Walking inside the house, Sookie kicked off her heels as she dropped her computer pack and purse on the table by the door. She heard Eric enter behind her, but ignored him as she headed for the kitchen. She had a bottle of aspirin on the counter in there and she wanted to take two. Eric was giving her a weird vibe in the car all the way here, and she was pretty sure she'd need the pain relief to help with her headache before they were done for the night.
Leaning against the kitchen doorway, Eric watched her grab a bottle of water out of the fridge before shaking out two aspirin. He watched her throat work as she swallowed them, his eyes following the long column of her neck down, down to where the rise of her breasts swelled against the sweetheart neckline of her dress and he felt his cock throb. As she drank, he said coolly, “Be sure to turn your phone back on before you go to bed tonight. I might need to contact you during the day.”
Setting her water on the counter, Sookie asked, “And just how would you do that? Won't you be … dead?”
“As an older vampire, I am able to stay awake during the day much longer than your Bill without suffering or becoming weak. I tend to remain awake a few hours after sunrise and wake several hours before sunset. I use this time to do most of my work on the computer and make various phone calls. So I want you to have your phone turned on and handy. My day man might contact you as well. I've programmed his number into your Blackberry. I haven't had the chance to ask yet, but is the phone to your liking?”
Shrugging her shoulders, Sookie admitted, “I don't really know how to use it. I've never had one as fancy as it before.”
“But, it is acceptable?”
“Yeah. I don't know why I can't just use my phone though … I'd have given you the number.”
“Your old cell phone will be turned off tomorrow by noon, and the service terminated. I've already made the arrangements. You will use the Blackberry from now on.”
Anger roiled up. Sookie gripped her fists and hissed, “How did you do that? And why would you think you had the right to do it at all? You can't just interfere with my life like that!”
Leveling a look at her that quite clearly said he thought he could, Eric replied, “I can do a great many things. You'd be surprised what money can get, and what it can't. Let's just say, being a vampire is very useful when getting others to obey. And I did it because I wish to monitor your phone calls. Do not attempt to reactivate your phone. You won't be able to and I will be displeased with your attempt. I have many rights to you Sookie; you will come to understand this soon enough, and I will interfere in your life whenever I see fit.”
Her jaw dropped and Sookie would have sworn she saw it falling to the floor and skittering away like some wind-up toy. She couldn't find the words to respond. Rage climbed to howling proportions, however, and she screamed, “How dare you! You can't do things like this! I agreed to work for you, not subject every aspect of my life to your scrutiny!”
Unperturbed, Eric answered as if talking to a child. “I can do things like this and I will whenever I deem necessary. And I will decide what aspects of your life are open to me, and which are not. Who you speak to is very important to me for several reasons. As you are now a part of my retinue, it is my job to ensure no other vampires attempt to contact you without my permission, and monitoring your phone calls is a good way to achieve this. Be aware, I also have access to your home phone records as well.”
“What other reason do you have for monitoring my calls?”
“We'll speak of that another time. For now, know only that I will be aware of who you are talking to and for how long. It will only become an issue should you be conversing with someone you should not be.”
Glaring at him Sookie said, “Remember what I said about stalking?”
“Do you feel stalked, my pet?”
“I'm not your pet! And I feel violated by what you're doing!”
Stepping closer, Eric gazed down at her heatedly and said, “When I violate you, Sookie, I assure you it will be a pleasurable experience … for both of us.”
“Stop doing that! I'm with Bill. BILL! Not you! I'm never going to be with you, so just get over it!”
Laughing, Eric turned and headed for the living room. “You amuse me my Sookie … come, pet, it is time for you to feed me, and then you'll take more of my blood.”
Trailing after him with her fists clenched at her side, she shot back, “Don't call me pet! And we're not finished talking about this. You can't just interfere with any aspect of my life that you want! I didn't agree to this!”
Taking a seat on the couch, he grinned up at her and replied easily, “I'll call you what I please, Sookie, and you'd be surprised what you've agreed to, little one. As my human, it is my right, and, more importantly, my responsibility, to see to your care. Whether you like it or not, you are part of my world now. If I do not provide adequate safeguards to keep other vampires away from you, they will try to take you, and while you find my treatment of you annoying, I assure you any other vampire would simply put you in chains and beat obedience into you. It may not seem like it to you now, but my actions are for your own good.”
