Focusing her attention on Bobby she says, "You guys can go right on in and get done what you need to get done."
Bobby nods his head and motions the workers inside the house while pulling a note from inside his suit pocket. "Mr. Northman instructed me to give you this." The moment she took it he swept past her into the house.
Sookie rolled her eyes at his rudeness before stepping out onto the porch with Thor. Setting him on his feet she smiled as he hopped down the steps to use the lawn while she turned to face Ken and her new guards. "Hi guys. Ken, it's good to see you again." Ken nodded his head while the two Weres stood to introduce themselves.
The first Were was taller than the Wallace brothers, but not as tall as Alcide. He had dark brown hair in a buzz cut and striking blue eyes. "I'm Tom Richards, Alcide's cousin ma'am."
The next Were was a little shorter but a burly man with bright red hair and green eyes. When he spoke he had a delightful Scottish accent that made Sookie smile. "I'm Ian Buchanan."
Sookie smiled and said, "That's some accent you have there … aren't you a little far from home?"
Returning Sookie's smile, Ian nodded his head. "I married Alcide's younger sister a few years back and moved here to live with her and her family. We met when she was vacationing in the highlands with a friend of hers that had family there. Kind of love at first sight sort of thing."
"That's beautiful. Like I told the others I'm sorry you have to go to all this trouble, but I appreciate your help all the same." Turning to Ken, she started, "Ken, these men—"
"Are your body guards. Mr. Northman informed me there is trouble after you, and has made some special requests as to your training. We're still going to proceed with your lessons as planned but I'm going to teach a few moves that will help you get away if you are attacked."
"Thanks, Ken, that's really nice of you. Have any of you had breakfast?"
When they all shook their heads no, Sookie continued, "Well just head on into the kitchen and I'll be there to fix something up as soon as I read Eric's letter. My roommate will probably be down when she either smells the food or the workers start making noise." As the men entered the house she watched Thor chasing a dragonfly in the yard as she opened her note and read:
I'm glad you had a nice time last night. You looked lovely, and will again. As I mentioned last night, you will be my escort to all future functions I'm required to attend. I look forward to dancing with you many times in the future. I've ordered Bobby to oversee the installation of a hidden wall safe in your bedroom. He's installing it personally so that no one else will know its location and I'll glamour him to forget it later. I'll show you how to work it when I bring you home from Fangtasia tonight as I have the codes, but will help you to change them, if you prefer. Put your jewelry and anything else of importance inside. Pam will be there to pick you up tonight at 8pm. Please wear one of your uniforms.
Until then, my sweet.
ERolling her eyes, and realizing he was giving her a safe because he intended to give her much more jewelry, Sookie called Thor to her side and went in to make breakfast. It was almost 8am now, and, thankfully, Eric had brought her home early last night, so she would have time to cook for Ken, her guards, and Tara then work with Ken in her new mini dojo before heading to Merlotte's to open up. She'd talked to Tara the other day and told her how she was going to have to be working at Fangtasia every night they were open so Tara had agreed to come in after the lunch rush and close for her at night. She knew Eric would give her shit about her schedule if he knew, but she was determined to keep it from him. Besides since she was making sure to eat properly it shouldn't be too big of a deal.
Breakfast passed quickly and Sookie once again listened to the thoughts of the Weres when they were speaking about her, and put her hand on their arms or shoulders to clear up the thoughts if they weren't broke apart. She found Tom and Ian to be just as loyal as all the others and was pleased by this. She also tuned into Ken a few times and found that he was surprised by her friendly demeanor. From their first encounter he had assumed her to be ungrateful and condescending, but after this morning he'd concluded that she had just been having a bad morning. Sookie was slightly surprised that he didn't know she could read minds. He knew that Tom and Ian weren't exactly human, but he wasn't sure what they were and didn't intend to ask.
When breakfast was over, Sookie set Tom and Ian up in the living room to watch TV while she went upstairs to change into a pair of running shorts, sports bra, and tennis shoes. When she was ready she joined Ken in the dojo after leaving Thor with her Weres, and found him setting up all the equipment. He had already spread all the mats out on the floor and was setting up a rack with fighting sticks and what looked to be wooden swords. There was a pile of body pads next to him and she cleared her throat to let him know she was there. "Hi, uh … so what's first?"
Standing to look at Sookie, Ken said, "First we'll go through our stretches and the kata I showed you and I'll see if you kept your promise and have been practicing them."
Moving to face Ken so he could see her moves as she did his, since she didn't have a mirror wall like most dojos did, Sookie took up her stance and at his nod began stretching in time with him. After 15 minutes, they finished the last set of the katas and Sookie stood with s a light sheen of sweat on her body to ask, "Well?"
Nodding, Ken replied, "Good. You have kept your word. Now I shall teach you the basic arm, wrist and leg blocks that most Aikido is based upon. These moves are the core foundations of Aikido and you will use variations or combinations of them in almost all combat situations. After that I shall show you the maneuvers Mr. Northman requested you learn. Let's begin."
An hour later, Sookie was sore all over, but a good sore. Ken had complimented her only once the entire time, and that was to tell her she was a quick learner. Of course, after making that remark, he said because of that he was going to step up her training and expected her to continue to excel. Strangely, she found she liked he was challenging her so. She was so used to people thinking she was stupid, weak and incapable of taking care of herself. She liked that Ken considered her more than competent and would demand more of her because of this.
When they were done, Ken bowed to her and she to him, and he told her he would see her at her next lesson in a few days and to keep up with her stretching and kata. When he left she checked on Ian and Tom and they told her they were fine. Tara was apparently still asleep, and she didn't blame her friend. She would love to sleep in some time as well. She took a quick shower before gathering her purse, phone and keys, calling Thor over and heading into work.
She stayed in the back office while Ian and Tom sat at the bar as Merlotte's opened up. She was just finishing up the books when Lafayette poked his head in and said, "Ohhh!! Sookie girl you looked fine last night! And who knew you were such an exhibitionist?"
"What are you talking about?"
Leaning against the doorframe of Sam's office Lafayette arched a brow at her and said, "You haven't seen it yet? It was in the paper and they're talking about it on the news too."
"Lafayette if you don't tell me what you're talking about I'm going to get the information out of your head on my own," Sookie growled.
Waving his hands in surrender he said, "Ain't no need for you to be doing that. TV's on up front … you can see for yourself."
