My room. My bed. Me…
Everything reeked of her.
And I could still taste her…
When I tried to feel for her, I realized that feeling her was much easier than it had been yesterday… At least something positive had come of our exchange…
Sookie was only a few feet away, so calm that her mood could’ve sedated me… She was sleeping… her every function was in rhythm… harmonic.
Suddenly, getting to her room was all I could think about.
I didn’t even bother buttoning my jeans on my way… The only reason I bothered to put anything on was because I could hear Jason and Paulette talking in the kitchen.
I paused only long enough to consider whether to knock, deciding not to risk waking her because I could have more fun sneaking up on her.
I should’ve knocked.
I should’ve considered what she could have been doing before she laid down.
I should’ve closed the door again as soon as I saw her little blue bikini…
Anything but let the scent, that scent reach me.
She’d been sunbathing.
The room was so overpowering that it might never air out completely and it was heavier with each bittersweet step I took. The first time had been bad enough, but I knew that behaving wasn’t going to be an option for long… I’d been able to ventilate the limo…
I was drawn to her…
I was careful to not touch her, but kept only a hair’s width between her perfectly tanned skin and my nose as I inched up her body.
Hard enough to hurt, but trying to control myself to some degree.
The irresistible combination of sunlight and the sweetness that her pussy had to offer gave me reason to linger over the little triangle of her bathing suit until I felt her hand on the back of my head.
She sighed sleepily that I shouldn’t get ahead of myself so I growled at her for not realizing that it was far too late for that warning… I was already gone.
Since she’d already woken up, I stopped resisting the urge to touch her and as my hands roamed, she worked her fingers through my hair.
No matter how I moved, I elicited some response that only encouraged me whether she meant to or not…
Little moans, sighs, gasps, the occasional giggle…
If it wasn’t for the look on her face when I reached it, I’d have been tempted to start over again.
Even if the smell of her excitement hadn’t become just as obscene as the virtual sunlight in the room, her eyes were saying ‘fuck me’ by themselves.
Her hands had found the small of my back to let her thumbs dance back and forth, hypnotizing enough without her legs wrapped around mine…
She almost had the chance to smile before I kissed her… lowering completely, enjoying her heat while her tongue pulsed against mine until she needed to breathe again.
She sighed into my ear when I tasted her neck, just her skin’s flavor was enough. “Are you almost done getting your fix?”
“I need to get in the shower.” Over my dead body.
“No. No. No.” I didn’t notice until I heard myself that I was between whining and begging.
“I didn’t mean to fall asleep.”
I moved my hips, grinding into her, enjoying the friction as much as she did. “I don’t mind.”
“I don’t want to…”
“Not like this… not when you’re barely in control.”
“You aren’t scared.” Not at all. Far from scared… she was so wet that I could feel it.
“That’s not the point. Eric, let me up. Please.”
I groaned against her neck, reaching back to lift her leg and push against her. “What if I don’t want you to go?”
She whimpered, making me think I might be winning… “I don’t want to like this. Everything is because something else has been going on to push us together. Aren’t you sick of it too?” I might have been before I saw her laid out in her blue string bikini… the sight of polka dots might make me hard for a while because of it.
“Not sick enough it seems.”
She moved her hands and legs away from me, resting them on the bed. “Eric. Come on. Let me up.”
“I’m not sure that I can, Sookie.” I didn’t want to go anywhere, ever. The only thing between me and what I wanted was a tiny triangle of damp fabric since my jeans were barely on anymore. The rest of New Orleans could burn down around us and I couldn’t have cared less.
I waited for her to reply. Something. Anything.
She gave me nothing.
I tried to get another reaction out of her, even an involuntary one and still nothing…
The most intentional and infuriating nothing imaginable.
The idyllic cocoon she’d created was ruined the moment I realized that she was hiding.
She fucking used me to hide from me…
Knowing that I wouldn’t, couldn’t get any pleasure out of being with her relatively lifeless body, she’d managed to win the debate by not being present for it. And the only fucking way to tell her how unfair that was, was to break contact with her…
And she fucking knew it.
Luck was the only reason that I wouldn’t have to replace every fucking thing that I touched between Sookie’s room and mine. Unless hangers needed to be counted, the only casualty was my closet door.
