Chapter Seven: Detective Stackhouse or Sookie Stackhouse?
Sookie awoke abruptly when she heard her siren ringtone echoing through the bedroom. She did not even have time to remember where she was as she reached blindly for the phone and gave a groggy, “Detective Stackhouse…”
“Stackhouse, you need to come in. Marla Jacobs attempted to commit suicide this morning, and she’s demanding to speak with you,” her captain’s voice came over the phone and Sookie sat up, rubbing her eyes.
“How much damage did she do?” Sookie asked, climbing out of bed and catching her foot on the bedside table, “FUCK!” she snapped, clutching her foot while she hobbled right into the dresser. “GOD DAMN IT!”
She looked around the bedroom for a moment, grateful that Eric had left the lamp on for her since there was no window to offer any ambient light while she reacquainted herself with the layout of the bedroom.
“Are you alright?” her captain asked worriedly.
“Caught my foot on the table,” she grunted. “I’ll be at the station in forty minutes.”
“Just go straight to the hospital. Trent will meet you there.”
“Okay, I can be at the hospital in thirty.”
The captain paused a moment before stating, “Stackhouse, the station is closer to your apartment than the hospital.”
“I’m not at my place,” Sookie replied distractedly as she dug through her duffle bag.
“Oh… Well, take your time. Report in after you interview Marla.”
“Yes, Captain,” Sookie hung up her phone, finally finding something to wear. She huffed a bit when she realized her blouse was creased from being shoved in her duffle, and she wondered idly if Eric had a steam setting on his dryer that she could use.
Needing a shower, Sookie opened Eric’s closet and found an unoccupied hanger to drape her blouse on and took it into the bathroom with her, hooking it on the towel rack near the floor to ceiling glass-encased shower.
After she started the spray, she groaned when she realized that she had not brought her own soap and shampoo. Guess I’ll smell like Eric today.
Stepping into the warm water, Sookie left the door open a crack to allow the rising steam to de-wrinkle her blouse, and let the warm water soak her hair before distinguishing between his shampoo and conditioner. Thankfully his body wash was not perfumed with masculine scents and she quickly finished her shower.
After toweling off Sookie spied a hair dryer on the bathroom counter. She clasped her hands in relief that Eric used one for his shoulder length hair. He even had a hair pick that she used, leaving her hair wavy and voluminous.
Grabbing her now-smoothed blouse, Sookie grabbed the rest of the clothing articles she needed to finish dressing and left the bedroom, making certain to engage the security system when she left.
Mags and Junes jumped promptly off of the couch when Sookie emerged, and she hugged them tightly before going about most of their morning ritual, minus their run. Instead, she let them run around the backyard all the while staring at her watch until she was forced to call them in and leave.
As she headed to the front door and its nearby table, Sookie found a key on top of a note.
This is the key to the front door. If you are called into work, please feel free to leave Junes and Mags with me. I will take care of them if you are gone past sundown.
Be safe out there.
Sookie nearly melted at the note, and she pocketed the message and key before arming the security system and leaving for the hospital.
Trent leaned against the counter of the hospital’s front reception desk playing with his phone while he waited for Detective Stackhouse to arrive. He was just finishing an article on a recent story from Bon Temps involving a man by the name of Drew Marshal handing himself over to the Sheriff of Bon Temps for the murders of two local women when he was interrupted.
“Good morning, Trent,” Sookie’s voice broke his concentration and he jumped at her sudden appearance. “Too much coffee?” she laughed, her voice teasing him. “You usually hear me coming a mile away!”
Trent’s eyes widened at the woman in front of him. This was not the same Detective Stackhouse he had worked with the day before. This was not even the Sookie Stackhouse that had fawned over her flowers and given her co-workers their first glimpse of her personal life after six years of working together!
Her hair was down for the first time he could recall. Her blue blouse was undone at the top two buttons, when she only ever left the very top undone in the entire time he had known her. He was aware of that because no man, married, single, or half dead could keep their eyes from straying to her large breasts, secretly wishing that second button was open so they could glimpse a peek at heaven when she leaned over to…
Suddenly Trent was no longer fantasizing about her breasts. His eyes had snapped to her posture instead. She stood before him with her left arm dangling loosely at her side while her right hand planted naturally on her cocked hip. Her left foot softly rotated outward, slightly in front of her right. Trent had never seen her posture so relaxed and natural. Usually she was rigid, and her stance was consistent with her feet slightly apart and parallel to each other. Detective Stackhouse always stood as though she believed someone would charge her at any moment.
‘Oh my God, Stackhouse got laid!’ Trent’s mind screamed in surprise, followed quickly by happiness. Sookie briefly heard him recognize the scent emanating from her and register that she had been with a vampire. She was intrigued by the fact that this realization did not stem any sort of resentment. Sookie was not entirely oblivious to the animosity between Weres and vampires.
“Sorry, I was reading an article in the Parish news. Some guy named Drew Marshal confessed to killing two women in Bon Temps. That’s your old home town, right, Stackhouse?”
Sookie froze for a moment before remembering Eric had told her the culprit would be turning himself in that week. She did not know why he had made the man wait, but she decided Eric had his reasons.
“Yeah, it is,” she finally replied.
“Did you know there were murders?”
“Yes, my grandmother actually told me about them a couple weeks ago,” she confessed.
“Oh. I’m surprised you didn’t say anything,” Trent was not actually surprised.
“No, you aren’t,” she accused playfully, and Trent laughed.
‘This Stackhouse is fun! I’m surprised she didn’t say that Bon Temps wasn’t Shreveport jurisdiction!’
“Is Marla in the same room?”
“No, she was transferred to Psych for 72-hour observation,” Trent told her, gesturing toward the elevators. He let Sookie walk in front of him, and shamelessly watched the new way her hips moved as she walked with this captivating posture she had adopted over night.
“How’d she do it?”
