I scanned the crowd for a while, waiting for Lynn and Pam to take their prey to a feeding room, and trying to think of a way to approach the topic of Vampire etiquette without upsetting Sookie. Gawain had been right about how naïve she was. She was still exploring her own ability. Her only experience with Supernatural formalities was with Weres. There was no reason to assume she understood she was behaving like a shared pet.
I monitored everyone else’s moods while I tried to devise my plan of attack…
Feeling how proud Lynn was, and how impressed Pam was… Apparently, Lynn was just as disciplined as she’d been the night before.
Sookie’s bizarre combination of moods was puzzling: frustrated yet amused.
I realized the more I thought about Gawain’s brilliant plan, the less annoyed I was by Sookie’s behavior, and the more shocked I was by the fact that the ‘Maiden’s Knight’ had suggested that fucking an insignificant slut would be helpful (or satisfying) in any way. Causing a rift with Sookie would have been completely counterproductive, not to mention damaging to my relationship with Lynn.
When it dawned on me that making sure Lynn didn’t drain one of her first donors had been my only achievement for the evening, I decided to do something productive.
I left my seat, easily finding a pair of donors and led them to my office…
I had only just forced myself to feed from the first when I felt Sookie return… She’d been gone for nearly half an hour, but she still hadn’t eaten… Her appetite may very well have been responsible for why I bothered with the second donor…
Even then, I thought about asking Sookie if her diet ice cream theory pertained to my preference for her… if she had a theory about why I’d still be irrationally craving something when there wasn’t an actual need for me to feed.
The standards had been reset since I’d tasted Sookie… the one detail I could think of that made the Fae ‘better’ than hybrids was that when one had their blood, the intoxication tainted the memory of the flavor.
Sookie tasted incredible, but there wasn’t a drop of blood I’d had since I tasted her that I didn’t compare to her brand.
I couldn’t move the donors through the back door quickly enough.
Sookie was sitting at the small table in the employee lounge, moving to the music, clutching a sandwich wrapped with paper in one hand, and shoving French fries into her mouth with the other.
Her eyes widened when she noticed me, and she managed to mumble, “You did not just see that,” in spite of her mouthful.
“Didn’t you have a burger for lunch?”
She nodded. “Yeah, but this is a spicy chicken. My second one at that. I didn’t realize how hungry I was until Gawain said something… and we had to wait for the slackers at Wendy’s to restart the Frosty machine. They’d seriously jumped the gun on cleaning it out. They tried to say it was defrosting. The telepath knew better, and the Vampire convinced them to restart the machine.”
“Since you did my job for me, I took the opportunity to feed as well… We need to discuss something…”
She cringed. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking about the rum. I don’t usually drink so much. I’ll slow down… or stop… How much does it change my blood? Are different drinks better or worse?”
She had to be joking.
“I meant about you being Mine.”
“Oh. Right. Gawain said you’d be okay with it. Sorry I didn’t think about that when I started dancing with Shawn. It was on the fly…”
She gave me a puzzled look before explaining, “That Angus guy who tried to cut in when I was dancing with Shawn, I told him I was yours… What were you talking about?”
Gawain had been fucking with my head… I had the distinct impression Gawain had known all along that I didn’t have a legitimate reason to be annoyed… I was also sure Sookie assumed my friend was enlightening me to the content of the telepathic notes they’d been passing.
I shook my head and sat next to her. “What about Angus?”
“When he tried to cut in, I turned him down as politely as I could and told him I belong to you… I said I was dancing with Shawn to help out as a ringer since you’re feeding two newborns at the same time. I mean, he’d been watching me since I was still on your lap, so he’d seen me bait the guys for Lynn…”
My interest in Sookie had become Gawain’s favorite sport.
She continued, “By the way, Shawn wasn’t late, but he didn’t plan for the queue out front… He’s so sweet. He really appreciates being able to grocery shop here. Bars, and the subsequent flirting and whatnot, are time consuming. He was really excited to have my help so he could get home to his babies even faster. I mean, he wasn’t even here for a whole hour.”
