As I rose, I found myself wondering where on a scale of depravity I might be for considering the use of Sookie’s sheets on my bed. Hers were ripe with her sweet scent. It took more effort than I care to explain to shake the concept from my thoughts.
My attention was finally drawn to the door to my room. A note had been slid under it, wedged rather since it’s a security door.
It was the note I’d left on the kitchen counter before I went to rest.
Dearest Adele and Sookie,
I have noticed that I should be embarrassed of my behavior. After all, I’ve taken up residence with two very lovely and entertaining ladies and I’ve yet to take either of you out for a proper date. Please honor me with your company this evening. If Mr. Burnham has done his job, there will be proper attire delivered for you. I hope for us to enjoy a night out starting with a suitable meal for you both. I trust that you ladies will be able to think of an interesting way to finish the evening.
P.S. Yes, Sookie, this would be considered ‘yard time’.
On the back, Sookie scribbled, ‘Warden Flirt, the ladies graciously accept’ and signed it with a very provocative double ‘S’. They seemed to wrap around each other. It was almost as if her initials were a tease by themselves.
Adele made her own footnote. ‘I thought you were smart enough to not invite an old woman along as a fifth wheel, but far be it from me to turn my nose up at a night out on the town.’
Sookie hadn’t been exaggerating when she promised to be waiting for me. When I opened the door leading from the kitchen down to the ‘basement’ she was leaning on the counter, hovering over a book with her back to me. She was barefoot and in a short robe displaying that her legs had a much deeper tan than they did when I had to leave her this morning.
“You… failed to ask Mr. Burnham to bring a bathing suit for you.”
I leaned into her hips, hugging her ribs. “I already have a few.”
She stood up, resting her shoulders against my chest and laying her arms over mine. “You don’t say.”
She smelled as though she was made of sunlight. Even though she’d showered, I could tell she’d spent a long while in the yard. “You aren’t surprised?”
“You said that you rarely wore underwear, but avoided the topic of swim trunks.”
I smiled into her hair, not just enjoying her scent, but the idea that she’d gone along. “I assume your sunbathing was more peaceful today.”
She giggled. “Only because you threatened the landscapers so they’d leave me alone. It was really sweet, but you can’t bully everyone.”
“Sure I can. It’s hurting them that I have to be careful with. Besides, it was only a friendly reminder that accidents can happen with a wood chipper.”
She shook her head slightly. “Well, it worked well enough that you’ll enjoy the security video. You know, you might be as big a brat as you claim Pam is.”
‘Enjoy the video’? She didn’t. “Sookie… what will my favorite part of the video be?”
She giggled again, a sound that was quickly becoming hypnotic to me. “Well, they made it a point to work out front when I went outside. I took advantage of a rare moment of privacy.” She had. My, my, my…
I growled against her neck and she tightened her arms over mine.
“Did you get our note?”
I nodded. “How did you find my resting place?”
“I’m sorry. I wouldn’t dare tell anyone…”
“No no no. I’m only curious.” For some reason, I never suspected that she would breathe a word. Perhaps that trust was based on the fact that her mind held a town’s worth of secrets.
“I can’t hear your thoughts, but I can sense your brain. A human brain is like a mess of thoughts and images. Vampires are like… a bubble, like a void or a clear space.”
I chuckled into her neck and enjoyed the chill it gave her. “I’d wondered how you found me in the pool last night.”
“Last night I actually felt you… in the water. You left… I guess you could call it an echo in water.” That level of sensitivity was… acute.
As much as I hated bringing the fool into conversation… “Sookie, how much of Compton’s blood did you have?”
She grunted. “I don’t know. I was barely conscious… A few mouthfuls I guess. I presume my senses being so strong are because I had more than ‘a little’.”
I nodded, my nose still buried in her hair. “Your senses will return to normal gradually. It does seem as though he gave you a considerable amount.”
Her only reaction was an accepting nod and she stood quietly as though she was allowing me to enjoy taking her in. “You should go get ready.”
I nodded, perfectly content to stay where I was.
“Eric, you’re smelling me?”
“Yes.” I stole another measure, concerned that she’d be disturbed by the idea.
“Out of curiosity, what do I smell like?”
“Spun sugar, coconut milk, hints of ginger and jasmine… specifically, at the moment you smell like sunlight.”
She hummed and leaned into me seemingly at peace with the idea of being inhaled. “What are you wearing tonight?”
“That depends on what Bobby found for my dates.”
“Gran’s dress is knee length and dark gray and the cardigan that goes with it has pearl beads on the yolk. She loves it; said I’d get sick of seeing it.”
“Marvelous. And what about you?”
“It’s very nice. Black halter top and the skirt is short. You could see it if you ever let go of me. I only put the robe on so that I wouldn’t mess it up.”
