As we pulled up to the club, I told the driver to wait for us at the service entrance once Sookie and I exited.
Sookie self consciously straightened her nightgown and tried to use the tinted window as a mirror to check her hair. I had to take her hands and put them in her lap to make her stop. As I ran my fingers through her hair once to smooth it, I told her. “You’re beautiful now and you’ll be just as beautiful once you make a mess of it dancing as well. You should be more concerned about the 300 customers. The noise inside is maddening. I rarely get any work done until the staff is cleaning up for the night.”
Her eyes widened as she huffed out a deep breath. “Damn. Thanks for the heads up.”
I nodded and offered my hand. “Ready?”
When she nodded, I tapped the window to signal the driver.
As soon as the door was opened for us, the queue of dozens of barely legal hopefuls gawked.
The females were eye-fucking me, and once Sookie stepped out of the car, the cat-calls and whistling from the males in line began…
The only exception seemed to be one male close to Sookie’s age… He wasn’t leering, but he did give the impression he recognized her.
One of my two Were-thugs who worked the door unclipped the velvet rope for us and stepped back. “Good evening, Mr. Nordmann. Who’s your date?”
“Her name is Sookie. Let the staff know she’s a VIP. Has there been any trouble I should know about, Hank?” I wouldn’t have normally bothered with his name, but I was trying to pull his attention away from Sookie’s body. The other Wolf was just as preoccupied.
“No sir. No trouble yet. We’ve got po-po in PJs though. Guess they’re here to keep us on our ID checking toes.” His eyes hadn’t strayed far from her breasts and he was breathing deeper than I thought was fitting.
As Sookie took a step to tuck herself behind me, I asked, “So you’re rejecting anyone remotely questionable, yes?”
“Definitely. Not trading my freedom for a cellmate, thanks.”
“If my club gets bad press because you let a child in, a cellmate would be the least of your concerns.”
He licked his lips and growled, “Yes sir.”
“Get your fucking eyes off her. She’s Mine.” I stretched my arm out to lead Sookie towards the door and swung the other arm around to slap his dick. “Don’t make that mistake again. Am I making myself clear?”
As he crashed to his knees he choked, “Crystal, sir.”
He hissed, “Sookie is Yours, sir.”
When I turned back to Sookie she was looking down at Hank with a worried look on her face. “Is he okay? Did you really need to hit him?”
I put my mouth to her ear after using her hips to steer her into the club. “Anyone could tell you what he was thinking about, Sookie. I had to do something to get his attention from your body.”
“Like a ‘guy thing’?”
“Like a ‘territorial thing’… He’s lucky I just came. I might have taken his head off.”
She giggled… I’m sure she assumed I was exaggerating.
I walked behind Sookie with my hands on her waist as she took in her surroundings.
She studied the bar I’d grown to loathe, and it’s infestation of absurdly clad dancers and minglers with wide-eyed wonder as she moved through the crowd slowly.
As we approached the steps descending to the main area of the club, she took my hands and led them up to rest on her shoulders, seeming perfectly content to have herself leashed to me.
I only paused at the bar long enough to place an order for Sookie’s ‘Cherry Coke from scratch’ so it could be waiting for her when she needed a break…
As soon as we reached the edge of the dance floor, she turned around and beamed. Her hips were already moving to the music as she took my hands and backed into the crowd…
Saying she was enthusiastic was an understatement.
There wasn’t any part of Sookie’s body that wasn’t moving in rhythm to the music…
From one song to the next, she danced as though each one was her favorite…
I wasn’t just feeling her fire… I was borrowing it.
She’d been approached by other men to dance several times, but I wasn’t given the chance to tell any of them to fuck off… She’d simply smile and tell them she had a date as politely as she could while yelling over the music. The one hopeful who was more persistent tried to touch her and had his hand shoved away aggressively (by her) and his nose rubbed into the fact Sookie was with me when she took my arms to wrap around herself. Mine.
Her stamina held out for eight songs thanks to the conveniently timed slower song that gave her just as much of a chance to catch her breath as it gave me the chance to recover from her bouncing and rubbing.
I’d never had so much fun at Glamour… and I was beginning to notice a trend.
As soon as we sat in my rarely used booth, Sookie gulped down her drink and filled her mouth with the remaining ice.
She was shamelessly panting, and still smiling as wide as her lips would allow.
All the while, the scent of her sweat had created a pleasant little aura around her, almost completely buffering me from hundreds of others.
By the time Sookie sat back against the seat, a server was delivering another glass of Cherry Coke and a bottle of water for her.
She drank most of the bottled water before she caught her breath and once she did, she put her mouth to my ear. “Thank you. You have no idea how much fun this is for me. I’ve never been dancing.”
“You could have fooled me. If you’ve never been dancing and you’ve never fucked, how did you learn to move like that?” The better question was, if she danced so well without experience, what was I in for when she was finally ready to fuck? I never should have made that connection. No sooner than I had the thought, I was fantasizing about the ride back to Bon Temps.
She snickered, “There’s this really cool thing called a radio… and Tara has MTV… She’s pretty much the only other dancing partner I’ve ever ha-”
Conversation stopped abruptly and Sookie’s focus shifted to the dance floor, so I followed her line of sight to a typical skank in a black corset and thong. She never should have been let in because of decency laws. She was practically being held up by the two men she was dancing between… more specifically, she was practically being fucked by both of them. She was exactly the type of thing that made Glamour so tiring after just a few weeks. No tact, no discretion, no grace… Shame personified. She was a nothing, a sponge meant for liquor and cum, too tainted to even be considered a blood bag.
“Do you know her or are you just shocked Hank let the garbage in?”
Sookie huffed, “Embarrassed… Erik, that’s my cousin.” Oops.
