Everyone watched as Brandon stepped out of the car to stare at the building for a moment before reaching into the back seat.
When Sookie began feeling melancholy and sniffling, I asked, “What’s wrong?”
She shook her head and took my hand. “Aunt Linda, don’t blame Julie. Brandon’s had the choice to meet us since he was little. He didn’t want to… he was worried we’d think of him as a bastard, or be jealous that he had Tom since Daddy was gone… he was worried that Julie and Tom would think he didn’t appreciate them… and he was afraid to find out if telepathy was a family thing.”
All perfectly reasonable fears for a child… even I understood that.
The awkward silence while the Stackhouses waited to meet Brandon was only intensified by staring once Brandon entered.
The fact that Jason enigmatically followed Brandon in to join everyone wasn’t something I could point out right away… but since they hadn’t spoken to each other, I couldn’t think of a reason why he would have trailed behind Brandon as though he knew he needed to.
Brandon’s cargo only complicated the reunion. He was carrying the daughter he’d mentioned while he was talking with Sookie at Glamour.
Teal sundress and sandals, and her hair was pulled into a ribbon on top of her head. It was more of a spike than a ponytail.
I remembered her birthday was July 31st, but I was rusty enough to be unsure if she was approaching her 1st or 2nd birthday just to look at her. Either way, the girl was too tiny considering how attentively her eyes scanned the room to study each of us in turn. She was too alert, too aware of her surroundings.
Adele broke the feeling of suspended animation by accidentally kicking a chair leg on her way over to Brandon. She wrapped her arms around him to include the girl, making the little girl squirm in protest, and cooed, “You’re beautiful. Perfect combination of your Momma and Daddy… Now that the cat’s out of the bag, are you going to give us the chance to know you?” I can’t say I expected any differently from the woman.
He gave a nervous smile in his mother’s direction before answering, “I’d like that.”
Adele stepped back, but left a hand on his shoulder. “Us too… Around these parts, I go by Gran, but you can call me whatev-”
He shook his head. “Gran’s fine…” He looked to the little girl attached to his side. “Can you say that? Gran.”
While the little girl studied Adele, Sookie stepped back and leaned against me. She was using me to hold her up…
The little girl finally blurted something that sounded more like ‘gurn’ than ‘gran’. I couldn’t remember ages… so I didn’t know if she was normal or if she was like Jason.
As ‘Jules’ (named Julia after her grandmother) was introduced to everyone, she repeated a reasonable facsimile of Linda and Jason’s names. Indah and Shayshun…
Sookie’s name was more of a challenge because Jules needed to be convinced that she had an Aunt named Sookie as opposed to the idea that she was being offered a cookie… Brandon closed the gap, doing his best to explain.
Sookie waved at her niece while Jules scowled at her father as though he was hiding cookies from her, but Sookie’s ring caught her attention. She breathed, “Pwettty.”
Brandon snorted, “Yeah… that’s Sookie’s ring.”
“Ssssssshoox ween?” Much better.
Sookie giggled, “Yes, ma’am. Sookie’s ring.”
Jules twisted around with her arms out, reaching for Sookie’s hand. “Seeee. Seeee.”
While Sookie humored her, allowing the baby to paw at her ring, Brandon offered, “Sorry about this…”
“She’s fine. She’s the cutest person to grab my hand all day.”
After a long pause, Jules looked at me and pointed. “Hims.”
Sookie nodded. “Can you say Erik?”
Jules seemed to think about that for a moment before offering, “Ow-ick.”
Sookie giggled, “Close enough.”
Jules pointed again. “Hims.” What about me? Even Bandon and Julie looked surprised by her preoccupation with me.
“Ohhhhh… You like him, huh?”
Jules gave a very resolute nod. “Hims.”
Sookie put her hands on her hips. “But he’s Mine. I don’t want to share him.” Good… I was going to be saving that for later too.
Jules gave her a very level stare and demanded, “Hims,” and leaned towards me.
“Are you going to give him back in one piece?” Linda and Adele giggled, but Jules wasn’t amused.
Sookie reached for the girl as another demand for ‘Hims’ was given…
Sookie sighed, “You win, but only because you’re really cute…” and turned to hand the baby to me.
The tot was smiling victoriously as Sookie offered her to me and when I balked (because why the fuck would a child want me to hold them?), she grabbed my shirt to pull herself closer.
Brandon offered, “Shit dude, I’m sorry. She’s stubborn as all get out… a little bully.”
Jason snorted, “Sounds like Sook when she was little, ‘cept it was the other way ‘round. She took a few headers trying to get away from people. Folks thought she’d be retarded…” Right. Of course it made sense for Jason to offer an anecdote about Sookie being a strong-willed child instead of pointing out that a VAMPIRE was holding his niece. Jason stepped forward and offered his hand to Brandon. “Instead, Sook knows everything. Nice ta meet ya.”
Once Brandon shook his brother’s hand, Sookie hugged him,
He agreed, “Yeah. Jules too. I’m the only one she’ll let hold her or tote her around.” So it would be odd for her to be willing to go to a stranger if it wasn’t for something like a quiet mind to lure her… unfuckingbelievable.
Meanwhile Jules was staring at me. She offered, “Hi.”
“Hello.” What the fuck else was I supposed to say?
I nodded. “Jules.”
She kicked her feet happily and said, “Yeah. Shooll. Mes…” and began babbling with a serious expression on her face as though I should understand her while Bandon and Sookie watched with amused looks on their faces.
When Jules was finally done with her speech, Sookie translated. “I’m pretty sure she just told you that the car was hot and Daddy took her blanket from her. And you have pretty hair. And she wants to know if you have cookies.”
