Monday, December 29, 2008

Returing the Favor

Sookie- A Month Earlier
I was so beyond embarrassed to ask Pam for pointers on this particular subject. I had a sneaking suspicion she would ridicule me for my curiosity, but she passed up the opportunity. I caught a glimpse in her head and she was stockpiling information to harass Eric. She noticed the look I was giving her and gave me a look right back.

"Hey, if I can't watch I should at least be able to have some fun." Rolling my eyes, I pointed at her 'bag of tricks' -as she called it- and my education began.

It had been a long, slow, torturous night at Fangtasia. My mate, my lover, my wife had opted to stay at home this evening, making it even worse. Every Monday, Pam and I switched doing the weekly paperwork. I hated my Monday with a passion. Vikings were not meant to be seated at a desk for hours on end paying invoices, verifying stock counts, checking job applications. Didn't I hire people to do this stuff for me? I thought I did, where the hell are they? Oh, right. Thanks to my wife, I have to take turns with that person. It's amazing what a woman can get you to agree to when your cock is in her hand.

When I finished with the stack of paperwork, I had to make my appearance in the bar. Like sharks smelling blood (or was it the other way around?) the fangbangers and vampire-wannabes circled me as I moved to my usual seat. I had a True Blood in my hand as soon as I sat down. This waitress certainly knew how to serve her master.

I ignored the pathetic creatures that frequented my bar. Human beings, with a few notable exceptions, were a pitiful bunch. And here, in front of me, these people were the epitome of that theory. They paid an outrageous cover charge to enter a place where they were not welcome, bought exorbitantly priced drinks, and in all honesty risked their very lives just so they could be ridiculed, abused, and possibly used as a food source. Even after a thousand years of living among them and studying their behavior, the average human psyche still made no sense to me.

Three hours I had to spend in this self-imposed hell. Three hours of people begging me to bite them, to fuck them, to turn them. The ones who wanted to be bitten were ignored. The humans who wanted to be fucked were stared down until they ran the other direction. The loathsome creatures that asked to be turned, however, were kicked squarely in the face. That was a gift reserved for those who were worthy. Anyone who asked for it deserved to be broken open and left to die. There was only one person I would consider turning, and the second she indicated that it was what she wanted I would.

As if she could read my mind from this distance, my phone beeped to tell me I had a text message. I flipped open the little device and my eyes widened at the picture. Pam and Sookie were wound around each other and dressed in nothing but their underwear.

Beep, another message. Pam stood behind Sookie, her hands on my wife's hips. Sookie's head was bent to the side and Pam was licking her neck, fangs fully exposed.

Beep, another message. Sookie kneeled in front of Pam, her hands on my child's thighs. Her lips were pressed against Pam's stomach and they gazed into each others eyes.

Beep. Oh, how I loved camera phones. Sookie was alone in this picture, and she was completely naked. A message came with this image. U stay @ work. U come home early u get none Luv U :)

That little minx. And Pam, too. I willed my throbbing erection away and dialed my wife's cell phone. She picked up on the third ring.

"Hi, honey." She was using her innocent voice.

"Sookie, my love, what have you been doing?"

"Oh, nothin'. Pam and I were just messing around and, well, you know..."

"No, I don't. Please enlighten me." Sookie giggled and I heard Pam snicker in the background. "Pamela, I hear you. What are you doing to my wife?"

"Nothing that she didn't ask me to do, Master." More giggles and laughter from them. I had to shake my head at their antics. I hadn't seen this type of behavior from Pam in ages; only Sookie could turn a centuries-old vampire into a giggling teenager.

"Fine. Play your games, you will pay when I get home-"

"No, no, no, Eric. You will pay me when you get home. See you in a few hours, love ya, bye." The line disconnected.

I raised my eyebrows in surprise. My wife just hung up on me. Unbelievable. She didn't answer when I called back. Pam's phone was shut off. I probed the bond and felt a mixture of excitement and nervousness flow from Sookie. A minute later I got another text.

Stop it. Patience is a virtue. Be good.

Since when did being a vampire require being virtuous? I sighed internally and settled back into my throne. Very well, I'll allow them to have their fun for now. A glance at the clock above the bar told me I still had over two-and-a-half hours before I could leave. I loved my bar, but it was nights like this that I couldn't stand it. I glared at yet another human who dared to approach me and counted the seconds until I would be able to drive away.

I turned the ringer off and put my cell back on the charger. "That'll whet his appetite for tonight."

"Most certainly, Sookie. Before we get you dressed, let's finish getting the room put together." I followed Pam into Eric's game room and we finished setting up the little stage. A little while later, we stepped back to admire our work. "You know, after tonight I think he's going to install one of these things permanently."

I dubiously eyed the pole we had purchased and sighed. "Yeah, probably. Hopefully I won't fall and crack my head open or anything."

"Oh, come on. We watched all those videos and practiced and you took the classes during the day, right? And you're going to use that CD we made, aren't you?" I nodded. I had been thrilled to learn that the gym I recently started visiting offered striptease and pole-dancing classes. To my surprise, I ended up being the star pupil. "Well, then. You have nothing to worry about, except a big vampire you're going to be cockteasing."

"Pam!" She smirked, knowing her language shocked me.

"C'mon, let's get you ready." We went upstairs and Pam crimped and curled and teased my hair until I felt like a poodle. She insisted on doing my makeup and helping me into my outfit before letting me look in a mirror.

When she finally deemed me ready, I walked into the bathroom and gasped. "Oh. My. God. Pam, he is going to love this! You are so awesome!"

"Why thank you, Sookie. You know you owe me for this, right?"

I sighed. "Yeah. What can I do for you?"

"Let me watch."

"NO, you can't stay! I told you this before you even agreed to help me."

"Fine, but I want details."

"Pam, you were with Eric after you were turned. You know all about him."

"Yes, but I don't know all about you." My jaw dropped.

"Pamela... Ugh! If I knew your middle name I would so use it right now!" She grinned at me as we walked downstairs.

"I know, Sookie. Have fun." She gave me a peck on the cheek and disappeared. I had to laugh at her, even though she was long gone by now. Pam was one-of-a-kind and I loved that we had become friends. Granted, she still wanted to have sex with me, but Eric had laid down the law about that. No touching Sookie unless I am present and involved, is that understood, Child?

Yeah, like I could take on two vampires at once. I remember reading online about a hooker who tried to do that; she ended up in a coma for a week. I think I'll pass on that experience, thankyouverymuch.

A look at the clock told me that Eric would be leaving Fangtasia in about ten minutes. Add in a twenty minute drive... I figured I would see him in fifteen minutes or so. I fixed myself a gin and tonic and watched the time tick by.

Seventeen minutes later I sensed him pulling in the driveway. I posed with my little prop and waited for my husband to find me. When he stepped in the doorway, the expression on his face made all the planning worth it.

"Come to me, Viking."

When I left the bar I flew home. Not literally, but I went at least twice the speed limit the entire way. I could tell Pam had gone home already and Sookie was nervously awaiting me. She didn't feel guilty, so I knew that nothing had actually occurred between the two.

"Sookie?" No response. I followed her scent and the sound of her heartbeat through the house and into the game room. What I saw there stunned me.

She stood next to a chair from the dining room, posing with a very large and very fake sword. Her hair was artfully tangled and wild-looking. She wore a suede top with fur lining and a nearly nonexistant skirt. Her entire midriff was bare, as were her thighs. A pair of high heeled boots and a hat that matched completed the ensemble. Sookie was a Viking Warrior Goddess.

"Come to me, Viking." I walked towards the goddess, only vaguely noticing something different about the room.

"Sit." I complied and grabbed her waist to bring her down on top of me. She slapped my hands and I looked at her in surprise. "Did I say you could touch me? Now you are to be punished. Put your hands down." I let my arms fall to my sides, unable to resist this new temptation.

"You are not to touch me or yourself until you are given permission. Is this understood, Viking?" I nodded, barely restraining myself from knocking her to the floor and taking her this second.
Sookie gave me a penetrating look for a moment, her eyes running up and down my body, as if assessing me. When her gaze reached my tented jeans she licked her lips. She turned and sauntered over to the stereo, bending over just enough to make sure I saw she was wearing crotchless panties. I gripped the legs of the chair to stop myself from diving into her and fucking her senseless. She felt my reaction and turned to wink at me as she walked to the makeshift stage in the corner of the room.

I couldn't believe I was just now noticing the setup. A small stage, only about six inches high, had a long silver pole embedded in it and running up to the ceiling. I scooted my chair closer to the stage. When Sookie noticed she rolled her eyes.

After a short intro, industrial music pumped out of the surround sound speakers and Sookie began dancing. She had always been one to need reassurance and second-guess herself, but the one thing Sookie always acknowledged is that she was a good dancer, and she was using all of her skills to seduce me right now.

Using the sword as a cane she made her way over to me, kicking up her heels the whole time. She plucked her hat off and put it on me. She swung her hair in a circle, running it across my chest. Straddling my waist, she tossed the sword away and placed her hands around my neck. She ground our crotches together and a moan escaped me. This was exquisite torture. I saw her bite her lip as my pleasure hit her. She got up and swung one of her legs back to stand. Making her way back to the pole, she swayed her hips to the beat, swinging her hair as she went.

Reaching out with her left hand, Sookie swung herself around the pole. That was just the beginning; she flung herself around and around, upside down, every which way I could imagine. Rubbing and slithering up and down, she ended her routine sitting on her heels, back against the pole, knees spread. I had a perfect view of her cleanly-shaven pussy through her crotchless panties and I could smell her arousal. It took every ounce of willpower and determination I had not to jump on her. She crawled over to me on her hands and knees, raising herself up between my legs, every inch of her rubbing against my hardness. She flipped around so her back was to my chest and laid her head on my shoulder. She undulated against me, nipping my neck and ear as she writhed in my lap. It felt so divine I almost came in my pants.

I needed her. I needed to feel her underneath me, on top of me, all over me, I don't care how we fuck, I just need it. She felt my lust and whispered in my ear.

"Ah ah ah, not so fast, lover."

Sookie stood up and swayed her body to the beat of a new, slower song that had begun to play. She slowly unlaced the front of her shirt and eased it off her shoulders. Turning around, she looked at me over he shoulder and blew a kiss before she threw the minuscule top at me. Not taking my eyes off of the temptress in front of me, I lifted the scrap of fabric to my nose to inhale the intoxicating scent.

"Stand up." She commanded me and I stood immediately, eager to see what she was planning. I watched her run her hands all over her body, lightly pinching her nipples as she went. "Off with the shirt." It was on the floor in a heartbeat. Sookie reached out to me and scratched her fingernails down my chest, stopping just short of my waistband. By now, my entire body was shaking with need.

Putting her hands on my hips, she dipped and rubbed and twirled around me like I was her new pole. Somewhere in the midst of working me into a new frenzy, she had taken off her skirt and underwear, leaving her only in the high heeled boots.

