Never End Ch. 16

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Sixteen: Bonded

Stroking his lover’s cheek with his thumb, Eric leaned over Sookie’s flexible form. She sighed as his frame enveloped her own, while her legs and arms twisted around his neck and waist. Mouths finding one another, it was not difficult for Sookie to recognize his intentions. Apparently the sun had set, and Eric was attempting to make their third mutual exchange more than just an urgent response to whatever had caused the threat against them.

It was easy, falling into the rhythm of their bodies, becoming hypnotized by her increasingly ragged breathing and his undulating hips. There was still a fascination, feeling his member growing against the inside of her thigh despite the numerous times she experienced it. Her own body did not take long to respond as her muscles softened under his touch, her nipples hardened against the friction of his chest against her breasts after he had deftly removed her bra, and the space between her thighs began to liquefy in anticipation.

I love you,” she whispered while she felt his fingers tugging at the waist of her panties. As she was divested of her final shred of clothing, she tilted her pelvis against the column of flesh that now rested against her abdomen.

I love you, Sookie,” he whispered, returning the sentiment as his hips drew back and his member aligned with her entrance. Sinking into her inviting warmth, Eric wrapped his arms beneath her shoulders, embracing her tightly as he began to thrust fluidly inside of her.

Moaning softly and welcoming the sedate pace, Sookie kissed his chest and nibbled his collar bone. Her knees flexed, drawing his hips more firmly to hers as her bottom wriggled once he was sheathed as deeply as he could possibly be. Eric hissed at her movements, drawing back enough to find her mouth with his own.

Kissing her, tangling his tongue with hers, and losing his mind in the intimate motions of their bodies, Eric wanted to weep at the sense of completion he was experiencing. In a matter of moments, the woman beneath him would become the epicenter of his world. He would share in her joy and pain for the rest of eternity. He would never again know the loneliness that his fickle Child had only filled for those fleeting spans in time. Sookie would never know abandonment or isolation again. Even while she remained mortal, during the daylight hours when he could not remain aware, she would still feel his presence within her, silent, but reassuring. Always. Forever.

Unable to resist this inviting future, Eric reached for the nightstand to retrieve a dagger. Bringing the blade to his throat, he sliced open a wound, making Sookie’s eyes widen hungrily. Her lips needed no invitation as they wrapped around the incision, drawing his syrupy blood into her mouth.

As the pull of her mouth suckled rhythmically against his neck, Eric’s fangs snapped down and gently pierced the soft flesh protecting her carotid. She was drinking enough of his blood that the injury would be unrecognizable by Monday morning, and Eric yearned to see his marks claiming the skin of her throat for the first time.

At the first mouthful that warmed his stomach, Eric felt a simultaneous explosion inside. Sookie’s formally subdued emotions erupted within him, twinning with his own sensations in such a way that her pleasure and his were inseparable. He could feel both of their climaxes pulsing inside of him. He could feel her love so much strongly than he ever had before, and he would have laughed if he were not already howling in harmony with Sookie’s scream of pleasure.

From the moment she had said she loved him the previous night, he had believed that Sookie’s feelings paled in comparison to his own for her. As the Bond cemented firmly into place, Eric realized now how wrong he had been. The love rolling at him within the Bond now was beyond any affection to which he had been privy. Pam, Godric, Emily… The three closest individuals he had spent centuries, a millennium, knowing had never loved him in the way Sookie now loved him.

Oh, if his silent heart could beat, it would have raced with ecstasy! It would have galloped with overwhelming joy! Its beats would have pounded ‘I LOVE SOOKIE’ in Morse code!

Eric slowly licked her wound closed before burying his face between the crook of her neck and shoulder. He kissed the area over and over while he felt her continual throbbing around his cock as if her orgasm refused to end.

Are you all right, My Bonded?” Eric whispered against her skin after several minutes had passed and she still continued contracting.

Mmhmm,” she whimpered. “Please,” she gasped, “calm down. You feel everythin’ so strong, Darlin’, I-I can’t…” she let out another needy sound. “It’s… It’s like I need another orgasm, and the last one hasn’t even stopped yet!” she moaned as she arched against him. Eric smiled against her throat, giving it a playful nibble and making Sookie buck against him. “Ah! Even your touch has a stronger effect on me!” she complained half-heartedly.

That is to be expected,” he assured.

Sookie groaned. “Why didn’t you warn me about that?” She demanded with another whimper.

Honestly? I forgot. The finer details of Bonding are not something I put much thought into until recently. I am quite young to have been inclined to Bond. I only just reached the status of ancient a century ago,” he confessed. “Currently, I am the youngest Bonded vampire in our existing history.”

Pam mentioned as much,” Sookie mumbled wearily as her orgasm finally receded.

When did you speak to Pam about such things?” Eric asked curiously.


Sookie looked at him in surprise, “Wow, ya’ll really don’t talk about your evenings much, do you?”

Eric shrugged, “Normally our link is enough to keep me abreast of her evening’s activities.”

Sookie sighed, wriggling against her Bonded, and then moaning at the loss when his softening member slipped out of her. She was surprised to feel that loss amplified, quickly realizing that Eric was just as disappointed as her when they were not joined.

Some time last month… I think it was the day I was put on leave… Anyway, I ran into Pam at the grocery store. She was getting wine for her guest. We got to talking about you. Actually, Pam told me about Emily and Godric that night too, but after I shot Long Shadow, I didn’t want Pam getting in trouble with you, so I never mentioned anything.”

And now you do not feel the need to protect Pam from me?” Eric asked sternly, but she could feel his amusement so she did not allow herself to get upset by his response.

No, because everything she told me, you’ve told me by now, so who cares if I knew it beforehand?” Sookie asked.

I see,” Eric pouted. “How are you feeling?” he asked after a moment.

You know the answer to that,” she teased.

Content. Tired. Loved. Joyous.

Eric smiled, “Yes, I do.”

Snuggling into his side, Sookie kissed his chest as he began playing with her hair. “You play with my hair a lot,” she commented after a moment.

Eric frowned when she pointed this out, but quickly shrugged it off, “I find it soothing, and since I am trying to keep my emotions in check while you adjust, it is a good distraction for me.”

Oh, well, thank you for trying to make the transition easier.”

Speaking of transitions,” Eric began slowly. “What would you say if I asked you to move in with me?” Sookie’s heart panicked at the suggestion, but her emotions came across as only mildly apprehensive. “Are you worried it is too soon?” he guessed.

Sookie let out a deep sigh, “Silly, isn’t it? I just Bonded to you, made an eternal commitment, and I’m thinking moving in is too soon!” She laughed at how backward her brain was working at that moment.

With all that has changed in the past forty-eight hours, it would not be unwarranted for you to feel pressed or overwhelmed,” he said, trying to placate her self-deprecation.

I’d love to move in with you, Darlin’,” Sookie told him truthfully. “It’s gonna be a pain breaking my lease though. I guess I can kiss my deposit goodbye.”

You are not hurting for money though,” Eric pointed out.

I don’t want your money, Eric,” Sookie rolled her eyes.

Regardless, it is at your disposal.”

Eric-”

It is our way, Sookie. Our bloodline shares all of its commodities. We all contribute to its growth one way or another, although I am the one with the best business sense so I am usually the one who keeps track of it,” Eric explained.

Really?”

Yes. That is why I cannot put an exact number on our finances. With four extremely successful individuals constantly putting money into our gross net worth, it is rather taxing to bother checking every few hours.”

Sookie shook her head resignedly, “This going to take some getting used to, but how about this?”

I am listening.”

If you’re planning on giving me access to your bank accounts, then I want to link my direct deposit to one of your accounts. I know it seems stupid considering my income is pennies in comparison, but I don’t want to feel as if I’m taking out without putting in,” She smirked now. “If the stock market crashes, I want to be just as broke as the rest of you.”

Eric chuckled, “We have more than enough money stowed away in the event of the unforeseeable, but I can agree to that.” He squeezed her to his side before adding, “Now, if your money is my money, and vice versa, then it is not unreasonable of me to assume that I can buy whatever I like for us. Correct?”

Sookie groaned, “Fine, but just like any other couple, we should make big purchases together if it is meant to be ours.”

What do you consider ‘big purchases’?” Eric frowned.

Sookie’s own mouth creased thoughtfully. What would a big purchase be considered in this context? Eric’s bloodline apparently had enough money to buy and sell small countries.

Well,” she began slowly, “I guess it would be the frivolous stuff, not really anything specific. I mean, you buying a company would be super expensive, right? Still, I don’t know anything about opening or operating a business, so I shouldn’t have any sway in that regard. Maybe a few centuries down the line, if I get bored and start taking business classes, I can start weighing in, but currently? I think that would be rather arrogant of me to restrict your buying capacities on that front.”

Eric snorted at her explanation, “So basically you are saying I cannot spend money on you.”

Eric, if there’s something you want to buy me, just ask, okay? I’ll tell you if I’m comfortable with it.”

What if I wished it to be a surprise?”

Sookie groaned, “That’s right, you like spending money on me.”

I really do,” he grinned.

Okay, how about this? If it’s over a grand, you can only get it for me for special events.”

Such as?”

Birthdays, Christmas, and anniversaries,” She paused. “That reminds me, when’s your birthday?”

We did not keep track of such things. The most I can say is I was born in winter.”

Well, that’s easy enough. December through February-”

My Bonded, Sweden has two seasons. Summer and Winter,” he teased.

Sookie pouted, “We are giving you a birthday. I want to be able to spoil you like you did me.”

You may choose whatever day you wish,” Eric shrugged. “Now that you are my Bonded, I am spoiled every day.”

You are one smooth talker, Northman,” Sookie muttered. “Oh, out of curiosity, now that we’re Bonded, does that mean we’re… Married?”

For all intents and purposes in my world, yes, we are. Of course, most view it more as ‘engaged’ I suppose.” At Sookie’s confused expression, he elaborated, “Many vampires consider the Bond a transitionary stage. It is not until you are turned that they recognize you fully as my mate. Merely untouchable by others.”

“That’s why I can’t use your title as Sheriff?” she checked.

Correct.”

Sookie nodded in understanding before asking, “So, do y’all take each other’s names?”

Not usually. If you were so inclined, I think I would be rather pleased.”

I’ll have to look into that,” Sookie said thoughtfully to herself, “So, that’s quite a list for myself already. Looking in to changing my name, getting used to this Bonded business, moving my apartment into your house…”

There is also detecting the matter that required this series of events,” Eric added. “Although that is mostly my problem to manage.”

You mean why your queen wanted you to kill me?” Sookie asked. When Eric nodded, Sookie raised her eyebrows. “It’s obvious, isn’t it?”

Eric frowned, “Enlighten me, Dear One.”

Well, aside from ticketing a few moving violations, the only connection my career has had to vampires were the human trafficking bust last year. You said you were going to look into the ring leader. Wouldn’t the ring leader want me dead?” Feeling Eric’s surprise in the Bond, Sookie remained skeptical. “Okay, I’m gonna guess you had the same thought and are just surprised I made the connection so quickly. I am a detective, you know,” she said huffily.

Yes, well, humans are not particularly astute as to catch on to vampire reasoning,” Eric confessed. “Even exceptional investigators such as yourself.”

“You came to the same conclusion as me, right?” Sookie asked.


“I did,” Eric sighed. “Proving it is an entirely other matter. Michael will be hard-pressed to turn on his Queen, and I cannot stand idly by as my Regent conducts her sphere of influence in such a manner.”

What does that mean?”

It means I must open a discrete investigation of her and that will not be simple to do given that she is my Queen.”

Sookie played with the dusting of his chest hair while she considered all her Bonded was saying. “She’s not going to attempt to kill me again, is she?” she asked quietly after a moment.

Eric’s hand paused in playing with her hair, and Sookie felt a small flare of panic in him that caused her own body to go rigid. After the brief slip, Eric resumed twisting her locks between his fingers. “It is a possibility, though extremely unlikely. I remain prepared for it, but the thought of her attempting to take action against you would be suicidal. Sophie-Anne is well aware of our laws. She cannot command me against you, and she cannot kill you without a trial.”

Trial?” Sookie asked.

Eric looked at her in surprise, “I have told you that it is unlawful to kill another vampire’s Bonded, but there are certain exceptions. If half of a Bonded pair is accused of grievances that call for the Final Death, a trial must be held to determine if the demand is just, and then a secondary trial is held for the innocent half of the couple. If the innocent half is deemed too valuable to give True Death, then the council will find alternative means of punishing the guilty. If the innocent half is not particularly useful or necessary, the pair is put to death.”

A shiver ran down Sookie’s spine, “So if I screwed up really bad my first few years, I could get us both killed?”

Were you planning on going on a mass murder spree? Or killing vampires unjustly?”

I hadn’t planned on it,” Sookie frowned.

Then you have very little to worry about, Dear One. Those are the only two crimes you could commit as a vampire that could result in our mutual deaths.”

Oh, well, then I guess we’re good,” Sookie retorted. For some strange reason, she had figured vampires were more prone to killing one another without justification. She was obviously mistaken. “You guys have laws as severe as humans about the ending of another vampire’s life?”

Yes and no,” Eric answered while he contemplated her question for a few moments. “We do not execute our kind without difficulty, but once they are tried and sentenced, action is taken immediately. Our kind is more often killed by humans than vampires. As a matter of fact, your kind is more often killed by humans than vampires.”

Sookie’s mood turned solemn, “That’s sad.”

It is,” Eric agreed. “Yet, to look at it from the proper perspective, humans have a much larger population than vampires. Of the entire world population, do you want to guess what percentage of it is vampire?” Eric quizzed.

.005%,” Sookie replied. When Eric’s eyes widened in disbelief, Sookie shook her head in exasperation. “We had all kinds of training about vampire minorities and blah, blah, blah,” she told him.

I see. Well, your memory is quite excellent,” he complimented.

What are some instances that would result in the True Death if a vampire wasn’t Bonded?” Sookie asked.

Well, treason, for one,” Eric answered. “Of course, the severity of the treason will bring less grave repercussions. You see, when I told the Queen I would not kill you, that would have only resulted in a fine. My telling her you were my Bonded was what could have brought on my death.”

Sookie stared at him, bewildered, “Then why did you tell her that!? If you could have only gotten fined-”

She would have found someone else to kill you. Telling her you were Bonded to me was the only way to keep you safe and out of her hands,” Eric told her.

That was so stupid, Eric!” Sookie scolded. “What if I’d refused and run off instead? Then what would you have done?” she demanded.

I would have fled with Pam,” he stated plainly. “Or potentially taken Sophie-Anne’s throne. More likely the latter, though I have no ambition to be King.”

Then why do it?” Sookie asked him softly.

Because I could stay near you and be there when you accept me as yours.”

Sounds like a lot of trouble just for me,” Sookie muttered, but Eric could hear her heart accelerate and feel her guilty pleasure at knowing how much she meant to him.

You are worth all the trouble in the world,” he assured, earning another surge of that Guilty Pleasure from her side of the Bond.

Well, if that’s the case,” Sookie began coyly, “how about we go back to my place and start packing?”

My pleasure, Sookie,” Eric smiled.

{†}

Over all, the task of packing and moving her belongings from her apartment to Eric’s house did not take very long. Renting a trailer and purchasing boxes for the sudden change in residence was the most time-consuming task once Eric warped into vampire speed to swiftly stow her possessions.

Shortly after midnight, Sookie stared in wonderment as her entire apartment was stuffed into the spare bedroom in Eric’s house. Thankfully, nearly all of the furniture had come with the apartment, and only the mattress needed a home amongst all of the boxes. Eric quickly cleared space in his closets, dresser, and bathroom for Sookie’s necessities. Around one in the morning, Sookie flopped onto Eric’s bed with a sigh.

You did all the work, and I still feel exhausted,” Sookie moaned.

Smiling, Eric moved up beside her and nuzzled Sookie’s neck. “It was emotionally taxing, and this day has been enough of a strain as it is,” he crooned soothingly. “You should sleep, Dear One. You have work in the morning.”

Nodding sleepily, Sookie began squirming halfheartedly out of her clothes until Eric helped her wriggle herself free. Naked and exhausted, the young woman fell asleep in her vampire’s cool embrace.

Eric remained in bed holding Sookie until he heard his phone beckoning. He did not need to look at the caller I.D. to know who it was calling him.

Good evening, Master,” Eric spoke softly into the phone as he left the bedroom as not to disturb his sleeping mate.

You are Bonded!” Godric exclaimed over the line. “I have felt your emotions shifting this direction for some time now, but I did not expect you to actually go through with it! You are barely into your first millennia, Eric. You do not think it is too soon?”

No,” Eric replied, “it is her, and will always be her.”

Godric sighed from hundreds of miles away, but Eric could feel the disappointment as though his Master was in the room with him. “Eric, you have never been the impulsive type. It is unlike you to make such changes so… Willingly.”

As you recognized Emily, I recognized Sookie. It cannot be helped that she came into my existence so much earlier than Emily came into yours,” Eric argued.

I am not envious, Young One,” Godric assured. “I would never begrudge you the search in finding your Mate. I am just concerned that you might have misread the signals and rushed into something you cannot take back. You are so young to feel the compulsion. It is difficult for me to believe this was genuine,” Godric admitted.

You have felt me these past couple months. Do you really believe this was not genuine?” Eric demanded.

I did not say that. I said it was difficult to believe, not that I did not believe it,” Godric assured. “Why did you Bond so suddenly? Why did you not wait?”

It is not something I can discuss over the phone. I shall bring Sookie to meet you soon, and we will explain everything.”

I look forward to meeting her. Emily is equally excited,” Godric told him. It was easy to hear the adoration that poured from Godric’s lips when he spoke his Bonded’s name. Eric wondered idly if the same happiness could be heard in his own voice whenever he spoke Sookie’s name.

We look forward to seeing the two of you,” Eric replied.

Until then,” Godric whispered and hung up.

Eric looked at his silent phone for a long moment before heading back to bed. He grabbed his laptop on the way, and curled up against Sookie to begin looking into Sophie-Anne’s movements. Though he knew it would be suicidal for his Queen to make another attempt on Sookie’s life, Eric was not taking any chances. He needed to shut down her monarchy.

{†}

Sookie awoke to the feel of Eric’s kisses fluttering against her back leaving her with a goofy smile on her face. “Best way to wake up,” she purred, giving in to a yawning stretch. She turned in his arms and captured his mouth with hers to receive a perfect ‘good morning’ kiss. “Mornin’,” she murmured, tangling her fingers in his hair.

Good morning,” he returned, twisting her own golden strands around his fingertips. “How did you sleep?”

Very well, thank you.”

I will miss you while you are gone,” he whispered.

Sookie rolled her eyes with a giggle, “You’ll be dead for the day. I think you’ll survive.”

Are you going to your grandmother’s after work?” Eric asked.

Of course,” she frowned. “I always do.”

Will you come to Fangtasia when you return to Shreveport? We should publicize our Bonding to my Area.”

Oh,” Sookie hesitated. “Is there anything special I need to do… Or wear?” she asked.

Eric laughed and shook his head, “No. It is just customary to present one’s Bonded to their subordinates so that they recognize you on sight. They would know that you were Bonded, but not to whom, just as they will know I am Bonded when I go to the club.”

Does Pam know?”

I have been shielding it from her up until now, but I have a feeling she may suspect. I do not normally block her.”

Will she be mad?” Sookie asked worriedly.

Eric chuckled. “She will most certainly be concerned, but not angry. However, it is not her right to question me. Godric is the only one with that right and he has already spoken his peace.”

Is he angry?” Sookie whispered, her beautiful eyes round with fear and the Bond wept with Dejection.

Again, concerned,” Eric assured her. “My Maker knows me very well, and my actions toward you were construed as more than spontaneous. I am not impulsive by nature. Also, my youth increased Godric’s worries.”

Youth?” Sookie gasped.

Her Bonded grinned impishly. “I am quite young to Bond.”

Sookie frowned, “Well, what does that say about Emily and me? We’re even younger than you two, and we committed to an eternity…”

Eric’s grin softened to a smile, “That is true, but that is also the prime reason vampires are so old when the compulsion to Bond strikes us. We reach that state of mind, not only because we begin seeking an unbreakable commitment, but also when we are capable of recognizing the one who will be our perfect counterpart. It is not just about being old, Sookie. It is about being aware of our own needs as well as the needs of our potential mate.” At Sookie’s puzzled expression, Eric elaborated, “When you first asked me to begin a sexual exchange, I told you to make me aware of your needs so that I could meet them. I did not do that because it was my usual way of taking on a sexual partner. I asked that of you because I wanted to be what you needed so that you would stay with me.”

Sounds a bit underhanded,” Sookie replied, somewhat ungraciously.

Perhaps, but I wanted to be those things for you. Not to manipulate you for my lone benefit, but because I wish to make you happy. You have seen a bit of the monster I am, but just as you are not ‘Detective Stackhouse’ when you are with me, I am not ‘Sheriff Northman’ when I am with you. You allow yourself to be vulnerable with me, and I allow myself to be kind with you. That does not mean I cannot be kind with others, just as it does not mean you cannot allow yourself to be open around others. We proved that on Saturday night,” Eric reminded.

Sookie remembered how at ease she had felt around the top brass and politicians at the fundraiser, and how charismatic Eric had been.

I guess I never really thought about the different faces we wear… Or how each of those faces can be equally genuine…”

What do you believe is your true face?” Eric asked.

Thinking a moment, Sookie replied, “I think they’re all me, but none are as severe as they seem or I allow.” At Eric’s curious expression, she continued, “I mean, you’ve seen the shy, vulnerable me, but I’m not really a shy or vulnerable person. People at work see the hard ass, commanding me, but I’m not really that either. I’m whoever I need to be to get the job done, but when it’s just you and me? When I don’t need walls or filters… I think I’m stronger. I’m strong enough to let you see me at my weakest. I’ve never had that before. I wanted to pull away at times because it scared me, but I didn’t. I’m too happy, too carefree, when I’m with you. I don’t need a face when I’m with you. You see through all of it, so what’s the point of wearing one?”

Smiling, Eric leaned in and kissed her deeply before leaning his forehead onto hers saying, “Ditto.” Giving her a tight squeeze, and planting another kiss on her nose, Eric murmured, “Now, I should let you get on with your day.”

A soft smile drew Sookie’s lips outward and she nodded, “I’ll see you tonight at Fangtasia. I love you.”

As I love you,” Eric responded, a deep melancholy ringing through him as she crawled out of their bed.

Sookie quickly dressed in some sweats and went running with Mags and Junes before coming home to shower and dress for work. When she arrived at the precinct, every Were with whom she worked had explosions of thoughts and opinions.

‘What did she do!?’

‘She Bonded to Northman!?’

‘Shit, how much longer do we get to keep her?’

‘Sookie, nooo!’

The last thought was Trent’s and she looked at her cadet buddy considerately. “Hey, Ben,” she greeted in a more subdued manner than usual.

Hey, Sook,” Trent replied hoarsely, but quickly cleared his throat almost as if he realized he had betrayed his insider information with his tone.

Do you want to grab lunch with me today? There’s some stuff I want to talk to you about,” she whispered.

Sure. Where do you want to go?” he asked quietly, as if they were conspiring against the government.

Somewhere quiet. It’s… Personal.”

Trent’s face fell, “Okay, I know a place.” ‘Shit, she’s gonna leave. She’s taking me to lunch to tell me she’s quitting the force.’

Sookie paused before telling him, “It’s not what you think it is.”

‘I doubt that,’ Trent thought sulkily. “Yeah, all right.”

The telepath went through the remainder of her morning at her desk. Homicides were at a low point currently, leaving Sookie doing paper pushing for Robbery and Larceny. Nevertheless, the entire department knew that with warm weather’s approach, homicides became more prevalent as tempers rose along with the heat index.

When one o’clock came, Trent walked over to Sookie’s desk to go to lunch. His mood was just as grim as it had been earlier. While Trent rode with her instructing her to his favorite lunch hide-away, Sookie began to feel increasingly guilty as she listened to his mournful thoughts.

Sitting in a deserted diner, Sookie squirmed in their corner booth, patiently listening as the waiter went over the specials, and partially dreading the server’s departure. As he left to get their drinks, Sookie looked at Trent nervously.

What is it, Sookie?” Trent finally demanded once their drinks were sitting in front of them and Sookie still had yet to say anything.

I-I’m going to tell you something that only four people other than myself know,” Sookie stammered.