“Hadley?” If I hadn’t heard how she treated her mother, I might have been more surprised, but the underweight, blonde with no less than an inch of brunette roots was such a contrast to the rest of the Stackhouses, I wouldn’t have guessed.
“There must have been a mistake at the hospital. There’s no way she’s a Stackhouse.”
Sookie laid her head on my shoulder, still watching her cousin. “She’s the black sheep… She’s extreme. When she does anything she goes overboard. Partying, drinking, sex…” Sucking the fingers of one man while another was humping her from behind.
“Not only does she disrespect Linda in private, but she’s a public disgrace as well.” Lovely.
She lifted her head to look at me. “She’s awesome… Did I say thank you for all of this? It’s THE sweetest thing ever.” Already changing the subject?
“I’m happy you’re enjoying yourself. I’ll have to think of another theme to give me the excuse to put you in another revealing outfit.”
She giggled, “You’re too sweet,” and turned enough to kiss me…
I’d pulled Sookie onto my lap and let my guard down enough that I was clueless…
I opened my eyes as soon as I heard, “A regular Prince fucking Charming,” to see Pam standing over us with her arms folded and her eyes narrowed.
Sookie shifted to sit on the bench again and look back and forth between us.
“Sookie, this is Pam. Pam, this is Sookie.”
Sookie offered her hand, but Pam ignored it to snark, “Isn’t she precious… I made it through your stupid riddles. Why can’t I get into my house yet? I’ve… talked to every… guard I could find and I still had to… sleep in a hotel last night…” Sookie hid her face between my shoulder and the back of the bench to laugh. At least she was trying to hide it, but Pam wasn’t amused. “What the fuck is so funny?”
I offered, “Pam, Sookie just so happens to be a 3rd generation doll maker.” Sookie’s laugh grew to a cackle and she wedged her face deeper into the space.
Pam was so pissed she winced. “That’s just hilarious…” She shoved a newspaper towards me and waited for me to read it.
She’d circled a small headline to the side of the front page of today’s Metro section, “Bill Gates Outbid In 4th DaVinci Codex Pursuit” I scanned the article to see it was discovered a few decades ago and only authenticated a few weeks ago. I hadn’t known it was being sold… Gates was sick of losing auctions to me and accused me of having a monopoly on historical texts. That was rich, coming from him.
I pointed to the article and suffered Pam’s scowl while Sookie read it… She didn’t need an explanation, not that I thought she would. She slapped her hand over her mouth to muffle a squeal.
I asked Pam, “Is this a peace offering or a threat?” If she was threatening a DaVinci Codex, she was going to rise with Versace’s actual head between her silk sheets. She had to know that.
She rolled her eyes and huffed, “Peace.”
“Dolores Unger has your ‘keys’. Haughton. Where’s my Codex?”
She growled as she left. She was actually surprised, if not disappointed, to end our back and forth so easily.
As soon as Pam was out of sight, Sookie lurched from her hiding place to fold herself in half and bray… I couldn’t help but smile while she gasped for air and called me a ‘butthead’ for giving away her involvement.
She still had her hand to her chest, trying to normalize her breathing, when a bouncer approached me with a box.
I dismissed him with a wave of my hand and placed the parcel on Sookie’s lap. “Since you’ve been exposed as a co-conspirator, you should be the one to open it.”
Her eyes widened. “No.”
I nodded. “Go ahead. I won’t beg you. I want to see it too.”
She snorted, “Since you put it that way.”
As she lifted the lid, I had to remind the bouncer he’d been dismissed. He was just as taken with Sookie as Hank had been.
Her hand was shaking as she reached to set the lid on the table. She gaped at the thin leather journal as though she was afraid to touch it.
She gingerly used her fingertips to pull back the cover… one page at a time… she leafed through while I watched.
“Can you read it? Is it Italian?”
I nodded. “And backwards… It takes getting used to.”
She smirked and teased, “But since you own three more, you’re used to it, huh?” Ten, but since most of them had been collected more than 400 years ago and ‘didn’t exist’, I wasn’t going to mention them.
I nodded. “I almost feel badly… She was probably watching it so she could surprise me for Christmas… If your grandmother ignored you about waiting up, do you think she’d want to peruse it?”
She nodded slowly. “She’d trade me for the chance to see it… Where do you keep them? Not in your house?”
“I have a safe place to keep them. My concern over her prank was the security aspect… I’d rather discuss this trade. Do you think she’d offer you as a rental fee or as collateral?”
She laughed and leaned over to kiss me. “Congratulations on your new acquisition, Mr. Nordmann.”
“The Codex or you?”
“The Codex. You can find a busty blonde anywhere.”
“Not one that tastes…” She shuddered when I dragged my tongue over her neck. “Sweeter than honey.”
“Do you have somewhere safe to keep this so we can go back to the dance floor?”
I nodded, tempted to take her back to my office, and took the journal from her. “I won’t be but a minute…”
In the amount of time I spent storing the Codex in my safe and returning, someone had already joined Sookie’s company.
The man from the line who seemed to recognize her… Unlike the annoyed mood caused by the other attention she’d been receiving, she was neutrally making conversation with the man who seemed to be reciprocating without drooling.
Blond, small frame, muscular, attractive, muscle shirt and flannel pants… large tattoo of a water lily on his shoulder.
Sookie mentioned it was her birth-month’s flower as I approached… If her birth-month flower was the water lily, that would mean her birthday was in July. Soon. Not that there was much difference between 18 and 19, but I might have missed the ‘special occasion’ if it hadn’t been for the mention.
His reply was, “Yeah? What day? It’s my daughter’s too. That’s why I got it. Hers is the 31st.”
