Chapter Eight: All to Myself
Sookie avoided crouching down to eye level with her dogs once they arrived at Eric’s house. Her face was sore and tender so an abrasive tongue was not exactly appealing.
“Hey, my girls,” Sookie spoke in a baby voice to her dogs as she leaned down to scratch, pet, and rub them both. The dogs circled several times whining at her in distress. “Have they been fed or walked?”
Eric grimaced. “I admit my worry over you had me running out the door immediately at first dark.”
Sookie blanched. “Poor babies,” she crooned to her dogs as she headed to the kitchen to put food in their travel bowls. The dogs greedily gobbled up their meals, and then whined some more while Sookie walked them to the back door.
Opening the threshold to the night air, Sookie let Eric usher her outside when the dogs tore off into the darkness. She felt his body sidle up behind hers, his arms wrapping loosely around her sides while his hips jutted forward to press against her rear. As he leaned his head toward her shoulder to nibble and suck he kept his chest curled away from Sookie’s back to avoid her injuries.
Sookie moaned when Eric lightly clamped his teeth into the muscle between her neck and shoulder. “That feels so good,” she whispered.
“Does it?” he asked in amused curiosity, his hands coming to her breasts and gripping them through her bra and shirt. “How does that feel?”
“Better!” she gasped when he aggressively yanked off the front of her shirt along with her bra until her breasts spilled forth just as they had in the bar’s bathroom. Crossing his arms around her chest his palms held the weight of her bosom while his fingertips twisted and plucked once more at her nipples. “So good,” she whimpered, wriggling her bottom against him. Her hands came up to hold his wrists as she settled her head over his shoulder.
When her hips found a steady rhythm Eric released her beautiful curves and trailed his hands sinuously down the front of her body until he was undoing her slacks. The inside of her panties were coated with the fluids he had left inside of her earlier that evening and the aroma perfumed the air causing Eric to press his erection harder against her ass while he let out a deep groan.
“You smell so good,” he rasped in her ear rocking his bulge between the crease of her lower cheeks. His hand slipped beneath her panties and Eric felt her legs shift to widen her stance making his access easier.
“Yes, please,” she breathed quietly when his fingers ghosted over her entrance.
“Is this what you want?” Eric asked quietly, his middle finger dipping into her hole while she nodded frantically. “Look at that, you take my finger so easily now!” He rained kisses along her shoulder as his ring finger joined the middle. “Two, nicely,” He bit her shoulder as he attempted to coax his index finger inside of her. “Yet still so resistant for the third,” Rocking his hand soothingly, his third finger finally managed to creep inside of her and Sookie rumbled deeply in her throat.
“Eric,” she whimpered pleadingly as her hips moved in time with the thrusts of his fingers.
The need in her voice would have been obvious to a deaf man as his left hand slid over her clit and his right hand continued to thrust its fingers within her.
“Oh! Oh G— ERIC!” Her body tensed violently, curling over itself as Sookie struggled for completion. Eric struggled as well resisting the urge to tell her she could have anything and everything she wanted. He maintained his actions and speed as the woman in his arms writhed and strived under his efforts. “Please, oh please, please, please,” she chanted beseechingly. He could feel her walls clenching around his digits, but they had not achieved the staccato of orgasm. He nibbled, thrust, rubbed, and licked her for several minutes, but to no avail. Sookie valiantly resisted her orgasm. “Eric, I can’t!” she cried. “Eric, please. Please, tell me I can cum,” she begged as she violently shook in his arms. He could feel the strain of her breath; feel her body trembling from near completion and exhaustion.
Reducing his pace, Eric let her body calm enough that she could catch her breath, but continued stimulating her.
“Girls,” Eric called to the wayward dogs, “inside.” As the dogs ran into the house, Eric removed his hands from Sookie’s panties, turned her around, lifted her by her bottom, and carried her inside. “I can see this is going to take some time. Maybe you should be in a more relaxed position?” he suggested conversationally while Sookie trembled against his chest. Her eyes were dilated and glossy with yearning as she stared up at him in desperation.
Once they were standing in his bedroom, Eric made quick work of disrobing Sookie entirely rather than letting her remain in her shambled clothing. “Much better,” he crowed when she stood naked before him. He reached up the bed, grabbing three of the pillows, and threw them on the floor at the foot of the bed.