Just 10 minutes earlier, I wouldn’t have dared to squander the scent that I’d managed to take with me. I’d skipped a shower just a few days before to save her scent… but as it was, I couldn’t get rid of it fast enough. All it was doing was reminding me of the lengths she’d go to to get her way.
I was putting on my shoes when Sookie knocked on my bedroom door.
When I ignored her in the hopes that she’d get the hint and just go the fuck away, she let herself in.
Freshly bathed, dressed in a light pink dress and matching heels… and looking much less penitent than I thought was fitting.
“You have every right to be pissed.”
“Well, thank you, Miss Stackhouse for your permission.”
“Don’t be like that. I’m sorry.”
“Good. Are you done?”
“Why am I not surprised? What else could you possibly want?”
“I couldn’t think of anything else that would stop you.”
“Why stop me?”
“Is that what you’re mad about?”
“No. I’m fucking furious that you’d hide from me, but I’m interested. Why did you stop me? You wanted to fuck just as much as I did.”
“Because this scares the hell out of me. I want to be sure that I want to.”
“As opposed to me encouraging it? Because I’d force what I want on you?”
“Stop that! No… We may very well end up being the couple that Pam’s desperate to make fun of, but I don’t want to just jump into bed with you and put wishes under my pillow that Chaos theory, the butterfly effect, whatever is going to end up in our favor like it did for those Twilight Zone uses… too much has happened.”
“So correct me if I’m wrong, but what you’re saying is that you want to be with me, but because of the butterfly effect, you’re afraid to not push me away. Brilliant.”
“You’re being crappy… I’m trying to explain and you’re making fun.”
“You’ve already given me permission to be pissed. You’re free to leave if you don’t want to hear my fucking opinion.”
“I told you that I’m sorry. I didn’t want to just get it over with like sharing blood last night.”
“Do you want me to be angry about not fucking? Because that’s how you’re making it seem.”
“Because for the record, I’ve been not fucking you since we met.”
“I know that, but…”
“What also hasn’t been happening is me harming you or ignoring your opinion.”
“I know… and I have absolutely no freaking clue of how to deal with that!” If she was looking for sympathy she picked the wrong bedroom.
“You either blacked out to avoid explaining your position to me because you thought I wouldn’t listen or you hid from what you figured I wasn’t in control of stopping.”
“I figured that you’d be able to shake it off if you let go of me so I could come back…”
“Since the last thing I wanted to do after you hid from me was to touch you, congratulations are in order. Get out.”
“Sookie, you don’t want to push me right now.” I sat down in the chair in the corner of my room, wholly jealous of her ability to block out her surroundings.
“I’m not trying to. I wasn’t hiding from you or what you’d do… I thought it would force us both to calm down, not piss you off… I was taking a time out. I was too caught up. I would’ve had sex with you right then and there.” She made it sound like fucking would be the most horrid thing she’d ever suffered.
“Instead, you hid… just like you did last night…” She walked over to me tentatively and knelt at my feet.
“I was trying to not embarrass you last night. I thought you understood that.”
“Not at the Abbey… You waited until the last minute to kiss me… You aren’t genuinely scared of me, but you keep going through these cowardly motions…”
“Why don’t you leave the mind reading to me? You suck at it… I wasn’t hiding last night… I would’ve kissed you in my room, but you brought me in here… I waited for you to suggest it again, but… unless you’re foggy because it was so close to dawn, I did kiss you.”
“Then what? Did you regret it? Spend your day wishing you hadn’t?”
She shrugged, looking to the floor and feeling somber. “Then, I cried.” I usually knew better than to ask questions I didn’t want the answer to… Fuck.
“You asked… What was I supposed to do? You died right in front of me. I’m not allowed to have a reaction to that?” Knowing that I die every morning… she cried seeing me… NO. I wasn’t about to let myself become maudlin about that shit…
“You’re supposed to fucking talk to me instead of taking extreme measures to avoid it.”
“You know? You know, but you still do it.”
“It’s… You’ll just think I’m making excuses.”
“This is perfect. You’re apologizing for not explaining… and refusing to explain.”