She placed the tip of her index finger on my chest and pushed me back into the chair. She sashayed back to the stage and took up her previous position, back against the pole, knees spread. One hand snaked its way down her body and carefully touched her swollen nub. My jaw dropped and she gasped in pleasure. She continued rubbing herself, moaning and biting her lip as she did. One finger slid inside, quickly followed by a second. Her eyes found mine as she fucked herself.

She moaned my name as she shivered in pleasure. "Eric, I need you in me..." My tongue had replaced her hand before she finished the sentence.

Part of me couldn't believe that I was actually masturbating in front of my husband, but the rest of me was overcome with lust and desire. When our eyes met I couldn't take it anymore, I had to have him.

"Eric, I need you in me..."

He dove at me with such speed he was just a blur. His mouth latched onto my clit and he sucked as he plunged his fingers into me over and over. I wrapped my hands in his hair and pulled his lips to mine. "Fuck me, Eric."

His fingers picked up the pace and I felt the denim of his jeans rubbing against me. I felt him try to kiss his way back down, and even though I loved his mouth on me, it wasn't what I wanted. My inner viking bitch came out with a vengeance; I pulled his hair again and when his eyes met mine, I slapped him across the face. Not super hard, but hard enough to shock the shit out of him.

"I said fuck me, not tease me. Fuck me like the viking you are." He froze for half a second before he crashed his lips into mine. I heard his jeans shred as he ripped them off and impaled me on his erection. I screamed in ecstasy as he pounded into me. I ordered him to go harder, give me all he had. He flipped me over onto my hands and knees and pounded right back in, growling in an ancient language the entire time.

Tangling his hand in my hair, he smacked my ass as he pulled my head back. In the back of my head I knew I would be eight shades of black and blue tomorrow, but I didn't care. I was being pillaged, and it felt amazing. I kept egging him on to go faster, harder, to be a fucking viking for chrissakes. He leaned over by back and pulled my head to the side, driving his fangs into my neck. Two thrusts later the most mind-bending, head-splitting, body-ravaging orgasm I had ever experienced rocked through my body. I screamed and my muscles all turned to jello. I fell to the floor with a gigantic vampire on top of me, but I was too spent to even consider trying to move him.

The aftershocks than ran through me were nearly as intense as a normal orgasm, and I could barely stand it. The weight on my back lifted but I stayed flattened on the floor, waiting to gain control of my body again.

"Sookie?" A husky voice called me. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine. Just waiting for my bones to come back, that's all." Eric laughed. I felt him take my boots off before he lifted me into his arms. He carried me into our bedroom and laid me down so gently you would have thought I was made of spun glass. By that time my body had decided to work again, so I scooted to the head of the bed and leaned against the headboard.

"Did you like your surprise, Eric?"

"That was... incredible. I need to get one of those poles installed in the bedroom. What posessed you to do that?"

"Well, I had to top your little performance in Vegas."

"Ah, I see. Just promise me one thing, my love." My eyebrows knitted together as I looked at him. "Next time, get a real sword."

Everyone Likes A Challenge

I have never had any shortage of women throwing themselves at me. Pathetic, all of them. Customs may have changed in a millennium, but desperation remains the same.

When I was alive they wanted the feeling of security that the chieftain's son could provide. Every battle I fought, every time I came back to our village, I was propositioned by more fathers and brothers seeking an advantageous marriage for their charge. Being thirty years old and unmarried was nearly unheard of in my culture, but my father was old and feeble, demanding nothing of his second son. He refused to push me into a position I would come to despise. I had always admired his ability to avoid tyranny yet still have the complete and utter devotion of every person in his domain.

Now that I am dead, they want the feeling of my fangs in their neck, my glamour pleasuring them. Every night I come to Fangtasia, to my own little kingdom, and I am assaulted by hordes of piteous dogs that want nothing more than a temporary high. At least the dogs I used to own knew their place and their worth. These disgusting curs kept coming back for more abuse, no matter what was inflicted upon them.

A particularly revolting female sauntered across the bar, moving in my direction. She held her head high, proud of the numerous scars decorating her neck. I ignored her, as I do most of the patrons, but her scent reached me and I could barely keep my lip from curling in disgust. She reeked of cheap beer and stale cigarettes, hairspray and dollar-store 'perfume'. Already bitten this evening, she was trying for a second fix. Boldly, she spoke without waiting for me to acknowledge her presence.

Pam noticed my guest from her post by the door and I sensed her amusement. She was well aware I was in no mood for any bullshit this evening, and she was anxiously awaiting my reaction to the female propositioning me. I continued to ignore the woman, wishing she would realize she was not wanted. However, she refused to take the hint and leaned towards me, arching her neck in what I suppose was meant to be an erotic gesture. It only irritated me further. I could have continued to dismiss her presence as one would a fly buzzing nearby, but she placed her hand on my knee.

In a fraction of a second I was towering over her, holding her upper arm in a grip so tight I was close to snapping the bone. I narrowed my eyes and glared down at the fool who thought she could have me. Half of the bar was staring at us, making my decision to add insult to injury an easy one. I could smell her fear as I bent down and made a show of delicately sniffing her neck. I jerked my head back as if something had shocked me and intensified my glare.

"Filthy whore." I spat the phrase as I threw her to the floor where she crumpled into a heap and began crying. I leveled a look around the room and everyone who witnessed the scene quickly averted their eyes and busied themselves with something else. I caught Pam's eye and motioned for her to meet me in the office. She jerked her head towards the door, indicating the other bodyguard was on break. I nodded and she visibly relaxed. Pam was not the source of my ire, and I would not allow myself to take it out on her.

The crowd parted for me as I walked towards the 'Employee's Only' door. Normally the instinctive submission of the humans would have amused me, but I barely noticed it tonight. In my office I turned on the computer and busied myself on the internet until Pam could join me. Ah, the internet. Next to sports cars and artificial blood, this was humankind's greatest achievement. The entire world at ones fingertips any time of the day or night; once I had learned to utilize it properly, I could hardly imagine living without the convenience. It was possible and I would do so if necessary, but I would much rather have it at my disposal.

I was browsing through possible investments when Pam entered. She bowed towards me and sat, waiting for me to begin. I started the system shut down before speaking, but grew impatient and just clicked it off before it had finished. Pam noticed this and raised an eyebrow.

"Pam, I am taking a small vacation. You will run the bar in my absence and will not disturb me unless it is a dire emergency."

"Of course, Master. How long should I expect you to be gone?"

"No more than a week. I may be back sooner, though."

"Will you be here the rest of the evening or are you taking your leave immediately?"

"Immediately. That trash from earlier ruined my appetite."

Pam curled her lip. "I know what you mean. I had to take her outside and if I was human I would have vomited."

"Is there anything you require before I go?"

"No, Eric. Go relax, it has been hard for you lately. You need a break."

She was right. Between the bombing at Rhodes and the takeover, I had been running myself ragged for almost two months. Hosting a king and his entourage was no easy task and I was more than pleased to see them on their way last week. I reminded Pam not to call me and went out to my car.

I slid into the leather seat and remembered reading that the new model came out a couple months ago, mentally noting to upgrade soon. I scanned through my iPod, looking for something to relax me, stopping at a playlist I hadn't listened to in months. 'Sookie Songs'. Honestly, nothing in that category appealed to me except the name. Glancing at the dash I noticed it was just after eleven, more than enough time.

I gave the dial a spin and clicked on the random list where it stopped. Hard rock blared through the speakers and I peeled out of the parking lot, turning towards Bon Temps.

The shifter's bar was packed when I arrived. I had originally planned on going to her house, but the bar was on the way and I felt her as I drove by. Smiling to myself, I remembered her yelling at me for making a Grand Entrance every time I came to her work. I did no such thing; I couldn't help if people were naturally compelled to gaze at me.

I walked in and several people turned to look at me. The shifter's eyes widened a fraction before he nodded at me in greeting. I returned the gesture and seated myself in her area. Shock, happiness, irritation, calm. Emotions pummeled me through the bond as Sookie realized I had come to see her. My lips curved up in the half-smile I knew she adored as she came to my table. I ordered a bottle of O negative and watched her go to the bar to heat one for me.

For the millionth time I wondered why I felt the need to be close to her. Undeniably, she was beautiful. She was also one the most difficult humans I had ever come across, and that was certainly a distinction, considering how long I had walked the earth. She was headstrong and stubborn, refusing help with everything. Even if it meant doing things exponentially harder than it would be otherwise, once she had made up her mind there was no persuading her. She had experienced more in the past few years than other humans could imagine in their entire lifetime, and she still continued to surprise me with her tenacity. She was the only human that still had the ability to confound me, not that I would ever let her on to that.

She returned with the blood a moment later and shifted uncomfortably as she handed it to me. I tried to gauge her state of mind. "Sookie, you look delicious this evening."

"What brings you out here, Eric?" Hope, concern, hint of lust.

"I find myself with some free time, so I came to speak with my lover." More lust, sadness, anxiety, fear. Fear? This was worrisome. Of all people, Sookie had the least to fear from me.

"I'm working, Eric."

"Obviously. I assume you will be released soon, and we must discuss some things." At that moment, the red-haired Fellowship bitch passed behind Sookie. Arlene, if I remember correctly.
Sookie clenched her jaw and squeezed her eyes shut, her body tensing up and seething with rage. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to control her anger. Her eyes opened and she plastered on the smile that always made her look slightly psychotic. "Of course. I get off in about an hour."

"Is everything okay, lover?" I raised an eyebrow in question.

"It's just Arlene being awful. Nothing new." She shrugged it off and went to her next table. I glowered at the other waitress.

The redhead was becoming increasingly annoying. If anything, she made the whore from Fangtasia look like a saint. Humans like her are what give people like Sookie a bad name. I saw her shoot another glare at Sookie before she turned to me. I caught her eye and snarled. She turned bright red -almost the color of her horribly dyed hair- and stomped off to the other side of the bar.

Alarm, confusion. Sookie's eyes were bouncing back and forth between me and the waitress, apparently trying to figure out what had happened to set off her ex-friend. I smirked at her and almost felt her roll her eyes. She wasn't annoyed at me and I knew it. Our bond wasn't strong enough for her to know my mind, let alone for me to know hers, but I knew enough of human behavior -Sookie, in particular- to read her like a book. Sometimes she did things that would surprise me, but that is part of the joy that is Sookie.

Arlene made another pass by my booth and huffed like she smelled something bad. If this was my bar she would have already been broken and bled. Out of respect for another man's business, I merely growled at her. She turned to glare at me, flipped her hair in a haughty manner and stuck up her nose as she walked away.

I rose from my seat and walked to the bar. Sam looked up from the drink he was mixing and nodded at me again. "Eric. What can I do for you?"

"I require a moment of your time, Sam. In private, if possible." He motioned for another waitress to take over tending the bar and led the way into his office.

He sat in his office chair and leaned back, ignoring the ungodly squeal it made. "What's up? Is something wrong with Sookie?"

"No. However, there is something about to be seriously wrong with the redhead. I refuse to be disrespected in such a manner."

"Arlene's getting that bad, huh?" He ran his fingers through his hair, thoroughly disheveling it. "I knew she was getting sucked in, but I didn't think she would go so far as to purposely antagonize a vamp... and you, of all of them. How's Sookie? This has to affect her, too."