Brandon nodded. “Yeah. That’s what I got too… Jules, back off the cookie jag already. You just had dinner.”
Jules held her hand up and scowled at her father. “CHUP.”
I knew she was telling her father to ‘shut up’ before Brandon’s eyebrows spiked and he told her to watch her mouth.
Linda snickered, “You can bet we’ll have some next time though. The spoiling begins now. We’ve got catching up to do.”
Brandon argued gently, “You don’t have to do that…”
Linda snorted, “Fine. No cookies for you then.”
Jason chuckled, “Watch it or she’ll cut you offa pie too.”
Sookie was uncharacteristically quiet while the family exchanged information about one another…
The Stackhouses learned that Brandon enjoyed sports until his adoptive father was confined to a wheelchair… a byproduct of diabetes I wasn’t familiar with since my anatomical knowledge was limited to blood and pain.
Brandon discovered his aptitude for machinery while building a Pinewood Derby car for Boy Scouts. Wood shop, auto shop, electronics, computers… All of them were activities he could enjoy with his stepfather, but it hadn’t taken much thought to realize the classes Brandon preferred had been of the variety where he could work and study in solitude. I spent less time wondering why Sookie hadn’t thought to take similar classes. The idea of her being bent over the fender of a car or a table saw had sparked the same ideas for me as it would have for the other (predominantly male) students.
Brandon was in his Junior year of high school when his girlfriend (Amy) announced that she was pregnant and intended to place the baby up for adoption. She assumed Brandon wouldn’t want to be bothered any more than she did. She was wrong. Brandon had been the one to bring Julie home from the hospital and finished his last year of high school without much more than occasional phone calls from Jules’s mother.
Somehow I managed to remember it all while reeling over the concept that the perfectly alert child in my arms was only eleven months old.
Eleven months old… Linda had mentioned in passing that Sookie began talking early, but… I suddenly had the urge to find another baby the same age as Jules just for a side-by-side comparison.
Other than the occasional request for cookies, Jules seemed perfectly content for me to hold her… the problem was she refused to spend any amount of time with Linda or Adele and every rejection disappointed them…
Without another idea, I wandered away from the family so they could focus on Brandon…
Taking Jules through the back door, I earned a wide smile as she cooed, “Izzz kite.”
She gave a nod and confirmed, “Kite.”
“If I give cookies to you, will you let Gran and Aunt Linda hold you?” I felt ridiculous, but it was worth a shot.
“For cookies, yes. Do we have a deal?”
“Yes. I give you what you want…”
“Yes… and then you’ll be nice to Gran and Aunt Linda.”
She tilted her eyes up to study the sky for a moment before nodding. “K.”
“We have a deal, yes?”
“Yah. Deal. Gurn. Indah…” The long string of babbling that followed was accompanied with happy kicking.
“Should we run or fly?”
She studied my face for a moment before narrowing her eyes. “Shokin’?” It was definitely easier to understand her than Jason at times.
“No. I can fly… and you can read minds like your father, can’t you?”
She grinned from ear to ear, showing all eight of her tiny teeth. “Peshul.”
I nodded. “You’re right about that. Your Aunt Sookie is special too.”
She nodded. “Yah. Peshul. Sssssssshoox… Go. Fwy. Go.” She began kicking again, but it was more like she was spurring a horse.
Another insistent female.
Jules squealed and laughed for the minute and a half we spent in the air, even though she nearly squirmed out of my arms trying to turn around to see the trees go by.
Her face was frozen in a wide smile as we landed. She’d made herself breathless…
As I stepped onto the porch of Sookie’s house, she panted, “Wheres heres?”
“This is where Gran and Aunt Sookie live.”
I nodded as I bent to move the pot of pansies to retrieve the spare key. “Yes ma’am. Are you afraid of dogs?”
“A very nice doggie. She’s little like you. Her name is Tina.” The ‘watch dog’ was already scratching at the door.
As I opened the door, Tina bounced up to stand against my legs. “You’re fired. You’re supposed to bark at intruders.”
Jules offered backup. “Ooof. Ooof.”
“Can I put you down while I look for cookies?”
She nodded and she was reaching for the dog as I placed her on the floor. “Bitches.”
I chuckled, “Excuse me?”
Her nose wrinkled as she repeated, “Bitches. Mell. Mell bitches.”
It took me a moment to decipher… the only clue I was given was a repeat of the word ‘mell’ as she wrinkled her nose again.
“Smell? You smell peaches?”
She gave me a look that suggested she was happy I finally understood her… I was just happy she hadn’t learned the word ‘retard’ yet. It would have come with the look.
Jules plopped onto the floor while Tina happily accepted her attention and as I walked towards the kitchen, Jules began telling the pup a long story reminiscent of the one she’d told me.
It hadn’t taken long for me to find a package of cookies in the cupboard… actually, I’d found several, but thanks to Pam’s recent passion for using food allergies to ‘teach lessons’ I avoided the cookies with any kind of nut in them.
‘Mell bitches’ had been due to a fresh pie on the counter and while Jules nibbled a cookie and shared another with Tina, I was told to “Ring un,”. And once I’d found a bag for the pie, Jules was waiting by the door with Tina’s leash because we needed to “Ring uh puppeeee,” as well.
Trying to argue that Tina wouldn’t like flying didn’t help either.
Tina hadn’t been as fond of flying as Jules had been…
Then again, it might have been because of Jules’s happy squealing. At least Tina didn’t react in a way that would force me to burn my clothing.