‘Here it comes,’ Trent sighed internally.

I’m not hyper-observant,” she faltered. “I’m a telepath.” Trent snorted. “Which means I know that you’re actually a… Were,” she whispered. Trent held his breath. “I know that the captain is too, and several other officers in the precinct. Oh, and your wife,” she added. “I try to not listen more than I have to,” she began to babble, “but over the years, I’ve kind of just caught on-”

Sookie,” Trent stopped her, “why are you telling me this?”

It’s how I knew so much of the stuff that seems impossible for me to know. It’s why sometimes I answer things strangely, because I hear the unfiltered question. Like that time when you were thinking I smelled like Eric, but said something else. Your words and thoughts were so similar, I responded to the wrong remark.”

But why are you telling me this?” Trent pressed.

Because I’m Bonded now, and Were Trent knows what that means. I need someone to talk to, and you’re the only friend I have,” she admitted. “I thought it was only fair that since I know your secret, you should know mine…”

You have known all this time,” Trent glowered.

Yes, and I’ve kept your secret as safely as I’ve kept my own,” Sookie assured. “I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you sooner, that I kept it from you when you couldn’t guard your own, and I know it isn’t fair, but I’m trying-”

Stop,” Trent held up his hand to halt her onslaught of nervous babbling. She could sense him processing this new information, but did not intrude on his thoughts. Waiting apprehensively, Sookie twisted her fingers in front of her. “So, you can hear my every thought?”

Sookie shook her head, “No, I can block to an extent, but my ability has grown stronger over the years. Before, your kind were really difficult for me to hear, but over the years, it’s become more clear. As far as I know, vampires are the only silent species to me.”

Is that how you found Marla in that bayou?”

Yes, and how I saved that stupid rookie from getting shot in the head at Nina’s house.”

Wow,” Trent placed his head in his hands while he continued to absorb this information.

Are you mad at me?” Sookie asked.

You should know,” Trent barked a laugh.

Sookie shook her head, “I’m not listening to you right now. I try to give people privacy whenever I can. I found out about your kind during my first few years on the force. I was trying to keep tabs on if anyone suspected what I could do.”

Trent shook his head, “No one would have ever suspected this.”

Nodding in agreement, Sookie began tentatively, “I need to ask you for a favor.”

Straightening his back, Trent met her gaze, “Shoot.”

As you know, I’m Bonded now. Eric warned me that my days as an officer would be numbered if we Bonded, but I don’t want to leave the force.”

Then why did you Bond?”

The Queen of Louisiana ordered Eric to kill me. He Bonded with me to keep me safe,” Sookie whispered.

Trent’s eyes widened. “Why would Sophie-Anne want you dead?!”

We think she’s connected to a case I worked and she sees me as a fly in the ointment. Don’t be surprised if Compton up and leaves this week.”

Why?”

He was sent up here to seduce and kill me,” Sookie shrugged, and Trent balked at her blasé response. “Now that he can’t complete his mission, he’ll probably return to wherever he came from.”

Vamps don’t attack law enforcement,” Trent protested.

Hence the seduction part of the plan, if a vampire was known to be my lover, the Weres wouldn’t think twice about that vampire’s scent being all over me, even at my death site.”

So, what’s your favor?” Trent asked, still trying to reconcile all of this new information.

I want to stay on the force, but if I’m in too much danger, the Bond will compel me to quit. I need your help pitching an idea to the captain using me to focus on interrogations and less time in the field. You can work that with him Were to Were. I can’t. A human wouldn’t know the first thing about Bondeds, and it would be impossible for him to interpret from a human viewpoint. I couldn’t just agree to it because he’d never be able to explain it to the higher ups. If you two could come to an agreement with the other departments over using me as lead interrogator, given my success record…?”

What about IA?”

Sookie made a face. “I’d really hate to work for IA. I feel two-faced enough about the anonymous tips I’ve had to give them over the years… It was all serious stuff though. I didn’t out anyone for their relationships or anything,” she assured.

I take it we’re leaving your gift out of our interrogation pitch?” Trent guessed.

If we can. The fewer people who know, the better,” Sookie nodded.

I’ll see what I can do,” Trent assured her. “You realize IA will be the department that tries to use you the most, right?”

Then everyone else better keep me busy!”

After that, the pair ate lunch in comfortable conversation, and Sookie felt some of her dread seep away as the day turned to afternoon. When they arrived back at the plaza, Sookie went to her desk and an hour later, she watched Trent enter Captain Kleinman’s office.

Around four, the captain called Sookie to his office.

Stackhouse, take a seat,” Kleinman gestured to the chair in front of his desk. “I’ve been kicking an idea around in my head for a while now, and I wanted to run it by you before speaking to the other department heads.”

Sure, Captain. What is it?”

Your success rate in interrogation is unmatched, and I believe the entire precinct could benefit from your hyper-observation. We’ve never been a large enough station to need an interrogation unit, but I think I could convince the Chief to make an exception. You’d still be ranked in Homicide, but you would do the interrogations for any department that requests you,” Kleinman eyed her tensely. ‘Please let her agree. Trent thinks this is the best way to keep this Bonding fiasco from taking her away from us. We’ll keep you safe, Sookie! Don’t leave!’ “What do you think?” he finally asked.

Sookie pretended to consider his offer before answering him with a smile, “I think that would be an interesting way to utilize my abilities, Captain. As long as I can still say you’re my boss, I’ll do whatever you think is best.”

The captain’s shoulders relaxed and he nodded more to himself than Sookie’s reply. “I’ll start working on getting it past the Chief,” Kleinman paused a moment before adding, “Why don’t you head on out? Get to your Gran’s early so you can be home by dusk?” he suggested. The more she can see her Bonded, the more likely she’ll stay on the force…

Sookie smiled, “Thanks, it would be good to see her in the afternoon again.”

Rising from the chair, she shook her boss’s hand and left. Swiftly going to her desk to collect her belongings, Sookie waved to Trent and tried to express her gratitude to the Were through her expression. When he smiled at her with a nod, Sookie returned the gesture and left the office.

The drive to Bon Temps was uneventful. Sookie greeted Patty with a small smile and headed to Gran’s bedroom. Somehow in the last twenty-four hours, Adele seemed much worse than she had during any of their previous visits. The elderly woman’s decline seemed to have accelerated again. Sookie sat in the chair beside her Gran’s bed and placed her head on the mattress so that her cheek rested against Adele’s shoulder.

Hello, Dear,” Gran whispered with her eyes closed.

Hi, Gran,” Sookie whispered in return.

What’s the good word, Sookie?” Gran asked slowly.

Sookie smirked without realizing she was. “Eric and I kind of…got married last night.” She could hear the machines that monitored the older woman’s heart accelerate. “At least by his kind’s standards.”

Oh, Sookie, I’m so happy for you!” Gran coughed and reached weakly to pat Sookie’s hand.

I am also being put mostly on desk duty from here on out, interrogation mostly.”

That’s a relief!” Gran sighed contently. “You didn’t do all this for me, did you?”

Sookie shook her head, “No, I did it for me…and for Eric. He officially moved me into his house last night.”

That’s a lot of changes, Sookie!” Gran chastised.

Maybe,” Sookie shrugged, “but it’s what I want.”

Gran’s eyes widened marginally at her declaration, “Sookie, I think that’s the first time I ever heard you honestly use that statement.”


“What are you talking about?” Sookie frowned.

Well, when you said you wanted to be a police officer, it was obvious that you were doing it out of an obligation to use your gift. When you came home with Mags and Junes, it was obvious you didn’t want two dogs, but couldn’t leave the last one behind. When you pushed away everyone you knew besides me, you only did it because you’d been hurt and abandoned so much, you were trying to not feel that way again… Oh, darlin’ girl, to see you happy, that’s all I ever wanted. Now I have…”

Gran,” Sookie eyed her fearfully, “don’t let go just yet!”

Sookie, you don’t have any more control over when my time’s up than I do,” Gran pointed out.

The granddaughter bowed her head, distraught with concern, touching her Gran’s withered hands and trying to memorize the feel of sharp reinforcements of bones and tendons as well as the texture of soft, thin skin. They were cold, so unlike the touch Sookie remembered. There was no warmth left in them, no strength, no comfort.

Pulling away, Sookie batted away a traitorous tear. “I wish I could be stronger for you, Gran,” Sookie choked out a sob. “You don’t deserve the added stress of my sadness-”

Don’t say that, Sookie,” Gran soothed. “Soon, I won’t have any worries. I’ll be with your granddaddy and my children again. There’s nothing scary for me, Dear.”

Nodding again, Sookie pushed the sweat-dampened hairs from Adele’s forehead, “You should rest more, Gran. You talked a lot. I’ll be back tomorrow,” Sookie assured her, leaning forward to kiss Adele’s cheek before rising from her chair.


“I love you, Sookie,” Gran murmured.


“I love you too, Gran.”

With that parting remark, Sookie left the little farmhouse and wandered absently to her car. The drive home was both the longest and shortest of her life. Long, because there was nothing to distract her from the all-consuming dread that she had just had her final conversation with her grandmother. Short, because she was so trapped with that paralyzing fear of not remembering the drive at all.

A few minutes before she was pulling into the subdivision, she felt Comfort flood her, and Sookie’s eyes overflowed with tears. Choking on sobs, Sookie pointed the car into the driveway, parked, and shut off the ignition before dissolving into chest-heaving cries. A sense of Pleading tore through her heart, and Sookie knew that her Bonded wanted her to come to bed where he could hold and comfort her. She sent Longing back to him, but still could not make her body listen. She remained frozen in the driver’s seat, uncontrollable sobs shaking her. It was becoming harder to breathe and she could not see through her tears.

STRENGTH. APATHY.

The woman felt her sorrow vanish so suddenly that she hiccupped in the middle of a sob, blinking away tear remnants as she mechanically climbed out of her car as if possessed. Sookie felt as her body was lured, jerkily coming to the bedroom doors and punching in the security code. When the alarm disengaged, Eric’s arms swept her into his body and he carried Sookie to bed. Once in his arms Strength and Apathy vanished, and Sookie felt like a boomerang as the dark gloom permeated her mind once again.

Her cries came harder than ever now that she was no longer shielded by his will, like the wearing away of anesthesia on a grievous wound. She howled in his ear, never having known pain as she felt right then, nor experienced the recoil of numbness to such pain.

I am sorry, my Sookie,” Eric apologized as he cradled her against his body. “You were so paralyzed. I did not think-”

Just ho-hold me,” Sookie sobbed, clinging to him unrelentingly.

Has she passed?” Eric asked quietly.

Sookie shook her head, “I-it’s comin’! God, it’s coming!” she wailed.

Oh, Dear One,” Eric crooned, squeezing her tightly to himself as they rocked back and forth. “You will get through this.”

Violently shaking her head, Sookie protested, “I don’t want to get through it. I don’t want to be anywhere near it! I want to run away and pretend it isn’t happening! I want to-”

Shh,” Eric soothed. “If you ran away, you would never forgive yourself. I will be here, right beside you, Sookie. Scream, fight, cry. I will hold you through it all.”

Eric,” she cried, “never leave me!” She clutched at the front of his shirt. “I c-can’t bear it anymore! I can’t bear being left behind anymore!”

I cannot leave you, my Bonded, and I would never wish to leave you,” He gently kissed her forehead as he continued rocking her back and forth. As the intensity of her sobs began to subside, Eric began leaning her back to lie down. “Rest, my Sookie. Try to close your eyes and rest.”

Her turmoil was earth-shattering for the vampire, not only because of the Bond, but the despair it gave him seeing her this way. He wanted to see his Bonded happy, and he knew it would be quite some time before she would recover from such a powerful loss. There was a desire to take her pain away, but he knew when he died for the day the struggle would only return tenfold as it had from the short distance between her car and their bedroom.

We should stay in this evening,” Eric whispered against her ear as she sniffled into his chest. “You are in no condition for taking on Fangtasia.”

Shaking her head violently, Sookie wiped away the stream of tears only to have it immediately flood her cheeks once more. “N-no, we gotta make sure other vamps see us Bonded!”

Sookie,” Eric tried to protest, “you are hurting so much-”

I-I’ll be okay,” she argued around her sobs, and Eric could feel a building hysteria. “I’ll shower, I’ll change clothes, I’ll run with the girls, I’ll get it outta my system, I’ll-”

Shh, shh,” Eric squeezed her against his chest. “It is all right, Sookie. Relax. Bonding hysteria is quite common. No one would be surprised if you needed a couple evenings to re-center yourself. There is no hurry.” He kissed the crown of her head before smoothing her hair. “You have no reason to worry yourself further about Fangtasia. We will stay in, order you some food, and relax. All right?”

O-okay,” she agreed, new tears spilling from her eyes. “I s-swear, I’m n-not this un-unbalanced!”

Eric chuckled humorlessly. “I know, Dear One. These past few evenings have been a greater strain than you have let on. If I were to lose Godric, I am certain I would be in equal distress.”

She isn’t even gone yet, and-and-”

I know, Sookie,” Eric whispered.

Why can’t I be stronger?” she demanded.

You are strong,” Eric assured. “You are a woman who loves deeply, Sookie. That is not weak. Hurting is not weak.” His fingers combed through her hair while Sookie sniffled against his chest. After some time had passed, he felt her emotions calming on their own, and he craned his neck to kiss the top of her head. “Feeling better?” he asked gently.

A bit,” she admitted, rubbing her damp cheeks against his chest. “God, I’m sick of all this crying!” she lamented with frustration.

Would a run help?” Eric asked, immediately feeling a jolt of enthusiasm in the Bond.

Yes, please,” Sookie agreed, moving to crawl off the bed.

Eric smirked as he followed her, putting on an A-shirt and track pants, knowing Sookie found it awkward when he ran in jeans and a button down. His woman put on similar clothes, though instead of ratty sweats, she now had skin tight leggings and a tank top that flattered her toned body and all of its appealing roundness. Rarely could Eric find a woman with athletic arms and legs but also a soft torso and hips. The definition of her abdomen was subtle in comparison to her limbs, making her body all the more seemingly supple and welcoming.

The vampire followed his mate to the living room where she leashed her dogs and took them to the front door. Eric grabbed the house key and put it in his pocket before they locked up and started their journey. He let her lead, mimicking her pace while she warmed up her body to truly begin running. When she was good and heated, Eric hesitated a moment as she took off sprinting before quickly catching up.

Mags was jubilantly keeping stride with her mistress, and Junes was staggering to keep up with the pair. Eric chuckled at the unfortunate beast’s lack of speed.

Suddenly, Eric’s amusement vanished and he caught Sookie at the waist, urging her to slow down.

What is it?” Sookie panted as they came to a stop. She could feel Eric’s Agitation, and she looked around frantically for an explanation.

We are being watched,” Eric whispered. “Did she think I was lying to her?” he called into the darkness, and Sookie flinched at the distortion of air and sudden appearance of Bill Compton.

She merely wished for confirmation,” Bill explained, looking unsettled at being so near Eric.

You can confirm for her then,” Eric snarled. “I would also appreciate your immediate departure from Area Five. I am not known for obliging informants.”

Bill nodded, “I will be returning to New Orleans tomorrow evening.”

Good. Anything else I need to be made aware of before your departure?”

Shaking his head, Bill muttered, “The Queen is displeased at the turn of events.”

I would assume so,” Eric growled.

Sookie’s head inclined in response to Eric’s tone. She did not know what made her feel so meek in the presence of Compton, of all people! Perhaps it was the underlying rage her Bonded was experiencing. Maybe it was her new role in the world of vampires. Whatever the reason, Sookie felt suddenly ill-informed of the events transpiring around her, and her automatic response was to shut up and listen, to draw as little attention to herself as possible.

She believes that you were not Bonded when you made your claim,” Compton told him.

Sophie-Anne has no reason to believe otherwise. You can see our connection, Compton,” Eric snapped. “If the Bond had been forced, you would be able to see that. She is not a blood slave.”

Bill shrugged, “You could have scared her into the Bond. Did he tell you that he would be killed if it were known he lied to his Queen?” Bill asked as he sneered at Sookie, and the woman felt Eric’s Warning in the Bond. It may have been her years as a telepath, but Sookie was certain that warning meant ‘He wants you to doubt me.’

Sookie turned her head to Bill Compton and sneered right back. “Our Bond is one of love. Eric did not manipulate me into Bonding with him, and he did not lie to his Queen,” she stated firmly. “Each one of our exchanges were happy accidents.”


Bill snorted, “The Viking does not have ‘accidents’.”

Sookie smirked at Bill’s disgusted tone, “You’ve never been overcome in the heat of the moment, Compton? What unimpressive lays you must have. I would guess the disappointment is mutual?”

Eric roared with laughter at her comment, making Bill scowl with anger, “I will be certain to inform our Queen that the Bond is genuine.”

You do that, Billy,” Eric was still laughing softly. “Now, if you will excuse us, we would like to continue our run.” Grumbling, the younger vampire sped off into the darkness and Sookie looked to her Bonded uneasily. “You think I manipulated the circumstances of our Bond?” Eric asked of her concern.

Shaking her head, Sookie assured him, “No, I don’t think that…”

Why are you nervous then?” Eric asked.

Playing with the loop of her dogs’ leads, Sookie admitted, “I just realized how… Subject I am to vampire rules now, and… It unsettles me.”

Why does it unsettle you?” he encouraged her to share her concerns with him.

Because I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know the rules, not really…”

But I do,” Eric reminded. “I will always lead you down the safest path of our world.”

Sookie shook her head in frustration. “I don’t like not knowing the rules, Eric. I am a woman who upholds the law,” An ironic grin flit across her lips. “The wife of the Sheriff can’t be seen disregarding the law, right?”

The shoe is on the other foot now, is it not?” Eric teased right back.

I suppose so. Y’all don’t have a training guide, do you? Or a few text books on vampire law?”

Eric chuckled, shaking his head, “No, my Bonded. It is up to the Maker, or in our case Bonded, to teach their Child or Mate the laws.”

With a playfully frustrated sigh, Sookie took Eric’s hand, “I think the girls and I are ready to head back to the house now.”

So soon?” Eric was surprised. They had only run for a little over a half hour.

Sookie nodded, “Yup. I’m gonna order a pizza, we’re gonna pop in a crappy old movie, and we’re gonna talk all about vampire laws.”

It is a date,” Eric agreed.

On to Chapter Seventeen

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Never End Ch. 15

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Fifteen: Conspiracy

Sookie stretched widely and let out a jaw-popping yawn as she awoke late Sunday morning. To her amusement, her legs were aching all the way from her hips to the tips of her toes. Aside from a few decadent rounds with her vampire throughout the evening, all of the dancing, especially in heels, had left her calves and feet tender.

Reaching for her phone on the nightstand, Sookie found a text awaiting her.

Trent: Sookie! You made the front page! The wife says your dress was gorgeous.

Frowning, Sookie pulled herself out of bed, put on her robe, and went to take care of her dogs after retrieving the newspaper on Eric’s driveway. While Mags and Junes ran around the backyard, Sookie opened the paper to find exactly what Trent had meant.

There staring up at her in grainy, dull color was a photo of Eric and her standing in front of their limousine from last night. Despite the lackluster quality of the photograph, Sookie had to admit they looked good together. She was staring up at Eric with an adoring gaze mirrored by the impressive features of her lover. She wished longingly that she could have a better copy of the photo to keep, but she was grateful for what she had.

Beneath the photo was the caption, “ERIC NORTHMAN AND DETECTIVE SOOKIE STACKHOUSE.”

Directly below the caption was the article,

Shreveport’s wealthiest vampire stunned our fair city by attending the Shreveport Policemen Charity Fundraiser with none other than our local P.D.’s star detective, Sookie Stackhouse.

Detective Stackhouse made the news last month when she was placed on administrative leave after her “justified shooting” of nineteen-year-old Nina Sanchez. She was also in the news last year for her involvement in the roundup of Michael Grosse, the vampire convicted of human trafficking.

Stackhouse has not caused much stir as of late, but reliable sources report that she is being primed for yet another promotion to Sergeant in the near future.

The question we all want answered though is what the Department’s reaction might be to one of their own girls in blue ‘shacking up’ with a set of fangs!

Stackhouse’s commanding officer, Captain Emmet Kleinman, gave this statement, “Stackhouse has given us years of dedicated, hard work and her moral compass has always pointed due North. No one in our Department wants anything more than her happiness.”

Fellow officers and several politicians who also attended last night’s fundraiser echoed Captain Kleinman’s statements.

Continued on Page 12A

Sookie did not turn to Page 12A. She had read enough for one morning, and she neatly folded the paper as not to damage the front-page picture.

Pulling out her phone, Sookie fired a text off to Trent,

Looks like I may have struck a few nerves, too.

Her co-worker responded quickly,

Trent: Fuck ’em. The Captain said it all just right.

Sookie: Well, regardless, I had a blast last night.

Trent: Glad to hear it! See you Monday.

Sookie: See you then.

Once inside again, Sookie showered, dressed, and left the paper in the living room to later on cut out the picture from the front page. Afterward she packed up the dogs and went to visit her Gran.

Arriving in Bon Temps, Sookie let Mags and Junes run around the acreage while she went to Gran’s bedroom and checked in with her nurse.

How is she today?” Sookie asked quietly, noting her grandmother was asleep.

Patty smiled sadly, “She’s about as good as we can expect at this point.” Nodding in understanding, Sookie sat in the chair they had placed beside Gran’s bed for her visits. “It does her good, having you stop by every day.”

I didn’t make it yesterday,” Sookie mumbled guiltily.

She understood why and when she saw your picture in the paper this morning? Oh! Child, she was more spry than I’ve ever seen her! I think that’s what has her all tuckered out. Besides, she pretends to feel guilty for you taking time away from your work having you visit every day,” Patty teased mildly.

With a distant smile, Sookie took Gran’s cool hand in her own and rubbed it softly. “I’ve been thinking about that a lot every time I see her,” she whispered.

About her hating your job?” Patty asked.

Yeah.”

A calling is a calling,” Patty encouraged. “Don’t go changing your life because you think it will help. You cannot change what is happening to her by granting a selfish request.”

She raised me. I think I owe her this,” Sookie murmured.

She raised you, and the girl she raised became a police officer,” Patty insisted. “Whether she can accept that or not, she raised a woman to be a decorated and honored officer of the law.”

I suppose.”

Besides, I read in the paper you’re being rallied for Sergeant. Isn’t that a lot less time on the street?” she asked.

Yes, with as small a department as we have, I would spend much less time in action,” she admitted reluctantly.

So, take your time. Don’t rush into things,” Patty encouraged. “Right now is not the time to be making life changing decisions.”

Yes, Ma’am,” Sookie agreed.

I’ll leave you alone with Adele for now. I’ll be back before you leave-”

Has my brother been by recently?” Sookie interrupted.

Patty frowned before confessing, “No. I haven’t seen him in over a week.”

I see,” Sookie whispered, holding Gran’s hand a bit tighter. “I hope he comes around in time.”

Me too, Child, me too.” With that, Patty left the bedroom, and Sookie remained, silently sitting and holding Gran’s withering hand.

After another half hour, Gran began to stir and Sookie straightened up in her chair.

Oh, Sookie,” Adele rasped. “I saw your picture this morning. You looked so beautiful.”

Thanks, Gran.”

Tell me all about it,” she requested, and Sookie began an edited tale of her evening. She told Adele about Eric picking her up at her apartment and giving her the hair comb with magnolias and juniper berries. She described riding in a limo for the first time and having reporters up in her face, snapping pictures. Then she talked about the dancing and the delicious food, followed by more dancing. Finally, she told Gran that she had confessed her love for Eric, and he had declared his own love.

Sookie, I’m so happy now,” Adele’s voice whistled from her dry throat, and Sookie quickly brought the straw of the bedside water glass to her grandmother’s lips. “I’m so happy you have someone to share your life with.”

I think he wants to marry me, Gran,” Sookie whispered nervously.

He does,” Gran agreed. “The first night you brought him to the house, he asked me for your hand. He wanted to have my blessing before it was too late.”

Really?” Sookie squeaked.

Yes, Darlin’,” Gran chuckled choppily.

Eric’s said that if we married, I wouldn’t want to be a police officer anymore,” Sookie told her sadly.

I’ll call the Reverend!” Adele joked.

Gran,” Sookie admonished gently. “Patty mentioned a good point, though. If I make Sergeant, I won’t really be out of the department as much. I could very easily be a paper pusher after that… Especially if I made a formal request. They might transfer me to IA if I do.”