Standing Sookie made her way to the main bar area with Thor and Lafayette following. It was only a little after opening so there was only about 5 people there that didn't work at Merlotte's besides her body guards. Looking up at the TV her hand flew to her throat as she cried, "OH Hell!" On the TV was a news special about her outing with Eric last night. There was a video of them dancing alone together before an enlarge picture of him dipping her back to kiss her was put up on the screen.
All of Shreveport is wondering if the famed Vampire Eric Northman is off the Vampire market so to say. Mr. Northman is a well known Vampire in our city and, in fact, the state. He's considered the Casanova and resident bad boy of Vamps in the area, and quite a few women are upset at the implications of his very public and passionate encounter with his date last night at the Shreveport County Hospital Ball. Sources say that this woman, reputed to be Sookie Stackhouse of Bon Temps, has been spotted at Northman's side for some weeks at his lucrative and well known bar called Fangtasia. Insiders' report that she sits at his side each night and seems to be the recipient of his undivided attention, but no confirmations as to a steady relationship between the two has been confirmed. Witnesses at the ball claimed that Northman kept the girl on his arm all night and danced only with her. Our investigation has shown that Miss Stackhouse was wearing almost 2 million dollars in Tiffany diamonds, and the Mayor commented that Mr. Northman had told him and his wife they were a personal gift to Miss Stackhouse. We'll be following this story closely in the weeks to come to see if the James Dean of the Vampire world has in fact been snatched up.
Grabbing the remote out of Arlene's hand, Sookie turned off the TV and stomped back to the office as she screamed, "I'm going to kill him!"
When she was gone, Lafayette tossed the ends of the pink scarf he was wearing on his head over his shoulder and said, "What I wouldn't pay to see what she says to that man come dark!"
Arlene merely stared after Sookie and thought, 'Two million dollars! Why in the hell is she getting stuff like that? What's making her so special all of a sudden? She gets a great car and now all of this? I've worked hard all my life to take care of myself and my kids with little to no help and she's living easy. It's just not fair.' Shaking her head Arlene went back to filling the salt and pepper shakers.
Ian and Tom shared a look before Ian remarked, "I thought Alcide said she wasn't with him?"
"He did, maybe something changed? But she uh, well, the scent of them together ain't there."
Shrugging Ian said, "Not our business anyway."
The rest of Sookie's day passed quickly and she practically snarled at anyone that brought up the picture of Eric kissing her in the paper or the new broadcast. All day she envisioned ways of making Eric pay, but knew he'd never let her get away with any of it. That fact only ticked her off even more. At around 5 Tara, who knew her friend was nearing the breaking point, suggested Sookie go home and take a nice long soak to help ease her tensions and Sookie didn't even think to argue.
As she reclined back in the tub to enjoy the hot water she thought, 'I've got to get back at him some way. I'm not going to let him parade me around to the world like I'm his mistress or something! And tonight is going to be hell! Those Fangbangers hated me already, but now? Now they'll be out for blood … this sucks.' Suddenly an idea popped into her head and a mischievous smirk appeared on her face. 'Oh that's too perfect. Time to fight fire with fire.'
Later that night Eric stood in the basement of Fangtasia with Pam at his side as he interrogated Kevin; the spy Sookie had caught the other night. Pam wasn't supposed to leave to pick up his pet for another half hour and by then they would have everything out of Kevin they needed, and then Eric would kill him. He could not afford for Kevin's thoughts to reach Sookie tonight, and have her realize that he'd broken their agreement for no humans to be harmed because of her gift. They could just glamour the information out of him, but that simply wasn't as much fun. Pam had already worked the boy over quite well, but ever the dutiful child had left him intact enough so that he could have some fun of his own.
"So tell me Kevin … what are the fellowships exact reason for sending you here? Your site already listed most of our information so why would they send you here?"
Kevin took a deep breath and spit out a mouthful of blood before replying, "Go to hell bloodsucker!"
"I was hoping you'd say that." Stepping forward Eric grabbed the boy's wrist in the shackle where he was chained to the wall and forced his hand open. "This might hurt a bit." With that he began pulling the boy's fingers off one by one; starting with his left pinkie.
"Ah! Oh God! Stop! Please! Stop it!"
Smirking at Kevin's pain and building hysteria Eric pulled off the last finger on the boy's left hand. The shackles were so tight they cut into his wrist and even without his fingers Kevin wouldn't be able to slip out of them, besides he would be dead soon enough. "Changed your mind about answering?" Eric asked as he trailed the thumb he'd pulled off across Kevin's cheek leaving a bloody trail in its wake.
"We—we're supposed to see what vamps feed on what Fangbangers. I was looking to see who got fed on most."
"Hmmm, and why is that?"
Shaking his head furiously Kevin sobbed, "I don't know."
"How very unfortunate." Reaching down Eric twisted the boy's right foot off and tossed it over his shoulder as Kevin howled in terror and misery. Luckily the basement was soundproof for just this reason. As blood gushed and spewed all over the floor he held his hand out to Pam and said, "Knife." She quickly handed him a knife that had been sitting in the fire pit they had down here for instances like this. After cauterizing the wound, Eric continued, "Are you sure you don't know?"
Sobbing uncontrollably now as snot and tears poured down his face Kevin begged, "Please! Please I swear! I don't know. I don't know! If I did I'd tell you! I was just going to report back who I thought was fed off the most. I swear. I swear! Please, please no more!"
Handing Pam the knife Eric crossed his arms over his chest and pressed, "Report to who?"
"Aaron, Aaron Teller. He's, he's the leader of our cell. He lives in the apartment above me, please, please don't hurt me anymore!"
As they already had Kevin's license and thus address Eric looked at Pam and said, "Make preparations to set up surveillance of this Aaron."
When she left to make the necessary calls he focused back on his victim, and asked, "What will happen since you never returned? Will there be some sort of retaliation or restructuring?"
Shaking his head Kevin replied, "No. No, this wasn't even supposed to be my mission. Aaron, h—he said I wasn't ready for field work. He wanted me to hang back for awhile until I learned more. I … I came here on my own. Nancy … Nancy Martin is our undercover. She's going to come in sometime soon and look around, this was supposed to be her gig. I came on my own to prove myself to Aaron. They'll wonder why I'm gone, but … but they didn't know I was coming here."
'How very convenient. I will have Sookie look for this Nancy, but we won't kill or detain her. We'll apprehend her and I'll let Sookie root around in her mind to tell find everything, and then we'll glamour her to forget and send her on her way. Then we'll follow her.' Nodding his head at Kevin he pressed, "What are the Fellowship's orders in regards to Sookie? What exactly do they know about her?'