I considered telling Jules that flying was a secret, but who the fuck would believe her… other than her father, but he was just as sure to know I’m different as Sookie had. It was only a matter of time before he learned about the existence of Vampires if he hadn’t already. He was a mind-reader and his brother was brain-dead.
Linda was the first to notice our return. When she spotted the cookie in Jules’s hand, she cackled, “Suck-er!”
“Find one woman in your family tree who isn’t pushy, Linda. I’ve been manipulated to seek cookies. I was ordered to bring a pie…. And she threatened to cry if Tina wasn’t brought along.” She didn’t want the puppeee to be whonewy.
I set Jules on the floor and whispered to remind her of our deal… she gave me a serious nod and began toddling towards the booth to use Adele’s arm to climb onto her lap.
Adele beamed at her great granddaughter. “Hello cuteness. Now that Erik’s wrapped around your finger, is it my turn?”
She nodded and began babbling. Keywords stood out enough for me to understand Jules was offering testimony to what we’d been up to…
Kite. Ow-ick. Deal. Peshul. Fwy. Gurns howwz. Teeenuh. Ooof-ooof. Cooxies. Bitches. Fwy.
Her story was animated by large arm movements, facial expressions, laughing and a dramatic reenactment of the way Tina greeted her.
While Sookie bit her lip and giggled, the color drained from Brandon’s face.
Jason reached across the table to high five his niece for ‘making’ me bring the pie and told his brother to ‘chill’ because Jules couldn’t have been safer.…
I couldn’t help but wonder if Jason understood what Jules said, or if the goober thought I’d been a nanny at some point in my life.
For the next hour, the family talked over coffee, tea and pie and once Jules decided Gurn and Indah had been given a sufficient amount of her attention, she climbed onto my legs…
Considering that Jules had called Tina onto my lap and smoothed the pup’s ear until they both dozed off, I was sure Pam would have been taking pictures.
By the time the Stackhouses were saying their goodbyes, I had two large puddles of drool on my shirt.
As Brandon removed half of my ‘burden’, Sookie invited him to join the rest of the family for her birthday party tomorrow night… Julie cried when the invitation was extended to her as well and there was an extra surge of tears when Linda and Adele hugged her and stressed to her there were no hard feelings. Adele told Julie she owed her a truckload of hugs and smiles, but she was willing to take regular installments.
It hadn’t taken any work on my part to entice Sookie into my car… she practically pushed me through the door as she asked if there was anything Adele or Linda wanted her to do before she left.
I hadn’t put the car in gear before she began fidgeting and asked, “Alright. We’re alone. What are you up to?”
“Because I couldn’t possibly just want to see you?”
She giggled, “You could’ve just said that earlier.”
I nodded. “Granted.”
She bit her lip as she leaned back in her seat. “Fine. Can we talk about how insanely adorable it was to see Jules claim you?”
“She drooled on me. I smell like a Keebler Elf…” And kibble, but Tina was my doing.
She giggled, “Brandon was close to needing to be slapped when he saw a bird’s eye view of the parking lot in her head.”
“And the telepathic toddler gave up our secret.”
“They’ve known for a while. She’s talking up a storm. Brandon and I caught everyone thinking about how I was the same way, but Jules is even more vocal because Brandon can help telepathically. Gran’s already pretty sure Jules is a mind reader too, but she didn’t want to say anything until she knows if Brandon’s always hated it like I did. She wants to approach the conversation carefully.”
“I’m sure… Was Brandon stalking you?”
“Yes and no… he was always curious about us. He found out about me by accident. He heard of Jason because our high schools are rivals and Stackhouse isn’t that common of a name. The first time he saw me, he thought I was Jason’s girlfriend because he saw Jason hug me… He was actually stalking Jason a little.”
“You didn’t listen to his thoughts at all? Neither of you knew?”
“Football games… it would’ve been insane to drop our shields. Once Jason graduated, he still went to Minden versus Bon Temps games hoping to run into me once in a while, and it worked, but the other night at Glamour was a fluke. A couple of his friends dragged him out when they heard it was 18 and over.”
“Does he already know what I am?”
“No. He’s met a couple of people like you though. Same kind of mind. He already knows about Weres though. I guess that makes sense being as how Minden is a bigger town… on both counts.”
“None of you thought about my state of being while I was holding Jules?”
She stared at the side of my face for a moment before shaking her head. “No… why would we?”
“Because Vampires are dangerous… some would have looked at Jules as a perfect snack.”
She sighed, “Hence the whole donor versus victim verbiage.”
“Okay… But… you’re not like that. Why would we worry? I mean… there’s some Humans who would look at a baby as easy prey too.”
“It worries me that you all seem to be of the belief that Vampires are even-tempered interlopers. Vampires are a natural threat to Humans and Faeries. Your family is both.”
“You’re thinking it’s been really lucky that we haven’t run into any other Vampires before.”
“I do… Now that we’re ‘engaged’ the Vampires in my fealty will know better than to come near you… Your family needs to know to use my name if they’re approached by another Vampire whether they feel threatened or not. It’s as simple as saying ‘I belong to Sheriff Nordmann’.”
“Fealty, huh? Talk about your archaic terminology… You carry a cell phone. Why not call them constituents or something? Is there even a way to… What would that make them, your Feals?”
“Technically, they would be serfs, vassals, thralls, or underlings depending on who they answer to.”
She smirked and offered, “And the Swedish Sheriff has thralls, right?”
I nodded. “Not bad… Pam calls them serfs when she isn’t calling them assholes or drama queens.”
“So what happens if one of your thralls ignores the ‘property of Erik Nordmann’ warning?” I wasn’t going to admit how much I liked the sound of that.