You hate IA,” Gran made a face.

You hate my entire job,” Sookie pointed out.

I don’t hate your job; I hate you doing your job.”

Sookie rolled her eyes playfully, “Because that’s a huge difference.”

The two women poked fun at one another a while longer before Adele began to tire once more. When Patty returned, Sookie said her goodbyes, collected her dogs, and drove back to Eric’s house. She too felt drained from the afternoon over the emotional ping-pong of happily spending time with Gran warring with the sorrow of knowing these playful conversations would soon end. Forever.

Going into Eric’s room, Sookie stripped down to her underwear and curled up against Eric’s side. She promptly fell back into a fitful rest.

{†}

Arising to the late afternoon, Eric looked down at the small woman nestled into his side. He could smell Adele on her skin, and knew that the numbered visits with her grandmother had once again taken their toll on Sookie. It was not difficult for Eric to recognize how trying this past month had been on his lover.

Rather than waking Sookie with kisses, Eric played unobtrusively with the ends of her hair. He did not know how long he lay beside her, contemplating her worried expression, but the moment was interrupted by the deep thrumming sound of his cell phone; the only ringtone that would not jerk Sookie awake.

Reaching for the phone, Eric was surprised to see who was calling.

Your Majesty,” Eric answered quickly.

Northman, I’ve just seen your picture in the paper!” Sophie-Anne’s voice sang happily at him.


Eric frowned. He did not know he was in the newspaper, but quickly deduced that it was the photograph of himself and Sookie. Why this picture would have Sophie-Anne practically bubbling with excitement was beyond him.

Yes, I attended my city’s law enforcement fundraiser,” Eric replied slowly.

So you know that little detective, then? She seemed quite captivated with you. Do you know her well?”

Quite,” Eric was more confused.

Such a smart Sheriff, getting your ear directly in the need-to-know,” the queen praised. “Have you found her useful?”

Eric was frowning now, finally confirming that Sophie-Anne was the one pulling Compton’s strings. Sophie-Anne wanted something and it obviously had to do with his Sookie. Deciding to wheedle some information, he passively said, “Mildly.”

Oh, so you are looking for something particular from her? I figured as much,” Sophie-Anne replied quickly. “Do you think you can hurry your little venture along?”

I doubt it,” Eric whispered, looking at the sleeping woman on his bed.

That’s too bad; I’d hate to inconvenience you.”

How could my queen inconvenience me?” Eric tried to sound affronted.

I need you to either expedite your intentions with Stackhouse, or forgo your plans entirely. I need you to kill her for me before she causes any more backlash to our community.”

Eric froze. Sophie-Anne was enlisting him to assassinate his own lover?

I cannot do that,” Eric whispered.

Of course you can! You have made public appearances with her. Your scent will already be all over her, and the Were cops won’t even think twice about your scent being there once they find her body. Just make it look like a mugging or something droll. Even a fall down the stairs will be plenty. I had Compton up there trying to seduce her and do the same thing, but can you blame a girl for only having eyes for the Viking?”

Your Majesty, I cannot kill Sookie Stackhouse,” Eric looked once more at the dozing beauty in his bed before he uttered, “She is my Bonded.”

Silence came over the phone now. After what felt like several minutes, Sophie-Anne hissed, “When did this happen?”

Last night, after we returned home from the fundraiser. It was not premeditated, but we completed our third mutual exchange. We are Bonded now, and any fronts you forge against her are-”

I know our laws!” Sophie-Anne shrieked and hung up on him.

Eric set his phone on the nightstand once more and sat heavily on the end of the bed. He chanced a glance back at Sookie, finding her still asleep, and finally set his forehead in his palms.

‘What have I done?’

He had just lied to his Queen to avoid exacting a command. If any vampire saw him or Sookie before an actual Bond was completed, he would be found guilty of treason, and then suffer his final death.

Never, not once in his thousand years, had Eric Northman put his existence in such a perilous situation. His continued existence on this Earth now rested in the hands of his sleeping lover. Of course he could force the third exchange, but he was well aware of the repercussions of such a thing. A forced exchange did not hold the same influence as a consented Bond. The malice behind such a thing created blood slaves or spiteful little harpies that with whom he would be better off left alone.

What’s wrong, Darlin’?” Sookie’s voice broke his thoughts, and he flinched reflexively at being caught off guard. “Eric?” she pressed worriedly, crawling to the end of the bed beside him. “What happened?”

Sookie,” Eric whispered, his heart filled with dread, “I have done something you will not like.”

The woman laughed, “What grievous act have you committed in the confines of this room?” Eric turned his helpless eyes upon her and it astounded Sookie. Crooning soothingly to him, she pulled Eric’s head to her chest and stroked his hair. “Darlin’, what’s wrong? What did you do?”

My Queen called not a half an hour ago… She commanded me to kill you,” Sookie flinched, but he was surprised she did not run screaming out of the room. Somehow, she must have sensed that he did not intend to fulfill the order. “I only had one option to keep you safe,” he whispered.

Sookie responded immediately, “You told her we were Bonded.”

Yes.”

How long will that give us to actually complete the Bond?” Sookie asked quickly.

Eric pulled his head from her chest and looked her over with alarm. “You are not… Running away?”

I might not know much about vampire politics, but I can guess enough that lying to your queen is bad,” Sookie snapped.

In this case it is treason.”

Which means?” Sookie asked with far less snarkiness, and much more concern.

True Death.”

Then we have to Bond,” she told him frantically. “Right now!”

Your career-”

I’ll hold off as long as I can. I’ll transfer to IA if I have to and I’ll tell the Captain as much as I can to see if he can’t direct most of my time around the precinct. We’ll figure that out later. This is what’s happening now. Just…” Sookie took a deep, long breath. “Just let me save your life now and we’ll save my career next, OK?”

But I will want to turn you someday-”

I’ve already accepted that. It doesn’t have to be now. I’ll come to complete terms with it later, but I have already decided that I want you above anything else. There are many things I want other than you, Eric, but you are what I want the most. I love you. You are the only man I’ve ever loved, and that’s not going to change,” After her uncharacteristic declaration, Sookie eyed her lover slyly, “Why? Do you not want me that much?”

Eric snorted, “Absurd! I just put the remainder of my existence in the hands of a twenty-six-year-old. Do you really believe I do not want you with every fiber of my being after doing something that goes against my very nature?”

Just checking,” she teased.

Oh, Sookie, my sweet Love,” Eric leaned in and kissed her forehead.

Taking a calming breath, Sookie pulled his face to her own, finding his lips with her mouth. She kissed him slowly before urging that mouth towards her throat, “Do it.”

Eric chuckled, “As much as your resolve comforts me, we must wait for sunset. Another hour or so.”

Oh, right,” Sookie muttered. “I forgot it doesn’t count between sunsets.”

Perhaps we should take this time so that I may prepare you, to the best of my knowledge, for what is to come,” he suggested.

Sookie nodded mutely, pulling away to play with the ends of her hair.

Vampires feel things more strongly than humans, Sookie. You may find those emotions overwhelming at times. During the day, you will be able to track my presence, but I suppose it would feel much like the void your telepathy senses. You will know where I am, but not what I am feeling until I rise,” Sookie bobbed her head in understanding. “As I feel your emotions, mine will be equally available to you; however, once the Bond is complete, we will be able to influence those emotions. We can encourage each other to calm down without words or physical actions; we can fan the passion for one another without even being in the same room.”

Sookie finally spoke, curiosity urging a question, “What does all of this mean when you turn me?”

Eric took a deep, unneeded breath, “With our species, it means a great deal. Not only because Bonded Mates are our most treasured gifts, but because of the benefits of obtaining such a wonderful companion. Of course the Bonded Child receives a great deal more benefits than the Bonded Master, or at least that is how non-Bonded vampires see it…”

How so?” Sookie tilted her head with intrigue.

Well, a Bonded Child is held to the same regard as the Bonded Master. In this case, I hold the title of Sheriff. When you become vampire, you will also wield my title. You will have the same authority as I do upon your first rising. Of course I would discourage you to use that authority at such a young age…”

Sookie nodded in agreement.

Also, you will be able to resist the sun much sooner to the same degree that I can. I can remain aware several hours after dawn as well as rise several hours before dusk. Ultimately, I am only left unaware for about eight to ten hours now-a-days, about the same amount of time some humans spend sleeping.”

Wow, that’s cool!” Sookie beamed. “Mags and Junes won’t have to be ignored for so long then!”

Eric chuckled before continuing, “You will also be slightly stronger than a regular newborn, only by a small degree your first few decades. Once you start sprinting into your centuries though, you will begin noticing a much larger gap between your strength and the strength of those turned around the same time as you. You will overwhelm Pam’s strength by your tercentennial.”

What about you? What do you get out of this?” Sookie asked.

With a soft, joyful smile, Eric told her, “I get an eternity with the most precious individual I have ever known.”

Sookie frowned. “Sounds like you get the short end of the stick,” she grumbled.

Eric laughed, “We speculate that the reasons Bonded Children receive so many advantages is so that they are better able to protect themselves and preserve their existences for the sake of their Bonded Master. After all, weak and impulsive newborn mates would be a huge liability for the Master.”

Sookie made a strange face, “That reminds me… Am I going to have to call you ‘Master’ like Pam does?”

Eric scowled, “Absolutely not. Bonded couples are equals. After your first few centuries, my control over you will wane, and eventually I will be unable to command you at all.”

You’ll be able to control me?” Sookie demanded.

Yes, but only for your safety. That is the other benefit for a Bonded Child. They are only under the Bonded Master’s direct control for the first few centuries. It is speculated that it is for the safety of the Child while they are still learning to control their abilities, emotions, and compulsions. Some feel the effectiveness fade earlier than others do, some take longer to grow out of it. Emily is still under Godric’s control, but she has only just hit her century mark… I should warn you; however, as I am Godric’s Child, you will be beholden to him as I am. His command is law in our bloodline.”

What about his Maker?” Sookie asked worriedly.

He met his true death several hundred years before Godric made me,” Eric grumbled darkly.

How did that happen?” Sookie pressed.

Eric rolled his eyes, leaning back on the bed, and snuggling Sookie into his side before beginning, “He committed our greatest taboo. He killed another vampire’s Bonded.”

Why would he do that?”

He was a Seer. Guyr did not fancy another vampire wielding such power, so Guyr killed the man.”

Sookie frowned, “If he was a Seer, why didn’t he ‘see’ Guyr killing him?”

Eric smirked, “He could not ‘see’ vampires. Apparently, that was one of his reasons for falling in love with the vampiress. He was no longer plagued with visions of his future when his destiny was so entwined with a vampire.”


“Huh, like I can’t hear vampires,” Sookie murmured thoughtfully. “I wonder if what made him ‘see’ is similar to what makes me ‘hear?’”

Erick shrugged, “It is possible, but it was very long ago. There are no real answers left to find.”

I suppose you’re right. Besides, what does it matter where something comes from? If you have it, and it’s not going anywhere, what’s the point of digging? Although that makes me a bit nervous now…”

What makes you nervous, Dear One?” Eric asked quietly.

What will happen to my gift when you turn me?”

Ah,” Eric frowned, “I do not know. Nor do I know what it could do to me.”

What do you mean?”

To turn you into a vampire, I must drain you of all of your blood. This is the reason that newborns are so ravenous, all they have is the small amount of blood their Maker gave them to make the change, and they are depleted of blood when they first rise.” At her confused look, he elaborated, “In essence, I am absorbing the magic of your body, the magic of life. In return, I give you the magic of immortality and all of its repercussions. However, if there are other magics within your body, I could potentially absorb them to some extent.”

So you could steal my telepathy?” Sookie asked aghast.

I do not believe I would acquire the actual ability, but it is possible you could lose your telepathy once you are turned. It is something for which you need to prepare,” Eric warned.

Sookie’s heart sunk. Despite the amount of pain and isolation her gift may have caused, the idea of losing it terrified her. To her it was akin to suddenly becoming blind.

I am sure someone that had special gifts must have been turned at some point. If you like, I will consult with a supernatural physician and have her look into the possibilities?” Sookie nodded silently. “Would you like me to do that before we complete the Bond?” Eric offered. Sookie shook her head. “You are certain?”

It won’t change my mind, Darlin’. We’re Bonding regardless, but I want to have some time to prepare if your doctor says I’ll lose my telepathy.”

I do not want you to have regrets,” Eric whispered.

Taking his face into her hands, Sookie brought his lips to hers in a soft kiss. “Worst case scenario, I have had twenty-six years of being a telepath. I will have an eternity without it. I will adapt, and I will have you. There is nothing I couldn’t live without as long as I have you.”

It feels as though you are sacrificing so much to save me. I cannot bear-”

Eric, baby steps, OK?” Sookie encouraged. “You don’t know that I’ll have to quit my job. You don’t know if I’ll lose my telepathy. Let’s just do all this in order, OK? We’ll complete the Bond. You’ll call this Supe Doc, and I’ll keep working until I can’t anymore. OK?” Eric sighed, but nodded his assent. “Thank you.”

It still unsettles me knowing that you are placing so many critical facets of your personality at stake. I am not unfamiliar of who you are, Sookie. I understand what being a police detective means to you. I will admit that, for a time, I believed you were unaware toward what your calling does to you. Now, I realize that you understand your strengths better than I. You were not a blind Bullet of Destiny. You are resilient, strong, and selfless.”

Sookie snickered, “I’m anything but selfless, Eric. If I were, I wouldn’t have held so many people at arm’s length. If I were selfless, I wouldn’t have allowed you in the way I did. That’s OK though, I’m not trying to be the martyr as much as it may seem that way some days. I was selfish in keeping people out because allowing them to know me, or my knowing them too personally would make future abandonment or rejection too painful. I let you in because I selfishly wanted you so badly. You were so easy to allow in, so easy to talk with and fantasize about,” she said with a playful leer. “Just maybe, you know, I am a Bullet of Destiny… Maybe you were the mark I was supposed to hit? My gift gave me a sure fire path straight to you, and you will be the one to strip away the remaining fragments of my current life and help me to see the purpose of my future.”

Eric contemplated her words for a moment. They seemed perfectly reasonable to him.

Perhaps you are right, Dear One. Perhaps you are right.”

On to Chapter Sixteen

Post Never End Expectations

More Stories?

I am sure everyone is wondering what the “Next Story” will be even though we are just barely clipping into the halfway point of Never End.

Therefor, to manage your expectations, here is the itinerary:

i.) Completion of Never End

ii.) Remastering of all previous works

  a.) Re-editing will be completed in order of original post

b.)  Story lines will not be altered, only word choices/grammar/etc

iii.) Sequel to Keep Me debuts.

Also, you will eventually get the conclusion of My Angel for any of my ffnet readers who have been asking for over a year now, “When is that getting finished!?”

There is a reason My Angel has been on the back burner. I promise it will be completed. Mostly it has to do with a change of heart I’m having as well as an issue with its continuation conflicting with… With things.

Anyway, Merry Christmas. I will see you all on Sunday with Chapter Fifteen of Never End! If you have any questions, send me a message! I’m bored out of my skull today and now would be a great time to ask me questions and receive prompt answers!

-Andi

Never End Ch. 14

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen: Buffing, Baring, Ballrooms, and Birthdays

Time to wake up, Birthday Girl,” Eric’s voice caressed her dreaming ears and Sookie moaned, pulling herself to his side. The vampire chuckled and patted her rear patiently.

Eric,” she whined, hugging him tightly to her body, “it’s Saturday. I don’t need to be up this early.”

I know, but I wanted to tell you ‘Happy Birthday’ well before sunset,” Eric explained with a playful pout.

You told me last night just after midnight, and then again while I was falling asleep,” she complained. “Let me sleep. Work was murder all week.”

Ha ha,” he laughed blandly at her bad pun.

Please? Can I go back to sleep?”

Lover, it is nearly nine,” he warned.

Ugh, what time is my spa appointment again?” she grumped.

Noon.”

I can sleep another hour.”

I cannot remain aware another hour,” he complained.

Then don’t fight it, fall asleep with me,” she purred, wrapping her leg over his hip as she squeezed his body to hers.

Sookie,” he gave a warning growl at her advancements. “I certainly cannot remain aware for that without succumbing to the bleeds.”

That’d be a nice change, you passing out on me, rather than me passing out on you,” she mused.

Do you really think I could just allow the sun to take me away like that?” Eric questioned huskily. “If I were fucking you, the sun could rise in this very bedroom and I still would not stop until you were screaming my name as you came.”

Mmm, you make this birthday girl feel so special,” she kissed his lips and Eric gave her bottom a firm swat.

Keep that up, Miss Stackhouse, and you will receive all twenty-six of your spankings before breakfast,” he threatened.

Ah!” she pressed against his hand. “Do we have enough time?”

Unfortunately, no,” he admitted. His hand drifted from around her backside to the front of her, and then dipped between her thighs. “Oh, I cannot leave you like this on your birthday!” Eric leaned in and kissed her deeply. “You are already dripping,” he said, slithering down her body and rolling himself atop her.

As he settled between her legs, Eric took her knees into his hands and pushed them upward until they were held on either side of her chest. Her slit opened invitingly to him in this position, and her raised pelvis always made Sookie wriggle with vulnerability and desire. An undeniable enjoyment came to her whenever her lover exposed her in this way. She felt free of strength and weakness alike. She was just a woman with her man when Eric stripped away her badge, gun, and title.

Sookie’s inner revelations were silenced when Eric’s mouth encased her sex. His tongue plunged in and out of her pussy at vampire speed, and his teeth scraped against her clit in a delicate way that only a vampire could possibly manage.

Mmm, Eric. Oh! Eric,” she rasped as she shimmied her hips against his mouth until he finally finished fucking her with his tongue, and then put the muscle to use against her sensitized nub. When his mouth encased her swollen little bud she cried out. As his tongue began to flick it at supernatural speed, Sookie screamed with an abrupt orgasm.

Happy Birthday,” Eric murmured between her legs, giving her sex slow, coaxing laps with his tongue while she settled back down from her climax.

Best birthday ever,” she agreed breathlessly.

I must succumb to the sun now, Dear One,” Eric warned, crawling up the bed once more. Sookie grabbed his face as it came within reach of hers and she kissed him long and hard before letting him go to his day rest.

After he was unaware for the sunlit hours, Sookie clambered out of bed and began her day. She went running with her dogs, took them back to her apartment, showered, ate a light breakfast, and then dressed for the her spa trip.

Looking at the clock, Sookie realized that she had blown through her available time to herself and quickly put on her shoes to leave for her salon appointment.

By the time Sookie was done being waxed, pulled, buffed, snipped, clipped, painted, and rolled, she was ready to return to her apartment. That was where she had hidden her dress from Eric’s terribly curious eyes. The last few hours of every day since he found out the dress was in her apartment closet had been spent muttering, ‘Eric I un-invite you, Eric I un-invite you,’ just so he was unable to sneak a peek.

Trent had stared at her worriedly those first few evenings until she explained that she was hiding a surprise for Eric at her apartment and that he had sneaky ways of gaining entry without her invitation. The Were had laughed at her story.

Popping in a movie to pass the time until she could finish getting ready for the fundraiser, Sookie sat on the couch, foot bobbing nervously as she completely ignored her film. Mags and Junes were both whining at their mistress’ anxious fidgeting, placing their faces on her lap supportively.

Sorry, girls,” Sookie muttered to her dogs, scratching their heads with the heel of her hand. Her manicure was making her nervous. She had never worn fake nails before and the tiny amount of pressure they put on her nail bed had Sookie paranoid that they might pop off any second.

Anxiously, Sookie kept attempting to watch her movie while continuing to worry about a fake nail flying off, not being able to zipper her dress, her hair falling flat, or her professionally applied make-up running off her face. Around five-thirty, her phone rang and Sookie answered it with a shaky, “H-hi, Darlin’.”

Sookie,” Eric’s voice sounded moderately exasperated, “this is supposed to be a fun evening. Why does it feel as if you are on the verge of a nervous breakdown?”

Because I’ve got it all built up in my head and I bet I jinxed having a good time!” Sookie whimpered into the phone.

Eric sighed. “Dear One, you are absolutely insane sometimes. Do you know this?”

Very well,” she assured.

Tonight is just about you and me. There is nothing that can make it a dreadful evening other than us, correct?” he prompted encouragingly.

I suppose,” Sookie muttered. “But, what if the Chief sees me? What if he speaks to me, and I make an idiot out of myself? My promotion exam for Sergeant is in four months. What if-”

Lover, please calm these emotions. If anything was to negatively affect your promotion, it would be the Chief seeing how decadently beautiful you are and stating that such a Goddess had better things to do with her time than clearing the scum of the human race from the streets of Shreveport.”

Sookie rolled her eyes. “You’re really over the top sometimes, you know that, right?” she scolded lightheartedly.

It took your mind off your worries, correct?”

Sookie sulked. “A bit.”

Eric laughed at her tenacity. “I will see you in an hour, Lover. Be ready for me.”

Always,” she assured huskily, making her vampire growl.

If you have any intention of leaving your apartment tonight, it would be best to not tease me.”

Yes, Sir.”

Eric hung up after that and Sookie giggled to herself. Once alone to her own thoughts, she mentally calculated how long it would take to get ready. She cursed internally when she realized her miscalculation at bringing her dogs back to her apartment. Tonight she wanted to be all wrapped up in Eric, and that would not happen if they had to swing by her apartment after the charity ball to pick up the girls.

Grabbing her phone again, Sookie called Eric as she leashed her dogs.

Miss me already?” Eric taunted upon answering.

Hey,” Sookie greeted, “I was stupid and brought Mags and Junes back to the apartment with me. Can I drop them off at your place real quick?”

Why not bring your things and change here?” Eric asked.

Because I want you to get the full effect when you see me,” she pouted as the dogs jumped around her excitedly.

Then change in the guest room before I can leave my bedroom,” he suggested. Though his plan made perfect sense, Sookie could not help but hesitate to agree. After her silence and contemplation went on a beat longer, Eric laughed and said, “You wanted me to pick you up as if this was a date, correct?” Sookie bit her lip, frustrated that her boyfriend understood her better than she understood herself. “Is this your way of experiencing high school prom?” he asked.

Oh, shut up!” Sookie snapped irritably.

Should I have rented a limo, Dear One?”

You’re an ass.”

You wound me!” he feigned hurt in his voice.

Am I really being that unreasonable?” she demanded sullenly.

No, not unreasonable,” Eric assured her. “Come, drop the dogs off. I will let them out and feed them before picking you up,” he promised.

You’re the best boyfriend, you know?”

I thought I was an ass?”

You can be both,” she shrugged, grabbing her dogs’ travel bag and finally taking them out to the car. “Bluetooth kicking in,” she warned as she started the car.

When the in-car speaker clicked on, Eric told her, “You do not have to warn me every time. I can hear your keys as you start your car.”

Habit.”

Eric laughed at her excuse. Whom did she call on her way to and from work before he came into her life? He was not trying to be egotistical or smug, but now he was genuinely curious.

Whom did you speak to while driving before me?”

Sookie squirmed in her seat, embarrassed. “Honestly? It’s really only been you. You’re the only one I couldn’t wait the twenty-five minutes to speak with… I just never wanted you to think I hung up on you or something, and then I made it a habit to warn you just in case the phone ever disconnected whenever I started the car,” she admitted shyly.

I see.”

Hey! I can hear that smug tone, Mister!” Sookie snapped playfully at him, making Eric laugh again.

They talked that way for the remainder of the journey until Sookie was pulling into his driveway. “Okay, I’m just popping in and dropping off the girls-”

You are not going to sneak into my bedroom for a bit while you are here?” Eric sounded disappointed.

Darlin’, if I sneak in there, my hair is not leaving your room intact,” she jibed.

True,” he sighed with exaggerated dismay.

I’ll see you in less than an hour. We can wait,” she said.

All right, Lover. In an hour.”

Sookie ended the call and left her car running as she took the dogs into Eric’s house. Dropping their travel bag on the kitchen counter, Sookie paused a moment before heading back out the door. Opening her purse, she took out a piece of paper, pen, and her new tube of lipstick that she bought at the salon for touch-ups during the night.

Message written, Sookie went to the first door to Eric’s room, folded the paper carefully, and slid it under the door before leaving his house.