His caring for her went far beyond the normal worry a boss should have for his employee. I didn't like that, but I was appreciative that another supe was watching out for her well-being, even if he was two-natured. "I sense that she is nearing the edge. One of these days, Arlene," her name left a bad taste in my mouth, "will do or say something and Sookie is going to snap. She barely restrained herself from attacking her earlier. After everything the Fellowship of the Sun has done to Sookie, I have no doubt that she will take her revenge out on the woman."

"Well, shit." Sookie had informed me once that Sam didn't curse, so I was slightly mollified by his outburst. That meant he saw the severity of the situation. "Hopefully, they can both keep it under control for a month or so. After that, I think Arlene won't want to set foot in here."

"Ah, coming out of the doghouse so soon?"

Sam snorted. "Better that than the coffin. Hey, I really hate to ask, but would you mind loaning me a bodyguard or two for that night? I already have a Were coming, but if anything happens, I wouldn't be much use as a collie." Of course he wouldn't shift into something able to defend itself, he needed to make this as palatable as possible for his customers.

"Certainly, Sam. I would-" I was cut off by a crash and high-pitched screams from the main area. PAINHATEFURYANGERKILLKILLKILL. Sam was out the door immediately, but I beat him out front. I was shocked and amazed by what I saw, my fangs involuntarily running out with blood lust.

Sookie was sitting on Arlene's chest, one hand tangled in her hair, the other punching her in the face over and over. When Arlene reached up to grab Sookie's ponytail, Sookie slammed the woman's head into the floor. Both were screaming obscenities at each other at the top of their lungs. Several customers were trying to separate them, but Sookie was like a wild animal, kicking and screaming and biting and punching. Sam managed to wrap his arms around her waist and pull her off of Arlene's chest, but Sookie reached out and wrapped her other hand in the red curls, dragging the other woman along the floor by her hair.

I stepped to Sookie's side and grabbed her wrists. I forced her to focus on my eyes. "Sookie, STOP." She glared daggers at me, but loosened her grip enough to allow the redhead to wiggle free. Seeing I had Sookie under control, Sam let her go and went to restrain Arlene.

Sam spoke first. "What the hell happened out here?"

Arlene shrieked, "That vamp-fucking slut tried to kill me!" My eyes blazed at her as I held Sookie back from attacking her again.

"You're one to talk, you skank whore! Maybe if you try closing your legs once in a while you'll find a real man instead of one of those Fellowship fucks!" Sookie screeched right back.

"At least my man has a pulse!"

"Oh, yeah? At least my man will stick around after I fuck him instead of stealing my silverware!" I didn't know the story behind that, but it sent Arlene into a renewed fury.

"STOP THIS RIGHT NOW!" An older, slightly pudgy man stepped between the two women. "Ladies, I might not be on duty right now, but if you don't stop screaming I'll take both of you in this instant." That got them to be quiet.

"Bud, what happened?" Sam, clearly disappointed with his staff, asked the officer. "I need to know who to fire."

"From what I saw, Sookie accidentally bumped into Arlene. She apologized and Arlene said something back. They went back and forth for a minute and then Arlene punched Sookie. Sookie bashed Arlene with her tray and jumped on her. That's when y'all came out front." He turned to address the crowd. "Did anybody see anythin' different? If so, speak up now." The crowd murmured their agreement with his observations.

"I'm gonna sue you, Sookie Stackhouse! Look what you done to me!" Arlene certainly was a sight to behold. Her left eye was swelling shut, her nose was bleeding, and she seemed to have at least one broken tooth. Scratches covered her neck and I could tell she would be bruised from head to toe tomorrow. Her hair was a mess and wouldn't look right for months, seeing as Sookie still clutched two handfuls of red curls.

Sookie had a busted lip and a few scratches. Her ponytail was lopsided and falling out, but other than that she was unharmed. There was no question as to who won the fight.

Bud spoke up. "I'm afraid you can't do that, Arlene. You put your hands on her first, so it counts as self-defense. It can't be helped that she's stronger than you. You touched her first so it's your fault, and that's what the law says. You can try to take her to court, but I wouldn't recommend it."

"I don't care, Sheriff! She's gonna pay for this!" Arlene was working herself back into a frenzy. "I'm calling my lawyer first thing! Give me your lawyer's name, now!"

Before Sookie could open her mouth I cut off whatever she was thinking, "Frederick R. Stevenson. You can contact him if you have anything more to say to Miss Stackhouse." Bud looked impressed, Arlene blanched, and Sookie's jaw dropped. I used the most expensive attorney in Shreveport, and he didn't charge an arm and a leg for no reason.

"Now, if it is acceptable to you both, I would like to take Sookie home. We will both gladly give statements when you require them, Sheriff. For the time being, though, I believe it would be best to get these two ladies as far from each other as possible." Arlene lunged toward Sookie again, proving my point.

Sam tightened his grip and picked her off the ground. "Arlene, enough. Don't make us regret pulling her off you." The shifter turned his attention to me. "Go on, Eric. Take her home. I'll let you know what happens here." I nodded at both Sam and the sheriff before steering Sookie out the back door.

I stopped in the office to get her purse before we exited the building and I escorted her around to my car. I knew she was in no state to drive, as I had barely snapped her out of her haze long enough to get her to release the chunks of Arlene's hair before I placed her in my Corvette. I tuned to some classical music as we drove. I was starting to get concerned about her mental state, as she hadn't spoken a single word since the sheriff stopped her screaming.


No response.

"Sookie, my lover?"


"I know you can hear me, my love. I will take care of you. I will not leave you." The words surprised me. I, Eric Northman, Sheriff of the most profitable area in Louisiana, was promising to aid a mere human? Half of my mind relished taking care of my mortal lover; the other half rebelled against the very thought, let alone the action. I listened to the generous part of me and carefully carried her into the house.

I no longer needed an invitation over the threshold. The blood bond overruled the normal protections a house would offer. Any place Sookie claimed as home would accept my entrance, unless she fully rejected our bond and embraced another as her mate. As non-sexually as possible, I ran a shower and washed her thoroughly. I dressed her in an over-sized shirt and laid next to her on the bed. I cuddled her into my side and tucked the blanket around her so she wouldn't catch a chill. I felt her breathing and her heartbeat slow into a steady rhythm and I allowed myself to slip into what she called 'downtime'.

My mind ran away with me as my body froze against the woman of my dreams. Eryck the North Man, what the hell are you thinking? This mortal makes you vulnerable and this will not do! You have lived for over a millenium and have the ability to literally live forever and you are willing to throw it all away for a single mortal lifetime because of this stubborn female? What the hell is wrong with you? Never in your long life have you ever been more concerned with another person's welfare than your own. It goes completely against your nature as a vampire. Drain her now and be done with this nonsense! My entire being rebelled against the last thought. As much as I despised being bound to a mortal, not to mention one as difficult as Sookie Stackhouse, I couldn't help but protect her.

I contemplated our relationship as she slumbered. There were still several hours until I had to go to ground for the day so I had plenty of time to think. I remember the first time I laid eyes on her like it was yesterday.

I knew she was much too good for Compton when she actually had the courage to ask me about the murdered women. I was further intrigued by her when she resisted my glamour. When Long Shadow attempted to kill her, I reacted out of pure instinct; Bill didn't move a muscle to protect her. Sixty thousand dollars was pocket change to me; I would have punished the thief, but actually killing him? That was something that would never have been considered. In Dallas, I took a bullet for her. Instead of chasing after the scum that ambushed us, like Bill did, I stayed and protected her, defying my very nature. I went to an orgy with her and I didn't even get to enjoy myself!

The first time I was genuinely surprised with her behavior was in Jackson. She seemed to look past the fact that Bill had cheated on her and was going to drop her like a bad habit; she insisted on saving his life at the risk of her own. Seeing her hanging on a Were drove me insane, even though I had set it up. When she was staked, I had to take care of her. Letting her out of my sight was not an option. I nearly claimed her, and certainly would have if Bubba hadn't interrupted. When I healed her, I knew exactly what would happen, how we would be tied together... I did it anyway. When I broke her and Bill out of the trunk they had been locked in, it took all of my determination and willpower to not murder Compton; I knew what had happened, and I knew it wasn't consensual. I had never been fond of him, but that was the moment I truly began to hate him.

Then I was cursed. I didn't know it at the time, but that was when I fell in love with Sookie. Even though she knew that I would not remember our time together, she gave me her heart unconditionally. When she told me what had happened, I didn't believe her. My feelings had certainly changed towards the woman, but I couldn't understand why. I had never felt an irrational need to protect anyone before, but it was overwhelming when I was in her presence. In New Orleans, I felt her heart being ripped out when Compton confessed to using her. I saved her at the banquet massacre; she was completely unaware of it, but I killed more than one vampire going after her.

The summit in Rhodes changed everything. The blood bond was sealed; even though I didn't want to do it, I couldn't stand seeing André force his will on her. At first, I resigned myself to the fact that she would come to hate me. I thought I could stand it. Lots of people hated me, what was one more? I remember her terror the morning of the explosions. She didn't try to save Bill. She didn't go after her 'boyfriend' Quinn. She came to protect Pam and me. I could barely stand to not see her while I was recovering, but I knew it was for the best. Knowing Sookie, she would have offered to let me drink so I could heal, and I don't know that I would have been able to refuse or even stop before I killed her.

When the takeover happened I was concerned with three things: Fangtasia, my own life, and Sookie. I left Pam in charge of the bar and I flew to Bill's house. That idiot had gone to Sookie's, even after direct orders from me to stay put. I already knew that the other sheriffs were incapacitated or dead, and I had a feeling that the queen was no better off. I tried to reassure Sookie that we would all live through this, but I decided that I would give my life to protect hers. The vampire in me railed against this, but it was no match for the bonded part.

When I submitted to the new regime, I was miserable. I found myself sitting in Sookie's bedroom when it hit me. I had been getting flashes of memories from the time I was cursed: sitting and talking by the fire, her washing my feet, the war meeting at Pam's house. But when I sat on her bed, her scent triggered something in my brain and I was bombarded with experiences, everything from loving her to fighting for her to taking the bullet and hiding the were-bitch's car.

That was what brought me to her today. Except for the night when Pam and I gave her the news of her formal protection, I hadn't seen or spoken to my lover since she saved Felipe, Sam and me from Sigebert.

I will have her, she is mine, no matter how vehemently she denies it. I refuse to allow her to run from this discussion. I will remain with her until we have come to a conclusion, regardless of how long that will take. For the first time in many, many years, I don't have a well-thought out plan. I know what I would like to come of this, but instead of approaching the situation like the master negotiator that I was, I was going in unprepared.

I don't think that I've done anything without a plan since I turned Pam. To use a phrase I heard recently, she was my favorite mistake. I had created only three vampires before her, and they were all dead before their first century was up. Pam, however, took to vampirism with such zeal that I had come to believe she was fated for this life. She was one of my proudest achievements, and it was pure luck that she kept her spirit when she was turned. All too often people who are turned have a different personality when they wake up a vampire.

