The ride back to our home was quiet. Both of us in contemplation over the night’s events. It seemed the world was against our leaving Louisiana tomorrow.
Fucking Compton had been recording Sookie for weeks. Smashing my desks to pieces had been out of the question since Sookie was wrapped around me at the time. The test of my tight control was being pushed but I held on. Once Pam had located every bug she double timed it to Compton’s. Not wanting to chance that he and Andre may show up, she blew through his office with everything she thought would be of value.
Every computer, laptop and a back-up drive Pam had located in Compton’s dirt encrusted safe space. Still dying in the dirt like a fucking rat. Pam had immediately taken her prizes back to Sookie’s for inspection. Dating the logs and recordings on his laptop to a night before he left for Peru.
Which means, I now had everything that my memories did not during my curse. My time with Sookie, when I was not myself. Angrily, I cursed under my breath. I would not thank Bill Compton for infiltrating Sookie’s privacy. But I would gladly handle the silver lining.
Yes, Sookie had eventually…reluctantly, gave up the information I craved. Just the facts of course. She had been so cold while reciting what had occurred between us but our tie at that time told a different tale.
She was terrified.
Of me? The emotion made me wonder if I had been cruel to her, but it became apparent that was not the case. Well, good. Because I was seconds from throwing myself at her feet in forgiveness of my crimes.
It wasn’t until Sookie spoke of “her Eric” that warmth, love and longing reverberated over our tie. Just as a musician plucked a guitar string in an empty hall. Determination had spiked as she told her tale after that small opening into her soul.
I had given her every opportunity to tell me the truth and still Sookie kept that information to herself. I decided that she can be upset with my methods. Sookie was being unreasonable.
All that did not matter now. I brought Sookie’s fingertips to my lips as we drove deeper into the night. I had her. My lover by my side. As it should have been since the moment Sookie Stackhouse wandered into Fangtasia all bright eyed and fresh.
The past is the past. I was itching to see everything Pam had recovered from Compton for myself. Every conversation, every coming and going. Gods, I hoped and dreaded he had multiple angles. Preliminary results from my child had suggested that he had been thorough.
Raw, red bloodlust surged with the need to rend Compton limb from limb for the invasion of our solitude. This would have been our time. Something that meant a great deal to both of us, although perhaps for different reasons. I was curious as well to see what Sookie had seen. Would I too feel the longing that crept into Sookie’s heart?
I growled. That bastard may get a pardon from me after all.
But why keep an eye on her in that manner?
Why not glamour her co-workers or friends?
Who said he had not.
Was it jealously?
Maybe, but surely not Compton’s sole reason. He had to have been keeping tabs on Sookie for someone else. The rat bastard was desperate to win back Sookie. Even tempting the wrath of an ancient in front of vampire witnesses. My hand gripped the wheel harder. I should just fucking end him.
Feeling Sookie in the moment, I was relieved that she had no hesitations in my actions. Just acceptance. For me, for my protection. To feel her in our bond with such approval made me feel ten feet tall. I frowned. Sookie’s consent meant that much to me? I suppose it had and for longer than I wanted to admit at the moment.
Compton could be reporting to the Queen, I queried. Perhaps de Castro? Or another interested party who wants information on my Bonded.
Had that rat Compton already sent the information he gathered?
Rage filled my veins anew at the thought of Compton reviewing the intimacy Sookie and I shared on his fucking laptop. I would rip him apart with my fangs, leaving just enough of him alive for the night creatures to feast upon before the sun burned out his meaningless existence.
After some rigorous exercises in the art of torcher. It had been fifty years since Pam has used her exquisite skills, she had so few opportunities now it seemed. The Great Revelation had changed so much in the supernatural world. Perhaps my beloved child would like to demonstrate her knowledge for her maker. I grinned wickedly out the windshield, recalling her last lesson against a vampire.
The deranged vampire had been kidnapping then draining children. Fucker! In the old country the practice was merely looked down upon by our kind. I had always felt disgusted by such acts and vowed that in the New Country I would punish and set an example for all those who broke this rule.
After the offender had been caught and the memories of the children’s families glamoured. Of course not erased but a memory that they had lost their children and could bury the child’s remains. Acceptance and the opportunity to move forward.
That asshole paid dearly. After the humans were secured in their new knowledge that next year of watching him plead, regrow parts and wither away under silver had been satisfying.
Slowing the Corvette’s speed, I pressed the button for the garage and pulled in. The wheels are spinning in Sookie’s mind. Opening my door, I race over to her side to help her out. Wrapping my hand over her curvy hip I escort my distracted woman into the kitchen.