“You seemed to have more fun helping him than you did when you helped Lynn.”
“Well, yeah… but that was just dancing. I didn’t have to stall like I did by letting those pigs think they were getting lucky. Honestly, the shit that goes through some guys’ heads…” Instead of offering details, she shivered, and that more than filled in the blanks.
“You weren’t invited to join us so you can recruit donors for Lynn and Shawn.”
She offered, “Shawn and Lynn,” and took a bite of her sandwich.
She hurried to finish chewing and offered, “Shawn and Lynn… It’s customary to list children from oldest to youngest. Gawain’s already doing it, you know, ‘Pam and Lynn’. So… Pam, Shawn and Lynn. If you’re planning to be his umbrella, you should work on that.”
“You make an excellent point. I hadn’t thought about that detail. Thank you.”
“I know Shawn and Lynn appreciate your help, but you aren’t expected to cherry-pick their donors.”
She shrugged and offered, “I really don’t mind,” before taking another bite of her sandwich.
“Are you going to claim you were already looking for donors anyway, like the laundry situation?”
She covered her mouth and giggled, shaking her head while she finished chewing. “No. This is like mowing the lawn because I like the exercise and excuse to work on my tan.”
She nodded enthusiastically. “Well, Hadley talked about all kinds of stuff I can do, but I’ve never tried any of it… I’ve been playing, which is way better than trying to keep my shields up all the damn time. When we got here, I followed Lynn’s attention while she scanned the club for prospects. Those two guys that I brought back were actually on her hit-list… I used my telepathy to get their attention. It’s like a mental tap on the shoulder.”
And she was every bit as excited as she sounded.
“A tap on the shoulder?”
She nodded, and only a moment later, I felt the urge to look behind myself.
“So… Would you be interested in dancing when I’m done stuffing my face, even though I probably smell like a phone booth?”
I nodded. “I’ve been looking forward to dancing with you since we left the house… Speaking of which, would you like to hear a story while you eat?”
She narrowed her eyes. “I don’t know. Do I?”
“Probably not… Gawain…”
She groaned, “I already don’t like the story… What did he do?”
At least she wasn’t completely naïve.
“I was admittedly annoyed to see you dancing with Shawn, but it was even more annoying to feel how much fun you were having. I was completely prepared to argue with you regarding pet etiquette rather than admit I was jealous, and I could probably try to use Gawain’s insanity as part of my excuse, but I actually regret misinterpreting the situation…”
“You were jealous?”
“Since I’m not at all familiar with the condition, I prefer to gloss over the topic as much as possible. It’s not as though I have a history of becoming attached to people… I’m assuming Gawain knew all along that you were simply using your ability to help Shawn find donors in an expedited fashion, but since you enjoyed the task so much more than you did with Lynn’s donors, I made assumptions… Your friend…”
She snickered, “He’s my friend now?”
I nodded. “Definitely… He suggested I teach you a lesson for flirting with Shawn by fucking whatever livestock I chose to feed from while you were gone.”
When she gasped, she nearly choked on a French fry… and while she coughed to clear her airway, she cursed Gawain and called him several names. She’d also lost her appetite enough to pitch her remaining food into the bin.
Not that I could have brought myself to fuck anything, but knowing I correctly predicted Sookie’s feelings on the concept left me feeling completely justified.
“Keep in mind he berated me for being less than charming last night.”
“No joke. That shithead…” She suddenly narrowed her eyes and wrinkled her nose. “Pam and Gawain rode together. Just the two of them… I never should have told him how to find a Vampire lie. He would have been able to tell Pam wasn’t lying about what she saw.”
“So they compared notes and realized we were the ones fucking with them. What purpose does it serve for him to encourage me to impatiently relieve myself with a common whore rather than wait for what I’m craving?”
