It was becoming painfully obvious to me that waking up to her smell was growing from an enjoyable bonus to a nagging craving.
She wasn’t there.
She wasn’t in the room, only faint traces that she’d been in recently.
If Pam rose as early as I do, she surely would have felt how disappointed I was… and I’d have to deal with how amused she’d be… forever.
Hoping for Sookie to only be distracted from the time of day by something trivial, I concentrated on her emotions… and I felt her determination…
Proving myself right lifted my mood… Another line item Pam would use against me if she could.
Waiting for Sookie to return to me, I found my phone on its charger once again and began checking my messages.
- I have collected the list of books you’ve given me; Canterbury Tales and the Little House franchise as well as Anna Karenina are waiting for you in your library.
- I received shipping confirmation for the medic alert bracelet for Pam. It will arrive in three days.
- The repairs were done to the edge of the pool yesterday. The workers gave me the message that the repairs will take a little while to set completely because of the humidity and to ‘take it easy’ on the section.
- The investigation into Bartlett Hale didn’t offer much information. It seems as though he is elderly and not much more than financials and residential data were found. The file is in your safe.
- The new windows are installed in the Stackhouse residence as requested. The Security company wants to know when would be a convenient time to offer the tutorial because they’re done too.
- The Stackhouse home is now overhead free through the end of January. There was no water bill since they use well water. The power bill was already on a ‘budget plan’ making it easy to pay for the next few months as well as the last month. I took the liberty of filling the oil tank and making sure their window units have plenty of Freon too. The mortgage is now current and paid through the year.
- I managed to find a ‘banana collector’ who was clearing out their collection on ebay and I easily found several banana scented candles, bath products and a cookbook on Amazon. There are more than a hundred banana themed items en route to Shreveport as I type.
- The ball gags were hard to collect but there are more than 20 of them waiting for Pam when she returns from business.
- The chair was delivered just today while I was receiving the Stackhouse vehicles. They are as ‘clean’ as they will ever get considering their age.
- I met with the contractors today. The painting will begin tomorrow and only take two days. The gazebo has been ordered and will be installed in time for the painters to include it in the job.
- And there are structural issues due to the age of the house. The firm to complete the construction on the safe room doesn’t recommend excavating. I need a ‘next step’.
Was that so fucking hard?
Have the old aluminum shed replaced with a large wooden one (paint white to match the other structures on the property) and have the safe room hidden beneath it.
…make sure to have the old one removed.
You get to keep your job, among other things… for now.
I’m really keeping my fingers crossed for you and your company that the weather holds out. The forecast is calling for storms later tonight and Mrs. Stackhouse seemed so excited to go on the walking cemetery tour when we made the reservations… She’s so sweet though. She says that if you’re rained out, it’s somebody’s way of telling y’all to take a night to relax. She wouldn’t let me make backup plans either. Please call me if you want me to run out and get any movies or board games for y’all. The cabinet over the washer and dryer is stocked with storm supplies too; flashlights, candles and all. I know you don’t need them, but since you have humans in the house… You know.
Mrs. Stackhouse was so cute when I gave her the camera you asked for. She ran out to the garden to take pictures of the flowers and ran around like a kid with a new toy. She probably filled the memory card already, but it came with a USB cord so you can clear it off for her before you leave for your sightseeing.
I’m sorry… I called every haberdashery, tailor and seamstress in the phone book and none of them do house calls. Since everyone needs to stay on the property, I had to use my imagination and went to a thrift store to find some suits that might fit Mr. Stackhouse. I had some luck and managed to get a good fit so that I’d know what size to get. I ended up ordering one medium grey and one navy blue silk suit for him. I can buy his shirts and ties when I stop by tomorrow to pick them up, but I wasn’t sure enough about the colors to commit to anything until I hear from you. He told me that he is a ‘wash and wear’ kind of guy so I went to the department store and bought jeans and T-s with his incidentals. I’ll buy him whatever else you think he needs. Just let me know. He was just too shy to ask for anything else.
I really appreciate the job offer, and flattered to boot, but relocating would just cost more money than I have. Besides, you’re only really impressed with me because of how well I know my way around down here. I’d be lost in Shreveport and pretty much useless. Besides, who would get your house ready for you when you visit NOLA?
Let me know if y’all need anything.