“Penny for your thoughts, Lover.”
She exhaled disheartened with the night’s event. Well, just the last one I hoped.
“You may need to break into your bank account for this one, Eric.” She slouched onto the cushioned bar stool.
“How could Bill do this? I’m just so … shocked. I guess it’s safe to say he never really cared for me, if he felt he could abuse my trust this way.”
Reaching into the refrigerator for my Lover’s meal I paused. “Maybe not.” Some sort of cheese and meat tray that I know Sookie enjoys. As I set that on the counter I remember the box of crackers in the cupboard. But before I shut the refrigerator door I grab a cold bottle of water.
“Wanna run that by me again?”
“As much as I hate to say this,” My lips thin in repugnance as I handed the square cardboard box to Sookie. “Compton may have been acting in a way to ensure your safety. You admit that you were not on speaking terms at the time. His actions may be the result of the need to protect, as poorly as his execution was. ” That fucking rat.
Her beautiful mouth pops open in shock. “So you approve of what Bill did? You would have done the same?”
With Sookie, nothing would ever be that simple.
I took my seat next to her, all the while staying silent until I could touch her. Feel her pulse and warmth under my fingers.
“Compton is desperate and my sense says that he has multiple reasons to monitor your activities while he was out of the country.”
“That doesn’t make it right.” Sookie huffed, picking at her food.
“No, it does not. His motives are not clear to me and I fear the other reasons for his deception will be made known soon.” Sookie breathed out again, I could tell she was trying to calm her frayed nerves. She took a bite of her little crunchy sandwich.
“Pam has placed her own trackers in Compton’s heap of a safe house. We will hopefully be able to learn more while we are gone.”
“We’re still leaving tomorrow?”
“Absolutely. I have no desire to bend to the will of the deranged when I have my people handling our business. Everything that is going on can be put on hold until our return.”
“Eric, I haven’t packed! You’re not even packed! We have less than twelve hours before we are in the air.” Sookie jumped off the stool and made her hands into tight fists. I reached for her.
“Lover, we are both packed. Everything is taken care of.” I soothed as I pulled her back against my chest. “My goal is for you to relax and enjoy not twist yourself in knots.”
“I had my human assistant pack exactly what we need while we are away. In fact he will be with you tomorrow to handle every detail on the way to the airport.”
“Wow, Eric I don’t know what to say.” I interrupted Sookie before she did indeed figured out something else to fret over.
“Just say, thank you Eric and then beg me to take you to bed.” I purr into her small ear. She giggles and pushes against my chest in mock shock. Just the reaction I was hoping for. Playful Sookie is captivating where worried Sookie makes me come apart at the seams.
“Oh baby, before we head up to bed. I need to call Sam and tell him I won’t be in…anymore. I would rather have this discussion in person.”
“Not without me.”
Sookie sighed, her cornflower blue eyes sparkling in relief. “I was hoping you’d say that.” I kissed her and pulled her tighter into my arms.
“You will never face our nights alone.” She smiled up at me with such hope in her eyes that my chest hurt.
“I’ve worked for Sam for years, we, at least I think we are friends. He doesn’t deserve a phone call from me, in the middle of the night to tell him I’m quitting.”
I understood my Lover’s logic and admire her integrity. It was not very late in vampire terms, checking the time on the stove’s digital clock, it read 11:50 P.M.
We had not stayed long at Fangtasia after Pam had called with her discovery. But there was no fucking way Sookie and I were going to Bon Temps tonight. Sookie was mine as was her time. I admit that I didn’t give a fuck about the Shifter and his business problems. The Dog would get a phone call, or even better, a text.
“Send him a text, my Sookie. Request the time off for two weeks. That will give us plenty of time to go and enjoy ourselves before we are expected to be at Queen Sophie-Ann’s wedding.”
“Wait, the Queen is getting married?”
Surely Quinn had said something to Sookie about the ceremony?
“Oh, right.” The thought must have clicked into place, Sookie’s eyes seemed to remember the conversation. “Quinn had mentioned some ceremony but he didn’t give a lot of details. I wasn’t as worried as I am now to meet her. So I guess I don’t have a choice?” Sookie questioned the last with a hint of bitterness.
I couldn’t blame her too much. Being thrown into the deep end of vampire politics were rough waters to maneuver, but now she had me.
“You are my Bonded and your safety and mine is my number one priority. Do you trust in the knowledge that I will protect you?” If the fucking Tiger were still in the picture he would have never ensured her safety. It made me angrier than I cared to admit that this disgusting pussy cat had been near my Lover. And trying to get closer.