She grinned and cringed simultaneously. “Maybe… well, I mean, if you had relieved yourself that would’ve been like a big old biohazard sign. Only an idiot would fall for whatever excuse a guy could come up with for that… It’s not like you’re a ‘newborn need machine’ who can’t help himself… but he could have just been testing your reaction to the idea. I mean, he warned me not to get too attached to you because you don’t keep pets…”
“Did he warn you before or after Lynn encountered a version of Me who married a You?”
“Before… and don’t be too pissed at him for that. He had really solid reasoning behind it. His concern was that letting myself be disappointed would put Lynn in the middle, and you’ll be her Maker for much longer than I’ll be her niece. She needs to be able to trust you.”
“Fair enough… You think he was testing me.”
She widened her eyes and shrugged. “Well, I mean… As spun up as you’ve been for most of the night, he’d know if you considered it.”
Then what was the curve? Did I pass his laughably ridiculous test by being annoyed by his less than helpful suggestion? Was I a lost cause for being too preoccupied with Sookie, or was I worthy of her because I wasn’t interested in just fucking anything that crossed my path?
He knew Sookie was attracted to me. He knew I was attracted to her. He’s seen us naked together. And he knew Pam walked in to see me perfectly content to be snuggling with Sookie… My best guess, my friend who had already shown aegis towards Sookie, was making sure I wasn’t using her…
Duplicitous as his behavior was, he was at least running damage control in some capacity…
Anyone who ever complained about the mysteriousness of female maneuverings clearly hadn’t met that peculiar bastard.
“I thought the suggestion was retarded. As bothered as I was to watch you leave with Shawn, I tried to think of a way to broach the subject of etiquette before I found the donors I had no intention of fucking…” I stretched out my leg to move her chair, using my foot to lift hers and uncross her legs. “Whatever his little test was supposed to prove…”
She cleared her throat, trying to call my attention above her waist. “What was that you were saying about etiquette?”
“As quickly as you thought on your feet to give an acceptable reason for you to be dancing with a Vampire you don’t belong to, I don’t think the conversation is a pressing matter. Shawn needs to know that touching another Vampire’s pet is a serious matter though.”
“Are you mad at him?”
“He would have lost his hands if it weren’t for the complicated pseudo-relationship he has to my child… Did he touch you in a manner that could be considered anything but friendly?”
“No. He was dancing with his best friend’s sister… I actually got the vibe he was a little bit uncomfortable with me until we started talking.”
When I held my hand out, she shook her head. “I’m sure I stink to high hell.”
“Thank you for the warning, but I’m sure the blood I gave you last night is responsible for heightened senses. I’ve had the same acuteness for a thousand years. I’m sure you still smell better than what I just fed from…” She sighed as she yielded, moving to straddle my thigh, making an obvious attempt to not breathe on me. “What did you talk about with Shawn?”
“We swapped Stackhouse anecdotes… What do you think we should do about your friend?”
“I think we should ignore your friend. Someone told him how to detect deceit, so any fun we could have at his expense would be short-lived. I can think of better things to do.”
She took a deep breath, and then stood up, taking my hands with her as she backed towards the door. “I’m sure you can, but I’m paranoid about my breath… I need an orange slice or some mint leaves or something.”
“If I claim your scent is offensive, will you let me bathe you?”
She giggled, “Have you always been a masochist?”
“No. This is your fault.”
“I’m not… You…”
I finished, “I’m asking for it.”
Asking… close to begging… definitely willing to negotiate…
After chewing a mint leaf from the bar, rinsing it down with ginger ale, and cheeking another leaf, she was finally less insecure about her scent… or at least breathing in my direction.
Over the course of two songs, less than ten minutes, we were interrupted by seven men who wanted to dance with Sookie, three women who wanted to dance with me, and a couple who wanted to switch…
We were watched very closely by the Vampires and Weres in the bar… and given that it was almost closing time, I was sure they’d stayed just to settle their curiosity…
But nothing distracted me from Sookie for long. In all the fun she had dancing, I was given a collateral lesson in perspective…
I never would have been jealous of Shawn if I’d danced with her first… Shawn and Sookie might as well have shared a parochial school dance with a balloon between them.