I thought about letting go, but only for a moment. Instead, I pulled my arm back to slide my hand down her stomach and find the hem of her robe.
Sookie’s hand ran down my arm to follow along as my hand trailed her inner thigh. Her hips twitched against my dick when my thumb tickled her through her panties. Lace again. “Yes?”
“This is not smart. You need to get ready.”
“Come with me.”
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea.”
“It’s not an idea at all, just part of an elaborate scheme.”
“A scheme that needs to get put on the back burner.” My plan to take them out was rooted in preventing cabin fever. It did not take into account Sookie’s fragrance.
I growled again, fingers still tracing the paisley in her lace. “I’m painfully aware.”
She whimpered. “This time it’s not my fault.”
“What isn’t your fault?”
Without a word, her hand pulled mine away from the heat between her legs to wrap my arm around her again. She swayed her hips, rubbing herself against my dick. “That, Eric. That isn’t my fault.”
“I want you, Sookie. That can’t be helped.”
She growled and surprised me by stepping away to spin around with a frustrated scowl. “Your timing is lousy. Go get dressed.”
My hard on was the only thing keeping me from laughing at the tiny barefoot human ‘fussing’ at me. “What if I don’t?”
“It’ll break Gran’s heart. She’s excited to go out.”
I growled at her. “What was it you were saying about a Baptist on Sunday?”
She snickered, “Is it working?”
I heard Sookie’s cell phone ringing as I came from the basement ready for our night out. The noise Sookie made was startlingly alike that of an injured moose. The only thing less appealing at the moment was her greeting…
“What do you want, Bill Compton?” Lovely. I was starting to miss him.
I reached her in the study just in time for her to roll her eyes. “Sookie, where are you?”
She walked over to me and kissed my cheek. “That’s none of your damn business.”
“I want to see you. I want to know that you’re safe.”
“I told you that I’m fine last night. What do want?”
“I’ve just come from your house. I went to speak to your grandmother about the Descendents of the Glorious Dead meeting tomorrow night. She isn’t there.”
“That’s because she’s with me.”
“She’s with you… and Eric?”
She grinned at me and clapped her hands silently; mocking how ‘sharp’ he is and I had to avoid laughing. I wanted him to feel comfortable hanging himself. “Yeeeesssss.”
“Is there still going to be a meeting then? Will Eric be allowing her the freedom to come and go freely?”
She moved the phone away from her ear. “Nuts. What do we do about the DGD meeting, Gran?”
Adele’s eyes went wide. “Sakes alive! I’d lost all track! I don’t suppose… Oh lord! Maxine’s already put the announcement on the community house sign.”
Her disappointment irked me so I motioned to Sookie to put Bill on hold. “Adele, what is this meeting?”
“Mr. Compton agreed to speak before the group about his experience in the Civil War, but I’m going to have to miss it I imagine… Sookie, tell him I said to break a leg and give my apologies.”
I put my hand on Sookie’s when she lifted the phone. “Wait. If we leave as soon as I rise, can we arrive in time?”
Sookie giggled. “The way you drive? We can be there yesterday. Are you sure it’ll be ok? What if Rene…”
I nodded. “You’ll both have to stay with me. The crowd would offer a number of variables. You shouldn’t have to miss it though.”
Adele’s face lit up behind her reading glasses. “Sookie, kiss the man for me! I’d have never heard the end of it if Maxine had to tend to the whole shebang.”
Sookie smiled and stretched up to deliver a grateful kiss, then another and thanked me before she remembered that Compton was on the phone. “Bill?”
“Sookie, what have you been up to? Are you allowed any freedoms?”
“I’m on a little vacation.”
“With Eric? You just met him.”
“No Bill, with the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I’ve known them all my life. Eric just so happens to run in the same circles.”
“That isn’t funny, Sookie. He’s dangerous.”
“So are you.”
“He’s stronger than I am.”
“And taller….” And much, much sexier… more powerful… wealthy… Almost makes me feel sorry for him. Almost.
“Sookie, I don’t think you understand.”
“Enlighten me, Bill.”
“Mild mannered vampire don’t become sheriffs. Northman is a bastard.”
“I asked you to enlighten me, not try to terrify me. Are you planning on elaborating on what makes him a bastard or do you just want me to picture him putting babies and kittens on pikes?” Adele started laughing quietly into her hand.
“You would not be so flippant if you had any idea how many people he’s killed. Even Liam and Malcolm bow to him.”
Sookie’s eyes narrowed as she looked up at me giggling. “Makes me wonder why you don’t.” I couldn’t help but be proud of her.
“Only when I have to.”
“Then why break taboo by calling me?”
“You are his.”
“Gran and I will see you at the church tomorrow night, Bill.”
“Might I have a moment alone with you tomorrow night?”
“I’m not sure Eric would appreciate that. What do you think?” She winked at me.