Well done. Thank you very much. Your efforts, especially in the matter of Jason’s dress attire, are above and beyond what I could have hoped for.
I’m going to leave Jason’s accessories up to you since you obviously know what you’re doing. I’ve never been one to fix what isn’t broken.
I’m sure, storms or no, we will manage just fine. Don’t sit by the phone waiting for us to interrupt your evening.
As for relocating, I’m not sure you understand when I say I’m prepared to offer you anything. The adage that ‘good help is hard to find’ isn’t overstated. I’m certainly willing to cover your expenses of moving and setting up house in Shreveport. Since your duties would increase, a raise goes without saying. And to take care of your concerns of being ‘lost’, we can most definitely arrange for a GPS as a safeguard. The offer still stands… with enthusiasm.
I’m sure there will be a list waiting for you in the morning.
Enjoy your night.
My next step was to offer Paulette the car and condo she was worth… Good help wasn’t as hard to find, as it was hard to transfer it seems.
I wasn’t surprised to see that I had voicemail, just who it was from.
Sophie-Ann’s lawyer, rather: one-man-legal-team, had called to leave a message about being by at 10pm with Sookie’s contract if he didn’t hear otherwise.
I took a moment to enjoy the personal victory while I waited for the time and date nonsense to be out of the way for the next message… The intense ‘negotiation’ I had prepared myself for turned out to be more of a shopping list of preferences that was simply checked off.
The second message was from one of the queen’s donors asking to make arrangements to discretely meet with Hadley at the queen’s request. How very considerate.
The third message left me hollow. A shell… the presence of an emptiness I was sure I’d felt the zenith of in my multitude of boring years… I was so wrong.
Detective Coughlin called with ‘good’ news. “Sheriff Northman, we finally got the warrant. We picked him up as he was leaving work and had his DNA samples taken while he was being processed. It should all be over soon. It’ll only take a few days to get the results back. Thanks for all your help.”
Thanks, indeed. I’d helped get a ‘killer off the streets’. Wonderful.
I suppose I should be happy that my project of keeping him from killing enough women to make national headlines was successful… I was definitely pleased that Sookie would be enjoying the gratification of helping her brother. Finding a facet of her gift that she could be proud of (rather than annoyed by) should definitely improve her perspective on her talent.
What was screaming at me loud enough to drown out my rational side was an anger based anxiety…
I’d given Sookie the key to her gilded cage.
Sookie is going… home.
Not leaving my care… leaving me.
The surgical removal of my ‘telepathic growth’…
Ridiculous scenarios sped through my thoughts…
I could arrange to bail Rene out then have him ‘disappear’. They would stay with me indefinitely… I could arrange to have his DNA samples tampered with to extend their stay… I could arrange a ‘3 hour tour’ in the gulf. Being ‘stranded’ though…
As though the cosmos had a sense of humor like my own, a sudden thunderclap rattled the house. The universe was laughing at me.
The echo of rain bombarding the windows behind the blackout curtains did nothing but jab away at my nerves.
I could do nothing for the storm, but I could kill Pam on the principle…
It wasn’t her fault that I’d miss seeing, being with, touching Sookie every night… but I could take it out on Pam for being so fucking right about how I felt.
My head jerked to stare at the door when I heard footsteps coming up the stairs…
Barefoot, quietly creeping along slowly… too slowly…
I was so centered on the sounds of her tiny feet inching along the hardwood that I jumped at the sudden jangle caused when she took hold of the doorknob.
The door inched open as it would in an old horror movie.
She peered into the room and then the anxiety was over. She stepped into the room at a more normal pace, feeling irked and swinging the door shut behind her. “Damn it.”
She giggled on her way to the bed, confusing me. “I just like being with you when you wake up.” At least it’s a mutual neediness.
I watched her put her knees on the bed at my feet and crawl up to straddle me… I rested my hands on the curves of her hips, doing my best to seem in good humor. “What’s to blame?”
“Your backgammon board… Gran kicked my ass. I had a good lead until she started rolling doubles. It’s Jason’s turn to be embarrassed now.” The determination.
“You were in here just a while ago.”
Sookie jumped at a sudden crackle of nearby thunder and smiled into the dark when she recovered. “When I came in for dinner Jason started whining about my bikini. I came to grab some clothes.” Jason, the joy kill.
