Sunlight & Hard-Ons
Rising again was a much more pleasant experience than it was earlier.
The small digital clock on the dresser glowed 4:50… I was somewhat surprised I’d risen with my usual hour before sunset since I’d cheated daylight earlier and been injured.
Gawain was sprawled across his bed, face down…
Sookie’s mood was so peaceful I assumed she was sleeping…
Wherever Misty was, she was enjoying herself…
The serenity of it all was meditative in comparison to the chaos I rose to earlier.
Of course Gawain had to ruin it.
He groaned, “Good morning, sunshine.”
“What? No spooning?”
“I did that while you were dead. Sookie took pictures. Hope you don’t mind, but it was her idea.”
I knew better, but it wasn’t until he said something that I realized I rose in a different situation from the one I died in…
I died wearing jeans and a T-shirt, caked in blood and atop a heavy quilt.
I rose nude, clean and under a cream colored comforter.
“Was it as good for you as it was for me?”
“By the time you were finished making out with your pet, I was bagging Lanier…” He chuckled and flipped over to face me. “Sookie gave you a sponge bath and you missed it.”
Fuck. Of all the things to miss.
“That confirms there’s absolutely no fairness in the world.”
“Your clothing and bedding were burned at the bottom of a barrel full of packaging from baby items… Sookie’s as well. Shame… that skirt had a lot of potential.”
“You’ll get no argument from me… She managed to remake the bed with me on it, without help?”
“She didn’t trust me not to fuck with you… Apparently her aunt was ill for a while.”
I nodded. “Linda had cancer. Corbett nursed his sister at home as much as possible.”
“That explains it… She rolled you to your side, then the other, removing the old bedding and replacing it one corner at a time. She said it was easy. The hard part involves IV lines that weren’t a factor with you.”
The memories that must have brought back for her.
“The house is quiet. Do you know who’s here or are you oblivious because no one announced themselves with a shotgun blast?”
“If you had any idea how impossible it is to rest with heightened hearing and telepathy, you wouldn’t joke about a very rare deep sleep. You have to know how much I regret the timing of it… Corbett collected his nieces from the hospital and arrived a while ago. Sookie and Ema are here as well. They moved out to the lawn to visit.”
“Did you meet Hadley?”
“She’s unimpressive, but she’s genuinely grateful for Sookie’s help… She’s actually had a scattered thought or two about Sookie being bossy or taking charge of Hope too completely…”
“Because she wants the adoptive mother of her child to flounder.”
“Yes. General bitterness, but she’s corrected herself by thinking that’s what makes Sookie a good mother, that she’s in control of situations and has good instincts. She’s jealous of Sookie to her core. Sookie is prettier, smarter, luckier with men, better mother.”
“Right. I’m sure it didn’t cross her mind that Sookie’s principled and disciplined as well. Sookie drinks and smokes pot, but she doesn’t ignore her responsibilities in the process.”
He chuckled, “You don’t have to tell me that, not with as many times as we’ve peppered fun into our obligations… Long story short, Hadley’s behaving quite well thanks to Percocet and weed…”
“Did she take pot with her to the hospital?”
“No. I was getting to that… Sookie tested Hadley’s tolerance for Vampires by mentioning our meeting tonight is with a Vampire. Sookie and I decided that we’ll be putting on Human airs for the next few nights. Sookie called Ricky and arranged for a delivery to help the cause. If anything happens, Sookie’s assured me she has no qualms with the idea of Hadley being glamoured at our discretion because the Stackhouses are all desensitized to Hadley’s behavior by now.”
“Don’t tell Edward and Richard. They don’t need to be encouraged. They already detest her enough that I’m concerned they won’t behave.”
“How did I know you’d say that?”
“Because you’re almost as smart as I am.”
“Right. That’s it… So… Ema loves babies and is excited to babysit tonight while we’re doing business. Corbett is disappointed in what Hadley’s become and proud of Sookie for doing everything she does. He had the thought that Hadley makes beautiful mistakes… He’s right about that, by the way. Adorable little red head.”