“I’m not refusing… Do you have any idea how many feelings I’ve had to talk myself out of just to stay sane? I’m not normal… these past few days are the most normal I’ve ever felt, but now I’m dealing with a new batch of weirdness.”
“Are you going to explain that?”
She rubbed her hands over her face and then stared at the ceiling for a moment before trying. “Telepathic barmaid doing her damnedest to not stand out. I had a Shifter boss and I went home every night to my best friend who just so happened to be my grandmother. I didn’t go out. I didn’t date. I didn’t have many friends… I’d have given anything to trade places with Jason. I can’t tell you how many times I’d serve beer to him and his friends and wish I could just hang out and have fun screwing around like he does… Now, all of a sudden, I can be myself and I don’t have to worry about everyone I meet being scared of me… I used to get treated like a whore in church, now that I’m around y’all, it’s kinda like being a doctor. No one minds knowing someone like me, ya know?” Finally, an honest fucking answer.
“I can recognize that.”
She looked up at me, completely puzzled. “Really?”
“Really. Even though you skipped over the ghastly middle of that synopsis, I can understand that you’re making a huge adjustment… I’m sure you’re dealing with a certain amount of culture shock.”
She nodded, fixating on my shoes it seemed. “This is so weird… I just… the more time I spend with you, the more I believe all of the other stuff, but… just trying to pick up where their story dropped off seems stupid to me.”
“That’s all you had to say.”
She looked at me again, giving me a raised eyebrow. “Uh-huh.”
“I wouldn’t have forced you.”
“You wouldn’t have had to… One more minute and I would’ve caved.”
“Caved? You still won’t say ‘cum’?”
Her head fell forward while she giggled and called me a ‘giant pervert’ again. I had no idea how, but… I wasn’t angry anymore… I’d been ready to take her back to Bon Temps, sending her back to her life… believing for a foolish moment that she wasn’t worth the trouble… That her ability was her only selling point. That whatever had made the other Sookie worth keeping had been broken at some point in those few days since our paths diverged… An incredibly foolish moment. In just over two weeks, that Sookie regarded her life as being ‘turned upside down’ with an impish smile on her face that made my Sookie look ill. ‘Upside down’ would be a fitting description for both, but in two very different manners.
I would wait… fucking her, while the prospect could make me hard if I spent more than a moment imagining it, could wait… I wouldn’t be able to convince myself that being with Sookie meant as little as any of the countless insignificants that had crossed my path. I wouldn’t be able to convince myself that the taste of her blood wasn’t worth craving.
I wanted it all, more than fucking and feeding… because she was already more than a pet.
When I’d been mistaken for the other Sookie’s Eric, she wrapped herself around me. She was the embodiment of trust in me… most profoundly, the way she smiled when she laid eyes on me was probably the principal motive for my patience…
I reached down to take her hand, leading her into my lap… Once her eyes met mine again, I was reminded of how fucked I was. I still had plenty of questions to be sure… and I’d eventually get answers. I’d eventually know everything.
The way she settled into my lap was almost childlike… sideways, knees pulled up and together with her feet tucked between my legs so that she could face me, waiting for me to say something…
The only thing I could think of, the first thing to mind was to ask her to promise to explain instead of hide… plainly, simply… even as I was shrugging off my earlier anger, I couldn’t pinpoint why I’d been so bothered that she’d shut me out, but since she too eagerly promised not to as long as she could ‘help it’, I didn’t spend too much time thinking about it.
I was more preoccupied with trying to remember the last time I’d accepted or believed an apology…
I couldn’t shake the notion that the answer to the question might have been never.
Sookie was still content to sit on my lap when there was a knock on my bedroom door.
“Hey Sook?” Her brother. At least he had the sense to knock.
She groaned, “What?”
“You ask him yet?”
“Oh. Alright… Hurry up though. Hadley’s gonna want an answer when she gets here… Um, you know you left your phone on the counter, right?”
She rolled her eyes. “Yeah. Someone call?”
“Well, yeah… Arlene. I picked up to say hi. She’s all kinds of upset. Thinks you quit because of her, well, all the stuff with Rene. You should call her back.”
“Alright. Thanks…” She waited for him to leave and as she did, she began feeling guilty and confused. “Hadley wanted to go out tonight. Since we didn’t get to do much talking, she decided that going out dancing with a couple of her friends would be a more relaxing visit.” Who the fuck cared?