"W—we know she can read minds … we know where she lives and who her family and friends are … I don't know what the orders for her are. That ... that wasn't my teams operation."
'So another team has been assigned to Sookie. I do not like that.' Focusing on Kevin he said, "Is there anything else you need to tell me? Anything at all?"
Shaking his head Kevin continued to sob as his body hung down from the wall and strained against his shackles. "Please—I'm sorry ... I'm so sorry, I just want to go home! I promise … I'll leave and never come back … I'll quit the Fellowship … Please—please let me go."
"Let you go?" Laughing deeply at this Eric grabbed Kevin's neck and said, "I can't do that. You and yours are threatening me and mine and I can't allow that."
"But—but Steve said that you had a deal with the girl … you're not supposed to be able to kill me since she's the one that found me … Steve said that's what our spy in Dallas said …."
Chuckling Eric replied, "Yes my Sookie does have quite the tender heart doesn't she? However what she doesn't know won't hurt me. I can't allow you to live and once I've killed you she won't be able to hear your thoughts when she arrives tonight. I'll have your body disposed of and come up with a nice, neat little lie to put her fears to rest if she asks about you."
Eyes widening in fear as he sensed the end Kevin begged, "Please … please don't!"
Ripping the boy's head off with one quick jerk, Eric laughed, "Request denied." Dropping the head on the floor he turned and made his way back upstairs. He would need to shower and change into the spare clothes he brought before Sookie arrived. His talk with Kevin had left quite a bit of blood on his person and it wouldn't do for his little southern belle to see it and learn he was not the gentleman he portrayed himself to her as.
Once he was done with his shower and back in his office he found Pam just getting off the phone and said, "Dispose of the body and make sure you glamour Ginger into thinking we released the human in case Sookie checks her mind. If Sookie asks you are to tell her we changed Kevin's memories after getting the information we wanted, and let him go so we could follow him."
"Understood." Pam moved so that Eric could retake his seat at the desk and said, "Did you watch the news today or read the paper?"
Smirking Pam picked up the paper off the couch and tossed it on his desk as she replied, "Because apparently you and Sookie are front page news. I emailed you the link to the news broadcast … check your inbox."
Picking up the paper, Eric grinned broadly at the picture of him kissing Sookie that took up nearly the entire front page. The headline read, "Fangtasia Bad Boy Off the Market." Chuckling he said, "I doubt Sookie will be pleased with this."
Arching a brow Pam asked, "Are you?"
Leaning back in his chair to regard his child Eric replied, "We must mainstream Pam. You know this. Humans are so intrigued by us, and me especially. What did you expect?"
"I'm not talking about their doting on you, that is to be expected. I'm talking about them linking you to her in such a way. These humans believe you are in a relationship with the girl, they think she is your girlfriend."
Shrugging Eric answered, "What they think matters not to me. Sookie is mine and that is all anyone needs know."
"What they will want to know is if you are hers?"
"I belong to no one Pam … others belong to me. Now go pick up Sookie."
When Pam bowed her head and left to carry out his orders Eric picked the paper back up and read it carefully before checking his inbox to view the link his child had sent him. When he was done he smirked to himself at the need of humans to gossip amongst themselves over things that had nothing to do with them.
'Sookie will certainly not be pleased,' he thought as he headed to the front to sit on his throne and await his pet's arrival.
A half hour later, Sookie had just finished putting on her shoes and checking her appearance in the mirror when she heard the knock at the door. As the night Weres had arrived to watch her home, Ian and Tom had left about 20 minutes ago and she was alone in the house. Shushing Thor, as he immediately began to bark, she opened the front door and smiled at Pam. "Hi Pam. I'm ready. Just let me get my purse and Thor."
When Sookie grabbed her purse off the hall table before leaning down to scoop up her fur ball Pam let her eyes trail over Sookie's form. When the girl was facing her again she asked, "Payback?"
Smiling brightly Sookie replied, "Oh yeah, he deserves it the big jerk."
"You might have some redeeming qualities yet girl. Let's go."
Eager to see her Master's reaction to Sookie's appearance Pam drove faster than normal and they were at the bar sooner than Sookie would have liked. She had thought her idea to get back at Eric was a good one, but she still didn't know just how far she could push him without going too far. When they pulled into the parking lot she decided it was too late to back out now and stepped out of Pam's car to follow her to the front entrance. Immediately she was bombarded by the hateful thoughts of all the Fangbangers in the line, and actually stumbled under the weight of them before righting herself. It was not often so many people thought such horrible things right at her, and she took a moment to collect herself and adjust to the strain.
Beside her Pam noticed her stumble and turned to face Sookie as she asked, "Problem?"
Giving Pam a shaky smile Sookie answered, "They hate me. They're thinking right at me and the wave of their awful thoughts hit harder than they usually do. I just need a moment to get used to the pressure. It will be worse inside so I need to prepare myself."
Pam glanced over her shoulder at the long line of Fangbangers that were outright glaring daggers of hate in Sookie's direction. "They are beneath you. In every way. Their thoughts do not matter. They despise you because you have what they don't."
"Eric's regard." Pam said no more and turned around to head into the bar; fully expecting Sookie to follow.
Taking a deep breath Sookie clutched Thor tighter to her chest and followed after Pam. She kept her head held high and ignored the thoughts of those around her as she walked into the bar. She spotted Eric immediately and smirked to herself as she watched his eyes widen at her appearance before a dark look overtook his features. She hated how he always looked so good and her stomach fluttered as she took in his black leather pants, boots and open black silk shirt that showed his smooth muscular chest. Forcing herself not to notice how drop dead sexy he was she inwardly smirked at the hungry look on his face as he scanned her outfit again and again.
'That's right Viking. Payback's a bitch.'
Eric had of course felt Sookie approach long before she even arrived at his bar through their bond. He'd also felt her wave of pain moments before and had been tempted to go to the parking lot to see what had caused it, but had refrained. He knew she wasn't in physical danger, and that it was her gift causing her trouble by the feel of the pressure in his head from the bond. If he'd gone to her she would have been suspicious as to how he knew she was hurting, and he wasn't ready for her to learn of the bond just yet. His eyes had been on the door awaiting her entrance when he saw Pam walk in with Sookie behind her … in the dress.
