Thankfully the details of purchasing the house were simple enough to delegate to Bobby, and Mrs. Ingram was eager to go home to check on her children and get some sleep….
It still took too long to break away…
The only thing to be thankful for was the drive gave me the chance to realize the concierge would try to be helpful… I had the time I needed to brace myself for the delay.
I thought he was going to piss in his pants when he spotted Sookie and practically ran to meet us.
“Mr. Nordmann! How are you this evening?”
“Well. Thank you… I presume you know who Miss Stackhouse is, yes?”
His nod looked like the beginning of a convulsion. He offered his hand and shook her hand, her arm, her shoulder, studying her ring and babbling, “Yes, I do… Do either of you need anything from me tonight? Anything at all. Just ask.”
I needed to be alone with Sookie… other than that…
Sookie shook her head. “No, thank you, James… but you did a remarkable job on the roses. My whole living room smells wonderful right now.”
Nevermind that he blushed, he looked like he was going to cry. “I’m so happy you like them! Are you sure I can’t send something up to your room? Something to drink perhaps?”
Sookie smiled brightly and nodded. “Now that I think of it, I could use a drink. Sweet tea?”
He nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, of course. Right away… Let me know if you need anything else, Miss Stackhouse. Congratulations!”
As soon as he walked towards his station, Sookie tugged my hand as though I needed to be told twice…
Once the elevator doors slid shut behind us, I asked, “He wasn’t going to let us go if you hadn’t asked for something, was he?”
She closed her eyes and shook her head. “Nope.”
“Is the attention…”
I was interrupted when she put her hand over my mouth. “Shhhhhhhh.”
“You’re listening to his thoughts?”
“No. I’m listening to you while I’m trying to listen to him… Shhhhhhhhhhh.”
Again… I found myself struggling to get her attention.
Amusing versus insulting.
Since she seemed captivated by what was going through James’s mind, I towed her along the hallway and lifted her once I opened the door to my room.
Her distraction proved to be useful enough… it allowed me to lie on the bed and all but pose her to straddle me…
I was already fantasizing when she absently reached down to slip her sandals off and toss them towards the door… Then she twisted around to untie my shoes and loosen the laces so I could kick them off…
But she stopped me when I tried to unbutton her blouse. She caught my hands and simply reminded me with a whisper. “Room service.”
“What is he thinking that could be so entertaining?”
She smirked and offered, “He’s with the reporter. He just told her that we’re nice people and she should respect our privacy… Pam’s in the lobby too. She’s checking in again. The reporter is close to offering the concierge cash for any kind of information. And if I had to guess, I’d say Pam is pissed that the reporter is here because she can’t pull James aside to ask for information… ‘Yes, Sookie was wearing a ring. Yes, they seem happy. That’s all you’ll get out of me.’ She’s looking to a clerk… ‘What about you? Have Mr. Nordmann and his girlfriend been spending a lot of time here?’ The clerk is worried about saying too much… ‘This is the first time Miss Stackhouse has been here that I know of… I’ll tell you this, they’re absolutely adorable together.’ The reporter is writing some notes. Pam’s more pissed. Oh, the reporter asked, ‘Is one of you willing to describe the ring?’ Now she’s getting pissed that no one will answer her.” I was suddenly grateful her eyes were closed. My fucking mouth was gaping. Her gift was phenomenal.
“You can get all of that, and from this distance?” Sookie could even offer insight to Pam’s mood just as accurately as I could.
She nodded, never opening her eyes. “I have to focus on one head at a time, otherwise it’s like trying to hear a conversation across a full stadium since there’s probably 20 brains between here and the lobby… The trick is bouncing back and forth between people for a more well rounded perspective. It’s an express route to a migraine if I do it for too long though. The clerk checking Pam in is frustrated she can’t hear what’s going on. James just asked the reporter to leave. He feels ‘dirty’ just talking to her. He’s going to bring my tea up personally so he can warn us that she’s snooping around. He’s disappointed because he knows you’ll probably switch hotels.”
I stared at her, in complete awe of her ability, for a moment. I hadn’t spent any time thinking about her gift since I was too relieved to finally have an answer about what she was and I didn’t have to concern myself with what I thought… Hearing Sookie’s telepathy had range better than my hearing was remarkable.
