Instead of parting ways so that she could do her own shopping, Sookie stayed with me while I did mine… waiting patiently (and barefoot) while being leered at by other customers and showing no effect.
She jokingly grabbed duplicates of a couple sweaters I’d chosen… they looked good enough on me that she was buying them for her Eric as well. Buying souvenirs for her loved ones in the States including a few matching ties for her Eric and child… and while I replaced my cell phone and laptop at the electronics shop, she bought Tablets for herself and her grandmother. When she began browsing the software selections, I expected her to choose mindless games and Harlequin romance eBook titles to fill them… No games… just story collections by Poe, Dumas, Bronte and the like…
My curious look earned an explanation, but not about the choice of literature… “Gran and I love to read, but we’re always nervous about taking the antiques from Eric’s library when we travel. This way she’ll have a library and the family photos in her purse… and any title she’s in the mood for, instead of just what we packed.”
“Your selections are a little weighty, don’t you think?”
She shrugged. “You want I should buy the Anne Rice set?” Never. “This is a good start. They didn’t have a lot with English options.”
“I was just thinking that Oprah’s Book Club might be more your speed.”
If looks could kill, I’d have been nothing but a puddle. “That’s mighty condescending of you, asshole.”
“Did you just call me an asshole?”
“Yeah. That was me. You know, the cheeky retard who can’t understand the Three fucking Musketeers.” Cheeky and cantankerous when she was offended.
“I didn’t call you a retard.”
“Didn’t you? You assume that pop-fiction is ‘more my speed’ because why? Because all blonds are superficial and vacuous?” I honestly didn’t care that she was so irritated… I was having fun arguing with her.
“Maybe half of them are.”
She scowled at me. “Fair enough. Maybe the other half of them can shut their suck-hole unless they have something nice to say.”
“Suck-hole?” That was a new one.
“Yeah. Suck-hole. I don’t know who you think you are, but you need to chill your tits before I buy a roll of cellophane just to make our flight more memorable.” Chill my tits?
I faltered enough to chuckle. “I might not notice if I bring a couple of donors along for the trip.”
“You should dine in. I can make sure your donors lose the mood.”
“Why would you do that?”
“Because I’m a cheeky retard who knows all of your pet peeves.”
“A jealous, cheeky retard?”
She narrowed her eyes and stepped closer to me. “You can feed from whatever the fuck you want… My Eric only feeds from me.”
“Is he that pussy whipped?”
“The way my blood tastes has nothing to do with being pussy whipped.” That sounded like a ‘yes’.
“You couldn’t taste so extraordinary that he wouldn’t get bored with you. You’re just too naïve to realize he’s feeding from others.”
Instead of another infuriated volley, she covered her mouth and cackled into her hands as she folded herself in half. Lovely. The few people who weren’t already staring at her wardrobe, began staring because she was behaving like a raving lunatic.
“Stand up. You’re making a scene.”
When she stood up, she wiped tears from her eyes and she was still laughing. “Sorry.”
“What the fuck is so funny?”
She shook her head and began snickering again. “I almost forgot what a shady ass you can be since My Eric never uses it on me.”
“How was I being shady?”
She began mocking my voice, “You’re just too naïve to realize he’s feeding from others… What. The. Actual. Fuck? You expect me to fall for that? I believe that line of shit and give you a taste to prove I’m finger-lickin’-good? A dippy fangbanger wouldn’t even fall for that.” Fuck her.
“You just told me that ‘your Eric’ is monogamous and you’re the one accusing me of using ‘a line of shit’?”
She snorted and grabbed her bags, trekking out of the shop in search of somewhere selling women’s apparel.
I followed her, more pissed that she walked away from me than anything. Fuck her indignation. “Why do you think you could be enough? If anything, you’re just a pet he’ll tire of eventually.”
She stopped so suddenly that I passed her by a couple of steps.
She waltzed up to me until her chest pressed against my ribs. “Listen to me carefully, because I’m only going to say this once. I. Don’t. Need. Your. Help. Whether you get your head out of your ass or not, I’m going home. I could’ve gotten the American calling code from a stranger on the street and I wouldn’t have had to suffer your insults. Be nice or fuck off.”
“I think I’m asking a fair question. Presuming that he and I are the same, I can’t imagine why I’d be so taken with a human that I’d ‘settle down’.”
“If you can manage to keep from putting your foot in your mouth long enough for the plane to take off, then you can ask him about it yourself.”
“I haven’t put my foot in my mouth. Humor me and tell me how you’d love someone like me.”
“My Eric respects me enough to be honest with me. He loves me enough to kill to keep me safe. He makes me laugh and hates to see me cry. And he’s given me more than I ever thought I’d have. That’s why I love MY Eric Northman. I don’t know who the fuck you are.”
