I woke alone. Hoping that Sookie would be joining me shortly, I found my phone and listened to yet another barrage of voicemails begging for Sookie’s services while staring at the blood stains on the sheet and pillow case…
I found myself multitasking, using my laptop to reply to the emails and order a new supply of sheets while I returned most of the calls… and finally wondering why Sookie wasn’t with me yet.
My confusion quickly became worry when I found her to be hurt…
Disappointed, upset… whatever the case, she was unhappy and nearby.
After the cluster fuck of an evening she’d had last night, I wouldn’t be so surprised, but her mood had recovered (and then some) by the time we fell apart this morning.
I found her in the den, watching television with Jason… He offered an animated grin to go along with waving, but Sookie didn’t spare a glance in my direction.
“Sookie, may I have a moment?”
She huffed, still not looking at me as she stood and stomped past me. She stopped in the hallway folding her arms as though she was the one waiting for some sort of explanation.
“You’re upset. What’s happened?”
“You’re sick of me?” Her eyes started to fill and her lip trembled as soon as she made eye contact.
“Excuse me?” I was hoping her acting had suddenly improved and this was just a cruel joke.
“You’re sick of me.”
“This conversation isn’t going to go anywhere if you don’t tell me why you assume I’d be sick of you.”
She rolled her eyes. “Bobby’s giddy as a school girl that you bought a house and had it put in my name because…” Oh! He is so dead!
I took her by her arms even though they were locked together. “Sookie, stop. This is why I want to kill the asshole. I didn’t buy the house and have it put in your name because I’m bored or want ‘space’ or whatever it’s called… If there is a vampire threat (namely Bill and/or Lorena), they can get into this house because I own it. I wanted to have somewhere close… a safe haven in the case of an emergency…”
I didn’t have the chance to finish before Sookie slammed into my chest and wrapped her arms around me. She sobbed, “I’m soooo sorry… go ahead and kill him.” She was embarrassed and relieved… and now furious with Bobby.
I chuckled at her, trying to comfort her by stroking her back. “Why would you believe his cynical little brain anyway?”
She groaned at herself, still talking into my chest. “I don’t know… I wouldn’t normally… if it was just the one thing, but he called the new car a ‘parting gift’ and he thought: ‘it would figure that trashy little bitch’d have a little bastard running around that he’d get suckered into taking care of’… I spent most of the day scared that you were having second thoughts…”
“I’m sorry… I thought…”
I interrupted, not needing another apology. “Sookie?”
She sniffled, “Yeah?”
“I need a really good reason to not kill him.”
“Good luck with that.”
Once Sookie had ‘caught her breath’, I followed her to the kitchen while she asked me to explain my loophole for buying a new car for her. She halfheartedly glared at me as I clarified that her little hatchback wasn’t the most secure vehicle for a child since it predated most safety features. She blew raspberries at me when I reminded her that her car had no air bags or rear wipers and I was the proud recipient of the ‘Baptist on Sunday’ remark when I asked her if she was too pig-headed to recognize that Hunter’s well being was in mind.
When Pam walked in with Bubba in tow, she was seemingly suffering from a ‘guy moment’. “Sookie! Those shorts are indecent. I love them.”
She giggled bashfully. “Thank you. The tooth fairy dropped them off today… hey, what size do you wear?”
“Because one of the brands Bobby grabbed runs small. Want ‘em?”
Pam shrugged. “What the hell… we’re casual tonight.”
Sookie smiled at her. “On the dryer.”
Pam was gone, nearly knocking Bubba over in her hasty exit. Anything for clothes.
Sookie yelled for Adele that the ‘sitter’ had arrived and almost as quickly as Pam left on her hunt for new clothes, Adele appeared to greet ‘The King’.
So help me, when she joined us, Bubba threw his arms around her with the biggest idiot’s grin I’d ever seen. Not only was there hugging, but there was swaying involved as Adele apologized for falling asleep the last time they ‘visited’.
When Jason broke away from whatever he’d been watching and became part of the group, his jaw dropped and his eyes bulged. Before he had the chance to ask ‘the question’, Bubba took his hand to shake it and told him that ‘Miss Adele’ had ‘talked up a storm’ about him… Bubba felt like he knew Jason already.