Eric frowned when he heard Sookie approach his room. A large part of him hoped that she had changed her mind and decided to come to him. Rather than that, he heard her pause before the second door, and then the sound of something sliding beneath the entrance.

Rising from his bed in time to hear his lover run out the door, Eric went to find what she had shoved between the door and sill. On the floor was a small piece of paper that he quickly picked up and opened.

~Because I couldn’t be so close and not leave without giving you a kiss…

Beneath the message was a soft, pink lipstick print in the memorable shape of his lover’s lips.

Sighing, Eric grabbed his phone and made a few calls before climbing into the shower and preparing for the night. He took his time getting ready; wanting to distract himself for the remaining time he was forced to wait. Wanting, also, to make Sookie’s night perfect, Eric meticulously chose his clothing. Though it was a black tie affair and his clothing style was demanding a tuxedo, Eric flipped through his various options. Trying to choose something that spoke of his wealth while not making whatever dress Sookie had afforded look cheap by comparison was tedious. Thankfully, unless someone was to catch a glimpse of the label in his jacket, most would not be able to discern the fine quality of his attire.

He chose a pair of platinum cufflinks, a gleaming pair of black dress shoes, and then shook out his hair to fall lightly along his shoulders. Fussing uncharacteristically over his appearance, Eric glanced at his watch when he heard the honking of a car horn. He had been preoccupied with preparations and not felt true dark approach. Grabbing his wallet and checkbook out of a chest of drawers, Eric pocketed them, let Sookie’s dogs out quickly before feeding them, and met the car.


Sookie would kill him when she saw the sleek black limo, but he also knew that deep down she would swoon with girlish fantasy. This fundraiser was her ‘Prom’, which he had realized weeks ago, and if it would not draw unwanted attention, he would have gotten her a corsage as well.

Instead, he hoped what waited for him in the back of the limo would be enough of a substitute for the high school date staple to appease her wiles.

Taking the small plastic box in his hands as the driver pulled up to Sookie’s apartment, Eric smiled and entered her building. He walked slowly up the stairs, slower than a human normally would. Nervous, why was he nervous?

Knocking on her apartment door, Eric refrained from fidgeting.

It suddenly struck him that he was feeling her nerves.

Be right there!” Sookie called from the other side of the door. He heard her bustling around her apartment and the unmistakable sound of awkward feet in heels. Idly, he wondered if he would be carrying her down the three flights of stairs. Before he could entertain the thought any further, the door opened, and Eric felt his eyes widen and his pupils dilate.

There, standing in the doorway, was his lover, looking a vision of sensuality and loveliness. Her satin dress clung to the curves of her body in all the right ways. The sweetheart neckline amplified the impressive bounty of her cleavage with its deep, metallic blue embroidery which swept across her bust and down to her left hip. Tight, thin material pinched her hips alluringly, hugging the tops of her thighs until the slit over her left leg let the material flow like water against her form. Only a hand’s width of the smooth material concealed the glorious heaven between those beautifully toned thighs. Behind those sexy legs was the bright cyan hue of the dress’s inner lining, flashing playfully against the deep tan of her skin.

Her legs were long, dark, and perfectly stabilized in four inch stiletto heels, where open toes showed off her fresh pedicure. Her French tipped nails clasped a small cyan clutch as she gazed at him shyly, expectantly.

You are a vision,” Eric rasped, finding his voice buried under a deep layer of lust and fantasy. His words caused Sookie to bow her head with an adorable blush staining her cheeks. “You just need one more thing to complete the look,” he said, holding out the small plastic box and popping it open.

Sookie looked at the box curiously, laughing at what he held. Inside was a small hair comb with large magnolia blossoms discretely wired to it with accents of juniper berries. Wordlessly, Eric took the comb in his hand, gathered a lock of hair from her face, and combed the adornment into the loose tendrils of her hair.

It’s perfect,” Sookie whispered, capturing his hand as he pulled it away.

Then it matches the woman who wears it,” Eric replied as she kissed the hand she had taken. “Shall I take you to the ball, my Sookie?”


“Yes, please,” she beamed up at him as she locked and shut her door, and then allowed Eric to weave her arm around his as they walked down to the apartment building’s main floor.

Sookie surprised him by not faltering on the stairs though he could practically feel how hard she concentrated with every step. When they came to the front door, Sookie groaned.

Eric grinned.

You didn’t!” she cried out, seeing the limousine.

I did, and you will love it,” he assured, leading her out the door and opening the back of the limo for her. He went to the other side to enter rather than making Sookie slide across the seat.

Eric,” Sookie protested softly, “we’re going to look so… So… Over the top in this!”

Eric laughed, “Dear One, it is a charity fundraiser. We will not be the only ones arriving in a limousine,” he assured.

Are you sure?” she whimpered.

I am positive. I have been to such things. I attended last year’s fundraiser.”

Really?” Sookie asked in surprise.

Yes, it was the first year I donated to the department, and I was sent an invitation just like this year.”

They just sent you an invitation? Tickets cost a few hundred dollars, and they just invited you?” Sookie asked, surprised again.

I donated quite a bit of money,” he responded offhandedly. “Charities tend to extend invitations to fundraisers to those who openly throw money at them.”

Oh,” Sookie mumbled. “Well, thank you for doing that. I’m sure it helped stop all the raids on your club, but even if it was a pragmatic gesture the department appreciates it.”

You are very welcome,” Eric contemplated her dress a moment before saying, “That shade of blue looks striking against your tan.”

Thanks,” Sookie answered unclearly, still unable to take a complement after nearly two months of Eric showering her with them. “I really like my hair comb,” she let her fingers touch it delicately. “The juniper accents my dress really well.” She brought her hand back to twist with the fingers of the other. “Is that why you were asking me what my favorite flowers were a few weeks ago?”

Yes, and your response, ‘I never really thought about it’ was extremely useful,” he teased.

So you just took my dogs’ names and ran with them?” she laughed.

I did,” he admitted. “I thought that even if you were not fond of magnolias or juniper, you would at least appreciate the allusion and gesture.”

Very much,” she agreed.

Would you like a drink, Sookie?” Eric gestured to the small bar in the spacious back of the vehicle.

Uh, sure,” she gawked at the well-stocked bar, fumbling slightly with the glass Eric handed her as he mixed a gin and tonic in it. “This is pretty luxurious,” she said quietly, sipping her drink. “Very roomy.”

Eric smirked at her over her glass. “If you wish to continue the prom fantasy at the end of the evening, there is enough space that I could fuck you back here.” Sookie’s face reddened and she glanced nervously at the driver. Catching the reason behind her hesitation he stated, “There is a partition.”

Sookie downed her drink.

Either way,” Eric continued in a throaty timbre, “at some point in the middle of the evening, I will take you aside and fuck you.” The crimson stain across her face began traveling down her neck. “I want to smell my scent dripping out of you while you dance and talk with all of those uptight politicians. I want to see every man’s head turn to watch the way your ass moves right after a good fucking, and I want to put my hand on your hip, just so they know only I can make your body move that way.”

Before Sookie could stammer a reply, Eric’s mouth smashed against hers, and her hands reached up to tangle in his mane of golden hair. She moaned against his lips, hitching her legs over his, and managing to crawl into his lap without tearing her dress. Eric’s hand was between her thighs instantly, caressing the delicate silk of her thong.

Can I have these tonight?” he murmured against her mouth, tugging the thin material of her panties with hope.

Yes,” she breathed into his kiss, moaning as he swiftly stole the undergarment and shoved it into his breast pocket. “You have to give them back after you get me alone though,” she warned softly. “I need something to keep you from dripping down my legs all night.”

Oh, but Lover, it is so sexy watching my essence running down those beautiful tan thighs,” he nipped at her throat. Sookie groaned, unable to keep the slight flexing of her hips under control. “Would you like another drink, my Sookie?” Eric asked quietly against her skin, and Sookie could not help but wonder how her lover made that inquiry sound like ‘Would you like my cock in you?’

Yes,” she whimpered, feeling slightly disappointed when he poured her another gin and tonic.

What?” Eric chuckled, feeling the lust roll off her and the flare of disappointment when he made her drink. “Not enough gin?”

She pouted up at him and sipped her drink slowly. It would not do to be buzzed before even arriving at the party. The last thing she needed was for her superiors to see her drunk, and then, potentially, falling out of her dangerously cut dress.

Eric,” Sookie began quietly after a long moment spent processing several terrible scenarios in her head.

Yes, Dear One?” Eric was playing with the fingers of her free hand.

She remained quiet a moment longer, “Help me have fun tonight? No matter what? Help me just be a girl going to the big dance with the greatest man she’s ever known, OK?”

Eric beamed down at her, “I promise.”

Soon the limousine was pulling up to the city’s largest art gallery while Sookie was taking deep, calming breaths as the driver hopped out of the car and came to open her door. Eric slid closer to her, making her wish he had been the first to exit. There was a small cluster of reporters whom Sookie could read in their minds had drawn the short straw to cover the fundraiser. When they saw a limo, they immediately flocked over to see which politician or government official had arrived.

This will not take long, Dear One,” Eric soothed, giving her hand a squeeze.

Sookie nodded at him as her door swung open and the driver held out his hand to help her from the vehicle. Cameras nearly blinded the detective and the lights only became a strobe when she felt Eric arrive at her side.

Mr. Northman,” a female reporter shouted over the babble, “who is your date?” Her fake red hair was severe in its dome-like bob.

You do not recognize Detective Sookie Stackhouse?” Eric answered her question with his own surprised inquiry.

The camera flashes paused for the briefest moment before kicking back into high gear, and Sookie resisted the urge to shield her eyes.

Can you please give us a pose?” A cameraman called to them, and Sookie felt Eric’s hand rest on her hip as he tilted her toward the one who spoke the request.

Relax, Dear One,” Eric murmured in her ear when he saw a panicked smile stretch her lips unnaturally. His hand gave her hip a soothing squeeze and he smiled gently as her body melted into his touch, her expression softening while she turned her genuine smile up at him.

Thank you so much,” the cameraman called gratefully.

Ushering Sookie toward the entryway, Eric tilted his mouth to her ear, “See? That was not so bad, now was it? It would be just like showing up to your prom and having your picture taken for memorabilia, right?”

I guess,” she laughed in return. When they arrived in the Special Event room, Sookie took in the stark white walls that were covered with the National, State, and City flags. Tangled banners of blue, white, and yellow decorated the spaces unoccupied by the flags, and each table was set with a white cloth and a large blue vase of yellow roses for the centerpiece.

Men and women dressed to the nines walked briskly across the room, shaking hands and kissing cheeks in greeting. A seven-piece band was set up on a short platform in front of what would serve as a large dance floor, and a few party-goers were bobbing their heads to the upbeat jazz number the group was playing.

What do we do now?” Sookie asked once she had observed her fill of the scenery.

Looking down at her with cautious amusement, Eric told her, “You could have another drink, we could dance, and we could go to our table and see if there is anyone with whom we might want to converse… We could scout for discreet little hideaways for later this evening…” he purred that last part while trailing his hand down her thigh.

Er,” Sookie fidgeted with her clutch. She had already sucked down two gin and tonics on the way, and she could not risk making an idiot of herself in front of the Brass as well as politicians. Dancing seemed a bit risky while still adjusting to the unnatural incline of her stilettos. Talking to the people at their table… What if she said the wrong thing to the wife of the Police Chief? “Let’s go look for hideaways,” she said softly.

Sookie,” Eric looked at her warily, “if you wanted to spend your evening having sex with me, we could have stayed at my house.”

I don’t know what to say to these people,” Sookie said self-consciously. “My dress looks too… juvenile to be here.”

If I believed your dress was inappropriate, I would have warned you against it.”

Sookie rolled her eyes, “What would I have worn, then?”

We could have swung by Pam’s and found you something more suitable. You two are similar enough in size that she could have made the needed alterations before we had to leave,” Eric explained, shrugging.

No one else is wearing a dress with a slit this high,” Sookie fretted.

That is because no one else has your glorious legs to show off,” Eric teased, trying to lighten her mood. “Come, dance with me,” He held out his hand.

I don’t know if I can in these shoes.”

You will be fine,” he reassured, tugging her toward the dance floor. “Forget where we are, Sookie.” He placed her hand on his chest and took the other into his grasp, pulling the woman along the floor. “It is a night of dinner and dancing. That is all. Maybe some big spending,” he added as an afterthought.

Spending?” Sookie asked.

It is a fundraiser. There will be an auction. Just let me know if there is a lot you wish me to buy for you.”

I’ve never been to an auction before,” she said, forgetting her shoes and the other people around her as they spun around the floor.

It is nothing particularly noteworthy. There is a card at your seat placement with a listing of the lots that will be auctioned,” His voice melted into liquid chocolate as he added, “If you do not see anything you wish to have, we can always sneak away at that time or slip away quietly after you have bought what you desire.”

Sookie moaned under her breath at his suggestion. “There’s nothin’ on that list I want more than you, Darlin’.”

Smiling down at her, Eric tilted his mouth to hers, giving Sookie a slow kiss that matched the tempo of their dance. It was short-lived, however, because Eric knew how to behave at such an event, and he disengaged the kiss well before Sookie wished.

Mr. Northman,” a voice growled behind Sookie’s back, one that she immediately recognized.

Captain Kleinman,” Eric greeted stiffly, confused by the Homicide supervisor’s tone.


“Who is your date?” Kleinman demanded.

Chuckling in understanding, Eric gave Sookie an encouraging spin until her back was to his chest and his arms were draped naturally around her body, “Why, Sookie, of course.”

H-hi, Captain,” Sookie greeted shyly, her face going red at Kleinman’s blatant appraisal. “I didn’t realize you’d be here tonight…”

Stackhouse!” Kleinman’s face brightened immediately. “You look absolutely lovely! Northman, would you object if I stole your date for a dance?” he asked pleasantly.

Sookie panicked. Could she dance without Eric watching her step?

Of course,” Eric laughed, placing Sookie’s hand in her supervisor’s. “Meet me at our table when you are done, Sookie.”

With that, her vampire turned away, and Sookie tentatively allowed Kleinman to pull her closer. He seemed to understand her hesitation, placing her left hand on his shoulder before taking her right into his hand.

I saw Northman dancing with you from across the room and I was furious,” Kleinman began conversationally as he began leading Sookie around the floor. “I thought ‘how dare he dance with a woman like that when he’s got the finest woman in the world already’!” Sookie’s face went a deep shade of red. “I never would have guessed I would see you dressed in something like this,” he chuckled. When his subordinate did not reply, Kleinman looked down at her curiously. “I am not sounding inappropriate, am I?” he asked worriedly.

N-no,” Sookie stammered.

Kleinman could feel her fingers tapping nervously against his shoulder and he shook his head with a laugh, “This is really uncomfortable for you, isn’t it?”

Wh-what?” Sookie asked softly.

All of these eyes on you, looking like envious cats or ravenous dogs.”

Eyes?” Sookie looked around to find her captain’s observation was perfectly accurate.

I want to run my tongue all up and down those legs…’

I’ll kill him. FRANK, stop staring at her tits!’

I’d put my dick all over-’

Sookie immediately blocked out the rest of the thoughts. She had heard more than enough to make her body go rigid. Though she had always been aware that she was pretty and that men fantasized about her regularly, Sookie had never thought of herself as ‘enviable’. She had never made wives jealous of the attention she earned from husbands. She had never been the focal point of such a staggering amount of desire.

Am I beautiful? Sookie thought with sudden bewilderment. Her eyes were wide with alarm when the song ended and her supervisor departed leaving Sookie to walk with locked shoulders to where Eric sat.

Are you all right, Dear One?” Eric asked quietly when Sookie sat down with a relieved sigh.

I wasn’t paying attention to the rest of the room when you were with me. After you walked away… It was difficult not to notice everything around me,” Sookie whispered back.

Ah, I suppose that I should not leave you then,” Eric replied, taking her hand in his.

Oh, Detective Stackhouse!” an older woman who sat across from them noticed the petite blonde. “I’m Mrs. Duponte. It is such a pleasure to meet you in person!”

Duponte? Caroline Duponte!? Sookie thought frantically. As in the governor’s wife!?

It is an honor to be seated across from you, Ma’am,” Sookie replied with amped enthusiasm.

Oh, Mr. Northman has been a delight to be seated with these past two years,” Caroline beamed at the vampire. “It’s too bad he doesn’t donate so graciously to Baton Rouge or New Orleans, that way we could have the pleasure of his company at the formal law enforcement fundraisers all across the state.”

There is wealth flowing from much more prestigious vampires in Baton Rouge and New Orleans,” Eric told her smoothly.

Caroline’s face scrunched minutely as though she were trying not to blanch at a foul taste. “Yes, Ms. LeQlerc is quite the dinner guest and Mr. Dumarr as well,” she added as an afterthought. Flashy and boring… Quite the dinner guests, Caroline thought distastefully.

Is Ms. LeQlerc a contributor as well?” Sookie asked as sweetly as she could muster.

Refocusing her attention on Sookie, Caroline smiled at the younger woman, “Yes, she has donated a rather considerable amount to the New Orleans’ police departments.” And practically gets away with murder because of it, Caroline added mentally.

Sookie frowned, “I take it she takes advantage of the relationship?”

Caroline flinched. She’s just as sharp as they say. How delightful! “A bit. Of course, Eric here has taken a few advantages as well with his relationship with the Shreveport P.D., but I must admit I found his pragmatism much more to my tastes.”

Eric and pragmatism seem to be synonymous with each other,” Sookie smiled at her date. “He certainly knows how to push the envelope without ripping it to shreds.”

Laughing openly, the mayor’s wife looked past Sookie’s shoulders and immediately sobered, “Oh, here comes my husband.”

Sookie snapped to her feet so quickly that Eric had to steady her on the fine lines of her stilettos. “Governor Duponte,” Sookie greeted with a sharp, respectful bark.

Well, if it isn’t Detective Stackhouse,” Jeremiah Duponte shook her hand eagerly. “Your reputation has reached all across Louisiana, you know?”

I had no idea,” Sookie admitted.

Absolutely it has!” Jeremiah chuckled. “That sex trafficking bust you had last year threw your name to New Orleans overnight. As you know, the vampire community is quite prominent in New Orleans and they were rocked to the core to discover a vampire was responsible for such a ring.” Don’t know why they were so surprised. They’re vampires, after all.

Well, I’m certain if you went to a suburb and found out a human man or woman was dealing in sex trafficking, their community would be quite stunned and upset by it, too,” Sookie reasoned.


“Yes, I suppose you’re right.”

The conversation picked up as the table filled with the most influential of contributors, and Sookie took Eric’s hand beneath the table as the mental babble became difficult to ignore. She had never noticed what loud broadcasters politicians were.

Distractedly, Sookie reached for the auction card listing the lots available for bid. Most of the valuables were items donated by companies and organizations donating their own products. A few wealthy individuals had donated jewelry, cars, or other such pricey things. Eric had donated a trip to the Alps!

He has way too much money, Sookie thought bemusedly.

See anything you like?” Eric’s voice was caramel to her ears.

Taking her eyes from the card and looking into the endless blue of his irises, Sookie smirked, “Now I do.”

Will we be foregoing the auction then?” he asked in that same thick, rich tone.

Yes, please,” she answered with a purr.

The auction begins shortly after dinner,” Eric told her quickly. “When you are through eating, excuse yourself to the ladies room. I will find you.”

Can’t wait,” she breathed.

Me neither.”

When the food arrived, Sookie had to remind herself not to speed through her meal in anticipation of dessert. She paced herself by chatting with Caroline and mirroring the speed that the diner two seats away had adopted. Of course, this alone was difficult because Eric only needed one hand to drink his golden flute of synthetic blood. That meant his free hand was at liberty to run along her thigh under the table. Occasionally, he would be as bold as to stroke between her thighs.

After several minutes of this teasing, Sookie finally reached for an untouched glass of red wine and took a swig of it. Immediately her face turned a bright red, so vibrant that Mrs. Duponte was urged to comment.

Oh my!” Caroline laughed. “A bit of a light weight with alcohol, Dear?” she teased in good nature.

Just red wine,” Sookie murmured with embarrassment, not just because it was true, but also because she had taken the sip purposely to hide the growing blush from what Eric was doing between her legs. “Any dry red wine makes my face go red.”

That is a Shiraz,” Caroline gestured to the glass.

I don’t even know what that means, Sookie thought. “Does that mean it’s dry?”

Quite,” Caroline chuckled.

Sookie wriggled in feigned discomfort, though it was actually due to a rather dexterous finger trying to worm its way inside of her. How has no one noticed the angle of his arm? Sookie thought. “Oh!”

Caroline laughed at Sookie’s surprise, unaware that Eric had succeeded in sneaking his finger into her depths and was now rubbing a rather sensitive spot inside her. Looking down at her plate, Sookie noted that she was quite full now and it was the final course. I’m not leaving that much on my plate…

If you’ll excuse me, I think that wine hit me a bit harder than usual,” Sookie murmured, pausing for Eric to extract his hand before she rose. The men at the table raised themselves good mannerly in response to her departure, and Sookie wobbled her way to the bathroom, urging her legs to behave.

Eric laughed softly to himself as he joined the continued conversation. When the plates were cleared and the auction was about to begin, he rose from his seat.

I better go check on her,” he announced.

She hasn’t had too much, has she?” Caroline asked worriedly.

Oh no,” Eric assured, “she would never allow herself to get inebriated around so many prominent figures. If anything,” he whispered to her conspiratorially, “she is probably embarrassed that she allowed her face to get so red.”

Leaning in, Caroline whispered back, “She is a very lovely woman. Make sure she knows I’m the only one who noticed her blushing like that, and she has nothing to be embarrassed about in front of me.”

I will do that, Caroline. Thank you.”

Eric swiftly left the table after the brief exchange and followed his blood link with Sookie to find her sitting on an upholstered bench near the restrooms. When she saw him approaching, Sookie jumped to her feet and let Eric take her hand.

Where are we going?” Sookie hissed as he led her up a flight of stairs. His long legs stepped over a stanchion, and he promptly scooped Sookie up into his arms and lifted her over the velvet rope.

We are going to acquire a bit of privacy. I want more than just a quickie, Lover,” he purred into her ear as he set Sookie back on her feet.

On coltish legs, Sookie followed her vampire down a dark hallway, letting his hand and night vision lead her where the half moon barely emitted enough light in the windowed corridor. Finally, Eric brought her to a French door halfway down the hallway and opened it to the evening air. On the second story of the building facing Cross Lake was a balcony onto which Eric promptly pulled Sookie.

Eric,” she breathed as he pressed her against the side of the building. The railing was just low enough that he did not dare risk leaning her against it while she was in an impassioned frenzy.

Yes, Lover?” Eric replied, falling to his knees before her. His hands reached to hike her dress up a bit further before removing her shoes and drawing her leg over his shoulder.

What if we get caught?” she groaned as his mouth enveloped her sex.

Between your telepathy and my reflexes, I think we will be fine,” Eric taunted while his hand glided between her folds. “Mmm,” he moaned, “so wet!”

His mouth went to work between her legs, his fingers thrusting upward, and his tongue dancing across her well-prepared flesh.

Ah! I’m so close,” she whimpered, her thighs trembling from all of the stimulation he had given her at the dinner table.

Already?” he teased.

Shut up and keep licking!” she snapped, holding the back of his head firmly to her core.

Eric chuckled, but obeyed flawlessly. In a matter of moments, Sookie was writhing around his fingers and tongue. While she gripped the railing and restrained a wail of pleasure, Eric turned his head to the side and bit the inside of her thigh. The contraction of her inner walls strengthened at his bite, and Eric drew a mouthful of blood from the wound grateful to have the taste of synthetic blood off his tongue.

Knowing the satin of her dress would not hold to the abrasion of the building’s exterior, Eric turned her around and placed Sookie’s hands on the siding.

Her reply was to moan and wriggle her bottom at him as Eric flipped the back of her skirt up and slowly sunk himself deeply into her inviting channel.


“Do you like being fucked during the middle of a dinner party, Lover?” Eric asked with a particularly hard thrust. His hands clenched over hers against the building’s shell.

Oh yes,” she moaned. “Anywhere, everywhere!”

Is that so?” Eric praised her response with a rapid motion of his hips that made her want to weep.

All ya have t’ do is ask,” she assured, her accent thick with pleasure.

Releasing her hands, Eric pulled down the front of her dress to clutch her breasts roughly.

