A/N: This is my entry for the lovely Kittyinaz Christmas Writing Contest 2014. I am overwhelmed to be voted #1. Shocked is more like it, I read the other stories and these ladies have some serious talent! Thank you so much! You made my day, just by reading my crazy musings.
This story picks up a few weeks after Club Dead and before Dead to the World, shall we say over the Christmas break. 🙂 Sookie is enduring her first Christmas without Gran, or anyone else. She has time to think about the events of Club Dead and what she wants for her future. This tale is not BETA approved, all mistakes are mine alone.
Disclaimer: Charlaine Harris owns the rights to SVM. I merely play happily in the sandbox after she leaves a mess.
My first Christmas Eve, alone. With Gran now passed, I miss her more than ever tonight. We would make delicious food, glazed ham, creamy mashed potatoes with gravy. Yams with marshmallows, deviled eggs, roasted asparagus, corn, homemade biscuits, and oh my, the pies. Pumpkin and apple smells would waft in and around the house for a whole week. We would talk about Christmas pasts and laugh, we’d dance around the living room and sing carols. These were the best memories in my life with my dear Gran.
Bill, a mistake of gargantuan portions has turned out to be a liar, a cheater and a rapist. Maybe I should be more understanding, he is vampire, and he was hungry. Nope! No excuse, everyone can control themselves, no matter their nature. Looking back, I was more in love with love than Bill. That should have been my first tell-tale sign that no good could come from Bill Compton. Or perhaps being beat half to death by redneck trash, or when he ignored me, repeatedly.
Completely depressed at the prospect of a quiet Christmas Eve Day by herself. Sookie arrived early to Merlotte’s for her usual Thursday morning shift, filling up the daylight hours waiting tables on impolite rednecks who think vile thoughts. Getting home late Christmas Eve, she had left the colorful Christmas tree lit up as a warm welcome. Sookie thought her heirloom ornaments glittering in the multi-colored light would be lovely, but it deepened her depression instead to know that only a tree was home to greet her.
Sookie really wished she had someone waiting for her, excited to see her. Wanting to spend time talking, dancing or just being together. But there was no one. Alcide seemed interested in her back in Jackson, but she was not attracted to him, in that way. He reminded her of Sam, an overbearing, older brother. Sweet and caring in their own gruffness, but as much as they thought they liked her, neither really got her. Which is why those two men, would never be more than her dear friends.
Jason called the day before and told Sookie that he would be doing his own thing this year. Which she quickly determined meant sleeping off a bender, and a night with a local bar girl. Sookie rolled her eyes, I definitely don’t want to spend time around that this year, no matter how lonely I am.
Sookie suspected that Sam was out running with the full, Christmas Eve moon. So much for spending anytime with him tonight, or any other night that may include work or shifting. Tara was road tripping it with Lafayette in New Orleans. They wanted to have a different kind of Christmas away from Bon Temps. Bill, no way. They were over, at this point she didn’t believe they could salvage a friendship. Maybe I should move? Sookie sighed on the couch, her legs curled underneath her and the old family afghan thrown over her lap. She watched the white orange firelight dance around the darkened pine, crackling a tune she could relax to.
George was running happily through the town square on It’s A Wonderful Life. The movie was turned down low on the television while Sookie took larger and larger sips of her drink. It was more Southern Comfort than egg nog at that point. She loved when George would tell Mary of the moon and how he would lasso it down, just for her. Sookie was such a romantic. Seeing or reading about these men making sweet gestures towards the women they adored left an ache in her chest. She rubbed her sternum as she remembered another sweet gesture.
Angelic Sookie, vision of love and beauty, I am prostrate that the wicked evil maenad violated your smooth and voluptuous body. “Oh, Eric.” She sighed.
Feeling a chill, Sookie noticed that the fire had almost died to just flickering embers and a lone flame. She grabbed her threadbare coat to step outside and collect more wood from her back porch.
Sookie added the new logs to the pile for the next day, turned off the television, and unplugged the twinkling Christmas tree lights. She swallowed the rest of her drink and trudged upstairs, falling none too gracefully into bed. Before Sookie passed out, her last fleeting thought was wishing, wanting for someone to love her. Eric, probably could. Love me. He was sweet and caring, not every time I saw him but he did show that he was interested in us becoming more. And that vampire is certainly easy on the eyes.
Sookie giggled herself to sleep, remembering the last bed she shared with the Viking and how she wished she could get to know him before his black silk boxers came off.
Christmas morning Sookie was awoken by a rhythmic squawking. Startled, she checked her property with her mind, to find no brain signatures.
Satisfied that she was alone, she rolled out of bed. Passing her dresser mirror she groaned at the sight of half her hair mussed up and standing out straight. Holy bed head Batman! She groaned, trying to brush the tresses back with her fingers into a manageable mess and then slid into her leopard print slippers.