“How is he reacting? Is he giving you any grief about being with me?”
She huffed. “He tried at breakfast. Gran shut him down before I had the chance to say anything.” My own personal fan club: Adele Stackhouse.
“How did she manage that?”
“She hit him… slapped him upside his head and told him that she’d be surprised if he ever treated a girl half as good as you treat me… Shut. Right. Down.”
I chuckled. The only thing I could think of that I didn’t appreciate about that woman was that we’d outlive her. “Can you suggest a fair bonus for that?”
She giggled while her eyes rolled around, searching for the answer. “Jonathan Swift. George Orwell.”
I was stunned that Sookie gave me something. “You already had them in mind?”
“I was being goofy while I laid out today. I got to thinking of stuff that Gran might like.”
“What did you think of?”
She smirked at me. “I’m not telling. I want to have some fun spoiling her too.”
I smiled at her. “Understandable.”
“At least I got to see the look on her face when Maxine Fortenberry called this morning to ask if Gran hit the lotto.” Fucking busy body.
“What do you know?”
“Gran is going to love her chair… But what was Bobby doing with our cars?”
“They were just being tuned up and detailed. You said you’d refuse a new one.”
She giggled slapping my shoulder. “Stop. You’re spending a fortune on us and we’re not like that.” Not being the type to expect gifts is what made giving them so much fun…
“Not only am I taking care of my pet, but we negotiated ‘bonuses’.”
She pushed her lips together, hiding a smile behind her realization that I have a loophole that allows me to indulge her. “Please. It’s all very sweet, but… I have this manager that just negotiated one hell of a contract for me and for the first time in my life I’m going to feel self sufficient.”
I found her hands, lacing our fingers together. “Then I have a confession.”
Her fingers tightened around mine. “Ohhhh, you sneaky… damn… vampire! What else did you do?”
I smiled at her, knowing that if I hadn’t taken her hands, I’d have been swatted at like a housefly again. “I ordered some work to be done to your house. All of it is minor updating except for the light tight safe room for the property. And I promise not to order anything else so that you can enjoy taking care of it yourself… I still reserve the right to spoil you though.”
She brightened. “A safe room? What for?”
“It seems that Adele has invited Bubba to visit. I’m sure the queen will be more secure with Hadley’s visits if she has a sound resting place… And I might find an occasional use for it.”
She leaned over smiling, kissing me. “You might, huh?”
My mood was already improving just having her with me, but suddenly my situation was recovering immeasurably. I lifted my hips into her, letting her hands go to hold her mouth to mine.
She let herself become breathless before she pulled away, dragging her tongue down the tip of my fang as she did. She rocked her hips against me as she slowly lifted her tank top away, unveiling her delicious breasts… my hands drawn to them magnetically. No bra… no tan lines… gracious little nipples, just begging for a pinch, a cool breath, a bite…
“Hmmmm, do your panties match?”
She smirked coyly. “My underthings always match.”
She started inching her shorts over her hips, locking her smolder on me.
“No. Stand up. Show me.”
She bit her bottom lip, pivoting her neck as she questioned my seriousness. She finally resolved herself… rocking back to take her feet, standing over me…
She was shy as she started pushing her shorts down again, nervous, insecure of being watched… balancing on one foot, then the other to be rid of the last thing coming between us at the moment… and with more poise than she thought she had.
“Beautiful.” The added heat from her blush wasn’t lost on me. ‘Pudgy’? That shit Burnham knew nothing… Curves. Soft voluptuous curves.
Sookie wasn’t just another strung out rail with no self esteem… she was a woman with no grasp of how enticing she is… so untouched… so pristine…
She leaned… moving to lower herself again.
“Wait… I want to watch you.”
She winced, wanting to resist, as much as wanting to comply… I watched the battle play out on her face with her eyes locked on mine… unintentionally intensifying the situation.
“I know you know how.”
She slammed her eyelids down, finally relenting… her hand balked, hoping to stop herself… embarrassed.
Her little fingers danced over her clit, ineffective at first…. Slowly replacing her feeling of discomfort was a low resonating bliss and warmth as she relaxed to her task…
“Sookie, open your eyes.”