Trent blanched out of his musings over the way her ass bounced with the little spring that now existed in her step. “Broke a light bulb and tried to swallow the pieces.” ‘I love my wife, I love my wife, I love my wife!’ Sookie heard in his head while he anxiously twisted his wedding ring. She felt sympathy for her co-worker despite the extensive and unprofessional way he was viewing her.
However, even though it disgusted her to have men fantasizing about her, most of Trent’s thoughts were not riddled with carnal musings. He was genuinely observing only the changes between the woman he had worked with and with whom he had gone through cadet training. It was not his fault that so many seemingly permanent aspects of her character had shifted rather unexpectedly over night.
Sookie sighed. “I should have seen this. She was too calm. I was worried about her. I told her to take care of herself.”
The pair took the elevators up to the third floor that held the Psychiatric Ward, and Trent lead Sookie to Marla’s room.
“I’ll be out here if you need anything,” Trent spoke softly and opened the door for her.
“Thanks,” Sookie entered the room, standing out of range from the camera that was trained on Marla. “Hi, Marla,” she crooned carefully. “I heard you had a really rough morning.”
Marla sneered, the light lacerations around her mouth cracking open slightly with fresh blood. “What do you care?”
Sookie’s shoulders hunched at the accusation. “I’m sorry I didn’t recognize just how troubled you were. You were in pain, and I was too preoccupied to see it,” she admitted.
“Yeah, and then you just sent Deputy Trent to interview me instead,” Marla accused.
Sookie blanched at the accuracy of Marla’s observation. “Yes, I did.”
Sookie resisted the urge to fidget. “Your case was more personal than I usually allow them to get. I was trying to keep a distance from you so I could stay focused on finding Jacobs.”
The woman turned her head away from Sookie and stared across the room toward the window while she considered the detective’s reasoning. “It’s nothing you could have stopped, you know? How could you see what I would do? What do you know about what I’m going through?”
“Absolutely nothing,” Sookie told her. “Every experience is different. Everyone hurts in different ways, breaks in different ways.”
“You’re not broken,” Marla accused.
“If you want to wait until about eight o’clock tonight, I’ll send my boyfriend over and he’ll tell you just how broken I am,” Sookie snorted. “Still, that’s not the point. You don’t really want to die, do you, Marla? After how hard you worked to survive?”
The woman leaned her head back against the wall and continued staring blankly at where the wall met the ceiling. “They still haven’t found Daniel. He’s still out there.” ‘They were going to send me away from the hospital, into a city where he could find me anywhere…’
“We would never let him get anywhere near you, Marla,” Sookie assured her. “You don’t need to do something like this,” she gestured to the room, “to keep him away from you. We’ve had a guard on your floor with his picture this entire time.”
“He can only come at me through that door when I’m here,” she pointed sadly to the entrance of her room. “He could come at me from anywhere once I’m out.”
“We’ll find him, Marla, I promise. Can you tell me about some of his friends? Do you know who he would go to if he had to go into hiding?”
Marla sighed while she tried to press her brain for anything useful.
“Maybe his girlfriend’s place? I think she’s why he tried to kill me.”
Sookie nodded. “What’s her name?”
“I don’t know. I only know what she looks like. Her name on his phone was ‘Nestle.’ I don’t even want to know where she got that pet name!” she growled.
“That makes two of us,” Sookie backtracked. “Where did you see her?”
“Getting plowed by my husband in our bed,” Marla’s face gave way to a sneer at the memory, and Sookie had to fight her own recoil at the image. She observed the memory though, noting ‘Nestle’s features as well as a rather flamboyant peacock tattoo on her left breast.
“I’ll send a sketch artist by for you to give a description. Remember to tell him about any tattoos, scars, or other distinguishing marks.”
“She’s Latina and has a hideous tattoo of a peacock on her left tit. That’s the only memorable thing about her!” Marla snapped.
“Okay,” Sookie nodded carefully, trying to calm the irate woman.
“I really didn’t intend on killing myself, you know,” Marla told her conversationally. “I didn’t even try to swallow the glass. I just put it in my mouth and bit so they’d put me in here.”
“I hope so, Marla. You’re all your mother has left, you know? Has she been in to see you yet?”
“Not since what happened this morning, but they won’t let her visit while I’m under observation anyway.”
“I see,” Sookie murmured. “Is there anything you want me to tell her? I can call her hotel.”
“No. I’ll see her in a few days.”
“Okay. You just call the station and ask for me if you need anything.”
“You’re welcome, Marla.”
Sookie exited the room, letting out a long sigh after the door shut behind her.
“How’d it go?” Trent asked.
“Pretty well. I don’t think she’s suicidal. I think she’s scared; scared to leave the hospital.”
They headed back toward the elevators, and Sookie pressed the call button timing their wait.
“She thinks the police can’t protect her outside of here?”
“She’s been through so much. I think it also has to do with being in that tree for five days. She wants to feel safe and protected. The hospital gives her that right now.”
“I guess. It’s pretty extreme chewing a light bulb just to stay in the hospital though.”
“She’s in survival mode still,” Sookie defended.
“Well, I don’t get it, but it looks as if you do.” When the elevator arrived, they climbed inside. “Sorry you got called in today.”
“It’s okay. It shouldn’t take me long to brief the captain and transcribe my recording.”
“Did you at least have fun last night?” Trent tried to coax some information out of her.
“I did, thank you.”
‘Please, tell me SOMETHING!’
Sookie laughed, “I spent the night at my boyfriend’s house.”
‘Oh my God! She actually told me!’
“Oh, do you usually do that on the weekends?” Trent asked innocently.
“No, this was a first.” She was smiling a secret smile to herself, and it made Trent grin as well.
“Good for you,” he murmured when the elevator doors opened and they walked out of the hospital together.
Sookie was surprised at all of the confused double takes. They were not ‘girl stopping traffic’ stares, but ones of general confusion. Police men and women alike momentarily froze and stared at her as if they had no idea who she was.
Even her telepathy could not explain the strange occurrence.
“Trent,” Sookie hissed when she caught up with him outside their division’s annex, “do I look that different? People are staring at me as if I’m new or something.”