That was part of the reason that I hated being bound to a human. I love her as she is, even though she is mortal and frail. I don't want to change her and have to deal with a different person. Sookie may be a difficult, stubborn, headstrong, immature woman, but she was my difficult, stubborn, headstrong, immature woman. If I don't end up changing her, she will wither away and die, if her lifestyle doesn't do away with her before she has a chance to age. When she died -unless it was during the transformation, of course- I would be inconsolable.

A few centuries ago, I knew a vampire whose bonded had passed away. Lecia was killed in a small territorial skirmish. Gostun lost his mind, completely and totally. He tracked down the vampire who staked his beloved and killed several of his children before torturing the other vampire to death. He met the sun less than a year later.

I know for a fact that I will hunt down anyone who does Sookie any harm and make them pay a thousand times over for their crime against her. I sincerely doubt I will meet the sun, though. Then again, it depends on how strong our bond will become.

My train of thought was interrupted when Sookie shifted against me, her thigh brushing against my length. I hardened instantly. She mumbled something and my heart almost beat.

"Mmm, Eric... don't leave me..." I knew she was deep asleep, and it was very erotic that she dreamt about me. I would have loved to wake her up and show her I wouldn't leave, but I could sense that the sun would be rising soon. I carefully disentangled myself from her and kissed her softly on the lips.

I listened to the house and found that the older witch was still sleeping in the small bedroom. Wonderful. Now I have to either sleep at Bill's or literally go to ground. I decided on the lesser of two evils and looked through the kitchen until I found a plastic bag for my clothes. I wrote Sookie a short note and placed it on her nightstand before heading into the woods.


I hope you feel better after last night, you were amazing. Your car is still at the bar, so feel free to use mine if you need to leave before I awaken. I am staying nearby, so I will be back shortly after dark.



I rose just after the sun set. Taking time to brush myself off, I managed to get most of the dirt out of my hair before I arrived at Sookie's back door. My car was gone and I frowned a bit. I didn't mind her using it, but I wanted her to be here when I woke up. On the kitchen table there was a note for me.


Sorry to take your car, I know you're worried it isn't here. Amelia and Octavia left earlier for some witch thing or I would have gotten a ride. I'm at work if you want to come in, if not I get off at 9.

Make yourself comfortable. There's True Blood in the fridge if you want any.


At least she was functional again. I took a shower and dressed in the clothes I wore yesterday. I always carried spare clothing in my car, just in case I was unable to make it home.

After I combed my hair I flew to the bar and changed in the back parking lot. I had never been shy about my body, so I didn't think about it until I heard a gasp behind me. I turned and saw Sookie standing there, gaping at me. I had jeans on but was still shirtless, so I ran my fingers across my pecs and licked my lips. "See something you like, lover?"

"Uhh... uummmm... ah, what?" I laughed and turned around.

"Or maybe you would prefer this view." I shook my ass at her and I felt her reaction through the bond. LUSTLUSTLUSTLUST. I laughed again and threw on my t-shirt before walking to her and placing my hands on either side of her face.

"I like this angle, personally." I brushed my lips against hers, just enough contact to make her shiver. I took her hand in mine and led her to the door. "Come, lover. I'm thirsty, and unfortunately you have to continue your servitude to the shifter. We will finish this later."

I took a seat in her section as she heated up my breakfast. When she returned she had a genuine smile for me. My mouth automatically curved up in response.

"Thanks for stopping me from killing Arlene last night, Eric." Her cheeks flushed.

"Anytime, my lover. What did she say to you?"

"I don't really want to talk about it right now, Eric. I'll just get upset again. I promise to tell you later, though. Oh, and Sam wants to talk to you, he's in his office." Great, now I'm being summoned to speak to a shifter. Sookie noticed my mood spike, "It's nothing, really. He just wants to tell you what happened after you took me home."

I told her I would go after I finished my drink. She smiled at me and bounced off to another table. She definitely seemed as if a load had been lifted off of her since she lost her temper. After taking their order she told the bartender what she needed and slipped into the back. A second later she popped back out and gave me a thumbs up. Sam was okay with me drinking before I went to his office? Oh my, what ever would I have done without his approval?

I swallowed a mouthful of True Blood and grimaced. Horrible, disgusting stuff. I don't see how some vamps live on it. I drink it when necessary, but there is nothing like the feeling of a warm body beneath you, fangs scraping across the skin, the penetration and the rush of warm, salty liquid filling your mouth, blood and sex and pleasure and... I mentally shook myself. This was no place to start fantasizing. It wouldn't bother me at all, but I don't think Sookie would like it too much if I bent her over the pool table and fucked her right now.

After finishing my blood I walked into the office as if this was my bar instead the shifter's. "Eric." Sam greeted me as I sat in the extra chair in his office.

"Sam. You asked to speak with me."

"Yea, just wanted to let you know what went on last night." I nodded and he continued. "Arlene insisted that Sookie hit her first and that she was going to press charges, no matter that everyone saw Arlene hit Sookie. Bud said he would either stop in here this evening to talk to you two or he would see you on Monday at the station to take your statements.'"

"Will the redhead continue to be an issue here? If her employment is not terminated, Sookie will need to find a job somewhere else... preferably underneath me." The shifter chose not to acknowledge my words, even though I knew he was irritated by them. His eyes narrowed so slightly that nobody but a supe could detect it.

"No. Arlene is gone and banned from ever setting foot in here again. Sookie has no need to go anywhere else. She can work here for as long as she wants."

"Right. Well, if you're done, I'm going to see my lover. Does she work tomorrow?"

"No. Two days off."

"Make it three. I'll provide a waitress and pay her wages for the evening." He mulled it over for a minute.

"All right, but you tell Sookie."

"Of course. I wouldn't have it any other way."

We drove back to her house separately. When I told her about the schedule change she was furious, as expected.

"Eric, how dare you? You walk back in my life after ignoring me for months and try to take over all of a sudden? I don't think so, buddy. You didn't even have the courtesy to call or visit or anything over the holidays! Do you know how much that hurt-" She stopped herself, but I knew the rest. Do you know how much that hurt me? I missed you. The bond made it clear that she wasn't angry, she was in pain.

I embraced her and tucked her head underneath my chin. She fit against me perfectly, like we were built to be together. "Lover, I was dying without you. I was unsure if Felipe was having me followed or had my phones tapped. If I was in his position I certainly would have done so. I refuse to place you in any more danger than you find on your own. Only now did I recieve enough time to see you."

I pressed her into me and inhaled her scent. My fangs ran out as she rubbed my back and sighed. I had to have her. She pulled her head back and parted her lips slightly. That was all the invitation I needed. I brought my lips to hers, pushing for a reaction, but not forcing, never forcing her.

Our tongues met and the bond flared with mutual pleasure. I explored her mouth like I had never been there before. When she wound her tongue around one of my fangs and moaned my name, my entire body stiffened. Before she had time to realize we were moving, I already had her in her bedroom and partially undressed. Her shirt lay in tatters somewhere in the hallway, her pants were unbuttoned and halfway unzipped. Our mouths locked together again as I unbuckled my belt and then pushed her jeans over her hips. My hands ran over her perfect ass and I gave her a playful spank. She jumped and kissed me with renewed vigor. I growled and pushed her down on the bed.

Stepping back, I peeled off my shirt and jeans, never taking my eyes off of the woman waiting for me. She was propped up on her elbows, legs slightly spread. A lacy red bra and matching thong set off her tanned skin beautifully. This was the stuff orgasms were made of.

I watched her eyes travel up and down my body, stopping to gaze at my 'gracious plenty'. Her tongue flicked out to lick her lips and I felt my cock throb with desire. I crawled up her body, rubbing myself all over her on my way to her lips. She wound her way around my fangs again and I nearly came. Kissing my way down her jaw and neck, I let my fangs graze her skin. Every time they touched her she shivered and gasped. I licked her nipple through the bra and she arched her back, giving me access to the hooks. I slid the offending garment off her and resumed my attentions on her breasts. I suckled and nipped all over, never breaking the skin but always keeping my teeth touching her.

I kissed and licked my way down her stomach, my hands busy removing her thong. I made it a point to pay attention to the ragged scar on her right side. She was ashamed of it, but I couldn't have been more proud of her for her actions that night.

I looked up at her and she was gazing down at me, her gray-blue eyes burning with lust. I smiled at her and plunged a finger into her folds. She threw her head back and moaned as I pulled it out and pushed back in.

"Lover, look at me." Her head snapped back down and she locked eyes with me. I loved seeing her face when I made her scream my name. I added a second finger and she gasped, but her eyes never left mine. Slowly moving my head toward her center, I saw her bite her lip in anticipation. I stared deeply into her as my tongue snaked out and flicked her clit. She spasmed in pleasure and sucked in a ragged breath. I peeled my gaze away from hers and focused on the pink flesh in front of me that was begging for attention.

I closed my eyes and sucked the hard little nub into my mouth. Her hips bucked against me and I had to hold her still with my free hand so she didn't break my nose. I alternated running my teeth and my tongue across her clit; in no time she was convulsing in pleasure. I watched her face as I increased my tongue's tempo against her most sensitive spot and I saw her eyes glaze over a second before the orgasm rocked through her. My mouth filled with my second favorite bodily fluid and I cleaned her thoroughly before I kissed my way back up to her mouth.

She wound her hands in my hair and pulled, crashing her lips to mine as she raised her hips in invitation. I drove into her and groaned. She screamed my name and I felt her tight, wet tunnel spasming to accomodate my thick length. I slowly pulled out, the cold air a striking contrast to her slick heat. I slammed back in and she let out a gutteral moan that was pure sex. Holding her hips still, I plunged into her over and over again until she was writhing in ecstasy and covered with a thin sheen of sweat.

I felt the impending explosion and leaned over her. She automatically tilted her head away, presenting her neck. I kissed the area and bit down. My fangs pierced the thin skin over her vein and the divine liquid filled my mouth. As I pulled on the wound her body stiffened and her muscles contracted around me, encasing my cock in pure pleasure. I shuddered as I came inside her with such force thought I would die (again). I collapsed on top of her and she let out an "oof" as my weight smashed her into the mattress. I rolled off her and she instantly snuggled into my side.
I bit my finger and rubbed over the fang marks. I was going to be biting this neck for the rest of her life, and I didn't want to scar her any more than she already was. She started tracing my abs with a single fingertip and it felt amazing. Never had such a simple touch done so many things to me. My libido responded immediately.

She laughed and wrapped her hand around my quickly growing erection. "Eager this evening, aren't you?"

"Lover, you have no idea. Unless you want me to ravage you again, I would recommend watching where you put your hands."

"Oh, you mean like this?" She asked in her most innocent voice as she stroked me.

"Mmm, yeah. Just like that." My head fell back as she picked up speed. She moved away from me and I looked down at her positioning herself between my legs. I raised my eyebrows at her in question and she just grinned before sticking her tongue out and swirling it around my head.

I closed my eyes and moaned. "Lover, look at me." She threw my words back at me and it was so sexy I couldn't stand it. My eyes met with hers and she took me in her mouth, never breaking eye contact. Her hands moved up and down in the same rhythm as her mouth. Even though I didn't need to breathe, I found myself panting. I felt her enjoyment across the bond when she noticed.