After asking Jason to tag along so that he didn’t get pummeled for mentioning Graceland and reminding Bubba that he still wasn’t allowed to drain Tina, the three of us waited for Pam in the garage.
When she finally made her entrance, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. She’d pilfered through my dry cleaning to appropriate one of my dress shirts. She’d rolled up the sleeves and tied it in front.
She shrugged. “The blouse I was wearing just didn’t work with the shorts. I didn’t alter it at all. It’s just tied.” And big enough for her and Sookie to wear at the same time.
“And you didn’t borrow a top from Sookie because…?”
“I didn’t want to be all matchy matchy.”
“She’s… never mind. Get in the fucking car.”
She had the gall to giggle because she got her way as she climbed into the back seat with Jason.
While we were en route, Sookie decided to broach the topic of Jason’s impending beating… and I had to tilt the rearview mirror so that I could watch him react.
“Hey Jas. You remember back when Mrs. Norris got t-boned?”
He started laughing. “Do I!? She looked like a jack-o-lantern all swelled up…” Then he suddenly seized. His eyes made their way to each of us several times, while he slowly understood what Sookie was eluding to. “Nuh UH!” Priceless.
Sookie turned around, cringing sympathetically. “Sorry Jason, but you know somebody’s gonna say something if you go home tomorrow and you don’t have a mark on you.”
The car shook as he stomped his feet. “Fuuuuuuuccckkk!”
Before Sookie had the chance to say or do anything to be encouraging… I heard two solid, wet snaps.
Pam purred, “You’re welcome.”
Somehow Jason managed to look even more bewildered as he patted at his bloodied lip. “Damn! You’re fast.”
She shrugged. “Vampire.”
“Thanks. I guess.”
“No problem… Sookie if you want him broken at all, I’d want to glamour him so he doesn’t feel it happen.”
Sookie settled back into her seat. “Thanks Pam, but I don’t think the guys he works with are going to be looking him over that closely.”
We knew we’d have to be creative when we pulled up behind Fangtasia and the line of applicants had wrapped all the way around the building.
Annoying as the prospect of putting up with speaking to all of them was, it was almost sickening to have them all bow as we stepped out of the car to go in. Sad little devotees.
I actually smiled when I realized that I found them all even more sickening than usual…
Our early arrival scared the shit out of Bobby, who’d made himself comfortable at my desk with his feet up. Fucking idiot.
He sprang to his feet apologetically and bowed… The need to beat him until there wasn’t anything left to identify actually made my shoulders tense.
“Mr. Northman. How are you doing tonight?”
“I’m a vampire, you stupid, insolent fuck. How do you think I’m doing?”
“My mood was better before I found the piece of shit who slurs my bonded lazing about in my office.”
“Slurs? I don’t know what she told you, but I’ve never said…”
“You don’t have to say anything to her, asshole. She’s telepathic… Would you like to say something about the ‘little bastard’ my ‘trashy bitch’ has tricked me into caring for though?”
Pam and Jason started laughing at the look on his disgusting face, but Sookie and I were struggling to not attack him.
I probably shouldn’t have gotten closer to him, but I couldn’t resist making him cow… “What’s more, the car isn’t a parting gift, it’s far safer for my bonded than her old one. The house isn’t so that I can be rid of her, it’s a safe house for my bonded’s family… And after the persistent emailing stint you forced on me you should know that right now, it very much seems like you want to become part of the foundation to my Bon Temps safe room. Am I clear?”
His nod wasn’t as obvious as the sound and odor caused by his bladder’s release.
“You contacted the firm about the safe room?”
He trembled. “Yyyyy… yesssir… They have no problem with the installation you described. Now that they have an idea of what you want, they can be done in a wwweek. I’m meeting the carpenters about the aaaaaaddition to the ppporch tomorrow.”
“And the houses?”
“The agents wwwere excited to get cash offers and pppromised that I’d hear something tomorrow.”
“Good. You have 20 minutes to go change and be back. Leave.”
His first step was ill-fated. He tripped over his own leg trying to get out of the office.
I couldn’t help but have a little more fun. “Oh, and Bobby?”
He stammered, “Yes sir?”
“Don’t try to run. You’ll be followed.”
Sookie glared at him with her arms folded. “Yes, even to your cousin’s house in DeSoto, asshole…”
He looked as though he was going to cry… and it wasn’t fair that Jason and Pam got to laugh.