The squawking resumed, Sookie checked the clock and bristled, “Seven in the morning! What the hell is that?” Coffee would come next, as soon as this new disaster was solved. “It’s always something,” she muttered bitterly.
Her well-loved, old robe was dawned on angrily before Sookie headed downstairs. The noise got louder as she neared the front door. It was nearly freezing in the early light of Christmas morn, the temperature reading a frosty forty two degrees on the thermometer by the molding. Peeking through the butter yellowed lace window coverings of the door, she saw a large fabric covered dome.
The material looked heavy, thick. It was jet black with bright red poinsettias scattered throughout the design, linked together by intricate gold curls and swirls. It was stunning.
“What the hell?” Perplexed, she opened the door, looking out past the frame onto the porch, she scanned left and then right. No one.
There was an envelope attached to the Christmas inspired mystery with Sookie’s name gracefully scrolled on it in gold letters. A giant straight pin with a flawless white pearl on one side held the thick parchment in place. Unfastening the pin, she opened the envelope and pulled out another elegantly scrolled card:
On the First Day of Christmas,
Your true love is thinking of you.
Sookie’s mouth gaped open. “Eric?” I haven’t seen him since last week when I immaturely revoked his invitation to my house. Why did I do that? She had regretted it the moment the words left her mouth. But this? I know he said he wanted me as his future lover, was he for real? Wait, true love? Maybe my wish came true. Eric is thinking of me.
Another flurry of racket against metal flared up from the phone booth covered package. It stood five feet tall and three feet in diameter. Sookie grabbed the flap that had been buttoned into place and quickly opened the velvety material. Revealing a stylish golden cage with locking wheels at the bottom for easy movement.
A tan colored bird with a black speckled chest and bright orange feet and small beak squawked a hello. A pheasant like creature is happily sitting in a small pear tree with the golden cage. Sookie giggled. This is amazing. Beautiful. Thoughtful even. As she stood out in the chilly Louisiana winter weather, Sookie was in absolute bliss. Eric has single-handedly made her Christmas day completely joyful.
Another moment passed when Sookie heard a van coming up the road and turned into her nice even driveway. Thank you again, Eric. A loaf of cartoonish bread drawn on the side of the vehicle and with the owners name written over it MAXINE’S BAKERY.
Bewildered, Sookie waited as Maxine Fortenberry climbed out of her business’s van and stepped close to the side door to open it. “Merry Christmas Sookie!” She calls, grabbing a few boxes and striding up the porch steps.
“Merry Christmas to you too. What do I owe the pleasure this morning?”
“Well, my dear. I got a delivery for you and was advised it needed to be here this morning. I know this is the first Christmas without Adele, you must be feeling a bit out of sorts.” Her thoughts don’t give away pity, more like understanding. She was remembering when her mama passed and the sudden emptiness that came with spending those first few years of family holidays without her.
Sookie gave her a small smile and nodded, “Thank you, yes. I miss her everyday but especially today.”
“Well, the ones we love will always stay with us dear.” She patted Sookie’s hand. “Oh mercy me, here I am not paying attention to a special client.” She winked and handed her the boxes.
“What is all this?” Smiling bigger, Sookie could smell the frosted cinnamon buns already. Yum!
“I received a call from a Mr. Eric Northman, of Shreveport. What a polite young man. He requested that I get you a proper Christmas morning breakfast, since he could not be with you this morning to enjoy it.” She grinned wider. “Why Sookie Stackhouse, you have snagged yourself a keeper. Too bad he couldn’t be here with you to really enjoy this.”
Blushing, Sookie thought, if she only knew he was a Viking, vampire Sheriff, sex god, runway model dropped straight from heaven. What would she say then? Probably something negative about being a gold digging fangbanger.
Before Sookie could relay her snide comment, Maxine continued, “But with him being a vampire and all, I can guess the sun would be no good for his complexion.”
“Well, yes.” Sookie gasped. Even Maxine’s thoughts were approving. No glamouring, no false niceties. She really doesn’t care that I’ve apparently attracted another vampire.
“God made us all, Sookie. We all have a purpose even if that purpose has yet to be revealed. Your Gran said that all the time and she would have wanted you happy. Go and embrace your happiness. Now, I have a busy morning, two more deliveries before nine. I’ll see you later, eat those while they are still warm now. And get that beautiful bird some water. He’ll thank you for it.”
Speechless, mouth dry. Sookie coughed and yelled out after her, “I-I will. Thank you!”