Sookie looked over her shoulder to notice me and looked back to her company. “Mine’s the 1st. That’s nice though. My Daddy used to keep a lock from our first haircuts in his wallet… That tattoo’s something she’ll always remember about her daddy… Nice running into you again, but my date’s back. See ya ‘round?”
He sat back as she stood up. He was the first man all night to look at her without gawking. “More than likely… later.”
He hadn’t touched her. He hadn’t sat too close. He hadn’t been suggestive… and he hadn’t seemed to resent her for leaving his company for mine.
Idle small talk was forgivable.
As we walked towards the dance floor, I leaned over to joke, “And you thought no one would follow you from Bon Temps. I’m counting two.”
She laughed and put her hands over mine. “I’m not even sure where that guy’s from… We just keep running into one another. I’ve seen him a few times at football games. He graduated this year too.”
“I should have him investigated. He could be stalking you too.”
She giggled, “Then he’s no good at it. We’ve been randomly bumping into one another since Jason played JV… No van. No puppy…” Perhaps… Bon Temps was a small town… He could have been from one of the other tiny communities in the area and since he didn’t smell like he was from Hotshot, he seemed relatively harmless.
“Not even a Neon and a kitten? So lazy…”
Sookie was laughing when she turned around to back into the crowd like she had earlier. “There’s definitely something to be said for initiative, right?”
I couldn’t help but smile… I nodded. “You won’t hear me argue about that.”
After 6 more songs of watching Sookie’s energized (if not liberated) dancing, the DJ finally played something slow enough to enjoy more contact than the occasional bump or rub…
So, of course we were interrupted…
Her head was resting on my shoulder, her arms were wrapped around my sides, and her heart was still pounding against my chest when Hank approached me.
“Um… ‘scuse me, sir.” Because I’d rather be forced to suffer him.
“You’d better have a stellar excuse for why I shouldn’t cripple you.”
“Ummmm… I hope I do… There’s a chick here. She’s been pretty frisky since she got here, but… warning her hasn’t worked and we just spotted her with her hand in some guy’s pants…”
“Bounce her… given that you’re a BOUNCER.”
“We uhhhh… we tried… She says she’s here with you. I’m not buying it, but… I wanted to make sure.”
“Sookie is my date, and she’s behaving. Bounce. The. Slut. Before. Someone. Calls. The. Health. Department.”
“We’ve bounced her before… She says she’s ‘with Sookie’ though. Name’s Hadley. Does that ring a bell?”
Sookie rested her forehead on my chest and huffed, “Why not? I should have known she’d spot me while she was trolling the crowd for her next free drink.”
“We can put her in a cab.”
She lifted her head and growled, “No we can’t. She’ll have the damn cabbie take her to another club… God only knows who she’ll go home with.”
“Then we’ll take her home… Hank, take her to the limo waiting behind the building.”
He nodded and offered, “Yes sir,” and turned to leave.
“Hank, don’t be friendly. Don’t be gentle. Walk her in the lot like she’s on a leash and have the chauffeur move the bar items to the trunk.”
He spun around to look at me as though I’d gone mad. “Sir?” But Sookie only gave a curious look.
“You heard me. Go.” Once Hank left, I put my mouth to Sookie’s ear. “Being friendly won’t discourage that behavior”
“So… what are we doing?”
“We’re going to finish our dance, pick up a few things from my office, and then I’m going to be a complete asshole to your cousin.”
“Erik, I’m sorry… I…”
“Don’t apologize for her behavior. You had nothing to do with it.”
“I freaking hate her for this… I was having a blast. Can I be a bitch to her?”
“Do whatever you want… I think Pam left her BB gun in my office. Would you like to shoot her?”
She snickered as she laid her head on my shoulder again. “Why would your sister keep a BB gun here?”
“Because of the noise… it’s to get attention so she can tell ugly people to go home. She actually had a badge made. Fashion Police.”
Sookie giggled, “That’s hilarious.”
“Don’t tell her that. It will only encourage her.”
Sookie stood in the doorway to my office while I removed the Codex from my safe and the BB gun from my desk…
And as we walked through the employee entrance, the cousin began clapping her hands. She managed to slur, “Hey cuz!”
Sookie’s lip curled. “Hadley.” I whispered a reminder that telling me to ‘stop’ was all I needed to hear.
“Why didn’t you say hi?”
“Because I’m on a date, Hadley.” Hadley looked at me like the word ‘date’ wasn’t in her vocabulary. I was tempted to suggest ‘trick’. That, she’d understand.
She started staggering towards us, first giving a dirty look to her cousin, then eye-fucking me… “How did a little freak like you…” She stumbled over her own feet. “Get a hottie like him? You win a date from a drawing?” Absolutely galling.
When she reached out like she was going to grab Sookie’s face, I caught her wrist. “Don’t. Touch. Her.”
She snarled at me. “She’s my cousin. Back off, pretty boy…” She made the mistake of trying to dig her gnawed fingernails into my wrist so I would release her. “Let me go!”
When she reached for Sookie again, Sookie stepped away from her.
“I told you to keep your hands to yourself. How many cocks have you touched since the last time you cleaned yourself?” I took a breath to help with my estimate.
“That’s none of your…”
Two kinds of beer, rum, peppermint schnapps, whiskey, gin and… “Six. At least six cocks. I don’t care whose cousin you are. I don’t want my date to smell like you.”
Her eyes widened. “You ASSHOLE! Just what I need, ANOTHER ONE!” If she had another asshole, she could entertain four ‘dates’ at once.
“That’s me. Sookie and I were enjoying a lovely evening until you proved to be a blight on society in a place where the lines of propriety are intentionally blurred. Congratulations. We’re going to take you home where you’re going to sober up instead of adding more cum to your collection. Get in the car.”
“Who the fuck do you think you are!? You’re not my father!”
