The king size sleigh bed was carved with a tiny pattern of leaves and vines, and was absolutely gorgeous. It had (very rumpled) midnight blue silk sheets and a matching comforter. The large dresser and nightstands were carved in the same pattern as the bed. It felt wrong to leave the beautiful bed unmade, but I had urgent 'human needs' -as Eric called them- to take care of, and I had no idea where the bathroom was. There were only two doors in this room, and one led to a small closet. After poking around for something to wear, I put on one of Eric's spare button-down shirts and a pair of boxers, and I went out the other door into the hallway. There were several doors on either side of the hall, and all of them were closed. I sighed and started peeking in.
The first door led to another bedroom, this one done in tones of red and gold, and of course, the requisite dark wood. The second door held a small utility closet with a vacuum, a feather duster and a few other cleaning products. It seemed ridiculous the think of a vampire having a closet of cleaning stuff. I mean, when you think of a vampire, you certainly don't picture them doing mundane housework. I imagined Eric wearing an apron, pushing the vacuum and dusting, and I laughed out loud. That was almost as good as the Sheriff of Nottingham. I knew he probably had a maid service or something, but it was funny all the same. The third door I came to held what I think was a preview of Heaven.
The bathroom was decadent, to say the very least. The one place in the house that dark wood did not reign, it was white. White tile, white porcelain, white towels, white marble. A shower big enough for a small car dominated the furthest corner. It was completely surrouned with glass, and I could see showerheads running up and down the walls. One of the attachments that simulated rain was hung above the center, and I shivered to think of how much fun could be had in there. And I'm sure Eric would happily oblige, I reminded myself and smiled. The pool -it was certainly too big to be referred to as a bathtub- took up the opposite corner. Six people could easily fit inside, and jets everywhere ensured that everyone would be satisfied. After I took care of my human needs, I washed my hands and saw a small note taped to the mirror. I dried off, marveling at how impossibly soft the towels were, and picked up the note to read it.
My dearest Sookie-
If you have found this, you have woken up before me. I am truly sorry that I was not there to wake you up myself, but rest assured I will make it up to you later. Feel free to explore the house, and while you are here, I insist you consider it your home as well. There is some food for you in the kitchen if you are hungry, and anything I do not have that you require we will purchase this evening.
I will see you soon, lover.
I contemplated taking a shower so I would be refreshed and ready for Eric when he woke up, but decided against it. I know he would much rather help me get clean, and I wanted to experience that shower to the fullest, so I decided to head to the kitchen and see if I could find coffee. As I walked towards the stairs, I looked in every room. I found two more bedrooms, a study, and another bathroom. This one wasn't nearly as sinful as the other, but it was still very fancy. The staircase wound around a large foyer and ended by the front door. I unlocked and opened the large french doors and was confronted with a large and perfectly manicured front lawn. I stepped outside and turned to look at the front of the house. Last night I saw that the house was two stories and was big, but it was beautiful, too. It was red brick, with large white columns and black shutters. The rays of the setting sun glinted dully off of the opaque glass. I went back inside, locked the door and went straight through the living room, into the kitchen, and out to the backyard. Oh, my. I was speechless. The large patio I was standing on held an outdoor bar/grill and a fabulous table set. A huge Jacuzzi overflowed into what looked like an Olympic-size swimming pool. A diving board was on the far side of the pool, and past that, a football-field size expanse of more perfectly manicured yard. I knew Eric had more money than I could ever dream of, but this was insane.
After another minute, I decided I needed my morning fix and went in to find some coffee. Of course, Eric had my favorite brand ready. I sat at the bar and sunk deep into thought while I sipped. Okay, Eric is loaded. Looooaded. He's used to the finer things in life, and here I am, a barmaid that's been on the brink of being poor more than once. The only reason I'm not penniless right now is the money that he gave me for keeping him earlier this year. If I didn't have that, I don't know what I would have done when my house burnt. I don't want to be a kept woman. I am not some gold-digging trailer trash, and that's exactly what I'll feel like if I keep letting him take me out and buy me things. I put my face in my hands and massaged my temples. But I'm miserable without him. I don't know what to do. I can't let him spoil me, but I know he'll insist on it. I don't want to- no, I can't live without him again, I love him and- WHAT?! My head snapped up and my eyes widened. I...I love him? But... but... oh my god... I'm... in love... with a... a vampire. As much as my head wanted to deny it, my heart knew it was true.
Right on cue, Eric wrapped his arms around me and kissed my cheek. "Good morning, my lover." I burst into tears and he panicked. "Sookie... Sookie, love, what is wrong?" He picked me up and sat down on the couch, cradling me in his arms. He made soothing noises and stroked my hair. "Dear one, will you not tell me what is wrong? Is something wrong with the house? If anything disturbed you, consider it changed." This made me bawl even harder. "Lover, I cannot help you if you will not tell me what is wrong."