“Did you smell the baby?”
“No… Why do people do that?”
“I meant to make sure there aren’t any genetic surprises from the father… And I don’t know why. It’s always been bizarre to me.”
“Because of where the baby was or the hilarity that everyone compliments the smell of it.”
I chuckled, “Both… Did you glamour Sookie successfully?”
“She changed her mind slightly. She had me glamour her before she showered and had me explain what happened. She wanted time before sunset to calm down… She didn’t want to take it out on you. Calvin was wiped clean though. He doesn’t remember anything, including my unique state.”
“Did she take it out on you instead?”
“Not when Calvin was here to substantiate that she asked to be glamoured. After we saw him off, she came upstairs and tended to her rescuer.”
“You’re too old to be so theatrical.”
“Your daft arse ran into the sunlight after her… She thinks it was terribly sweet of you, but I know how insane it was.”
I growled, “I couldn’t sense her. After the gun was fired, her moods dissipated.”
He chuckled, “You would have brought her over, wouldn’t you?”
“No. You’re stuck with me.”
“That’s what you think…” I called out, “Sookie, Gawain called Hope a retched little creature. He likened her to a rat and suggested you change her name to Abomination!”
When a 1600-year old Vampire throws a pillow, it isn’t a playful gesture.
“And broke my nose!”
Sookie giggled from the yard, “He. Did. Not… Those two… Biggest kids ever. Did you see Grumpy Old Men?”
Sookie was already stepping onto the porch when Hadley answered, “That one where the two old farts terrorize each other and love it?”
Sookie said, “That’s the one. These two have known each other forever and there’s no end to the fuckery. I’ll be right back.”
She was grinning when she cracked the door. “Am I going to have to split you two up?”
I nodded. “If you could just have your father rescind his invitation, he’ll go to ground. He won’t be able to assault me with bedding.”
Sookie sat on the side of Gawain’s bed and scoffed in my direction, “You tried to get him in trouble.”
A bikini top and jean shorts that could be called second skin… I almost forgot what she was talking about.
“No. He really said it. He said the possibilities of nicknames for Abomination are endless. Abby, Minnie… Not that anyone would call her because they’d then have to look at her…”
She shook her head. “Too late. I was there when he met her.”
Well, that was no fun… but the pair of little black triangles she was wearing made up for it.
Gawain showed the V sign behind Sookie and proceeded to wrap his arms around her waist and nuzzle her hip like she was a pillow. “You should have known she wouldn’t fall for it. How stupid do you think she is?”
Sookie rolled her eyes. “You two are horrible! Stop trying to stir shit up… What did you want?”
To finish what we started earlier.
Before I could answer, Gawain rubbed his face against Sookie’s side and crooned, “Did you confirm our meeting tonight like I asked?”
“I did… No changes. Eight o’clock at the office… We should probably discuss telling Isabel about Lanier. If nothing else, telling her he’s been identified and neutralized would be a nice gesture. If she’s set a bounty for him, she might want to cancel that. And it’s not like she’d be disrespectful enough to demand details from y’all.”
I snorted, trying to focus on the conversation instead of the way Gawain was groping Sookie (and that she wasn’t discouraging him). “You say that as though you didn’t witness one of my Lords behave as though he was my superior.”
Gawain chuckled, “You say that as though no less than four of your Lords tried to bed your pet too.”
“Four other than you?”
He nodded with his eyes closed. “During your meetings, Sookie cooked and served, escorted and presented, uncovered a few clandestine motives… and thwarted the advances of six millennia of Vampires.”
I growled, “You didn’t tell me you were being propositioned.”
She shrugged. “As soon as I told them I’m yours, they backed off.”
“Not all of them.” I motioned towards the asshole wrapped around her and behaving like a cat with catnip.