Maxine drove off and Sookie took the boxes into the kitchen, setting them on the table. She filled a small white bowl with lukewarm water and brought it to the caged bird. Covering the cage again she went back to the bakery boxes, ready to dive in. Cinnamon rolls covered in thick cream cheese, flaky pastries, assorted cheeses, moist muffins and butter cookies. All the favorites for a Christmas to remember. As long as Sookie didn’t want to fit into her current jeans.
I need to thank him, Sookie thought as she made a pot of dark-brewed coffee. Maybe I was wrong about Eric. He’s been protecting me. From Long Shadow, from the fellowship bomb, from Russell and any other vampires who may have taken advantage of me, even Bill.
Sookie shuttered, not able to touch that one yet. I know he wants me, hell I am attracted to him, he’s beautiful. There I said it. Could Eric even be faithful? Well, why wouldn’t he be? Just because he is handsome means he would cheat. No, others also find him attractive, that doesn’t mean he would jump at the chance, especially if he were mine.
He doesn’t strike me as the kind to lavish gifts and offer protection on just any girl, lord knows he has his pick on that front. Maybe he does want something real, not just a good time. Regardless of Sookie’s rambling thoughts, she owes him a thank you. A very amazing thank you. She felt lighter, deliriously happy, and it was all Eric Northman’s fault. He thought about me, he thought about what I would appreciate and made it happen.
“What the-, who could that be?” The clock above the kitchen sink read 8 A.M. on the dot. Time is slipping by this morning. Sookie strode for the door a little bewildered. Maybe Jason is here, but why would he knock?
Opening the door, Sookie found a freshly caffeinated delivery man dressed in brown.
“Merry Christmas Miss, I have a delivery for Sookie Stackhouse. Is that you?”
“Yeah, I’m Sookie Stackhouse. Merry Christmas to you, too!”
He held an electronic clipboard to her to sign, while he grabbed up a box settled at his right foot. “Here you go, Miss. Have a great day!”
Closing the door as the truck pulled onto Hummingbird Lane to depart, she eyed the packages. Okay, this has Eric written all over it. As suggested Sookie opened the large package marked with the number two. Wrapped in black tissue paper was a pair of gray fur lined gloves with a red tag that read, turtle dove gray. Oh my cuteness!
Under more black tissue wrapping was a soft white coat with a fur lined hood and collar. It was exquisitely smooth. Sookie slipped it on with ease and buttoned it for the full feel. The pockets were also lined with a satin soft fur, in the right pocket was a card. Sookie pulled it out, happy to see her name again as she twirled around and squealed. She had never owned anything as stunning as this coat. It was a true masterpiece, but with Louisiana winters being more mild than arctic, she would wear it as much as she could. Inside, the note read:
On the Second Day of Christmas,
Your true love wishes to keep you warm.
Take a picture and send it to me, it will keep me warm.
“Oh my! Take a picture? How would I even get it to him?” Shrugging her shoulders, she made a pot of coffee and decided it be best to begin her day. Does Eric consider himself my true love? What do I consider him? Sookie had just gotten dressed after a shower when right at 9 A.M. a third package arrived via another delivery truck. The third box was large, heavy and cold. Hmm, I wonder what it could be. Opening the box was another card that read:
On the Third Day of Christmas,
Your true love wants your appetite sated.
Appetite sated? Red tissue reveled a hard backed copy of, Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Underneath in a refrigerated box was three, ready to roast chickens. French hens, ha! Sookie knew all about Southern cooking, but French cooking could be a new and exciting challenge. Opening the book to a random page she read about Fondue au Gruyere, a cream filling with Swiss cheese. It sounded, oh so divine. She could not wait to take the book for a test drive around her skillet.
He has to be the most thoughtful man on the planet! Sookie thought happily. Clasping her hands, she jumped up and down a few times. She saw the pattern, plain as day. Although, she knew that the twelve days of Christmas happened over the twelve days starting with Christmas Day. Why was she receiving, now up to three gifts in one day?
Right on time, another truck came and went with the 10 A.M. delivery.
The latest parcel turned out to be a Samsung Galaxy 5 cell phone in a bright red case. It was so slender and had a huge screen. The phone was already charged and after a moment of figuring out the menus, Sookie located the contacts where she discovered Eric’s number, all programmed.
Included was a delicious background picture of a snow covered Christmas tree on a mountain covered with multicolored lights. The picture was taken at night, showing how each light effected the white snow and dark forest around it. The tree was unique amongst the other familiar trees it had grown up with in the woods but yet, here it was letting its lights shine. This beautiful, lone tree made Sookie feel understood. He so got me.
Under the phone, was more black tissue paper and another note:
On the Fourth Day of Christmas
Your true love wanted to hear your voice and have others sing to you.
A set of four intricate designed ornaments made entirely out of birdseed greeted Sookie. “For calling birds.” Sookie shook her head utterly amused. Eric’s thoughtful gifts certainly were piling up. Is he really going to keep this up all day?
