject now is that you stay by my side. Do you agree?” Eric brushed his thumb over her swollen lips, thanks to Eric’s attention, her whole body was tingling.
Sookie reflected on that little statement. By his side…did Eric mean live with him? Will he make her his vampire child?
“Shh, lover. We will move quickly since I know what I want. I take what I want. I also can feel what you want, the Bond is allowing me to discern your fears, so allow me to be clear. We will live together. We will stay in each other’s company every moment from now on.” Eric paused, waiting for her excuses to flow as to why that could not happen.
“But Eric,” She closed her eye briefly to help bolster her concerns, “look, I have a home, friends, a job. You are asking me to give everything up.” Her question came out angrier than she felt but she couldn’t handle being played for a fool again. Not by Eric, that would…be too much.
“Am I?” Eric raised that damn perfect eyebrow in curiosity. “My chose my words very precisely lover. Did I truly ask you to give anything up?”
“Well, no. But-.”
Eric interrupted, “I may be the alpha here, but I am not a barbarian. Relationships are full of compromises. They have to be, but you are mine as I am yours.” Eric smile brightened from his intensity, “Everything else is just the details.”
Sookie was stunned and pleased with his response.
“Where we live is an interesting factor. My preference would be a dwelling that would be new to both of us. A clean slate, if you will. Custom for the newly mated couple to share quarters. In the meantime, we can go back and forth between our two residences. Truly lover, whatever will keep us both safe is my top priority. I hope this is yours as well.”
“Yes, of course Eric. I don’t want you hurt. The idea that someone may try to get to you when you are resting turns my stomach. I agree though, let’s stay where it’s the safest.”
Eric nodded. “My home has the most wards and state of the art security, at the moment. I suggest we stay there while we search our new abode.”
“Alright. What about my job? Do I sell my home? It’s been in my family for generations.” Sookie’s eyes were wide as she thought of all the ways to deal with such an enormous task.
“Currently you live next door to the Queen’s Procurer and Area Investigator. A fairy portal and every supernatural being within five states can find you. A high traffic area, don’t you think?”
Sookie’s face paled. Oh crap! She had not thought about everyone knowing where she lived. How easy would it be for anyone to get the drop on, at night, during the day? Anytime. A secluded spot where a number of incidents could happen to her before anyone would be able to reach her in time.
Eric was right, she had to re-locate. But sell her family home? Could she just sell the space her kin have resided for generations to a stranger?
“Okay, I see what you mean, but Eric I need some time to think about what to do with my farmhouse. I can’t just give it up. Not yet.” Sookie’s mind whirred with the possibilities, making her head ache a little. Tonight had already been long and the massive task of relocating was arduous.
Eric felt Sookie’s distress and quickly picked her up, making their way to his parked car easier for her.
“No, lover. I see no reason not to keep your home. In fact, the farmhouse may hold an opportunity to take interested parties out of the picture. We can maintain your home as if you live there, but your true residence would be with me.”
Eric kissed the top of Sookie’s head as she sighed into his chest. He had easily lifted her as if she weighed no more than a paperback book.
Sookie considered Eric’s trepidation about her current living situation.
No curious supes wandering her property in search of her when she was alone and vulnerable. Sookie could defend herself, she had proven that against a few vampires. However, she wasn’t ready to be in the kind of shape that handling that many potential aggressors would require of her.
A side note for later perhaps. No more feeling Bill Compton’s void lurking around her woods, sulking outside her bedroom window at night. Some nights, Sookie admitted to herself, was comforting to have someone who was watching her back but mostly, it freaked her out. Yes, this idea of Eric’s had promise.
Plus she could be with him more. Isn’t that exactly what she wanted with him, more time together?
“The only issue as I see it, is how to maintain my home Eric. I don’t see you as the type to hang in Merlotte’s sipping a blood while I wait tables. Sam might freak out, shoot, I know the town’s patrons certainly will have their say on it. I’ll certainly be informed one way or the other.” Sookie winced just imagining that headache every night.
“What about your bar? Your job?” Sookie asked as Eric unlocked the passenger door and set her inside. Eric sped to the driver’s side and started the Corvette. The engine purred as the heat flowed through the vent, warming Sookie’s legs and feet. She sighed and melted into the leather seat as Eric maneuvered back down the way they had come.