“…And your friend Hugo’s at 4764 Ponchi…” Bobby didn’t give her the chance to finish. He was gone fast enough to leave her disappointed. She straightened her arms at her sides and growled. “I was just starting to have fun!”
I chuckled. “He’ll be back.”
Pam was amused at Sookie’s reaction. “If you act like that when he comes back, I might have to hold you down… You know, you shouldn’t shop angry.”
“Shop? Pam, is that all you think about?”
Pam rolled her eyes around dramatically as though she needed to think over her answer. “Hmmmm. Sex. Feeding. Shopping… Is there anything else?”
Sookie laughed, brightening a great deal. “You should write for Hallmark… What are we shopping for?”
“I brought my laptop so that we can order Hunter’s particulars.”
Jason tilted his head like a curious puppy. “What do you know about kid shopping?”
“Half of the stores in the mall are centered on the snotty little dwarves… besides, if I can decorate Eric’s house to his minimalist standards, we can manage a cute bedroom set up for a little boy that age. Clothes won’t be a problem either and we should wait for his toys and entertainment items so that he can pick things out on his own. There are simply too many options to get things right on the first try… I saved links to a few items of interest for his room. I found a pirate theme, a knight and dragon theme and the cutest little farm theme… the animals are just precious.” Auntie Pam? I had to bite my lip so that I wouldn’t laugh, but she knew that I was amused enough to hiss at me.
Jason grinned at her. “I get dibs on the pirates.” That was a relief… I’d spend too much time at sea in my life… and pirates were tainted with the flavor of rum, brine and rodents. The only good thing about them is that they rarely wondered where their fellows were since they commonly ‘fell’ overboard on their own.
Sookie shrugged and started walking out. “You make it sound easy.”
Pam purred at her. “Spending money is always easy.”
While I tried to catch up with invoices Pam took Sookie and Jason out to the bar to have them enable her addiction… My printer came to life within moments of their exit…
The first thing to be printed was a photo of the pirate theme and Jason’s order of every item in the line… I was actually impressed that he’d take such an interest.
Five minutes later my printer started again. This time printing the farm and medieval themes and one of everything in those lines…
I supposed they were covering the bases to make sure Hunter likes at least one of his many rooms…
A few minutes later, invoices from three different children’s stores…
“Pam, how do you know what size he wears?”
“Jason called Hadley for us. She’s sending pictures to your email account for us too.”
“You realize that children grow, yes? I doubt he needs…” I looked through the 40 pages of orders. “…37 pairs of jeans and 15 pairs of shoes.” Several items were ordered in duplicate and all of it was the same size.
“He’ll need clothing at both houses and a few outfits for Jason’s house and the safe house too, right?” Any excuse…
“You make an honest point. You should consider his room in the safe house as well and while you’re on your spree, I still need a couch and a rug for my office.”
“If any of it is pink or shag, you’re going to suffer.” I felt how deflated that left her… seriously?
I heard Jason blurt, “I need my hearing checked! Y’all can hear him?”
Pam’s vampire senses were to thank for ability to hear me as though we were in the same room, so I listened carefully as Sookie explained how she’d managed… I laughed quietly when she blamed Bill’s ‘healing’.
It was easy to see that I wasn’t going to get much accomplished. I checked my email account and started printing the pictures that Hadley had sent while I looked for any paperwork that could be considered urgent…
Hunter was a good looking boy; the pictures didn’t show a strong likeness to Hadley other than his darker hair and eyes… the most noticeable thing about him was his eyes…
Not that his size or stature gave anything away… but his eyes spoke volumes…
He’d seen and heard far more than any other three year old should…
It made me curious to see pictures of Sookie at the same age… Just to see if she looked as though the weight of the world was resting on her tiny shoulders as much as Hunter…
There had been something about Sookie’s eyes since the moment they’d met mine… and now that I was staring at photos of a child with her ability, I was starting to second guess how quickly I’d reprimanded her for labeling herself as disabled. I caught myself feeling pity for a child I’d never met simply because his eyes looked as though he’d lived as many lifetimes as I had.
Bobby was just coming back through the back door as I gave up my futile attempt to make headway on more than a week’s worth of delinquent receipts and accounts.