I shoved her towards the limo. “Of course not. Your father is lucky enough to avoid his cum guzzling, drink-whore of a daughter. For future reference, find another stage to perform daddy-issues on. Right now, you’re going to get in the car.”
“Fuck you! I’m not going anywhere with you!” Oh really?
I walked towards her and her hands instinctively went up to protect herself, but she wasn’t expecting me to grab a fistful of her hair and hold her away from myself as I led her to the car.
Hank ran over to open the door for me to push Hadley into the car. And until the door was closed again, I was expecting Sookie to issue my ‘stop’.
When I turned to look at her, she was hiding her face in her hands… hiding anxiety.
I walked over and put my arms around her. “You could have told me to stop.”
She mumbled into her hands, “Why? You didn’t hurt her. You just turned her on.”
“How sad for her then. If you aren’t crying because I frightened you, then stop. She isn’t worth it.”
She moved her hands to rest her chin between angry little fists. She growled, “She isn’t, but Aunt Linda is… she’s going to be mortified.”
I kissed the top of her head and took her hand to pull her to the limo. “We ran into Hadley here and offered her a ride home. Without the details, your aunt can’t be embarrassed and I doubt Hadley will want to be more forthcoming.”
Sookie pouted her lip. “Thank you.” Considering the face she gave me, I was lucky she wasn’t asking for something… I probably would have given her anything.
“You’re very welcome.”
Hadley had already made herself at home by the time Sookie and I joined her…
She was sprawled out indecently on the long bench, with her shoes off and she was using Sookie’s robe as pillow. Sookie hid her face again, but it was to laugh… Hadley was unknowingly using our cum rag as a headrest.
“There ain’t jack-shit in the bar but water. D’you rent the limo from the church for your date with the goody-two-shoes?”
Sookie took the BB gun from the seat and shot her cousin’s thigh… Hadley was so intoxicated, she barely noticed other than to hold up her middle finger… Sookie aimed for Hadley’s finger, but her hand moved and the BB hit her cheek instead.
“It’s my limo and I had the alcohol moved. Your stench is already enough to gag a maggot. Letting you drink more liquor isn’t an option… And I’m not sure you realize this, but ‘Goody Two Shoes’ isn’t an insult.”
She rolled her eyes and huffed, “Great. Freaky smarty pants times two.”
“Again. Not an insult… and you need to shut your mouth because there isn’t a dick for you to suck here.”
“Sure there is… God knows your date won’t do it… Sookie’s cherry has fruit flies ‘cuz it’s gone bad.” Charming.
“And your cunt gets more traffic than Interstate 20. I’ll take my chances with Sookie.”
“What? You a virgin too?”
“Ohhhhh. I get it. You’re one of those guys… the guys who like ‘em young and innocent. A Cherry-Poppin’-Daddy… Gotcha.” I’d thrown people from balconies for less.
“Let’s get something clear, shall we? Being a cum dumpster isn’t why you’re being taken home instead of just being bounced out of a club. Your mother is a good woman and deserves to know where her daughter is sleeping once in a while.” I made a mental note to thank Pam for the new insults in my vocabulary.
She yelled at the ceiling, “My mother!? You’re… You’re Erik!? The patron saint of Stackhouse? Fucking figures! Just my fucking luck. I go to Glamour and run into my stuck up, freakazoid cousin and Mr. Fucking Perfect… and they’re gonna take me home so I can listen to my mother fuck her boyfriend all night. FAN FUCKING TASTIC!”
I turned to Sookie and asked, “Linda’s dating someone?”
Sookie bit the corner of her lip and tried to keep from laughing at my blatant attempt to ignore Hadley. “Yeah…”
Hadley added, “And if his kids ever talked to their mother like I talk to mine he’d knock them through a wall, adult or not…” She’d deepened her tone to mock the man, but given the impersonation, I already had a reason to like him.
Sookie shook her head. “And when he told you that, you reminded him his kids can’t talk to her because she’s dead… You’re awesome Hadley!” I took Sookie’s chin to have her look at me and pointed at myself to remind her we were ignoring her cousin. Sookie huffed, “Anyway, Jack’s kids are older, both in college. They’re staying quiet because they haven’t been together long and his wife’s only been gone a couple of years. Haven’t met families yet.”
“Does your grandmother approve?”
“Yeah. She’s not crazy about not meeting him, but Gran likes him already because he’s good to Aunt Linda…”
Hadley interrupted, “Not as much as Mr. Fucking Perfect. Rich and willing to put up with a freak like Sookie… what’s not to like!?”
I had to put my arm around Sookie’s waist to put her back on the seat next to me. She wiggled and squirmed to try to get away from me, putting up an impressive fight for such a little thing. She growled through gnashed teeth, “I’m gonna kill her.”
I chuckled and pulled her down to the seat to lay on my side to block her view of Hadley. I caught her attention and whispered, “Kill who? I don’t see anyone.” Sookie and I both needed the distraction.
Sookie whimpered, “She’s so hateful.”
“She isn’t gorgeous or intelligent like you are, so she’s nothing more than public transportation. I’m not surprised she’s envious and hostile towards you.”
“If she calls me a freak again, I’m going to twist her ears off…” Sookie took a deep breath and sighed, “You’re really sweet to put up with her.” Hadley was nothing compared to some nuisances.
“I’m not putting up with her. I’m ignoring her. I don’t think it will take her long to pass out. She’s most likely struggling to eavesdrop.”
She was quiet for a moment before she tried to sit up, but I held her still. She smiled, snickering quietly. “I’m not going after her. Promise.”
She sat up and reached over my legs, and when she laid down again, she had the Codex in her hand.