The Deputy First Class smirked down at her and replied, “When I jumped this morning at the hospital?” he reminded carefully. “I didn’t jump because I didn’t hear you coming. I jumped because I couldn’t even recognize your footsteps anymore. I knew there was someone in front of me, but I had no idea it was you.”
He left out the part about her scent having changed. Obviously she would know a human would not be able to differentiate scents from such a distance.
“Oh,” Sookie mumbled, bringing the bent knuckle of her index finger between her teeth. “I never realized I was so rigid or severe-looking. I knew I was sharp when I spoke; I just never realized that shone through my appearance, too. ”
“People tend to notice changes, not absences,” Trent pointed out.
“That’s true,” she agreed with a laugh as they entered their department.
Detectives Murphy and Burns stopped mid-conversation with Captain Kleinman when the pair walked into the room.
“Good afternoon, Stackhouse,” the Captain grinned at her. ‘She looks so happy!’
“G-good afternoon, Sir,” Sookie stammered with surprise.
“Sorry we had to drag you in, but you have the best relationship with Mrs. Jacobs,” Kleinman explained when he came to stand beside her.
“Oh, I understand,” she nodded.
Leaning closer, he muttered under his breath, “I’ll get you back to your weekend activities as fast as I can.” His promise made an unwelcome red stain her cheeks while her breath hitched, and Murphy, Burns, and Trent all noticed. “Get what you need to done so you can get out of here, and we can avoid paying you too much overtime this weekend,” Kleinman laughed, turning to his office.
“Anything I can help with, Stackhouse?” Trent asked eager to help her finish her work quickly.
“Go contact the hospital and find out when they’ll allow Marla to sit with a sketch artist, and then coordinate with that team when the hospital gives you a time frame for it,” Sookie instructed while she placed the headphone jack into her phone that she used as a recorder during her interview with Marla. She placed a bud in her ear and opened a document to transcribe the conversation.
“On it,” Trent assured.
“Murphy, can you run a database search of Latin-American women aged 18 to 20 who have a peacock tattoo on their left breast?”
“18 to 20?” Murphy frowned. “How’d you get those numbers?”
“Marla’s 21. Mr. Jacobs doesn’t strike me as the type to cheat older.”
Murphy grumbled in agreement. “I’m sure he wouldn’t.”
Sookie paused a moment, “Cross reference those with solicitation records.”
“You think she’s a prostitute?”
“Maybe. Jacobs has enough money that he could afford a professional mistress rather than a girlfriend on the side. See if there are any prostitutes with the street name Nestle.”
“That’s a narrow field,” Murphy grumpily chattered some more, typing search perimeters in frantically. He snorted. “What do you know? I actually got one.”
“Thank God her name wasn’t Cherry or we’d have over a few dozen,” Sookie muttered, peeking at his screen. “Huh, Marla was right. That is one hideous tattoo.”
“I’ll send out patrol.”
“I’ll go with them,” Sookie went to her desk for her Glock.
“Are you sure?”
“I promised Marla that I would make her safe. If Jacobs is at his girlfriend’s house, I am not letting him leave without a pair of cuffs around his wrists.” Holstering her weapon, she shouted, “I’ll grab Trent on the way. Call in a black and white to meet us up the block. I don’t want them to beat us there and spook Jacobs!”
“You all right, Stackhouse?” Trent asked while Sookie smoothed her hand over the Velcro band of her bulletproof vest.
“Yeah, just excited,” she said, smoothing again.
“You look scared,” he confessed.
“A little bit of both.”
“You think he’s in there?” Trent pointed to the house they were approaching.
She could already hear his mind. “Yes.”
The patrol car that was serving as their backup pulled up along the curb, exited their vehicles, and waited for Sookie and Trent to come around.
“Trent, take Peterson with you to the front. Rookie, you’re coming around back with me,” Sookie ordered. She knew she had a much better chance of being the one to take Jacobs in if she went around back. It was the most common flight pattern.
After Sookie was in position at the rear entrance of the quaint, little ranch-style house, she heard Trent pound on the front door, “Nina Sanchez, this is Shreveport P.D. We have questions regarding Daniel Jacobs and a warrant for his arrest!”
Sookie heard Nina’s panicked mind while she went to the front door. Of course her thoughts were in frantic Spanish; and all the telepath could pick out was ‘Oh God!’ and several images of Daniel grabbing her revolver from a desk drawer.
Focusing now on Jacobs, Sookie saw through his eyes when he came toward the kitchen, heading for the back door. His eyes lit on the stupid rookie behind her, standing with his head square in front of the kitchen window. He raised his gun, and Sookie spun around, diving for the new officer whom she managed to topple to the ground before the bullet sounded. As they fell to the ground, Sookie scrambled back to her feet just in time to give chase to Jacobs who had bolted out the back door.
“You’re not getting away from me!” Sookie snarled under her breath as she barked into her radio. “Stackhouse in pursuit of armed suspect on foot. Rounding north of Bessie St, heading east!”
After giving her team notice of her advancements, Sookie kicked her legs into overdrive. She sped quickly after Jacobs, anticipating his every feint and attempted dodge until she lunged into his body and tackled him to the ground.
“Daniel Jacobs,” she growled, “you are under arrest for the attempted murder of Marla Jacobs, assault with a deadly weapon, endangering a police officer, resisting arrest, and pissing me the fuck off! You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say-” Daniel Jacobs yelled and thrashed beneath her as Sookie recited the Miranda Rights and struggled to get him turned onto his stomach in order to fasten his wrists behind his back. She was also trying to figure out where the hell his revolver had gone. She knew he had not thrown it, but also had not seen it before or after she tackled him.
While she struggled with the culprit, finally managing to twist him around, a series of shots rang out, and the woman felt as if a baseball bat had smashed thrice against her back. Gasping for air and in shock when a POP rung in her ear, Sookie’s heart hammered even harder at the realization that a bullet had just barely missed her head. Frantically, she twisted and aimed her weapon at her assailant.