She lightly scraped her teeth across the tip and my hips bucked involuntarily. She stood up and put her hands on her hips. "Well, I guess I better go get cleaned up." My jaw dropped and she laughed as she walked into her bathroom. I heard the shower start, but I was too stunned to move for a moment. I heard faint laughter from the other room, "Feel free to join me, viking."

I was pulling aside the shower curtain before she finished her sentence. The water was streaming down her naked body in rivulets. I took in the sight and spoke my thought from earlier, "This is the stuff orgasms are made of."

She got a devious glint in her eye and took hold of my so-hard-it-was-almost-painful erection. She tugged gently, pulling me under the water with her. "Oh, yeah? I think I can help you out with that." My eyes widened. I have no idea where this new sex kitten persona came from, but I sure as hell wasn't complaining.

Turning around, she pressed her palms against the wall and arched her back to me. "I want you inside me, lover." When she called me that I lost it. The positioning was awkward because she was so much shorter than me, but I managed. I was inside her and pounding away before she knew what hit her.

Even though I knew she would have bruises, she kept telling me to go harder, faster, deeper. When she climaxed she let out a scream like a wild animal. I bit her shoulder and tasted more of her ambrosial blood. I savored the sensation as I healed her newest set of fang marks.
We washed and dried each other before snuggling up underneath her comforter. Sated for the moment, I contented myself with stroking my lover's gorgeous blonde locks.



"You never told me what Arlene said to set you off."

"Oh, yeah," she laughed. "She said that if you weren't dead you wouldn't have to go slumming to get laid, you could find a real woman like her. I told her that a real woman can hold onto a man for more than one night."

I roared laughter. "Too true, lover. She's worse than a fangbanger, way too easy." I kissed her hair. "A real man likes a challenge."


She doesn't like when I share my wealth with her.
I don't care, I will do as I please.

She hates being involved in what she calls 'vampire shit'.
I don't care, she will accompany me when I deem it necessary.

She says she hates being bound to me.
I don't care what she says, she lies.

She defies me without hesitation.
I don't care, I expect it.

She hates not knowing what is happening.
I don't care, I refuse to place her further in harm's way.

She dates other men.
I don't care, I wait.


She sighs and tightens her arm around my chest as she sleeps.
I do care, and she is the one who made me realize it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dead Hearts Epilogue

Six months after my fateful trip to Las Vegas, things had returned to normal. Well, at least as normal as they can get for me.

I still worked at Merlotte's, but only part-time. Sam was less than thrilled about my marriage, but after stewing at me for a few days he decided that he couldn't change it. Recently, he had started dating Tanya Grissom, and I was glad for him. She was actually a pretty nice girl once we exorcised Sandra Pelt from her head. The Weres and shifters came out a few months ago, and as expected Arlene freaked out and quit. Last I heard, she was trying to move out of Bon Temps. Merlotte's didn't suffer at all, and Sam couldn't have been more thrilled with the community for accepting him.

Jason and I were speaking again, but it was still strained. He hated that I married a vampire and made no secret of it. I had forgiven him for the whole Crystal/Calvin thing because from what I understand, once it was found out that he manipulated Calvin and me into catching his wife cheating, the panthers exacted their own punishment. I'm not sure what they did, but Jason had to limp around for a couple weeks. Crystal ended up losing the baby, to nobody's surprise. The service was short and sweet, held in Hotshot.

Octavia moved back to New Orleans in January, right after I officially moved in with Eric. Amelia decided to stay in Bon Temps and rent my house. We still saw each other all the time and last time I talked to her, she was pretty sure that Tray was going to pop the question.

Claudine was thrilled by my marriage, but disappointed that she couldn't visit me more often. My husband trying to eat her every time she stopped by wasn't exactly incentive for her to make house calls. Claude didn't care either way, but he did ask me to model with him again, since his last cover was such a hit. I spoke to Niall once in a while, even though he was unhappy with my lifestyle.

Bill had been ordered by Felipe to cease all work on the database permanently. It was simply too dangerous to have all that information in one spot. He still didn't like that fact that Eric and I had married, but after being threatened with dismemberment, he learned to keep his mouth shut on the subject. He was scheduled to leave for England next week for some reason, and to be honest, I didn't expect him to be back for a very, very long time.

Felipe quit pursuing me when he found out I was married. Apparently, Eric had the right idea about eloping in Vegas. I flew out to assist him for four days each month. I was paid handsomely for each visit, always had a private jet, room comped, and an expense account to buy suitable clothing. All in all, it was a pretty sweet deal.

Pam and I continued to get closer and closer. More than once she, Amelia and I had a girl's night in (or out). When we stayed in it drove Eric crazy because he wasn't allowed to be in the same room with us (because that's the whole reason for a girl's night, DUH), and when we went out it drove him crazy because we tended to act a little insane when we got together. Once the three of us reenacted 'Coyote Ugly' at Merlotte's, and even though I made almost a hundred dollars he was upset that Sam got to see it and he didn't.

As it turns out, the fire that was the end of the Fellowship of the Sun wasn't set by vampires. The entire plaza it was in had burned to the ground. Apparently the owners had neglected several blatant fire code violations. An old wire sparked and that was the end of that.

Eric announced our marriage at Fangtasia a few days after we returned from Nevada. Other than a smaller throne placed next to his, the bar remained the same and continued to draw fangbangers and tourists alike. The area vamps knew of his preference for me and weren't very surprised by the proclamation.

I hadn't spoken to any of the Shreveport Weres in ages, but Sam kept me updated. Alcide was furious that I picked "a filthy bloodsucker over a real man". My standing as Friend of the Pack remained unchanged, though. I hadn't seen Quinn since the day he walked out of my kitchen.

I had just experienced the best six months of my life, and things looked to be getting better all the time. I looked at myself in the full-length mirror and sighed. Eric was truly giving me the wedding of my dreams. Pam had begged to play wedding planner and was ecstatic when we agreed to it. Even though this was just a recommitment ceremony, she insisted on doing an entire wedding and had rented out a country club to do it. Eric had given her a huge budget to work with and she spent every penny.

Eric used the occasion the buy me a sports car. I fought him tooth and nail on it, but he insisted it was a wedding gift. I thought he had given up on it, but the other day when I had to work he pulled a conniving-bastard-vampire trick on me. I parked my Malibu out back in my regular spot and when I came out of the bar six hours later, a steel blue Maserati Gran Turismo was sitting in its place. He had snuck into the bar and switched the keys in my purse without anyone noticing. Sam was flustered about that, although he was more concerned with checking out the car than anything else. I had fully planned on reaming Eric up one side and down the other when I saw him, but the second I slid in the car I fell in love. When I got home, I flung myself at him.

I think Pam bought 'How to Throw a Wedding for Dummies' or something, because she did everything from the 'old and new, borrowed and blue' to the shoes tied to the back of the car. I noticed someone wearing the E(E)E logo and angrily confronted her about it. She apologized profusely, but explained that they were the only company willing to carry the ritual items used for the blood exchange during the ceremony.

I tracked Quinn down, and as expected, he was unhappy with my decision. He gave me a hug and wished me luck though, saying that "It just wasn't meant to be, babe." I thanked him for coming, saying that it meant a lot for him to be here. He said he had to go back to work and I went to go find Eric.

Eric was furious that Quinn was here, but I calmed him down by saying that after we got home he could erase every scent of shifter off me. By that time, Pam was frantic about getting me in my dress. She had to literally pull me out of Eric's room and into mine. Amelia and Pam stripped and redressed me in minutes. Pam, ever the perfectionist, insisted on carrying me to my spot by the aisle so I didn't get anything on my gown. She handed me a bouquet of red roses and hurried off to her seat. I didn't have any bridesmaids, partially because I wouldn't have been able to choose between Amelia and Pam for maid-of-honor, and partially because I didn't think Eric had anyone he would want to stand next to him during the ceremony.

A minute later I heard the music start and an E(E)E employee motioned for me to go. I stepped onto a long red carpet and was greeted with the smiling faces of everyone I knew. Sam, Alcide, Bill, Pam, Amelia, Octavia, Jason, Calvin, and too many others. Eric had invited all the vampires in his area also. I recognized most of them from Fangtasia, but I was too preoccupied with the man waiting at the altar for me to bother placing everyone. I ended up across from him, a small table with an ornate chalice between us. An equally ornate blade sat next to it.

This wedding went by in a blur just like the first one. The only difference is that instead of exchanging rings, we had to exchange blood. Eric took the blade and made a shallow cut in my left wrist, letting a bit drip into the chalice before he licked the wound. I repeated the cut in his wrist, but his was healed by the time enough blood had mixed with mine. I felt a wave of disgust rise from the crowd when I drank from the cup, but I ignored it. I mean, come on people, I was marrying a vampire. What did you think was going to happen?

We kissed and faced the crowd as the minister pronounced us Mr. and Mrs. Eric Northman. The crowd burst into applause and I noticed a shimmering at the other end of the aisle. Niall, Claude, and Claudine were all standing there applauding. As we started towards them, Claudine waved at me and they disappeared. I felt tears well up in me. I didn't think any of them would come, and it meant the world to me that they did.

Even though he couldn't eat any of it, I smushed a piece of cake in Eric's face. Most people laughed, but I could hear Pam over everyone else. He kissed me after I ate a small piece and licked his lips. When I threw my bouquet, Amelia caught it. She blushed up at Tray and he smiled back.

Our first dance was to Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing." While the humans and shifters ate the wedding feast, Eric had the bartender open the two very special, very expensive bottles of Royalty he had ordered. After the toast, every fang in the room ran out in enjoyment. We danced and mingled and had a wonderful time until Pam decided to usher us off for the evening.

Eric had absolutely denied Pam any more rice throwing after the attack he suffered last time, so she made do with showering us with half a ton of rose petals instead. In the limo I rested my head against Eric's shoulder and closed my eyes. When we reached our house, I was almost asleep. Eric carried me across the threshold and into our room, where he undressed me and hung up my gown. He climbed in bed and snuggled me into his side.

"I love you, Eric."

"I love you, too, minn sváss, and I will forever."

Dead Hearts Ch 15

"Mrs. Northman, there are only so many hours until dawn, and I'm sure Felipe would like to see us sometime before then."

"Pam, shut up! I'm coming out right now." Okay, adjust the boobs, check the lipstick, fluff the hair. I gave myself a thumbs up in the mirror before I left the bathroom.

Pam had taken to calling me by my married name, even though legally I was still Sookie Stackhouse. I found myself liking the sound of it more and more. I was nervous about taking his name, but if I thought about it, wouldn't I have taken a human husbands last name without a second thought? Deep down, I knew I was just concerned about what people thought. Well, screw 'em then. I knew the man I married loved me, and I loved him too, dammit.

Speaking of my husband, he looked amazing in a dark blue suit. I slipped on my heels and stood next to him. We, as always, were quite a pair. I had on the peachy-gold dress I got the other day when Pam and I were out. My only jewelry was a pair of small diamond studs in my ears and of course, my set of rings.