She hesitated, finally obeying me… giving me the shine from her eyes to go with everything else in her arsenal…
I started stroking myself. The act was only a comfort measure for her… My accidental vixen’s performance above me had already done its damage… Her arousal filled the room as her fingers glistened, sliding in and out of her divine body. The small noises sneaking from her throat…
I enjoyed every twitch of her tone thighs, watching her struggle to keep her legs under herself as her breathing quickened… finding use for her other hand, playing with her already drawn nipple…
Her lust filled me as it grabbed her, took her over, tying to my own and pushing my patience…
I growled, “Come for me, Sookie.”
I was lost for a moment… following the trail… a bead of her sweet sap trickled down her thigh. It was an escape all on its own.
She bit her lip, getting closer still… her eyes still locked on mine, telling me she was only doing this because I asked…
Her body began to tremble, racked by want, craving, need…
Humming and panting, her jaw clenched trying to stifle the panicked gasp of letting go… shuddering and jerking through her release…
I sat up, pulling her hand to me… licking away every drop of her flavor… taking her hips, helping support her… stealing every drop from her thighs…
Pulling her down onto me… her slick body slipped down my cock like it had wants beyond Sookie’s or mine… her mouth went to my neck teasing and pushing me…
Moving her, with her, against her… feeling her heart pounding against my own chest… her shallow, pained gasping making every fiber of me stand on edge as they fell over my skin…
Peace. Desire. Love…
Her perfection swallowed me… pulsing around me as her next orgasm found her… her head fell back… her pulse… the sinew of her throat… ‘Oh my God, Eric’ was all the invitation I needed to get lost… Pushing my fangs in… filling myself with her blood…
I fell back, dazed and she crashed into me…
I felt her struggle for air, her heart rate begging for calm… her utter bliss as she went limp over me… blanketing me in her feral grip until she settled enough to shift into ‘Sookie’s cuddle’.
…And I lay there… sure that the feelings… the feelings… must have been Sookie’s.
Her hand drifted across my chest and she rested her chin on my shoulder to look at me. “Feel better now?”
“What do you mean?”
“You were… I don’t know, tense when I came in.”
“I had just checked my messages.”
“Uh oh… do I want to know? Should I know?”
I didn’t want to tell her. Fuck… the idea that she might actually be excited or relieved to leave me made me want to kill something… a lot of somethings.
I braced myself for disillusionment for the first time I could remember. “Coughlin called. Lanier has been arrested. It seems like you are getting out early for good behavior.”
Her stare was blank, but the way her body seized and she was awash with devastation spoke volumes. For a moment I let myself feel comforted by the fact that she didn’t get any happiness from the idea of leaving me.
“You should be proud of yourself… Sookie, you successfully exonerated your brother and are the sole reason Lanier’s five victims will get any justice.”
She forced a half smile. “And you get your peace and quiet back.” I watched her throat clench, struggling against herself to stay composed and failing.
I ran my hand over her back, hoping to fake my own cool adequately. “I promised that you wouldn’t be away from your life for long.”
She nodded awkwardly, only confirming that I was floundering just as fucking much as she was. “I guess I’ll still get to see you once a week, right?” Her chin started to tremble and I could feel the pain rising in her chest.
“Is that all I get?”
She scoffed. “You’d finally be rid of me and you’d want more than you have to put up with?”
“Sookie. I will not be rid of you… You’ve had my blood, I can feel you. Say something you mean.”
She shook her head. “It’s stupid.”
“I still want to hear it.”
“I’ll miss you, alright? I know I haven’t known you very long, but I’ll miss being with you. I’m not looking forward to going back to Bon Temps… There. Happy now!?” Her tone was angry, as if she was accusing me of something.
“Then don’t go back.”
“Stay with me… Stay in Shreveport.”
“I can’t… I can’t leave Gran alone… I can’t quit on Sam; it was hard enough for him to replace one waitress way out there…”So loyal…
I kissed her forehead. “Then we’ll have to figure out a way to still see each other often… You could certainly spend your nights off with me…”
She sniffled, trying to smile. “…And since you’re putting in the light tight room, you could slum it in Bon Temps once in a while.” ‘Slum’ it. Not the words I’d ever use… not when it came to spending time with her.
“With all of the travel we’ll be doing for a while, you’ll be sick of me soon enough.”
I was not only hit with her sudden and complete disbelief… but felt reassured by it. “Bullshit. I love being with you. Why is that so hard to believe?” Because she seems too good to be true.