As for me… I was back in the jacuzzi with her.
The bumping and rubbing would have been enough, but I could feel how focused she was on me, and how irritated she was by every interruption.
More than a hundred customers either watched Sookie’s hips give Daft Punk a reason for being, or searched for someone to leave with, but we might as well have been alone… in her room… struggling to behave…
Even if it didn’t seem like we would have any luck being left alone, we risked staying for a third song… We made it halfway through the song, dancing closer because the slower tempo allowed for it, before some prick decided it was his turn for Sookie to reject him.
I hadn’t expected a Vampire to attempt the fool’s errand after watching so many others be rejected.
Without turning around, Sookie asked, “If he has the stones to try to cut in, will you wait to rip his head off long enough for me to drive my knee into his groin?”
Before I finished answering, “No promises,” the asshole had the sense to abort his mission.
Lynn had long since had her fill of ‘man juice’ and was just playing with her food by that point…
I leaned over to breathe into her ear, “When do I get invited to somewhere quiet?”
She whimpered, “As soon as we leave, they will too… We should probably consider chilling out anyway.”
As I began leading her towards the back door, I offered, “I’ll keep that in mind.”
She warned, “We’re just going to get spun up again.”
I chuckled, “Do smokers read the warning label every time they open a pack?”
She was still giggling, calling me a glutton for punishment, when I knocked on the door to the feeding room. “I’m leaving. I’m taking Sookie with me. Pam…”
Pam finished, “Pam will make sure Lynn returns home safely, in a timely fashion, and without a body count.”
I could have easily let myself get used to the way Sookie wrapped her arms around my chest with her head laid on my back… but I was more than a little excited to have made it all the way to Champlain Estates without a reaction.
As I turned the engine off in the driveway, Sookie cooed, “I don’t need to open my eyes to know you’re up to something.”
“I’m not necessarily up to anything. I need to take cash from my safe.”
Her warm hands dragged over my chest to my sides as she leaned back. “Your usual house, huh?”
“My most recent one, yes…”
Sookie giggled, “Your neighbor hates your bike more than your Corvette. He thinks you need a wife who’ll keep you from buying such loud toys.”
I chuckled, finding Mr. Hubbard standing at his upstairs window. While I waved at the bald, bloated bastard I explained, “He drives a LeBaron and rides a woman who dresses like a Mardi Gras float.”
Sookie snickered as she slowly lifted herself from the bike… Instead of leading her to the front door, I took her through the gate to the backyard… Since I didn’t have my key, I needed to use the spare I kept in the gutter.
When I turned the light on in the dining room, Sookie asked, “What is it with Vampires who don’t eat, having amazing kitchens they don’t need?”
“Large kitchens typically come with large homes. I have a house in Bossier City with a kitchen smaller than the butler’s pantry at the lake house.”
She shrugged. “Okay. As long as y’all aren’t hogging the nice ones on purpose, that’s allowed.”
“I have a house that doesn’t have anything but a large hearth too.”
“Really? Where’s that?”
“Tuscany… Friends talked me out of updating it because they enjoy the flashback when they pass through… and without power, they can fuck with the locals who steal grapes from the vineyard more easily.”
She giggled, “Do the locals think it’s haunted?”
I nodded and led her towards the doorway to the basement. “My friends entertain themselves by throwing things and making noises. It’s known by locals as the ‘devil’s vineyard’. I bought the property from a friend who was moving on. Gawain’s used it more than I have…” Instead of letting her risk stumbling down the stairs, I scooped her up. “For a long time that was popular… We’d trade properties between friends. I traded a hemp farm in China with a friend when she left Amsterdam. I was given a townhouse in exchange…”
“So, on top of the even-Steven exchanges, you didn’t need to explain any secret resting places to anyone.”
“Precisely… How well can you see?” Given her heightened sense of smell, I wasn’t surprised that she’d maintained eye contact as the door closed behind us.