“I could evict them from my Area, employ corporal punishment, or end him depending on the infraction.”
Her eyes widened and she breathed, “Just for talking to me?”
“No. If he’s respectful and maintains a reasonable distance there shouldn’t be a reason for any sort of punishment. If he were to hear you’re Mine and frighten you or touch you… then there would be hell to pay…”
She sighed, “Thank God… you made it sound like you’d go around killing other Vampires just for looking at me…”
“Of course not… but again, I think you’re underplaying how brutal some of our customs can be.” ‘Mine’ was nonnegotiable.
“No, I get it… Don’t go into specifics though, okay? I’ll fill the gaps on my own… Hey, I know… Why don’t you change the subject by telling me why you surprised me with a visit?”
I nodded, complying just because I was sure pressing the subject would do nothing for her good mood… but the last Vampire to touch my car was still waiting for his hand to grow back.
I opened my mouth and enjoyed the way her face lit up in expectation…
Then I closed it.
When I opened my mouth again, Sookie’s eyebrow went up as though she was daring me to stall.
She warned me that I was ‘gonna get it’ after I closed it a second time.
I blurted a brief explanation in Swedish and was ordered to ‘try again’…
I was explaining in Mandarin by the time she specified English…
And my arm was slapped when I answered silently and teased her for not being able to read lips…
As soon as I stopped the car in front of the hotel, Sookie bolted…
Dashing from the car while I waited for the valet to take his time making his way towards me.
I made it into the lobby of the hotel just in time to see Sookie blow a raspberry at me as the elevator doors closed between us.
She was making me pay for stalling… and the staff in the lobby (including James Arkady) was considerably amused.
While I waited for the other elevator, I asked, “Did she say anything to you on her way through?”
Arkady nodded and chuckled, “Yes sir, but she said tattling was punishable by death.” Not tattling could be as well.
“Yes sir… I hope you like a good chase. She seems set on not making it easy for you to catch her.” Oh really?
“Did you give her a key to my room?”
“No sir. She said she didn’t need one.”
As the elevator doors slid open, I asked, “Couldn’t that be considered tattling?”
“No sir… She gave me permission to tell you that much.”
I punched the button for the floor my room was on… and growled…
Yes, I do enjoy a good chase… but I’d already been pushing myself. I’d made an art of masochism…
As my elevator climbed, I felt Sookie’s lead dwindle. She was already on the 5th floor…
But no sooner than my elevator slowed down, Sookie began moving again…
I could hear her giggling as her elevator fell away from me.
She was using my mind like I was using my connection to her.
I should have seen it coming… I knew I’d be a victim of her cunning eventually.
And as my elevator slowed down again to open at the lobby level, I realized she was still upstairs…
She’d stopped her car and sent it down without her…
I had to ask where the stairwell was… the elevator took too fucking long…
The three staff members laughed and pointed to the hallway I needed to take…
And then I passed her.
As I reached the 4th floor, I realized she was just below me… using the elevator…
Sneaky little bitch.
By the time I reached the lobby again, the elevator was closing and the staff was nearly hysterical.
It wasn’t until I was opening the door to the stairwell that I realized Sookie was still on the first floor… and moving away from the elevators…
The hyenas in the lobby were going to need oxygen masks by the time I caught up to Sookie.
I tracked her, feeling her erratic movements as though she was leaving it up to my sense of smell and trying to throw me off her trail…
I paused at the door to the employees’ break room. She’d intentionally left her transferred scent to throw me off her trail. If she hadn’t taken my blood, I would have fallen for it…
Towards the back of the hotel, she veered into the door marked ‘hotel staff’ and seemed to have taken the path through the laundry facilities…
Again, trying to confuse the scent…
She’d run into the dining room of the restaurant only to dart through the kitchen and back into the public hallway… and through the building to the other side…
To the pool.
As I approached the double doors that were still swinging closed, I heard a loud splash.
I was already taking my wallet and phone out of my pockets as I walked outside, prepared to dive into the pool to claim my prize…
The chair sinking to the bottom of the pool was coming into view as the water settled… and just as Sookie leapt onto my back to yell, “GOTCHA!”
She quickly crossed her ankles at my waist and strapped her arms over my shoulders.
She was cackling when I asked, “You think you’re pretty smart, don’t you?” I wrapped my arms around her legs so she couldn’t get away.
She hummed against the back of my shoulder. “Maybe I’m just… slippery.” Slippery? That wasn’t accidental… she could have said sneaky or made a joke about being a hide and seek champion as a child… she was teasing me.
I growled, “Are you done getting your revenge?”
“What revenge? My stalker’s going to get lazy if I make it too easy, right?”
She loosened her legs when I began pulling her, twisting her around to face me. “Keeping me on my toes, yes?”
She bit her lip to keep from smiling. “I did it for you.”
When I moved to kiss her, she pulled away. “Would you like to hear something funny?”
“No. I want to shred our clothes and fuck you until we’re glued together by cum.”
She pulled her lips over her teeth and bit them while she blushed. It took her a moment to recover. “Right now we should discuss your appreciation of loopholes…”
“You can discuss it while I…”
She pulled an arm away from my neck to put her hand over my mouth. “First of all, no. We definitely can’t combine what you have in mind with any form of discussion. Any time my clothes come off, talking is the last thing I can do coherently.”
I mumbled into her palm, “You’re doing it again. I mention nudity. You decline and continue to mention nudity… Go ahead. We’ll get loopholes out of the way, and then I’ll rip your clothes off.”
She shook her head and giggled, “You’re a turd… I wanted to mention loopholes because you recently made an arrangement with a certain reporter and she found one.”
“The reporter is here?”