I managed to calm myself down enough to speak. "Eric, you're too good for me. I mean, look at this place. You live in a palace and you have more money that I can even think about." He tried to speak, but I put a finger to his lips. "I know you don't think it matters, but it does. I am a barmaid, Eric. A barmaid. I live off of tips from serving people beer and chicken fingers. I have been pennies away from being in the poorhouse. You own at least one business, and I'm sure have more investments than I can comprehend. You insist on buying me things, and I don't deserve it. I never did anything to make you like me, and on more than one occasion, I've gone out of my way to irritate you. I honestly don't know why you want to be with me. The only thing I can think is because of the fairy in me. There are tons of women would die to be with you, literally." I let out a single, rueful laugh at that. "And I'm sure any of them wouldn't be anywhere near the trouble I am."
He waited until he was sure I was finished before speaking. "Sookie, I know that you think it matters that I am rich and you are not, but to me that makes no difference whatsoever. I care not that you are a barmaid. I would want to be with you no matter what your career. I insist on buying you things because it makes me feel good to do nice things for you, since you have had so few people treat you as you deserve throughout your life. And I am well aware that you have done things purposely and expressly to anger me, but that is what I admire about you, lover. It has nothing to do with your heritage. You have a fire inside you, a flair for life. I am also well aware that most other women would do anything to be with me. I fend off hordes of them every time I enter my bar. But they do not, nor does any other woman, have a fraction of the allure that you do."
"Eric, you're a thousand years old. You were alive when the last millenium rolled around. You've seen and done things that people can't even imagine. You can't possibly tell me that after all that time, you want to deal with me."
He chuckled a little and rubbed my back. "That is true, lover, you are a bundle of trouble. But after seeing and doing as much as I have in my long life, don't you think that I would know what I want by now? I have also learned that human life is short, and I should take advantage of whatever life hands me, and in this case, it was you that fell into my lap. I intend to hold on to you as long as possible, Sookie, and nothing you can say will convince me otherwise. This is not the way I wanted it to come out, but," he took a deep breath and puffed out his cheeks, "Sookie Stackhouse, I am in love with you. In all my thousand years of life, I have never said that to another soul. I haved loved others, but I am in love with you. I would give anything to be with you. I would do anything. I cannot stand the thought of ever spending another second without you. I love you, minn sváss, and that will never change."
I gaped at him, staring into his blue eyes, and I swear I could see his soul in them. I started crying again, but they were tears of joy. "Oh, Eric, I never thought... I always knew... oh, god, Eric, I love you, too." I leaned forward and kissed him. The bond swelled with happiness and warmth. I straddled him and deepened the kiss while he first removed my shirt, and then broke the kiss briefly to remove his tee. He stood up and I wrapped my legs around his waist. Settling me down on my back on the thick, fuzzy white rug, he removed my boxers and his as well. Eric laid back on top of me, pressing his body to mine, but supporting himself on his elbows. One of his hands parted my folds and a finger slipped inside. I gasped around his tongue and ran my fingers through his hair.
"Say it, Sookie, say it for me, please," he begged.
"I love you, Eric Northman, I love you."
"I love you, Sookie." And he entered me. I moaned into his mouth and he began to thrust slowly, pulling almost all the way out, and pushing in until he was buried. His hand ran over me, memorizing every curve, often stopping to cup my face. I leaned into his caresses like I had never been touched before. I felt myself nearing the edge, and when he kissed his way down ny neck and bit, I fell off. He jerked inside of me, and I knew he had come, too. He laid down beside me and we held each other for a long time, whispering "I love you" back and forth. I sighed and rested my head on my viking's shoulder. So this is what they write all those songs about.
Eric parked behind Fangtasia and opened my door for me. Earlier, after another intense session of making love in the shower, he had driven me back to my house so I could grab some clothes and necessities. We then went grocery shopping and he insisted that he buy me an outfit to wear to the bar tonight. I smoothed down the silk of my new dress and shivered with enjoyment. This was, without question, the finest piece of clothing I owned, even surpassing the red and black dress from last night. It was patterned like a rainbow colored abstract painting. A black band ran underneath my boobs, and straps crossed my chest. I loved it dearly, and Eric was so ecstatic that I liked the dress so much that he bought matching shoes, underwear, and a purse. I protested when I saw the total, but he reminded me that he got as much joy as I did from the purchase. I left my hair loose and it flowed over my shoulders in tousled waves. Eric smiled at me and held out his arm in the age-old gesture of chivalry. Beaming up at him, I wrapped my arm around his and he led me inside.