“Oh, he’s fine… As long as he’s still talking… You’re still talking, right Gawain?”
He groaned, “Do I have to?”
That prick’s fangs were down!
So much for recognizing Sookie as Mine.
“Yeah… just to make sure you’re still lucid.”
“Hard, but lucid enough… fucking incredible.”
“What the fuck is he talking about?”
Even though I’d asked Sookie because I didn’t want to hear Gawain’s answer, he offered, “As your Lord Constable, I strongly advise annexing someplace tropical.”
Sookie giggled, “Hope is sleeping and since it’s so pretty outside, we’ve been visiting out there. I’ve been soaking up the sun from a lawn chair…”
Gawain, that greedy prick, chuckled, “Anything in the Caribbean or Mediterranean…”
Sookie pulled his arms to free herself and moved to sit on my bed. “The FaePire isn’t affected by my usual scent, but the way I absorb sunlight is a horse of a different color.”
He flopped to his back and sighed, “Call me whatever you want, Sookie… I’ll forgive you for anything.”
“You had the balls to accuse me of getting high on her blood, and you just…” I couldn’t think of a way to define what he’d just done.
He offered, “I’m a hypocrite,” and proceeded to reach under his blanket to adjust what her scent had done to him. “Now ask me if I give a fuck.”
When I opened my mouth, Sookie covered it. “Don’t even… You can’t say you don’t like the scent too.”
That wasn’t the point…
As I took her hand from my mouth and pulled her closer, she explained, “My hair is probably a lost cause. I used some lemon to help with highlights.”
Lemon or no, as soon as I sampled her neck, I growled, “This is…”
Gawain finished, “Euphoric? Intoxicating? Enslaving?”
So much more pungent than the few fleeting samples I’d had.
Gawain argued, “You can’t patent a scent. If Sookie’s so generous to sunbathe, then who am I to…”
“Fuck you… Sookie, I need something to fuuuuuuuuck.”
She giggled, just as willing to let me take her in as she had been for Gawain to do it. “It’ll pass.”
He whined, “I don’t want it too… Come back to my bed.”
“Noooo… You had your turn. Let Eric get his before I have to go. I should be in the shower before Edward and Richard wake up.”
“I propose I leave you to Eric and wait for you in the bathroom.”
“What? No Sookie-sandwich suggestions?”
Before Gawain could take that as an invitation, I pulled the blanket over us and rolled on top of Sookie.
Gawain complained, “Miser,” while Sookie squeaked because of the sudden move.
She started running her fingers through my hair and cooed, “He’ll calm down. He’s just got a buzz.”
“Still not funny.”
She snorted, “At least he let me go so you could have a turn… This is called Bogarting.”
I untied her top and tossed it to the floor… hiding my face between her breasts and taking her in.
Her sweetness combined with sunlight…
“Eric… stay with me. Keep talking or I’ll never smell like anything but soap around you again.”
That was just mean.
“What am I supposed to talk about?”
“Anything sweetie, just don’t get too carried away. You know I can’t fight you off… Can you move a little? You’re good mood is digging into my hip.”
I chuckled as I shifted. “That’s your fault.”
Gawain interrupted to ask, “What does Hadley smell like?”
“Bug spray, pot and blood. She just had a baby, ass… and stay away from Ema. She’s just a kid.”
“You’re a tease… Eric…”
I growled, “Don’t bother asking. Mine.”
“I’d share with you.”
Sookie snorted, “Lie.”
I added, “And you’ve had a turn.”
Sookie giggled, “Y’all make me sound like a frat-house bong.”
I lifted my head just long enough to clarify, “If I’d known you smelled like this, he wouldn’t have gotten the ‘hit’ he did.”
Gawain growled, “We will be taking a detour before we return tonight. A bar or something.”
Sookie offered, “Sorry,” and continued to run her fingers through my hair… but after a few minutes, I was distracted by a new scent.
Tears. Like acid.