In an attempt to avoid the temptation of putting her ability in a spotlight, I reached for the phone on the nightstand and dialed the front desk.
James answered, “Concierge. How can I be of service?”
“James, Erik Nordmann.”
“Yes, sir. Is something wrong, sir?”
“If you wouldn’t mind, could you give the phone to the reporter, please?”
Sookie snickered, breathing, “There’s a collective ‘oh shit moment’ down there.” I put my finger to Sookie’s lips and mouthed ‘Pam’ to remind her of Vampires’ hearing.
The phone rattled as though it changed hands, but it took a moment for the reporter to offer, “Rebecca Mills.”
“Miss Mills, Erik Nordmann. Is there something in particular you’d like to know or do you just enjoy following me?”
“I’m curious, as are my readers, about your relationship with Sookie Stackhouse.” The woman sounded completely resolute, but Sookie mouthed ‘terrified’.
“I’m sure. I’ll answer three questions on the condition that you don’t follow us for a week.”
“You said three first.”
“And you were penalized a question for being greedy. Do we have a deal?” Sookie licked her lips and smirked.
“How will you know if I’m following you?”
“You sat in the cemetery and spied on the Stackhouses, followed Sookie and me to Magnolia Creek Road, and then you followed us back to the hotel. Next question.”
“That wasn’t one of the questions!” Sookie bit her lip to keep from laughing.
“Your statement began with an interrogative and ended with a question mark. Do you have a second question?”
She was quiet for a moment before she finally asked, “Have you or Sookie made any wedding plans yet?” Part of me was impressed that she thought to ask a broad scope question.
“We haven’t. You could say we’re in the R&D stage.”
“But you’ve proposed.”
“You’ve used your allotted questions.”
She argued, “That wasn’t a question. That was a clarifying statement. I’d like to speak to Sookie.”
I tilted the phone to ask Sookie, “Do you have anything you’d like to say to her?”
Sookie nodded and spoke clearly, “No. Comment.”
“You heard her, Miss Mills. Now that I’ve fulfilled my end of our agreement, you’ll leave us both alone until next Sunday.”
“I don’t remember discussing what would happen if I still follow you.”
“Feel free to find out. I’ll give you a hint though… you might want to research who owns the paper you write for. Goodnight.”
I was still reaching to hang the phone up when Sookie crashed into my chest to laugh, “You’re such an asshole! That was hilarious…” Finally! Someone who appreciated my sense of humor. “She’s still trying to figure out what will happen if she follows you anyway.”
“She’s about to find out. By the time she’s outside, her car will be on a rollback… Someone gave me all the information I needed to do a full background and credit check.”
She sat up again and shook her head. “Part of me thinks that’s horrible… but if you have to go as far as firing her, it’s her own fault. It’s not like you didn’t warn her. Unemployment a la Darwin!”
“Exactly… Do I have your attention now?”
She narrowed her eyes. “Are you the jealous type?”
“No. Not at all, but I’ve waited to have you to myself all evening. ‘Impatient’ would be a more fitting word.”
She leaned over again to kiss me and giggled, “Then, yes, you have my attention… So…”
“Well… I think I want to put it out there now… so you aren’t suffering from any false hope… I’m not quite ready yet… not for the full shebang anyway.”
Disappointing, but… “Noted.” It wasn’t as though I couldn’t sway her inclinations towards some fun.
“So… since we’re alone, why don’t you explain to me what it means to be a Vampire’s girlfriend? You’ve been skirting, and I haven’t been pushing, but since you seem adamant about publicizing things…” She trailed off, unsure of how to finish her request. “I… I know how Humans are… but I don’t know about Supernaturals… I don’t want to screw anything up.” Understandable… I had to appreciate she was asking.
“When a Vampire ‘dates’ a Human, it’s usually a farce. The Human is usually dating the Vampire as they would any Human, but to the Vampire the Human is just a pet. That’s the term. Not ‘girlfriend’ or ‘boyfriend’. Vampires call their Human lovers ‘pets’. They’re a source of sex and blood. Vampires tend to get bored quickly. There are some who become attached enough they’ll spend a decade with their pets… The smart ones fake their deaths and move to another Area. In fact, just last week there was a Vampire checking out of my Area to leave a pet.”
