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.
“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.”
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.”
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.
“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.
“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.
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-’
‘Looks like she just got screwed-’
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.”