“She’s been here all day… I bet she smells awesome after being in her car in the heat… but she didn’t follow either of us. Technically, she’s waiting for an opportunity to see something to add to her column.”
“That bitch is…”
Sookie tightened her hand over my mouth and raised a warning eyebrow. “You can’t be too pissed. You didn’t specify she had to stay away from the hotel or my work or house. At least she’s in a public area… she’s playing by the same rules you would… Now… the only reason I mentioned it is because while I was waiting for you to catch me, I felt her over there in the corner of the parking lot. We have her attention. I didn’t want you to do anything we wouldn’t want to see in the paper tomorrow…” She moved her hand and grinned. “Now you can kiss me.”
“What makes you think I was going to kiss you? I was going to bite you.”
When she moved to kiss me, I pulled away… She put up as much struggle as she could, trying to connect her lips to mine, squirming and pulling my shoulders, laughing… finally winning the ‘fight’ by biting my neck while my head was tilted back.
I groaned, “You evil little bitch…”
She giggled with a small pinch of my skin trapped between her teeth. “I win. Take me upstairs.”
“If you keep that up, you aren’t going home tonight.”
She whispered, “Maybe,” between chews… “Maybe I already told Gran I’m not going home tonight…” More chewing, licking, breathing…
I was enjoying it too much for what she said to dawn on me right away.
She wasn’t planning to go home.
She didn’t stop pushing me until she heard the applause from the staff in the lobby as I carried her to the elevator.
And as soon as the doors slid shut to give us some privacy, it was my turn.
But as soon as I pinned her to the wall, I couldn’t decide what I wanted more. I hadn’t ever been so anxious about fucking anyone… I’d pushed myself so far, I was tempted to end our evening, stall for a few weeks and hope the paparazzi didn’t get wind of what I’d have to do to get Sookie out of my system.
I was that fucked… and the longer I stared at Sookie trying to decide… the more intense her mood was and that only pushed me more.
I was still frozen when the elevator doors opened on the fifth floor…
Sookie sighed, “The way you’re looking at me… Erik, I don’t know if I’m turned on or scared…”
She licked her lips and nodded. “Should we take a breather… you know… calm down?” No. No…
“I’m not sure it would help. I want you too much.”
I finally made myself move, carrying her to the door to my room.
Her voice trembled, “Not even… Maybe another lesson… shift your focus a little…”
I actually chuckled as I unlocked the door and pushed it open, “No… those are why I’m so…”
I nodded. “That’s a good way to put it.”
As I put my knees on the bed and laid her down, she put her hands on my face. “Why did you come out to Bon Temps tonight?”
I growled, unsure if her stall tactic would help. “Because I wanted to be with you at midnight. I didn’t want to be the last one to wish you a happy birthday.” And give her the first of her birthday gifts.
When her eyes began to well, I had the thought I might have broken a taboo, preventing some sort of Stackhouse family tradition.
She sniffled, “So you blew off work, drove to Bon Temps, dealt with Hadley, practically put on a puppet show for Jason, let Jules wrap you around her finger until you flew her off in search of cookies… all so you could be the first to say ‘happy birthday’ to me?”
I nodded, waiting to hear how I fucked up.
A tear rolled out of the corner of her eye and into her hair as she lifted enough to kiss me. “That’s, without a doubt, the sweetest thing anyone’s ever done for me.”
It galled me that it meant so much to her that she cried. “I could tarnish your opinion with your gift if you like.”
She shook her head, grinning in spite of her tears. “I should have known. What did you do?”
“In light of my recent liberties with our spoiling treaty’s loopholes, I stayed within the confines as a special treat.”
She giggled, “Oh God… that’s even better. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited. Where is it?”
“You have to find it.”
Her chin quivered. “You… a scavenger hunt? For me?” As much fun as she’d had deciphering the clues I’d left for Pam, absolutely.
I nodded. “Your first clue is in the glove box of my car. Since you’re staying for the night, take my car for the day.”
She put her hands over her mouth and her tiny tears suddenly multiplied.
When I asked what was wrong, she shook her head and made me wait. Her tears had definitely distracted me from what I was thinking about a few minutes earlier.
She finally did something other than weep, sitting on her knees to wrap her arms around my neck, whimpering, “Thank you… that was soooo sweet of you.”
“It’s good that you say that now. I’ll try to remember that while I’m listening to hateful, threatening voicemails tomorrow.”
“No. Nuh-uh. Not from me. I’ll be too busy loving every second. This is the best present ever. Where did you learn to be such a good boyfriend?”
I shrugged. “I wasn’t trying to be a ‘good boyfriend’. It was self-serving. I’m almost positive I’m addicted to your smile.”
She giggled against my neck and when she pulled away, she was smiling from ear to ear. “Then I lucked out and got the Best. Stalker. Ever. You’ve got bragging rights, ya know? We’ve only been seeing one another for a couple of weeks and you managed to think of the perfect birthday present.”
“That isn’t the whole present… Would you like for me to invite Pam to your party?”
Her eyes lit up. “Are you… to mess with her? Like… because she doesn’t know we know you’re Vampires?”
I nodded. “Only if you want to, but I’ve heard games are played at birthday parties.”
“So her first time meeting ‘your fiancé’s’ family will be in public…”
“And she’ll be wearing rented shoes.”
She patted my shoulders and nodded. “Extra fun! Yeah! Yeahyeahyeah… go ahead.”
“Well… yeah… I mean, I want to hear her reaction.”
I sprawled across the bed and used the phone on the nightstand while Sookie stretched out along my side after kicking off her shoes and untying mine so I could do the same.