Nina! Sookie managed to realize as she fired five rounds at the advancing woman who held a revolver in her hand. An epiphany struck. There had been a second woman in the house who Sookie had thought was Nina’s mind! Nina had recovered Jacob’s gun and pursued them!
There was no time for Sookie to berate herself for her impatience and singular focus on Jacobs which had allowed the presence of three minds and not just two within the house to go unnoticed. All attention was now centered on Nina who crumpled to the ground when Sookie’s bullets tore into her. While Sookie tried to regain her control on Jacobs, the man twisted, and punched her square in the face.
“NINA!” Jacobs screamed, trying to scramble away from Sookie and toward his lover.
Winded from the shots, and then disoriented further by Jacob’s swing, Sookie teetered to her feet, and lunged once more for Jacobs. The man struggled with her with greater intensity than before.
“If you want her to live, then give up so I can take care of her!” Sookie screamed into his ear.
“You killed her! You fucking killed her! Fuck you, you pig cunt!” Jacobs screamed right back, landing several hits to her face before she managed to pin one of his hands under her knee and punch him repeatedly in the face. Her last hit stunned him, and Sookie managed to turn him onto his stomach to finally cuff him.
Grabbing her radio, and hearing sirens pulling up behind her on Bessie Street, Sookie fell onto her bottom as she panted into the speaker, “Suspect in custody. Paramedics needed. 18-year-old female, multiple GSW to the abdomen.”
Clambering back to her feet, Sookie reached Nina and kicked the nearly spent revolver away. The young woman was choking on her blood while Sookie knelt beside her, trying to staunch the bleeding, but finding every shot she had fired had been imbedded in Nina’s torso.
“STACKHOUSE!” Trent yelled while he ran up the slight incline toward her. “Are you okay!?”
“I’ll live,” Sookie whispered, still holding the wounded woman, feeling Nina’s cold hands clamping onto her overheated wrist. “I’ll live…”
“You okay, Stackhouse?” Captain Kleinman asked softly as she sat at her desk.
“I’m fine,” Sookie replied in a hushed tone.
“We’ll need your firearm.”
“You know you’ll have to meet the Force’s psychologist a few times before you can leave your desk again.”
“Will you go to the hospital now?”
“Sookie,” her eyes turned to him wearily, “it’s never easy for a cop to take a life. No one expects you to be ‘fine’.” His gaze turned beseeching. “Please? Go to the hospital? Even though your vest took the bullets, it can still crack some ribs.”
“The most they would do is bind them anyway,” she grumbled.
“What about your face? That’s some major swelling. You could have a broken cheek bone,” he urged.
“SOOKIE!” The woman’s back went rigid at the sound of her name being shouted by that voice. “What the hell happened!?” Sookie turned slowly in her chair to meet Eric’s bewildered gaze. When he saw her ruined face, he froze mid-step. “Sookie, your face,” he murmured, closing the remaining distance and turning her chair to face him. His cold hands felt wonderful on her throbbing skin.
“You the boyfriend?” Kleinman asked.
“Yes,” Eric replied distractedly, still touching her face gently while he tried to reconcile his emotions at seeing her this way.
“See if you can’t get her to go to the hospital and get her chest x-rayed. She was shot today.”
Eric’s head snapped to the captain’s, and then back to Sookie. “You need to go to the hospital.”
“I need to finish my incident report,” she snarked.
“You’ll be chained to your desk until the Shooting Team and the Sheriff’s office release you of any wrong doing. Besides, you have to go to the hospital so we can catalogue your injuries into evidence. I’ve tried being easy on you, Stackhouse, but now I’m ordering you. Go to the hospital!”
Rising sharply from her seat, Sookie placed her Glock on her desk and turned toward the door.
“Sookie,” Eric walked briskly after her, “let me take you.”
“I don’t want to go,” she whispered.
“Nina’s there,” she choked, diving into the restroom to hide from a passing officer as tears filled her eyes.
Without hesitation, Eric followed her into the bathroom. She had already barricaded herself into a stall.
“Who is Nina?” Eric asked quietly.
“The girl I killed today,” Sookie gasped. “I don’t even remember drawing my gun! I don’t even remember deciding to do it! I heard it. I heard the bullet blow past my ear, and then I was pulling the trigger over and over! It happened so fast, and-”
“Sookie,” Eric soothed, “it was the adrenaline.” He tried very hard to ignore the fact that a bullet had zipped past her head. How many inches? Fractions? How close had that bullet been to blowing apart the loveliest face he had ever seen? How close had that bullet been to mutilating the most giving mind he had ever explored?
“What if one shot would have stopped her? If I’d just shot once? Would she have lived? Would she have stopped?” Sookie babbled.
“You are trained to shoot in bursts,” he reminded.
“But one shot…” she whispered around a sob.
There was an unbearable amount of silence as Eric felt the dark emotions swirling in her.
“Eric, I need you to leave,” When he hesitated to reply, she managed to choke out, “I can’t do this here. I can’t be strong and walk out of this building the way I want when you’re holding my hand. Please, I’ll go to the hospital alone. I’ll come back to your house once I’m done there. I can’t be a cop with you around.”
“I do not understand,” he admitted.
Sookie leaned her head against the side of the stall while she tried to articulate what she needed him to understand. “It’s too easy to fall into your arms and let you take all of the bad things away. When I see you, or hear your voice, or read a note from you… I am Sookie. You let me be Sookie. Right now, I have to be Stackhouse, and I can’t be her when you’re here calling for me.”
“I do not think you are in a condition to drive,” Eric murmured. “May I wait for you at your car? I will drive you to the hospital, and wait for you in the parking lot if you prefer..?”
“Okay,” Sookie agreed. “I’ll meet you down there after I get myself back together.”
“All right. I will be patient. Take all the time you need,” Eric walked toward the door and silently left Sookie in the bathroom.
