Diabolical and brilliant was an understatement really. For someone her age to be so calculating and conniving, for her to think so many steps ahead, I was sure she wouldn’t ever stop impressing me.
I asked, “What did you mean when you said it all fell apart?”
When she smirked, I realized how close our faces still were…
She licked her lips and answered, “Apparently, when their blood mixes, they get primal. Nicked lips are all it takes. That’s why I thought I was dreaming. It was too incredible to be real… I would have lost a bet. I figured you’d be put off because you’ve known me for so long.”
“So you didn’t have anything in mind when you tempted me with massage oil?”
She snorted, “I wouldn’t try to seduce you with a kids’ movie and something that makes you catatonic… I’m a little more aggressive than that.”
I realized she’d take that as a dare before her eyebrow twitched, but I didn’t realize that the way she dropped her chin was a warning…
Somehow I was just as shocked when she kissed me as I was when the other Sookie had, but… I did kiss this one back.
On her knees, leaning against me, rising up and pulling my hair to tilt my head back…
It was just a kiss, even if we were only one insignificant piece of clothing away from so much more…
I was already clawing at the back of her thighs, fighting to control my fangs, when she ran out of air and moved to chew a path from my chin to my neck…
She panted, “Are you going to get that?” and it wasn’t until then that I realized my phone was ringing.
No. No no no no… I didn’t want to move.
I didn’t want to stop.
Especially not when I knew it was just Sophie-Anne.
I had to lie back to reach where I’d dropped my fucking phone and when I did, Sookie rested her forehead against my stomach. The way her breath felt… Fuuuuuuuck.
“Good evening, Majesty.”
She snapped, “Why did it take so long for you to answer?”
Eleven hundred years of premenstrual relapses.
“I was with my masseuse.”
Sookie’s shoulders shook slightly, and she nipped my stomach.
Sophie-Anne snarled, “And is your masseuse to blame for why you didn’t call me to tell me you’d met with Erica Weiss?”
Unfortunately, there wasn’t any way for me to know if she was having me watched or if someone spontaneously called her to polish an apple.
“I didn’t call you because there wasn’t anything to say. She made a brief appearance at Fangtasia. She checked in with a letter from Milne.”
“Did she demonstrate any aspect of her ability?”
“As a matter of fact she did. She brought my attention to several issues that needed to be remedied, and found a pickpocket in the sea of customers… I wouldn’t call the demonstration remarkable by any means.” Not when I’d seen what she was capable of.
After a long pause, Sophie-Anne huffed, “Gawain is in Area 5… He seemed to know her.”
“He’s passing through the Area between errands. He just arrived tonight… He’s seen her work several times. He’s been part of her guard. I’m sure you can imagine why Erica’s previous employers have spared no expense in regard to her safety.”
She urged, “What. Did. He. Say. About. Her?”
“Nothing. Her guards sign a confidentiality clause.”
“They didn’t even share small talk?”
“He made a joke about a dress code because Erica and I were both wearing leather pants and silk shirts…” Sookie nipped my stomach again. “They mentioned seeing each other in China recently.”
Sophie-Anne growled, “And what did you notice about her? Who is her guard while she’s working in Louisiana? What sort of entourage is she traveling with?”
“She told me her guards would check in with me in a timely manner. As far as I know, she isn’t traveling with an entourage… She’s stunning, but she’s like ice. She was only at Fangtasia for a short time. She had a couple of drinks. She offered a demonstration of her ability to prove who she was. She left.”
“Like ice? Like ice? That. Isn’t. Helpful… Did you learn anything about her that would help you persuade her? Do you know where she’s staying so you can contact her?”
“She mentioned making contact with me if she needed anything.”
Sophie-Anne shouted, “NOT GOOD ENOUGH! Northman, I don’t care if she wants you to shine her shoes and walk her Pomeranian, you’ll do it!”
Sookie lifted her head to give me an apologetic look and mouth that she was sorry.
It wasn’t her fault that Sophie-Anne had been dropped as an infant.
Sophie-Anne continued to rant, “While you pamper the telepathic princess, you’ll tell her how much your Queen is willing to pay her! I need her! I need her to work for me, even if she doesn’t find a single threat, just so I’m one of her references when de Castro and Threadgill get their turn!”