“As Sheriff, I am in a unique position. One that if I give up could make our lives complicated. Sookie, if you truly wish to remain in Louisiana, my status in our world would provide additional security.” Eric paused looking both directions before merging onto the highway.
“You are correct, I do run a very successful bar and my duties are substantial. Why not, come and work for me?” Eric asked.
“We could arrive together, see each other throughout our evening and then leave for a more private setting at our home. Or you could find another activity to fill your time.”
The idea of working together was not distasteful. Sookie was under the assumption that working and dating someone was an impossible feat. After all she worked for Sam and they had gone out once. The incident hardly changed their work environment. At least on Sookie’s end. Again, more time with Eric seemed all the more reason to consider his offer.
“I couldn’t not work Eric. How on Earth would that pay my bills?” Sookie protested.
Eric was confused for a moment. “I have money Sookie, enough to spend through many, many centuries. I will ensure your home is maintained while we find our way through this transition. What is mine is yours.” Eric said reasonably.
“I don’t want your money!” Sookie shook with aggravation as she stared at Eric’s profile. His hands gripped the steering wheel tightly at Sookie’s outburst.
“Do you think I just want to be with you because of what you have? No way, buddy! You Eric, I only want you. Not your money.” Sookie huffed in irritation, crossing her arms across her ample chest.
Eric smiled and turned to Sookie as they zinged down the road. Squeezing her knee gently Eric said, “I know. My wealth is part of the package lover.”
Sookie opened her mouth to protest further when she felt Eric’s resolve flow over the bond along with a dose of his love. “If our positions were reversed, would you provide anything you had to assist me?” Eric’s words echoed through Sookie’s head a moment before she responded.
“Well, no. But that’s not the point.” Sookie said stubbornly.
Eric raised his eyebrow. “So then, what you seek is more drama in our lives?”
“What?” Sookie was perplexed now, what in heaven’s name did he mean by that question?
Eric shook his head. “We have enemies and nightly interruptions happening all around us at every given moment. Even now, I know that another being is willing to step in and complicate our lives in some unimaginable way. And you, my dear Sookie want to fight about the maintenance on your home?”
Well, when he put it like that. Her reasons did seem ridiculous.
Sookie blew out a breath, her aggression lessening with each inhale of warm air.
“Let’s say, I agree with you for a moment.” Sookie studied his face that should be watching the road. “Eyes on the road Northman!”
Eric laughed and turned his attention to the three cars that shared the highway with them. “No, okay. I don’t want to spend our lives fighting over who paid for what or how. I have worked hard my whole life and you swooping in is a shock. Give a girl a moment.”
Eric’s eyes softened with understanding before he took the exit to Shreveport and muttered. “Bill is a fool.”
“He also claimed you, but did nothing to ensure your survival in our world. His intentions were temporary and at the behest of the Queen, therefore you think that I will reject you at some point.”
Sookie was flabbergasted, utterly dumbfounded. At first she was ready to argue with Eric’s observation. The objection lost all momentum on her tongue. Because Eric was right.
Sookie closed her eyes in pain and embarrassment. Bill had done a number on her trust. False pretenses didn’t come any faster than Bill Compton had. Sookie had been a naïve, love starved telepath who knew better than to trust a wolf in sheep’s clothing. She was just so desperate for a slice of normal.
All she got in return from her time with Bill was a thick web of vampire complications and death invitations.
Eric was different, her heart reminded her. He had shown his true side long ago and deep down she knew he would not disregard her like some unwanted, unloved trash.
“You could…leave me too,” Sookie whispered as an unwanted tear slid down her cheek. Her head hung further in shame at her vulnerability. “Any day, could be our last and I would never recover Eric. You can hurt me more than anyone ever could. Do you understand that?” Her voice was barely above a whisper but Sookie knew that Eric could hear every word.
A large thumb smoothed back her tears with a soft caress, bringing her head around. They were parked in a closed garage, the car now turned off. How did that happen?
“Trust is something earned over time, Sookie. I know for a fact that you do trust me, you told me so. But I will show you every night that you can trust me with all you hold dear. Your heart, your soul. Know this, I always keep my word.” Eric vowed.
“I believe you.” Sookie breathed.
“It’s a start, we are home lover.” Eric leaned over and tenderly kissed her lips.