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.”
‘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.
“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.”
“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.”