There was only one way to find out, so using her new phone, Sookie sent Eric her very first text message.
“Hi-ya Eric, I know you are still asleep but I wanted to say thank you for all of the lovely Christmas gifts. They were a welcome surprise this morning. Um, call me or text me when you get up. I’d like to talk with you about you over-doing the gift giving. 🙂 ~S”
Satisfied, Sookie hit send. Perusing through her new piece of technology, she located the camera and after a few shots of her Christmas tree and the gifts Eric had sent, decided to try something else.
She sassily did what he had asked in his note and sent him a picture of herself in the pretty pale coat with her new phone. To which he instantly responded,
“Take another with just the coat on, and then take one with the coat off. ;)”
Wait, he’s up? Confused Sookie text back, “Not on your life, buster! How are you up? It’s 10:30 in the morning.”
“Buster? I am very old and therefore can stretch my wakefulness when I wish. You look beautiful. I hope you are enjoying your Christmas gifts, despite the tone in your first message.”
“I do, very much. But this is a lot to handle. The last time we spoke I rescinded your invitation. Why send the woman who threw you out of her home, gifts?” Sookie held her breath waiting for his response.
“I realized you had a very long and trying night that evening. I was being too forceful in my pursuit of you in that moment. I am fine with you rescinding my invitation to your home.”
“You are? Why?”
“I want to earn my way back to you, inside your home, inside your heart. No one has ever made me feel as you do. I want to explore that experience, with you.”
Well, knock me over with a feather, why don’tcha! Sookie smiled at her little lit screen. He wants to get to know me.
“I like the idea of starting over, but seriously, these gifts are too much.”
“I thought you celebrated Christmas?”
“Of course I do! I love this holiday, above all others.”
“I wanted to follow the example of this particular Carol, I thought you would enjoy it as well. Were my presents not satisfactory? Would you prefer other items?”
“No, no. I am not looking for exchanges. Really, I don’t need gifts. You don’t even have to do what you’ve done. Really, I love the presents you have sent. Eric, The Twelve Days of Christmas Carol takes place over twelve days. So far, I have four gifts and it’s barely eleven A.M.”
“I am far too impatient to wait twelve days. This last two weeks with not being in touch with you has made me, irritable.”
Sookie felt guilty. I rescind his invitation and then he showers me with gifts in a completely clever way. Am I being ungrateful? She ponders for a moment, shutting her eyes. Jackson had gone from bad to worse, the highlight of her time there was Eric. He did all he could to set up an Alcide as her daytime escort, disguised himself in an attempt to be near her as backup, just in case. Which of course came when she was staked. Eric even helped her heal and then arrange a car to transport Bill during his rescue.
Then the trunk happened. Fuck you very much Debbie Pelt! Being almost drained and raped by my cheating, lying boyfriend put me into shock. Then the wares attacking. Way too much happened in one night. No, I needed space.
“Well, I hope you haven’t spread your mood to those you work with. Having a brooding boss effects everyone, ya know. Thank you for understanding I needed some time to get my head on straight.”
“Of course, dear one. I want to get better acquainted with you. Spend time that has nothing to do with being a vampire sheriff and a telepath.”
“I am just a cursed waitress.”
“No, you are a tender-hearted, brilliant, stubborn, gorgeous woman. We are not just what we doing for work. And you are not cursed, please stop saying that. You have a gift which has challenged you beyond measure.”
“To avoid a long explanation of why you are wrong about me being cursed. Which I am! What do you want from me?”
“Everything. I want to know your darkest desire, your fears, your hopes and dreams for the future. I want you to be mine and share this life, together.”
Knock, knock, knock.
Sookie laughed after being startled by Eric’s message. It was a happy delay while she digested his very forward words. “Everything? Eric wants everything. Does that mean he wants forever?” She mused aloud. Another knock on the front door reverberated through the foyer again, Sookie got up and walked over to the entrance. “It must be eleven.”
“What do you know another delivery. Wonder who sent it? 🙂 Be right back.” She texted to Eric.
She took picture of herself winking, once she realized the camera phone could flip without turning it. Handy little feature. Sent that flirty photo off to Eric and jumped up to answer the door.
Gift number five was the smallest of the new arrivals and openly the one that made her the most nervous, she did know the Carol after all. Opening the cardboard box, Sookie was shocked to see a pristine, robin egg blue, Tiffany box inside.
Her jaw dropped in awe and became dry. “Too much,” she muttered to herself. This was clearly a ring box, which made Sookie’s nerves skyrocket to panic mode. Does he want to marry me? Well, he did say he wanted everything. So this wouldn’t be a shock but, but wait. If this was an engagement ring, surely he would ask me in person and then present a ring, right? Right!