Bill had on his requisite brown suit, and Pam was proving to be quite the fashionista yet again. She wore a white dress with black lace around the waist and accenting the bottom hem. A black satin ribbon wrapped around her waist, and she had tied a matching ribbon in her hair.

"So, we all ready for this super-duper secret emergency meeting?" I asked. Pam raised an eyebrow at me and shook her head a little. Bill refused to look at me. Eric chuckled a little before speaking.

"Okay. Quick game plan. We have no idea what this is about. Play everything close to the chest in here. Take my lead, and Bill, if he asks you about the database, don't say anything you haven't told me, okay? All right, let's go."

We piled into the elevator and when we reached the right floor were immediately escorted into Felipe's office. We bowed and were seated at a large conference table.

Felipe wasted no time starting the meeting. "Am I correct in assuming that none of you know the reason for this meeting?"

"Yes, my king, you are correct." Eric answered for us. I heard why the king had wanted to speak to us, and I barely kept my cool. Eric sensed my excitement but didn't let it affect his façade other than a quick flick of his eyes in my direction.

"I have received confirmation that yesterday morning, pre-dawn, a certain bookstore in Shreveport burned down. More specifically, it was the bookstore that you informed me was base of operations for the Fellowship of the Sun." Eric's eyebrows raised slightly, and the King noted it. "Also, it appears that both Steve Newlin and his wife, Sarah, were trapped inside. I know not why they were in a bookstore at that time, but it has led to their demise."

Bill, Pam, and I all looked to Eric for his reaction. He was smiling broadly. "That is wonderful news, my king. Without their leader, the Fellowship is sure to fall apart."

Felipe nodded at him, returning the smile. "Now, Miss Stackhouse, you have been in direct contact with Newlin several times, if I have been informed correctly." I nodded. "Do you believe that this spells the end of the Fellowship of the Sun?"

"Your majesty, I do believe that. Newlin seemed to have been on the run since the destruction of his Dallas stronghold. Last time I saw him in person, he was trying to do the staking himself instead of ordering his lackeys to do it. More recently, when we caught the Fellowship spy in Fangtasia, through the man's thoughts I saw that Newlin seemed desperate to regain some power. He looked as if he was still on the run, dirty clothes, only meeting in very public places, scruffy hair. I think we may encounter some rogue patches of the Fellowship, but for the most part they are done for."

"That is an excellent assessment, Miss Stackhouse, which brings me to my next point. For this, however, I would like to speak to you and Mr, Northman alone. If you would please come with me." We all rose from the table in unison. Pam and Bill bowed to the King before nodding to Eric and leaving the room. Felipe led Eric and me through a set of double doors into a smaller, but still large, parlor-type room.

We sat around a large coffee table and Felipe motioned for drinks. I received white wine while the men, obviously, got glasses of blood. After I took a sip and nodded appreciatively at Felipe, he began talking.

"Miss Stackhouse, yesterday we spoke about possibly having a contractual agreement in order for you to assist me. Would you care to go over some details now, or should we wait for another day?"

It's all right, lover. I am here and I will handle it if you would like me to do so. Eric thought at me. This is the time to bring up our marriage, as he will no doubt ask why you would like me present.

"King Felipe, there is no time like the present. I would like Eric to help me negotiate, as well." Felipe raised an eyebrow.

"I had the understanding that you were not under the dominion of your local Sheriff."

"That is still correct, your highness. I do not fall under the Sheriff's jurisdiction. However, I do need to consult my husband if I am to be traveling out-of-state on a regular basis." Eric held my left hand, positioning our hands so they looked to be in a natural grasp, but showing the set of rings off. To his credit, Felipe was floored by this new development, but he face never showed a bit of surprise.

"Well, then let us toast to the good news. To Mr. and Mrs. Northman, may your life together be long and happy." We raised our glasses and Eric's platinum ring glinted in the light. "Now, back to the business at hand. We need to draft a new contract with your name changed, Mrs. Northman, but we can discuss all of the other specifics now."

"Of course, your majesty."

After a long, long, loooooong process of Eric and the King wheeling and dealing about my contract we were free to go, assured that the new version would be prepared by tomorrow evening. Surprisingly, Felipe upgraded our room to the honeymoon suite as a wedding present. A honeymoon suite in a vampire hotel... go figure. Well, it was Las Vegas.

We packed our things in our original room, told Pam and Bill where we were moved, and went up to our suite. My jaw dropped as Eric led me through a set of ornate double doors. This 'suite' was bigger than my whole house! I followed him into the bedroom and was struck speechless. The room was done in purple and gold and was beautifully decorated, but the bed was what commanded my attention. It was gigantic. I don't mean like king size or even California king. I mean that me, Pam, Eric, Bill, Alcide, Sam, and even Quinn could all stretch out on the mattress and still have room left over.

The thought sent me into a fit of giggles. I'm sure every person who I have ever been involved with would absolutely love to have a slumber party, ha ha. When Eric raised his eyebrows and asked what was so funny, I exploded into laughter. He just looked at me as if I was sprouting a second head and I thanked God that he couldn't read my mind.

"I... oh,'s... it's just... the bed..." I managed to gasp something resembling a sentence through my laughter. He looked at the bed, trying to figure out what was so funny about the luxurious spread. The blatant confusion on his face was slowly replaced by his trademark mischievous smile. I put my hands up in a stopping motion when I realized what he was going to do.

"No, Eric. You'll mess up my hair! Eric, ERIC! Stop it! No, no no no!" I squealed and bolted into the living room as he flung the pillows from the bed at me with vampiric speed. Thanks to my daily infusion I managed to avoid most of them. I kicked off my heels as I streaked around the monstrous sectional, still dodging the down-filled bombs.

I managed to swipe a pillow off the floor as I ran by, and I flung it as hard as I could towards the viking. It was a direct hit, smacking him right in the face. He stopped mid-stride and stared at me, open-mouthed. The shock on his face was beyond priceless and I couldn't help but egg him on.

"HAH! Bullseye, bee-yotch!" By this point I was laughing so hard I was bent over and could barely breathe. Eric laughed along with me, or at least he did until I reached the pillow I had been inching towards. I scored a second bullseye on the unsuspecting vampire and he was after me in a flash.

I squeaked when his muscular arms wrapped around my waist and threw me on the couch. Eric jumped on top of me and straddled my hips so I couldn't move. "Think that's funny, huh? I'll show you funny, Mrs. Northman." He poked my side and I jumped. "Real funny now, isn't it?" He continued to tickle me as I writhed and laughed underneath him, trying to free myself from the torture.

"Eric! Stop! Oh my God, not funny! Quit!" I grabbed his wrists and tried to get him to stop, but he just seized both of my small hands in one of his. Raising them above my head, he tickled me all over, from my armpits to my waist. Apparently, Eric had no intentions of releasing me, so I did the only thing I could think of to stop the tickling. He was leaning over my face, so I bent up and bit his neck.

His free hand stopped tickling me and he hissed in pleasure. I nipped again, licking the skin underneath his jaw. He let go of my hands and I automatically wound my fingers into his hair and pulled his lips to mine. His growing erection ground against my lower stomach as I writhed underneath him again, this time in pleasure.

I felt him untie my halter top and free my chest from the strapless bra I wore. I ran my tongue over his fangs and he growled in response as he pinched my nipple. I ran my hand over his back and yanked his shirt out of the dress pants he was still wearing. He arched into me and moaned as I scraped my fingernails across the newly exposed skin.

"Clothes. Off. Now." Eric complied with my order and stood up, loosening his tie as he went. I sat up and watched him strip for me. He eased the tie down and slowly pulled it from underneath his collar. He threw it around my neck and used it to pull me in for a searing kiss. I tried to reach for the buttons on his shirt, but he swatted my hand away.

"Oh, I don't think so. You stay." I pouted a little, but sat back to enjoy the show. Eric picked up a remote from the entertainment center and turned on the stereo. He flipped through a few stations before he settled on one. When he heard the first notes he smiled broadly and turned back to me. If he wasn't so drop dead gorgeous (ha ha) I would have groaned; the quintessential stripper song pounded out of the speakers.

Step inside, walk this way.
You and me babe, hey hey!

Slowly he pulled his shirt free of his pants, making sure to flash part of his stomach. He ran his fingers across the taut flesh before letting the shirt drop. The top button was undone, then the second. His hips pumped with the rhythm of the song and he licked his lips as the third button was unfastened.

Love is like a bomb, baby, c'mon get it on
Livin' like a lover with a radar phone
Lookin' like a tramp, like a video vamp
Demolition woman can I be your man?

Razzle 'n a dazzle 'n a flash a little light
Television lover, baby, go all night
Sometime, anytime, sugar me sweet
Little miss ah-innocent sugar me, yeah

Another button came free. And another. One more and the shirt hung open, revealing his chiseled body. Tantalizingly slow, Eric ran his fingers through his hair, down his neck and across his pecs, stopping to rub his nipples lightly. He closed his eyes, moaned softly and bit his lip. I felt my body jerk in response and I could almost feel my tongue following the same path.

Take a bottle, shake it up
Break the bubble, break it up

Pour some sugar on me
Ooh, in the name of love
Pour some sugar on me
C'mon fire it up
Pour your sugar on me
Oh, I can't get enough

I'm hot, sticky sweet
From my head to my feet

His hands continued over abs that would make Adonis weep and he unhooked his belt. He moved his hips in a circle, pulling the belt free in one smooth motion. He threw it aside and ran his hands back up his chest to pull off his shirt. He sauntered over and rubbed his naked chest across me. He bent his head down and grazed his fangs on my neck, moving down to suck a little on my still exposed breast. I tried again to touch him and he backed away, chuckling.

Listen! Red light, yellow light, green-a-light go!
Crazy little woman in a one man show
Mirror queen, mannequin, rhythm of love
Sweet dream, saccharine, loosen up

You gotta squeeze a little, squeeze a little
Tease a little more
Easy operator come a-knockin' on my door
Sometime, anytime, sugar me sweet
Little miss ah-innocent sugar me, yeah

Bucking his hips to the beat, he unhooked the button on his pants. He ran his thumbs underneath the waistband and lowered the zipper. Abandoning his pants for the moment, Eric ran his hands all over himself; his hair, his nipples, sucking on his little finger and growling in my direction. He turned his back towards me and whipped his pants off, presenting me with his best asset (ha ha) covered in a thin layer of black silk.

Give a little more
Take a bottle, shake it up
Break the bubble, break it up

Pour some sugar on me

Ooh, in the name of love
Pour some sugar on me
C'mon fire me up
Pour your sugar on me
Oh, I can't get enough
I'm hot, sticky sweet

From my head to my feet yeah

Spinning around, he inched his boxers down to just above his massive hard-on. He traced the v-lines leading to the 'gracious plenty' and smirked at me. Wrapping his hand around it, he stroked himself through the boxers. He never broke eye contact with me, but I saw all of his stomach muscles ripple in pleasure. I licked my lips and pulled my dress off. Just because he was taking his time didn't mean I had to. He smiled broadly and began to slowly come to me.