In the office, Pam was waiting for us. "Master," she said as she bowed deeply. Eric laughed and she looked up.
"Pam, you are forgiven for any wrongdoing that may have occured yesterday evening, as long as you can keep your hands off of my lover from now on."
She straightened from the bow and looked me over. Eric had turned to look at me, too, so only I saw her wink and the mischievous smile on her face. "I don't know, Eric, you keep dressing her like that and I won't be able to help it." His head snapped back to glare at Pam and I laughed.
She put her hands up in a stopping motion and smiled at him, "Just kidding, boss. Well, time to go play with some humans." She winked at me one more time and walked around us. When she opened the office door, a waitress was in the hallway talking on her cell phone. "Back to work, whore!" That Pam, always a barrel of fun.
Eric sat in his office chair and I followed, hopping up to sit on his desk. I crossed my legs and smoothed my skirt, shivering in pleasure again. He saw the look on my face and reached for me. I gave him a quick kiss on the lips, but stopped him from going further. "I just put this on, and you already want to take it off me? At least let me enjoy it for a while." He rolled his eyes and leaned back. I sighed and asked the question of the day, "So what are we going to do about this new drug?"
He reached in the top drawer, took the Altoids container out and threw it on top of the desk. "I honestly don't know, Sookie. What I do know is that I'm going to call every important vampire I know and tell them about it so they can spread the word. This is serious. The Fellowship is sneaking drugs that make people act drunk into bars. If they have the ability to produce something like this," he angrily shook the tin, "who knows what else they have hidden up their sleeves. As a matter of fact, Sookie, that brings up something I meant to ask you. How would you feel about accompanying me in the bar on a regular basis?"
"Um, Eric, I kind of have a job, you know, in Bon Temps? With Sam, where I've been for over five years now?" I replied with some sarcasm.
"I am painfully aware of your association with the shifter, lover. If you agree, I fully intend on putting on the payroll, where you will not only enjoy an excellent paycheck, you will also be eligible for our health plan. And might I say, with your history, that would be no bad thing. You would be responsible for accompanying me into the bar for a few hours each night, and simply making sure that nobody is intent on killing anyone."
"Sounds like you've given this a lot of thought."
"I have. I tried to imagine every possible excuse you could give me and come up with a reasonable counter. Have I suceeded?" He looked smug. I had the sudden urge to slap that stupid grin off his face.
"I live in Bon Temps, and I have an old car."
"I'll buy you a new one. Or... you could always move in with me."
My jaw hit the floor. "Are you serious? I can't move in with you!"
"Why not? You love me, I love you. I understand that this is how a relationship progresses."
"Um, yeah, but you're skipping a few steps in there. There's the dating, and the engagement, and the wedding, and then the moving in."
"There isn't much that's traditional about us, Sookie. Why should we follow the regular steps when we are clearly past most of them?"
"Well, um..." I hated when he made sense like that. "Damn you and your logic, Eric. All right, I'll think about it." He smiled broadly and rubbed his hands together. "Now that you're done being Mr. Persuasive, what's the plan for the evening?"
"I need to make these calls immediately. I would like it if you wouldn't mind having Pam escort you around the bar again this evening." I raised an eyebrow. "And please refrain from dancing tonight, Sookie. I meant what I said about not sharing well, and I don't want you to seduce Pam again." He grinned and I playfully slapped his arm.
Pam opened the door and walked inside, her eyes still sparkling with humor from earlier. "I promise, master, nobody will lay a finger on Sookie. And if they do, they will lose it." She smiled at Eric and showed fang.
He laughed and gave me a kiss. I walked with Pam out to the bar and into Eric's preferred booth. I listened on the way, but of course, the only thing I heard were thoughts of sex, kinky sex, and the kind of sex that should be banned in the US. Pam settled across from me and fidgeted a little. I looked at her, surprised. Vampires don't fidget. Ever.
"Sookie, I want to apologize for last night. All I can think is that the music and the dancing and your scent got to me, and I acted out of bloodlust. I am glad I had enough control over myself not to bite you, because I would not be sitting here right now if I had." I was shocked. Vampire apologies were very rare, and an apology to a human was unheard of.
"It's alright, Pam. It happened, and now it's over. And actually, Eric said if we were to continue, as long as he could join in, he would be fine with it." Oh, crap. As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew it was the wrong thing to say. Pam's eyes sparkled and her pupils dilated a bit. When she spoke, her fangs were halfway out.
"Oh, did he now?"
"Yes, but I told him that there was absolutely no chance in hell of that ever happening. I like you Pam, but I don't swing that way."
Her fangs retracted a little. "I know, Sookie. You get to work. I'll leave you alone so you don't attempt to seduce me again." I glared at her and she laughed. Damn vampire hearing.