She snorted, “Great… I thought I’d ask so I have details… the details just gave me more questions.”
“So… I’m your pet.” She was so much more than a pet…
I nodded. “As far as other Vampires are concerned, yes. And since I’m pretending to be Human, I’m your boyfriend…”
She giggled, “That sounds so stupid… it’s kind of a good thing we’re pretending to be engaged. I could keep a straight face introducing you as my fiancé.”
“I’m happy to hear that…”
“You won’t do that to me, right? You won’t fake your death to get away from me… when you get bored, you’ll just tell me, right?”
“I’m not sure I would get bored with you. My track record dictates I should be bored with you already… No. The pet isn’t usually the reason they fake their death. Moving every few years is just a ‘fact of life’ for us because we don’t age. I faked my death just a few years ago. I’d already been here for 15 years and it was time to move on, but I opted to renew my contract as Sheriff of the Area. Eric, with a C, Northman and his wife Lizzie had a car accident while visiting Sweden. Without children or surviving parents to inherit, Erik, with a K, Nordmann inherited everything from his cousin, and his sister came to the States with him. I’ll change my name back to Northman when Vampires are in the open to prove the connection so my Area, at least, will realize Vampires have coexisted in Shreveport without major incident for as long as most Humans can remember. I’ve been here since the 50s.”
Her eyes were the size of her fists. “That’s… just… crazy.”
“I had been misinformed. I was operating under the belief Vampires would be revealing themselves to Humans and decided to stay in my Area rather than turn around and uproot again if the announcement doesn’t go well.”
“Jeeeez… That does sound like a pain in the ass.”
“It is… the inheritance tax was a nightmare.”
She giggled, “I bet… I’m sorry I have so many questions. It’s not like I can rely on books for any facts.”
“You’re right about that. I don’t mind.”
She gave me a pleased grin and nodded. “Ok… you mentioned Makers and children earlier…” Uh oh. “And you said something about bonds… I didn’t get the feeling you meant like being best friends.” Fuck. Fuck. Fuck… I suddenly wished she’d concentrated on the fact that I ‘murdered’ Pam.
I nodded. “Vampires bond with Humans through blood exchanges. A complete bond offers a certain amount of control over their pet. They can feel their moods and find them like a Maker and child’s connection. An incomplete bond is one sided. The Vampire can feel and locate the Human, but not the other way around.”
“Damn… so they drink each other’s blood? And the pet doesn’t end up being a Vampire?”
“No. In order for that to happen, the Human has to be drained and given a Vampire’s blood and they have to stay together for several nights and even then it isn’t always a success. Some Humans can’t be turned.”
“So… um… do you like… is that something you’d consider eventually? Bonding with me?”
“Bonding to you. It’s a connection… and… In a manner of speaking, I already have.”
She lurched back to sit upright and scowl down at me. “WHAT!?”
I chuckled, and it only made her more furious. “You bit me, Sookie. In the limo, when you came. You thought you’d bitten your lip… At the time, I couldn’t correct you because you didn’t know I’m a Vampire.”
She slapped her hands over her mouth to muffle, “OHMIGOD, I’m so sorry… I… I thought… you know… you were sneaky… I’m sorry.”
“I’m sure… That would be why I haven’t mentioned it already.”
She lowered her hands with a puzzled look on her face. “But… I can’t feel you… or can I?”
“You can’t. You only had a small amount. You’ll have to have my blood several times before we’ll be bonded…” As soon as the words left my mouth, I realized I’d spoken as though bonding was manifest. “As it stands, I have hints to your moods and could locate you. It will diminish because it isn’t permanent yet.” Again. Fuck.
She was silent and unmoving for several minutes until there was a light knock on the door. I couldn’t decide if I was pleased by the interruption or if the delivery of her drink was an opportunity to over-evaluate my slip… slips.
Judging by her growing anxiety while she promised to pass James’s message along to me, convincingly brightly at that, I braced myself for what we’d be discussing when she returned to the bed… if she returned to the bed.