Not just because she slipped… because of her motivation… Sophie-Anne wanted to borrow Erica’s Terracotta army… Knowing that Erica worked on referral, she wanted it to seem like the many super-powers in Erica’s impressive resume had referred her. She wanted to imply to Nevada and Arkansas that she had friends they didn’t know about.
Sookie’s eyes widened, easily catching on… but she probably didn’t realize she was a sword away from Knighthood.
Erica Weiss was practically untouchable.
I offered, “I’ll do my best to gather as much information as possible, Majesty. She mentioned being booked for the next year. If I have an opportunity to ask casually, I might be able to find out who’s on her itinerary.”
She warned, “That’s only half the problem, Northman.”
“Understood, but if she’s not working for Nevada or Arkansas in the immediate future, we may have some time to strategize.”
“Or she could negotiate a contract and they’d be next in line.”
Where the fuck was Andre? He was the one who argued for her to limit how many people knew what a whiner she was.
“I’ll do my best to keep that from happening, but I’m not sure Threadgill is a contender for her services. I don’t think he can afford her. Miss Weiss has only worked for the wealthiest Kingdoms, and she only works on referral. Arkansas’s only friend is Idaho and she isn’t on the list of references.”
“You say that as though Arkansas’s lack of allies disqualifies Nevada and his cash flow.”
I corrected, “I say that as though it seems like Wallace Milne’s list of friends and allies make up a majority of her references. Texas and Nevada don’t play in the same sandbox.”
She shouted, “Neither do I! Get that telepath to work for me! Houses, cars… anything that can be bought, any string that can be pulled… If you have to, take a male pet. As much time as she spent in Texas, she might enjoy the company of gay men.”
That settled it. Sophie-Anne had gone completely mad.
Sookie’s forehead crashed into my stomach, and she shook while she laughed silently.
“I’ll know more after my next meeting with her. I’ll call you with anything I learn.”
“You do that… Who is your masseuse? Is there a spa she works for? I can’t have Erica Weiss in my state and not send a welcoming gift of some kind. What size does she wear? I could send gifts to her at Fangtasia.”
“My masseuse works out of a spa named Rising Sun Salon… Miss Weiss is a petite, but busty, size six… If you don’t mind the suggestion, Majesty, there’s a boutique in the same mall named Tara’s Togs. A voucher to be spent there might be better than trying to guess what style Miss Weiss prefers.”
“Good. I’ll have my assistant make arrangements. Have your assistant bring the certificates to you so they’ll be at Fangtasia the next time she contacts you.”
“I’ll see to it, Majesty.”
“What was she driving?”
“A JEEP!? Why would she… Nevermind. My assistant will deliver a car to Fangtasia. Don’t have it towed.”
What? No pony?
It was as though she was trying to make me laugh.
“Of course not.”
Sophie-Anne was growling when she ended the call, and Sookie rolled off of my legs, rolling to the floor and covering her face.
She groaned, “I’m… so… sorry…”
“It’s not your fault she’s a lunatic.”
“It kind of is… at least right now. I’m why she’s talking to you like you’re a… courtesan!”
“Everyone has a price, Sookie. She’s only guilty of overestimating my loyalty to her… The good news is that as riled as she is, she still isn’t suggesting extreme measures.”
“Other than you switch-hitting because I might want to be your fag-hag? What the fuck is that shit? She’s a nutter.”
“She suggested I woo you to begin with. Isn’t that laughable enough? I’d probably be more annoyed if you weren’t already planning to humor her. You should ask for a suit of armor full of chocolate, and a fur sofa, and a private jet stocked with Scooby Doo videos and Kool-Aid…”
Sookie growled as she rolled over and lifted to her knees, crawling towards me, and reminding me what the Queen had interrupted… as though I’d forgotten.
As she straddled me again, she offered, “I might have a better idea.”
“Are we still talking about the Queen?”
She nibbled her lip as she nodded. “What if Sheriff Northman does such an amazing job of wooing Erica Weiss, she asks the Queen to release the Sheriff from his contract so he’s free to travel and be her guard?”
“The desperate cunt would probably entertain the offer…”
“Of course, in exchange for your cooperation, you would insist on asylum for you and Pam so you two could still attend Sunday suppers, and foster Shawn… and you’d look like a team player, taking one for the team by recruiting the telepath and all… I might even be able to recommend your replacement with someone who won’t hassle you for being in the Area.”