“Because once you bond to me formally, there’ll be no escaping me. You’ll feel my emotions as I do yours.”
She smiled with her eyes. “Really? I’d get to feel…. That’s seems like a bigger pro than a con.” I’m not sure how I expected her to react, but that wasn’t it.
“You’d want to sense my feelings?”
She giggled as she sat up, cutting her eyes away from me bashfully. “If you ever repeat this, I’ll deny it, but… from time to time I actually wish I could read your mind. Not vampires, just you.” Unbelievable.
The ‘disability’ that has haunted most every aspect of her life… I was staring.
She grabbed my wrist, pulling me out of bed… because I let her. “C’mon. Let’s get a shower before the storm knocks out the power and the hot water heater with it.”
“I’m sure your family will want the news, at least.”
Sookie snickered. “Eh. You know Gran, she might cuff herself to the desk in your study in peaceful protest. She’s not going to want to go home any more than me… But Jason will be happy to have Gran back to cook real meals for him.”
“Jason should be happier that he won’t be starring in his own prison shower scenes with a cellmate named ‘Princess’.”
She started laughing like it was the funniest thing she’d ever heard.
“What? I was only half joking.”
“Nothing… I just… I need to find gay-prison-porn now that he’s off the hook. His birthday is coming up.”
“I’m sure that can be arranged, but I’d go a step further. I could have a knuckle dragging Neanderthal show up to his door with roses. ‘Rene told me all about you, handsome’.” Don’t ask me how, but she had me in a joking mood.
We were only half dressed after our shower when there was a loud knock on the door.
Sookie smiled as she pulled her t-shirt over her head. “Pam.” Oh joy of joys.
I growled. “Enter.”
Pam’s nostrils flared as she stepped in, closing the door behind her. “Do we have plans tonight?”
“Other than a meeting, we don’t. You do though.”
Her eyebrow perked up, curious and worried at the same time. “Consider me braced.”
“Hadley needs to go home to feed and change into an outfit she hasn’t been wearing for two days.”
“You want me to take her?” No. I just felt like being random. Twat.
I nodded. “I arranged for a donor for you too. They’re meeting the two of you at her apartment for discretionary reasons.”
“Do you think Gran doesn’t understand how it works? She knows you’re feeding from Sookie.” I really was at the end of my rope with her. Even Sookie was felt anxious about the topic.
“Did you say something to her?”
She shook her head defensively. “No. Last night, Jason was going on about Bill making a combo meal out of him. She told him to ‘stop being a baby because Sookie doesn’t whine about it so it can’t be so bad’. Then she kissed him and told him she was glad to see that he was ‘alright’.” She followed her recounting with a shrug.
Sookie cringed from her seat on the bed. “Hadley might have said something, but she’s still kind of shy about being a vampire… Gran probably just figured it out. She’s too smart for her own good.”
Pam snickered at her. “How many times have you done the walk of shame?” I was on the verge of throwing her out of the room when Sookie giggled, blushing.
“I guess you’re right. She’s been in the kitchen… like… every time. I’m gonna blame it on all the smut she reads.”
Pam had a sudden burst of laughter. “You were really lucky to end up with her… Alright… So I am taking Hadley ‘out to dinner’. Should I have her gather a couple days worth of things? Or just an overnight bag so that she has an excuse to run back and forth?”
“I don’t suppose lying about a reason would make much sense, considering Adele’s perspective so it doesn’t matter.”
Pam gave me a single nod, turning for the door. “I’ll fetch her. I’m sure she isn’t used to bottles. She’ll be anxious to leave.”
Sookie snorted at her. “Bullshit. ‘She’ll be anxious’… my ass. You act like you wouldn’t rather eat a turd than drink bottled.”
Pam turned to give her a serious look. “Shame on you, Sookie. This is about Hadley.” Then she winked as she left, leaving Sookie laughing.
Sookie leaned against me, smiling, beaming at me with her arms around my back.
“I won’t tell anybody. Your secret’s safe with me.”
“That you were nice to her.”
“She’s being a pain in my ass. Feeding her is an offensive strategy.”
She licked her lips. “Bullsh…”
I slapped my hand over her mouth, only to have it giggled into. “You’re not allowed to be a brat too.”