“You’re 4 minutes late, dickhead. Did you get lost?”
“Uhhhh… Nnnno sir… I… She’s a telepath?”
“You already know that she is. How else would we know for sure what a deliberate prick you are? While you think of her as pudgy white trash, you should be made aware that her charity and kindness are the only reasons you’re still walking.” Or breathing for that matter…
“She… I… I should have known you wouldn’t just hook up with a human…”
I growled at him. “Don’t presume that you know anything about me. I didn’t ‘hook up’ with Sookie… I’m bonded to her. Her and her family are formally protected by every vampire in this state. YOU are an errand boy. YOU are utterly disposable. YOU will be gone long before she will and after the disrespect you showed her today, she lost her zeal for defending you. Now take your vindictive ass and park it in a booth until I find a task for you that you can’t fuck up. And if you can’t behave yourself, you will be a free meal for the first vampire to promise to discretely dispose of your remains. Have I made myself clear?”
After choking on an attempt to verbally resign several times, he gave up and ran past me while nodding.
Pam was flanked by Sookie and Jason on her continued binge when I reached them.
“You need to stop.”
“The printer is out of ink.”
“Oh, that… There’s more cartridges.”
“On the shelf in your safe… where I always put them.”
“Then go and change them. I’m not your Kinkos flunky.”
She huffed and stomped out of the room, knowing that I was fucking with her… just not how much.
Sookie had an idea of what I was up too and gave me an impish smile before she became curious about Pam’s True Blood…
Jason and I both watched her pick up the bottle and sniff before taking an inquiring sip… and then downing the rest of her soda to rid her mouth of the taste while I laughed.
“Sweet baby Jesus! That’s just… awful!”
I was laughing at the lingering look of disgust on her face while she leaned over the bar to refill her glass… and Jason looked like he was going to gag. “What the fuck did you expect, Sook? It’s blood!”
Sookie shook her head again… “I know what my blood tastes like! That’s just… those commercials are full of crap! That doesn’t taste anything… uuuugggghhh!”
Jason had a moment of bravery and took the bottle… he took a sip and winced… then he actually took a second sip.
“That’s just fucking wrong… Y’all actually like that shit?”
I shook my head in the negative. “I’m sure there are things you eat just to get by until you can have something better… I have to be desperate to open a True Blood.”
He took another sip as though he was at a wine tasting and started shaking his head. “That shit… to me, and thanks to Pam’s evil right hook I just had a sample, my blood tastes a little like a warm penny… that shit tastes like rusty nails…. Man… I’m sorry. Your diet blows!” I was just impressed that he managed more than one sip. Sookie tastes actual blood fairly often and couldn’t stomach it… I was quietly amused that she’d probably be high maintenance as a young vampire.
Sookie got up to go around the bar and started pulling out the garnish trays… and pulled the fruit out of the cooler. The first thing she did was cut an orange and put a slice into her mouth…
Jason finally took a sip of his beer, watching Sookie… “Hey, Sook… what’s vampire blood taste like?” Uh oh.
She thought about it for a moment while she worked. “Well, I wasn’t really awake when I had Bill’s so I don’t remember so much. When I came to, my mouth tasted salty, but I’d coughed up a lot of my own blood…”
Thankfully, Pam relieved Sookie of the awkward subject change in her future with a loud squeal and I braced myself, hoping that my brat wouldn’t knock me from my seat.
Sookie started giggling at the prancing Pam was doing as she came back into the room. She put her arms over my shoulders and leapt onto my back, leaning over to kiss my cheek.
“I don’t even care that it’s a jibe. I love it.”
I shook my head at her childishness. “Then make sure you mention it to Adele. It was her idea.”
She laughed. “I love that woman!”
“Who doesn’t? Now get off of me before I have to do something drastic.”
She might as well have dared me. Stronger. Faster. And she still pushes me…
When I reached down and grabbed her ankle, I gave her only a fraction of a second to realize that she still needs to work on the way she words things with me… and then quickly hoisted her, holding her up to let her dangle… and I almost laughed when I felt a tiny bit of salt fall out of her shoe and brush the back of my hand.
Her mood was too light. Instead of her typical annoyance, she screeched like a tickled child. “I still love my present!”
“You settle down or I’ll take an acetylene torch to your safe deposit box… rest in peace, Harry Winston.” Sookie gasped jokingly and called me evil.