Amazing fucking idea, not to mention how incredibly strategic Sookie could be… I should be so lucky to have a break from Louisiana whenever I wanted… California, Greece and Romania were tempting enough that I’d already been jealous…
“I’m not sure I can think of anyone who’d want the position of Sheriff.”
She shifted her hips and leaned over, bracing herself to loom over me. “I might. My first pick would be…. Isabel Beaumont… Dallas’s second in command. She could easily do the job. She’s been with him for long enough that a change of pace wouldn’t be unwelcome… She’s an old friend of Francesca’s. Her Maker is a nobody, a hermit in Barcelona. She’s 800, so she’s old enough to be taken seriously, and she’s already working an Area about the same size.”
Machiavellian politicking had never looked so tempting…
I ran my hands up her sides and asked, “Does this mean you don’t want to be my fag-hag?”
She licked her lips and shook her head slowly. “No. I don’t want to be your fag-hag.”
“Are we still talking about the Queen?”
She smirked, asking, “Who?” and she closed the gap between us…
But as soon as our lips touched, she let out an exaggerated sob, dropping her face to my chest to weep, “Gawain.”
“I have enough gris-gris bags to ward him out.”
She lifted her face and held her breath as she considered it, but she decided, “No. I’m not giving that yenta the satisfaction.”
“I was afraid you’d say that.”
“Why? You’re conflicted.”
I sat up enough to kiss her briefly, all too briefly, before rolling over. “Apparently, I’m not conflicted enough… Get back to work.”
As she resumed my massage, she snorted, “Is it because we’ve known one another for so long?”
If only there was time to analyze her question… if she was specific because familiarity was a majority of her concern…
“That might be a factor if we’d been in contact all along… I’m more concerned about… fallout.”
“Would it make you feel better to know that your buddy started trying to sell you just as hard as those kids did?”
“Adele? You’re joking.”
She impersonated her grandmother, “I don’t see what’s so funny? Is it too much to ask that you find someone to settle down with who’s responsible, available, and isn’t afraid to knock you off your high horse? You can’t traipse all over the world forever. Eventually, you’ll run out of new places to go…” She sighed, “Honestly, she’s partly jealous of all the places I’ve seen, and she misses me… But she isn’t scared something will happen to me… She’s being kind of oblivious to the fact that I don’t need to settle down…”
Gawain had moved through the house silently. No doubt, he was hoping to eavesdrop on something interesting…
When he entered the den, he tossed himself onto the sofa and teased, “You need a white picket fence and a husband… She’s hoping your biological clock will activate once a ring’s on your finger. ‘The way she is over her nieces and nephews, she’d be a great mom’… You need to be prepared for that once she hears other Yous have children.”
She cleared her throat. “Yeah… well… it’s a shame I won’t be there. Send my regards. Canada called. I’m needed in the Yukon.”
“Would you like me to glamour her to stop?”
“No. I don’t think it’s too much to expect her to stop on her own… She’s got Hadley’s and Brandon’s kids. Marcy and Jason are planning to have at least one… She needs to get over the fact that I’m not going to be giving her any great-grandchildren.”
I’d clearly missed something.
There wasn’t any reason why Sookie shouldn’t be able to retire and have a family. She could live the rest of her natural life and never need to work again.
He offered, “Say the word. I’ll glamour her.”
I added, “If you don’t want her to be glamoured, I’ll say something to her. As much as I love the woman, it’s not fair for her to push you to…”
“Drop it.” There was a harsh edge to her voice, but she softened her tone to say, “It’s fine. I could have it worse. She’s only an old fogy about this one thing.”
Gawain began fiddling with the pillows on the sofa and sighed, “As the lady wishes… What are you watching?”
Even though I was shocked that he’d actually avoided a chance to tease her, I answered, “It’s Elf, but we aren’t watching it. We’re making sure it’s a good copy and doesn’t cut to porn at some point… Sophie-Anne just called me. There’s been a development.”
“Oh really? Has she finally had that festering boil removed from her cunt?”
“As far as I know, Andre’s fine.”
He snorted, “Pity. What’s the development then?”