As she walked towards him with a definite sway to her hips wearing that tight little white dress with the red flowers his fangs threatened to pop out and all he wanted to do was grab her, toss her over his shoulder, and head to his office for some hot sex. 'Clever little minx,' he thought in amusement and lust. He watched as Pam led Sookie forward, and knew his child hadn't remained by the door because she wanted to see how this little altercation went between him and his pet.
When Sookie was standing directly before him with Pam smirking at them both he let his eyes trail up and down her form slowly before saying, "Do you remember what I told you about that dress and you being in it around me?"
Shrugging Sookie moved to sit in her chair next to him as she put Thor in her lap and replied, "I do, and I also remember telling you that you could take care of your own problems."
Pam resisted the urge to laugh as she waited for Eric to reply. 'Perhaps having her around the next few centuries before I leave Eric's side won't be so bad after all. She certainly is full of surprises … and entertaining.'
Ignoring his child's amusement Eric said, "You are a cruel creature my Sookie."
"Takes one to know one doesn't it, Eric, and I'm not your anything!"
"Not pleased with your catch Sookie? I'm wounded, after all, your human gossip mongers have made it very clear I'm quite the prize."
Her anger flaring Sookie glared at him and hissed, "Don't talk about that! You did that on purpose! You knew what everyone would think! You tricked me!"
Waving his hand dismissively Eric argued, "How am I responsible for the fickle attentions of humans? Instead of reporting about the hospital they focused on two healthy people … blame your human tabloids for that."
Gritting her teeth Sookie faced forward and growled, "I'm not speaking to you."
"Very mature … I thought we established the silent treatment doesn't work with me? I won last time and I will this time as well."
Spinning to face him Sookie countered, "Why do you have to be so difficult?"
"Oh! You drive me crazy!"
"Crazy with lust for my Viking sex god body?"
"Stop bringing that up! You know I didn't mean it—it—it just slipped out!"
Arching a brow, Eric baited, "Because it was on your mind my pet. You were fantasizing about how good my Viking sex god body could make you feel. I bet you were imagining being bent over my desk in that very dress with me…."
Chuckling Eric watched Sookie's face flush in embarrassment as she stuttered in shock at his forwardness. "Cat got your tongue pet? I can think of a number of things I'd like to do with it as well."
"Would you stop!" Sookie hissed as she glared at him.
Pam was astounded at the banter between the two. Eric was actually being playful with his human, and he was enjoying it! 'He's actually enjoying teasing her like this … this girl's effect on my Master never ceases to amaze me.' Deciding she had enough fun for the night she turned and headed to man the front door.
Eric and Sookie were so involved in their little staring contest neither paid attention to Pam's departure. Sookie held Eric's cocky gaze as long as she could before huffing in annoyance and facing the crowd again. Everyone was staring at them and she hissed, "Do you see what you did? They're all staring at us and wishing all sorts of awful things to happen to me."
Glancing at the vermin for only a moment and seeing they were indeed glaring at Sookie he said, "Who cares. They are nothing. You must stop putting so much importance on their thoughts. They are fools and beneath us."
"Whatever. I'm still mad at you … oh!" Spinning around to look at him, she hissed, "2 million dollars? Are you insane!"
Laughing at this Eric waved Richelle over and said, "Get Sookie her gin and tonic." When she was gone he focused on his pet and replied, "Caught that part did you?"
"I'm giving them back."
"Oh no you're not. We have a deal little one; you have to keep them ... or Jessica suffers."
Looking around Sookie asked, "Where is Jessica? I haven't seen her lately."
Shrugging Eric replied, "She's been spending time with some fool from your town. He's a little slow in the head I think … so I guess they're perfect for each other."
"Eric! Quit being so mean!"
Flashing a grin at her Eric purred, "But Sookie, I'm so good at it."
"You're incorrigible … and I'm still giving the jewelry back. You can't give me things like that!"
"I'll give you many things like that, and you will not give them back. Keep complaining about it and you'll be getting such gifts every day of the week."
Her mouth dropping open as she fumbled for a response Sookie finally huffed and sat back with her arms over her chest as she muttered, "Jerk."
Eric simply laughed.
A few moments later Richelle arrived with her drink and scowled at her as she handed it over. It wasn't hard for Sookie to pick up the mental images in the girl's head, and when Richelle's fingers brushed hers as the glass changed hands she actually flinched from the malice of the waitress's thoughts.
Fucking whore! Trying to take Eric! Who does she think she is? Eric just wants her because she reads minds. He's fucking me…well a few other girls, but he takes me to his bed more than he takes anyone else. This bitch will get what's coming to her sooner or later. She's not good enough for Eric. Cock sucking whore slut! You hear me bitch! You see what he does to me! Does he fuck you like this?
Drawing her hand back quickly Sookie pushed back the images of Eric taking Richelle in every conceivable position and the mental pictures of Richelle sucking on Eric's cock again and again. The mix of emotions from Richelle's touch had her feeling nauseous as lust, need, desire, want, anger, hatred, and violence slammed against her shields from the small brush of the girl's fingers against her.
Eric had seen Sookie flinch when the waitress gave her the drink and felt the pain wash over her. He glared at Richelle and growled, "Go back to work." He'd forgotten that Sookie could feel emotions from people through touch and whatever Richelle had been feeling at the moment had obviously hurt Sookie. He also realized that as many of the women he bedded came to Fangtasia so often Sookie would get a firsthand look of how often he enjoyed himself when not with her, and that might be detrimental to his pursuit of her. Monogamy was not common among Vampires and as such they didn't understand why humans were so hung up on "cheating" as they called it, so he hadn't really considered the thought.
He made a mental note to select bed companions from different areas where Sookie wouldn't come in contact with them from now on. He didn't want the bloodbags he used as his feed and fuck for the night to interfere with his quest to make Sookie his. Once she'd come to him and he'd chained her at his side he wouldn't have to worry about hiding such things. As soon as she was his she would accept the way he was and the way he lived his life because she had no other choice, but for now he would have to take greater care those he used for his nightly entertainment were not around Sookie.
'Perhaps it is time to fire Richelle?'
Unaware of Eric's thoughts Sookie took a deep breath before downing a large gulp of her gin and tonic to try and ease the pressure in her mind and wash away the disgusting feelings Richelle had broadcasted to her. Feeling the heat of the alcohol enter her system she pushed the emotions and thoughts Richelle had bombarded her with away.
Unsure whether or not he should say anything Eric simply sat and let the silence stretch between them, but he could easily feel the whirl of emotions in Sookie beside him and he was pleased that as she scanned the crowd and her gaze met those of girl's he'd bedded jealousy flared within her.