She began turning the pages to study the sketches. “Maybe I have weird standards, but I love that you have a thing for books. Yeah, sure, you’ve got the collection. That’s cool and all, but you actually read. Our librarian jokes that she spends more time dusting the shelves than anything else.”
“Your interest isn’t any less refreshing to me… When I explained why I needed the storage units, I was expecting you to side in favor of fashion.”
She scoffed quietly, “Not me. I wear what’s comfy… My favorite outfit cost me $3.” She pointed towards her cousin, whose breathing was deepening. “I tried one of those on once. Sure, I liked the way it looked, but I’m convinced anyone who says corsets are comfortable is just used to it. I like being able to move.”
I slid my hand under her slip and ran it over her stomach and ribs. “But you know the type of person I mean… What would Tara prefer?”
She actually moved the Codex to accommodate my hand. “Tara would prefer if Sookie let her pick her outfits for her… But Tara is cut from the same cloth, pardon the pun, as Pam. Tara couldn’t get into design school, so she’s taking business classes so she can open her own retail clothing shop.”
“I’m surprised to hear she has a plan. She seems flighty.”
She turned a page and said, “She’s that too.” She was splitting her attention between me and the Codex and I was almost positive I was losing to the Codex. It barely occurred to me to be offended (at least slightly) when I realized how uncharacteristic it was that I wasn’t ignoring her to look it over.
“Am I competing with the Codex for your attention?” It was the first time being ignored left me amused rather than incensed.
She snorted, “You and Bill freakin’ Gates fight over these things. It’s not much of a competition, Erik. You know how cool this is.” Bill Gates was nothing compared to how determined a Pope can be.
I chuckled, “Oh really?”
She giggled and kissed the tip of my nose. “I’m sure you don’t hear this very often, but this is sexier than you.”
She whimpered when I took it from her, sniffling and acting as though she was going to cry as I carefully placed it on the sill under the back window. “When I leave you tonight, I’ll translate it for you… But for now, you’re Mine.” Translating it for her would give me something to do in my hotel room.
For a moment, she tried to hide how happy the idea made her, but when she gave up the attempt, she rolled to her side and rested her hand on the side of my neck to run her thumb over my ear. “Now that’s a kind of spoiling I can get used to… Thank you.” Free spoiling? No such thing.
“I can’t decide if I like your minimalism or not.”
She made a sympathetic face and offered, “Sorry. It is what it is… Think you’ll adjust to what a demanding brat I am?”
“You realize I already felt like I’d stumbled upon a unicorn, don’t you? You’re the antithesis of everything I see of people… The fact that you expect me to come to you with empty hands is completely foreign to me.”
“I figured as much when I saw your platinum card… It’s a shame too. You’re a nice guy, but it seems like you’ve got a lot more practice at being an asshole.”
“Maybe I’m an asshole with just enough practice pretending to be nice.”
She stared at me for a moment before she smirked and offered, “If you say so, buddy… If that’s true then you had me fooled.” Her ‘crazy sensitive bullshit-meter’ couldn’t be 100% accurate apparently.
“I’m sorry to disappoint you… but I sneak up on blind people, poison orphans, skin small animals alive and right now, my wife and army of little Eriks are wondering where I am.”
Her body curled up and shook violently while she laughed quietly, calling me a smart ass. Remembering the rest of our conversation, she snickered, “They need to get over it. After all, you’re a Vampire. You have seducing to do.”
I had the temptation to out myself. I couldn’t even call the notion brief… if anything, trying to decide how to confirm it could be called lingering…
Hundreds of years and anytime any Human showed even the slightest hint they knew about Vampires and they were glamoured to forget the information. All of a sudden, I wanted to enlighten someone.
Not just someone. Sookie. While Sookie Stackhouse wasn’t just any Human, she was the first Human to have my attention for something other than sustenance and relief… But she was still hiding something from me. I tried to tell myself I was tempted to tell her what I was because I was hoping she’d reciprocate, but that wasn’t it.
I was in new territory…
I didn’t want to fuck her. I wanted to be with her.
I didn’t want to feed from her. I wanted to savor her.
I wasn’t suffering her company. I was taking pleasure in it.
And her family wasn’t a bother I wanted to lead her away from. They were engaging in their own right.
If I wanted any of that, telling her wasn’t going to be possible.
And it was maddening to try to understand why the idea of keeping one secret needled me to no end.
I faked my way through conversation and tried to ignore how fucking dismal my situation was until we pulled into the driveway of Linda’s house.
Unlike Sookie’s house, Linda’s was sealed. There wasn’t an open window anywhere to be seen other than those of the white pickup truck parked next to the station wagon.
Sookie and I left Hadley snoring in the limo to knock on the door… I was sure my invitation to Linda’s home would be trickier.
After Sookie knocked, there was a series of sleepy grunting and shuffling before a deep voice asked, “Who the hell’s comin’ by… Damn Hon, it’s already after one…”
Linda sighed as footsteps started for the door, “Probably someone coming to tell me Hadley’s in trouble…” When she opened the door in her robe and slippers, she gave us a confused look, but forced a smile. “What in the world? What are you two doing here?” She pushed the storm door open and ordered, “Get your butts inside and don’t you dare sugarcoat anything.”
Sookie shook her head and began explaining before her foot crossed the threshold. “Don’t worry… Nothing happened to Gran… We were just at Erik’s club and we ran into Hadley. We’re just bringing her home. She’s asleep in the car and we thought you’d get scared if you saw her getting carried.” As I stepped into the house, I was distracted from how easily I’d gotten the invitation by Linda’s scent. The closed house had practically bottled her fragrance.