Sookie looked at him curiously as he lay down with his head on one pillow with the other two on either side of his head. “Straddle me,” he encouraged. Frowning, wondering why they could not just do this on the bed where her knees would not be digging into hardwood flooring, Sookie straddled his stomach as her hand reached behind her to rub the bulge in his pants. Eric chuckled. “Higher.” She wriggled up to beneath his armpits, making Eric laugh only more. “Sookie, are you going to sit on my face or must I sit you there myself?”
Whimpering at his words, Sookie wriggled all the way up his body until her knees were planted on either side of his pillow-ensconced head. She scolded herself briefly for not grasping why he had placed the pillows that way. However, all self-irritation ceased when his mouth encased her sex and his arms locked her hips into place preventing Sookie from twisting away from his method. Her body was close enough to the edge of the bed so she could drape her upper half over it allowing all of her weight to be absorbed by either Eric or the mattress. None of her bruises were pressed upon in this position. None of her muscles needed to function to keep her upright. ‘Hell, I can’t even smother him. I don’t have to support my weight at all!’
Sookie moaned into the mattress when Eric’s tongue wriggled inside of her before returning to flicker, and then cover her taut clit.
“Mmm, Eric!” She shimmied against his mouth impatiently quickly reaching the brick wall she had hit outside on the patio. “So close!” she gasped with her hips bucking against his mouth involuntarily.
“I know,” he mumbled against her sex pulling her down more firmly.
Again, he maintained the speed and intensity that had her walls fluttering in pre-orgasmic preparation. Yet again, her body resisted the urge to let loose. She stayed primed for climax for several minutes before Eric chose a new weapon in his sexual arsenal, one he had yet to subject Sookie to.
Almost instantly once his tongue began to move at the unimaginable speed, Sookie’s body buckled and a scream was forcefully torn from her. Eric heard a distinct tearing sound during her wail and he wondered with humor if she had just ruined his duvet.
Easing back to a human speed, Eric continued lapping between her folds while Sookie noisily rode out her orgasm. Her hips were rocking against his face much like a woman in a saddle, she was sobbing into his mattress, and her thighs were clamped firmly around his ears while her pelvis ground against his mouth.
Eric continued his ministrations, having opened the proverbial ‘flood gates’ as it were. He brought her to orgasm several times after that, only resorting to vampire speed once more.
Satisfied that his oral skills were now receptive to her, Eric released her hip with one of his hands to reach down and open his pants. He managed to toe off his shoes and kick his legs free of his clothing without Sookie’s realization. However, when he began sliding her away from his face, parting her knees just enough so that she could glide down the length of his body, she most certainly noticed.
“Ride me, Lover,” he pleaded when she lingered just above the tip of his phallus.
Grinning lazily up at him, Sookie reached between her legs and held him steady as she swayed and shimmied onto him. She bit her lip in that way Eric found so sexy and he had to resist thrusting up to meet her. Instead, he kept his hips frozen in place enjoying the slow, circling motions of Sookie’s hips as she found a sedate, yet solid rhythm. The way her body moved above him reminded Eric of a way a woman’s body shifted as she danced to a song with a long, sultry beat; slow, intentional, sweeping motions, laced with well-paced twists and moves.
“You are so sexy, Sookie,” Eric murmured beneath her while he trailed his hand between her legs to idly run his thumb across her clit. Sookie made a sweet, husky sound under her breath at his touch. He watched as his cock continually disappeared, and then reappeared beneath her, each time leaving more and more moisture against his pubic hair until he could actually feel her juices trickling down his balls.
After a while, Eric could feel her movements becoming uneven and he smiled up at her knowingly. “Getting tired?” he asked.
Sookie nodded, so Eric began moving his hips beneath her earning a groan as his thumb sped up its movements as well. When he felt her muscles twitch around him, he amped up his speed to the cusp between human and supernatural and grinned when he felt Sookie climax around him.
“Fucking perfect!” Eric praised while he thrust wildly beneath her and his own release coated her inner walls. His hand traced the one path along her back clear of bruises. “So perfect,” he whispered, running his hand up and down that single trail.
Sitting up, he found her lips and kissed Sookie deeply as he slipped her off his softening cock and settled her onto the bed before getting the pillows left on the floor. “I do believe I have kept you long enough, Lover. Now, I think it is time for sleep.”