'Perhaps her seeing those who share by bed when she turns me down will not be such a bad thing after all.'
As much as she hated it, Sookie could feel the green eyed monster of jealousy rear its ugly head inside her every time she came across the thought of a girl Eric had bedded. Sure she'd run across them before, especially Richelle's, but it seemed every Fangbanger Eric had ever had sex with had shown up tonight to see if the rumors in the paper were true. They were all sizing her up, and while most didn't know she could read their thoughts like Richelle did that didn't stop them from replaying their experiences with Eric over and over in their minds.
The general consensus was that she wasn't good enough for Eric. That she looked to prim and proper to be able to show him the good time they had. And every single one of them hated her guts.
'Why do I care if he's had sex with all these women? I'm with Bill and I've told Eric we can't be together … that means he has the right to do whatever he wants.'
She knew this fact in her mind, but her heart was hissing in jealousy. She didn't want to be with Eric, but she didn't like the thought of him being with anyone else. She knew that was foolish, but that's how she felt. Over the past weeks she'd come to admit she cared a bit for Eric, and didn't like the thought of him paying attention to any other woman. She knew it was wrong to feel that way as she had no claim to him, but that's how she felt. Finally she decided she'd just have to suck it up and get over it. If she wasn't going to take him up on his offer then he had the right to take pleasure in whomever he wished, even if she did hate the idea of him touching some other girl or letting some strange girl touch him.
Eric basked in the waves of jealousy he felt coming from Sookie for several moments before pulling out his phone and sending her a text. As it had to do with private matters he didn't want to speak of it out loud. Beside him Sookie felt her phone vibrate and pulled it out to read:
ERIC: Listen for a woman named Nancy Martin. She is supposed to be a part of Kevin's cell in the Fellowship. She is going to be sent here to find out what vermin are fed off of most. If you find her point her out. No doubt she will be using a fake ID to get in, but Pam is checking them all just to make sure.
She thought for a moment before typing her reply back. Eric opened her text the moment it appeared on his phone and read:
SOOKIE: If they know what I can do and they know I'm here every night they're going to stay away. If you want me to find this woman she has to think I'm not here to catch her. I should sit in your office out of sight from now on. And what did you do with Kevin?
Immediately seeing the logic of her words, but disliking the thought of her not sitting next to him all night Eric typed back his reply. He would of course have her sit in the back every night after this since her plan was sound, but he could afford to let one night go by….especially since she was wearing the dress. He watched as Sookie clicked the buttons on her phone to read his text.
ERIC: Trying to get away from me? Not in that dress. You shall stay by my side tonight. I will take your suggestion under advisement for future nights. And we released Kevin after glamouring the information we wanted out of him. We planted false memories of what happened here and then we let him go so we could follow him back to his friends.
Rolling her eyes at his infatuation at her in this dress Sookie put her phone away and replied, "Ok." Then she lapsed into silence. She was mad about being in the paper, she was mad about having to listen to all the women in the bar that Eric had slept with, and she was pissed that she cared about his sex life at all. She was just mad.
For his part, Eric rode the waves of Sookie's emotions as he thought, 'I don't want her sitting in the back. I want to be able to see her, to tease her, to scent her beside me. But she's right. If the Fellowship see her they'll leave.' A sudden thought entering his mind he sent another text message and watched Sookie pull out her phone to read it.
ERIC: You told me you can hear for miles if you wish to. You won't have to sit in the back. Just push your shields back far enough to hear those outside as well as the ones inside. You'll be able to hear any Fellowship spies in the parking lot before they even have a chance to get inside. I win.
Gritting her teeth Sookie harshly typed her response before throwing her phone in her purse, and diligently ignoring Eric beside her. Eric smirked at her anger and read:
He chuckled as he tucked his phone back into his pants pocket and said, "You really need to find another term of endearment for me little one. I still vote for Viking Sex God." The withering glare she sent him only had him chuckling more.
Ignoring Eric beside her Sookie closed her eyes took hold of her shields in her mind and pushed them back until she felt the minds of the humans outside waiting to get in the bar inside her own mind. She felt the battering of their thoughts in her head and slowly divided all the noise into more manageable groups and opened different pathways in her mind so she could scan them all at once. She'd never done anything like this before, but she found it was actually fairly easy. Over the past two weeks she'd taken Eric's advice about using her mind like this and she found it was easier every time. It was like she created separate roads in her thought process and scanned them all from the center of her mind like a helicopter in the sky. It was indescribable.
Beside her Eric could literally feel the flow of power in Sookie's head through the bond and he was awed by it. He desperately wanted to ask her what it was she was doing to make her mind's power radiate inside him through their bond like it was but knew he could. He could tell she was concentrating and raked his brain for a question he could ask that wouldn't alert her to the fact he knew more about her than she thought he did. When she finally opened her eyes and took another sip of her drink he asked, "Did you expand your shields?"
"Isn't it cumbersome or difficult to make sense of all the thoughts present? If you can't do it I'll have to let you sit in the back so you only hear the ones in the bar." He could feel her desire to lie to him so she wouldn't have to sit on display beside him, but as expected his pet's morals wouldn't be swayed.
"It is for the first few seconds since all the thoughts wash over me at once, but I separate them and it's easier."
Arching a brow he asked, "Separate?"
Nodding her head Sookie took another sip before replying, "I divide the different thoughts up into manageable groups of five or six and open a different pathway in my mind to scan them so that all the thoughts aren't together at once and just one big roar in my head."
His eyes widening at this Eric asked, "How many thought processes are you having right now?"
"Counting the one to talk to you?" When he nodded she said, "Twenty-seven."
Shaking his head in wonder Eric replied, "You are truly an amazing creature my Sookie."
"Don't you mean freak of nature."
Leaning over towards her he growled, "Do not say that again. I'm tired of you thinking so little of yourself, and you will stop it at once."
Blinking at the anger in his eyes and his voice, Sookie nodded weakly and whispered, "I won't say it again."
"You won't think it again. Just because the pathetic vermin you grew up around could not recognize your greatness and value does not mean you don't have it. You think yourself less than those around you because you are different when in truth you are more."
"Just because I can hear them does not make me better than them."
"You're right. Your talent sets you apart from them and makes you more valuable than the average human … however it is you that makes you better."
Shaking her head Sookie said, "I don't understand."