Taking a couple of deep breaths, Sookie decided she would never know until she opened it. She untied the immaculate white bow, removed the lid and popped the black leather case inside. A smaller card fell to the floor when she took the leather case from the blue enclosure. Again, the envelope said Sookie and inside was written:
On the Fifth Day of Christmas,
Your true love gave you five golden rings that could never outshine your beauty.
Sookie smiled wide again, her nerves settling with his compliment. With the box in her right hand, she pried the lid gently with her left. Holy shit!
Perched in black velvet sat a wavy, five row diamond gold ring. Diamonds of varying sizes were encased in the gaps of the gold waves. It was spectacular, the diamonds reflected the sun’s rays around her living room, giving her a new colorful light show in unexpected places.
Slipping it out, she noticed it was slightly too big for a ring finger. Oh, he knew what I would think. Smart vampire. Sookie slid the bright bauble over her middle finger on her right hand, and admired the brilliance of the ring. Turning it this way and that. Realizing she could get lost in gazing at a beautiful piece of jewelry if she was not careful, she heard a whistle that told her Eric had sent you another message.
“Do you like it? I love the photo you sent, it’s now my desktop and cell wallpaper.”
“Yes, it’s unbelievable! It looks like it costs more than my house. This is too much!”
“Well lover, I am at the mercy of the Carol. Truly, you should blame the Englishman who wish to give their beloved’s jewelry. I am merely a pawn in their games. ;)”
Deciding to tease him a bit, Sookie text back, “So, you are saying that you would NOT have sent this ring if the Carol didn’t demand it?”
“Nice try, lover. No, I am saying that this is the first of many more pieces of jewelry to grace your elegant fingers, your slender neck and your bitable earlobes. This is only the beginning.”
Sookie kept her mega-watt beam of a smile while she read Eric’s latest message. If Eric’s plan was for me to throw myself at him through honesty and humor, my resolve is waning, she thought to herself while giggling about his insistence.
“I’m not going to win this battle, am I?”
“See, here is my intelligent Sookie. No, you will not win. When I want to give you a gift, I will. I want you to be mine, but we will discuss that at a later time. I need to retire now, but I will be with you soon, my lover.”
Hmm, lover? Mine? Maybe. Sookie enjoyed more of Maxine’s Bakery goodies as she waited impatiently for noon to come and number six gift to arrive. I’m still not comfortable with all these gifts but at least I know it’s a Christmas tradition that will end at twelve, I hope. Sookie thought of being Eric’s. His. He seems to be practical, great sense of humor and fierce, very confident. Maybe I should consider dating him. Dollars to donuts, Gran would approve.
Twelve o’clock on the dot, and another urgent delivery had arrived. Opening a large refrigerated box, she was excited for something else yummy to eat. Sookie shook her head at how quickly she was falling under the Viking’s spell as she read her next note.
On the Sixth Day of Christmas,
Your true love sent you some much needed protein.
Protein? Sookie opened the refrigerated box to see another hefty wooden box with intricately carved images of geese flying over snow covered mountain peaks. Unlatching the brass lock, she flipped the lid of the container to revel six goose eggs. She had never seen anything like them. They were the size of her palm, white and heavy.
Can I really eat these? Package 6.2, as Sookie saw it, was brand spanking new copper cookware. Shiny, new and reminded her of golden goose eggs in all their spender. Eric got this gift right, all the way around.
Sookie was thrilled with a new way to communicate with her Viking. She knew he was dead to the world but she liked the idea of giving him her honest feedback as she received any other favors from him.
“I love eggs! The cookware is dazzling, how am I supposed to cook on something to beautiful? What if I burn it?”
“Then I will buy you more. Please be careful not to injure yourself in the process. I could not stand any harm coming to you. Go, please indulge in an egg or three. J “
“You, my dear Sheriff should be resting. All this activity is not god for a man of your years. 😉 “
“You should be more concerned with the activities I plan for you when I arrive. Eat up, my Sookie.”
Sookie blushed, placed the phone in her pocket and skipped happily off to the kitchen to experiment with her copper frying pan. At One P.M. and a stuffed white swan with a black and orange beak sat delicately in a large wicker basket surrounded by a blue satin liner. Tickets tied around its neck with a red velvet bow. The scrolled letters read:
On the Seventh Day of Christmas,
Your true love wishes to take you to a ballet production of Swan Lake.
Sookie immediately sent Eric another text. “I have never seen a ballet. Is it in Shreveport? I am so excited. I’ve only seen The Nutcracker on VHS.”
“Well, I am happy to remedy a VHS production for the real thing. The Ballet is in San Francisco. It will just be a short weekend trip in a few weeks.”
“Short weekend trip? Across the country?”