“But…” Sookie pouted at him while she curled onto her side only to flinch, switch sides, and flinch again. Finally, she gave up and flopped onto her stomach. Eric came to lie on her left side so that she could look at him unhappily. “We were having such a break through!”
“Yes, we were,” he agreed, grinning. “You were doing a very good job cumming when you wanted after we got past that first one.” He curled up on his side so that they could look more easily into each others’ eyes. “Still, you had more than a long day. You need to rest.”
“I need you more.”
Eric beamed at her comment. “It pleases me to hear you say that.”
“I don’t want to sleep,” she admitted.
“Are you afraid of nightmares?” he asked quietly.
Sookie nodded. “I feel so good right now. I’m scared that once you’re dead for the day and not distracting me, all that sadness and fear will return. I’m happy right now. I don’t want that to go away.”
Eric understood her logic, and he tried to make suggestions for her to avoid getting lost in her world of self-blame.
“Perhaps you should distract yourself tomorrow. What do you usually do on your days off?”
“Err… Go to the gym. Go for extra long runs with the girls. Laundry. Grocery shopping… I read. Sometimes I bring home cold cases,” she admitted.
Eric sighed. “Out of that list, I only consider two and one-half of those distractions.”
“Two and a half?”
“Running with your dogs and reading are good. The gym seems like a trying place for you to let go of work.”
“Fine, Master of Relaxation, how do you suggest I unwind tomorrow?” she inquired playfully.
“If you were not so beaten up, I might have suggested a massage.”
Sookie snorted, “Oh yeah, it’s really relaxing having someone touching me while stressing over all of their problems.”
“Ah, I neglected that a touch-related activity could actually cause you more stress,” Eric thought a moment. “What about shopping?”
“Oh my Gawd,” Sookie rolled her eyes. “Do you really think I am that girly?”
“Yes,” Eric nodded, making Sookie recoil, surprised. “You have lovely taste. The dress you wore the night we met speaks volumes to it. I noticed that it is the only dress in your closet, however.” He played with a tendril of her hair as he smiled at her knowingly. “Why did you buy it, Sookie?” he asked.
Nibbling her lip self-consciously, Sookie told him, “Trent had a crush on me all through Cadet Training. A few years after we joined the force he was thinking about asking me out. I never would have said yes to him, he’s ridiculously loud for a Were. Mentally that is…Anyway, I saw the dress while I was heading to the Shoe Department for running shoes and I was already thinking about Trent wanting to ask me out… I really wanted the dress and I used a potential first date as an excuse to buy it.”
“So, you like flattering, feminine things, but do not like to spend frivolously,” Eric nodded in understanding.
“Well, I can’t wear stuff like that to work, and if I go out it’s usually after work, or with my dogs,” she explained further.
“What about with me?” Eric asked.
“Hmm?” Sookie ran her hand down the smooth expanse of his chest, somewhat distracted.
“Would you wear things like that dress when I take you out?” he elaborated.
Sookie smiled coyly. “I’d rather stay in with you.”
“I would rather stay in you as well. Nevertheless, there are plenty of restrooms, alleys, corridors, and other such hiding places in the world, Lover,” Eric whispered in her ear. “I could fuck you in every single one of them and so much more discretely if you were in a skirt or dress.”
Sookie’s breath hitched. “I’ll go shopping tomorrow.”
“Would you like my credit card?” he offered amused when Sookie scowled. “I thought not,” he said laughing, kissing her lips lightly.
“Why would I want your credit card?” she grumbled.
Eric gazed at her with an emotion that took her breath away. Devotion shone behind his eyes and Sookie was unaccustomed to the feel of such overwhelming passion directed toward her. “Because I want you to have everything.”
“That’s quite intense,” she whispered breathlessly.
“To you, perhaps,” he teased. “To me, it is natural. I have been curious about you for several years now; ever since Pam mentioned a human cop who could not be glamoured. I watched your career take off. I learned about your hometown and family. Of course, I kept my physical distance from you. After all, if my scent started popping up around your friends and family, other creatures would grow curious… Still, I studied you.”
“Stalked sounds more accurate,” she glowered playfully.
“Only a little,” he bit his tongue. “Mostly, I only let myself to show acute interest in your career.”
“So, did you know about my brother being arrested before I even came to your club?”