Waving his hand to indicate the vermin before him Eric continued, "Look at them. Petty, shallow, pitiful creatures that degrade themselves and change any part of their bodies or personalities to fit what they think is accepted. They haven't an original thought inside their heads. They do whatever everyone else is doing in order to fit in with the masses. They are nothing more than expendable commodities, and what's worse is that they make themselves this way. They have no respect for themselves or others and as such they do not deserve respect from you or I."
Sookie let her gaze travel over the fangbangers for a second before replying, "I'll admit that these people are a bit more lost than most, but you know that fangbangers aren't the norm. Most people don't wear leather and dog collars while begging vampires to feed off them. Most people are hard working, and …."
"Sheep…most humans are sheep Sookie…you know this."
"No Eric. They're not. They're just …"
Holding his hand up to stop her, he said, "Do not defend them because you feel you have to. Think about it Sookie. Truly think about it. You've been inside people's minds … you know them." When Sookie remained quiet he pressed on, "How many of them stand up for what they know is right and yet is not accepted? How many look beyond prejudice to find truth? How many refuse to bend to societal or their peers standards in order to be who they truly are? Do not most humans lie to themselves and each other merely to fit into the glorified image of what you humans call the "Norm"? Do not most humans betray each other to get ahead, only to be shocked when it is done to them?"
"Vampires betray each other as well. You told me so."
Nodding his head, Eric said, "We do, but we own up to such attributes. It is our nature. However we refuse to be less than what we are. Humans have glorified doing this. Humans give up their individuality in order to be another head in a herd; unseen and unheard simply so that they don't stand out. And the few of them that do seek the limelight don't live as themselves. No. Instead they live every moment of their lives in accordance to how they think they should live and act."
Holding Sookie's gaze Eric continued, "But you do not. From the first night I met you, you stood out." Scanning her dress before meeting her eyes again he said, "You knew you were coming here but refused to dress as anything other than what you are. Even when you agreed to work here you refused to conform. In the church when you were faced with death you could have lied and told that bastard Newlin you repented and would have nothing to do with Vampires in order to save yourself, but you argued for me. Me. You didn't do it because you liked me…you did it because it was the right thing to do. I know of no one else…human or vampire … that would do this."
"I'm not finished." When Sookie fell silent again he said, "You've been inside human minds, you know them, how many of them do you think would be able to have your gift and not abuse it? You use your gift only to help others, and never to hurt them. Even as others seek to hurt you, you refuse to hurt them back with your extraordinary skill. You claim your race is better than it is. You defend them even as they shun and degrade you for being different. So you see Sookie you are better than all here not because you are gifted, but because you choose to be different in thought and action from other humans. That is why you sit beside me on your own throne while they simper at our feet begging to be noticed."
She didn't know what to say to that so she simply turned and faced the front a she replied, "I don't know about that."
"You will … one day."
They lapsed into silence. The rest of the night passed quietly with Sookie only picking up two boys and a girl who were here with fake ID's, a girl who suspected she had Hep D but hadn't been tested yet, and a guy looking for some V. The underage youths were escorted out and warned not to return until they were of age, the girl who suspected she was infected was glamoured by Pam to go to the clinic the next day to be tested and not to allow any vampires to feed from her until she had the results, and the guy looking for V was terrified by Chow and went home with wet pants.
By the time 1 am rolled around Eric was pleased with Sookie's performance and determined that she would find nothing else that night and said it was time for them to go home. He wanted to continue making a statement to the vermin that Sookie was his and intended to play up the hype around them as much as possible so he took her arm and led her out the front of Fangtasia instead of through the back. And once they were in his car he made sure to drive past the front on their way out so that everyone would see she was leaving with him. He was thankful Sookie was far too tired to argue with him about it. As expected she fell asleep with Thor on her lap as soon as she was seat belted in, and slept all the way home.
When he pulled up to her house and killed the engine he was pleased to see the two Were guards hidden from human sight in the tree line. Turning to Sookie he said, "Little one … wake up, pet, we're here."
Yawning Sookie woke with a stretch and gathered Thor in her arms as Eric used his speed to appear at her door and help her out before she had even unbuckled herself. "Thanks," she mumbled as he took her hand and helped her out of the car. She set Thor down so he could use the yard and when he was done she headed up the porch with the puppy and Eric following after her. As soon as she opened the door Thor padded after her and went to get a drink of water while she dumped her purse and keys on the hallway table. As she kicked her red heels off she said, "I need to ask you something."
Taking her hand Eric led her to the living room and answered, "Do tell?"
When they were seated on the couch facing each other she replied, "I'm know I'm supposed to work at Fangtasia every night until you fix this whole Fellowship thing but I need Saturday night off."
"I'm going to a club with Lafayette to find a replacement." She kept her words cryptic since the Weres were guarding her house.
Leaning back on the couch Eric smirked as he said, "Why should I release you from your duties to me for such a thing? We have a contract that says I can require you to work all five nights Fangtasia is open should the need arise…well the need has arisen."
"Eric, come on … you said I could do this."
"I said you could do it on your own time. Your nights are my time."
"But Eric this is the only way I'll find someone. Lafayette doesn't know anyone, and this is supposed to be the place where people who do that stuff get together. They're only open at nights and apparently the club is closed Sundays and Mondays just like Fangtasia … what else am I supposed to do?"
Shrugging Eric said, "None of that is my problem. I'm content with the current arrangement I have. You're the one that wishes to change it so any work to get your friend out of our agreement should be done on your own time. Your nights belong to me."
Crossing her arms under her chest Sookie argued, "Eric that's not fair!"
"Ask me if I care."
Gasping at his callousness Sookie pressed, "Eric! I need to do this!"
Letting a moment of silence stretch between them Eric finally asked, "What will you trade for me giving you the night off?"
Throwing her hands up in the air Sookie growled, "Why does everything have to be give and take with you? Why can't you ever just do something for the sake of doing it?"
"Because that won't get me ahead, and I never take my eyes off the prize my sweet Sookie … so I ask again; what will you trade for this favor?"
"I don't have anything to trade."
"Do you not?"
"No sex, Eric … you know that!"
Smirking at her Eric replied, "I have already told you that debt will not be the reason you come to my bed."
"So what do you want?"
Taking her hand Eric pulled her closer and said, "I want you to take me on a date."
Clearly shocked as Eric toyed with her fingers Sookie asked, "W—what?"
"A date. You will take me on a date. You wish to have Saturday night off to go to this bar? Very well. Then Sunday night while Fangtasia is closed you will take me on a date."