“I give Andre credit for the ploy because he’s always been more tactical…”
“Because he escaped the mothership before his humanoid amalgamation interface had been installed.”
Someone had been reading science fiction.
“True… She needs to hire Erica Weiss for security purposes. She wants Nevada and Arkansas to see Louisiana on Erica’s list of telepathic endeavors…”
He chuckled, “Along with the most formidable Vampires in the world, several of whom have proposed to Erica and one of them is responsible for providing her Majesty’s transportation to the land of opportunity.”
“Several proposals? I only knew about Tyson.”
“Maximo, Clovis and Rodrigo were quite taken with her… Nicholas actually flirted with her. And thanks to her blonde hair and blue eyes, she was considered an exotic to several of Zhang’s Gōngs.”
Sookie groaned, “It’s just the Fae.”
Gawain scoffed, “I think it’s in spite of the Fae, my dear. You’d have to search high and low to find a Vampire over five centuries old who would normally make a kind remark about a Faerie except for where their flavor is concerned. You’re clever and fun, and you have a huge set of balls tucked into those adorable little red panties of yours… Why are you still wearing those?”
It was actually a pity that I agreed with him for once, but I was too relaxed to bother saying anything.
She deadpanned, “I’m bashful. I don’t want anyone looking at my bum.”
I actually snorted.
He sighed, “Excellent strategy. I’m not looking at your bum… Did I miss anything but the phone call from God’s Gift to the New World?”
I groaned, “When we weren’t laughing at the twat for suggesting I take male pets because Erica might be a fag-hag after spending four years with Milne? Not really… Sookie was greedy and held out on me. I had to quit rubbing her back before she’d give me a turn.”
He clicked his tongue. “I’m wholly disappointed in you two. I was hoping the massage was your excuse to fuck.”
Sookie scoffed, “Joking around between us is one thing, but please don’t do that around Gran. She’s already being a shit. Tomorrow night’s going to be hell. She’ll have enough material. She won’t need your help.”
“It’s probably in your best interest to actually go to the Yukon.”
She breathed, “It’s just Gran and Aunt Linda though… Hadley and Jason don’t join in…”
She actually sounded defeated… In just a matter of minutes, she’d gone from confidently plotting the end of my contract, to sounding completely at sea in regards to her own family…
Gawain offered, “This is why you bought a house of your own, Sookie. You won’t be forced to suffer the extremes if you’re only blocking their thoughts during gatherings. You’ll be able to brace yourself for that even if it isn’t fair that you should have to.”
I really had missed something… Again. If nothing else, Gawain’s uncharacteristically compassionate approach was evidence of that.
The more I thought about it, the more I remembered… nothing blatant, but situations I’d taken at face value, when I should have been reading into things. It wasn’t as though I was being ignorant, but the Stackhouses just didn’t give me any other reason to be suspicious. They had always been very straightforward…
I’d always taken Adele’s mentions that Sookie should stop traveling so often as the simple plight of a grandmother who missed her granddaughter, but hearing there was more to why she wanted Sookie to be in Bon Temps made me disappointed for Sookie’s sake… And it made me wonder how many ‘playful jibes’ had been something else entirely.
Given that another telepath (even if he was closeted) acted as though Sookie was harassed by their expectations, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was only hearing the tip of the iceberg.
I couldn’t count how many times I remembered Adele or Linda telling Sookie, ‘If you were home, you wouldn’t be the last to know,’ or complimenting her on how she was a ‘natural’ with babies, or mentioning a nearby house for sale, or sharing news that someone she’d known in high school was engaged or pregnant, or complaining about missing her while they distributed the contents of her care packages at Sunday supper.
‘I’m happy that she found a way to put her ability to use, but…’
‘She’s lucky to get to travel, but…’
‘I can’t wait for her to come home, but…’
‘I’m sure losing Asa was hard on her, but…’
But. But. But… The harder I tried to think of genuine approval for Sookie’s life without an exception being given, the more instances I remembered when a Stackhouse complained that Sookie wasn’t local, in an acceptable relationship, or part of the status quo in general. It was even worse when it occurred to me that during the pageant Maxine Fortenberry had been completely rapt hearing Sookie describe the hot springs she’d visited, but Adele made a comment that Sookie had nearly been killed during an earthquake.