Sookie swapped out her anger for fear, sitting down heavily on the opposite end of the couch. “Other vampires are really going to try and kidnap me?”
“The possibility is there now, and as time passes and you prove more and more useful to our world, the temptation for others to make you their own will increase. I must—how do you humans say it? Hit the ground running? My diligence in keeping you safe cannot be lax because of any misconstrued sense of privacy on your part. You proved yourself useful in Dallas, and many vampires know it, and as you continue to work for me, more will become aware of your unusual skill set.”
He crossed his long legs. "With vampires coming out in the world, knowing what humans are thinking around us is a very valuable tool. Sooner or later, someone is going to try and kidnap you. They will not succeed because I am very good at protecting what is mine, and they will pay the price, but the attempt will happen.”
Shaking her head, Sookie clenched her fists in her lap and moaned, “If I were smart at all, I'd walk away now. I'd forget about Bill, and say to hell with all of this. He didn't tell me about everything his blood would do to me, he hasn't told me anything useful about your world, and I'm beginning to suspect he's hidden a whole lot more. If I had half a brain, I'd cut my losses, and get the hell out while the gettin's good.”
Eric forced himself not to grab her and make her understand that leaving him or his world was no longer an option. She didn't understand that the moment she'd signed that contract with him, any chance she had at escaping his world had been lost to her. Truthfully, the moment she'd walked into Fangtasia and he'd laid eyes on her, sensed she was different and decided to learn more about her, she'd been lost. He knew she wasn't ready to hear these truths. They would only serve to terrify her and put more distance between them. Something he did not want. Instead, his voice gentle, he asked, “And yet, you intend to stick around, as you humans put it, do you not?”
Her soft smile was wistful. “I couldn't live with myself if I backed out now and left Bill to whatever fate Lorena has planned for him. While I have some doubts about us, and think he has a lot to explain, the fact remains he came for me every time I was in trouble and needed him. The least I can do is try to get him back by working for you. He's probably going to be incredibly pissed about me letting you feed from me and taking your blood in return when he gets back, but, I'm sure once I explain to him why I had to do it, he'll get over it.”
'Oh pet … Bill will understand, but there will be nothing he can do about it. He will be more than furious at what you've done. You have all but given yourself to me and I will never let you go. You are mine now and it will eat Bill alive to know this. I cannot wait to rub it in his face. He was a fool to tell me I'd never have you in Dallas.'
Smiling, Eric said quietly, “I admire that you are willing to endanger yourself to aid another. It is foolish, as you said, but admirable nonetheless.”
“I guess you don't put yourself at risk for others very often, huh?”
“Hardly. My life is worth far more than most. There are few I consider more important than myself, and fewer still I would give my life for. Besides, alive and well I am much more valuable to those that depend on me than dead. There is a time and place for fighting, and a time for fallback and retreat. I am very adept at recognizing when one is appropriate and the other is not.”
“Why does that not surprise me? Though something tells me you do a hell of a lot more standing and fighting than retreating. I saw how it pained you to follow Godric's orders to run at the church … and not hurt anyone while doing it. You wanted to fight.”
Eric laughed outright. “Indeed I did. I can't stand backing down from a fight I know I can win, but my maker commanded me and I would not disobey him.”
“So sooner or later some other vamp is going to get it in their head they want their own mind reader and come after me? Even though we have that contract now?”
Eric nodded, “Yes. While a contract with Mr. Cataliades, and more importantly, one recognized by the Council, will serve as a huge deterrent for most, inevitably, some fool will think they are smart enough or powerful enough to steal you from me. They will either attempt to kill me and seize my assets, or simply kidnap you. I will not allow it to happen, though. As I said before, I am very good at protecting what is mine. I've spent the past 1,000 years learning to survive and hold my ground despite any odds, so there is no need for you to worry. I will see a threat manifesting before it comes. However, in order to do this, I must take precautions. As my human, you will have to become accustomed to certain interferences by me in your life now. That's just the way it is.”
“I'm not your human. I'm Bill's. I'm just working for you.”