“If you would prefer, we can stay longer. I am happy to be anywhere that you are. The bay is quite beautiful, we explore the sea on my yacht.”
“You have a yacht? The furthest I have ever ventured was Dallas and then Jackson. Since those trips were not great, can you imagine me going father? It could be a disaster!”
“No, my Sookie. This time you would be mine, I will care and keep you safe. None will harm you unless they want my wrath to strike them down. I will put all those to the true death who try to damage you. This is my vow.”
Wow, that is quite a vow. Eric’s declaration left Sookie reeling as her heart warmed at the thought of him bringing her into his protective, gentle embrace. Feeling guilty over being such baggage, she replied.
“Oh Eric. I am sorry to be so much trouble.”
“Sookie, it is my honor to protect you. I want you safe. Please consider that I have and will continue to give you these things. I only want your happiness, dear one.”
“Let me think about this. Is that alright?”
“Of course. Take all the time you need.”
A ballet with a handsome vampire sounded like a dream. Would he wear a tuxedo? What should I wear? Is it wise for me to leave with him, like a getaway? Sookie giggled. She had no doubt Eric would keep her safe, but was that fair to him?
Shrugging her shoulders, she decided to save that detail for a later conversation with Eric. Sookie started her dinner prep by preheating the oven for one of the plump French hens. She had asparagus and wild rice for side dishes. Now for some seasoning. While scouring her cupboards for lemon, thyme and rosemary another knock on the door got her attention.
On the Eighth Day of Christmas,
Your true loves wants you to relax and let your cares drain away.
Organic Milk Bath products, including a loofah, natural hair brush set, manicure and pedicure tools. What makes it organic? Because it came from the cow. She laughed at her own corny joke. “I’ll never understand organic, they should just say expensive.”
Sookie had went into a Whole Foods once, it was fine. Clean, fresh vegetables and fruit that smelled plucked from the garden. But she really thought the store should be renamed to Whole Paycheck. Sadly, unless she did more work for vampires, her meager earnings as a waitress were not going to keep her stocked in organic food.
Dinner prep completed, Sookie figured she had plenty of time to try out her new bath products before 3 P.M. She defiantly did not want to answer the door undressed rushed from a relaxing bath. Hot water running she added the thick milky bath soap and watched as it clouded and swirled with the water. Stripping out of her clothes, she stepped into her bathtub and moaned as the water started to ease her sore muscles.
Leaning back against the cold porcelain, she closed her eyes, smelling the milky sweetness melt her tension away. Waitressing was hard work. Even if I was in the best shape of my life, how long do I want to be just a waitress? The answer immediately hit her. Not anymore. Opening her eyes in shock, when was the last time she thought about something the same day, instead of putting it off to tomorrow.
A Southern woman should not hide her head in the sand. What a revelation. What did Eric say? We are not what we do for work. Sookie thought he was wrong, you certainly could be if you got complacent, which she had. I can do better, be better than working as a waitress. God did not give me a brain and a strong will to pass beers to others.
The timer on her new phone let her know she had fifteen minutes before three P.M. and another delivery was due at her front step. She stood slowly and stretched her now relaxed muscles. Feeling the pull in her back and biceps was amazing. Almost as good as vampire blood. She laughed then panic gripped her as she grabbed the bottle for a closer inspection of the ingredients. Nope, not a vampire made product. Thank you California.
Allowing her body to cool, she typed a quick thank you to Eric.
“Amazing how many uses for milk there are. Just enjoyed a lovely bath, I am fully relaxed. Thank you.”
“I want you tranquil at all times. Please feel free to bathe every day in soothing products. I must have missed the picture, please send the alluring image again.”
“There is no picture, I am a lady who does not send naked photos of herself!”
“My apologies, but a vampire can hope.”
Sookie laughed and then had a wicked thought. She had not drained the bath yet. Climbing back in she pressed her feet together under the facet the milky water swirled a few bubbles danced on the surface around her feet. Grabbing her camera off the toilet seat she focused the lens on her submerged bright red toes, she had especially painted to celebrate Christmas.
Taking three shots, she looked through and sent the best, most clear version to Eric. With a note of her own, “This is me, naked.”
“Hmm, I love red. That color suits you fine, my lover. Now, show me your thighs.”
“That is all you get, unless you are a good vampire.”
“I’ll do whatever you ask then.”
“Come over later?”
“You can count on that.”
Re-dressed and sated in spa bliss and flirting with a certain Sheriff, Sookie had just walked downstairs when another knock alerted her to the eager delivery guy. His very loud broadcasting thoughts told her that he was thrilled to be on time, per very explicit instructions from the sender.
Sookie giggled. “That Eric. Scarring everyone from queens to delivery services.”
On the Ninth Day of Christmas,
Your true love wishes to see you dance.