You got the peaches, I got the cream
Sweet to taste, saccharine
'Cos I'm hot, say what, sticky sweet
From my head, my head, to my feet
Do you take sugar? one lump or two?

Take a bottle, shake it up
Break the bubble, break it up

Eric eased himself out of the boxers and let them fall to the floor as he walked. By the time he made it to me, I was literally dripping wet. I flipped around and arched my back towards him. My knees were on the cushions and I braced myself against the back of the couch. He rubbed one finger across my soaking thong and I almost came. Before I could take my next breath, he had ripped the underwear from me and was pounding away.

I moved against him, matching him thrust for thrust. He wrapped one hand in my hair and pulled my head back while his other hand smacked my butt and held my hip. I groaned in pleasure as he pulled my hair; it hurt, but it felt so good. I pounded back against him so hard I could feel his balls smacking my clit with every plunge. I felt our bodies tensing as he leaned over me. His hand still tangled in my hair, Eric yanked my head to the right and sunk his fangs deep into my neck. Wave after wave of pleasure washed over me, inside me, and through the bond.

I felt him lick the wounds on my neck as he pulled out of me. He flopped down on the couch next to me and I curled into his side. After my breathing slowed back down to normal and the aftershocks stopped rumbling through me, I could barely find words for his striptease.

"Wow, Eric."

"Liked that, did you?"

"Yeah, that was... wow."

He chuckled and ran his fingers up my spine, giving me a little shiver. "Next time, it's your turn."

Dead Hearts Ch 14

Wrapping a muscular arm around my waist, Eric gently led me to the elevators. Pam appeared next to us and he whispered something to her, but I was too worried about what Felipe was planning to pay attention.

I snapped out of my daze when we made it to the room and I sat on the edge of the bed. Eric sat next to me and took my hand, not saying anything, just waiting for me to spit it out.

"Felipe wants me really bad, Eric. He'll do just about anything to lay claim to me."

"Okay, that isn't news to either of us, but I feel like there's more."

"He was going to order you to relinquish your hold on me."

"Was?" His eyebrows raised.
"Yea, was... until he saw my ring. Now that he knows you won't give me up, he's thinking about making one of us disappear. Either kidnapping me, or... um, taking care of you." I felt him stiffen beside me, anger creeping across the bond.

"Anything else, Sookie?" he asked in a voice that made me shiver.

"Yea, um, his first idea was to take me away somewhere and then force me to bond with him. Then he thought about waiting until you came after me and staking you first. And, then, um... uh, Eric?" If I hadn't been on a steady diet of vamp blood for a while, he would have unconsciously broken my hand, his grip was so tight.

He looked down at our hands -mine was slowly turning purple- and released his grip to carefully kiss my fingers and the ring. "I apologize, lover. Please continue."

"Uh, well, I think he's gonna use the Fellowship database thing as an excuse to do it. He would have to take out all three of you to get to me, and he knows it. Bill he would blame on the fact that he created the stupid thing. You and Pam he would blame because you are his superiors and should have kept him in check. As far as I know, he hasn't decided how hes going to do it, but he is intent on getting me."

"That certainly sounds like something Felipe would be capable of, but I also know that he is trying to mainstream. Acting on an impulse like that would be stupid and rash, and he is neither one of those things. I will not count that out as a possibility, but I believe that it is highly unlikely. In order to combat the Fellowship, he will need all of the strongest and smartest vampires available and willing to work with him. If any of us is harmed in any way, I will do everything in my power to make the rest of his life incredibly short and incredibly painful."

"But isn't he allowed to do pretty much whatever he wants? He's a king and said you were his subject. Doesn't that mean he can do whatever he wants with you?"

"Ordinarily, yes. I do have a few tricks hidden up my sleeve, but I would like to prevent things from getting that far. I have an idea that will make him think twice about doing me harm to get to you, my love."


My new new ring sat neatly against the rock he gave me earlier. Leave it to Eric to be prepared with the set. Our ceremony wasn't what I imagined it would be, but he promised to give me the wedding of my dreams when I felt like announcing our union back in Bon Temps.

Pam was ecstatic. She planned the entire event and she went all out, or at least as 'all out' as you can get with a few hours notice. A limo, flowers, my dress, a minister. Enough money can get you any of these things at any hour, especially since we were in Las Vegas.

She told us it was a surprise when we asked where we were going. We were both blindfolded and shoved in a limo. A short drive later, Pam took our hands and led us into a building. I felt Eric being moved away from me and heard a door close. Before I could realize what was happening, Pam had stripped off my dress and was maneuvering me into a different one. She zipped me up and gently took off my blindfold.

The dress was basically a white version of the one I had on earlier. She handed me a small bouquet of red roses and I started to choke up. I was getting married. Sookie Stackhouse, crazy telepath, barmaid, target for terrorism... and the luckiest girl on earth.

Before I could start to cry, Pam led me to a doorway covered with a red curtain. She poked her head through and came back smiling. I heard piano music begin. She kissed my cheek and stepped through the doorway. A minute later, someone pulled aside the curtain. I took a deep breath, forced my legs to work and stepped into the chapel.

It was small but beautifully decorated. Red and white roses dominated the room. Bill sat in a pew to my left with a blank expression on his face. Pam was standing on the altar next to my spot, looking adorable in the charcoal cocktail dress she bought the other day. All of this paled to the sight of my viking waiting for me.

He was wearing the same tuxedo he had at Felipe's party, but it was the look on his face that made my throat tighten up. He couldn't take his eyes off of me and his smile only got wider the closer I got. When I reached the altar, I took his offered hand and stood across from him.

The ceremony flashed by. I remember exchanging rings, but I don't know where I got mine. I know somewhere in there I said 'I do' because I felt love fill the bond from both ends and all of a sudden Eric was kissing me. A couple of the chapel workers present as witnesses clapped as we walked back down the aisle, hand in hand. When we got outside it started raining rice. Pam was hurling it at Eric as hard as she could, clearly enjoying throwing things at him.

Bill shook Eric's hand, congratulating him. It killed him to do it, but his southern dignity forced him to mind his manners. He gave me a hug and a peck on the cheek. When Bill embraced me, I felt his despair like it was my own. Eric felt the mood shift and politely took me back. He steered me towards the limo and we took off towards the hotel.

I lazily traced Eric's well-defined abs as we cuddled. My human needs called, and I regretfully disentangled myself from him.

"Where are you going, love?" He made a move to pull me back into his chest.

"Human needs, Eric."

He thought about that for a second and let me go, "Hurry back, Mrs. Northman." He was relishing the fact that we were married. As I did my business in the other room, I faintly heard him thinking about what he was going to get me for a present and how quickly I could officially move in with him. Part of his mind was preoccupied with the Felipe mess, as was mine. I hated to ruin the night with plans and strategies, but we had to figure something out.

Eric was still lounging on the bed when I came back out and laid next to him. He gathered me into his side; I resumed rubbing his stomach.

"So what now, Eric?"

"We subtly flaunt our relationship and make it quite clear that we are a package deal, and if anything is implied by him, we refer to each other as husband and wife." His eyes glinted with pleasure. "And I know you are uncertain about how others view you, my love. I know you were rushed into this, and I will not force you to take my name or tell anyone you do not want to inform. Obviously Pam and Bill are aware, but they will tell no one if I say they are not to do so."

"That reminds me, you didn't order Bill to come to the wedding, did you? "

"No. I told him of our plans, but it was his decision whether or not to attend." That was a bittersweet sentiment on Bill's part. I knew he hated seeing me dating Eric, not to mention marrying him, but he was there because he knew I would be touched to have him at the chapel. I also had a feeling that he was still trying to prove his undying (haha) love for me, even though he knew it was in vain.

"Pam seemed excited about it."

"Yes, she loves planning parties and celebrations. That's her main job at Fangtasia. She doesn't quite understand why I would want to marry a human, but she's glad that it's you and not someone she can't stand."

"Well, I'm glad you got Pam's permission first." He laughed and kissed my hair. "Back to the important things, though: what are we going to do when Felipe gets mad about this? I don't know what he's going to do, but he won't sit back and take it."

Eric sighed and trailed his fingers up my spine. "We will discuss this tomorrow, my love. There is only so long until dawn, and our mouths will be occupied until then." His lips collided with mine and he kept his word.

Dead Hearts Ch 13

"True love cannot be found where it does not exist, nor can it be denied where it does." - Torquato Tasso


I woke up before Eric did and took full advantage of it. Claiming the bathroom, I showered and shaved and took the time to blow-dry and straighten my hair. The whole time, I practiced my shields and made them as strong as possible; as much as I liked being closer to Eric, I really didn't want to know his thoughts... after all, that's why I was attracted to dead guys to begin with.

My viking was sitting on the bed waiting for me when I came out. He looked me over and shook his head. "Sookie, I thought we were past showering separately."

"I actually needed to get clean this time. That thing is at 9, right?" Eric nodded. "Almost 6 now... I'm ordering room service. Do you want anything?"

"You know what I want, lover," He purred as he wrapped his arms around me.

"Yes, I do, but I have to finish getting ready. You go." I gave him a quick kiss and pushed him towards the bathroom. As he showered I gave myself a quick french manicure, silently praising Amelia for showing me how.

I finished my last nail right as Eric emerged from his shower. Less than a minute later there was a knock at the door. He answered and moved aside so the room service cart could be rolled in. Before the first man could leave, another showed up with black garment bags.

I ate my omelet and sipped coffee while my nails dried. We discussed a little more strategy, deciding that I would never be unaccompanied throughout the evening. I also agreed to take a bit of blood now . Eric's bleeding wrist was at my lips before I could blink.

Closing my eyes, I pressed my mouth to the wound and sucked. I felt him releasing the knot on my robe and I looked up at him. His eyes were blazing with need. I felt myself being pushed back onto the bed and my legs spread. One of his fingers caressed my folds and I gasped, my hold on his wrist breaking. Eric smiled at me, fangs fully extended, and kissed his way down my body before settling his face at my core. His tongue ran circles around my nub. He pressed a finger inside me, curling it so he could touch that certain spot. My whole body spasmed as he hit the mark; I felt him smile at my reaction.

"Lover, look at me."

I couldn't help but obey. Our gazes met, my hazy gray-blue and his vibrant sapphire. I nearly came right then, seeing the intensity in him. Watching an immortal man worship your body in ways you never thought possible has to be the hottest thing, ever. As I took in the sight, he nuzzled into my thigh, bit down, and I came so hard I couldn't breathe for a moment.

When I could open my eyes again, Eric was on top of me, positioned at my entrance. He crashed his lips into mine as he pushed in to the hilt. I moaned his name as he thrusted, jerking a little bit each time just to get that much deeper. I kissed my way down his neck and bit again. The warm, coppery liquid flowed into me as I pulled on the artery. Eric's whole body tensed up and shook as I drank from him. His thrusting kept speeding up until I couldn't take anymore. I let go of his neck and threw my head back, screaming his name as wave after wave of pleasure rocked through me. I felt him stiffen as I did.