Pam huffed, “Do you actually remember who I am or did you accidentally dial my number when you meant to call your precious little Hayseed Barbie?”
“You should be nice. I’m calling because Sookie wants you to join us for her birthday party tomorrow night.”
I rolled over to my side and handed the phone to Sookie since I didn’t need the receiver to be at my ear. I wanted my hands to be free to unbutton Sookie’s blouse.
I couldn’t help but be impressed when Sookie turned the phone so her mouth wouldn’t be near the receiver… not that Pam would have noticed Sookie’s breathing over the crackling from her cell phone.
“Awwww. How sweet. Thirteen is a big deal for Humans nowadays. Jelly shoes, bubble gum, enamel jewelry, and Spice Girls tickets, right?” Bitch.
“She’s nineteen, Pam.” Incidentally, the same age Pam had been for 342 years.
“Jelly shoes, bubble gum, enamel jewelry, and Janet Jackson tickets then?”
“You won’t embarrass me by being a bitch.”
“Of course not. I just want to be prepared. Are we chaperoning a slumber party with all of her friends?”
“No. We’ll be in public with her family.”
“A squaaaare dance!?” Sookie bit her lip to keep from laughing.
“Or do they call them hoedowns or hootenannies?”
“Pam, the family is meeting at the Ruston Bowling Center at 9:00 so I’ll be able to join them.”
“So you’re a very important businessman and the Clampetts just love you to death, don’t they?”
“Of course they do. You know how charming I can be when I want something. Who the fuck are the Clampetts? Their name is Stackhouse.”
“Jed and Granny and Ellie May. You know, from the Beverly Hillbillies…” When she began singing, Sookie grabbed my free hand to cover her mouth. There was only one button coming between me and my perfectly tanned view. “Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed. A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed. Then one day he was shootin’ at some food and up through the ground came a bubblin’ crude.”
“Very nice, Pam. If we do hire her cousin’s cover band for the reception, are you willing to sing?” My sights were locked on that last button. I could have sworn it was taunting me until I leaned over to rip it out of my way with my teeth. Sookie responded by biting the inside of my hand and when I dropped my fangs, she nipped again.
“Sure. I think I’ll pick something from Madam Butterfly.” Young girl, marriage of convenience, girl left heartbroken and kills herself. Pam was in rare form tonight. I was close to laughing too.
“What did I say about being a bitch?” I was autonomously answering Pam, pushing Sookie’s playful mood by drifting my fingertip over her lips… letting myself be hypnotized by watching my finger disappear into her mouth.
“When do you plan to propose to your little Cio-Cio?”
“I’ve already proposed to Sookie.” Enjoying the way Sookie nibbled the pad of finger as I pulled it out… Blow job lessons needed to happen soon…
“YOU’RE FUCKING WITH ME!”
“We haven’t discussed details yet, but considering the press coverage of our relationship, eloping might be required.” Putting a quiet wedding together could take just a few months and we could enjoy a sunless honeymoon in October…
Did I really just think that?
“She accepted!!?” Sookie wasn’t paying any more attention to Pam than I was… She was too busy watching me unbutton her shorts…
“Why wouldn’t she? I’m a very good boyfriend.” Sookie nodded to confirm it and everything…
“Oh, well thank God for that… I’m sure your thralls will understand that you’re focusing on being a good boyfriend rather than their Sheriff.”
Without warning Sookie rolled away from me to sit up, quietly inching to the edge of the bed and tiptoeing to the bathroom.
She slowly closed the door as much as possible without letting the bolt click into place.
I assumed she was using the toilet until I heard the water in the shower start. I couldn’t shut Pam up fast enough.
I growled, “Pam, I haven’t been shirking. I’ve been lucky enough for things to be quiet for the time being. Unless you’ve been contacted…”
“Only by everyone, Erik. They all want to know what you’re up to and they think you’re a fucking genius. I think they’re all too busy watching your ‘romance’ in the papers to get into any trouble of their own. The only call I’ve gotten that wasn’t for gossip was from Leland. His new child isn’t showing any kind of improvement…”
“I’ve already spoken to him about his suicidal child. If Leland won’t tell me why the child is so miserable that he wants to be staked, there isn’t anything I can do.”
“You think he’s hiding something from you?”
“Yes. When I tried to narrow down the reasons for his child’s suffering, Leland’s answers were guarded. You know too well how difficult the first months can be. If you hadn’t told me the adjustment to your heightened hearing was driving you mad, how would I have known to take you out of the city until you adjusted?”
She sighed, “I guess the other caveat is it helped that you cared enough to do something.”
“Bingo. I can’t be held responsible for Leland’s mistakes as a Maker. If he cares enough, he’ll eventually give me information I can work with…”
“And if he doesn’t the child is probably better off ending himself early on.”
“Why the fuck do I waste time questioning you?”
“I don’t know. I’m always right.”
“I think this thing with Sookie is going to ruin your track record, Erik. How do you plan to explain the fact that she’ll never see you eat or sleep? She seems like a stereotypical hometown sweetheart. What if the Revelation is put off again? How long are you willing to live a lie?” That wasn’t a problem when my ‘hometown sweetheart’ already complained about how short the nights were during the summer and likened feeding me to making dinner for her boyfriend.
“You say that as though I haven’t been pretending to be Human all along.”
“Seeing you with a cigar to fit in at gentlemen’s clubs is one thing… A trophy wife is lower than I thought you’d stoop, Erik.” I was one part amused by how completely Pam was buying the charade, but the other part was annoyed by the suggestion that Sookie was just a means to an end even if I was the one to establish the ‘fact’.