He looked at her with centuries of practiced self-control. Shaking his head, Eric lips quirked into a smile, “Oh Sookie … you have so much to learn.”
He knew that she hadn't even begun to comprehend the repercussions of their arrangement. She had no idea she'd ostensibly signed her life away to him by signing that contract. She had no clue she was, in effect, throwing away all of her connections to Bill by allowing him to feed on her and taking his own blood in Bill's absence. His darling Sookie was completely unaware that by the time her precious Bill returned, even if she still wanted him, Bill would not take her back. Could not take her back. He would still desire her, of course, there was no doubt about that, but, according to the laws of their world, he would not be allowed to lay a finger on her without facing punishment. Eric would be permitted to chain Bill in silver and torture him for weeks, or banish him from the state completely, if he were to attempt to resume any romantic attachments with Sookie once he returned. Bill was already lost to her. She just didn't know it.
Holding his hand out to her, he said, “Come … it is time for us to share blood.”
Sookie accepted his hand and let him pull her to his side. She let out a squeak when he moved to position her on his lap with her straddling him, causing her dress to ride high up on her thighs. She struggled, blushing brightly, as she threw her arms up against his chest and tried to push off him. “What are you doing?”
“Be still. We shall exchange blood in a different manner tonight.”
“NO! Stop it! Let me go!”
A shiver of fear running up her spine at the dark tone in his voice, Sookie fretted, “I don't like this … I want to stop.”
He stroked a strand of her hair back from her face, letting his fingers linger on her cheek. Eric replied, “No. I know this is uncomfortable for you, but, I assure you, we will do nothing more than exchange blood tonight … unless of course you ask for me to go further.”
Feeling his arms wrap around her waist to pull her closer to him, Sookie leaned back against his hold to put as much distance between them as possible, and said, “Why can't we just do what we did last night?”
“Because I want to exchange blood this way,” Eric replied as he kept her pinned to him with one arm while he freed his other hand to retrieve the knife from his back pocket. Flicking it open, he heard Sookie gasp and felt her rising fear through their bond. “Shhh, little one. There is no reason to fear. I will not harm you.”
She was already distressed by the intimacy of their position, and seeing the glint of the blade as he raised it between them, Sookie could feel her rising hysteria threatening to bubble over. “Easy for you to say, you're the vampire holding the knife.”
Smiling easily at her, Eric explained, “I am going to use the knife to cut a gash on the side of my neck. You will take my blood from there while I, in turn, will feed from your neck. We will make a circle, of sorts. This is the way I wish to feed tonight.”
“W…why? I don't understand why we can't just do it like we did before.”
“Because I wish to do it this way. Now I am going to make the cut deep to keep it from closing so you can feed like last time. Do not delay as I don't want blood dripping all over my clothes. I will not bite you until you are drinking from me.”
Shaking her head Sookie whispered, “I … I don't think I can do this.”
“We will sit here the rest of the night until you do.”
Swallowing audibly, Sookie took a moment to consider her limited options before resignedly nodding. “Okay … let's get it over with.”
Eric knew that Sookie was undoubtedly unaware of what would happen as they fed from each other at the same time. While he knew that Bill had been trying to bond Sookie to him, the younger vampire had apparently also been trying to keep her in the dark about it and its resultant side effects. It was also apparent that Bill hadn't wanted to bind Sookie completely to him, and he didn't understand why. Many of Bill's actions towards Sookie confused him. It seemed almost as if he was conflicted about his relationship with her, and, considering Bill's dedication and commitment to Sookie that was just odd.
Mentally shaking his head, Eric decided it was a riddle for him to ponder another time. Bringing the knife to the side of his throat, he made a deep gash so Sookie could feed. He watched her hesitate briefly before letting out a small reconciled sigh and leaning forward to latch on to the open wound. The moment her warm mouth met his cool skin, lust seized him. His cock hardened, filling with blood and heat. A deep groan rose from his chest and his fingers tangled in her lovely silken hair, letting it drop to the base of her skull he slowly massaged. Sensation shot down her spine exploding between her thighs. He buried his face in her exposed neck. Hunger stirring in him as he inhaled her warm scent, he groaned again, the sound more like a growl, “Mine!” before sinking his fangs deep. He knew she would feel little pain due to their mutual feeding.