Linda’s posture relaxed immediately and she took a moment to appreciate nothing horrible had happened. “Oh thank God…” She hugged Sookie, then me… She reeked. Linda was not only rife with the mysterious intensity she shared with Sookie, but she was carrying the thick scent of Wolf along with it. “Now when you say ‘bringing her home’, you mean keeping her from going home with a stranger and ‘asleep’ translates to ‘passed out’.”
Sookie cringed and breathed, “Yeah.”
“Was she a snot?”
“Isn’t she always?”
Linda shook her head and sighed and finally called towards the back of the house, “Jack, it’s just my niece Sookie and her beau… they’re bringing Hadley home. They don’t bite.” Yes we do… Sookie just didn’t bite hard enough.
The deep voice answered. “Yeah. I’m coming… I just couldn’t find my shoes.”
Linda offered, “We crashed watching a movie. We didn’t expect we’d last long since Jack worked all day in the heat and I was canning preserves with Momma. Jack rented Independence Day… The first half hour is great, but we’d just eaten dinner. As soon as the old people were cool and comfy, the Sandman went to work.”
When Jack stepped into the hallway, he spotted me and balked. Thanks to his large frame, it was far from subtle.
He straightened his belt nervously and tried to wipe the fear from his face as he offered his hand to Sookie, “Hello… Jackson Herveaux. Nice to meet you.”
Sookie smiled as she shook his hand. “Nice to meet you too.” He stared at her for a moment before she explained, “It was a Pajama Party theme at the club tonight. We weren’t just being lazy, I swear.” Despite the reason for us to be wearing bedclothes, he still seemed to be confused.
He gave me a surprised look when I offered my hand. As though keeping up appearances wasn’t just as important to Vampires. “Erik Nordmann.”
“Yeah… I’ve heard your name around Shreveport. Chamber of Commerce. Um… So Hadley’s passed out in the car? Want help bringing her in?”
I nodded and turned to walk out while Linda asked Sookie how our date had been before Hadley ruined it.
Jack was just behind me and waited until we were in the driveway to say anything.
“I have to ask… Is this going to be a thing? I don’t want any trouble.”
“Why would you think this is a problem?” It wasn’t as though either of us could afford being disagreeable.
He snorted, “Because I haven’t told Lin I’m a Were. We haven’t been a couple for long so I’m still kind of feeling her out. Have you told Sookie?”
“Vampires don’t tend to share that information with Humans. Am I correct in assuming you can tell there’s something unique about the family?”
“Other than their scent, you mean? Yeah. Little stuff. Lin’s smart as a whip and she just has a way of looking at things. Nothing gets by her either. Whatever she is, she’s keeping it close to the vest. I’ve been coming up empty, but I haven’t been around as much as you.”
“A long existence hasn’t helped… All I’ve been able to do is rule out options. What was the look you gave Sookie when you shook her hand?”
“Sorry… I… Lin said Sookie’s ‘special’… I was honestly expecting to meet a retard… Hadley’s bullshit didn’t help with that. She keeps calling her a freak. And all I know about Sookie kind of points to that. She spends all of her time with her grandmother and has a simple job. Paints the picture anyway.”
“I can see that… Has Linda made any Werewolf jokes, anything offhand to make you think she might know about you?”
He nodded. “Maybe… but it could be in my head too. Little stuff like ‘old dog, new tricks’ and ‘dog tired’… that little bitch Hadley though, she’s the one that gets me thinking. She calls me ‘two-faced’ and ‘shifty’. I can’t tell if she’s just being a cunt or if she’s too stupid to keep her mouth shut.”
“After what I witnessed tonight, I’d say she’s hateful and ignorant… and advertises it with a bullhorn.”
“What about you?”
“There have been several Vampire mentions, but oddly enough, I’ve yet to hear any dog related idioms. And I bought a puppy for Sookie…”
“Shit. I bet they know and they just aren’t saying anything. Or at least in part… We’re trying to figure them out, so they could be trying to figure us out. This place is isolated as hell. They could know we’re ‘different’, just not how.”
“There seems to be a simple way to settle this… Shift and scamper into the house. I’ll glamour them if they overreact.”
He laughed, “You’re a funny bastard! Tell you what, I’m busy right now… why don’t you meet me here around lunchtime. We’ll do it then.”
I chuckled, “Touché,” as I opened the door.
“How do you want to do this?”
“I’ll carry her in, just take her shoes and lead the way.”
“You want some help getting her out at least?”
I shook my head and reached into the limo to grab one of Hadley’s ankles to yank her off the seat. Jack began chuckling as soon as he heard the loud thud from Hadley’s head hitting the floor. I wasn’t exactly gentle when I flipped the nasty little bitch over to grab her ankles and used her corset to hold up the rest of her body either. I didn’t want to touch any more of her than I had to.
Sookie and Linda couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry, and likened my cargo to a bale of hay… I followed Jack down the hallway and when he opened her bedroom door, I changed my plans. “Where’s the bathroom?”
He backed up and opened a second door…
I dropped Hadley into the tub without so much as a grunt, dumped an entire bottle of bodywash over her and turned the showerhead on… Somehow, the cold water shocked her enough to bring her out of her stupor.
Mother fucker, cocksucker, son of a bitch, giant fag… Her vocabulary knew no bounds.
While she struggled to control her arms enough to rinse the soap from herself, I washed her filth from my hands and had Jack join me in her room…
It looked as though it had already been ransacked. It was the only eyesore in an otherwise pristinely kept house on a well manicured lot with carefully tended flowers… There were clothes strewn everywhere and she’d been drinking heavily enough her bed smelled like a bar rag. The odors coming from the dirty clothing were sickening…
Jack asked, “What are we doing?”
“We’re ‘searching’ her room for drugs.”
He cleared his throat and began opening drawers in her dresser. I whistled to get his attention and pulled the drawer of the nightstand out and dumped it out. “Like this. If we don’t do it with zeal, our senses of smell are in question.”