I was very tempted to tell Pam it was all a ruse to make her stop mentioning it. The only reason I didn’t was because I’d already promised Sookie she could toy with her. It wouldn’t last long though.
“Is my ration of scorn over, or do you have more?”
She scoffed, “I’m done for now. Maybe bowling for Food Stamps will give me something so I stop feeling sorry for her. Goodnight.”
Before I could respond, Pam snapped her cell phone shut.
I couldn’t decide if I was pissed that she’d hung up on me or relieved… but the sounds of Sookie showering swayed the dilemma and I was pulling my clothing off on my way to join Sookie.
Instead of showing any type of surprise when I stepped into the shower behind her, Sookie quietly offered, “Just remember that you’re annoying her on purpose.”
“How do you know you aren’t why I was frustrated? You left me.” I was instantly too jealous of every soap bubble to remember why I’d been bothered.
“You started talking about Vampire stuff… so I figured I’d let y’all have at it and came in here because I felt funky after working all day.”
I put my hands on her shoulders, following her curves down to her hips and pulled her against me. “You had me call Pam because you knew I’d be distracted, didn’t you?”
She turned around to face me as she rinsed her hair. “It was a convenient byproduct… I really did feel gross.”
“And how do you feel now?”
She stretched up to kiss my chin and giggled, “Like a mouse… while a very hungry cat circles and licks his lips.”
I nodded. “At least you can appraise a situation accurately.”
She smirked and offered, “The cat needs to remember that he has to be gentle so there’s something left to play with later.”
I growled, “You need to say it.”
She smiled and blushed… her mood gave away that she considered taunting me. I was becoming too familiar with that flash of evil she enjoyed.
She finally nodded and offered, “I’m ready,” sheepishly.
I leaned over to kiss her, but stopped short to ask, “Are you sure?”
She bit her lip, smiling slightly before offering a more confident, “Yeah.”
If I had any patience left, I might have taunted her, but as it was… I was in pain.
As soon as her arms went around my neck to kiss me, I lifted her, pulling her legs up and carrying her towards the bed.
When she pulled away for air, she lifted her chin…
“You’re going to have to stake me to make me stop now.”
She giggled, “Not that… you… you have condoms, right?” I might have laughed if I wasn’t holding back… everything…
I put her in the middle of the bed and offered, “I can’t become sick, so you can’t contract anything from me.”
She pushed my shoulders and gave me a serious look. “I figured… but I don’t want kids… I especially don’t want accidental kids with a fake fiancé.”
I rolled over, taking her with me. “That can’t happen either… Are we done talking yet?”
One side of her mouth turned up as she adjusted her legs for comfort. “You don’t expect me to be on top, do you? My first time?”
She said that as though she hadn’t practically fucked herself with my tongue the night before.
“If you’re on top, I’m less likely to hurt you…”
I sat up, more eager just because she was ready. “You said so yourself. I have to be gentle if I want to play again.” And again, and again…
I took her hips and lifted her… She was letting me move her without resisting, but she still argued, “But I have no clue… Erik, I don’t know what I’m doing…”
The head of my cock grazed Sookie’s clit when I moved to line us up… Both of us twitched, but Sookie had it in her to giggle.
She twisted her fingers into my hair and waited, killing me with hesitation. “You have to promise not to hold it against me if I screw up.”
Part of me wanted to tell her I’d hold it against her if she didn’t at least try.
“I promise… You’ll catch on.”
She bit her lip and looked between us for a moment…
Trembling as she started to lower herself, and watching…
Knowing she needed to take her time did nothing for the temptation to pull her down, even if it was difficult to remember something worse than waiting…
She balked, lifting slightly and shaking her head. “I can’t… I’m… I can’t do it, Erik. I’m sorry. Please, don’t be mad… I just…”
I could have fucking cried.
Two inches. Two. Fucking. Inches. My fingers had been deeper.
“You want to stop?”
She tightened her fists in my hair and yelped, “NO!” She shook her head and cringed. “No… I just… I need you to do it…” Her chin trembled when she whimpered, “I promise I won’t always make you do all the work…”
Seeing the tears threatening to spill might have been the only fucking thing to make me think of anything but cumming.
“To be clear, you want to fuck…”
She nodded, still cringing. “But… You’ll think it’s silly, but I don’t want to screw up my first time…”
When she trailed off, I flipped us again, putting her on her back…
Hoping I could control myself.
Every attempt I made to reprogram myself to look at this as a ‘lesson’ failed because her voice echoed ‘I’m ready’ through my mind over and over.
“I don’t think you’re silly…” I thought she was trying to kill me. “I think you’re worried about nothing. I’ve seen you dance.”
She covered her face with her hands, but not before she started to blush.
“You don’t want to watch?”
She mumbled into her hands, “Are you teasing me?” That was rich.
“No… You were watching before.”
When I pushed into her, only as deep as she’d gone, her hands flew from her face to grab my wrists.
Every part of her was tense.
“You’re afraid it’s going to hurt.”
“Um… it’s not that I don’t trust you…”
“Because if it was going to be painful, it already would be.” For the most part… everything else was just going to be a matter of adjusting.
She whined, “I know… but you said last night… that I’m tight and…”
She was too embarrassed to finish.
“And since I was only finger fucking you…”
She blurted, “Your fingers aren’t that big.”
I chuckled, “That isn’t a bad thing.”
Her hands went back to her face and she growled into her hands. “I hate being a telepath… Do you know how many times I’ve accidentally overheard the miserable details?” She uncovered her face and whimpered, “Can… can you just… I don’t know… do it quick?”
“You’re asking if I’m willing to shove my cock into you and risk bottoming out?”