Eric snorted, “Actually, no. I had only heard about the dead fangbangers a few days before you showed up. I had not yet begun my own investigation. Vampire law enforcement moves much slower than human law enforcement. We do not feel compelled to solve most mysteries quickly. If it were not for the fact both women had been in my club, I would not have even heard about it before you showed up.”
“Wow, y’all do take your time,” Sookie frowned disapprovingly.
“Vampires rarely take immediate action,” he confessed. “We have eternity to act or seek retribution. If a matter involves a human we may hasten our plans, but usually lie in wait a year or so just so we can feel the fear and confusion in their body when we come to administer punishment.”
A shiver ran down Sookie’s spine. “That’s sadistic.”
Eric shrugged. “Many vampires are sadists.”
Eric thought a moment. “I went through a period in my existence when I could have been labeled a sadist. However, I have grown old enough now to see and understand the ramifications of such a lifestyle. I still accept the occasional assassination charge from my Queen. Those requests though are usually for the True Death of a vampire.”
Sookie crawled out of bed and put distance between her and Eric. He felt her Discomfort and Unease escalate at his confession, but he stayed on the bed, his face composed and calm.
“Vampirism has its very own set of laws, Sookie.”
“You still murder humans on occasion!” Sookie snapped.
Sookie’s heart raced. “What am I doing?” she asked herself aloud, pacing naked and uncaring between the bed and the master bathroom. “Why did you tell me that?” she demanded.
“Have you never suspected that I am a murderer?” Eric asked her.
“Because it was so obvious I never thought about it!” she wailed.
“Sookie,” Eric sat up in bed watching her patiently, “please calm down. You have never been an advocator of law; you have always fought for the safety of the public, not the upholding of rules.”
“I’m a cop, Eric! It’s the same thing!”
The vampire held his fixed expression. “Sometimes protecting means removing dangers. The vampires and humans I have killed were a danger to other vampires and humans. Human laws do not properly protect vampires from the human dangers that did not exist prior to our thrust into the public eye. I have had to dispatch vampires who have not adhered to the new movements put into place so that we could exist openly amongst humans. Michael with his sex trafficking is an offense punishable by the True Death because it openly disregards our ban on blood and sex slavery.”
“Then why hadn’t you killed him before I stumbled onto it!?” Sookie asked in a harsh whisper.
Still patient, Eric explained, “Because he was not the leader of the ring. I was still investigating the true ringmaster when you burst in taking away all of my evidence and leads. Now, I have to wait at least eighty years to properly maul the truth out of him before giving him the True Death.”
“It wasn’t just Michael’s ring?”
“It was not.”
Sookie stopped her pacing and sat on the end of the bed in deep thought. He could see the injured side of her face trembling as she attempted to scrunch it in concentration, but the swelling only managed to cause the flesh to flutter around her eye and temple.
“You can think of me however works best for you, Sookie. Murderer, vigilante, or… Or you can remember that my job is the same as yours, to keep members of my community safe from the dangers around them.”
Sookie remained quiet for a lengthy time. Finally she uttered, “I like that last one best.”
Eric smiled and relief flooded his features. “Thank you. So do I.” Glancing at the spot she had vacated beside him, Eric asked almost shyly, “Will you come back and lie with me?”
When she silently agreed by crawling onto her stomach beside him, Eric gently kissed the three loud bruises on her back. “Maybe we should share some information,” Sookie began after a thoughtful moment.
“When we’re investigating?” Sookie offered. “That way we won’t step on each others’ toes if we have another crossover in crimes.”
Eric chuckled, kissing the bruise on her face just as carefully as the ones on her back. “I suppose we could do that,” he told her.
“Why do I feel like you see this as agreeing to take a kid to Disney World?” Sookie griped.
“Because I do feel like a child going to Disney World,” he countered.
“I meant me. It feels as if you are looking at me like a kid you’re agreeing to take to Disney.”
Eric shook his head. “No, I am the one getting the treat in this case. You are letting me in deeper and deeper. It makes me… Exuberant.”
“It is how I feel. You cannot believe the relief it is to me… For you to see most of all that I am, and still lie beside me so vulnerably.”
Shifting closer to him, Sookie draped her leg over his hips and placed her head on his chest. “I have never known the happiness you’ve given me in such a short amount of time,” she murmured. “You could tell me that you are one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and I still don’t think I’d be able to walk away from you.”