“I don’t care what you do. Go taunt the boys for all I care. Just get out.”
While he gathered his clothing so he could bathe again he cursed me in Old Welsh, complaining that it wasn’t fair that he was tempted to heal Hadley just to have something to fuck.
Just before he closed the door behind himself, Sookie called out another apology.
I continued to breathe her in, keeping the duvet tented over us just because I knew the scent of sunlight was a rare treat. It would be months before I could enjoy this in Eijsden.
“Did I hurt you?”
She cringed and shook her head. “I’m sorry… The journal said you like it, but… it didn’t say the smell of sunlight made you fall into a K-hole. I didn’t realize y’all would be miserable.”
“I’m far from miserable. I was quite content until you began crying… Don’t feel guilty that Gawain read into your gesture.”
“He didn’t read into it. He was just joking about fucking me, but… y’all are going to be blue-balled, cantankerous bitches now…”
“Only until we leave him at a bar in Shreveport.”
She looked between us and back to me with a raised eyebrow. “Just him?”
I couldn’t decide if her argument was based on her toplessness or my cock.
“I haven’t complained, have I?”
“No… but you… you probably would if he got another turn.”
“Because you’re Mine. I enjoy your scent. And I want to fuck you. Three good reasons… He wants to fuck anything because of your scent. He only has one weak reason and he can remedy his situation with anyone.”
She raised an eyebrow and challenged, “You’re trying to convince me that my scent had nothing to do with how hard you are? When it had the same effect on him? Really?”
“I was hard before I knew what you smelled like because he was touching you… You’re Mine. He knows you’re Mine… And being pressed against you certainly isn’t discouraging me. I was honestly just greedy for your scent, but now that we’re talking about fucking…”
She breathed, “Oh shit.”
“Why ‘oh shit’?”
“Because I kinda let myself get pinned… I’ve got a horny Vampire motor-boating me with his dick digging into my thigh.”
“Did you have something else in mind?”
She whimpered, “No… but… dammit… The next Us we meet is getting a huge ration of shit for not being more specific about what the smell of sunlight does to y’all.”
“This fragrance hasn’t been a factor before. I had to convince you to kiss me before and you smelled like anything but sunshine.”
I expected her to argue because she didn’t remember our kiss… She was surprised, but she only stared back at me.
“Trying to remember?”
She shook her head. “No… trying to figure out why you brought it up. You had a freebie. You thought it would be part of the glamour.”
“So did you.”
“Yeah… until I found out that Gawain could be really specific… He just erased the details of what happened until I shot Lanier. Then he gave me the commentary on what he got from my head… You’ve been so frustrating, running hot and cold on me, I didn’t want to forget that you risked your ass to come after me. I didn’t want to forget how sweet you were to take care of me… and then be nasty to you afterwards.”
“Did you want to remember how spun up you were?”
She giggled, “Way to stay on topic.”
“Actually, I was returning to the original topic. You were the one who segued.”
“No… You just used a link between two topics to jump back to a comfortable topic because you don’t like being accused of being sweet. You tried to hijack the conversation.”
“And it seems like you’re more comfortable accusing me of being sweet than you are admitting that we were both enjoying ourselves until I was pulled to rest.”
“That’s not the point.”
“So what are we discussing? The fact that I want to fuck you or the fact that you want to fuck me.”
She covered her eyes and giggled, “You’re such an ass… We weren’t talking about either…”
I couldn’t think of how she could support that, but I didn’t care.
I lowered my face, going back to taking her in, doing my best to ignore the topic she was avoiding…
I asked, “What did the journal say about this scent if it didn’t explain how inviting it is?”
She resumed pushing her fingers through my hair and hummed for a moment before explaining, “Other Erics get pre-worn shirts. Sookies take them out with Her when She sunbathes and wears them long enough for the scent to transfer. Then She seals them to keep them fresh until He wakes up. They call them ‘happy shirts’, not horny shirts and Pams get occasional perks too.”