There was clearly more to Sookie’s distaste for the way Gawain had initially ‘pigeon-holed’ her.
It was a landmark moment… I’d actually continued to think while receiving a massage.
When Sookie was finished, she used the ‘postcards’ from India and Thailand to make herself comfortable next to me so she could watch what was left of the movie.
I was left a useless retarded lump of happy until Gawain nudged my shoulder with his foot and told me to turn my head to face the television so it wasn’t completely obvious I was a ‘pathetic rub-whore’.
Part of me actually felt sorry for the bastard because he didn’t understand.
Then again… More oil for me.
It wasn’t long before Sookie and I were declared the most boring assholes on the planet. He complained all the way to my office that he’d worry the movie would rot our minds if there was anything to rot, and threatened to alert the authorities that Sookie was running an opium den.
Of course it didn’t help matters that whenever we said anything to him, we were lucky to grunt single-syllable words to him… and laughing at Will Ferrell might actually be a sign of clinical retardation. Sookie and I were both guilty.
From the angry elf’s successful attack on a man my size, until the heartwarming ending, Sookie and I barely moved.
She could have easily convinced me to resume what Gawain had interrupted, but it didn’t take a genius (or a telepath) to figure out that he was listening to be sure he wouldn’t miss anything interesting.
Sookie finally reached for the remote control to turn off the television and announced, “I’m cold.”
“Light a fire.”
She whined, “But I’d have to get up. I just want a blanket.”
“I don’t want to get up either.”
She rolled onto her back to narrow her eyes at me and blow a raspberry. When I reciprocated, she pouted, “Is your pool heated?”
“Yes… You want to swim?”
She began pushing herself from the floor, grunting, “Why not? It’s warm. It’ll wash away some of this oil… And I have to pee.”
“Don’t you dare.”
I was answered with an evil giggle and the sound of the back door sliding open…
And a moment later, she dove in, making Gawain chuckle, “You might actually have to get up.”
But I like being a lump.
Asking him to stop her would have been a futile effort.
When I stepped outside, Sookie was nowhere to be seen and my deckchair was sinking to the bottom of the pool.
Then I was tapped on the shoulder.
Evil little bitch.
When I turned around, she was smirking at me. “If I have to get up, you have to get up.”
I growled, “You’re going to pay for that.”
She turned around and snorted, “That’s gonna have to wait until after I find the bathroom and a blanket.”
When I returned to the den, I quickly moved the furniture to where it was usually placed and used the sheet to cover the sofa…
I was comfortably sprawled, taking as much of the sofa as possible when Sookie returned with a comforter borrowed from a guestroom…
She didn’t show any signs that she cared as she dropped the blanket and took her bag from the floor…
She replaced one DVD for another… removed a bottled drink from her bag to take a sip… and then wrapped in the blanket before sitting between my legs to rest her feet on my stomach.
As she reached for the remote control, she snorted, “Don’t think I don’t know you hid the flask behind the TV.”
“I didn’t think it would escape you, but you can’t reach it.”
She snickered, “Jackass… You wouldn’t think twice about knocking over a TV to get to that oil.”
“Fair enough… What are we watching? Another movie for the children?”
“Definitely not a kids’ movie. This is Bad Santa. Mee actually recommended it.”
“Mee recommended a Christmas movie?”
“She said it was the funniest Christmas movie she’s ever seen.”
Given Mee’s sense of humor, I was prepared…
An alcoholic Santa who pissed in his pants, with an affinity for anal, and a cantankerous midget partner in crime.
I could definitely see how it would be on Mee’s list of holiday classics…
It had its moments… but when Sookie let out a long yawn, she began ‘fucking with’ me to stay awake so she could finish the movie.
She’d run her finger along my insole a few times just to get a giggle from watching my leg twitch… and that was amusing enough to entertain her for a while, especially since she knew I wouldn’t risk retaliating when her feet were one twitch away from my balls…
But then she stretched her leg out to show me her foot, and wiggle her toes, like she was daring me. As her foot slowly disappeared under the blanket again, I realized she wasn’t daring me… She was teasing me.
She dragged her foot down my stomach… along my cock… under my balls… and back again…
And I was frozen in place… unable to think of anything I could do that Gawain wouldn’t hear and the only part of her body I could reach was her foot.