“That you don’t have to obey him.” Maybe she doesn’t, but he does.
Sookie’s look became much more serious. “Maybe not, but you do. Behave yourself. Goodnight.”
She closed her phone and handed it to Adele.
“Gran you should check in with Mrs. Fortenberry before rude o’clock.”
Adele winced as she opened the phone and Sookie grabbed my wrist and towed me to the hallway.
“That wasn’t a coincidence, was it? You saying what was on my mind.”
She looked panicked as she shook her head.
“It’s never happened before though?”
She shook her head again. I was confounded. If she could hear vampire thoughts, there was no way for me to make any guarantees on her safety. The only thought I had was to test her. I started thinking about, concentrating on, all of the things I wanted to do with her when we return tonight. If she heard any of it, she’d have a reaction of some kind, but nothing.
“Don’t tell anyone. We’ll consider it isolated unless it happens again.”
“You’re not worried?”
“Not at the moment. We can worry if it becomes more regular.”
She nodded in spite of how unsure she was.
“We should talk about why I was ordered to dress, and yet here you are, still as I left you.”
She bit her lip and raised an eyebrow at me before she turned to jokingly stomp away.
I removed my suit jacket and laid it on the chair in her room to sprawl out on her bed while she scrutinized over her hair in the mirror.
I watched her with interest as she opened the shoebox on the dresser and slid her feet into a sexy pair of heels and the grand finale was the removal of her robe.
Sookie needed help with her descriptive style.
The blasé ‘halter top’ and ‘short skirt’ remark wasn’t nearly evocative enough. The halter top encased her breasts, producing cleavage that men would line up to be smothered in and the skirt was brief, but more so flowingly followed the contours of her hips as a well placed sheet in a Baroque painting. The dress didn’t cover her body as much as it accentuated everything about it and her pumps elongated her well toned legs adding to her new found sophistication.
It was quickly becoming apparent that the only look that didn’t suit her was the ‘fast food’ garb she’d donned last night.
She walked over gracefully and nudged the side of the bed with her knees. “C’mon on. Get up. I know vampires don’t get tired.”
She smiled and went to the foot of the bed and grabbed my ankle. She pulled as hard as she seemed able, but only moved me a few inches while I laughed at her. She dropped my leg and stood at the end of the bed with her hands on her hips.
I curled my finger. “We have a few minutes. She’s still on the phone.”
“Not if you take it off.”
She snorted and called me ‘funny’ as she placed her knees on the bed between my feet. “This is the best you’re gonna get.”
I shook my head, curling my finger again.
She narrowed her eyes at me and called me a brat as she strategically crawled up to rest on her knees next to me.
“Brats are spoiled. You are making me work…”
“Aw. Poor baby.”
“Baby? Are you suggesting that I’m whining?” I curled my finger again.
She rolled her eyes and moved to straddle my lap. “Yes. Is this what you had in mind?”
I grabbed her hips and grinded into her. “Not exactly. How complicated is that dress?”
She stared at me for a minute, biting her bottom lip. “Too.”
I smiled, lifting the front of the dress. “There can’t be a combination lock on the panties though.”
Her eyebrows shot up as she pushed her skirt down. “You’re really impatient for someone who’ll live forever.”
I slid my hands under her dress, my thumbs drifted over lace again. “Oh, I’m incredibly patient. Would you like to hear a list of things I’m being patient for?”
I watched her face and neck flush as her eyes widened and her hands flew to her face.
“What is so embarrassing that you hide your face?”
“I have no experience. None. Nada. Zilch. Bubkis. You could probably tell me everything on your list and I wouldn’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”
“So, we’ll have to change that.” I found myself ignoring my hard on in favor of trying to encourage her.
“What if I don’t like it?”
I was barely able to catch my laugh before it escaped. The idea of not enjoying sex! “What do you think you might not like?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know anything.”
“I’m sure that you have heard and seen plenty of things.”
“Normally I block it as soon as I realize what I’m seeing to be polite. Besides, how much of it can be accurate? Most of it comes from drunks and people generally lie to themselves.”
Her talent caught my curiosity again. “How so? I would think that their minds would betray them.”
“Well, ‘who wrote Jane’s phone number on the wall again?’ usually does, but… people tend to be very mistaken about themselves. Like Jane Bodehouse thinks she’s a lot better looking than she really is. And there’s some stuff that I see accidentally that doesn’t look like it could possibly be any fun.”
Her face was still hiding behind her hands, but her neck began to glow brighter. “I don’t want to think about it.”
“But you read ‘smut’.”
She giggled, starting to relax slightly. “Yeah, but my imagination is behind the wheel. Not someone else’s.”
I sat up, taking her hands away from her face and waiting for her to look at me. “Then I’ll have to trust you to let me know what you’re comfortable with.”