“You say we’re the same.”
“You have the same ticks and the same past up until a few years ago… Even though I’ve apologized for being such an inconvenience, you’re being shallow and rude. You’ve accused me of being nothing more than an idiot pet.”
“You’ve had no problem spending thousands on souvenirs and didn’t blink before you treated a King like a taxi service. THAT would be standard gold digger behavvvvv…”
Before I was finished, she pulled her arm back and punched my side… and turned around to stomp away from me.
Pam, even when we were closest, wouldn’t have gotten away with behaving that way and in public no less.
Sookie, insolent little cunt that she was, not only struck me, but walked away from me. If she knew me like she claimed to know me, she should fucking know better than to think I’d let that performance slide.
I waited outside the shop she carried her tantrum into.
When she emerged, wearing an ensemble I was admittedly distracted by and carrying more bags, she didn’t glance in my direction…
She walked directly to the curb to hail a taxi with her phone to her ear…
She was talking to her guard again, telling him that she was on her way to the airport because ‘Wally’s’ pilot had contacted her.
When I moved to follow her into the taxi, she actually closed the door on my fucking hand and I was almost sure she’d done it purposefully.
Sookie huffed and rolled her eyes when I slid onto the seat, shoving her to the other side.
I took the phone from her and turned it off. “Inexcusable.”
“Talk to my Master about it.” She hadn’t even looked at me.
“I plan to. You seem pretty sure that you’ll live long enough to see the outcome of the discussion.”
“Stop talking to me.”
“You heard me. I’m done. I have an Eric who can display some manners. There’s no use for you. You’ve been on your own so long that you’ve gone feral.”
“What? You haven’t come across the word in Oprah’s Book Club?”
“You’ve got a lot of nerve, you little bitch. You’ve been just as offensive… Need I remind you that being in my company is wholly your fucking fault?”
She arched her back to straighten her belt and adjust the shoulders of her clingy, baby blue sweater dress, but she didn’t answer.
“You hit me. I have the right to be pissed about that. You owe me a fucking apology.”
“You called me a gold digger. We’re even.”
“Really? How much did that outfit cost?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t look at the price tag because I’m not familiar with currency conversions.”
“You just bought whatever caught your eye?”
“Fuck yourself.” Breaking point.
I grabbed her hair and pulled her face to mine, letting my fangs down and not giving a single fuck about the driver. “You will show some respect. No. One. Talks. To. Me. That. Way.”
She clenched her jaw, showing nothing but anger. “Correction. No one talked to you like this BEFORE.”
“You should know that I’m already fed up with your conduct.”
“Look how many fucks I give.” Not a single one.
“Don’t. Push. Me.”
“You can leave me be at any time. You’re the one doing the pushing.”
“You’re just a Human…”
“If I’m just a Human, then why waste your time insulting me? I know My Eric wouldn’t.” I wished I had a fucking answer to that question.
When her phone started ringing again, I pushed her away from me and tossed her phone back to her.
It was her guard again… she promised that she was fine… and laughed when she told him that I wanted to fuck her and kill her and couldn’t decide which to do first.
She had no fucking idea…
As we approached the plane, Sookie huffed, “Shit.”
She leaned over, putting her head very near my lap. “Can you at least behave around other Vampires? If you’re going to go back to Shreveport with me, then you need to pretend to be My Eric. The King’s second is waiting for me… well, us.”
“What does that entail?”
She groaned and rolled her eyes. “It should be pretty fucking easy for you. He’s generally pretty quiet. I act like a lower Vampire. I’m not quite a pet in Vampire circles anymore because of my ability being so useful, but I still put on the show in public… You’ll probably enjoy the perks of physical contact though since I’m usually attached to My Eric in one way or another.” Oh really?
I grabbed her head again, and pushed her face against my cock. “Like this?”
I shouldn’t have.
She dug her fingernails into my wrist and thigh as she struggled to free herself…
And I’d only had a split second to think she’d given up before I felt her forcing warm breath against me… and then she bit. Not hard enough to break my skin, but hard enough to… fuck… it felt too good.
My fangs ran out reflexively and I didn’t even realize I’d let her go until cold air replaced her warmth as she sat up.
She cooed, “You soooo asked for that.” I couldn’t argue. I’d completely brought that on myself.
I pushed her over, pinning her. “That was wicked.”
Her eyebrow quirked up. “And? I think we’re even.”
“No. I don’t think so…”
“So… Cicely knows Us. She sent some fossils to Hunter for Christmas…”
“You aren’t going to try to get away?”