Pam calmed herself down to a mere giggle, but she swung herself over to hug my legs absurdly. “You win.”
I was setting her down when Ginger entered from the back door.
I rolled my eyes at the bimbo’s greeting, but Pam was oddly happy to see her…
More frightening than the idea of ME being charged with the protection of a toddler… Pam had called Ginger in as ‘technical consultant’.
Ginger, of all people, works at a daycare as a second job.
It didn’t matter to us that she was only a ‘playground helper’. The idea made Sookie and me all the more content that Sookie wasn’t going to be working a ‘day job’.
Her attendance wasn’t a complete waste of time. She went to work behind the bar, helping Sookie set up the bar… she did have a little to add to the list of purchases such as a ‘carseat’ and suggested that Sookie find out if Hunter is a ‘bed wetter’…
As 10 o’clock approached, I suggested that we start focusing on the wretched flock since the shopping could continue later… I had an errand to run when we were through the hiring process.
Pam rolled her eyes. “There has to be 300 of them out there.”
Jason started chuckling and suddenly blurted out, “THIS. IS. SPARTA!”
Sookie giggled, “Alright Leonidas… We get it, we’re out numbered… Any ideas on how we’re going to not be here all night?”
“Yeah…” He hopped from the barstool and took the box of pens from the stack of applications I’d put on the bar. “…C’mon.”
I have to say that curiosity had gotten the best of me. I followed Jason without questioning him… He’d already proven to have his moments…
The instant the door to the club swung open, the volume changed. What had been loud catty conversation became hushed whispers and murmurings.
I waited as Jason jogged the length of the line to the ones at the back to move in closer… And the line became a mob as he returned to stand next to me.
“What about ‘those guys’? The ones Sook said were coming out to ‘help’… like bouncers.”
“Right… The Flood agency… and we should separate out the bartender applicants too.”
He gave a very serious nod and then turned to the horde. “We need to separate y’all into groups. Can I get the wanna-be-bartenders to gather up behind us… And you guys from the Flood Agency over by the door?”
I watched in awe… 11 bartender applicants wandered over to stand behind me (thankfully most of them were vampires) and 5 of Flood’s ‘men’ congregated by the door.
Jason started handing pens to the prospective bartenders so I handed out the applications… Jason held the door open for them, instructing them to ‘belly-up’ to the bar to fill them out.
Then Jason turned to the remaining crowd. “Alright, who needs a pen?”
It seemed as though half of the hands in the crowd went up.
“Really? Damn… Y’all go on home.”
One of the ‘ladies’ standing closer to the front toggled her neck. “We don’t even get an interview just because we don’t have a pen?”
“The bartenders got pens.”
“Right… seeeeee, bartenders don’t need them because the waitresses already wrote everything down for them. Ya don’t show up for an interview without tools of the trade. Go on. Git.”
Nearly every one of them trudged away grumbling profanities under their breath at him.
“Now how many of y’all thought to go online and print out an application?”
Five. Only 5 women held up their hand as they approached him.
As Jason led this group to the door, Pam burst through it hustling one of the bartender applicants out by his neck. “You picked the wrong ass to grab, blood bag.” On her way back in, Jason slapped her ass and she kept walking. “Not mine. Your sister’s… but thanks for thinking of me.”
“Hey Pam, can you set these girls up to sit together?”
“If I don’t are you going to spank me again?” Oh, that would have to stop… fighting like children is one thing, but Pam doesn’t flirt. Not playfully. Not for long.
He laughed and went back to his task while the Weres grumbled amongst themselves about Pam letting a human touch her… Jason cringed, leaning towards me. “I got you down to about a hundred. Any more ideas?”
“I’ve been with more than half of them… we can cut those loose.” As opposed to having Sookie hearing and seeing that many ‘encounters’ at once.
He snorted, “What? Vampires don’t recycle?”
“If they were worth recycling, they’d already have a job here. Sometimes garbage is just garbage.”
He laughed. “I hear ya… Ladies, who wants a more private interview with the vampire here?”
I rolled my eyes at the Anne Rice reference, but most of them shot a hand into the air, even ones I’d never touched.