“You quit working for Merlotte?”
She narrowed her eyes. “Yeeaaaahhhhhhh.”
“When were you going to mention that?”
“I knew it! I did tell you… In the limo. I haven’t really spent any time thinking about it since though since things have been so crazy… I knew you weren’t hearing a word I said.” I was actually slightly embarrassed. I’d known that I ‘missed’ what she’d been saying, but I’d taken for granted that it was unimportant.
“I was distracted. Why did you quit?”
“He flipped out when he saw that I was healed. I could’ve hit him when he told me that I ‘stink like vampire’… He told me that missing Gran wasn’t a good enough reason to spend all of my time with dead people… He pushed my last button so I told him that I wasn’t his problem anymore.”
“Were you ever?”
“No. He thought I was. He’s got a thing for me.”
“A thing?” I was tempted to ask if ‘hard on’ was on her list with ‘cum’.
“Yeah. He didn’t do anything about it until I was spending time with a vampire either. Too little, too late. He’s just too big brothery anyway, I guess.”
“So you assumed that you’d do well enough during our trip that you wouldn’t need that income anymore?”
“No. I wasn’t really thinking about anything but running him over with his own truck at the time. I started to worry about things after he left, but I figured that if the contract thing didn’t pan out and that clinic thing was a bust, that I’d just start putting in applications when we got back.”
“Would you have applied at Fangtasia?”
“Not right away. That’s a long commute… I need to call Arlene, I guess. I’m just not sure how to tell her why I quit.”
“Why do you care?”
She shrugged. “I’ve known her for a long time and she’s pretty upset right now about the Rene thing. I don’t want her to think I blame her for it. I can read minds and didn’t know until it was too late… What do you think about Hadley’s plans?”
“Why ask me?” The idea that she was asking for permission offered a bizarre bittersweet sensation… hopes that she was getting closer to feeling like I was her master mixed with fears that she was breaking too easily.
“Because I couldn’t think of a reason to not go, but I didn’t want Jason to leave a voicemail for her and then have to back pedal if I missed something…”
“You don’t want to go.”
“It’s not that I don’t want to go, I just think that going out to a noisy bar to catch up is silly when we could just hang out at her apartment or something.”
“Security concerns me.”
Her grin made it obvious that she was hoping I’d keep her from going. “She told Jason that with the bombing and all, the Berts would be babysitting.”
“Who are her friends?”
“Dunno.” I didn’t like that the friends were unknowns, but it didn’t matter since I wasn’t fond of the idea of spending the evening without Sookie if I could help it.
“If the Berts will be there and the queen approves of her friends I suppose that you’ll be safe enough.”
“I’d feel safer if you were there.”
“Yeah… It’s not likely that I’ll have much fun with them.”
“Why wouldn’t you? You could keep your shields up long enough to visit with her in public.”
“It’s not my shields. Her and Jason were always really close. I’d be a fifth wheel.”
“You want me to join so that I can chaperone and be your excuse to leave early?”
“No. If I’m going to go out, I’d rather go out with someone I trust and have fun with so that the evening isn’t wasted.”
“I could simply tell her that you aren’t allowed.”
“How would that look though? If you kept your pet from visiting with her family when she’s the queen’s child?”
“I don’t care.”
“You don’t want to go.”
“No more than you do, it seems.”
She frowned and nodded in agreement. “If it was just the three of us, I’d be able to convince myself that it’s a family obligation and just do it…”
“You’re irritated that she’s bringing friends along.”
“Yeah, well, wouldn’t you be? I mean, she’s kinda making it feel like she wants a buffer.”
“Isn’t that the role you’re asking me to fill?”
“Not really. I’d rather hang out with you anyway.”
“Hadley and Jason may very well feel uncomfortable being in a social setting with me.”
She snorted, “Don’t care.”
“We’ll go then.”
“Really?” The look on her face was amusingly disgusted.
“I’d feel better about your safety if I’m there anyway.”
“You don’t trust the Berts?”
“I don’t trust anyone.”
“You know what I mean.”
“They have their priorities. I have mine.”
“If something happens, then Hadley would be their first priority…”
“And you’re mine.”