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.