Eric rolled off me and curled himself around my boneless form. He stroked my hair and hummed a little in Old Norse (I assume, it sure wasn't English). When I was able to feel my legs again, I told Eric I was going to finish getting ready and I went to the bathroom.

I smoothed my hair as best as I could and pinned it up into a simple twist. I did my makeup and spritzed on a little perfume. Eric was ready to go when I came out to get my dress. He held it out to me and I stepped in, reveling in the feeling of the silk sliding over my skin. He zipped me up and I stepped into my shoes, a pair of strappy black heels so high they were almost stilettos.

I saw our reflection in a mirror and admired it. We were quite a pair, both of us blonde and blue-eyed, dressed in black. My dress was floor length and very simple, with a bow on my waist. Eric looked amazing in a perfectly tailored tuxedo, complete with bow tie. His hair was left loose, but was immaculately combed.

"Something is missing, lover." I turned and looked at him, surprised. We were perfect, I couldn't understand what he meant. Eric smiled down at me, "Close your eyes."

I raised an eyebrow at him before I did. "No peeking, now." I felt feather-light touches on my ears and at the nape of my neck. I felt him turn me back to the mirror. "Okay, now you're good."

I opened my eyes and saw my new additions: a necklace with three drop diamonds and matching earrings. "Oh, Eric. They're beautiful, but it's too much, I can't let you do this."

"And I thought you were broken of this habit, lover. I enjoy getting things for you, and you look absolutely magnificent."

"You can't keep buying me things like this, Eric. I don't even want to think about how much you've spent on me these past couple weeks, let alone since we've been in Vegas. I appreciate the gestures, but-" He put a finger on my lips.

"I can and most certainly will, Miss Stackhouse. Remember we had a conversation about this earlier?" I nodded. "So you are going to deny me the pleasure of buying you things that you want but have been unable to obtain previously? You have to be the worst gift recipient in history."

My jaw dropped at his words. I wanted to throw his stupid necklace and earrings at him and rip the dress off and... and my common sense caught up with me. He was right again, dammit. Here he was, going out of his way to give me designer clothes and diamonds and I'm fighting him tooth and nail. What woman on earth gets upset when her boyfriend gives her jewelry?

"Fine. I get what you're saying. I'm just uncomfortable getting this kind of stuff because I'm not used to it and I can't give you anything that compares. Everything is lovely, Eric. Thank you for the jewelry." I kissed him softly, wrapping my arms around his neck. His hands went to my hips and squeezed gently.

Pulling away, he smiled down at me. "One more thing before we go, love." I crossed my arms and tried to look impatient as he dug in his suitcase. When he came back up he laughed at my expression and held his hands behind his back.

"Sookie, I have a feeling I know how you are going to react to this. Just remember that nothing is imminent, this is a promise." My heart started racing as I imagined what he could have gotten. I could feel his anticipation across the bond, and that made me incredibly nervous.

Eric took his left hand from behind his back to grab my right. He led me to the bed and I sat on the edge, part of me knowing what was going to happen, and part of me hoping I was wrong. His right hand slowly came up to mine and I squeezed my eyes shut, not wanting to see what he placed in my palm.

"Sookie, you can look. It won't bite you." I opened my eyes to see him smiling at me. I braced myself to look at my hand, and when I did my heart stopped.

A small square box. Powder blue. With a white ribbon.

I don't care how much or how little money you have, every female knows what those colors mean. I looked back and forth between him and the box. I could feel my mouth moving, but no sound came out. After a minute, I finally managed to stammer out something. Unfortunately, that something didn't even slightly resemble a sentence.

"E- Eric...I- I don't know-... but what-... T- T- Tiffany... I- uhh..." My rambling stopped when Eric actually opened the box. Inside was a diamond solitaire. He took the box from my hand, removed the ring, and kneeled down. I froze.


"Sookie Stackhouse, I love you. In a thousand years, I have never met anyone like you. Nobody has ever touched me the way that you have, and nobody ever will. Knowing you has made me happier than I could have ever imagined, and I want to be with you always. I treasure every moment we have spent together, and I want to make memories with you. Will you marry me?"

By this point, my brain had ceased all function. My shields had greatly improved if I kept this doozy of an idea out. I sat in shock for a few seconds, then all of a sudden the haze lifted and I saw what was happening. "Oh, Eric... yes."

Love washed over the bond like a tidal wave as he slipped the ring on my left hand. He stood up and pulled me with him. Our arms wrapped around each other and our lips met. At that moment, nothing else mattered. The Fellowship, Jason the bastard, the database, Felipe, everything else ceased to exist. Eric lifted me off the floor and spun me around, his lips never leaving mine. I giggled into his mouth and he smiled. He broke the kiss and whispered to me.

"Jeg elsker deg." *

"I love you, too, Eric." He set me back on my feet and stepped back to look at me. He was grinning so broadly I thought his face would split. I couldn't help but return the sentiment with a big smile.

"Now, you are perfect, my only love."

I glanced in the mirror again and saw our reflection. "No, Eric. We are perfect."


Felipe's gala event was certainly that. He made a speech congratulating himself on his victory over Sophie-Anne, framed by a backdrop of the Nevada, Louisiana and Arkansas state flags. Even though he was a concieted jerk, Felipe knew how to hold a celebration. A stage with a live band, a large dance floor, and plenty of tables to relax was topped off with waiters watching like hawks for anyone getting low on drinks.

Eric and I took several turns around the dance floor, loving the feel of each others body. We were interrupted by Bill.

"Eric, may I cut in?" Bill quietly asked, never meeting Eric's eyes. I gave him a gentle squeeze to say it was okay and he relinquished his grip on me.

"You may, Compton." Eric kissed my forehead and walked away. He took up a position on the wall and didn't take his eyes off me the whole time I was dancing with Bill.

"I noticed your new jewelry, Sookie." Good start, Bill. I scoffed in my head.

"Yes. We won't be doing it immediately, but I guess he's going to make some kind of formal announcement when we get back home."

"Are you sure this is the right thing to do? I would give anything to have you again, Sookie. I would do anything. I doubt he could say the same." My shields were all the way up, so I had no way to know what was actually going on in his head. Come to think of it, I didn't want to know.

"William Compton, you listen to me. I meant every single word of what I said to you in Eric's house. You lied to me, used me and abused me in every way possible. I gave my heart to you and you stomped on it. I'm willing to be friends with you, but you have got to realize that there will never be anything more between us. Eric or no Eric, I am not going to put myself through that ever again. I'm sorry, Bill, I really am, but if you don't get over this, I'm not even going to be able to be friends with you anymore."

I felt bad telling Bill off again, but he just didn't seem to get it. We finished the song in silence and I was relived when Eric took me back in his arms. Bill nodded at Eric, bowed slightly in my direction, and disappeared.

Eric growled under his breath. "That man is getting on my last nerve. I may have to do something about him soon."

I blanched at the thought. "Eric, don't worry. He's just concerned about me. If he says anything else, I'll let you know, but I doubt it. For now, let it go, please. Tonight we are only thinking about each other and this," I waved my left hand in front of him and my ring sparkled, "right? Just us."

He grabbed my hand and kissed my palm, then the ring. "Of course, minn sváss, this night is for us." He led me to an unoccupied table and we sat. I sipped a glass of champagne and watched people swirling around the floor. Eric took my hand and sent his thoughts in my direction.

Have you heard anything we should be concerned about yet? I shook my head minutely, but I knew he caught the movement. Good. Felipe is going to ask you for a dance sometime this evening, and I need you to find out everything you possibly can from him. I know it will be difficult for you, but trust me when I say that I will more than make up for it later. I smiled and flushed a bit. That shade is lovely on you, my dear. Oh, here he comes already. Eric growled internally at Felipe.

"Mr. Northman, Miss Stackhouse." He inclined his head in my direction.

"Your highness. To what do we owe this pleasure?" Eric bowed his head at Felipe.

"I am asking for Miss Stackhouse to accompany me on the dance floor."

Yea, 'asking' my southern butt. "Of course, your highness. I would be delighted to dance with you."

Be safe, lover. I smiled at Eric as I gave Felipe my hand. He led me to the center of the floor and we began spinning in time with the music.

"You look radiant this evening, Miss Stackhouse."

"Thank you, your majesty. Please, call me Sookie."

"Sookie, then." He smiled, fangs and all. I barely contained a shiver. "How are you enjoying Las Vegas?"

"I enjoy it very much, thank you. This is certainly a change from Louisiana. Even before Katrina, New Orleans wasn't like this."

"It is certainly a shame what happened to that area. It will be years before the city is back to its former splendor."

"Most definitely. I've only been there a few times, and each time I became acquainted with more things that were lost."

"Except for the past few months, I haven't visited New Orleans in almost 50 years. Of course that has changed, I will be seeing more of Louisiana's beautiful sights now that it is mine. It just so happens that one of those beauties came to Las Vegas to see me."

"Thank you your highness, I appreciate the compliment." I tried to be an innocent southern belle and not vomit when I heard what he was thinking.

"Sookie, you are no doubt aware that I am now King of Louisiana. I can make you my mate and you would never want for anything, ever again. Mr. Northman is my subject. If you consent to joining me, he is obligated to release you."

I had to literally bite my tongue to stop from going off. "That is certainly a gracious offer, your highness, but I rather like my life how it is."

"It would be much more convenient for both of us if you were to reside in Nevada. Traveling between Louisiana and Las Vegas on a regular basis will be quite expensive and very time consuming." I felt power tweaking around me as he tried to use his glamour.

"Again, your majesty, I appreicate the offer, but I feel that it is in my best interests to remain where I am. I'm sure we can reach a conclusion that satisfies both sides if we were to negotiate a contract."

"You do realize that I can make your Sheriff bring you to Nevada any time I wish, do you not?"

"I know that would be a valid point if I was a vampire. As a human, I am not obligated to participate in vampire politics. If we had a written contract, that would be another matter entirely. And please excuse my being blunt, your majesty, but if you ask anyone I have previously assisted, they will inform you that I work best when I am not under duress."

"Ah, Miss Stackhouse, but you must forget that you are under my formal protection."

"Mr. de Castro, I have not forgotten that. I humbly appreciate it, but my understanding was that it comes as a repaid favor for me saving your life."

"I have the ability to revoke that protection at any time, Sookie."

"Yes, your highness, I understand that. I also know that even if your protection is removed, if I am harmed forces will be set in motion that cannot be stopped." I said this so matter-of-factly that he didn't consider it a threat, but wondered what I meant.

The band started another tune and Felipe danced me towards Eric's table. He hadn't moved the whole time I was dancing. "It seems our time is up, Sookie. I look forward to speaking with you again, very soon." He bent his head and kissed the back of my left hand, his eyes opening a fraction more when he noticed my ring.

"Thank you for the lovely dance, your highness." I bowed slightly and placed my hand in Eric's.
Eric bowed towards Felipe as he walked away. When I was sure he was far enough away not to notice, I whispered in Eric's ear, "We need to talk, now."


*Jeg elsker deg - I love you.
This is actually Norwegian. The translator I used before is broken, but since Norwegian is very close to Old Norse, it works for the story.