Hands finding the safe path along her back free of bruising, he slowly trailed his fingertips across her skin once more. “I hope that the timing does not put you off.”
“How quickly we got to this point, emotionally and physically.”
Sookie surprised him by laughing. “Honestly, I think quickly is the only way I would have managed to get to this point. Any longer and I would have chickened out… As far as my feelings for you though… Well, I’m taking a gamble on you, Eric. Either way I think I’ll win. I’ll finally have something I’ll never lose or I will lose the greatest romance in the history of the world. Still, the sex alone is worth the risk.”
Eric kissed her lips amusedly. “You are the only one of us that could end this, Sookie. I am not going anywhere.”
Sookie awoke the next morning feeling as though she had been hit by a truck. Between her injuries sustained on the job, and then hours of vampire loving, she felt bowlegged and as though all of her joints had been welded together.
A long, hot shower and a change of clothes helped somewhat, but it was not until an hour after popping some Aleve that she felt most of her body stop protesting.
Alone with her dogs and her thoughts, Sookie took a canister of tennis balls outside and threw them around the spacious yard while she thought over all that had happened in the last thirty-six hours. She had sex for the first time, had been shot for the first time, taken a life on the job for the first (and hopefully last) time, had sex in a public restroom, and she had been forced to acknowledge that her boyfriend was a killer.
Then she started again with the last of her musings. Eric was a murderer. Of course, his considerable age and the era in which he began his life brought a hailstorm of complications involving his attitude on the matter. He had been a Viking in his former life. His livelihood had revolved around pillaging and raiding settlements, born in battle, and living with death all around. It was a life that she could not begin to comprehend, and she settled for thinking of it as the life of a soldier today. Of course, it was an incomparable metaphor, but it was the best parallel she could find to equate the two.
Even before being turned, Eric had known and been comfortable with death. His comparison of his responsibilities being similar to hers in a law enforcement career had helped bridge the gap, yet she still did not feel that their roles were all that similar. Eric seemed more like Special Ops to her rather than a cop.
Then Sookie thought about all of the sex and sex-related activities she had partaken in the last two days. In her opinion, nothing regarding that could ever get any better. The level of perfection she experienced under his skilled tutelage would be forever unrivaled. She felt enslaved to his prowess. Eric could command her to bend over the conference table at work and she had zero to little inhibition of doing just that if it was what he asked of her.
Finally, Sookie thought about being shot and, in turn, that reminded her of the life she had taken. There was guilt, plenty of guilt; at the same time, there was acceptance. Nina would not have stopped firing until she ran out of bullets or killed her. That was a clear fact. Still, Sookie wondered if Nina could have actually killed her. There had only been one bullet left in the revolver. If Sookie had let her empty the round, would the detective been able to take Nina in alive?
‘It doesn’t matter,’ Sookie told herself firmly. Nina had been advancing; a bullet had already zipped past Sookie’s ear while the prostitute drew closer. Three of the four shots had hit her, and the last had been deadly close to achieving Nina’s goal. ‘If I hadn’t fired, I would be dead.’
Though these thoughts barely eased Sookie’s sadness, they did manage to soothe her conscience. No one had put the gun in Nina’s hand or told her to fire on an officer. That had been Nina’s choice, and, in turn, forced Sookie to respond with deadly results.
‘My life is more important to me.’
Nodding with unsure acceptance, Sookie threw another tennis ball for Junes while Mags tore off for the one further away.
Sookie reached into her pocket and took out her cell phone. She realized she should call her Gran. The news would probably hit Bon Temps any minute and it was her duty to assure her grandmother that she was well.
“Hey, Gran, it’s Sookie,” the young woman softly spoke.
“Good morning, dear. How are you?” Adele asked cheerily though Sookie could hear a bit of unease in her voice.
“I’m good,” Sookie replied. “I was wondering if you read any news from Shreveport this morning…”
This surprised Sookie. Gran was notorious for reading all of the local headlines, including the happenings in Shreveport ever since Sookie had moved there. “Oh well, when you get around to it, you might read about an officer-related shooting and I just wanted you to know I am fine.”
“Were you involved?” Gran asked and the terror rose in her voice.
Sookie sighed, “Yes, I was. I wasn’t hurt though.”