When she was certain he would not return, Sookie came out of the stall and went to the sink to splash cool water on her face. Gently, she dabbed away the moisture and looked at her face in the mirror. The swelling was pretty bad as her captain had commented. Her left eye was nearly shut, and the discoloration was mostly red. She could see the threatening rainbow of her bruise blossoming, knowing it would be in full bloom when she awoke the next day.
Taking low, even breaths, Sookie quelled the anxious heart rate thrumming beneath her ribs. She eased her body to stop its shivering. There was time to fall apart in the safety of Eric’s home and arms. Right now, she needed to go to the hospital, have her injuries documented, assure Marla that she was safe, and maybe eat something.
‘No wonder I can’t stop shaking!’ Sookie thought as she remembered that the last time she had eaten was her McDonald’s run on the way to Eric’s house the night before.
Laughing hollowly while she was suddenly obsessed with the idea of food after such a grueling day, Sookie took that bit of amusement and managed to smooth her unrelenting sorrow off of her face. ‘There’s the stoic detective everyone knows and loves,’ she thought with further dark comedy.
Finally able to escape the bathroom, Sookie avoided eye contact with any and all colleagues she passed. They seemed to recognize her avoidance, and even managed to keep their sympathetic looks to themselves.
Arriving at her car, Eric leaned against the side; Sookie dug her keys out of her pocket and handed them to him. Eric pressed the remote quickly and opened the passenger side door for her before climbing behind the wheel.
As they pulled out of the lot, Eric asked softly, “May I hold your hand, Sookie?”
He could feel her trying to decide if she would take it. When she stiffly shook her head, he resisted the urge to sigh. Detective Stackhouse did not like being touched. As much as Sookie longed for his comfort, the Detective could not handle any such weakness at the moment.
The drive to the hospital was short, and Sookie jumped out of the car before Eric managed to pull up to the Emergency Room Drop Off.
“You should go home,” Sookie told him. “I could be here awhile.”
“I will wait here in the parking lot,” Eric told her assuredly.
Sighing at his determinedness, Sookie merely nodded and went into the hospital. Eric found a parking space and closed his eyes, monitoring her emotions the entire time. She was remarkably at ease, for the most part. Every so often he could feel her anxiety spike briefly. As quickly as those bursts came, however, Sookie brought them back under control and maintained her concrete emotions.
Around nine, less than an hour after arriving, Sookie emerged from the hospital. Eric immediately got out of the car to meet her.
“You could not have actually seen a doctor by now!”
“Cops get served quickly,” Sookie mumbled. When Eric was standing nearly on top of her and sniffing her intently, Sookie rolled her eyes. “Seriously? You think I just sat around in the hospital for nearly an hour without seeing anyone? I had to get photographed for evidence, too, you know. I’m not going to risk my career by neglecting to do so.”
“You seemed quite intent to do so at the station,” Eric reminded, verifying several different human scents on her, as well as antiseptics and adhesive.
“Satisfied?” Sookie snarked when Eric eased away.
“I just needed some time. The captain understood that.”
“I know, but he could not feel what I felt. I was concerned about where your emotions were taking you.”
“I’m fine,” she assured dully.
Eric shook his head in mild exasperation. “Physically, perhaps. I would argue that you are not fine physically, but I am certain you know better what a beating your body can take than I do. Mentally? You are not fine, Lover.”
Sookie tilted her head to the asphalt and scuffed her boot against it, sending loose black clumps spraying against her car’s tire. “I don’t know what I’m feeling,” she finally admitted. “Other than hungry… I feel sort of numb now.”
Smiling softly, Eric placed his hands on her shoulders. “Let me take you to dinner. We could go to a bar maybe? Low lighting, greasy food, and 90 proof gin?” his voice was laced with indulgent promises.
Flicking an unbidden tear away, Sookie sobbed on a laugh. “That actually sounds good right about now.”
“Get in the car, then. I know a bar that is supposed to serve good food,” he encouraged, opening the passenger side door for her.
Sookie slid into the vehicle and leaned back carefully against her seat. Before Eric was behind the wheel, she had fallen asleep. Eric drove in silence, taking her limp hand in his and exalting at the comfort it brought him. Her warm hand radiated against his cooler one, reminding him that he had not lost her that day. Despite her stubbornness, she had proven her continued health and it brought him peace of mind.
After half an hour, Eric pulled up to a bar in Bossier. It was more of a lounge than a bar with its soft lighting, inviting booths, pub tables, and soft music.
“Sookie,” Eric whispered, squeezing her hand. She groaned in her sleep and Eric smiled. “Lover, did you still want to eat?” he asked her quietly, leaning over and kissing her lips until they responded.
“Hi,” she mumbled against his mouth, reaching up tiredly to stroke his hair.
“Hi,” he returned before pressing his lips once more briefly against hers. “Ready to eat?”
“Yeah,” Sookie gave a wincing stretch.
“Are you all right?”
“Yeah, just my bruises from my vest,” she explained.
“38 Special from about ten yards.”
“I do not know the relevance of that,” Eric admitted.
Sookie made a face, but could not think of an appropriate description. Instead, she fell back on the old, “It feels like a major league hitter struck me three times in the back with a baseball bat.”
“Where? I do not want to put my hands on you and hurt you,” Sookie sighed and flipped on the dome light before turning in her seat. When the light flicked back off, she looked at Eric curiously. “I do not need the light,” he told her simply and she nodded in understanding.
She unbuttoned her blouse and pulled it off with a soft moan of pain. Eric could already see some of the bruising even before she awkwardly pulled her tank top off of her back. Eric hissed at the sight.
“That bad?” she asked.
“Terrible!” he said between clenched teeth. His hand rose to carefully trace the angry black and blue blotches before kissing each of them in turn. They were as large in diameter as his fist, deep purple and red at the center. One was originating just below her shoulder blade, but discoloring the entire bone structure. The second was several inches down and just lateral of her spine. The third was on her lower right side, five inches above and to the right of her sacrum.
“That was the scary one,” she whispered as Eric traced the third bruise. “I was leaning forward trying to cuff Jacobs when Nina shot me. That last one only caught the plate by a half inch,” Eric’s fingers faltered when she said this before kissing the welt just as he had the other two.