“No, Eric. I didn’t mean that I thought I wouldn’t be safe with you. I know you will always protect me.” I exhaled at the revelation and Sookie hugged me tight. My seething jealousy was high, I could taste the bloodlust in the air.
All of them needed to fucking die! Then no one would ever cross me and what is mine. All would fear me as they should.
“You are mine,” My touch gentler that I thought I was capable of at the moment. I would never hurt Sookie, never. “I do detest that other men are circling you. I’m fighting the real urge to leave you and kill them all regardless of the consequences.” I barely recognized my own voice, it was low warning that vibrated Sookie’s dinner on the bar ledge.
That Tiger rug crept back into my mind. Yes, right in front of the fire place where I could fuck my Sookie. I would bet that she would look incredible in nothing but firelight.
“Eric!” Sookie giggled. “You are so dirty-minded!”
I smirked down at my beet faced lover. Adorable. “Did you like that Lover? Us in front of the fire? Me, fucking you until you pass out from pleasure and exhaustion.”
Sookie bit her lip and revealed, “We’ve done that before, it was amazing.” She blushed another shade red, then buried her face against my chest. The heat of her awkwardness seeping through my cotton shirt felt amazing. “I wouldn’t mind… doing that …again.”
She pulled back and looked me in the eye. “But I didn’t see a Tiger-skinned rug in your living room?”
I grinned wickedly.
“Well, we will just have to get one then. Nothing is too good for my Bonded.”
Oh that Tiger better scurry far. I would still find him, but the hunt would be much more satisfying.
“Inform the Shifter of our departure. Do not tell him our destination. When we are back in Shreveport, I will accompany you to his establishment and you can tell him of your notice in person.”
Sookie thought over everything I had just proposed for a moment. “You’re right. I’m tired. I really don’t want to do it tonight, but I’ll call him. It’s the right thing to do.” Sookie nodded like she was agreeing with herself.
“We’re friends Eric. He deserves more than a late night text that I’m never coming in to work again. You wouldn’t tolerate that kind of disrespect from your employees.”
“I never once had an employee that I cared about past the health care package.” I answered.
Sookie rolled her eyes making me smile. “He is probably still at the restaurant. Just let me call him lickety split and then you can reintroduce me to the bathroom.” I nodded my approval, imagining Sookie wet with suds as I pressed her into the tile wall.
Yes, some things were worth putting my foot down and demanding my Lover’s compliance. Sookie had bent to more of my wishes than I ever thought possible in the last twenty four hours, I would allow this.
That Dog better watch his slobber otherwise I’ll neuter that fucking collie.
Sookie had the cell up to her ear when the other line picked up, “Merlotte’s” The Shifter greeted.
“Hey Sam its Sookie.”
“Hi Cher, are you alright.” His voice went up an octave in concern.
“Yes Sam, I’m great actually. How are you?” Sookie rolled her eyes and grinned. She lite up the kitchen like the sun. My sun. Forever my own private beam of warmth.
The Shifter eased slightly. “Just fine, going over the night’s receipts before I head on home.”
“Oh, well, I don’t want to keep you. But I need to let you know that I need the next two weeks off. I’ve had the time off stored for a while now. Besides I know Arlene and the girls would love the hours right now.”
The Shifter blew out a long breath, “Two weeks? Well, of course Cher. You deserve the time off. Helping me the way you do… I don’t think you’ve ever taken that much time off before, what are your plans? Keeping to yourself at home may get boring-.”
Sookie stopped his musings. Thank fuck. How obvious was his fishing. “No, Eric is taking me on an adventure and-.”
“Northman! What the fuck Sook?” The Dog exploded through the receiver causing Sookie to pull back and wince slightly.
“Watch your language Sam Merlotte! Eric and I are back together and I’m happy. Very happy”
“You think you’re happy Sook, but he’s a God damn vampire. A manipulative bloodsucker who only wants you for your mind reading and your blood!”
“How can you say that to me? You don’t know Eric or his motives. How dare you!”
“I know plenty, just like Vampire Bill, right. They’ll drain you of everything good you ever were and leave you to rot in your own misery. And mine! Mark my words!”
I liberated the phone from Sookie, who was too surprised at the Shifter’s venom to offer a protest.
“Listen well Shifter.” I growled. “Were it not for your previous years of loyal friendship to my Bonded I would fly over to your piece of shit redneck dive and rip out your heart.”
A triumphant smile over took me. The Dog would be the second to know of Sookie’s place and not one fucking thing he could do to stop it. “I will be seeing you in two weeks’ time. Take care not to have an accident until then.”