“A suspect was running and I pursued on foot. I took him down a quarter mile away. Shots were fired by the guy’s girlfriend and I was forced to shoot her.” Sookie waited with baited breath.
“What happened to the girl?” Gran asked breathlessly.
“She died before the ambulance could get there,” Sookie told her quietly.
“Were you hit?” Sookie groaned internally.
“Yes, but my vest took it all,” There was no point worrying her Gran by mentioning a bullet had passed within inches of her head.
“Oh God!” Adele cried. “Are you all right? Where were you hit? Have you been to the hospital? What did the doctor say?”
“I’m fine. I was shot in the back. Yes, I’ve been to the hospital. The doctor said I’ll have some major bruising, but I had no broken bones.”
There was a long silence before Gran sighed, “I’ve always been terrified of this day. Ever since you were a little girl and you told me you wanted to be a police officer… all I could think of was you getting shot.”
“I’m fine. Do you want me to come over just so you can see I’m perfectly healthy?” Sookie offered.
“That would be nice, dear…” Again there was hesitation in Adele’s voice that unsettled the younger woman.
“Okay, I’ll get Mags and Junes packed up and be there in an hour,” Sookie told her. “Bye, Gran. Love you, see you soon!”
Sookie hung up and called her dogs inside. When she went to get their leashes, Sookie stopped in Eric’s room and wrote a note for him.
I’m going to Bon Temps to visit my Gran. I should be home before nightfall, but if I’m not, I thought you might worry. Depending on when I leave Gran’s, I might just go straight back to my apartment, so I’m taking my stuff with me. Call me when you rise!
She drew a little heart after her name that she considered scribbling out, but she left it and began packing her overnight bag.
Items in hand, Sookie went to the kitchen and packed up her dogs’ travel items, and then ushered the dogs out the door and engaged the security system before going to her car.
The drive to Bon Temps was quiet. Mags and Junes curled on the backseat, licking one another periodically before one would rise, lean over her seat, and lick the unbruised portion of her face. Sookie grimaced once she realized Gran would see her disfigured left side and go into hysterics.
Pulling up to the old farmhouse nearly forty-five minutes after calling, Sookie saw her Gran rocking on the front porch.
“Oh my goodness!” Gran shrieked, seeing the bruising and rushing her geriatric legs down off the porch. “What happened!?” she demanded.
Sookie laughed lightheartedly while she went to the rear door of her car to let the dogs out. “I told you I was in pursuit of a suspect. This sort of thing happens on occasion when people resist arrest.”
Mags and Junes loped around the familiar yard while the women returned to the porch.
“I hate that you’re in law enforcement!” Gran stated crossly for the billionth time in seven years.
“I know you do, but some good came out of it that even you will appreciate.”
“When I went to check out some leads for Jason’s situation I met someone.”
Gran froze. “Met someone?” she asked with anticipation.
“Yes. His name’s Eric Northman. I should tell you though, he’s a vampire.”
“I don’t care! Sookie! You have a boyfriend!?” she claimed happily.
Sookie laughed. “Yes, I do.”
“That’s wonderful, dear!” Gran hugged her tightly.
‘Just in time!’
“In time for what?” Sookie frowned, catching the thought from the contact though she always tried to resist listening in on her family.
Gran’s face paled. “Sookie,” she began hesitantly, “you know that I’m getting old.”
“NO!” Sookie shouted, rising quickly from the porch swing and covering her ears, but she had already seen the memories of doctors’ offices and regretful faces.
“Dear, everyone gets cancer if they live long enough,” Gran said soothingly and reached to take Sookie’s hand.
“No!” she yelled again, yanking her hand away.
“I’ve been suspecting things were wrong for some time now. I didn’t get diagnosed until a few days ago. That’s why I haven’t been… around when you wanted to come and visit these past weeks… I didn’t know how to tell you what I suspected until it was confirmed and I didn’t want you to hear it by accident.”
“How long?” Sookie demanded.
Adele sighed, easing back into the porch swing. “Maybe another month or two.”
“Are you doing chemo?” She eyed her grandmother’s hair suspiciously.
“No, I opted to forgo treatment.”
“I’m ready, Sookie. I miss your Granddaddy and my children,” she confessed. Sookie plopped heavily on the porch floor, staring at her hands numbly. “I would really like to meet your boyfriend soon,” Gran said gently. “It would be nice to meet the man who finally caught your eye… To see that you’re taken care of…”
“Gran, we’ve been dating two days… Officially.”