“Why did you tell me that?” Eric moaned with distress.
“Because… I don’t know what I’m feeling. The more you know about what happened, the more you can help me… Come to grips with everything.”
“I see,” he whispered. “Food?”
“Food,” she agreed.
Eric got out of the car and went to Sookie’s side, helping her from the vehicle. When she went to grab her blouse, she could not move her shoulders properly to put it back on. “Forget it!” she snapped.
“I will help you,” Eric offered, taking her shirt from her.
“No, it’s fine. The cool air actually feels good on it. Your hands felt good too,” she told him.
“I am tempted to give you my blood to heal the injuries. I cannot bear looking at your face like that,” he confessed.
“Well, I think my fellow officers will get mighty suspicious if I come back on Monday looking fresh as a daisy.”
“I am sure they would understand you were reaping the benefits your lover can provide.”
Sookie laughed at a memory. “You know, everyone suspected I got laid last night.”
“Is that so?”
“Oh yeah! My entire department looked at me like I was from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.”
“I was relaxed and fun. I was smiling more. I looked flirty and happy,” she listed.
Eric smiled sadly. “I wish I could have seen it,” he said as they walked into the lounge. They found a quiet, shaded corner, and Sookie accepted a menu from one of the waitresses shortly after they were seated.
“Anything to drink while you look at the menu?” the young woman asked, straightening her black apron that blended seamlessly with her little black dress.
“Gin and tonic, please,” Sookie replied quickly.
“Okay, I’ll grab that while you find something to eat. Anything for you, Sir?” she asked of Eric.
“Nothing, thank you,” Eric replied politely, staring at Sookie while she looked at her menu. When the server left, Eric asked, “Are you going to be able to lie on your back at all?”
Sookie looked up from the single page of food offerings, and raised her eyebrows. “Already hankering to lay me down?”
“I have never had my mate battered before. I have an overwhelming compulsion to fuck you in response to how I am feeling about your injuries,” he told her.
“And how do my injuries make you feel?” she asked.
“Angry. Terrified. Concerned. Apprehensive… Many things. Mostly, I want to feel that you are well. I want to reassure myself that you are still here… It is a very confusing blend of emotion,” he confided.
“Here’s your gin and-” the server froze at the sight of Sookie’s face. Before, the officer had her hair shielding the left side of her features. Now she was staring at Eric, and her bruises were well on display.
“Thank you,” Sookie smiled at her, taking the drink.
‘Oh my God! Is he beating her? The poor girl!’ The server was thinking sympathetically. Her gaze narrowed on Eric and she scowled at him.
“I’m a cop,” Sookie told the young woman carefully. “A man resisting arrest did this, not my boyfriend,” she gestured to Eric.
“Oh!” The server reeled. “Wow! A cop? You are? You’re so tiny though!”
Sookie snorted. “All muscle,” she teased, flexing her arm.
“Holy crap!” the younger woman laughed at the impressive definition of Sookie’s limb.
“I’m… I’m Sookie,” she greeted awkwardly, unaccustomed to introducing herself by her first name. “This is Eric.”
“Tess,” the server offered. “So, are you a patrol officer?”
“Cool! Wait! Holy crap! You’re the one who busted that sex trade ring last year! I can’t believe I didn’t recognize… Well,” she grimaced at Sookie’s face.
“Yeah, disfigurement can do that,” Sookie agreed.
“Oh, sorry, I’m chatting away, and you wanted food. Have you decided on anything?”
“Hmm… Is there garlic in the mozzarella sticks?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Tess frowned, and then glanced quickly again at Eric, suddenly enlightened.
“Could you tell me what on here doesn’t have garlic?” Sookie requested, turning the menu over.
Tess quickly pointed out several options, and Sookie decided on the Buffalo wing platter. “I’ll put that in for you,” the server announced before dismissing herself.
Sookie picked up her drink and took a long draw before pressing the cold glass carefully against her bruised cheek.
“That must have been the longest conversation I have seen you carry on with a stranger,” Eric announced while her eyes gently closed against the ice cold glass.
“She thought you were beating me. I had to set her straight.”
“I could not have cared less.”
“Well, I do care. Not just because it’s slander against how well you treat me, but because I don’t like the idea of anyone thinking I’d be with a man who beat me.”
Eric smiled at her prideful statement. “I would be greatly amused to see what became of a man who tried to lay a hand on you… Out of curiosity, what became of the culprit you apprehended that did that to your face?”
Sookie grinned devilishly. “Snapped cheekbone, concussion, and broken nose.”
“I am glad to hear you gave better than you got.”
“He wouldn’t have gotten a hand on me if Nina hadn’t shot me,” she scowled, bringing the straw to her lips for another hard pull of gin before pressing it back to her cheek.
“How are you feeling about what happened today?” Eric asked smoothly, unassumingly.
Sookie sighed as she thought for a moment, and Eric could feel her sadness well though not as destructively as before. “I’m sad…and angry, but not at myself. I’m sad that Nina’s dead, and that I was the one who killed her. I’m angry that any of this even had to happen. If Jacobs hadn’t left the revolver in the house for Nina to use, maybe she wouldn’t have come after us. She definitely wouldn’t have been able to force me to shoot her. I’m angry that Nina is dead and Jacobs is not. If I could switch their places, I would.”
Eric nodded in understanding. “How does taking a life make you feel?”
Sookie sucked her straw back into her mouth, grinding the end of it between her teeth a moment. “Sad, maybe depressed? I didn’t join the police force because I wanted to be violent. I joined to save people from violence. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t enjoy the physical training I do as a cop. I love our hand to hand training options, and I love beating the crap out of the punching bag. I just don’t think of being aggressive like that to people. I think of not being a victim, and in return, saving others from being a victim when I train hard. Today… I couldn’t save Nina from being a victim. Not my victim, but Jacobs’. He was the one who put her in danger, not me. She was so in love with him. When she was dying, she asked if Jacobs was okay. She grabbed my wrist, and choked on her blood, but still managed to ask if he was okay.” Sookie shook her head in absolute marvel. “It’s scary to think of loving someone so much that you would let them put you in danger that way.”