She continued as though I wasn’t pulling her legs around me. “When she was turned, she had to leave small kids behind like you did, so she’s very curious about Eric and Hunter being so close. It might be a little off-putting, but she’s envious in a sweet way.” Not the topic I was interested in…
“I don’t care.”
“I’m usually the chatty one anyway, but you should probably use your new laptop and the journal as a reason to be distracted…”
“Explain why you won’t fuck me if you’re already bonded to me.”
“Here’s the thing… Since Cicely knows Us… she’d also know that it would be extremely weird for Us to not reek of sex and blood.”
I smiled at her. “Finally.”
She began squirming, making the friction too much to bear. “You don’t get much. You can’t make a mess and you can’t leave a marking because My Eric doesn’t.”
“You thought giving me a taste was beneath you.”
“It’s a necessary evil now… if you don’t want…”
I pushed her chin up, pulling the neck of her sweater out of my way… caring nothing for why she put her hands to my neck…
As soon as a slid my fangs into her neck I wanted to take back what I’d said… exceptional was the only word that came to mind…
Nothing would ever taste the same again…
Nothing had ever tasted so perfect… so pure… the lingering sunlight on her neck spiced the sweetness of her blood…
I knew instantly why I wouldn’t feed from anyone else… any more… ever…
And as soon as I took my first swallow… I knew why she’d put her hands to my neck…
She pressed her thumbs between my jaw and my Adam’s apple… keeping me from taking more because I couldn’t swallow…
That clever little bitch… I wouldn’t have stopped so soon otherwise.
As I withdrew, she removed her hands, letting me swallow what I’d taken after she dammed my throat…
I almost hated to swallow it… I wanted to keep that flavor on my tongue for as long as I possibly could.
She waited for me to heal her to put her hands on my cheeks, eying me steadily. “You won. You got your taste.” Phenomenal.
“I’m not an idiot. I’m not just another O neg. And for the record, I spent money I earned on what I bought. Eric doesn’t support me.”
“Are you waiting for an apology? You made more than a few suggestions of your own.”
“I didn’t make any suggestions. When you were acting like an asshole, I told you as much. There’s a difference.”
“I wasn’t acting…” I stopped when she thumbed a droplet away from my lip.
“Yes you were. I know you. You’re anything but an asshole 99% of the time. You’ve just gotten so used to the act that you forgot what a kind man you are.” I almost believed her.
“You seem pretty sure of that.”
“I couldn’t have fallen in love with Eric as you are. And it’s not your fault… I tend to take folks by surprise. It took Pam a while to warm up to me. Let’s go… I want to get home.”
I growled, trying to think of a way to stall… any reason to stay right where I was. “What should I know about Cicely?”
“Sophie-Ann, Andre, and the Berts know about the skipping, but the Texas camp hasn’t been included on that detail. We opted to not tell him unless there’s a HUGE need for it. Cicely’s going to call you Eric instead of Lieutenant because Eric told her to. Eric hates the title and only took the position because Wallace insisted. He’d already turned the job down once.”
“How did I end up getting the first offer?”
“Me. I contract out so we travel a lot. Sophie-Ann wanted Eric to have the added security of the higher rank in case something happened to me… That way turning down his request for help would be frowned on in a diplomatic sense. Wallace insisted because he hates dealing with Andre.” Go figure.
“Do you commonly refer to the King and Queen by name?”
“Yes. Eric is usually more formal, but not around Cicely. Because of our familial association, Sophie-Ann and Wallace jokingly call us in-laws. Cousins, husbands, wives… You should’ve seen the look on the Berts faces when Hunter started calling them ‘Uncle Bert’.”
“Uncle Bert? That’s amusing.”
“I think you’re out of stall tactics. We should go.”
She giggled, “I know that look. Don’t play coy. C’mon… You need to start your laptop so that I can nap in your lap for most of the flight. I still can’t get used to flying.”
As we approached the plane, Cicely smiled at Sookie… tall for a female, curvy, dark hair and freckles…
She greeted us with a thick brogue, “Suit mae, Eric, Sookie?”
I nodded simply while Sookie leaned into the woman to bump their cheeks together. “Well, we’d probably be in better moods if we didn’t wake up to discover that all of our stuff was missing. We had to go shopping. It’s not like we’d gone to bed dressed for January.” That was beautifully put… I couldn’t help but be impressed.
Cicely answered as she relieved Sookie from some of her bags and turned to the steps, “I can only imagine.”
Sookie giggled, “So how did you get stuck coming along? Since Eric’s with me it’s not like Wallace has to worry about us.”
“It was my idea actually. We were hoping for your help.”
“Who’s on the plane?”
“A pair of Humans that Wallace and I found in Cardiff.”
“Ahhhhh. Do they have ‘potential’?”