He shrugged and began dumping her things. “I’ve never had to do this shit… My kids… I don’t want to say they knew better because I know Lin didn’t raise Hadley like this, but… I guess you could say my kids are smart enough to know I’m smarter. They’d break curfew or lie about what they were doing. Typical kid shit, you know, testing boundaries.” There was still a steady stream of slurred obscenities being shouted in the bathroom.
I pulled the pillows out of the cases and then pushed the mattress from the box spring. “I did the same thing… and when I was caught, I accepted my fucking punishments. I grew out of that well before I was Hadley’s age though.”
He spun around and whispered, “I swear, I think I can smell a dozen guys in here.”
“She was asked to leave my club for jerking someone off on the dance floor. She’s been with at least 6 men tonight and practically offered to blow me before she passed out.”
He shook his head and went back to his task. “How the hell doesn’t she have AIDs or a bunch of kids?”
“Luck and abortions.”
“God knows it’s not birth control… I’ve got two packs here…”
When I found a pair of prescription bottles with Linda’s name on them hidden in the base of a lamp, I asked, “Why is Linda taking muscle relaxers and pain killers?”
He turned around to scowl. “She’s stealing her mother’s meds?”
I nodded and tossed the bottles to him. “Why is that a surprise?”
“Because that’s low.”
I opened the closet to begin tossing clothing onto the floor. “Let me know if you find a line she won’t cross. I have what I came for. Did you find anything sealed?” A jacket with pockets full of cocaine and ecstasy capsules.
He raised an eyebrow. “Impressive.”
“I own a night club. I smell it too often.”
As I walked towards the bathroom, he followed curiously. Hadley had closed the curtain, so I was given the added fun of startling her when I yanked it out of my way.
“Asshole! What the fuck do you want!?”
“I thought I’d offer to bring the garden hose in so you can wash your dates out of you.” Jack chuckled from the doorway.
I smiled and held up the bag of powder first and when she tried to snatch it out of my hand, I dumped it into the tub with her. She watched her coke dissolve the soap bubbles and swirl down the drain in horror before she began to wail… and she dropped to her knees to try to rescue the tablets once I scattered them into the tub at her feet.
“I suggest you pursue a career in porn… You already humiliate your family, but if you star as the meat in a few gang bang videos, at least you’ll be able to support yourself instead of leeching. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take your cousin home and when I leave, like every man you’ve ever met, I’m going to do my best to forget I touched you. Goodnight.”
When I turned to leave the bathroom, Jack, Linda and Sookie backed away to make room… and all three of them heeled as I went back to the foyer.
Linda started, “Erik, I’m sorry… She…”
“You don’t need to make excuses for her. Bad nuts fall from good trees. That isn’t your doing… We found some of your medication when we looted her room. Do you have a way to lock it up?”
She nodded on the verge of tears. “Yeah… I have a small safe. Why not lock up my medicine? I already have to put my purse in it when I go to bed.” That was absolutely insane.
“Have you considered forcing her into some kind of treatment?”
Linda huffed, “When she was still a minor, she burned bridges with every therapist between Bossier and Monroe… And she can just check herself out of rehab now. I guess I get to watch her kill herself slowly.”
“Coming from the mastermind behind depraved little doll ransom notes and crawfish bedmates, I’m sure you can think of something.”
“I’ve tried everything… She’s just… she’s got a gift for being cruel and selfish.” Not that I could have possibly cared less for Hadley’s wellbeing… her mother’s hopelessness was pitiful.
“Then maybe we can come up with something if we brainstorm together.”
“I guess it’s worth a shot… Y’all are going to Jason’s party tomorrow night… would you like to brainstorm over Sunday Supper?”
“I’m unavailable Sunday until nearly nine, but I’ll leave for Bon Temps as soon as I’m free as long as it isn’t too late for you.”
She tried to force a grin as she approached me for another hug. “We’ll be there.”
Sookie was moping quietly until the car was pulling out of Linda’s driveway.
“Alright… I kind of learned my lesson with the real estate thing, but that was business and this is family so I have to mention the ‘false hope’ thing again…”
“I’m going to do some research between now and Sunday to see what I can come up with.”
“So you don’t have any ideas.” I had plenty of ideas. I had to research details… and evaluate how far Linda was willing to go.
“It doesn’t seem to me Hadley has any idea how dangerous her lifestyle is. Scaring her seems to be the last avenue.”
“So you do have an idea, but you aren’t going to give me any clues.”
“In your estimation, what can you imagine happening to her?”
Sookie rested her head on the back of the seat and studied the ceiling for a moment before she huffed, “I don’t know… I guess getting sick, having babies she’ll hate or something permanent happening to her.”
“Diseases and children are permanent.”
“I mean like something that can’t be fixed… scars or whatever. Like she stole and wrecked Gran’s car while she was drunk. On top of everything else, she thinks she’s indestructible now because she walked away from that with nothing but a split lip and Gran’s car was totaled.”
“Adele doesn’t have a car?”
“No… Jason and Aunt Linda are schlepping us around until we can find something.” Her fucking non-spoiling treaty.
I had to force myself back to the original subject. “Then I’ll be researching the subject of medicine for options. We’ll need some sort of starting point.”
She forced out a deep breath and studied my knees for a moment. She finally said, “You don’t have to… Hadley isn’t your problem.”
“Ah… you’re wrong about that…” I slid my arm under Sookie’s legs to pull them over mine. “You see, by doing what I can to correct her behavior, I’m proactively making an effort to ensure the pleasant tenor of our future dates.”
She cracked a smile. “Somehow you just made wasting time on Hadley sound pragmatic… and romantic. How the hell did that happen?” Her guess was as good as mine. Romance wasn’t in my repertoire.