Ah!” Sookie yelped, and then let out a heated sob, “Please, Darlin’, play with my clit! Only you can do it right!” Her request made Eric growl as he released a bouncing breast and ran his hand down her stomach until it was playing between her folds where his cock was thrusting in and out of her body at an invisible speed. “Oh yes! Oh, Eric! Yes, yes, yes!”

Her back arched painfully as she was wracked with a potent orgasm, the likes of which had Eric holding her tightly to his chest as he shoved himself as fully inside of her opening as he could. His hips jerked in deep strokes as he felt his own climax fill her womb.

Fuck,” Eric snarled when his pleasurable throbs subsided. “My own personal Goddess,” he continued holding her close, raining kisses all across her back.

Mmm,” Sookie groaned, “again?”

Eric laughed while he held Sookie to him and slowly sunk to the floor. The woman in his lap wriggled impatiently and Eric disengaged their bodies so that she could face him.

You are not anxious to get back?” he asked, the chords of his neck straining as she began to rock leisurely against him.

I thought you didn’t want quick?” she gasped when he bucked beneath her.

No, Lover, I never want to hurry with you. I want an eternity of never hurrying,” His thumb reached between her thighs, slowly circling the swollen nub that ached for his touch.

Oh, Eric,” she whimpered, “I love you!”

As the words tumbled from her lips, Sookie realized how long she had been holding them in, unable to believe that they were true.

As I love you, my Sookie,” Eric answered her declaration with his own.

Consumed with the spell of love, Sookie leaned down and kissed her vampire deeply. When she needed air, she began kissing down his jaw, his throat, and the space between his neck and shoulder from which she had managed to shove his shirt away. As she felt her climax build to a crescendo almost too powerful to be real, Sookie bit down on the firm muscle to muffle her scream.

It was not until she heard Eric’s roar and tasted the dark syrup of his blood that she realized her mistake. Her realization was momentarily forgotten as Eric bucked frantically beneath her and a series of pleasurable jolts left Sookie’s brain disjointed from the rest of her body. Her eyes rolled back in her head, and she merely reveled in the taste of his magic warming her throat and belly.

As the couple recovered in a heap of limbs on the balcony, Eric stroked Sookie’s back worriedly.

Two accidental mutual exchanges in a month.

Dear One,” Eric whispered.

Hmmm?” Sookie replied lazily.

We must take this Bonding business seriously. That is the second time we have inadvertently performed a mutual exchange in little over a month.”

Well, if it keeps happening by accident, maybe it’s meant to be?” Sookie teased, too happy and sated to give much care.

As much as I love the sound of that, you have your career to think about. I have warned you that once we are Bonded, your days in law enforcement may be numbered. I have also warned you that if you Bond with me, I will turn you in the future.”

Sookie made a face, “I can deal with the vampire thing, but I’m not quitting my job.”

Eric sighed. “You know I would not make you. I have explained-”

Yeah, yeah,” Sookie hushed him. “I don’t know that a Bond is going to outdo my stubbornness though.”

Sookie,” his voice was almost pleading, “please, try to understand that the compulsion will not be as mild as you believe.”

Fine!” Sookie sighed tiredly. “I’ll take it more seriously. No more biting Eric for Sookie. I promise I didn’t mean to break the skin.”

I know,” Letting out a long exhale of relief, Eric assisted Sookie in rising from his lap. When she was standing, the vampire remained on his knees, taking her silky thong from his breast pocket and helping slide it up her tempting legs. Sookie was righting the top of her dress, annoyed that her breasts did not seem to want to go back into her supports. As Eric stood, fastened his pants, and straightened his lapel, Sookie finally managed to squish her bosom back into the sweetheart neckline, and then began looking for her shoes. Again, it was Eric while running his hands up and down her calves who assisted in strapping her dainty feet into the high heels.

Ready to dance?” Eric asked gently, wrapping Sookie’s arm around his own.

Yes, please,” she smiled in response, letting Eric lead her back down the dim corridor and lift her over the stanchion. As they drew closer to the event room, Sookie could hear music playing, and quickly realized they had missed the entire auction. Guess I’ve still never gone to one then, she thought with guiltless amusement while her hips rolled fluidly as she walked.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck-’

Bend her over-’

On her kne-’

Sucking my-’

Looks like she just got screwed-’

Those hips-’

Sookie very quickly realized that their absence had not gone unnoticed and apparently she looked the image of ‘freshly fucked.’ Still, as Eric’s hand pressed against her hip and he pulled her onto the dance floor, she did not care. The audience quickly melted away as Sookie twirled around the room in her vampire’s arms…

Tired, happy, and completely oblivious to anything negative, Sookie let Eric lead her to the limousine at the end of the evening. She had talked, danced, and eaten fine food. She had moderated her drinking, but still managed to get a pleasant tingling though she could not discern if it was the alcohol or the entire evening that had her riding such a wonderful high.

You look tired,” Eric whispered as he sat beside Sookie in the back of the vehicle.

Nuzzling against his shoulder she murmured joyously, “I’ve never had such a great night… It’s exhausting having that much fun.”

Hmm,” Eric frowned, “I thought I had been doing a very good job exhausting you up until now.”

Oh, Darlin’, believe me, that stint on the balcony is 97% of my fatigue!” she laughed quietly.

Encore?” he asked devilishly.

I want to do it slow,” she moaned, “and we don’t have time for slow in here.”

I can always tell the driver to meander until I say otherwise,” Eric teased, leaning his face toward hers and capturing her lips.

Moaning against his mouth, she replied, “Yes, please.”

Pulling away from her lips, Eric called to the chauffeur, “Walkerson, drive us around the city. We are not ready to return home just yet.”

Very good, Sir,” Walkerson replied as Eric moved forward to hit the button which raised the partition. When the driver was out of view, Sookie shivered in anticipation at the expression Eric aimed toward her.

Before she could utter a sound, Eric pressed his mouth back to hers, tangling his fingers into her hair as he had longed to all night. Soon she found her body pressed against the seat that ran lengthwise through the back of the limousine and she eagerly parted her thighs to cradle his hips.

Slowly,” she whispered in a soft reprimand. Eric’s reply was to grumble begrudgingly, but he complied with her request by sedating his kisses.

Gently, carefully, Eric caressed her skin with his lips and hands. He whispered and murmured against her flesh, reveling in the way her nails scraped against his scalp and beneath his shirt. Her own soft croons were a tender embrace to his eardrums, her sweet breath the only air he needed to survive.

Roaming palms found the fastenings of his trousers, and Eric groaned when Sookie released him, advancing the slow undulations of their bodies to the promise of intimate contact. Her hand stroked him at a pace he found almost maddening.

Faster?” Eric asked with a gasp when her hand tightened just right.

Mmm,” she hummed agreeably, wriggling beneath him so that she could part her thighs further and rub the head of his cock against the silk of her thong.

Slipping his hand between her legs, Eric pushed the tiny scrap of fabric aside and painstakingly eased into her wetness. She arched and moaned beneath him, enjoying the fullness he brought her. “I love you,” she whispered for the second time that night, making Eric’s heart rejoice.

“I love you, Sookie,” he returned, kissing along her jaw as his pelvis pressed against hers, making both release simultaneous moans.

Slow and delightful thrusts were set into motion, easing the lovers into a hypnotic daze. Their rhythm took away exterior sights, sounds, and sensations to the point where the slightest disturbance of the limo jostling over a pothole was enough to make both cry in momentary loss of the blissful haze.

When a recognizable tremor began to quake around his shaft, Eric buried his face into the crook of Sookie’s shoulder. He could feel the muscles of her body coiling in that special way they only quivered when he made love with her. Moments later she tightened with her greatest strength as a low howl rose from her lips. Her inner muscles contracted violently around him and all of the tension she had built cast away from her body with her climax.

Eric succumbed to her orgasm, thrusting deeply inside of her and allowing her passage to coax him the short distance to his own completion. As he came, his hips rocked frantically against her of their own accord until he was spent and her body was full.

You’re too good at this,” Sookie breathed in his ear once she had regained control of her lungs.

I could say the same about you,” Eric murmured back, rubbing the top of his nose against her collarbone.

She did not reply; she merely stroked her hand against the back of his head as her legs and arms held her vampire closely. Eric knew the instant she fell asleep, not just because her breathing evened and her heartbeat slowed, but also because her hand drooped to his shoulder and ceased its petting.

As he withdrew from her body to set their clothes to rights, Sookie let out a small disappointed moan in her sleep. Eric’s heart swelled in response, realizing that she still mourned his loss, even in sleep.

Their night ended, Eric instructed the chauffeur to head back to his residence. Assured that Sookie was well covered, he carried his sleeping lover into the house, and laid her in his bed for the night.

Before he was forced to go to rest, he leaned in and murmured in her ear,

Happy Birthday. I love you.”

TBC

Never End Ch. 13

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen: Just Checking In

Sookie felt like a brand new woman when she awoke the next day. Her body felt the best it had since Saturday afternoon, and she chose to wear a halter top with a flirty, flowing skirt and the kitten-heeled sandals that Eric had bought the night before despite it being a bit early in the season for such an outfit. At that moment, Sookie did not care about a little April chill. She felt sexy and whole again, and she wanted the world to see!

After her morning routine, Sookie once again went into downtown, shopping for sexy underwear that would tease her Viking lover when she purposely bent over, giving him a taunting view of satin and lace.

Once she finished at her third boutique, Sookie threw her bags into her car and decided to grab a bagel as a late breakfast. Standing in line at the pastry shop, her siren ringtone went off and she stepped out of line to answer the call.

Hello, Dr. Silva,” Sookie answered, recognizing his office number.

Good morning, Detective,” Silva greeted. “I was wondering if you were available today for your check-in interview?”

Sookie frowned at the shrink’s abrupt request. She knew he was trying to catch her unprepared, having waited for her guard to drop before he called in the request. “What time?” she asked, glancing at her wardrobe choice and wondering if she had the time to go home and change.

As soon as possible is preferable,” Silva answered. Sookie groaned and Silva jumped on her discomfort, “Is this a bad time for you?”

No, no, its fine, I’m just out at the moment. I’m really not dressed to come into work.”

It is only an interview. Forty-five minutes with me and you’re back on with your day,” he assured.

Sookie gave one more, forlorn glance at her halter top and skirt. “Okay, I’m just grabbing a bagel and I’ll be right there,” She hung up and returned to the line, sulking the entire time. ‘CRAP!’ She thought suddenly. All of her bruises were gone! Everyone would know she had had vampire blood! It would be on display for all to see, question, and judge!

Shakily, Sookie placed her food order, unsettling the young woman behind the counter with her wide eyes and pale face. The detective’s heart was hammering in her chest at the scrutiny she would be under, at the unspoken suspicions she would be forced to hear.

Maybe I could buy a jacket real quick? Put my hair down over the left side of my face? All of those considerations were swept away while Sookie walked back to her car with a cup of coffee and a bagel. Hiding her healthy skin felt like slapping Eric in the face. Disguising her recovery felt like a denial of their relationship. ‘I’ve had worse things thought about me my entire life. Just think of the negative thoughts as you view a criminal’s memories. It means nothing to ME. It’s all them. A suspect thinking that trying to kill his girlfriend is okay would never mean I had to believe it! Just because some of my co-workers may think I’m a fangbanger doesn’t make it true. I know what I am!’

Strengthened in her resolve, Sookie made a beeline for the station. It took a few calming breaths in the privacy of her car before she had steeled her courage enough to climb out of it, but her steps were confident and swift as she headed toward the doors.

S-Stackhouse,” a Sergeant in narcotics greeted with surprise when she swept past him.

She nodded at him as she continued on. ‘She looks good!’

Oh good, she let her boyfriend heal her.’

Thank God she let him patch her up.’

Look at those legs!’

That’s what she’s been hiding all these years!?’

I can’t believe she actually drank his blood…’

Good, she let him fix her.’

Astonishment flooded the telepath at all of the positive feedback she heard. She looked good. Everyone she passed was happy for her. She had nothing to hide or have concerns over.

Self-assured and poised, Sookie knocked briskly on Silva’s door. Once again, the psychologist answered swiftly as though he had been standing by and waiting for her arrival.

Good morning, Detective,” Silva greeted, having donned his typically stern expression.

Morning, Doc,” Sookie waved, passing him and settling lazily upon the couch. Silva’s eyebrows rose considerably at her relaxed temperament. She’s so at ease!’

How have you been sleeping these past few nights?” Silva asked, returning to his desk.

Pretty good, I guess. I was a little scared to fall asleep Saturday night,” she admitted reluctantly, “but I slept well once I caved. Sunday was a rougher night because my Gran told me about the cancer that afternoon. Every night afterward hasn’t been a problem though.”

No nightmares, waking up abruptly, disorientation upon awakening?” Silva listed.

Sookie shook her head. “No. I was a bit disoriented Monday morning, but that was ’cause I accidentally fell asleep at my boyfriend’s house. I was confused about what day it was, and then why I was there. He reminded me about Sunday night and told me I could stay with him as long as I needed.”

Have you been staying at your boyfriends’ this entire time?” Silva asked.

I’ve been to my apartment a couple times for stuff I needed, but I’ve pretty much been at his place, running with my dogs, or shopping.”

What have you been shopping for?” Silva tilted his head curiously. Is she externalizing by binge shopping?’

Sookie blushed somewhat. “Clothes. I told you last time that I’ve never had a boyfriend, and so I’ve never really bought ‘out on the town’ clothes. This is new,” she said, gesturing to her outfit.

Did buying clothes make you happy?”

Sookie shrugged, “Not as much buying the clothes as anticipating the dates when I’d be wearing them.”

Nodding to himself, Silva continued, “How has your diet been?”

Basically the same although perhaps slightly larger dinners than I typically indulge in because Eric takes me out to restaurants. I’ve been skipping breakfasts most days though so I guess that makes up for the extra calories,” she laughed.

Things sound more positive for you at present. Have you been to visit your grandmother since Sunday?”

I’m planning to go tonight,” Sookie answered, unable to keep the hesitation out of her voice.

Are you nervous?”

Sookie shook her head. “No… I just really don’t want to accept that she’s dying,” she whispered.

If you need any grief counseling-”

I’ll let you know. I’m really scared though,” she admitted. “When my parents died I was a kid. It was hard and sad, but I had Gran and my brother. Now, I don’t really have my brother anymore. Gran dying might be the thing that either breaks us apart forever or brings us back together. That makes me scared too. In the next month or two, I might not have any family left.”

It seems that your personal life has had more of an effect on you than the shooting,” Silva commented.

I wasn’t in delay of shock, Doc. I wasn’t ignoring anything on that front. I killed someone on Saturday, but I also could have died that afternoon! Looking at it like that, I’d much rather I was alive! I don’t have survivor’s guilt or PTSD. I know I’m not the shrink in this room, but I know my own mind. I know what makes me sad and what makes me depressed. Nina’s death makes me sad, but that’s all.”

I see.” And this time, I actually believe you’ Sookie let out a long sigh, disguising her relief. “I feel confident giving you the all clear to return to work after the Shooting Team and Sheriff’s office have finished their investigations.

How long should that take?” Sookie asked, remembering that Trent had mentioned a friend from the Sheriff’s Department commenting that it was pretty cut and dry, and should be completed by Monday.

It could be another week,” Silva answered her. “I will call you before the weekend ends and let you know if you are good to return on Monday.”

Thank you,” Sookie said appreciatively. “Is there anything else you need me for?” Sookie asked.

No, I think you’re good to go back to your day. Thank you for coming in on such short notice,” Silva told her.

Not a problem,” she said while thinking, Yeah, ’cause you would have kept calling me on short notice just to see me as unguarded as possible.’

I’ll call you,” Silva rose, opened his office door for her, and Sookie left with a nod.

Hey, Stackhouse!” Sookie turned to see Trent jogging down the hallway toward her. “I heard you were here for your psych eval! How’d it go?” Holy crap, they weren’t kidding! She looks great!’

In the clear to start as soon as the investigation is over,” Sookie told him cheerfully.

That’s awesome! We can’t wait to have you back,” Trent told her happily. “Say, I saw your boyfriend Saturday night. He was giving the Desk Sergeant hell, you know.”

Sookie groaned, “Why does that not surprise me?”

Yeah, I figured by his attitude that he was your boyfriend.” Yeah, I figured by his smell that he was your boyfriend.’

Oh, I used his shampoo and stuff that morning!” Sookie realized. “I guess we did smell the same!”

Trent’s body went rigid at her remark. Shit! Did I say smell? Oh, thank God, it looks like she thinks I meant his soap or something. Does she think I was sniffing her boyfriend? Wait, I know I said attitude. Smell. At-ti-tude. Smell, at-ti-tude.’

Sookie’s eyes widened when she realized that she had responded to Trent’s thoughts and not his words. The two had been so parallel except for the single word that she had mixed up his vocalization and sub-vocalization, and now he was staring at her with more curiosity than he ever had before.

Well,” Sookie began nervously, “I need to be getting home. I’ve got laundry to do before I visit my Gran tonight.”

I heard about the cancer. I’m sorry, Stackhouse,” Trent said sympathetically, momentarily forgetting his curiosity.

Thanks,” Sookie murmured, unable to think of anything else. What was there to say? It’s okay? It was not okay. I’ll just have to deal with it? That seemed too flippant a remark to make regarding her Gran. We all have to go sometime? Sookie cringed at the actual thought.

If you need anything, a drinking buddy, a punching bag, just let me know, okay? You’re tough as nails, Stackhouse, but no one should have to be tough when they lose a loved one. You don’t have to just lean on your boyfriend. The guys and I are your family too, even if you try to keep us at an arm’s length… Oh, and the rookie whose ass you saved on Saturday? I think he fell in love with you. Just a head’s up!”

Huh? What are you talking about?” Sookie winced at the shock.

Chlebowski? The patrol officer who went around back at the Sanchez house with you? He said you pushed him out of the way when Jacobs fired at him through the window.”

Oh,” Sookie frowned.

I’ve been telling him all week that you’ve got a boyfriend, but don’t be surprised if you start getting love notes left on your desk,” Trent teased.

Sookie groaned loudly. “Eric’s gonna kill him if he does.” No doubt,’ Trent silently agreed. “Well, I better get going,” she sighed.

Okay, have a good staycation,” Trent smiled down at her. “And Stackhouse?”

Hmm?” she paused as she turned to leave.

You look good.”

Um… Thanks,” she mumbled.

I’m glad you let your boyfriend fix you up. I felt like a loser seeing your face all beat up that way.”

Why?”

‘Cause I should have had your back instead of that stupid kid who almost got himself shot in the head.’ “I should have gone around back with you.”

It was my call,” Sookie argued with a reassuring tone. “I wanted Jacobs, and having the kid with me only increased my chances of being the one to take him down. If you had been with me, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity. You’d have tackled him and it would have been all over,” she teased.

Still.”

Ben,” he froze when she used his first name, “really, it’s okay.”

Thanks, S-Sookie…?” She smiled reassuringly when he tentatively used her name, and then turned to finally leave the station.

{†}

Hello, Beautiful,” Eric murmured when his eyes opened for the first time that evening to find his Lover curled up beside him. The smile on her lips was marred by the apprehension in her eyes. “Is something wrong?” he asked.

I called my Gran earlier to let her know you and I were coming tonight.”

Did she say not to come?” he asked, confused by her apprehension.

No, but she warned me she was planning on telling Jason about the cancer tonight,” she whispered. “I… I don’t know if I should be there for that, or…”

Sensing her unease with the situation, Eric reached forward and pulled Sookie into his arms. “Is it that you do not want to hear her explain it to him in the same way she explained it to you?”

Partly that, and partly… My relationship with Jason’s been screwed up for a few years now. Gran’s the only one who can make him give me the time of day anymore. I’m scared that once she’s gone, he’ll just… Disappear from my life altogether,” she told him. “I want to be there for Jason when Gran tells him about the cancer, but… Eric, my brother can do really stupid things when he’s upset.”

The vampire’s eyes narrowed. “How do you mean?” his voice was a warning growl.

He hollers and says really nasty things. He’s even thrown things when he’s been mad enough.”

Has he struck you before?” Eric demanded.

No, but to be perfectly honest, I can’t say he wouldn’t under the right circumstances,” she confessed. “Still, if you’re coming with me tonight, you have to promise to let me deal with my family my way. If Jason calls me a buncha nasty names, you can’t go hitting him or threatening him. If he was to try to hit me, that’s my business to deal with. Jason knows I’m not a pushover. He knows I’ll give better than I get if he touches me, okay? Don’t think you can read his body language ’cause he feints a lot.” Sookie was speaking rapidly while she attempted to explain her brother to her overprotective lover.

I do not like it,” Eric stubbornly admitted.

I know, Darlin’, but you have to respect my decisions when it comes to handling my family,” Sookie crooned considerately. “There isn’t anything Jason can say or do that will hurt me any.”

Not even if he calls you fangbanger or slut?” Eric asked sharply in his same growling tone.

Do you think I’m either of those things?” Sookie asked gently.

Of course not!” he snarled.

Then it won’t matter what Jason says,” she replied, cupping his face in her hands and kissing along his jaw.

I truly hope I can make it through the evening without throttling your brother,” Eric confessed.

Sookie smiled at him, giving his lips a chaste kiss, “How about every time you feel the urge to pummel Jason, you remind yourself that I have a special surprise for you if you behave?” she purred.

What sort of surprise?” Eric purred in return, his eyes hooded with a heated leer.

What sort of surprise would it be if I gave you any hints?” Sookie asked.

Pouting playfully for a moment, Eric’s face suddenly turned wary. “Lover, are you certain you want to make such promises going into such a taxing evening?”

It was Sookie’s turn to sulk. “I think, regardless of what happens tonight, I will want to be really close to you when we come back home. There’s a chance I won’t be all that playful when we get back, but I’m pretty positive I’m going to want to make love with you tonight.”

Anything you need,” Eric assured her, kissing away the frown upon her face. “It is nearly true dark,” he told her after a moment. “Were you planning to wear that to your grandmother’s?”

Sookie grimaced. Her Gran would be scandalized to see her walking around with so much exposed skin.


Hopping off the bed, Sookie went to Eric’s closet and rifled through several different blouses until she found one that matched the skirt she was wearing, but revealed far less flesh.

Eric frowned in confusion when Sookie took the blouse into the bathroom to change, wondering why she had an issue exchanging one piece of clothing for another in front of him. Suddenly he realized with a grin that perhaps she had on something special under her clothing that she did not wish Eric to see… Yet.

When Sookie returned, she crawled back onto the bed and straddled Eric’s hips as she sprawled weakly across his chest. Humming contentedly, Eric wrapped his arms around her and pulled her tightly against his body.

I should probably shower and dress as well, Lover,” Eric told her after they lay cozily for another ten minutes.

Sookie pouted at his remark before rolling off him and curling up on her side of the bed. The vampire laughed lightly as he sat up and gave her rear a firm, consoling pat, and then headed to the bathroom.

She could hear the shower start, and she moaned internally at the thought of her sexy, wet Viking under the hot spray. Her thighs pressed together at the images her mind was conjuring, and valiantly resisted her compulsion to join him. If she did, they would certainly be late in getting to her Gran’s.

When Eric emerged just moments later stark naked with a towel over his head as he briskly rubbed away the moisture from his hair, Sookie moaned. A few stray drops of water were trickling down his torso, caressing those hard lines much like her tongue was wont to do.

See something you like, Lover?” Eric teased while he turned his back to her and went into the closet. Sookie let out another needy sound as the glory of his posterior flexed with his movements.

You did that on purpose,” Sookie accused in a breathy moan, pulling a pillow over her head.

I really did,” he confirmed once he exited the closet fully dressed. “If you want me calm tonight, I need my surprise now.”

Sookie whimpered, peeking around the edge of her pillow.

You’re a cheater,” she groaned, her hips arching, the space between them aching.

Whatever it takes to get what I want,” he agreed, grabbing her by an ankle and dragging her to the edge of the bed. Her skirt pulled upward as she slid across the mattress, and Eric growled at the tiny scrap of red satin that flashed up at him. The way the small triangle became thin spaghetti strands by her hips made him wonder if she had bought a thong. “Oh, turn onto your belly, Lover. If you are wearing what I think you are, I want to see that luscious bottom of yours!” he moaned.