Jason waved them to the side like he was directing traffic. “They’re hiring for waitresses. If y’all wanna shop for your own vampire, you’re gonna have to pay the cover charge. Go on. Git.”
He seemed very proud of himself to have whittled the swarm down to less than 30 heads.
As he filed them into the club, he stopped the line twice… once to excuse a woman who hadn’t bathed and the second time to excuse a woman who had already been drinking heavily.
That had been one of them… one of Jason’s moments.
He’d certainly earned the beer that Sookie handed to him when we joined them inside. He thanked her and took a long drink.
Sookie grinned at us. “How many more batches are there?”
Jason belched and then complained about burning his nose hairs… If I hadn’t just seen him weed out 90% of the fangbanger mob, I’d swear he’d need special shoes and a bib. “That’s it. The rest is all you, but… uh… one of those girls ain’t a girl. Just saying…” He cringed and turned to me. “He’s got nice tits though.” He shuddered and went to sit at the end of the bar.
I felt so very sorry for Adele… “Sookie…”
She giggled. “You wanted to bring him.”
“Just because of Bubba.”
“If you say so… I’m going to go get to work.”
“Get to work?”
She offered a smirk. “I’ve got floozies, bible thumpers, and drainers to pluck… Are we letting it get back to Flood that you have yourself a telepath?”
I had to consider that for a moment, but I’d ‘loan’ her talents to Flood more willingly than some of the vampires that already know about her. I gave her a nod. “He wouldn’t abuse your ability.”
She wiggled her eyebrows at me on her way to the bar and grabbed an order book and then made herself comfortable in the booth full of Weres…
I wasn’t going to like her strategy. If I went to my office, I wouldn’t get anything accomplished so I took a seat at the empty end of the bar where I could keep a close eye on things.
She sat infuriatingly close to one of the Wolves. “Hey guys, I’m Sookie. I’ll be your waitress tonight once we’re ready to start testing the bartenders, but in the meantime I’m going to need y’all to help get rid of some of those girls.”
The one she was practically sitting on asked her what she needed.
She gave him her sweetest smile. “Well, I’m a telepath and right now I know that the girl with the armful of jelly bracelets is very wrong about what my Master looks like naked… but the blond next to her is hoping that Pam shares blood when she feeds because she needs a fix. She’s got to go.” He balked, most likely disbelieving her ability.
Since he couldn’t leave the booth, Sookie gave a nod to the Were across from her and he took a moment before he finally got up to quietly escort the applicant out to the parking lot.
The rest of the table stared at her as she closed her eyes in concentration and there was a moment of agitation before she called out to instruct Pam that Bobby needed to have something thrown at him… Pam flung an olive at him with such force that it left a welt on his cheek.
Sookie hadn’t bothered to open her eyes… “Eric, what do you want to do about Fellowship?”
I grinned at her while the Weres looked startled. “Just get rid of them tonight. The interviews were publicized.”
She nodded and opened her eyes to point out the entire table of women that had printed out their applications and moved to sit on the end of the table so all of the Weres could tend to the plague… While the Weres removed them, I wondered if Jason had intuitively known something was amiss.
Sookie went on for the next twenty minutes…
“…dark hair, pink shoes… take her to another table…”
“…goth type in the skull t-shirt… take her out. She’s an addict…”
“…brassy blond with big brown eyes is only here on a dare…”
“…red hair and freckles… put her with the other one…”
“…petite brunette and the tall blond next to her put them with the other two…”
“…blond at table 1, black hair and green nails at table 3 and the hoop earrings at table 5 are just hoping to meet their gravy train…”
“…oop, nuh-uh… leather jacket at table two is a drainer. Careful boys; she has a silver net…”
By the time she opened her eyes again, she had excluded as many ‘church’ members, blood and drug addicts and gold diggers as she could find and even managed to pick out the ones with little to no waitressing experience… leaving only 12 applicants out of the hundreds…
She smiled brightly at the group of Weres who were all staring at her slack-jawed. “Ok, boys… let’s make it harder on them than just beer. Whose man enough to order something girly?”
She sauntered over to me feeling very confident, but reeking of wolf. “Well?”
I put my mouth to her ear, “I think you deserve a bonus.”
She hummed, “I’m looking forward to it…” Then she called over to the Weres and had them eliminate 3 more for being ‘catty’. “…The four sitting off to themselves are all clear of bad news and have plenty of waitressing experience.”