“It is scarier loving someone so much and knowing that they are in danger they put themselves in,” Eric said softly. “I care for you deeply, Sookie. I cannot say that it is love yet, but rising this evening and feeling your turmoil, not knowing what had happened, seeing your face, and discovering you had been shot… I have never felt so helpless or terrified than I did this early evening.”
“I’m sorry you had to go through that, all the not knowing,” Sookie drained the remainder of her drink and set it aside.
Before Eric could respond, Tess returned. “Would you like another?” she asked, gesturing to the empty tumbler.
“Yes, please,” Sookie answered. She did not miss the way her response made Eric’s eyes dilate. “What?” she laughed at his expression.
Eric chuckled as well when his spell of arousal was broken. “Apparently, I have a Pavlovian reaction to you saying that.”
“Yes, please,” she husked, making Eric growl.
“Careful, Sookie, or I will bend you over the table right now. I will not need to worry about your back that way, now will I?”
Before the woman could respond, Tess reappeared with a fresh drink, and Sookie brought it to her lips swiftly. After the server left, Sookie murmured, “Bathroom?”
Eric stared at her in surprise. At first, he wondered if she was asking him for permission to use the facilities, quickly making him question why she would ask. Then, he realized she was asking him to go to the bathroom with her.
Standing swiftly, Eric took her hand in his, and hauled the woman toward the restrooms. Pulling her through the door, he shoved it closed and put his back to the entrance before listening for any other women in the room.
“Take off your trousers,” Eric growled as Sookie looked at him with hope.
As quickly as she could, Sookie bent over and untied her boots, slipping them off her feet before attacking the zipper and button of her slacks. When she was naked from the waist down, with the exception of her socks, which she left on as not to be barefoot on the bathroom floor, Sookie awaited her next instruction.
Eric grabbed her left hip, drawing her close as he brought his mouth to hers and ran his hand up her torso until he could yank her top and bra below her breasts. His left hand joined the assault, groping at one breast while his other hand held her shirt down. Sookie moaned into his mouth as his fingers tugged and plucked at her nipple before attacking the other.
“Open my pants, Lover,” Eric told her gruffly while his hand strayed down between her legs. Sookie immediately undid his fly, reaching between the folds to grab hold of his cock. She rocked her hand tentatively around him as his fingers parted her nether lips and began stroking her. “Does the promise of fucking in public turn you on this much, Sookie?” Eric asked as he found his digits already coated in her juices.
“Mmm,” she rasped when he twirled those dexterous fingers around her clit, “just the promise of having you does this to me.”
“Is that so?” He chuckled against her mouth while he slid his back down the door until he was sitting cross legged on the floor. Sookie followed his movements and crowed happily as he pulled her into his lap. “We will have to do it this way in here. Do you know what to do?” he asked.
Sookie nodded, though it was a hesitant reply. She straddled his member and began to sink down on him. As she came closer to sheathing him entirely, she flinched away.
“Slowly, Lover,” he cautioned, holding her hips in place. “It will feel deeper this way.”
Nodding once more in understanding, Sookie let him bounce her shallowly at first, increasing her arousal before pushing her down the remainder of the way. Her body cringed deliciously as he filled her completely, and she wrapped her arms around his neck as she buried the uninjured portion of her face into his throat.
“So deep,” she whimpered.
“Yes,” he agreed, giving his hips a slight buck to emphasize how deeply he could reach inside.
A hand on either side, Eric rolled her hips in a figure eight pattern, melding his pelvis against hers at just the right angle to cause her body to jolt in pleasure.
“Uh! How do you find all the right spots?” she panted against his ear.
“Your body tells me everything I need to know,” he whispered back before raising her up and then driving her back down repeatedly. “Touch yourself, Lover. I will not feel at peace until I feel you cum around me.”
Sookie crooned under her harsh breath at his request. Slowly, she reached down her body until she found her sensitive pleasure point. Tentatively she began to rub herself, twitching every time Eric hit another sweet spot inside her.
“Just like that,” Eric encouraged as he felt her internal muscles begin to flex.
Moaning at his encouragement, her hand picked up speed, and Eric responded by thrusting frantically beneath her. Their pace intensified further as Eric captured a bouncing tit between his lips and began suckling hard, drawing the nipple between his blunt teeth and biting with an increasing pressure.
“Eric,” she choked, her walls fluttering in their telling manner.
“Yes, Sookie, keep going,” he coaxed.
Continuing to thrust and simultaneously propel her movements, Eric waited for the unmistakable sensation of her vise-like clenching. However, after several minutes he was frustrated when it did not begin.
“Sookie, you have no need to be shy. It is only us. Always just us,” he reminded.
“Mmhmm,” she agreed, and he could see the tension on the undamaged area of her face.
Frowning at the level of concentration on her face, Eric delved into the link he shared with her and read Resistance there.
“You can cum, Sookie,” he murmured and threw his head back as his teeth clenched with the power of her orgasm. Sookie shouted his name as her walls clutched him violently, and his body, unbidden by him, responded with its own climax. “Fuck,” he snarled as her pussy milked him for all he was worth. He lightly banged his head against the door at the abrupt loss of control. “Fuck, Sookie, what sort of training have you given that pussy?” he demanded jokingly.
“I… Don’t know… What you… Mean…” she said between gasps of air.
Eric held her carefully against his body while she collected herself. Mindful of her injuries, he played with her hair and let her relax around him. When he felt the throbbing around his shaft abate, Eric slowly lifted her off of his softening member and rose to set them back to rights.
“Ready to go back to our table?” he asked after re-lacing Sookie’s boots.
Nodding mutely, Sookie went to the sink and washed her hands, laughing as Eric came over and did the same out of courtesy.