She closed the door and pushed a room service cart into the room. James had delivered a full pitcher of tea, a bucket of ice and a plate of lemon slices. She quietly poured a glass for herself and took a sip before disappearing into the bathroom for a moment.
It was becoming difficult to distinguish a difference between my anxiety and hers… it wasn’t as though it mattered since both problems were increasing.
When she emerged, she brought her drink to the nightstand and slowly crawled over to sit on her knees against my legs… It was closer than I thought she’d come to me given that her anxiety had grown to something close to fear.
I finally decided I couldn’t take any more when she’d balked three times after acting as though she was about to say something.
She shrugged, focusing on a pillow. “Just thinking.”
“You’re thinking about something troubling… Care to talk about it?”
She cringed. “Sort of… I’m not sure how to do it without sounding stupid…”
“You’re anything but stupid… You’ve been presented with a new truth. It’s reasonable for you to be curious.”
“Promise you won’t be pissed.” That didn’t bode well.
“I can’t do that. I can promise to hear what you have to say.”
She huffed and seemed to be bracing herself just as much as I was. She sighed, “Alright… am I right that you’ve been choosing your words carefully?” She put her hands up defensively and pleaded, “Don’t get me wrong… It just kinda feels like you’re holding back certain things because you’re worried I can’t handle it and you could be right… I just want to know.”
I nodded. “I am answering carefully. I don’t want you to be overwhelmed with information.”
She nodded. “Okay then… earlier… you said… you said… pets are ‘a source of sex and blood’…” Uh oh. “That’s what a pet does… like… comparatively… instead of making dinner for a boyfriend…” Shit.
“It’s just… I know you said the biting doesn’t have to hurt and I know sex is only going to hurt the first time… but…”
“Sex doesn’t have to hurt at all. I haven’t forced you to fuck me. I’m not going to hold you down to feed from you either. I’ve never been one to collect or keep pets. I’m not interested in keeping an over-glamoured sycophant on the verge of mental illness just to have a meal at the ready.”
She gave me a very level stare. “But that’s the standard, right?
She stared at the pillow behind my head as though she was trying to memorize the percale. I had to repeat her name several times to get her attention, even then she only responded enough to look at me.
“I promised you would set the pace.” I’d always been patient… I just had to keep reminding myself of that.
She nodded. “I’m… I’m not scared of you… just… just that it’ll hurt. I know that’s silly, but…”
“It’s not silly.”
“I guess I won’t know until you… How does it not hurt?”
“It can be very painful. When a Vampire sneaks up on a victim and bites without preparing them, it feels like being shot.” I would know.
Her eyebrows knit together… “So the victim…”
“When they’re unwilling, they’re called victims. When they’re prepared, they’re called donors.”
She nodded. “K… A donor is prepared… if you can’t glamour me…”
I shook my head and sat up. “It has nothing to do with glamour. Adrenaline keeps Humans from feeling pain to an extent, and Vampire saliva has numbing properties of its own. It isn’t any more uncomfortable than a pinch.”
She cringed again. “Really?”
I nodded. “Truly… and if you aren’t comfortable then I’ll continue to feed as I have in the past.”
“But you want to.” Absolutely.
“It would take less time to make a list of things I don’t want to do with you.”
“I… I’m worried about nothing, aren’t I?”
“No. It’s reasonable for you think about it.”
She slid her legs out from under herself to pull her knees up and sighed, “Part of me wants to just get it over with so I stop stressing out about it… For the record, I was the same way about getting my ears pierced.”
“As much as I want to fuck you, you actually make it sound less tempting when you put it like that.”
She cringed and whined, “I’m sorry… That’s… you know… it’s just… kind of why we didn’t already. I thought about it the other night in my room, but I was worried it would be like… a preemptive strike.”
I couldn’t help myself. I had to ask, “Are you talking about fucking or being bitten… and do you mean when I was going down on you or when we just snuggled?”
She blushed and buried her face against her knees… refusing to answer.
I pressed, “Sookie… were you thinking about fucking me while I was going down on you?”
She whimpered, “Yeah.”