“Regardless, I’d still like to meet him.” Sookie let out a groan. “I’ve already made my funeral plans so you and Jason have nothing to worry about there. I’m leaving you this house…” She gestured weakly to the old farmhouse.
“It’s not home without you,” Sookie murmured.
“I know, Sookie,” Gran whispered sympathetically.
Brushing a stray tear, Sookie cringed when she pressed too hard on the bruising. “You should leave it to Jason. I have no use for it. I’m never coming back to Bon Temps if you’re not here.”
“Jason already has a house.”
“I’ll never use it. Give it to Jason.”
Adele sighed at her granddaughter’s stubbornness. “We still have a little time. Think about it.”
Sookie nodded if only to placate her grandmother for the moment.
“It’s my time, Sookie. At least there’s still time to spend together and say proper goodbyes.”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Sookie whispered. “Does Jason know?”
“Not yet. He was only released from jail the other day. It felt like a bad time to tell him. I didn’t want to let you know just yet either. Not with being shot…” Her eyes squeezed shut. “Can’t you find something less dangerous?”
“You sound like Eric.”
“He seems like a smart man. How did he react to what happened?”
Sookie frowned. “He was terrified… My face alone left him speechless. When the Captain said I’d been shot, he looked paler than I’ve ever seen. That’s saying something for a vampire.”
“Do you like him?”
“Do you love him?”
Sookie froze at the question. “It’s only been two weeks that we’ve known each other.”
“Sometimes that’s all it takes,” Gran pressed.
Sookie rose from the floor and began pacing. “I don’t know what my feelings are for him. I want to spend as much time as I can with him. My heart races when he’s near. He takes care of my dogs for me when I’m running late at work. He’s protective and patient…but love? The only person I’ve ever loved is you. I don’t know what it feels like to love someone romantically,” she confessed.
Gran nodded in understanding. “Well, it sounds like you’re in the early relationship glow right now. Maybe, in a few months…”
“After you’re gone,” Sookie rasped.
“Yes,” Gran agreed.
“I don’t know if I can fall in love while my heart’s breaking,” Sookie whispered.
The women talked for another hour, both trying desperately to avoid the topics related to Adele’s impending death. When their conversation lulled into an awkward silence, Sookie collected her dogs and drove back to Shreveport.
Returning to her apartment, Sookie got everything settled and sat quietly on the couch. It was nearing dusk before she moved again and fed her dogs who were whining for an early meal. Once they were eating, Sookie grabbed her keys and left.
She drove around Shreveport aimlessly for fifteen minutes before finding herself back in Eric’s driveway.
Getting out of her car, Sookie went to the front door singling out the spare key she had put on her ring the morning before. As she entered the house, she hit the alarm code and shut the front door locking it behind her. Sookie toed off her shoes and began stripping off her clothes until she was in her underwear in front of Eric’s bedroom door. She punched in the second code and entered the bedroom, surprised to see Eric sitting up in bed reading. It was not yet first dark.
“Sookie,” Eric greeted her carefully. Her emotions had him worried upon rising and her note gave him pause.
“You didn’t call,” Sookie murmured, walking to the bed and curling up against his side.
“I could feel your depression. I wanted to wait and see what you would do rather than call. You have a habit of believing your needs are some sort of burden on me, and I did not want you to think that if I offered to console you it would be out of obligation,” he explained. “Are you depressed about yesterday again?”
Sookie shook her head. “No. I think I’m in a good place with that, all things considered.”
Taking a deep breath Sookie told him, “I went to see Gran… She told me she has cancer. She’s dying.”
Eric carefully pulled her to his side ever mindful of her bruises. “I am sorry, Sookie.”
“I’m scared,” she whispered.
“Why is everything happening all at once? The best and worst parts of my life are happening at the same time!” she gasped around a wave of tears.
Eric kissed the top of her head. “Perhaps the universe saw the impending darkness coming for you and wanted to alleviate some of that pain with something good for you.”
“Ego much?” she mumbled into his side.
“Very much,” he agreed. “I would not have been my first choice either, but it seems I am whom you are stuck with at the moment.”
“I want a very long moment.”
“It might just be the onset of grief talking, but I want to say ‘forever’.”
“Then let us aim for forever.”