Sookie paused at the door to listen for any approaching minds before she opened it and lead Eric back to their seats. Her fresh gin and tonic was sweating, and the ice was severely melting when she sat back down.
Sookie groaned when she saw Tess coming over with her buffalo wings, a knowing smirk on her face. ‘God that sex sounded HOT!’ she thought with slight envy.
“Here’s your food. I kept it warm for you,” Tess said with a wink.
Sookie groaned as the server walked away and grabbed her drink, taking a deep swig.
“She knows, I take it?” Eric guessed.
“Yeah, she heard us,” Sookie mumbled with a blush.
Eric merely laughed and gestured to her plate. “Well, eat your meal, and then I can whisk you back to my house. I am certain your dogs are in near hysterics for you by now.”
“Oh no!” Sookie gasped before focusing on her food. She quickly devoured the plate, biting a stalk of celery every so often to ease the burn of the excessive vinegar. “Wow, this is so good!” she said after her fourth wing.
“The cook here used to be a sous chef in New Orleans,” Eric commented while he watched her eat.
“I wonder why he came here.”
“His wife wanted to be closer to her family.”
“How do you know so much about him?” Sookie asked.
“I hired him.”
“This is your bar?”
“Lounge,” he corrected teasingly. “And yes, I own it.”
“Why didn’t the server recognize you?”
“I do little more than invest in this place. I gave Keith a rather free reign with it. He was a promising chef who dreamed of running a bar that served worthwhile food. Though his skills are exceptional, his ambitions did not match the necessary levels for an elite chef. He is not a very competitive person. Therefore, I handle the lounge’s finances; he handles the more social aspects like hiring employees.”
“I’m still surprised the server didn’t know you,” Sookie said, down to her last wing.
“That was actually Keith’s doing. He believes all customers should be treated the same, and he did not wish his staff to be tripping over themselves trying to give me better service than anyone else, and thereby neglecting other patrons. I was inclined to agree.”
“Makes sense,” Sookie agreed as well, finishing her plate and pushing it away before downing the rest of her drink.
“Are you ready to head back?”
“Yeah… I’m just going to actually use the restroom this time,” she told him with a slight blush before rising from her seat and going to the bathroom.
Eric smiled to himself and flagged over Tess. After glamouring her memory of the bathroom sex from her mind so she could not tell the tale to anyone else, he paid their tab and left a hearty tip before rising from his seat and awaiting Sookie’s return.
“Okay, I’m good to go,” Sookie announced, beaming as Eric wrapped her arm around his own.
Once they were in the car, Eric paused rather than turning the key in the ignition.
“What’s wrong?” Sookie asked, noting his hesitation.
“I have a question,” Eric began slowly.
“Okay?” She frowned at his careful tone.
“Sookie, are you under the impression that you need permission to orgasm?” he asked in that same tentative voice.
Sookie’s eyes widened. “I don’t?”
Eric groaned with annoyance at himself. “What did I do to you in three evenings to cause this much confusion?”
“I just…” Sookie played with her hands embarrassedly, “assumed that’s how it worked.”
“How did you come to that conclusion?” he asked in a rather conversational way, no humor or condescension present.
“Well, the first time you told me to, I kind of needed you to,” she mumbled bashfully. “I was nervous, and… Well, I’d never felt like you were making me feel. I was… Shy…”
“I understood that,” he nodded for her to continue.
“Then… Well, last night… When… Before we did it… You had your fingers in me and you told me I couldn’t… Cum yet…” Eric bit back a groan when he realized the assumptions she had made. “And… Well, you always tell me to, and I just figured it was… A rule. I thought that’s how you do it right.”
Eric let out a self-deprecating sigh. “There are no rules, Sookie. At least not in the type of relationship I wish to have with you. There are such relationships that could require you to have my permission to orgasm, but that is a Dominant/submissive relationship. Which, in the future, if you wished to explore such a dynamic, I would be content to oblige. However, at this stage in our relationship, the control I exercise over you is purely to protect you from injury or help you let go of your more debilitating hesitations,” Eric looked at her confused expression and reached out to sooth the creases her thoughts had created on her face. He was not going to lie to himself; he had nurtured a form of Dominance and submission in their relationship because it was the best way he knew how to help her.
Until that moment, Eric had thought of himself as the more experienced half in their relationship and merely attempted to guide her along the way. The problem, he was realizing, stemmed from his complete lack of experience in a relationship rather than a mere sexual arrangement. They were both blind in this realm of intimacy, and Eric found himself scrambling to stay ahead of her. He was actually afraid she would discover he had no idea what he was doing, and was instead trying to soften the edges of what he did know. The only comfort came from her will power and trying to overcome her past and present fears. His hope, however, was not to continue the roles of Dominance and submission once she became more secure in her sexuality, and he had managed to discover what it was he should really be doing for her. “You were truly struggling to let go the first time I brought you to orgasm. After I had your blood, I could feel your Hesitation and Reluctance when you were on the edge, and I wrongfully assumed it was due to your unease with reaching orgasm.”
“Oh,” Sookie murmured quietly.
“The time I told you not to cum, it honestly was so that I could acclimate you to the girth you would soon be taking. I wanted you to flex around my fingers so that it would not cause you much discomfort when I entered you.”
Sookie’s face was bright red from both the awkwardness of the conversation and the memories of her first night with Eric. “So,” she began meekly, “I can… I can just cum whenever I feel like it?”
“Yes, unless you express a desire for me to prolong your wait.”
Sookie frowned, “Why would I do that?”
Eric shrugged. “Being made to wait can intensify the orgasm.”
“Can you show me?”
Smirking, Eric nodded. “Yes, I can, but first, I want to lick, suck and fuck you for several evenings, until you are cumming at liberty as many times as you damn well please. I want to be certain that you are capable of achieving satisfying orgasms without me giving you permission to do so.”
Sookie squirmed in her seat. “Can we start when we get back to the house?” she asked breathlessly.
Eric gave her a Cheshire Cat grin. “Absolutely, Sookie.”