You are more mesmerizing that nine ladies dancing.
Sookie’s cheeks flamed remembering her dance at that Jackson bar and the lustful look Eric gave her. Even in his Clark Kent disguise he was quite alluring. How had she fought pursuing him? He was gorgeous, funny and had a knack for getting her out of trouble.
A brochure to a dance studio named “HAPPY FEET” in Shreveport showed instructors teaching every type of dance from the Waltz to the Tango. Sookie knew she could grove, feel the music deep in her bones and just let go. But to have actual lessons in techniques for specific dances was intriguing. And it was for two.
A larger box was bright red with a black bow and help a strapless black slip dress with a slit to the knee. The kind that would only be noticed when a dancer is moving around the floor with her partner. A daydream of Eric beckoning her to Tango in a ballroom had her cheeks flaming hot. She was pressed against his body tight as her led wrapped around his thigh and then he dragged her around the room oblivious of anyone else watching.
Shivers ran down her spine as she tried unsuccessfully to shake the image and stop feeling his phantom cool body against her heated one. Taking a deep breath, Sookie pulled out black stilettos accompanied the beautiful garment along with a soft raven silken clutch. The perfect, I’m going to learn to dance, wardrobe.
Sookie’s cheeks started to hurt, the smiling and laughing had lightened her heart all day. What a problem to have, she chuckled. Too much happiness. And it’s all Eric Northman’s fault.
“You want to take dancing lessons with me?”
“Yes, I know many of those dances already, But to be able to learn with you. Your body next to mine. Would be time well spent. I look forward to seeing you in that dress. ;)”
“I love to dance, so I can’t wait to learn some actual moves.”
“You dance very, very well. Sensual. That cannot be taught. You know your body and let the music flow through you, consuming all who observe you. I have been memorized since you strode into by establishment.”
Sookie’s checks burned anew. How can he say these things to me?
“Thank you, I think.”
At four, another gift box was promptly dropped off. Sookie was more excited as the daylight faded into twilight. Soon, the last gift would be here and she could see Eric. Or should she go to Fangtasia to see him? Either way she was going to thank him properly.
On the Tenth Day of Christmas,
Your true love wants to captivate you with a leap.
So cryptic. Sookie opened the envelope to see two first class tickets to New York. A leap around was the name of the travel company in the big apple. They offered ten nights of sight-seeing, plays, restaurants and high class hotels. Complete with private tours and history of the city’s most traveled sights.
A vacation with Eric? Looking back at the information, the tickets were dated for the ten days fell around Valentine’s Day. Romantic, does he want me to take a leap with him?
Seeing Eric through his gifts and cards was a revelation. Could I be with him, he is creative and sweet. Who would have thought that my opinion about Eric would have changed so much? Maybe Christmas day was magical. It certainly felt like it this year. Or maybe that was just Eric. The air seemed to crackle with excitement every time I saw him.
“Another not-so-mini-vacation? At this rate I will never pay my bills. I’ll be missing so much work while I gallivant around with you. Or is that your plan? Leave me dependent on you?”
“My dear, sweet Sookie. I want you as mine. Make NO mistake. Dependent. No. I want you happy, adventurous, by my side in every way. That does not mean I want you to surrender who are. I want you to flourish into whoever you want to be, with me. You have such a light in you. The world can be yours, let me show you.”
“Wow, uh, I’m a bit overwhelmed over here. Truly touched. Are you sure you want someone like me? I am nobody. I know you have been around long enough to know this.”
“Someone like you? No, I want you. I will tell you every time I see you. I want you Sookie Stackhouse, in all ways I can have you. I have been around for over a thousand years and have never found anyone like you. You are extraordinary, beautiful, spirited. The fire you have has warmed by dark heart. Please, dear one, say you will be mine.”
Tears filled Sookie’s eyes, a few escaping as she re-read his heart filled words. I feel so damaged, so unworthy of his attention. No one but Eric could affect me like this. But, he has been around for, well, a whileI. Maybe, maybe he is serious about this, us, working.
“Oh Eric. I don’t know. I need to process this. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry, my Sookie. Please consider what I say and know it is the truth.”
At five p.m. another, more irritated delivery man dropped off the next gift. Poor man had been busy all day making his rounds. After thanking him and wishing the man a Merry Christmas, she shut the door and glided to the couch with her large box in tow. It was heavy.
On the Eleventh Day of Christmas,
My true love sent you chocolate, in many forms.
The Piping Hot Company in Switzerland made a coffee maker with a variety of fancy coffee blends that also included an armament of hot chocolates. Mint, caramel, hazelnut and eight others fragrant blends left Sookie’s kitchen smelling fabulous. She was as thrilled as a kitten in a milk factory, setting up the caffeine machine on the counter happily humming, hooked on a feeling.