Her blood was sweet and nourishing, intoxicating to his senses. He drank her life force rapturously, his eyes rolling back in his head. Just like the time before, heat arced between them. Sookie could feel pleasure bolting through her as she drank. Eric's blood was so different than Bill's. She could practically taste the power in it, it burned her mouth with its intensity. He just tasted so damn good. She had been sure this would hurt since he hadn't taken the time to prepare her like he usually did. However, quite the opposite was true. The moment his fangs sank into her neck, it felt like fire sizzling, licking, pounding, inside her veins. She could feel a voracious hunger seize her and unconsciously her hands fisted his shirt and she began to suck harder at his neck, ravenous in her desire for his blood. Coherent thought left her and she knew only pure hunger.
Eric felt the bond between them surging and pulsing, strengthening as it opened fully. What Sookie didn't know was that every time they exchanged blood the connection between them would become stronger and more permanent, and, if they fed together like this, it created an almost open doorway between them. Since she was taking his blood at the same time, it was compensating for her blood loss that his feeding was creating at the same time so he could feed for far longer. He was able to drink deeply as he fed her his hunger and desire, making them hers. He could feel waves of arousal and excitement stirring in her as they consumed him. His mind became a haze of sexual need combined with blood hunger. Tightening his arm around her waist, he ground her down against his engorged cock,sliding her small body against his painful erection.
Through the tight leather fabric of Eric's pants, Sookie could feel the thick hardness of his cock pressing and rubbing against her center again and again as she drank heavily from him, but she didn't care. Her entire universe was here, now. She was lost in the feel and taste of him, and knew only the need for all of him in this moment. She sucked at his throat greedily, moaning, her fingers clutching at his shirt. 'So good … want more … need him … ' Each draw of her mouth to take in more of his blood caused more wetness to pool between her thighs.
She was trembling, her breath coming in gasps. She could feel her juices flowing as she rocked against him harder and faster to meet his own rapid thrust. The layers of clothing between them became nothing as the friction from their frantic desire stoked their passions.
'Mine! Mine, mine, mine, MINE!' He knew nothing else beyond it. His entire world distilled down to the golden haired vixen in his lap. He could feel her moving against him. He wished desperately that no clothing separated his flesh from hers so he could impale her on his cock, but was too far gone in his need for her to even think of moving to correct the situation. He couldn't stop feasting on her. He couldn't stop pulling her down harder against his raging erection. He couldn't get enough of her.
For long moments, they continued to grind together as the passion built between them. Their need was one. Their desire equal. There was no Eric. There was no Sookie. There was only … them. The unity of their need. Their mutual hunger. They fed and moved together as one while the fire and lust raged between them. Higher and higher, they soared together until ecstasy exploded for them both.
Sookie felt pleasure unlike anything she'd ever experienced roll over her. Her body went rigid and she cried out against Eric's neck before she sank against him, struggling to control her breathing. She throbbed with the electrical pleasure of her orgasm rippling through her. 'Oh my Lord,' she thought hazily as the sound of Eric's own climax cut across her consciousness.
Blinding white light exploded behind his eyes. With an agonized scream of release, Eric threw back his head and roared. The very house shook from the force of his primal explosion. He could feel wave after wave of aftershocks from his orgasm shuddering through his body and he was lost to the extreme sensation. He fell back against the couch with Sookie in his arms, every bit as out of it as him.
He thought, 'Never … never in all my long life has such a thing happened. I have feasted on fairies and angels, and not once have I been so thoroughly consumed by passion and pleasure … and we never even got to the point of taking our clothes off … by Odin, this woman is for me. I will never let her go. Never.'
Stroking a hand through Sookie's hair as she panted against his now healed neck, he leaned down to lick the blood that had trickled down from his bite, before laving the wound with his healing saliva.
“Oh, my Sookie. Your fate is sealed, little one,” he murmured as he licked her pulse with languid strokes of his tongue, delighting in her fragrance of her sexual scent. He could feel the slick glazing of his seed on his pants, mingled with Sookie's own secretions. The leather of his pants and the soft lace of her panties were smeared with the evidence of their passion and created a delicious coolness between his still hard length and her throbbing center.