Laughing Sookie shook her head and said, "This is ridiculous!"
"If you are refusing that is fine…you will work for me Saturday night as planned, and I will take you on a date Sunday night as we already agreed."
Pulling her hand from his she sat back and looked at Eric as she replied, "You're really serious? You really want me to take you on a date in exchange for me getting Saturday night off?"
Nodding his head Eric stated, "I want you to take me out to do something you think is fun. Take me on what you would consider to be your ideal date. You may use the credit cards I supplied if money is an issue. My only stipulation is that the date last from sundown, when you will pick me up, to at least 2am."
"If I take you out on a date I'll pay for it … I just don't know what to take you to do."
Shaking his head Eric insisted, "That's not what I said. I said take me out and show me what you want to do. Show me what you enjoy and believe to be the ideal date. You will pick me up at Fangtasia as soon as the sun sets and will take me on a date."
'I can't believe he's serious about this! A date? He wants me to take him on a date? I have officially entered the Twilight Zone.' Laughing softly she said, "Ok … it's a deal. You let me have Saturday night off and I'll take you on a date Sunday night."
"Done … now I'll show you how to work your safe." Standing Eric took her head and led her to her bedroom. 'This date will be the perfect opportunity for me to get a further look into her mind to see what she likes. I will be able to use this information to further my seduction of her.'
When they were in the bedroom he took her to the wall where her dresser was located. He'd noticed the first night he put her to bed when they made their arrangement that she had a large picture of wild flowers hanging beside the mirror attached to the dresser and had instructed Bobby to install the safe behind it. The safe he'd ordered for her was long and tall instead of deep since he knew her wall was only about six inches thick. Picking the painting up off the nail it hung from he set it on the floor to reveal the wall safe.
"This safe has a fingerprint identification pad as well as key code access." He hit a few buttons and the safe beeped. "Put your thumb on the pad and hold it there until it beeps again." When Sookie had done as he said and the safe beeped to indicate her fingerprint had been scanned he continued, "Now your fingerprint has been scanned. Do you want to change the code?"
"What is it now?"
"That is the year I was made … well, roughly. Godric was certain that was the year."
Shrugging Sookie said, "That's fine. Everything going in there is stuff you've bought me so if you want it back I don't mind you knowing the code."
"All right then to open the safe you first put your thumb on the pad and once it beeps and the first green indicator light comes on you type in the code and the second light will come on and the door will click open. There is no procedure to lock it. As soon as you shut the door it automatically secures on its own."
Nodding her head Sookie replied, "Got it."
"Very well. The safe is hidden and none know it is here but you or me since I glamoured the information out of Bobby early this evening. Tell no one and put the jewelry I buy you in here. It would also be smart to keep an emergency stash of cash in here as well … just in case."
Not wanting to ask him to clarify the just in case part Sookie answered, "Ok … is that it?"
"Now we share blood."
Nodding her head Sookie said, "Ok, but not at the same time … weird stuff happens when we do it at the same time and I don't like it. You go first and then I'll go."
Smirking at her Eric conceded, "Very well." 'For now. I will corner you into a mutual exchange soon enough.' Taking her hand he moved to sit on her bed and pulled her into his lap. When she squeaked and began to argue the setting he whispered, "Shhh pet. I shall feed from you here. Now bare your neck to me."
Deciding to let the fact they were sitting on her bed about to do something so intimate Sookie simply glared at him before sweeping her hair back and offering him her neck.
"Good girl," Eric purred before he leaned down to inhale her sweet scent. Swirling his tongue over her pulse point he growled, "So sweet," before sinking his fangs deep.
Sookie couldn't help but gasp as Eric's mouth latched onto her pulse while he pressed her form close to his. The difference in their body temperatures caused her to shiver and involuntarily she whimpered, "Eric …." Her eyes fluttered closed and she felt the area over her chest begin to throb with heat.
Eric could feel his own chest alighting as the power of his Mjolnir began to throb within him. The spicy sweetness of Sookie's blood filled his mouth as he drew her essence into himself. His cock ached and begged to be buried inside the small woman in his arms and he growled to himself, 'Soon, soon I will know every inch of her body as well as my own. Soon she will lay spread before me; offering her body for my pleasure.' He took several more deep draws of her life giving blood before pulling back to lick the wound closed. When that was done he sat her sideways on his lap and bit his wrist to offer it to her; pleased when she immediately latched onto it with her tiny hands holding his hand and arm to keep the wound in place.
She could feel Eric kissing her temple and nuzzling her hair as she drank freely from his wrist. His blood was cold of course, but made her tongue tingle as though it were on fire. She could taste the fire in him, and the wildness. Strangely the taste of his blood made her think of the mountains and the oceans all at once. 'Why does he have to taste so good? Why does his blood make me burn in ways Bill's never did?' She drank as long as she dared before drawing back and could only gasp when Eric moved in to lick the droplets that escaped the side of her mouth.
He wanted to kiss her, and she must have sensed it because she buried her face into his neck and breathed deeply. He could feel her warring emotions through the bond and allowed her to sit quietly as he wrapped one arm around her waist, and let his free hand trail up and down her bare arm softly. 'She wants me. I can feel her desire for me through the bond. She was jealous of my liaisons with the women in the bar tonight … it will not be long before she is mine.'
In his arms, Sookie took deep breaths as she tried to calm herself. She so desperately wanted to say to hell with all this and pull him to her for a kiss that would lead to so much more … but she couldn't. Not only could she not cheat on Bill, but she was still unsure of exactly what Eric was after, and most importantly she wasn't sure that Eric wasn't a lying, evil, manipulative bastard that was just playing her. She couldn't endanger her fragile heart on the hope he truly cared for her.
Taking one last breath she stood from his lap and said, "Good night Eric, I'll see you tomorrow."
Grinning, Eric stood as well. He kissed her forehead and whispered, "Good night little one." He passed Thor on the way out as the puppy had followed after them and was sitting in the doorway.
When he was gone Sookie swept Thor up into her arms and whispered, "Where the heck do I take a guy like him for a date?"
For the next couple of days Eric worked to ferret out all of the members in the Fellowship cell he knew of, and so far they had found seven members including the Nancy woman. They hadn't taken any of them into custody as they wanted to see if one of them might possibly lead them to other cells or meeting places controlled by the Fellowship. The queen's interest in Bill had quite obviously disappeared in the wake of the discovery of the Fellowship's site and his sources inside her camp told him she was on the phone constantly with The Council and other monarchs about how to handle the problem. So far they were in agreement it was best not to act legally to have the site shut down as their retaliation towards these terrorist cells would be handled their way, and not in accordance with the new mainstreaming movement.