Rolling onto her stomach, Sookie raised her lower half onto her knees as her forearms planted into the bed while her face rested between them. Eric’s soft moan made her wiggle her bottom at him and she gasped when he squeezed the bouncing globes firmly. His fingers played with the strings of her thong, giving one side a hard snap against her skin and making Sookie moan.

Do you like that, Lover?” he asked, snapping the elastic of the other side against her flesh.

Mmm, yes,” she replied with another delicious jiggle.

What about this?” His hand made a firm collision with her left buttock.

Ah! Yes!” she answered, pressing against his hand where it had stayed to sooth the small hurt.

Do you want me to spank you and fuck you in your little red thong, Sookie?” Eric asked, planting another smack on her right cheek.

Yes, please!” she cried, pressing against his hand again. Sookie heard the sound of his zipper opening, and her body shimmied with anticipation. Eric chuckled at her reaction and knelt down, pushing the material of her thong aside so that he could snake his tongue into her begging hole. “Uhmm,” Sookie simpered, grinding against his mouth impatiently. “Darlin’, I don’t need foreplay. Please, fuck me,” she begged.

You do not want your pussy eaten?” Eric asked in surprise.

Darlin’, I could sit on your face all day and still not have enough of your mouth,” she told him. “But we don’t have all night just yet, so drop your pants and put it in me!”

Eric laughed as he rose to his feet. Holding the thin piece of material aside along with a nether lip, he placed the tip of his shaft against her opening slowly pushing inside.

OH!” she jerked at the unfamiliar angle. It was not unpleasant, quite the opposite, but he felt much thicker this way! Eric’s hands were tilting her hips back slightly, and Sookie felt him slip the remainder of the way inside before he adjusted her stance again. Her walls were hugging him tightly, showing no sign of relenting, and Eric growled in approval. “You’re so big, Darlin’,” Sookie whined, rocking slightly against him and swiveling her hips experimentally.

And you are so tight, Lover,” he replied, beginning a long, deep rhythm. When he was buried as far as he could go, Eric gave her rear a sharp slap causing her to clench around him even tighter. “Oh, yes,” Eric hissed blissfully at the pleasurable contraction around his rod. He pumped his hips speedily in response to the sensation, and then spanked the other cheek with equal ferocity, and was rewarded with another sweet squeeze of his staff.

Leaning forward, Eric reached around Sookie’s torso, one hand snaking beneath her shirt and bra to torment her breasts while the other slithered down her stomach between her thighs. As his left hand tugged and pinched her nipples, his right circled and teased her clit. All the while, his hips slapped against her backside, earning continual grunts of pleasure from the woman beneath him.

Eric,” she gasped, “Eric, I-I’m gonna cum.” Her back arched, her hips twisted, and the vampire felt her inner walls clamp down on him with hard flutters.

With a snarl, Eric picked up his pace, and managed to finish before her inner tremors subsided. “You cum so fast now, Sookie,” he leaned over her back, kissing her nape.

Mmm,” she hummed sedately into the mattress, letting out a groan when he slipped out of her entrance. “Is it true dark now?” she asked, turning her head slightly to watch Eric pull his trousers back over his narrow hips. She moaned at the way they hung off his body before he tightened his belt. “Darlin’, you’re too sexy to wear clothes.”

And you are too sexy to keep that ass in the air. Unless you want me to fuck you again…?” he finished thoughtfully, and gave her bare bottom a playful, light smack.

Shifting her weight, Sookie rolled onto her side. “I should get cleaned up,” she gave a boneless stretch before sliding off the bed and heading to the bathroom.

We should be able to leave in a moment,” Eric called after her, looking in the full length mirror in the closet door to make sure they had not left any embarrassing stains on his jeans or shirttail. Finding all unblemished, Eric grabbed his shoes and put them on. “Ready, Lover?”

Yeah,” Sookie replied, emerging from the bathroom. She quickly grabbed her patrol boots out of the closet and began to lace them.

You are wearing your 5.11’s?” he asked in surprise. “With that outfit?”

My brother needs to know I’m still ready to kick his ass even if I’m in a skirt,” she answered.

Perhaps some shorts under the skirt, then? I cannot be held responsible for my actions if you let me witness violence and proceed to flash your pussy at me,” he growled, wrapping her up in his arms while he kissed her neck.

Eric,” she groaned, “we really don’t have time to go again.”

Just remember that I warned you if your leg rises to deliver a kick this evening.”

The pair left the house hand in hand, breaking apart only to go to their separate sides and seats in the car. Once they were side by side again, their hands linked automatically. Their drive was comfortably silent all the way to Bon Temps. Eric was aware that Sookie needed time to prepare herself for the evening, and the only communication he offered was a reassuring squeeze of her hand when he felt her worry escalate.

When they pulled into the graveled driveway of the old farmhouse, Sookie groaned when she saw her brother’s pick-up already parked next to the back porch. “Am I able to invite you into the house?” Sookie asked, wanting to avoid alerting her brother of Eric’s nature before he entered their ancestral home.

Unfortunately, no,” Eric replied. “I will wait here. Your grandmother does not have to greet me to invite me inside her home. She can merely whisper an invitation and I will be able to enter.”

Sookie nodded, reluctantly let go of Eric’s hand, and walked into the house.

Hi, Gran,” Sookie called, walking into the living room to find Jason lounging on the couch with a beer, and Gran sitting in her rocker with a cup of tea. Her brother did not even look up at Sookie when she walked past him.

Good evening, Sookie,” Gran raised her cheek for the kiss Sookie was aiming at.

After the granddaughter’s lips had pressed to the soft, wrinkled skin, she whispered, “Can you quietly invite Eric into the house?”

Oh!” Gran’s eyes lit up at the opportunity to meet her little girl’s first boyfriend, “Eric, please come in!” she whispered in a hushed, excited tone.

Eric quickly entered the house once he felt the magical barrier drop to admit him. Once he stepped into the same room as the Stackhouse family, he took a quick inventory of Jason and Adele. “Good evening,” he acknowledged Adele and Jason smoothly, making the young man jump from the couch sharply, still clutching his beer by the bottle neck.

Who are you?” Jason snarled as threateningly as he could.


“Jason,” Sookie interrupted gently, “this is my boyfriend, Eric Northman. Eric, this is my older brother, Jason.”

Eric nodded at the man and Jason huffed before collapsing back on the couch like a disappointed guard dog, managing to take up most of the space without putting his work boots on the furniture and evoking Gran’s wrath.

With her brother taking up the entire couch, Sookie urged Eric to sit in the chair near Gran’s rocker and perched herself nervously on the arm of his seat.

Sookie, Dear,” Gran requested, “Will you please help me turn my rocker so I can see your Mr. Northman?”

Sookie jumped to her feet and twisted Gran’s chair to face her boyfriend, and then went back to her prior roost.

Mr. Northman,” Adele beamed at the vampire, taking in his overall appearance, “I am so pleased to meet you.”

Eric nodded mutely, never letting his gaze stray too far from Jason. The young man seemed calm enough, and the vampire reasoned that Mrs. Stackhouse had not yet broken the news of her illness to him.

The pleasure is all mine,” Eric rumbled, pleased at the flinch his voice made Jason experience. “You have a very lovely home.”

Thank you. It’s been in the family for generations,” she sighed, appraising the walls sadly. “How did you and Sookie meet?”

Tensing in preparation for Jason’s response, Eric answered, “Sookie came to my club nearly three weeks ago to ask if I knew anything about the murders taking place in your town. I own Fangtasia.”

You brought a fucking deader into this house, Sookie!?” Jason planted his feet squarely on the floor.

Jason Corbett Stackhouse, you watch your language!” Gran hissed.

Eric is the reason your name was cleared, Jason!” Sookie snapped at her brother. “He’s the one who found the real killer and made him go to the Sheriff’s office to confess to the murders, so you watch how you speak to him!”

Jason’s mouth sneered at the corner, and he crossed his arms over his chest with a huff.

Clearing her throat, Gran returned her attention to Eric. “Er… So you two started dating after you met at Fangtasia?” she asked.

About a week after,” Eric told her. “We spoke or spent time together between our first meeting and the time we chose to begin a romantic relationship, but Sookie was a quite reluctant to admit she wanted romance.”

Adele rolled her eyes. “Yes, that would be my Sookie,” she sighed.

Can’t believe my sister’s a fucking fangbanger. Always had to be different or weird.

Sookie ignored her brother’s thoughts. She could not hold him accountable for his thoughts, but if he even began to utter those words aloud, she would let him have it.

What do you two do when you’re not working?” Gran asked.

Probably fucks her and bleeds her. Bet her thighs look like hamburger meat now.’

I take her out to dinner; we go running with her dogs… Last night we went dancing at a Jazz club,” Eric recalled.

Wonder if that’s why she took up wearing skirts. Easy access panel for dinner.’

Sookie’s shoulders were tightening with every one of Jason’s maliciously crude thoughts.

That sounds lovely,” Gran laughed. “I am glad to hear Sookie’s finally getting to have a real relationship.” Eric glanced at Sookie worriedly. He could feel anger welling up inside of her, and it did not take a telepath to understand why. With the way her brother was staring daggers at her, it was obvious to the vampire that Jason was thinking unsavory things about his sister’s relationship. “I can’t remember the last time I saw her in a skirt. I think it was elementary school! You look so lovely, dear.”

Thanks, Gran,” Sookie replied mechanically, staring at the cold fireplace behind Adele’s back.

Yes, her new wardrobe is very appealing,” Eric agreed, squeezing Sookie’s knee and trying to send her his reassurance.

I bet you think so. Easy fucking-‘

Excuse me,” Sookie rose sharply from the arm of the chair and briskly left the room.

Pardon me as well,” Eric murmured to the group so he could follow his lover to the outside porch. He could hear Adele hissing reprimands at her grandson while he departed.

Sorry,” Sookie groaned when Eric came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. “You’d think with all the crap I hear all day long, I could handle my brother’s mental snarking.”

Eric planted his chin into Sookie’s shoulder as he whispered, “It is always more difficult with people whose opinions mean something to you.”

I couldn’t care less about his opinion. He just knows my rule. I never call someone out on his or her thoughts. He knows he can think whatever he wants at me, and I won’t bite until he actually says or does something.”

Do you want to scrap, Miss Stackhouse?” Eric asked in surprise.

I just want to be able to give him a piece of my mind the way he gets to give his!” she snapped.

Would you like me to force his hand?”

You’re not glamouring my brother, Eric.” Sookie sighed.

Eric smirked, “I think I know how to get your brother to open his mouth… Maybe even throw a fist.”

Sookie’s eyes widened, “How?”

Just keep your back to Adele, and I will handle the rest.”

Sookie frowned, but nodded in agreement. When the pair went back to their seats in the living room, Adele apologized profusely for whatever it was that had upset him and Sookie.

It was nothing, Adele. Sookie has just been restless as of late. Work has put her on administrative leave while they investigate the shooting from last weekend.”

HA! You’re gonna get fired, you stupid fangbanger!’

Sookie might have snapped at that thought, but she was distracted by Eric’s cool hand trailing up her calf. Her eyes widened, looking at her boyfriend in alarm as he met her thigh and gave it a firm squeeze.

What the fuck? In front of Gran?!’

Oh! At least she’ll be out of danger for a little while,” Gran commented. “If you want to do me a favor, Mr. Northman, you could convince my granddaughter to give up law enforcement!”

She knows my opinion on the matter. That is all I can do for now,” Eric replied, lazily ghosting his fingertips beneath her skirt. Sookie wriggled away in response.

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?” Jason roared while he witnessed his little sister squirming against a vampire’s hand under her skirt.

What are you talking about, Jason?” Sookie asked innocently.

Turning into a fangbanging whore! That’s what I’m talking about!” Jason snarled.

There’s only one set of fangs I bang, Jason, and he doesn’t pay for it. Now if you were referencing promiscuity, go yell at a mirror. I may bang fangs, but at least I don’t screw the trash that you do,” Sookie snapped right back. “Now either calm down and shut up, or we’re leaving and you can listen to Gran tellin’ ya off the rest of the night!”

The room was hushed in silence after Sookie’s hissing tirade. When it had ended, Eric was smirking, Gran looked scandalized at both of her grandchildren’s behavior, Jason’s face was red with anger, and Sookie looked ready to brawl.

I don’t know what’s gotten into you two,” Gran began in an angry whisper, “but whatever it is- it ends now. I did not raise you two to scream, yell, or throw obscenities around in front of guests!”

She’s the one letting her boyfriend finger her right in fucking front of me!” Jason hollered.

He was doing no such thing!” Sookie shrieked back at him.


“The hell he weren’t!”

He squeezed my thigh and that was it, Jason! What’s more, he wouldn’t have done it if you’d been man enough to talk about your anger instead of childishly thinking rude things at me from the second I walked through the door.”

Ain’t my fault you don’t like what you hear. You know what they say ’bout eavesdropping.”

I can’t turn it off, and you know how much harder it is to ignore when someone’s thinking at me intentionally. You may as well have been shouting in my ear.”

That is ENOUGH!” Gran boomed from her chair, making the siblings freeze. In all of their years, they had never heard their grandmother raise her voice in front of company. Their eyes widened childishly while they both sunk back into their seats. “Mr. Northman, I am mortified at what you’ve witnessed this evening.”

It is quite all right, Adele,” Eric assured her. “I am very sorry that my presence has only made an extremely difficult evening a greater strain for you.”

Jason frowned at Eric’s comment. “What do you mean ‘an extremely difficult evening’?”

Gran sighed, “Jason, I asked you over here tonight to tell you some news.”

She didn’t say bad news, just news. She didn’t say bad. She didn’t say bad.’

It’s bad,” Gran murmured.

Fuck! No, no, no, no, no. NO!’

I’m at stage four Liver Cancer, Dear,” Gran told him. “I’ve got maybe a little over a month left-”

Jason rose to his feet and began pacing. He ran his hands through his hair while he quickly walked back and forth between the archway and the coffee table. “-it could be a little less now. I’ve chosen to forgo treatment. My funeral arrangements-”

Please, Gran, stop! I can’t take it. I really, really can’t!” Jason stopped his pacing to fall onto his knees in front of Adele. He buried his face in the old woman’s lap as he began to sob, and his Gran soothed his hair like when he was a small child. “I don’t want you to go,” he choked.

Sookie turned her head from the scene, regretting it instantly when Eric’s hand reached up to push away her tears. ‘I want to do that, too,’ she thought sadly, glancing longingly at Gran comforting Jason, wanting desperately to be part of that moment.

Go on,” Eric urged softly, giving her a careful nudge off the armchair.

Biting her lip, Sookie tentatively took a step toward her family. In a shy, childlike way, she stood with tears streaming down her face; wringing her hands in front of her while she stared at the floor. Eric thought she looked awfully young in that moment.

Come here, my little darling,” Gran said to the frozen girl, and Sookie fell next to her brother and broke down crying. “You two are all we have left, my dears, the last two Stackhouses. Jason, you need to settle down with a good girl and stop blaming your sister for not fixing all of your problems. She’s the only family you have left. Sookie, I will pray until my dying day that you leave the police department before it turns you insane. You need to realize you can still help people and do great things without risking your own mental health!”

Sookie and Jason nodded against her thighs, ready to agree to anything their grandmother asked if it meant they could make her happy and keep her that much longer.

Eric rose from his seat deftly and silently walked out the front door. Sookie needed time with her family and the family needed to not be gawked at while grieving. A small sound of relief escaped his lips as he left, seeing Jason Stackhouse wrap an arm around Sookie and hold her close as they both bawled together. As much of a disliking Eric had taken to Jason already, he knew that Sookie would be greatly troubled if she lost her brother as well as her grandmother. Unfortunately, there was always the possibility that Jason was playing nice for Adele and would abandon Sookie after the old woman was gone.

That thought made the vampire angry. In that moment, he was uncertain if he could refrain from beating the older Stackhouse sibling to death if he was to be so deceitful.

The vampire endured another half hour of listening to Adele coo comfortingly to her grandchildren, and then Eric began to wonder if Adele was in need of any such consolation.

When Jason departed, still wiping tears from his eyes, Eric returned to the living room to find that Sookie had cried herself into a fretful sleep, still kneeling with her head in Adele’s lap.

Poor thing,” Adele murmured softly. “This is hardest on her. Having to hear my worries and her brother’s sadness… More than fear of her being killed, I fear what that job is doing to her mind,” she confessed to the quiet vampire. “She’s always been so sure that she can handle anything, or just flat out ignore things that would torment anyone with a weaker spirit.” Looking at her granddaughter’s lover, Adele asked, “Is she happy?”

Eric smiled, “Sometimes. I do not know how she feels through most of the daylight hours, but when I am aware, she seems happy most of the time.”

That’s good,” Adele whispered, stroking Sookie’s hair.

How are you holding up, Adele?” Eric asked.

The old woman let out a long sigh, “I’m frightened, not as much as I was, but still quite a bit. Not about dying, mind you. I’m frightened for Jason and Sookie. What will happen if they drift apart without me? What happens if Sookie gets hurt? What if the boyfriend of one of Jason’s lady friends comes at him with a shot gun?” her voice was rather teasing with her last example. “I want so much for them, but now I’ll never know if they’ll have any of it.”

Sookie shares many of your fears,” Eric told her.

She may have gotten them from me,” Adele replied honestly.

Perhaps,” he agreed.

Is there any chance you will actually be able to get her to leave her career?” Adele asked after a long pause.

Eric let out a long sigh. “If she falls in love with me, there is a good chance. Adele, since I will not have the opportunity in the future, I would like to ask for your blessing now.”

My blessing?”

To take Sookie as my wife.”

My goodness!” Adele gasped. “So soon?”

Eric shook his head. “I would prefer to wait a while before broaching the topic seriously, but that is the path I see us heading toward. I want you to know that I can take care of her in any and all possible ways, but you should realize that she will never have children if she chooses me, and if we were to marry by my kinds’ ways, she would become vampire in the future.”

Adele smiled softly, “I will always support what makes Sookie happy. If you are honest with her, and let her make her own decisions on any and all circumstances; I give you my blessing.”

Thank you.”

On to Chapter Fourteen

Never End Ch. 12

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Twelve: Considerations

I could have bought my own shoes,” Sookie continued to complain while her food was placed before her.

Eric rested his chin in his palm, looking at her indulgently. “I know that, Sookie, but I like spending money on you. Is that a bad thing?” he asked.

I don’t know. It seems as if it should be, but I’m not sure why.”

If you had to pick a single, negative, emotion to associate with my spending money on you, what would you choose?”


Sookie poked at her food distractedly while she tried to decide on an answer. Finally she murmured, “Embarrassment.”

What do you find embarrassing?” he pressed gently, still watching her not eat.

A weak shrug lifted her shoulders followed by a long pause. Eventually she whispered, “I guess it’s a few things. First, I’m really unaccustomed to it. No one’s ever really bought me things before and I just… Don’t know how to respond to it..?”

Are you asking me, or are you uncertain of your answer?”

Uncertain.”

All right. What else makes you flustered about it?”

I don’t want people thinking I can’t take care of myself.”

Do they think that?” Eric asked.

She shook her head. “No, mostly they’re jealous; if it’s a girl or indignant if they’re a guy.”

Do you believe that I think you are incapable of supporting yourself?” Eric asked.

No. You’re well aware that I can and have taken care of myself.”

So what do you care what someone might think when you know for certain that they are not thinking it?” Eric pressed. Another half-hearted lift of her shoulders made Eric sigh. “Sookie, your inexperience with allowing men to fawn over you would explain your uncertainty and embarrassment at accepting romantic gestures, but this concern regarding the thoughts that someone may have? That seems as if it could be an opinion implanted by another person. Someone you respect or love?”

Tara,” Sookie muffled around a bite of food.

The friend who stopped speaking to you when you went into law enforcement?” Eric asked curiously.

Yeah,” She began playing with her food again.

I take it she had rather strong views on men spending money on women?” Sookie nodded at Eric’s guess. “I understand valuing opinions of those you care for or respect, but how valuable is the opinion of someone who abandoned you?”

I guess I’m even more broken than I thought,” Sookie took several bites of food quickly, trying to shove away the topic by keeping her mouth full.

You are,” he agreed, regretting his comment at her forlorn, puffed-cheek expression. “Yet you have managed to glue yourself together quite remarkably despite the damages that were made to you. Everyone is broken, Sookie. It is how they repair themselves that speaks of who they are. There is no shame in who broke you or how. They are things that were done to you, and no one deserves disgrace from family, peers, or loved ones for such things. What you had to do,” Eric paused while he considered just how much she had shut herself down in order to cope. “What you had to do to make yourself function and be happy in any possible way you could manage is terrifying and… Admirable.”

Sookie scoffed at his words, “I didn’t have it that rough!”

Oh, Sookie,” Eric sighed, “you did. You really did, and the fact that you cannot see that makes me want to give you so many things. Not money, shoes, or things so frivolous… I want to give you companionship that does not understand the word ‘no’. I want to give you affection that makes others sick with envy. I want to give you adventure and laughter. I want to give you arms to fall into when the world is too heavy on your shoulders.” He looked across the table at her and Sookie swallowed hard on the bite of food she had forgotten was in her mouth. “I also want to give you all of the frivolous, expensive gifts that you know I can afford.” Sookie laughed at that last part.

You know, Northman, you really do know some amazing lines.”

Well, Miss Stackhouse, you are the one who inspires such words. How can words spoken about someone so awe-inspiring not be amazing?” Sookie flushed a deeper red while she poked at her food unable to look him in the eyes. “You do not take compliments well,” he remarked.

I’m not used to it,” she told him. “You’d think I’d be over it by now with how often you say things like that, but it still…”

Embarrasses you?” he guessed. Sookie nodded. “You know, when I asked what made you uncomfortable with my paying for things and you said that you were just unaccustomed to such treatment, I think that was the honest truth. It is not in your nature to show indignation, so the only remaining response is embarrassment.”

Could be,” she shrugged noncommittally.

Has your life really been so absent of admiration, L… Hmm… Baby?”

Sookie giggled at his attempt to avoid his usual endearment in public. “Oh, Eric! The way your mouth moves around that word is hilarious!”

I do not enjoy calling you by a word that implies an attraction to prepubescents,” Eric objected.

Then why was it the first alternative that sprung to mind?”

I had other alternatives before settling on that.”

Oh?” She gazed at him in a way that encouraged her lover to explain.

Eric sighed before relenting, “I was particularly agreeable to ‘Dear One’.”

Sookie’s lower lip drew between her teeth as she whispered, “I’m agreeable to that.”

Eric’s eyes softened when she accepted the endearment. “Then that is what I will call you in public.”

Returning to her food, all anxiety and embarrassment forgotten, she proceeded to clean her plate.

Would you like dessert? After all, we have not discussed potential exploits for your super formal dress,” Eric pointed out.

Oh, well,” Sookie played with her hair, “there was a chocolate cheesecake that looked good…”

Eric nodded, flagging over the waiter and submitting Sookie’s order. As the server left, Eric looked back at his lover and began again, “Were there any events that you would like to attend that would be black tie affairs?”

I really only know of one event like that and it’s the Shreveport Police Charity Ball. Only, I don’t know that I would want to go,” she admitted sheepishly.

Eric cocked his head to the side. “Why not?”

Some of my colleagues would be there. No one I work with has seen me dress as I’d be dressed. I don’t know how I feel about that…”

Embarrassed?” Eric guessed in a teasing manner.

I suppose.”

Afraid they will see what you have been hiding all these years and begin thinking inappropriately about you?” he asked.

Oh, that happens quite a bit now,” she waved off his speculation.

Does it?”

Sookie frowned. “Of course.”

What do you mean by ‘of course’?”

Sookie looked at him strangely. “Eric, people do fantasize. It’s a part of daily life, and not to sound vain, but I’m pretty hot.” Eric laughed at her blatant remark. “You disagree that men other than you find me attractive?” she challenged.

Absolutely not,” he remarked while still laughing. “Only that you were so flustered and shy when I showed my interest in you. I thought perhaps that ‘fuck off’ look you wore on your face deterred men’s open fantasizing.”

Sookie scowled. “You and Pam would get along so well with Trent. For your information, I was so flustered by all the flirting because I could ignore fantasies. I’ve never actually had people, well, vampires, flirting with me so directly!”

Vampires? Plural?”

Oh, please, as if you don’t know Pam’s been trying to get in my pants. Although she was easier to ignore than Compton.”

Eric’s eyebrows rose. “Compton? Why was he more difficult?”

Because he made me think of you.”