Of course I paused. “Instead of insulting you with an offer, I’ll just add you to my accounts… Spend it all. I won’t care.”
She raised an eyebrow and giggled, “Oh no… You can’t buy this. You have to earn it by being nice.”
“Are you rewarding me for being nice now?”
She nibbled her lip while she thought about it. “Sort of… This is, I guess you can call it a thank you gift. I mean, a little token of appreciation on account of what you did earlier… So yeah.”
“Does being nice include hiding bodies?”
“Not always… Are you done? We both need showers…”
“Is that an invitation?”
“It sounded like one.”
“It wasn’t… You didn’t let me finish. You need to get rid of Lanier and his truck…”
“Yes, and then we’ll shower.”
“I’ll shower and be done by the time you’re back.”
“I prefer the way I tell the story.”
“My version has a happy ending and yours is very anticlimactic.”
She slapped my shoulders and laughed, “Get off of me, you pervert! Where’s my shirt?”
Instead of releasing her, I moved to the side, actually abandoning the concentration of sunlight in her cleavage to hover over her nipple.
She raised her eyebrow and growled, “Don’t you dare.”
I hadn’t done anything more than imply a threat before her nipple drew in, bringing itself to a hard little point, begging for attention and betraying Sookie’s mood as though our connection hadn’t already done that.
I chuckled when she scowled at me. “At least part of you wants my attention.”
“I’m willing to go as far as saying several parts of me are onboard, but…” She tightened her fingers in my hair and tugged my face towards hers. “But contrary to what a couple of drunken relapses with exes imply, I don’t do casual sex… I can’t just be your fuck buddy.”
“Bonded fuck buddy?”
She snorted, “Cute… I’d rather hold off on getting involved with you, at least that way, until the ride levels out. I mean, one minute things are fine, the next you’re jumping to conclusions and ready to take my head off, then you’re being sweet and encouraging… the rollercoaster is a bit much.”
“Need I mention that I’ve been in the same mood for long enough that blaming you for my sudden range is rational?”
She shook her head. “No. I’m willing to take the blame for that… Miles is due to arrive in Shreveport in the morning. He’s already left Eijsden.”
“You’re changing the subject?”
“Yes sir, I am.”
“Why can’t we continue to skirt around the topic of fucking?”
“Because I have a very sexy, naked Vampire on top of me who wants to fuck me… Because if we keep it up, I’m going to be stupid and cave to hormones and have sex with someone who doesn’t respect me enough to acknowledge that he likes me…”
“That isn’t true. I like you. I enjoy your company… I’d go as far as saying I’m becoming quite fond of you. You have to acknowledge that your sudden presence in my life was performed in blitzkrieg fashion. It’s taken some time to adjust to having you, but I am adjusting.”
Her eyes misted over as she nodded. “That’s… really sweet, but…”
“You’re weighing your options?”
She closed her eyes and shook her head. “That right there… Eric, why did that even occur to you? I’m telling you I don’t want to just fuck someone I have an already complicated relationship with because there are serious intimacy and trust issues in play… I’m here with you and somehow, it occurred to you that I’m still window shopping?”
She sighed, “I’m not weighing my options. I’m afraid of giving you an excuse to just add another item to my list of functions. As it stands, I’m your ticket to the braid. Considering me your friend is a new thing and you only decided I’m fuckable a few hours ago… I don’t want to end up pigeon-holing each other into certain functions and gluing it all together with cum.”
There was more to that.
She raised her eyebrow and nodded. “We had fun together. There weren’t any complaints about our sex life. For him, our relationship was glued together by his need to rebel against his parents. Once they died, everything I did annoyed him. And it wasn’t just grief. Part of his drive to have more kids was wanting to prove his parents were wrong about Lindy being how I trapped him. He’s a good guy, but like everyone else, the world shapes how he looks at things.”
“That’s what you meant when you said your relationship had run its course.”