“What does that mean?”
We were going to be stuck there for hours I (unfortunately) didn’t have, defining sexual terms if I didn’t do something.
I leaned into her slowly, pushing steadily, but slowly and forcing myself to explain. “You’re very petite…”
She breathed, “And you’re not.”
“And there’s only a certain amount of cock any pussy can accommodate.”
She whimpered and squirmed…
Grabbed my wrists again…
Bit her lip once I’d slid halfway into her.
“It means ‘too deep’ then?”
I nodded… grinding my teeth… feeling her throbbing around me was more than I thought I could take…
“You think that’s going to be a problem for us?”
The further I pushed, the harder it was to focus on what she was saying…
I growled, “It’s possible.”
I would have told her to relax if I thought it would help either of us…
She lifted her head to look between us, watching again and pushing my patience. After a moment, she whimpered, “What happens if… what if you are too big?”
“Then we’ll have to take that into consideration… Are you going to try to talk the whole time?”
She giggled nervously and bit her lip… and I gave up.
I leaned over, taking her nipple…
Her hands went back to my hair as she squeaked out a laugh…
Freeing my hands…
I reached between us, thumbing her clit, earning a groan…
She trembled and twitched, as though it finally dawned on her that she was supposed to enjoy fucking like most animals on the planet…
I could have kicked myself when I realized I should have distracted her sooner.
She tilted her hips and without realizing it, she’d pushed me deeper…
Gasping and feeding me her need…
Because mine wasn’t enough to bear…
It nearly killed me to let her nipple loose to say, “All the hesitation was for nothing.”
She lifted her head again to look between us. “All the way?” Barely, but…
I nodded. If I tried to do anything else, I would have broken.
I growled, not necessarily at her… to be fair, it was a good question since I couldn’t decide.
I grinded into her, rubbing until she was breathlessly begging for a break and I was close to cumming…
Trying to remember the last time I had to hold back instead of wanting to get it over with…
Rolling us over, promising she couldn’t ‘screw up’…
The way she hesitantly gnawed her lip…
The way her ass fit into my hands as I helped her move…
Every fucking move she made was perfectly agonizing…
Even her shyness as I watched her…
Feeling her catch her stride…
And the closer she got to cumming again, the more painful it was to hold back…
It was all I could think about until she pulled my hands away from her, tugging them because she wanted me to sit up…
After I closed the gap, she breathed, “That’s better…”
Rolling her hips and pushing us both…
Kissing me until she ran out of air…
Nibbling my chin…
Along my jaw…
Dragging her teeth over the side of my neck…
I warned her.
She dug her nails into my shoulders, still twisting and writhing…
She gasped, “That too… I won’t know until we try… in for a penny…”
All I could muster was growling, “Do. Not. Tease.”
She whimpered, grinding harder…
Every bit of her was vibrating around my cock and if I didn’t know better, I swear I was too.
“Not… not teasing. You… you explained it… I know what I’m getting into… I trust you…”
I was allowed to be shocked. It didn’t happen often.
She managed to giggle between the moans and nibbles that were killing me. “This is the first time I’ve ever told anyone to bite me when I wasn’t pissed.”
So help me, I chuckled.
She stilled and leaned back enough to look at me…
Her tiny hands on either side of my face.
She breathed, “Really… I want you to.”
Exposing my fangs, to give her the chance to renege…
Not feeling the slightest bit of fear…
“You were more apprehensive about having my cock in you.”
She nipped my bottom lip as she began moving again…
Reminding me how much I wanted her…
And how fucking retarded it would be to argue against it…
As soon as my lips touched her neck, her arms wrapped around my head… an altogether foreign sensation…
To be encouraged…
And feeling how Sookie responded to having her neck chewed like I did only made the ache in my fangs that much more insufferable.
Tightening her arms…
Letting me move her when she lost control of her legs…
All the false starts had taken their toll…
She bit my shoulder when she began cumming again…
Not hard enough to break the skin…
As soon as I pushed my fangs into her neck…
Tasted more than the tease I’d had the night before…
I came so hard it was as though I’d been edging since I was born.
She wilted onto my chest when I collapsed to the bed.
Her heart was pounding against my stomach while she gasped to catch her breath…
I would have been perfectly content to let her stay there until sunset…
Another foreign feeling…
Idly running my fingers through someone’s hair instead of tossing their clothes to them.
She finally pushed herself off of me, stumbling from the bed to go to the bathroom to use the toilet and drink from the sink… and joking that we should have thought to dry ourselves because we’d left a mess.
When she returned, I had the chance to see the marking on her neck.
All it did was make me want more.
She cringed as I begrudgingly healed the wound. “I’m kinda afraid to ask… Was I alright?”
“You talk too much.”
She slammed her face into the bed and giggled, “I’m sorry! I was nervous!”
“So next time should be less talkative and more primal?”
She turned her head to look at me, leaving her head on the mattress. “You sure you want there to be a next time?”
She had to be fucking joking.
I took her hand and pulled her out of her tight little ball. “I’m already looking forward to it.”
She blushed and covered her face.
“Can next time start now?”
She swatted my leg and snickered, “The Human needs to recoup.”
“What about the Faerie?”
“Her too… Is there anything I should do differently next time?”
I blurted, “Again!” and she jumped, but immediately began laughing. “You just did it again… I suggest something, and you reject it only to instantly mention it.”
She rolled away from me, cackling and holding her stomach. “I don’t do it on purpose. I swear!”
I followed, pulling her against me to trap her. “That remains to be seen.”
She moved her arms to hug mine. “It’s your fault. You throw me off…”
At least I wasn’t the only one.