As I set her down, she scanned the room. “I’m okay, I guess. I’d turn a light on if there was one, but I can see enough to move around… just not to read.”
I pointed towards the finished basement just outside my room and explained, “I was originally planning to eventually bring Lynn back to this house and furnish this area for her.”
Sookie snorted, “Good luck with that, pal. She might prefer the idea of being bound to the lake house.”
“I’m getting that impression…”
When I opened the door to my room, Sookie followed me in and shook her head.
“I’m taking pictures. Jason needs to see being a slob isn’t requisite of bachelorhood.”
“Perhaps your verbiage leaves something to be desired… Try, ‘Pick up yer shit, cuz bitches like neat places ta fuck’.”
She hissed out a laugh and shook her head. “Don’t ever talk like that again. Ever. It sounded too much like him.”
I grabbed a duffle bag from the shelf in my closet and drawled, “Buuuuut Sooook…”
She shook her head. “Least. Sexy. Thing. Ever.”
“What would be the most sexy thing ever?”
She snorted and turned for the door. “No comment.”
“What? Are you afraid it’ll hurt my feelings if your answer is a shirtless Were carwash?”
As we climbed the steps, she shook her head. “You know… I’ve heard a lot of women go on and on about how men never listen. Why did you pick right then to do it?”
“Collateral information obtained while testing myself for telekinetic abilities… Sadly, you didn’t drop the towel.”
She snickered, “You should have been exercising your x-ray vision. I dropped it in the closet… And I didn’t say the shirtless Were carwash was the only sexy show on earth.”
“Gawain’s Tarzan thong?”
“God no… that belongs in a circus… When I stepped out of the changing room at Victoria’s Secret, that clown was standing there in nothing but a woman’s thong. Leopard print… I laughed so hard it hurt.”
When she paused, unsure of where to go from the kitchen I took her hand to lead her to my study.
“There aren’t any photos are there?”
“You have an opinion of what the sexiest thing is. Why not tell me?”
“Because you…” She was distracted as soon as I turned the lights on in the study. “Son of a bitch.”
“I’m sure you’re disappointed because there aren’t any paperbacks you can enjoy in the tub.”
“Who needs to bathe? I’m staying here… All antiques?”
“There are some first editions that aren’t technically antiques yet… And a handful of new books I haven’t donated yet. I don’t see the point of collecting something that’s mass produced.”
“Are they all in German and French?”
“No. Why would you ask?”
“My luck…” She walked toward the cases as though she was being drawn to them.
Clever, beautiful, fun, smells and tastes phenomenal… and she can appreciate a library when so many girls would have been distracted by the Tiffany lamps…
She didn’t even seem to notice when I started taking straps of cash from my safe.
My duffle was as full as it could be and Sookie was still perusing the stacks.
I offered, “Pam’s gotten bored enough to rearrange them; in order of binding color, in order of how attractive the author was, in order of weight… It wasn’t very long ago that she randomly rearranged them all after giving them floral dust jackets made from wrapping paper.”
She snickered, “She’s such a turd… You should’ve rearranged her closet.”
“I did… I turned all of her clothing inside out, and stuck all of her shoes to the ceiling with poster tack. Watching her leap up to get them all was spectacular.”
Without looking in my direction, she offered, “Nice job… Do you like all of these, or is it like collecting baseball cards? You know, completing the set.”
“Some of them came in large lots. I’ve read them all, some of them several times… Is this your way of answering my question about the sexiest thing? You’re very preoccupied.”
“This is reallllllllly sexy, Eric.”
“Are you planning to behave like this when we meet the people about Clarissa? That isn’t exactly a tried and true negotiation tactic.”
She giggled, “Don’t make me bite you. I’m allowed to gawk.”
“What’s the fastest way to make you bite me?”
She shrugged. “I dunno… take your clothes off?”
I chuckled, “Excuse me?”
She was wearing a wicked little smirk when she finally turned around to face me. “We’re finally alone… Hell, I don’t know how we made it back upstairs unless you don’t want to stink up-”
Before she could finish, I advanced, backing her into the shelf. “Teasing me… now… is a very bad idea.”