According to the information provided by the company, for the next eleven months, they would send enough packages of specialty drinks for Sookie to have coffee and cocoa five times a day. Well, that was generous. She could serve the entire town if she wanted to.
Nightfall was settling in over her home and Sookie was about to leap over the moon with the possibility of seeing Eric. She just wanted to hug him eleven times for the thoughtfulness he had shown her. Well, maybe more than eleven times.
Her phone whistled at her, alerting her of a new message.
“I am coming to you, soon.” Exhilaration coiled in her belly as she read the text the third time.
“I can’t wait.” Sookie replied.
She paced, made a peppermint mocha coffee drink for herself and turned on the radio to distract Eric’s, soon to be arrival. The local radio station had been playing Christmas music since Thanksgiving, and she was doing everything she could to distract her nervous energy. Singing along with Santa’s reindeer pulling on his sleigh, Sookie cleaned and put away all her new gifts.
Prancing over to the kitchen cupboards where her new copper cookware hung, she gazed toward her hand where a very impressive piece of jewelry sat twinkling and winking at her in the overhead light. Sookie smiled at the shining stones. I get that diamonds really could be a girl’s best friend. This was pretty, but it was the thought behind the purchase that mattered most.
Startled out of her musings by her partridge squawking she then heard another knock at the front door. Poor bird had been jumping all day, every hour on the hour with Eric’s special deliveries. Maybe I should set the little guy free in the woods. Could I even keep him happy in a cage? Sookie wondered.
Six p.m., she knew the last gift would be arriving. The twelfth day was notorious for drummers drumming. What did Eric have in mind? Sookie opened the door expecting another deliveryman but was stunned to see her six four Viking vampire darkening her door.
“Merry Christmas, my Sookie.” Eric smiled. He was drop dead gorgeous, as always. Sookie smiled back. Black leather pants, deep panther black tee that her fingers itched to touch and a well-worn black leather jacket. Everything about him cried out, sex on a stick.
“Merry Christmas, Eric. Won’t you please come in?”
He smiled his million dollar smile showing off his perfect teeth and stepped over the threshold into her ancestral home.
Sookie could not hold back any longer and launched herself at Eric in a tight hug. “Thank you,” she whispered. Tears threating to fall and pure happiness in her heart. She looked up at him as his arms went around her returning her hold.
“Thank you, I wasn’t looking forward to being alone today and because of you, I wasn’t.”
Eric looked confused and stated, “I was not here today.”
“Yes, well no. Your thoughts and attention were here. You filled up my doorstep, my kitchen, my hand and my heart with love today. I didn’t think I’d have anything but misery to keep me company.” She hugged him again, pressing her head to his cool chest. “Thank you.”
Rising up on her tippy toes, she kissed his lips with a soft kiss. She pulled away slightly and opened her eyes, peering up to him through her eyelashes. His ocean blues were blazing bright and then he swooped back down to kiss her anew. More passionate than the chaste kiss she had given him, she quickly moaned into his mouth.
Eric ended the kiss abruptly and leaned his forehead against her while she caught her breath.
“Before I get carried away with you, and I will. I have one more gift.” Letting his one of his arms loosen around her, he reached into his back pocket for a white envelope and handed it to her.
“Really Eric, you have given me more than I deserve. I don’t need all these things. I just want to spend time with you.”
Eric’s wolfish grin was in place as he spoke, “And so you shall. My gifts to you are set in stone however. We are a package deal, so get used to it, my Sookie.” Sookie sighed, knowing there was no arguing with Mr.-I-always-get-my-way. She opened the lasted envelope.
On the twelfth Day of Christmas
Your true love wishes to take you to see many drummers drumming.
Puzzled at the last note, Sookie asked. “What does this mean?”
“There seems to be a theme of dancing, music and food. I blame the Carol. It is full of delicious ideas. How would you like to attend the Grammy Awards show next year?”
Sookie’s mouth fell open. The Grammy’s?
“How? I mean, what? Really?” Her mouth was dry with shock and awe.
“Yes, really. I have a few friends who are in the industry and always have extra tickets for V.I.P’s to attend. Is that a yes?”
“Yes, yes. Will this be another, vacation?”
“Since the event is located in Los Angeles, it will be another traveling date. We can spend as much time together as you wish. I want to get to know every inch of your heart, mind and body.” He stroked his fingers across her smooth cheek bone and down her lean throat to cup the nape of her neck.
“That sounds wonderful. Let’s do it! Merry Christmas Eric.”
“Merry Christmas, my Sookie.”
They kissed passionately in the entry way, moaning and holding each other tight. A few sprigs of mistletoe hung over head from the chandelier watching slightly over the lovers as they celebrated finding each other.