“I will own you. Everything you are will be mine.”
The spell she was under was broke; the orgasmic haze that had clouded her mind lifted. Hissing in outrage, Sookie squirmed out of Eric's hold. Scrambling off his lap, she shot off the couch and backed away from him. Her eyes held disbelief, anger, shame, and fear. She could still feel the effects of their exchange, and her body was vibrating with need. She wanted nothing more than to crawl back onto his lap and sate her thirst for him, and she hated herself for it.
“You … you … you did that on purpose!”
Eric chuckled softly as he leaned his arms across the back of her couch and kicked his feet up on the coffee table. “Sharing blood that way is powerful, but I assure you, my pet, that I have never experienced something like this in all my millennia on this earth. I am just as shocked by what happened between us as you are. Though I intend to experience it again … and again, and again, and again. We will share blood in such a manner many times, and we will enjoy the effects together as well.”
“Like hell,” Sookie raged. Wrapping her arms around herself, she shook her head and vehemently spit, “We're never doing that again. Never! It's wrong.”
He regarded her calmly.“Wrong? I think not. I've never felt anything more right in my entire undead existence, and whether you are willing to admit it or not, you know this as well. Fight me all you like, Sookie, but one day you will be mine, and once you are, you will never wish to leave me. I can be patient until then.”
Backing up until her ass hit the wall, Sookie whispered, “I want you to leave … you have to leave. Right now!”
Feeling the whirlwind of emotions overtaking her, Eric knew she needed to be alone to come to terms with what had happened. The dynamic between them, the nature of their relationship, had profoundly shifted. She could not ignore that fact, and this truth was terrifying to her. Standing, he made a show of adjusting his pants over the obvious tent in the front; it was good to be a vampire. His pants were wet with the evidence of their commingled satisfaction, and he wanted her to see her juices coating the area she had so shamelessly ground herself against.
“I will leave you, but know you cannot hide from this. Things have changed Sookie, and, while you can lie to me and yourself and insist they haven't, deep down you know the truth. Take the time you need to come to terms with what just happened, but know there will be no going back.”
“Doesn't mean there will be any going forward either.”
He grinned at the stubborn set of her jaw and stepped towards her. He could not only scent her rising fear, but feel it through the bond and it teased the beast within him. He wanted to hunt. He wanted to run her down and claim her in the most primal of ways … and one day he would. One day she would flee him and he would give chase. He would haunt her every step until she could run no farther, and then he would take her for himself completely. But not tonight. Tonight, he would allow her retreat. Tonight he would let her go, and they would take up their game tomorrow.
Coming to stand in front of her with only mere inches separating them, he gazed down at her from his considerable height advantage. Placing his hands on either side of her head against the wall, he leaned close and said, “Say what you will, my precious … but you know the truth … you feel it. You will be mine.”
Placing a gentle kiss on her forehead, he replied, “Never will come sooner than you think, my pet. Sleep well, lover.” And with that, he turned and left.
When she heard the door click shut behind him, Sookie felt her legs give way and she sank to the floor. Pulling her knees to her chest she wrapped her arms around them and hugged them close. “Oh my God.”
She couldn't wrap her mind around what had just happened. She'd never felt such depth of emotion in her whole life. Her entire world had shifted as Eric had held her pressed so tightly against him while they shared blood. Despite her vehement denials to him, Sookie knew he was right; things had changed between them. In a big way. Burying her head into her knees, she moaned, “Oh Lord almighty! What am I going to do now?”
Back out on the highway, Eric was having his own moment of introspection. 'I have never felt anything like that. I've never felt such emotion, such need, such desire or want in my entire life. Nothing has ever affected me in such a way. What is it about this girl that moves me so? She's beautiful, but I've had my share of some of the most stunning women ever created. Human and immortal. She's smart and cunning, but, again, I know many women who can boast of this. Her gift is a boon to be sure, but, more and more, it is nothing more than a perk to me. Something for me to use to maneuver her to my side. It is she that draws me in like some magnet. Something about her calls to me. Calls to me in a way I've never felt before. I do not understand why she intrigues me so, I do not understand what it is that draws me to her, I do not understand my fierce desire for her, but it does not matter. I want her more than I've ever wanted anything else … and I will have her.'