She was still smirking when she stretched up to catch my lip between her teeth, reaching for my belt…
I was almost afraid to move, being so fucking close to getting what I wanted…
If she could have only read my mind…
She would have known everything there was to know about bloodlust…
She would have known I needed her to stop teasing me long enough to say it was just a tease…
She would have known I needed to know her endgame before she reached into my jeans to stroke me… before she moved to work my neck…
As it was, she only heard me growl her name while I made a conscious effort to not bruise her hips.
She panted, “There… That was it…”
“The sexiest thing ever… the way you growl my name…”
“I thought you were worried about being spun up again.”
“I was… back when I thought we were just going back to the lake house…”
When I growled again, she shuddered against me, tightening her hand, shrinking into the space between me and the shelves, sliding my jeans down my hips as she moved…
I probably would have been better off if I kept my mouth shut.
“But now?” She’d just settled on her knees.
Poorly timed as my question was… She rested the tip of my cock on her bottom lip when she looked up at me.
“Now no one’s going to interrupt or overhear…” She raised her eyebrow as though she was giving me the chance to retreat.
Like that would happen.
She ran her tongue over the tip of my cock before pushing her lips along my shaft…
Humming when I twisted my fingers into her hair…
“If you think a blow job will pacify me…”
She backed away quickly enough to create a vacuum that made her cheeks cave in. “I wasn’t thinking about just pacifying you… Are you going to talk the whole time?”
I opened my mouth to answer, but… I think I had an answer… What was the question?
When she scraped her teeth over the head of my cock, coyly waiting for me to respond, I could have forgotten my name.
I used her hair to pull her back, but she turned her head… smirking up at me… biting my thigh instead…
“Didn’t I warn you about teasing me?”
She giggled, tickling me with her breath, and cooed, “I’m not the one running my mouth,” between nibbles.
I growled, “Open your mouth.”
Something about that amused her, but she did as ordered… and held her tongue out…
“Are you thinking about biting me?”
She rolled her eyes and scoffed, “For the love of God,” before shoving herself forward, pushing until my cock bumped the back of her mouth… and forcing me into her throat…
She paused, staring up at me, lifting her chin… then pulling away slowly, rolling her tongue under her mouthful…
Even when she needed air, she was still completely attached to me… pushing me…
And the sexy smile that formed every fucking time she pushed down again.
She knew exactly what the fuck she was doing to me, what she was capable of…
And I didn’t have a single complaint about being her toy.
I was practically hypnotized by watching her…
Feeling the temperature difference on my legs when she removed her hands… first my shoes… then my jeans… the sound of the zipper on her skirt gave me chills…
She waited, flawlessly working me until I was on the edge of cumming…
And then she pulled away to smile up at me with a devilish grin while she pulled her halter over her head…
On her knees, scraping her fingernails down the back of my legs…
Just long enough before she took a deep breath… pushing down again, pulling my legs…
And the way she hummed once my cock was in her throat again undid me.
She stood, pushing her clothes over her hips to let them fall to the floor… licking, nibbling, kissing a trail between my cock and my shoulder…
By the time she began gnawing on my neck, stroking my cock again and leaning against me like we were glued together, I was almost as desperate to fuck her as I had been before I came.
She breathed, “I didn’t know you were jealous,” between bites.
“I knew you were watching me, keeping an eye on things… I thought it was just… like Sheriff mode… it started almost as soon as we left the house.”
I lifted her, taking her to the sofa. “The cat calls were probably the first straw.”
Even the way she pulled my hair as I inched down her body…
Twitching away when I tickled her, shivering, whimpering…
She panted, “You were so focused on me, I felt like you were right behind me. I liked it.”
She squeaked when I nipped her thigh, hummed when I rolled my tongue over her clit. She ran her fingers through my hair while I settled in, enjoying every bit of the way she shuddered and squirmed while I played.
So fucking sweet.
And completely fucking Mine.