I hung up the cell and walked over to Sookie. Wrapping my arms around her, I kissed the top of her head and sent my strength and love through our bond. It was love. When should I voice that emotion I wondered briefly?
“If the roles were reversed, I would never treat Sam that way.”
“You are not in love with him.”
Sookie was in denial as she looked up at me. “He doesn’t love me, not like that. He’s like my brother, Eric. I tried once, ya know to date him. But the chemistry just wasn’t there.”
“Please tell me you took a flea bath afterwards.” My child spoke as she sauntered into the kitchen.
Sookie blew out a breath in exasperation with Pam’s sense of humor. The question had merit.
“Hello to you too Pam.” Sookie said. “Sam doesn’t have fleas, stop being so sassy.”
“I don’t see the fun in that.” Pam turned to me. “Master, I have everything in the living room.”
“Good,” I felt Sookie’s tension radiate off of her in waves and I sent my understanding and reassurance in return. My Lover gave me a small smile as we all moved into the living room. Pam had started up the lap top and had two large boxes. Both were filled with bugs and mini cameras. There was also a folder with a few loose papers inside.
“This was in my house?” Sookie was repulsed as she picked up one of the mini cameras. If well placed near other electronics even a vampire wouldn’t know they were there. It pissed me off to think they were there and I never once thought to check for them.
Pam nodded to Sookie then to me. “Cameras in the kitchen, living room, Sookie’s bedroom, bathrooms and three outdoor cameras surveilling the property. Compton could monitor every coming and going…conversation.” She paused.
“Go on.” I implored as I booted up the program that had the saved surveillance.
“If Compton has not reviewed the videos because he was going to hand them over to other’s unknown. We don’t have to kill him. If he did, we must.”
My child’s rage was concealed under a blank façade, perfect. My perfect child. I nodded for her to continue as Sookie sat on the sofa.
“He saw you at your most vulnerable Eric. Those days that you were cursed are on these recordings and if fallen into the wrong hands, other vampires could smell blood in the air.”
I huffed. “I am back to myself, I welcome any challenge thrown my way.” Sookie gasped putting her hand to her mouth in shock. Her attention solely on Pam even when I called Sookie to look at me.
Instead Sookie asked in a pained whisper.
“You saw them already?”
“Some, not all, my friend. Just enough to verify how long Compton was recording your movements.” Pam spoke in soothing tones in an attempt to calm my Lover. I sent Pam my pride through our bond. I was happy that Pam was concerned for Sookie.
“Jeez, I don’t even know what to say.” Sookie scrubbed her face with her hands. “The most important time in my life was being viewed and judged by my ex-boyfriend!” Sookie blew out her breath in frustration. “And now Eric will get to see it all too.”
“Would that be so terrible?” I asked as I slid in beside her on the couch. Confused on why she would not want me to see for myself what had transpired between us.
“No. Yes. What if…what if you don’t like what you see? What if,” she looked at Pam and then turned her head down and murmured. “You don’t want me anymore.”
I grasped her chin tenderly and eased her face up to look at me. “Not fucking possible.”
Sookie’s eye widened at my revelation. “But how can you be sure?”
“Because you were mine the moment you walked into my bar.” A tear escaped her then and I felt her trust and love wash over me.
“Oh Eric,” Sookie threw herself into my open arms as I tucked her around me. A few moments later I caught Pam’s eye.
“Send the information through the appropriate channels where I can view it all privately in Barbados.” Pam nodded. “Is everything else in place?”
“Yes, Compton’s crap hole is wired for sound, thanks to Bruce. Thalia is happily keeping tabs on that little fucker until further notice. Maybe even without an edict. She has already reported that Andre and Compton met briefly near his car. Andre left your Area. Our people confirm he sailed all the way back to his Maker. Bill is currently in the middle of three blondes.”
“Very well, off you go Pam.” I dismissed her. Pam had done well I knew my territory was in good hands while I claimed my Sookie in seclusion.
“And a pleasant trip to you both. Must be nice to be King and take off whenever you please.” She sasses but my child couldn’t fool me. She was thrilled that Sookie and I were getting this time. If anything I would probably be easier to deal with going forward. I smiled to her in return.
“Bye, Pam.” Sookie spoke up sleepily.
My child would be back in a few hours after she fed to clean up Compton’s computer shit and prepare the documents to be sent to my secured online account. I had a lover who needed a warm bath and plenty of rest before our journey tomorrow.
(A/N) So there you have it! Eric has video proof at his very delicious fingertips of when he was without his memories. Do you think he’ll like what he views? Or will Sookie’s fear be realized that Eric is shamed by being perceived as “weak”?