“Accidently. Pragmatism is my strength.”
She raised an eyebrow, but rather than saying anything, she took my hand from her thigh to lace our fingers together…
She watched the scenery go by, stroking the back of my thumb with hers, until we pulled into her driveway.
Something else I rarely experienced.
She gave a confused look when I led her to the trunk… and narrowed her eyes when I removed another gift bag.
“I gave up ‘no-limit dates’ too easily, didn’t I?” Yes… she definitely had.
“You live, you learn.”
She took a bracing breath as she reached into the bag… “I seriously… I want to see what your imagination can do with $20 more than I want…” She raised an eyebrow when she removed a white bikini top embroidered with red flowers. “Wow… this is gorgeous.” She fished into the bag again to find the bottoms and matching sarong. “I’m definitely gonna be laying out in the morning.” Oh no. Poor me.
“I’m working through options for your Treaty gift… and now that I have your birthday to think about…”
She winced. “You heard that, huh?”
“I did. I never would have agreed to the ceiling if I’d known how soon your birthday is.”
She teased, “You live, you learn.”
“You had your birthday in mind when you began negotiations, didn’t you?”
She smirked. “I’m not admitting to anything… Alright… give me a kiss goodnight so I can go to bed and pout about our crashed date.” Hadley might have only distracted us for half an hour. I’d hardly call our date ‘crashed’.
“No… You’re to go to sleep thinking about me, remember?”
She huffed, “Sorry… the slutty cousin shows up, the date ends up on the rocks…”
I bent over as though I was going to kiss her and stopped short. “I refuse to surrender our evening to your cousin. She was but a detour.”
When she stared back at me as though she was determined to wallow, I scooped her off her feet and walked towards the house. She narrowed her eyes and asked, “What are you doing?”
“I’ll concede to the idea that a DaVinci Codex is sexier than I am, but I’m not willing to lose your attention to Hadley.”
I walked into the house, up the stairs, into Sookie’s room to place her on the side of her bed.
I knelt at her feet to begin removing her shoes and she wryly asked, “And you think tucking me in is going to do that?” I couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Extreme conditions call for extreme measures.”
She didn’t balk when I reached for her panties this time… she actually rolled her eyes. “You have a one track mind.” Sookie. For more than a week… Just. Sookie.
I nodded as I tossed her panties aside and answered, “You could say that… Lie down.”
She growled. “What are you doing?”
“Making sure you’re thinking about me when you go to sleep… Lie down.”
She narrowed her eyes before she leaned back, propping herself up on her elbows. “What are you up to?”
I pushed my cheek along her thigh slowly, only pausing for the occasional nip. “Chances are good… if you have to ask… the answer is… ‘no good’.”
She watched me, biting the corner of her lip. “I’ll bet… but… Erik?”
“Did I need to fuck you to make you cum earlier?”
She blushed, cringing as she answered, “No.”
I moved to her other thigh, pulling the other over my shoulder, inching along slowly as my fangs reminded me how much I wanted her… “Since I haven’t forgotten… you want to enjoy every step… between kissing… and fucking… you should do your best… to stay quiet…”
I pulled her other leg over my shoulder, and moved towards her slowly, giving a light lick before answering, “So your grandmother doesn’t wake up and think you’re in pain.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Why would shhh-”
I didn’t let her finish asking before I wrapped my mouth around her lips to push my tongue between them and roll circles over her clit…
Her eyes tilted back and she crashed to the bed, arching her back…
Writhing… gasping… humming… bucking against my mouth…
Her heels dug into my shoulders…
And the way she breathed my name…
The way it sounded when she begged…
Throbbing against my tongue…
Pulling my hair…
Reaching for a pillow and settling for her quilt…
One wave after another until I was sure she’d lost count…
Each time her scent and cum became sweeter and sweeter…
And all the while, I ached for the temptation just under her skin…
I probably could have gotten away with it…
Nicking her skin to steal a little taste… use my sense of fairness as my excuse… after all, she’d had mine…
Telling myself the taste of her cum would have to be enough was starting to fail when she seized…
Her entire body became rigid to the point that she was holding her breath as her pelvic muscles clenched and released and as soon as it was over… she began trembling.
I stood up to loom over her… her hair was tangled and matted to her sweaty face, tears were running from her eyes, and the corners of her mouth were turned up ever so slightly…
I moved a few strands of hair from her forehead before I decided it was a lost cause until she could shower. “Now, when I say you’re to go to bed thinking about me, I’m serious.”
She tried to giggle, but it sounded like a snort. “Yes sir… no arguments.”
I wedged my arms under her to move her head to the pillow and pulled her blanket over her. “Good girl…”
She shook her head. “I don’t need that… I’ll die as hot as it is… I just use the sheet.” It wasn’t until then that I realized how used to the sound of air conditioning I’d become. The windows had been open because the house wasn’t climate controlled… I was far from comfortable with that… She might as well be sleeping on the lawn for all the security a screen provided.
I nodded, resolving to wait until later to curse her Non-spoiling Treaty…
“Do you have to go?”
“I still have things to do before I can rest… I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
“K… Do you mind locking the door on your way out? I’m not sure I can walk right now.”
I bent to kiss her, wondering what the fuck the point was to having locks if a table knife could breech the windows. “Goodnight.”
I didn’t bother waiting… I wasn’t to the staircase yet before my wheels started spinning…
I had a healthy imagination… but how the fuck was I supposed to manage air conditioning and a car with the few loopholes I had?
I was distracted by a breathy giggle… Sookie cooed, “Don’t even think about it, butthead.”
I was still chuckling when I walked out of the house…
She may very well be perfect for me if she knew I was already plotting.