Her vampire sneered at that. “How so?”

He asked when the last time was that I let a man be familiar with me. You’re the only man I’ve let call me by my first name since I graduated high school. In a way, Compton opened a floodgate by associating familiarity with sex. You were the first man who called me ‘Sookie’ and got away with it. It started me thinking about how beautiful you are and who wouldn’t mind making an exception for you,” Sookie’s head inclined slightly, hiding her face behind a curtain of hair. “Then I ran into you that same evening, we had our banter, and I was so restless after I got home. I thought about you just so I could fall asleep.”

I see,” Eric understood her less-than-subtle hint at masturbating to thoughts of him. “So it took you a week and a half of thinking of me before you built up the courage to ask?” Sookie nodded mutely. “Perhaps that is good. It gave you time to determine the extent of your attraction. I am grateful we had that extra time to speak to one another over the phone and get to know one another.”

So am I, although it felt as if you were learning a heck of a lot more than me,” she confessed.

Perhaps, but I am a difficult person to know… We have gotten off topic again,” Eric pointed out. “Do you really have no desire to go to the police charity event?”

Sookie shrugged. “I really don’t know… I do because I’d like to attend an event that supports law enforcement, something that I could still feel good about if my first formal event isn’t all that impressive…”

It is May 24th?” Eric checked.

Sookie was stunned that he knew. “Yeah, how did you know?”

I donate money quite frequently to the Shreveport Police Department,” he reminded. “They sent me an invitation a few weeks ago to the ball.”

Nibbling her lips, Sookie asked quietly, “Do you know what else is on May 24th?” Eric tilted his head curiously and Sookie laughed. “My birthday.”

Really?” he looked at her in delight. “Am I allowed to spoil you then?”

Sookie’s eyes narrowed carefully. “Elaborate on ‘spoil’.”

May I give you my credit card on your birthday so you might get your hair and nails done for the fundraiser?” he asked.

Hesitantly, Sookie asked, “Is it very expensive to have those things done professionally?”

You never have?”

Well, I get my hair trimmed every few months, but I’ve always just kept my nails short and cut back my own cuticles,” she explained.

What if I made reservations for you at one of the spas that is a favorite of Pam? They would have my credit card on file there…” Sookie gave him a surprised look at that and he quickly explained, “Pam usually uses my credit cards, particularly for her clothes and body treatments.”

I thought vampire bodies didn’t change?”

They do not, but we still indulge from time to time, especially after The Great Revelation,” Returning to topic, he finished his earlier thought, “Since the spa already has my card on file, you may have any treatment you wish done, and it will just get billed to me. No need for you to see any costs or worry about something as inconsequential to my bank account as a trip to the spa.”

Sookie hesitated momentarily, “So my letting you do that would make you happy?”

Very,” he assured.

Seeing that he was being perfectly honest, Sookie nodded in agreement. “Okay.” After another second she asked, “Eric, do you know much about manicures and stuff?”

I suppose. Pam prattles on about it enough and I have had manicures before. That was only buffing and shaping my nails though, nothing like what Pam has done.”

Do you know what that paint job is?”

Paint job?”

Where it looks like a natural nail? A flesh tone at the nail bed and white tipped?”

A French manicure?”

Is that what it is?”

Yes,” Eric nodded. “Why?”

‘Cause that’s what I want for the fundraiser. Something classy and subtle.”

Eric nodded enthusiastically, “That sounds very sexy.”

Really?”

Oh, yes. A beautiful woman should be remembered, not her flashy nails or slinky dress.”

Well, my dress is pretty sexy.”

It is on you. Of course it looks sexy.”

Sookie flushed, and then her eyes widened when the server came by with her cheesecake. She dove into it enthusiastically. “I’ll need to hit the gym tomorrow morning,” she mused.

Speaking of plans for tomorrow, I thought it might be a good idea to visit your grandmother tomorrow evening.”

Sookie’s fork paused halfway to her mouth. “Why?”

Did you not tell me she wished to meet me?” Eric asked.

Well, yeah, but…”

Are you still hesitant to acknowledge your time with her is limited?” Eric asked gently.

Sookie set down her fork, desire for chocolate cheesecake eclipsed with sorrow. “Yes,” she finally admitted.

Sookie,” Eric murmured quietly, “it may not seem like it, but you have a very nice advantage right now. Your grandmother is still well enough to genuinely enjoy part of her remaining time. Would you not prefer seeing her spry and happy while you can still make more memories?” Sookie nodded slowly. “Then let us put aside time in the early evening to spend with her. As often as you like, but we should definitely go tomorrow evening to start.”

Okay,” Sookie quietly agreed.

Would you like if I diverted your thoughts a moment?”

Yes, please,” Sookie began poking at her cheesecake now.

Do you know how to dance?” he asked.

Sookie froze for a moment, “Umm… What kind of dancing?”

Black tie dancing,” he teased, pinching his tongue between his teeth.

Then, no. I can’t dance,” Sookie admitted.

Perhaps we should practice then,” Eric suggested.

Sookie leered at him from over her cheesecake. “I’ve enjoyed the sorts of practice you’ve introduced me to so far.”

Eric grinned cheekily at her and Sookie finished her dessert. After Eric took care of the check, he drove them deeper into the heart of Shreveport until they arrived at a little club where Sookie could hear the music crooning from the sidewalk. It was not the heavy thrum of a nightclub, but the intoxicating invitation of smooth jazz.

So help me, Eric, if this is another club you own…”

It is not,” Eric laughed while interrupting her threat. “I do know the owner, however.”

Sookie rolled her eyes, “You know everyone it seems.”


Eric just laughed to himself as he led his lover into the club. The atmosphere was just as inviting as the music had been. It was cozy, though surprisingly larger than the outside had led on. There was a small dance floor where only two other couples swayed to the music. About twenty other people were enjoying the music from their seats.

Shall we?” Eric asked, leading her to the floor, grinning internally at the apprehension rolling off of her.


“Eric, I really can’t dance,” Sookie moaned nervously, her legs freezing up on her.

Do not worry, Dear One, I will not let you embarrass yourself,” he reassured her, thawing out her legs as he lead Sookie to the dance floor. “Have I not already taught you so many things your body is capable of that you never knew?”

Sookie shivered as he lulled her onto the floor, placing her left hand to his chest and taking her right hand in his left one while his right hand gently clasped her hip. It was easy for Sookie to find the rhythm of the song, and Eric pulled and pushed her so deftly across the floor that moving with him was as effortless as being in bed with him. The ground instantly melted away and the thoughts of the other club goers hushed with the silence brought by his touch. It was just the two of them pulling and pushing each other across the surface of the Earth like magnets simultaneously attracting and expelling one another in a cooperative rhythm. It was not difficult to realize why so many thought of sex as horizontal dancing.

And you said you could not dance!” Eric murmured in her ear as the song ended and he leaned in to kiss her throat. As his body was inclined over hers, Sookie felt his hand leave her side to run down the curve of her hip briefly tracing beneath the hem of the skirt she wore. The fleeting contact made her breath hitch as she was instantly reminded of her lack of panties. Her heart pounded despite the brevity of Eric’s suggestive evocation.

Eric!” she gasped, her hand clutching the front of his shirt.

Hmm?” he slid his hand back to her waist and began moving their bodies around the floor as the next song began. Distracted as she was, Sookie used all of her willpower not to stumble while they began dancing once more.

That’s not fair,” she pouted up at him.

What?” Eric asked, wearing a grin so diabolical it made Satan’s horns look like a halo. Before she could reply his right hand migrated toward her bottom giving it a playful squeeze. The action effectively pressed his growing bulge against her stomach and Sookie let out a breathy moan in response. “Ready to go?” Eric whispered. He could smell her arousal perfuming the air around them.

Yes, please,” she answered breathlessly.

Squeezing her hand in his, Eric lead Sookie out of the club and back to his car. When Eric opened the passenger door and sat down, his lover looked at him in confusion until he unzipped his pants and pulled her onto his lap.

Eric,” she whined quietly when she felt his erection brush against her aroused entrance. “Someone could see-”

Was that not the point?” Eric asked, taking her hips in his hands gently urging her to slide down his staff.

But-”

You can say no, Sookie,” he assured her easing his hands from her sides.

Sookie chewed her lip for a split second before succumbing to his suggestion and sinking down his cock, the tiniest whimper escaping her slightly open mouth. Frantically, her mouth reached for his and her hips began rocking urgently against him.

In a hurry?” Eric laughed against her mouth.

I don’t want to get caught,” she mumbled back before tangling her tongue against his and moving that much quicker.

Eric nipped her tongue with his teeth while his hand moved beneath her skirt to hasten her release. Her fingers wove into the hair at the nape of his neck, pulling it and causing his hips to crash upward into hers. Sookie gave his hair another sharp tug and groaned at the responding collision.

Yeah, Darlin’, just like that,” Sookie hissed as his thumb speedily rubbed against the pleasure point above her opening. Her teeth clenched tightly before her hips gave sharp, violent jerks. She leaned forward and dug her teeth into his shoulder stifling her cry when her inner walls began contracting around the thrusting rod inside her.

Mine!” Eric snarled quietly into her ear as he came shortly after her.

Yours,” she agreed with a gasp for air. Once her breathing calmed, she asked, “Mine?”

Yours,” he assured, eyes still closed while her body relaxed around him. When Sookie moved to rise from his lap, Eric pulled her body back to his, wrapping his arms around her. “No,” he murmured quietly. “Stay right here.”

Eric,” she fretted.

I would glamour anyone who found us,” he soothed her. “Just let me hold you awhile longer this way.” When Sookie relaxed against him, Eric purred happily. “Thank you.”

Resting her head against his shoulder, Sookie took in a deep breath of his scent and let out an appreciative moan. “You smell so nice.”

Eric gently laughed as he began stroking her hair. “Thank you.”

You ready to go home?” she asked quietly, nuzzling against his chest.

Humming thoughtfully, Eric finally relented after giving her body another squeeze. “I suppose.”

I was wondering, when we get home, could you give me some of your blood?” Sookie asked shyly. “I think I’m ready for these bruises to heal.”

A flash of happiness passed through the vampire at her request. “I would like that very much. I have disliked the unease that seeing you damaged this way has caused me,” He paused a moment before asking, “You will not feel ashamed when you go to work for your next psychological evaluation with your bruises healed?”

Sookie smiled at him. “If anyone has the gall to ask, I’ll just tell them I’m reaping the benefits my lover provides me.”

You are a marvel, Dear One,” Eric pulled her mouth to his, enjoying one last drawn out kiss before helping Sookie rise off of him. When he was zipped up, Eric climbed out of the passenger seat and placed Sookie into it before getting behind the wheel and driving them back to his house.

What do you plan to do tomorrow during the day?” he asked once they were in bed for the night.

Probably do some more shopping. I need to buy shoes for my dress and now I really want to buy some sexy undies too,” she teased him.

Oh, I see,” Eric leaned over her body and sought her lips with his own. After a deep kiss, he pulled away and asked, “Are you ready to lose the bruises?”

Yes, please,” Sookie grinned.

The amount of blood you need may give you a persistent urge for sex,” he warned.

Darlin’ if it gets much more persistent, I’m gonna have to quit my job and you’re gonna have to find a way to stay awake during the day,” she challenged.

Quite the incentive!”

Sookie scowled at him. “You really don’t like me being in law enforcement, do you?” she demanded.

I really do not,” he replied honestly. “I respect your abilities as a detective and I respect your decision to serve the public at the risk of your own safety. That does not mean I like the thought of my lover’s life in danger every time she goes to work.”

Well, get used to it, Buster! I want my cheap, gold watch,” she stuck her tongue out at him. Eric’s smile turned distant and Sookie felt her tongue slip back into her mouth. “Eric,” she restarted softly, only continuing when he hummed that he was listening, “what’s the worst damage I could take before your blood wouldn’t save me?”

Eric paused a moment before stating, “It depends on what you mean by ‘save’.”

Sookie frowned, contemplating his meaning before realization struck, “You mean the difference between living and surviving?”

Yes,” he whispered quietly.

Surviving,” she told him.

Eric turned onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. “So long as your brain and heart remained undamaged, I could ensure your continued existence. The moment your heart stops, I cannot give the same guarantees. Each human is different, you see. Some cling to the shell of their body longer than others do. If the spark of their existence is still shining past their death, they may still be transformed, but it does not always work out well. There are possibilities of insanity or mental retardation.”

Sookie stiffened at his side, swallowing hard at the potential ramifications. “That’s only if my heart stopped, right?” she asked in a whisper.

Yes, or if your brain were damaged… Like taking a bullet to the head,” he whispered hoarsely.

Pausing for a moment, Sookie asked, “What would happen to my body if I were taking your blood regularly?”

You mean if we were Bonded?” Eric asked quietly.

Yes.”

Taking a deep, unnecessary breath he explained, “Your body would heal faster, become stronger, and your reflexes would increase to the realm of exceptional for a human.”

Would I be able to-”

Sookie,” Eric stopped her, “I would not wish for you to have those abilities while you are in law enforcement.”

Why not? I’d be safer-”


“You would also be more reckless and overconfident,” he argued gently.

Sookie sighed at his point. “I can’t say you’re wrong.”

His body relaxed at her admission. “I am going to make something very clear, Sookie… If you agree to Bond with me, your career in law enforcement would not last long.”

You’d make me quit my job?” she demanded, though she tried not to sound stern or angry.

No. You would want to quit your job,” he tried to clarify.

Oh, that’s the thing about being extra cautious for the sake of your mate, right?” Sookie asked.

Eric was stunned by her immediate acknowledgement. “Yes, it is.”

I see,” Sookie nibbled her lip thoughtfully.

Cocking his head at the action, Eric smiled to himself. “You know, you chew on your lip quite often around me, but you are far less fidgety around others.”

Smiling at his observation, Sookie asked him, “Haven’t you realized I don’t have any of my walls up around you?”

I have.”

What is the likelihood of us accidentally Bonding?” Sookie asked, thinking of her career and not so much the Bond itself.

Eric sighed, wondering the same thing. “It is hard to give a probability ratio, especially since you see me so close to dawn and spend time with me before sunset so often. I can try my hardest to prevent accidental mutual exchanges, but accidents do happen. Also, with your career, there is always the chance I might need to heal you with my blood after I have drunk from you. It seems unlikely that I would be unable to resist your bleeding if you were the one to drink first. I am old enough and have enough control to avoid such an incident.”

I think losing my career is going to be harder for me to accept than the prospect of never having kids,” she told him quietly.

Yes,” he agreed sadly, “I suppose it will.”

Looking at his despondent expression created an ache in Sookie’s chest that she had never experienced before. Her body yearned to offer him some shred of comfort, but she knew a future broken promise would hurt him far greater than some immediate, temporary relief.

I wish I could give you more hope,” she murmured. “You’re everything I never hoped to dream of, but my career is what I’ve always struggled toward.”

I know, my Sookie,” he turned onto his side and kissed her face softly. “I think we have had enough deep conversation for one day. How do you feel about exploring a different sort of depth for the evening?” His sorrowful expression suddenly turned mercurially playful.

Forcing her own genuine smile through the layers of concern on her face, Sookie traced her thumb over his plump lower lip before leaning in and kissing him carefully. He returned the comforting expression, easing his hand into her hair and tangling it around his fingertips until she pulled away for a lungful of air.

Turn onto your other side, Lover,” Eric urged, gently pushing her hips until she rolled onto her right side while he pressed his chest tenderly against her back. After a moment, a soft ‘snick’ rented the air, and a bleeding wrist was offered to Sookie’s lips. She latched onto the wound tentatively and took a deep pull of blood down her throat. As a moan sounded around his arm, Eric’s knee slipped between the back of her thighs separating them so that her left leg was hooked over his and her center was open to receiving his hardness.

When he slipped inside of her from behind, another cry muffled against his flesh urging Eric to kiss and nibble her shoulder. He crooned in her ear periodically about the overwhelming heat of her sex and the luxurious wetness that coated him. All too soon, enough of his blood had been consumed and he could see the bruises on her back fading along with the swelling of her face receding to its normal curves and planes.

Disengaging his self-inflicted injury from her mouth and earning a groan of protest, Eric smiled to himself, and then reached between her thighs to languidly run his fingers over her clit. As his slow ministration caused Sookie to wriggle in his loose embrace, Eric merely continued his sedate pace and showered her shoulder, neck, and back with his kisses and love bites.

It was not long until she was climaxing around him drawing out his own release, and Eric moaned loudly against her healed shoulder blade. His throbbing cock filled Sookie with the evidence of her affect on him, and she moaned happily at the satiation his ecstasy brought her.

Mmm,” she hummed contentedly, “it feels so good when you fuck me like that. Like my whole body is having an orgasm.”

Eric buried a smile into her shoulder, his eyes closing gently. “That is because I am not fucking you, Dear One. I am making love to you.”

On to Chapter Thirteen

Never End Ch. 11

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Eleven: Lessons

Are you certain you did not drink too much?” Eric asked for the fifth time while he settled Sookie on his bed.

Yes,” she said with a roll of her eyes. “You saw me walking just fine, right? I’m not slurring, am I?”

No, but you are small, and Pam makes strong drinks. I was only on the phone with Long Shadow’s Maker for thirty minutes and you drank two of those gin and tonics.”

I’m fine. Now come here!” she snapped, grabbing the front of his shirt and pulling him atop her. “I want to do naughty things to you.” Her legs wrapped tightly about his waist while her mouth sought his own.

Do you now?” he laughed against her mouth before tangling his tongue with hers.

Pulling her tongue from his, she hissed, “Yes! You said I do a good job sucking you, and I want to do that again.”

Eric groaned pressing his growing erection into the mattress and wishing it were her mouth. “Maybe I should give you alcohol more often. Listen to that mouth!”

There are better things I can do with my mouth than talk. Now take off your pants!”

Rolling them so that he was on his back with Sookie above him, Eric leered up at her. “Or, you could take them off for me,” he offered.

A sultry rumble rolled from the woman’s lips and she began crawling down his body, pausing to push the tail of his shirt above his abdomen and licking the hard lines of his muscles. When she arrived at the pathway of hair beneath his navel, she kissed her way to the button of his fly while her hands quickly went to work opening his pants. Eric lifted his hips when she began tugging the clothing down, and he laughed when she got them to his shoes and made a noise of frustration before working them off his feet. The vampire sat up slightly to remove his shirt once she had liberated his legs, and he sprawled out naked under her inspection.

Get on your stomach,” Sookie commanded brazenly.

Eric lifted his eyebrows at the request. “That is not really conducive to your earlier request, is it?” he asked even as he rolled onto his belly.

You’ve implied over and over that you’re mine, right?” Sookie asked a hint of amusement in her voice.

I have, and I am,” he agreed, feeling her move behind him for a moment before she straddled his back. Her naked thighs were soon astride his ribs, and while she settled into place, he could feel the hot moisture of her nether lips against his flesh.

He moaned when she leaned forward, her hot sex sliding against him, and her plentiful breasts pressed firmly against his shoulder blades. When her mouth came to his ear and her warm breath caressed it, Eric was forced to bite back another groan of pleasure. Quietly, she whispered, “I’m allowed to explore what’s mine, right?”

Oh, yes, Lover,” he answered heatedly, pressing his eyes shut while she ran her fingers along the sculpted muscles of his upper back. Her strong fingers massaged into his flesh, memorizing the planes and sharp reliefs as she planted kisses behind his ear and his nape. She pushed his golden tresses away, running her tongue across the hairline before tracing the hot, wet, muscle down his neck to between his shoulders. Her teeth gnashed at the thick cord of muscle between his neck and shoulder before her lips trailed hot kisses all the way down his back.

Your ass is a work of art,” she commented huskily when she reached the small of his back, breasts smashed against the portion of anatomy she was complimenting. She kissed and dipped her tongue into the dimples of his lower back while her hands squeezed the sections of his buttocks that her breasts had not eclipsed. “It could compete as your best feature.”

Eric could only reply with a noncommittal grunt while she slid further down his body and bit his left cheek firmly before kissing down one leg and back up the other to bite his right cheek.

Sookie,” he growled, “you better be planning on flipping me over soon.”

Hmm,” she hummed thoughtfully, teasingly. “I suppose I could be motivated to stop marveling at this sculpture of an ass.” She gave her subject of scrutiny another playful nibble. “I would need something in return though.”

Anything,” he snarled as she began kneading his buttocks like a kitten.

It is actually two somethings,” she admitted.

Anything,” he agreed again.

First off, we’re doing that 69 thing. Secondly, you’re fucking me until you die for the day or I black out, whichever comes first.”

Agreed!”

With lightning speed and dizzying results, Eric moved out from beneath her. She would have laughed if his next action had not taken her breath away. Without a moment to even comprehend the motion, Sookie found her body spun around, and dragged up the length of Eric’s chest until his mouth was buried in her sex and she was staring down at his. For more than a moment, Sookie sprawled across his body momentarily stunned into immobility as Eric worked his mouth against her. Once she regained her balance, she wriggled slightly, reaching for his member. Quickly, she realized her mouth could not meet its destination.

“Eric,” she gasped when his tongue snaked into her. “Eric, darlin’, I can’t reach you!” She strained toward the begging staff in front of her, but her vampire’s vice-like grip on her hips kept her from getting her mouth any closer.

With a grunt, she felt his chest arch away from her as he inclined his body, pushing Sookie closer to his groin. She moaned excitedly when his cock drew closer to her lips until they enveloped the hard column in a seemingly practiced motion.

Eric made a low sound in his throat when he felt Sookie’s mouth wrap around his cock. Her small, strong, hands gripped him firmly; one on his cock, the other cupping his balls while her head bobbed rhythmically. The sensations she stirred enthralled the vampire. Her right hand rocked against his shaft as her left squeezed and manipulated his scrotum, all while her tongue snaked around the head of his cock.

So good,” Eric murmured between laps of his tongue. His fingers dipped inside of her well, coaxing more of her honey into his mouth. “You taste so good, Lover!” Encasing her nub between his careful teeth, his tongue flickered frantically against it. She shuddered against him, her thighs trembling near his ears, her mouth and hands speeding up as if to combat the urge to freeze and just feel.

There was an intensifying vibration against his cock, and it took Eric a second to realize Sookie was beginning to mumble incoherently under his technique. Surprisingly, she managed to keep her body in motion, still manipulating his cock up until her climax when her entire frame seized. Her channel clamped down on his thrusting fingers, her thighs shut tightly over his ears, and her mouth suctioned deliciously onto the end of his shaft. The sudden pressure the latter action created was enough for Eric to cry out in his own orgasm and sink his fangs into the flesh just lateral of her opening.

An explosion of blood burst into his mouth. Her body was pumping copious amounts of the crimson elixir to her sex, and his mouth was diverting the flow into his stomach. It took a great deal of will power to stint the cascade of blood, more than he cared to admit, but Eric began sweeping his tongue over the wound until it sealed.

Sookie was lying sprawled over his body. He could feel wetness trickling from her mouth and across his hip while she panted urgently atop him.

Done already, Lover?” Eric asked innocently, slowly easing her body off of his own before draping his frame over hers. As she lay dazedly beneath him, Eric parted her thighs and slipped his length deep inside until his pelvis kissed hers.

UH!” she sobbed, arching weakly beneath him.

You have not passed out yet,” Eric asserted in a challenging tone. Her earlier domination of him had sparked a desire to reciprocate. As he drew back his hips slowly and reinserted swiftly, Sookie let out another small sob. She wailed as she felt his cock flex inside of her, and tears streamed from her eyes. “Do you want me to stop?” he growled against her ear tauntingly. “You are still awake.”

Nooooo,” she moaned out while she tried to command her body to move in the way she intended. He had turned her into a marionette. Her limbs only jerked when he pulled the string he desired. Another delicious collision compelled an awe-inspiring arch of her back.

You are so beautiful beneath me, Sookie,” he rasped in her ear, pushing his hips tightly against hers and flexing the muscles of his pelvic floor. Sookie’s leg jerked at the change of direction and a weeping howl poured from her lips.

Eric,” she cried, her hips twitching while he continued to tense inside of her. The next time he withdrew, Eric hooked his elbow beneath her knee, pushing the limb toward her chest as he slammed back inside. “ERIC!” she screamed when he struck deeper than he ever had before. The woman beneath him was gasping for air, her eyes squeezed shut, her jaw clenched tightly as oxygen hissed between her teeth.