“You’re not going to think of me as a chore?” I had in the past, the recent past… Fangtasia. There had been no less than 3 fangbangers there with hopes for a repeat performance the night she was there. Damn it.
“What did you hear?”
Her eyes darted away again. “Roxie… you were annoyed with her… for not being any good.”
There really was no defense for how ‘Roxie’ most likely remembered our brief meeting. “Sookie, she was… nothing more than relief. She misrepresented herself. I was highly annoyed because what I was promised and what was delivered were polar opposites…”
“…Let me finish. She was the least sickening of my choices that evening since I was unfortunate enough to have missed your arrival. Sookie, you are not relief. You have my attention. What’s more, what you feel that you’re lacking is all in your mind. It says something that you’re actually concerned which is more than I can say for anyone I’ve been with in years. I’d be grateful if you didn’t compare yourself to them. I shouldn’t need to explain how blinding the contrast is. You are remarkably unique. They are boring carbon copies of one another.”
She stared at me for a moment. “When I go to Fangtasia, I’m going to hear that kind of thing a lot aren’t I?”
“Sadly. They tend to come back, yes.”
“Thanks for the warning.”
“It’s not a warning, Sookie. It’s merely a simple truth. You are very fortunate that your dinner doesn’t approach you.”
“Dinner.” She paused for a moment, seemingly fixated on my tie. “What have you done for the past couple of nights?”
“I have a refrigerator downstairs with a supply of bagged blood from a bank.”
“What is that like, in comparison? Honestly.”
“I suppose it could be compared to take out from a good restaurant. Fangbangers tend to use, if not abuse drugs and alcohol. Banked blood is screened for health and impurities so the taste is better, but it loses something to be reheated.”
She snorted. She managed to find humor in what I’d said somehow? “So your options are sad little devotees, less than fresh ‘take out’ and bottled substitute unless you feed from the unwilling.” Her snort had been a cynical display of pity.
“One can hope.” Hope wasn’t accurate. Extreme optimism would be more fitting since the inkling made my cock twitch.
She tilted her head to the side slightly and raised her eyebrow. She’d felt the shift. She finally backed off of me and jogged out of the room, commanding me to stay put because she’d ‘be right back’.
She had a wide smile on her lips when she returned carrying her shoes and came to stand between my knees. “Ok. Change of plans. We’re overdressed.”
I started loosening my tie. “You don’t have to tell me twice.”
She started laughing and grabbed my hands. “Not like that!”
“What did I tell you about teasing me?”
“I’m not teasing. I’m just not in the mood for a fancy restaurant. We’ll do something casual.”
I smiled. “Something… clothing optional?”
“Jeans. T-shirts. We’ll renegotiate the dress code once we get back.” That sounded too promising.
I moved quickly, putting her on the bed and laying on top of her. “What do you have in mind?”
She tried desperately to seem stern. “You’re wrinkling me.”
“Since you aren’t wearing it tonight and it isn’t appropriate for tomorrow, I’ll have plenty of time to have it dry cleaned and pressed.” I reached back, lifting her leg to rest on my back and moving against her.
She bit her bottom lip, pausing too long. I took the moment to savor her neck, getting lost again in how she tastes. She lifted her chin and pawed at my sides, bringing her other leg around to hug mine. She panted, “Eric… Eric, we should stop.”
She moaned when I moved against her again. “I noticed something, just now.”
She hummed her interest as her fingers started to dig into my ribs.
“You didn’t say that you want to stop.”
“Because I don’t want to.” Her heavy breaths fell against my neck, complicating things. My fangs couldn’t be ignored anymore and nicked her shoulder as they ran out.
She had no reaction as I lifted away, watching the gorgeous, crimson bead weep from her skin and begin to roll away.
I’m not sure how long I’d been lost in studying the droplet, but I finally came to the realization that Sookie was patting my sides and asking to be let up.
I quickly forced myself from the bed and stood in the middle of the room, watching her.
She sat up smoothly contorting to look at the mark and then, turning to look at the bedding. “Damn it.”
“Sookie, that truly was unintentional.”
She gave me a confused look. “Oh, I know that… It got on the blanket. Can your washer handle a comforter this size?”
I watched her take the comforter from the bed and leave it in a bundle by the door, and go to her bag to pull out some clothing; all the while the scent of her small drip of blood was filling the room.
She stopped directly in front of me, smiling. She tilted her head slightly with a curious look about her. “What’s the matter? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“I…” She seemed to be waiting patiently as I struggled to maintain eye contact.
“Is it tempting? To see fresh blood?”
I nodded. “And smell it.”
“I don’t understand. Why waste it then?”
Incredible. “I don’t want to scare you off.”
She smiled at me as she reached up and pinched my chin to pull me down for a kiss. “Go get ready. We’re all getting hungry.”