“As far as we know, of course. Our concern is…”
“The anti-Vampire cells here in Europe? We heard about them when we had a layover at Heathrow a few months back.”
“Exactly. You don’t mind do you?” I couldn’t believe that a King was having Sookie screen potential children.
“Of course not. I don’t want anything to happen to you or Wallace. Are you planning to turn around and go back tomorrow night?”
“No. We’ll leave immediately. I have a travel box. If you can clear them…”
“Nuff said. I’ve got your back.”
As we entered the plane, Sookie didn’t spare a glance in the direction of the two pets in the cabin and set her things down.
Cicely immediately pulled Sookie’s attention to a stack of gift boxes on the small counter.
Sookie was presented with gift after gift for her child, her grandmother, and herself… the child’s appreciation of dragons was an excuse for Milne to send Welsh ‘pride’ merchandising… the grandmother’s obsession with reading and cooking garnered gifts of first edition books and an obscenely large basket of Welsh ingredients… and a lamb was in the cargo hold… Sookie had been given a necklace of Welsh gold with two pendants, a star and a fleur de lis…
The joke, the most hilarious fucking thing I’d heard in more than a century, was Wallace Milne’s standing offer to put a ribbon around himself as ‘my’ gift.
I’d never seen a monarch be so informal with underlings… Cicely had the excuse since she was of equal ranking to the other Me, but Milne had bought souvenirs for the Stackhouse family like Sookie had while she was shopping. I couldn’t think of a single other instance where a Vampire would give a second thought to another Vampire’s pet, let alone the extended family.
Either Sookie had achieved unprecedented status in the Vampire social order because of her ability or everyone was insane in her version of reality.
Without asking for details, Sookie called her guard once again, explaining that the flight plan included stopping for fuel in Maine just after 7, weather permitting… and that ‘We’ would be ‘home’ by midnight.
She sat next to me shortly after I unpackaged my laptop and she unzipped her knee high boots… curling her legs under herself, scooting over to snuggle against my side while she played with her Tablet.
By the time we were taxiing down the runway, Sookie was contentedly using my shoulder as a pillow and reading Georges at an impressive pace.
Soon after takeoff, she reached over to my computer without hardly looking to open the Sticky Notes function and type, “If you have any ??? I can answer them this way.”
I replied, “Thank you,” impressed again that the secretive ploy occurred to her.
Questions came and went and as they occurred to me to ask, she made her own notes to clarify in the journal later… It was rare that ‘company’ read the journal before they parted ways.
It was irritating that I was forced to get abbreviated explanations about some things in the interest of not exposing what was going on, but at least there was a good reason for it.
More than anything, I was distracted by Sookie’s contact… After a while she’d laid on her side and curled her hand under my thigh like she would a pillow.
Sookie’s reading distracted me from my own more than a few times. Every time I’d find myself overwhelmed by the bizarre nature of what I was reading, I’d glance over and read along with her for a few pages.
But eventually, I lost the escape. Sookie managed to read Georges in less than 2 hours.
Sure there was conversation with Cicely, but it revolved around politics I had no hand in and ‘My’ unbelievable homelife.
Four hours into the flight Sookie drifted to sleep, snoring softly against my leg while I was finally forced to absorb what was written in the journal.
As though the pictures hadn’t been enough, or that Cicely knew me even though I’d never met her for that matter, there was no way anyone would’ve been able to accurately describe what my relationship with Pam had been like before we parted ways… Not when Sookie was an infant the last time I spoke to my child… not when Vampires weren’t witnesses to how much leeway Pam had with me privately.
I’d been forced to believe it all.
When the plane landed at Logan because it was redirected around a snowstorm, Sookie took the pets in search of something to eat.
She kissed my cheek for appearance’s sake, excited to speak to her Eric since the sun had been down in his time zone for nearly 2 hours by then…
I couldn’t begin to explain why seeing Sookie cry bothered me so much, but when she returned I was burdened with an annoying pang in the pit of my stomach.
Instead of eating like Cicely’s pets, Sookie went to the restroom and I wasn’t sure what was worse… the smell of her tears or the sound of her quiet sobbing.
Cicely stared at me for a moment before I turned to the pets. “Did something happen?”
The male pet answered, sharing a view of his partially chewed sandwich. “Something’s wrong at home.”
Infuriating slob. “Did you get any details?”
“No. She was really quiet.”
Fuck. How helpful. “Thank you.” Asshole.
When Sookie finally came from the restroom, she took her seat next to me, ignoring her food to curl into a tight ball at the other end of the sofa…
I actually found myself disappointed that I wouldn’t be her pillow again.
“Yeah?” The strength that had been in her voice when she told me to shut my suck-hole was gone.
“I just called home to check in… A friend of mine tried to kill herself.”