“And you’ve been thinking about being bitten since you found out I’m a Vampire?”
She grumbled, “I’m sure I pictured it wrong.”
I chuckled at her. “You’re not getting off that easily… what were you picturing?”
She lifted her head to look at me over her knees. “Like in the limo… when you were nibbling my neck… Y’all probably don’t even bite necks. Blame books.”
“We all have our favorites. The neck isn’t an uncommon location.”
“What are the others?”
I considered my answer for a moment before taking her hand and leaving the bed to stand next to it.
Once she followed, I let my fangs down, hoping to give her the chance to become accustomed to them. I bent my knees and leaned towards her neck, placing a kiss on her pulse point. I whispered against her skin, “This is a very intimate position, yes?”
She was holding her breath when she nodded.
“The carotid artery is where a Vampire would typically take while they’re fucking their donor. Biting just as the pet is ready to cum, when their adrenaline levels are at their highest…”
Sookie shuddered as she breathed, “Because it hurts them less.”
“And lust improves the flavor as well.” I had been expecting her to be, at least, somewhat frightened or apprehensive about the demonstration… but… as it was, her excitement was making me hard.
She breathed, “Okay,” as I took half a step back, taking her hand to hold her arm up.
I licked the inside of her wrist, keeping my eyes on hers. “The radial arteries are the most common way to feed from a victim because it allows some distance while making it easy to cover their mouths or maintain eye contact to glamour them…” I pulled her arm up, bending my knees again until I was close enough to give a lick to her inner bicep. Her pulse vibrated against my tongue. “The brachial artery is another one of the less personal feeding sites. It doesn’t allow as much distance, but it’s a faster feeding because it’s much closer to the heart and it’s much wider.”
She lowered her arms slowly and snickered, “Is this a Vampire’s idea of ‘playing doctor’?”
I nodded as I began unbuttoning her blouse. I tossed it to the dresser and lifted her chin… I slowly ran my hands over her breasts, her ribs, her stomach… watching her nipples draw in as I explained, “Feeding from the torso isn’t very common because there isn’t much point. Arteries in the torso are buried too deeply to be tapped…” I bent over, running my tongue over her nipple, making her squeak when I nibbled lightly. “I could bite you, but it wouldn’t be for feeding.”
She breathed, “Are they related, sex and feeding?”
As I lowered to my knees, I answered, “Not always… we can do one or the other.”
She didn’t show or feel any resistance when I took the waist of her tiny skirt to unbutton it… pushing her panties down with her skirt… enjoying the warmth of her hands on my shoulders when she used them to step out of her clothes…
I was surprised enough by her reaction to say, “You aren’t frightened,” aloud.
She shook her head and mumbled, “Maybe there’d be less ‘victims’ if they had an explanation like this.”
I chuckled at her naiveté and put my hand on the top of her foot, letting her shift her weight so I could lift her ankle to my mouth…
She initially giggled and twitched when I began licking, nibbling, nipping as I inched along her lower leg, resting her leg over my shoulder once I reached her knee. “The tibial artery is like the radial. It’s easily accessible, but it’s a slow feeding because it’s so far from the heart.”
She squeezed her eyes closed for a moment before she nodded. “Brachial was the bigger one in the arm, right?”
I nodded, impressed she was actually paying attention.
“What’s the larger one in the leg called?”
“The femoral artery.” She shivered with her whole body before my mouth ever touched her skin…
Her knee tried to fold and when I lifted her to take her to the bed, she fisted her hands into my hair… not to stop me, to pull me closer.
She squirmed and writhed as I crept along her thigh…
Scrutinizing her feelings did nothing but push me…
No hesitation, just urgency…
Because the way she tasted wasn’t enough to resist…
The way she dug her heels into my shoulders…
The way she moaned and squealed because her grandmother wasn’t there to hear…
Holding her breath every time she came…
And holding my head with her thighs while she tried to calm down…
All of it…
Refusing myself, resisting the urge to push her to a full feeding…
I still wanted a taste.