She nodded. “I can’t say I didn’t have my reasons too. I might have just stayed in Bern out of spite after his father tried to buy me out. For that matter, I know I pushed as hard as I did to finish school with a baby, even though I was already published, because those assholes assumed I’d quit school and work once I had an excuse to be a housewife… But yeah… I’m wholeheartedly against the insanity of making the same mistakes over and over and hoping for a different outcome… We’re bonded. I’m not going anywhere and I’m not waiting for something better to come along. I’m waiting for things to settle down enough for you see if you aren’t just being protective and possessive of your only connection to Liz… Sorry.”
I opened my mouth to disagree, but I couldn’t think of a logical position. Wanting time to appraise our situation wasn’t unreasonable. Taking into account that she had scars from being used as a pawn in the Auers family feud only furthered her point.
I opened my mouth again only to realize the context of her argument… Sookie was speaking in terms of being together, a couple… and that aspect hadn’t been center stage in my thought process. It hadn’t even occurred to me to correct her.
“Fuck you and your rational argument.”
She grinned and sighed, “Thanks for trying to understand.”
“I still want to fuck you.”
“And I picked a horrible time to put you off. I’m sorry.”
I shook my head. “Your scent is probably softening the blow… You kissed me earlier. That was a cruel tease.”
She finally looked away from me, pinching her face together and feeling hesitation. “Any idea where my top went?”
I moved just enough to peek over the side of the bed and immediately returned to her. “It grew legs and walked away… Why did you kiss me?”
She huffed, “Dammit Gawain… Creepy much?”
“You probably won’t want it back… Why did you kiss me?”
“Because I wanted to… but… I wasn’t thinking straight. I shouldn’t have opened that can of worms.”
She wanted to…
I shifted, pulling her legs up to my sides and wedging my hands under her back slowly…
She breathed, “Bad… bad… bad can of worms…”
I chuckled as I lifted her, pinning her to the wall next to the closet while I reached in to remove the shirt I planned to wear for my meeting with Beaumont.
She smirked and cooed, “Happy shirt?” as I moved to let her slide her arms into the sleeves.
The way the black silk of my shirt framed her body…
I nodded, tormenting myself with want…
Seeing Sookie reach for the buttons, seeing her move to close the curtain… It was easy to forget Sookie’s rationale.
Using my weight to free my hands…
Taking a deep breath of her as I lowered my head…
Instead of arguing, Sookie only growled my name, hugging her arms around my head…
The way sunlight tasted on her skin… the way her goosebumps felt against my tongue… the way her legs tightened around me… and the way a simple inclination intensified until Sookie stopped pulling me closer and began pushing my shoulders away…
She panted, “We can’t do this, Eric. We need to settle down.”
I had to force my jaw open to release her nipple. “Perhaps you shouldn’t traipse around topless, smelling of sunlight and confessing your attraction to me.”
She whimpered and leaned her head back against the wall. “Right. Masking my scent, multiple layers of baggy clothes and lies. Sounds good. I’ll get right on that.”
I pushed closer and growled, “Hearing you put it that way… I don’t think it will help.”
Nothing would… I could only wonder how long it would be before she realized she meant more to me than she ever did to her husband.
She wasn’t just a key to the braid.
She bit her lip and whispered, “Maybe if you go back to acting like a knob? That was a turn off.”
I shook my head. “I’d rather rise to happy shirts than resume being your pin cushion.”
She dropped her chin to her chest and giggled, “We’re so fucked… It’s only a matter of time. You’re killing me, you know that?”
In my estimation, that made us fairly even, but before I could say as much, we had company.
Edward barged into the room.
“What the fuck did you do to Gawain? He’s going on about…” He paused long enough for his eyes to glaze over. “What the fuck is that smell?”
I answered simply, “Sookie.”
He growled and backed out of the room. “Explains why Gawain’s mumbling to himself about sunlight and hard-ons. Carry on.”