Stay with me, Sookie,” Eric snarled when he felt her body going boneless before she could even climax. “You can sleep tomorrow.” His free hand dipped between their bodies to rub her clit, and Sookie’s body jolted in response, her eyes opening wide while a garbled moan spilled from her mouth. “Yes, Sookie, stay with me. My cock wants you to cum for it like you came for my mouth.”

Sookie whimpered in response to his words. Her body was not responding in any way she could recognize. Her legs were dead to her. Her lungs were burning. Her arms were trembling and weak. Her heart was pounding so frantically, she thought it might stutter to an exhausted halt.

Just as the woman was certain she would black out mid-fuck, Eric’s stroke shortened, and the thickest part of his shaft rubbed insistently against the most sensitive part of her opening. Between the surety of his thrusts and his perfectly pressured thumb on her clit, Sookie came undone in a matter of seconds. Her walls clamped down on him as she uttered one last muted howl, and she sobbed openly over the completion of her orgasm as Eric’s own answering cry coincided with his throbbing cock emptying inside of her.

Turning them onto their sides, Eric cradled the crying, gasping, woman in his arms, soothing her hair while she tried to regain control of her body and emotions. His member remained buried inside of her as it pulsed in time with her own contracting walls. Eric took into account several things in that moment. The rhythm of her heartbeat, the shortness of her breath, the fact that it had been over a solid minute, and they were both still experiencing post-orgasm contractions.

Are you all right, Sookie?” Eric asked gently when her heartbeat had yet to calm after nearly five minutes. He slipped out of her, feeling her flinch.

S-sorry,” she gasped, “I’m just having trouble… Calming back down.”

Mmm,” Eric snuggled her tighter to his body, “you were highly aroused for quite a while, Lover. I believe that is the longest you have kept up with me.”

Sookie groaned. “How long were we doing it?”

The vampire glanced at the clock, “It is nearly a quarter to two. We arrived home at midnight.”

We’ve been screwing around for two hours?” she asked in alarm.

About…” He went back to playing with her hair once her heart had finally slowed down to a reasonable pace. After her heart and lungs seemed to have calmed for an extended period of time, Eric reached his hand between her legs, and Sookie immediately clamped her thighs around his hand with a hiss. “Raw?”

Yes,” she snapped irritably.

I will fix that,” he promised, bringing his hand to his mouth and slicing his finger open to draw out a fair amount of blood. When Sookie’s eyes widened hopefully, he shook his head with a smirk. “It is not going in the hole you would prefer.”

Sookie frowned when he brought his bleeding digit back between her legs and began coating her inflamed entrance with deep red fluid. The tiny sound of relief that accompanied the healing properties of his blood was instantaneous.

Humans don’t have to drink vampire blood to heal?” she asked, eyes shutting as her discomfort abated.

Not always. It depends on the injury. Skin irritation, lacerations… If the surface tension of the skin is compromised, our blood can be administered topically. However, pores are not suitable passages for sub-dermal injuries. That is why you would need to drink my blood to heal the bruises from your bullet injuries although, the more severe the injury, the less effective a topical treatment can be. If you were shot or stabbed, it would be more prudent for you to drink my blood rather than my bleeding directly into the wound.”

Why?”


Eric shrugged. “Vampires’ magic is greatly tied in to blood drinking. Though our blood’s magic is still mildly effective in other mediums, it will never be as potent as when it is consumed.”

But why?”

I do not know. Perhaps it has to do with how vampires Bond. If there were a human we would offer our blood to thrice to keep alive, surely we would want to keep them forever. It is no simple matter when a vampire gifts a human with their blood. It is quite frowned upon to give a human our blood indiscriminately.”

Really? It seems like unless a mutual exchange is possible, you’ve been trying to force feed me your blood.”


Eric grinned down at her unashamed. “That is because I want you healthy and happy. I have made my choice in you, Sookie. Now all I have to do is wait and see if you make the same choice in me.”

I did,” she sighed in feigned dismay. “You turned me down.”

Eric rolled his eyes at her counterfeit distress. “There are enough things happening in your life right now without making life-altering commitments.” He pressed his forehead to hers and asked gently, “Have you even considered the fact that you will never be able to have children if you stay with me?”

No, but then I’ve never thought about having kids.”

Ever?” he asked in surprise.

Not really, and then every time I have a case involving a dead child, or hear another department working a child abuse case, all I can ever think is, ‘Thank God I don’t want children’.” She played with the fingers of his hand that was not currently buried in her hair. “When I told Gran about this, she kind of rolled her eyes and thought that if everyone thought like me, the population would be at zero in no time. Besides, what kid would want a mom who could hear their thoughts? They’d turn into a teenager and hate my guts, AND I’d be a cop. They wouldn’t trust me for anything.”

Oh, Lover, and you were doing so well up until now, so confident, sexy, and brimming with self-esteem. Now I must resort back to telling you how perfect you are to me,” Eric kissed her mouth soothingly.

Eric, I’m not emotionally flagellating myself. I’m just telling you why I’ve never wanted kids, and in this moment, I’m very grateful for that. No matter the fact that it was rooted in a very self-loathing part of my past, it still prepared me mentally for a future without children, a future where I could be happy with you, and not feel as if I was sacrificing something to accept and keep you.” She tangled her fingers with Eric’s as she murmured, “Maybe there are things about me that go against the norm. There’s a good chance that most of those things stem from very negative thoughts about myself… Still, I don’t feel that way anymore, but that doesn’t mean that all of the desires I’ve never felt before will suddenly break some sort of dam inside of me. I’m not going to yearn for children, Eric. I’ve never wanted them. I didn’t even want anything to do with baby dolls when I was a little girl.”

Eric laughed at that last part. “Too busy playing cops and robbers?” he teased.

Sookie grimaced jokingly. “Yeah, pretty much.”

All right then, Sookie. I just wanted to make sure you thought about it.”

Thank you.”

Are you tired?” he asked quietly.

Yes, but I still want to keep doing it,” she admitted after a moment’s consideration.

Eric chuckled, pulling her leg over his hip. “How about we continue gently,” he suggested, kissing the top of her head.

Mmm,” she hummed agreeably when his hand came to touch between her folds.

Does that feel all right?” he asked, making sure she had healed properly.

Mmm hmm,” she hummed again with a nod, eyes drifting shut.

Are you going to fall asleep before I even put it in?” he asked with a chuckle now.

I don’t know, are you going to keep talking or start fucking?” Eric’s reply was to shift his hips and slip into her smoothly. The woman gasped at the languid sensation of him filling her. “Good answer!”

His body rocked sedately against hers, still playing with her hair and kissing the crown of her head. “We have never had sex this slowly before,” he commented. “Even your first time was not this gentle.”

I like it,” she murmured, closing her eyes softly.

So do I,” he agreed, finding her lips with his own and kissing her in time with the waltzing tempo of their bodies.

As the minutes passed, Eric found his body leaning over hers until he was once again above the lovely woman who shared his bed. Their hands were gentle caresses, fingers tangling in golden locks, lips dancing as though they touched delicate flower petals. Though her pulse scarcely rose, Sookie could feel her release building. It was different this time versus the multiple climaxes the Viking between her legs had given her. Instead of frenzy and electrical pulsations, her entire body coiled like a fiercely compressed spring. Only, instead of lunging when the weight lifted, Sookie’s muscles relaxed in a resonating thrum that began in her skin and seeped into her bones.

Relaxed, happy, at peace…

{†}

Sookie awoke with a long, luxurious stretch. Her joints felt like gelatin, and her muscles ached rather pleasantly. Even the dark bruises on her back felt compliantly painless.

Humming gently to herself, Sookie danced to the bathroom, preparing for the day. She quickly went through her morning routine and hopped into her car.

Tapping an impatient finger against the wheel, Sookie scanned the shops as she drove through downtown Shreveport. There was little conflict in her mind over what she wanted to do this afternoon.

Recently, Eric had mentioned that if she wanted to buy flattering dresses and other such feminine things, he would find places to take her to wear them. Today, she had every intention of not only buying clothing she had yearned for an excuse to don, but also an article of clothing that would give her vampire lover a run for his money in finding an event where she could wear it… A formal gown.

Deep down, Sookie had always longed for an opportunity to purchase a dress with a skirt running to the floor. However, such circumstances were rare and far between, and the telepath had missed every chance during her adolescence and young adulthood. She had been overlooked as a prom date though she would have suffered through the evening just so she could have worn a floor length gown. She had never been asked to stand up or even attend a wedding. The only events remaining in her life where the opportunity could strike again were her own wedding (which she always scoffed at considering a possibility), and the Shreveport Police Charity Ball.

The latter event had been a great temptation for her, but the tickets were expensive even with reduced costs for those in law enforcement. There was the added awkwardness of spending the night with colleagues and politicians witnessing her in such feminine attire. Sookie had a difficult time believing she could enjoy the evening with her dress having her coworkers gawking in surprise and disbelief.

Of course, Sookie was aware that Eric could easily afford tickets to the fundraiser event, and would gladly do so if he believed she had a desire to attend. Regardless of that knowledge, Sookie still felt a deep aversion to being gaped at openly without her badge and gun strapped to her hip.

Finally spotting a promising shop, Sookie found a parking space nearby and began her hunt.

The first store she entered provided many snug girly tops and flowing skirts that stopped at her mid-thigh. In the next shop she stumbled upon, she found dresses that had similar cuts as her lone red and white dress. Finally, her most coveted stop, a bridal boutique, where she tried on several bridesmaid’s dresses.

Sookie spent the most time in the last store, trying on dress after dress and confusing the poor saleswomen until she managed to cease her search long enough to explain she needed a formal gown for a fundraiser event. With sales personnel on her side, the telepath finally found the dress that made her feel alluring and desirable. However, once she noticed the price tag, it took all of her years of keeping a straight face not to cringe and thrust it back on the rack.

You wanted that cut in the black with blue trim, correct?” the redheaded saleswoman asked sweetly while Sookie continued to stare at the dress in disguised alarm.

Er, yeah, I liked that color scheme much better, but you don’t have it in my size. You just have the black and gold. Also… Um… All the dresses I’ve tried on today at other stores were a size six, and this one’s an eight,” she shook the dress that had fit her properly.

Oh, our dresses run a bit smaller,” the redhead explained skeptically as though she found it confusing that Sookie would not know this.

Why the hell do they standardize dress size numbers if y’all just put whatever number you feel like! Sookie thought with aggravation. “I see,” Sookie muttered instead.

So, we will put an order in for that dress in black and blue for a size eight,” the redhead walked her through the process. “Let me just check the warehouse inventory to see how long it should be until it comes in. Are you going to need alterations?” she asked.

Um,” Sookie fidgeted.

Charlotte, the redhead whom Sookie finally managed to read her name tag, smiled at Sookie with sudden understanding. “You’ve never bought a formal dress before, have you?”

No,” Sookie replied meekly.

Okay, why don’t you go put that one back on, come onto the viewing floor, and we’ll take a look at the fit?” Charlotte suggested.

S-sure,” Sookie flushed a deep red and went back to the changing room. When she emerged once more, Charlotte looked the blonde over with a critical eye. “I… umm… guess it feels pretty good…”

Hmm,” Charlotte hummed to herself. “What foundation were you thinking of wearing?”

I don’t really know. I don’t wear make-up that often.”

Charlotte’s eyebrows raised, “Underwear, Sugar. What sort of foundation garments?”

Oh!” Sookie blushed terribly. “I don’t really know. This dress is strapless and… I’ve never had luck with strapless bras, but I really like this dress.”

Grinning at Sookie’s confession, Charlotte told her, “Well, it looks great on you. It will look spectacular when it’s properly pinned!” At Sookie’s freshly puzzled look, Charlotte elaborated, “When we get the seamstress to fit it properly to your body. Can you sit in it?” Sookie looked around, spied a bench, and sat comfortably with a nod. Reaching forward, Charlotte folded the fabric tighter along Sookie’s abdomen, “You really only need an eight because of your breasts and hips. The waist line on this dress is far too wide for you. Therefore, we’ll take that in. It’s also rather long, so we’ll re-hem it. You were planning on open toe shoes, right?”

Sookie’s head was spinning when she got back to her feet. What was this foreign language Charlotte spoke so fluently?

I-I guess?”

Well, with a slit that high, open toe is really the only way to go,” Charlotte commented distractedly. “Okay, turn around, let me see what sort of foundation we need.”

Sookie turned carefully as to not trip on the dress’s hem. When she heard the saleswoman gasp, the blonde groaned, remembering the purple and black blotches still healing on her back. She really needed to let Eric heal her. Hiding her face behind her hair was easy enough, but Sookie was so unaccustomed to wearing open-back clothes that she often forgot how badly the bruises appeared.

I’m a police officer,” Sookie said quickly. “I was shot last week. Don’t worry.”

Charlotte nodded numbly before shakily returning to her contemplations over underwear. She left a moment to return with a low back bustier which she encouraged Sookie to change into. Flustered, Sookie confessed she had no idea how to put it on, and Charlotte went into the changing room with her to help. Once the dress was back in place, Sookie fell in love with the gown all over again. Now that she was wearing proper support, her plentiful bosom was defying the notion of gravity. She looked dangerously sexy.

That certainly makes all the difference,” Charlotte laughed amusedly at Sookie’s stunned expression. “I’m betting your date for this fundraiser will have the same look you do when he sees you in this dress.”

We might not make it out the door,” Sookie muttered more to herself, but Charlotte laughed.

Well, I think you made the best possible choice for a dress. Are you ready to put the order in?” the saleswoman asked kindly.

Yeah… I guess I’ll take this weird bra thing too while I’m at it.”

All right, you get changed back into your clothes, and I’ll start processing your order. Would you like me to schedule an alteration appointment too?”

Uh, yeah, I guess,” Sookie replied, still staring at her image in the mirror.

I’ll do that. Take your time coming to the desk,” she encouraged.

Nodding, but not really hearing, Sookie turned several times, examining herself in the array of mirrors. Reaching up, she pulled her remaining hair free of its pony tail, watching the long strands cascade down her back. Though her hair distracted from the open back of the dress when it was down, Sookie wanted it that way. Her hair was always up, and she wanted it to be free for her first experience wearing such a lovely gown.

Smiling to herself, Sookie resisted the urge to skip back into the changing room and put her street clothes back on. She grinned to herself the entire way to the service counter, and even the price of the dress with the foundation garment and alteration fee did not deter her.

Eric better think of something for me to wear this to! she thought with excitement and apprehension.

Your dress will be here two weeks from now. We will send you a reminder e-mail when it arrives. Bring that bustier with you as well as the shoes you plan on wearing when you come to pick it up, and then we’ll go ahead and do the alterations, ” Charlotte explained.

How long does that usually take?” Sookie asked.

Less than an hour, usually.”

Okay, thank you,” Sookie waved as she went to the door.

Returning to her car, Sookie drove back to Eric’s house and spent the remainder of the afternoon running her purchases through the washing machine. After everything was dry and hung up in Eric’s closet, she picked out her favorite skirt and blouse combination, and changed into them. Next, she grabbed her toiletry bag, found her mascara, and lip gloss to apply a meager amount on her face.

There,” she said to herself, smacking her lips in the mirror, “easy enough.”

What is easy?” Eric’s voice startled her, and her hand clutched at her heart at the suddenness of his consciousness. Turning her back to the bathroom counter, Sookie faced the door as Eric passed it. The vampire froze when he saw her, and a large smile split his face. “You look very lovely,” he said, closing the distance between them and wrapping his arms around her waist.

Sookie beamed up at him. “Thanks… You said if I bought things I liked that weren’t work functional, you would find something for us to do where they would be appropriate.”

I did,” he agreed.

Sooo,” she looked up at him coyly, “what would you do with a girl wearing this?” She gestured to her new outfit.

I cannot say for certain what I would do with a girl wearing this, but I can tell you what I want to do to you wearing this.”

What?” Sookie breathed.

I want to push that sexy short skirt the rest of the way up your legs, bend you over something, and fuck you into a coma,” he told her point blank.

Pulling her bottom lip between her teeth, Sookie reached up and wrapped her arms about his neck. “Yes, please?”

I thought the point of this exercise was for you to buy garments to wear when I take you out?” Eric asked before succumbing to her seeking lips and kissing her deeply.

Directing his mouth over her neck, Sookie asked, “Why would we go out when you can stay in?” Her own inquiry inspired a growling groan from her lover. “Besides, it’s not true dark yet. I can always change into something else for you to take me out.” When he gave her throat a blunt warning bite, she giggled. “That bending over comment? Darlin’, you can’t put images in a girl’s head like that, and then do nothing about it!”

Oh, I will do something about it, Lover.” He nuzzled his nose beneath her ear, his hands stroking her sides teasingly. “I am just not going to do it right now.”

Sookie pulled away slightly to pout at him, “Why not?”

The vampire smirked at her with taunting amusement. “Because every time I touch you tonight, all you will be able to think about is when and where I am going to bend you over… A pool table? I could push your top up and let those sensitive little nipples scrape against the baize while I am fucking you. Maybe a pub stool? That way your hands could wrap around the crossbar when I make you scream.”

Eric,” she moaned. Visualizing his x-rated plans caused the woman to instinctively press her thighs together tightly. Her body leaned against his in response to her flaring arousal, and he could smell it rolling off of her in waves.

You seem to enjoy being teased,” he commented, reaching beneath her skirt to force apart her thighs and test her level of excitement. When his fingertips easily slid across her flesh, he murmured approvingly. “Oh, yes. Anticipation agrees with you. What if I asked you to leave these wet panties with me? They are already so damp, they cannot possibly be comfortable..?” A fresh coating of dew slickened his digits and Eric grinned, grasping for the elastic. “I am taking them, Sookie.”

Her response was to nibble her bottom lip again and marginally widen her stance to make the action easier. She felt the fabric of her panties drag across her bottom, and her hand raised to her lips to bite the knuckle of her bent index finger. Shyly, she stepped one leg out of her underwear, and then the other; watching intently as Eric fisted them in his hand and stood back up to his full height.

Now,” Eric told her, “all you have to do is wait. Does that sound fun, Sookie?” When she nodded hesitantly, her lover leaned in and whispered in her ear. “All you have to do is ask for them back,” he assured. “It is only a game as long as you are having fun, right?” She nodded with far much more certainty. “Are you having fun, Lover?”

Yes, Darlin’, I am,” she assuaged his own concern.

Have I told you how much I enjoy you calling me that?” he asked, kissing her nose. “I believe it is the most endearing pet name I have ever had, and one of few I have been agreeable toward.”

Other women have given you pet names?” Sookie asked disappointedly.

Eric rolled his eyes. “They have tried, but I rejected the attempts. Do you know how irritating it is to have a woman a thousand years younger than myself calling me ‘Baby’?”

No, I really can’t imagine. At least it’s not as intimate as being called ‘Lover’,” Sookie replied.

Do you dislike it?”

No,” she mumbled. “It kind of embarrasses me when you use it where others can hear though.”

Why is that?” he asked.

Well,” Sookie began slowly, “it feels… Unseemly.”

Oh?”

Like you’re letting people know too much about our relationship when it’s none of their business,” she explained reluctantly.

You feel that my endearment is too provocative for public?” he clarified. Sookie nodded. “How does my affectionate name make you feel when it is just you and I?”

Sookie smiled goofily. “It makes me feel cherished.”

I am glad. That was my goal all along.”

Everything you do makes me feel that way,” she told him. “I don’t know how you snuck your way into my heart. It was so seamless. So effortless. You’re like a ghost that just passed through all of my walls like they aren’t even there.”

I think,” Eric began as he pushed a lock of hair from her face and stroked her cheek with his thumb, “that was because you wanted to let someone in. As hard as you pushed everyone away, there was always a sliver of hope in you that you could eventually let another share your life.” He leaned his forehead against the top of her crown. “Very few people genuinely invite absolute solitude. You isolated yourself so completely that it was only a matter of time that your yearning got the better of you.”

Sookie laughed. “You just happened to be in the right place at the right time?”

I did not happen to be anywhere. I blatantly planted myself directly in your path.”

How so?”

As I said, I have been keeping tabs on your career. In that time, there were a few things that I came to realize about your personality along the way. I made certain not to push against your barriers when we finally met. I stopped at all of the lines you drew in the sand until you drew newer, closer lines. It was a rather remarkable show of patience on my part. I am unaccustomed to letting others write the rules…” He stopped for a moment, contemplating her face. “Yet I knew you were worth that patience and letting go of some of my control.”

It didn’t seem so tedious to me,” Sookie whispered. “It felt… Sudden and… Frightening… Not you, of course, but how you made me feel. I couldn’t understand what the hell was so special about you that all of my walls couldn’t keep you out.” She shook her head with wry amusement. “It’s still scary, you know? Feeling all of these crazy things that I never knew I could feel… It’s a good scary, like, roller coasters or bungee jumping.”

You have gone bungee jumping?” Eric asked mirthfully.

Well, no, but it’s the same principle I think. I’ve never been on a roller coaster either,” she admitted sheepishly.

Really? Perhaps on an evening you decide to wear pants, I will take you to an amusement park,” he suggested.

Sookie made a face, “No thanks.”

Afraid? I thought you said roller coasters were a ‘good scary’?” he teased.

Maybe for other people, but not me. I have no interest in entrusting my body to a seventeen-year-old who’d much rather text his friends on his phone than perform safety checks,” she seethed.

Eric threw his head back and laughed at her observation. “Your need to control things has nothing to do with your fear of roller coasters then?”

Sookie pouted. “I’m not a control freak…and I never said I was afraid of roller coasters. I just don’t like them,” she insisted.

Pardon me, I meant your desire to have things just so,” Eric distracted Sookie from a potential argument by playing with the hem of her skirt. He felt her body tense as his hand moved the material, and her response made him smile softly. “What else did you buy today? Anything else as lovely and sexy as this?”

Want to see?” she asked excitedly. “I hung everything up in your closet… That’s okay, right?”

That is fine,” he assured with a nod. “Show me what you bought.”

Sookie took his hand and dragged him to the closet, opening it, and grabbing handfuls of hangers to toss onto his bed.

You were rather busy today,” he commented with a chuckle as he looked over her purchases. “These are rather nice quality. You have the money for all of this?”

The woman frowned at his question. “Of course I do. I don’t go spending what I can’t afford.”

Eric held his hands up in feigned retraction. “I was only concerned. Sometimes… People have a habit to overindulge when they are unaccustomed to spending money on themselves.”

Sookie narrowed her eyes in playful accusation. “By people do you mean women?”

It might have been my first choice,” he confessed with a smirk.

Well, this isn’t all that I bought,” she made her own confession.

What else did you buy?” Eric asked. Sookie played with her hair shyly. “That makes me even more curious, Lover,” he told her in a husky rasp.

It’s nothing sexy… Well, it is, but not lingerie sexy. OH! I didn’t even think to shop for sexy underwear!” Her eyes widened at the realization.

Then what is this sexy non-lingerie that you bought?”

Nibbling her lip with embarrassment, she told him, “It’s a challenge for you.”

A challenge?”

I bought a super formal dress, and I want you to find something to take me to so I can wear it.”

Oh?” Her bashfulness confused him.

I never… Y’know… Got to do the prom thing or go to a wedding… I’ve never had a formal dress before,” she explained self-consciously. When he did not respond right away, she began to backpedal, “I know, it’s stupid and adolescent. I’m sure I can stop the order! I’ll call the-”


“Sookie,” Eric silenced her with a finger over her lips, “if that is what you want, then I am more than capable of taking you somewhere to wear your
super formal dress.” He paused briefly before saying, “The sun has set now. Shall we go to dinner, and we can discuss a few options?”

Options?” Sookie asked.

Eric nodded, “I would hate to take you somewhere that would leave you in any self doubt. I just want to discuss activities you would be for or against.”

Oh, okay,” she beamed up at him.

All right, grab some shoes, and I will take you to dinner.”

Sookie nodded and went to the closet while Eric finished dressing. She groaned internally when she realized that she only had her running shoes and her usual work boots. The thought of shoe shopping had never crossed her mind.

Is something wrong?” Eric asked when Sookie had yet to emerge from the closet.

Uh, no!” she called, pulling her calf high boots on and lacing them tightly.

When she peeked around the closet door, she let out a sigh of resignation and stepped into Eric’s full view.

His smirk said it all, but that did not keep him from commenting, “You did not buy any new shoes.”

On to Chapter Twelve