I let my fangs nick her once, hoping she’d accept it as an accident…
Perfect. Untainted and sweeter than anything I’d tasted since I was alive…
When my greed went unnoticed, I nicked her again…
Another sample of liquid indulgence…
I wanted more…
The way she tasted was her license to do anything she fucking wanted.
Still without complaint, I pushed her legs back…
The closest I’d get to feeding…
Not giving any thought to repercussions…
Pushing my tongue deeper…
And growling when that tiny membrane gave way…
Earning another moan from Sookie, but still not feeling any hint she wanted to stop…
Letting her blood fill my senses, wanting every drop to be spared…
By the time Sookie’s tiny wound had all but stopped pacifying me, she was gasping for me to stop and tugging on my hands.
I could have stayed where I was until dawn…
If I hadn’t promised… If practicality hadn’t crept into my psyche just long enough to remind me if I pushed, I could scare her away, I wouldn’t have stopped.
I loomed over her on my hands and knees, enjoying my view while she caught her breath.
She panted, “Vampires don’t get tired, but Humans do.”
I forced myself to make a joke. “And Faeries apparently.”
She nodded with an intoxicated look on her face. “That too… I’m sorry.”
“Why are you apologizing?”
“For… I don’t know… that was really sweet, the way you explained everything to me and all. And… Even if I had the energy, I have no clue how to reciprocate.”
I raised an eyebrow at her. “I suppose you could blame me… perhaps I should have taught you how to go down on me instead of giving you a vascular lesson.”
She cringed and nodded as she whimpered, “Probably.”
“We can make arrangements, but I have other priorities…” When I reached between us to pet her, she twitched. “Let’s focus on fucking first.”
She whimpered again, “Sex is gonna hurt, teach me the other first.”
“Say ‘blow job’.”
She blushed and covered her face. “Bbbbblow… blow job.”
I wanted to laugh at how bashful she was and the only thing keeping me from it was my aching cock. “And since you’re already mortified even though I’ve had my mouth attached to your pussy for more than half an hour, say ‘fuck’.”
She paused for a moment and as soon as her lips parted to say fuck, I slid two fingers into her.
Her hands shot from her face to my shoulders to dig her nails into me. “OH GOD!”
While I worked her up again, I corrected, “No. ‘Fuck’. Say ‘fuck’.”
She held her breath again, keeping her eyes locked on mine while she bit her lip. She finally closed her eyes and breathed ‘fuuuuuuuuuuck’ as she came again.
She wasted no time catching her breath that time. She reached to pull my hand away from her to inspect it. When she didn’t see the blood she expected to find, she stammered, “I… I don’t get it… Why… I didn’t…”
“I told you sex doesn’t have to hurt, did I not?”
“Well… well, yeah… but… How!?”
I was actually tempted to stick my tongue out at her. Instead, I offered, “You… were prepared.”
“You… you fed from me and I didn’t… I didn’t feel anything?”
I shook my head. “I didn’t feed from you. I certainly enjoyed the way that tiny sample tasted, but all I did was push through a tiny section of skin that was causing a lot of anxiety for you.”
She gasped, “Ohmigod.” Her emotions were too muddled to give me any hints as to what she was feeling.
“Are you angry or surprised…?”
“Surprised… mostly… Did you do it because you’re hoping… I mean, tonight…?”
“You could say I got carried away…” I lowered to kiss her and she didn’t hesitate to return the kiss.
Her fingers tangled into my hair again and I didn’t realize we were spiraling until she lifted her knees up to hug my sides.
I didn’t want to, but I pulled away.
“We should calm down.”
She bit her lip. “Why?”
“Because you were still apprehensive earlier. I don’t want you to regret anything. You need to decide if you’re ready without being blinded by an adrenaline rush.”
She cringed and whined, “Damn it. Being afraid of it hurting was the biggest thing holding me up.”
“And now you’ll be able to focus on the smaller matters.”
I nodded. “I am. When we arrived, you still weren’t ready. That decision stands until dawn. I told you that you’ll set the pace.”
“You… you did all that… and you didn’t have any intention…”
I shook my head. My cock had a different opinion, but I wasn’t willing to fuck this up.
Somehow, I had the presence of mind to quote her. “We’ll get to it. You’re young. I’m immortal. We’ve got time.”