“The other 5?”
“They’re single moms and college students. They have practice, but in my experience they tend to call in sick a lot. You might want to keep their info in reserve for next time.”
“Are you going to stop flirting with the pack long enough for me to interview waitresses?”
She raised an eyebrow. “No.” Not fucking funny.
She sighed, “Master?”
“That’s not going to work.” Well… not at the moment.
“If I want to find a guard we can trust, I need them to be thinking about me… and right now, only 2 of those guys are behaving.”
“What are the rest of them thinking?”
“Not as bad as that Quinn guy, but mostly that I need someone warm to snuggle up to so I’ll forget all about you.”
“Oh really…” One of them had heard her and the color drained from his face. “… So you intend to continue to flirt with them to see how the other two react?”
“Just a little. If it worries you then why don’t you interview the girls in the next booth?”
Sookie not only shuttled drinks, but ruled out all 3 of the human bartender applicants. One alcoholic, one was using his older brother’s references and the other just wanted to rebel against his family’s conservative beliefs.
For the next half hour I interviewed, hiring the four that Sookie had set aside and sending them to Bobby to give their information to…
…And I listened to the behavior of the Weres deteriorate. They’d each had 7 drinks which was enough to loosen their collars and ignore basic etiquette.
Specifically, most of them might as well have been drooling over Sookie.
I wasn’t amused.
I was even less amused when two of them left the table to go to the bathroom with raging fucking hard ons.
Not fucking funny.
Worse still, Sookie followed a different one into the hall that led back to the bathrooms, giving me a wink on the way…
I didn’t care why the fuck she was doing it, I was on my way to stop her when I heard him growl. “Even if I was single, you belong to the Sheriff. Knock that shit off before you get one of us killed.”
He had the nerve to give me a level stare when I passed him to pull Sookie into my office.
She had a smile waiting for me even though I slammed the door. “All I did was tap his shoulder.”
“This shit stops. NOW.”
“I know. He’s the one. The one from the hall just now.”
“This isn’t a joke! I’ve already let you get away with too much! I’m sending them away.”
I saw her arm move, but never thought for a second that she’d actually do it… The surprising sting her slap left behind was proof of how wrong I could be. “Calm down!”
I lost my temper and backed her into the wall. I was only a hair from her face with my fangs drawn. “Why should I? You just spent the last hour flirting with a pack of wild dogs like it was a game!”
She met me, showing no fear, putting her nose against mine. “Not a game. A tactic that worked well enough to find a guard you can trust to watch my back, not my ass.” She put her fists into my shoulders, not pushing me away, punching and standing firm.
“You need to find a new tactic. Flirting is intolerable.”
She growled, “Because I’m yours.”
“Of course, because you’re MINE.”
“You’re being a butthead.”
“You. Are. Mine.”
“I just said that. I’m yours. Now admit that you’re being a butthead… you’re overreacting to extra giggling that you know was put on.” And extra eye contact… extra leaning over… in those shorts, in that tank top…
I growled, “Sookie…”
“I’m yours. Your turn.”
Fuck. Realizing that she might be right caused a sudden change in my momentum… I leaned forward in an attempt to kiss her, but she slid down the wall to dodge my attention so quickly that I almost smashed my face into the wall.
She quickly maneuvered around to hug my ribs and lay her head against my back. I growled, not only because I still wanted that kiss (and more), but because I knew that my blood was increasing her speed enough to cause my failure. I put my arms over hers and held them to me. “Now that I know you’re getting faster, I won’t miss again.”
“Would you just admit that you were being a butthead so we can kiss and make up?”
“How do you suggest we make up? You’ve already said that you wouldn’t fuck me in my office.”
When she hummed against my back, it went straight through me. “The good stuff will have to wait until later, but we can kiss now.”
“You only call me a butthead when you’re being a brat.”
She growled, this time playfully and tightened her arms around me.
“I’m not being a butthead, but I’ll admit that I might have been more bothered than necessary.”
“You showed me angry fangs.”
“Don’t pretend that it scared you. Besides you hit me.”
She giggled. “Don’t pretend that it hurt.”
Completely fed up with speaking to the wall, I turned around. “You’re impossible.”
“And what are you?”
I growled, “A butthead.”