As she started another pass, adding enough pressure to her tease that my fangs ran out, Sookie whined, “Gawain…”
He grumbled from the library, “Build your own fire.”
“I’m not cold anymore. I have a blanket and I found the thermostat…”
“Then what do you want?”
“Do you love me?”
“You definitely want something. That question has always meant the same thing, no matter what language it’s asked in.”
She snickered, “Eric doesn’t have any food and I shouldn’t drive.”
After a pause, he groaned, “And he’s retarded because of the massage…”
Yes. Absolutely. Let’s blame the massage instead of the hard on Sookie caused with her foot.
Sookie winked at me as her foot slid from side to side, cradling my balls.
“I won’t be picky; just a couple bottles of water and some fruit. I don’t want to be hung over when part of my schedule for the day includes making a Wolf’s head explode.”
He sighed, “What’s in it for me?”
She let nearly a full minute go by as though she didn’t already know how she was going to sweeten the deal for him.
“It’s officially Asshole Day… I might be convinced to give you a get-out-of-fuckery-free card this one time.”
“I already cancelled that.”
“You aren’t the Pope of Fuckery. You can’t just wave your shenanigan stick and omnes-domini away something as important as Asshole Day. I’m just saying that you’ll have amnesty from Asshole Day today.”
I chuckled at how serious she was.
I heard a book close just before he clarified, “In exchange for water and fruit, you’re willing to forgo Asshole Day until midnight tonight, Central Standard Time.”
“Yes… You know how I am about my stomach growling around Vampires.”
“Water and fruit. Anything else?”
“Ummmm… a pack of cigarettes? Something menthol… Alcide said his dad hates the smell.”
He snorted, “Better him than me. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
She cooed, “Thank you.”
Sookie pulled her leg up to rest her chin on her knee just before Gawain peeked into the den. “What the fuck is that? He looks like a beached whale.”
Sookie giggled, “He’s punishing me for making him get up to defend the water quality of his pee-free pool.”
“Pinch the meat of his thigh. He’ll move at least a leg.”
She snorted, “But he’d punt my head to the floor in the process… I’ll pass.”
He turned to leave and corrected, “You’re plotting.”
Figure that out all by yourself, did you?
I waited, knowing better than to think Gawain would just leave… and Sookie showed me, following his movements with her finger as he moved around the house to make sure he wasn’t missing anything. When she dropped her hand just before he peeked into the window, we were both ‘engrossed’ by the movie.
She waited until after I heard the BMW start before she moved, shrugging the blanket away from her shoulders, straddling my legs as I sat up…
She went directly to my neck, nibbling and chewing, breathing, “We might have ten whole minutes before our chaperone’s back.”
I grunted when she reached between us to grab my cock to begin stroking.
“And you sent him out just so you could push me to bloodlust.”
She tightened her grip and snickered, “You could stop me.”
Why the fuck would I do that?
I moved to lean her back, but she whispered that Gawain would notice if her hair was mussed…
I had to struggle to keep my fangs held back because one drop of her blood would clue Gawain in…
I was basically her victim…
Ten minutes became fifteen, making Sookie joke that the cashier at the store must have been flirtatious…
Fifteen became twenty, pushing me to the point that I was edging…
Twenty became thirty, and Sookie whined that if she’d known he’d take so long, we wouldn’t be groping on a sofa like teenagers.
When Sookie finally felt his mind approaching the house, forty-five minutes later, she was as close to bloodlust as a Human could be.
She growled as she left my legs, mumbling to herself that in hindsight we should have fucked on the patio and masked our scent in the pool…
She quickly downed the last of her bottled drink, forced her breathing to settle down, removed a small jar candle from her bag, and struck several matches before lighting the wick… She gave me a cheeky wink when I realized the struck matches were used to mask the scent of what we’d been doing while he was gone.
When I resumed my position on the sofa, Sookie sat between my feet again, reclining back more than she had been before, resting her feet on my thigh, but covering what she’d done to me with the ‘casually’ placed comforter.
Diabolical, brilliant, and could stage a scene like a natural cleaner…
I repeated, “You spend too much time with Vampires.”
She smirked as she shook her head. “I wouldn’t call that a problem. I might be willing to admit that I should consider giving some of them some one-on-one time though.”
She nodded. “We should go to my house tomorrow night.”