Eric was still sure the queen had something going on behind his back and continued to be diligent in his plans to thwart her should she move against him, but he was fairly certain she wouldn't act until this imminent threat was taken care of. He was one of the greatest vampire warriors in the world, definitely in America, and it would be beyond foolish to try and cause him harm when he would be needed most. She had sent an email to let him know she or the Council might be requiring the use of his telepath in the near future and to be ready for a summons, but he had expected that.
The only thing that had really caused him any surprise was a phone call from the Council's representative that he should be expecting a visit from one of its key members soon and he was to speak of it to no one … especially the queen. He was not told who would be coming or when, just that the meeting was to be kept secret from everyone except his child if he chose to tell her. Needless to say he was very intrigued as to what they wanted with him, and had a suspicion it had to do with Sookie. As all orders from the Council held higher standing than any from a queen or king Eric wasn't worried about hiding such a thing from Sophie-Anne, though he doubted whatever business the council had with him would please her when she found out … if she found out that is.
For her part the next couple of days passed quickly for Sookie. She had another lesson with Ken and he was again impressed with how quickly she picked up what he taught her, and as such they began moving at an even faster pace while he added to her basic stretching and kata regime that she practiced on her own. She continued to make friends with the Weres as they watched her and she began leaving a cooler outside with drinks and snacks for them every night; to which they assured her they were grateful. She forced herself not to think about them standing around naked in the woods eating and drinking while she was asleep.
At work Arlene was becoming more and more hostile towards her as Eric sent her flower arrangements every day. Not to mention there had been several more news segments on whether or not she and Eric were together. She picked up from Tara and Eggs' thoughts, since they answered the phone at Merlotte's, that there had been several hateful calls from Eric's fangirls, but her friends never connected them of course. And she heard from Jason that Hoyt was going to Shreveport practically every night to see Jessica.
At night Eric continued to tease her relentlessly while she ignored the hateful glares of the Fangbangers that at best wanted Eric to toss her away, and at worst wanted her to die a horrible death. She still hadn't found any more Fellowship spies and Eric mentioned they were probably laying low for awhile and would make a move soon. She'd asked him what his queen and the other vampires were doing about the site and he'd simply asked her if she really wanted to know … she'd decided she didn't and didn't ask again. She figured if they needed her help for the site Eric would let her know. Soon enough Saturday night came and Sookie stood in her bedroom arguing with Lafayette about her wardrobe for the night.
"I'm not wearing that Lafayette!"
"Come on Sook! If you're going to go to this club you have to fit in! You go in jeans and a shirt and they won't even let you in the door."
"So you want me to dress like a whore?"
"I put this outfit together myself I'll have you know!"
Arching a brow Sookie replied, "Clearly."
Fisting his hands on his hips Lafayette asked, "What's that supposed to mean?"
Not wanting to fight Sookie said, "Look Lafayette I totally get that you like to dress the way you do and be all flashy, but me? I can't wear something like this."
Knowing how conservative Sookie was Lafayette pleaded, "Sookie I know … but if you don't dress to fit in no one will talk to us. You can hear them all you want, but they won't give us the time of day if you don't fit in. I'm not sure the bouncers will even let us in if you don't look the part. These people all freak out about cops … if you don't look like you fit in they'll finger you for a nark and send you packin' before we even make it inside … please Sook ... just for tonight … for me?"
Sighing Sookie took the offered clothes and shoes and said, "Fine, but if you ever tell anyone I dressed like this, I'll make you scrub the toilets at Merlotte's after Super Bowl night … got it?"
Shuddering at the thought Lafayette nodded and said, "Can do. I'll let you get dressed."
Fifteen minutes later Sookie came walking down the steps. As she was going into town tonight and wouldn't be guarded by vamps Alcide and Tray were coming along to escort her and Lafayette. She'd called Alcide the other day, Eric had ordered them all to give her their phone numbers for emergencies, and told him of the club they were going to. Because of this he and Tray were both shirtless in black leather pants and boots. They refused to wear neon clothes like Lafayette who was in bright purple leopard print skin tight leather pants with purple boots. He too was shirtless but had a matching scarf around his neck and purple sparkly eye shadow and lipstick on.
Ten minutes later they had made it through the line and were inside. The bright flashing strobe lights threatened to blind them as the fast techno beat blared all around them. Immediately Sookie adjusted her shields and sorted the thoughts of the 400 or so people in the club into groups and began to scan as Lafayette dragged her out onto the dance floor with her guards taking up positions by the bar where they could keep an eye on her. They were far enough away not to draw attention to her, but close enough that they could get to her if she was in trouble. Sookie let Lafayette grind against her and tried to ignore the feel of all the bodies of people pressing in on her as their emotions of lust and drug induced happiness shoved against her shields. She forced her mind to concentrate on looking for those on V or hopefully those selling.
'So hot. Gonna fuck this girl tonight ....'
'I wonder if I look fat in this dress. Jenny said .…'
'Gotta get laid tonight….gotta find some nice pussy that's easy ….'
'Feel so good! This X is the shit! I wonder ….'
'He's so hot. I know I just met him but I'm definitely going to let him ….'
'Pretty lights! V makes everything so much prettier. I love ….'
Immediately spinning her head to the side to catch sight of the brown hair girl dancing in circles wearing a tight spandex pink dress with her hair in pigtails and glitter all over her body Sookie grabbed Lafayette's hand and dragged him towards her target. Dancing closer to her Sookie gritted her teeth and set her hands on the girl's hips to dance with her so she could get a clearer look into the girl's head. She quickly picked up that the girl's name was Emily, and she saw images of a guy in black and neon green upstairs by the second bar on a white couch that had sold her the V. Having the information she needed, she nodded to Lafayette and began leading him upstairs. The club was a warehouse with the entire bottom floor a dance area and one wall a massive bar. The second floor was only half the size as the middle of the floor was gone so that you could look down from the upper level to the bottom one, though the second floor was walled off with chain link fence to prevent anyone from falling.
As Sookie and Lafayette made it up the stairs it wasn't hard to spot the guy as he was surrounded by girls and acting as though he was some demigod as he sat on a large white horse shoe shaped couch in the corner. 'He's got nothing on Eric,' Sookie thought before she could stop herself. Shaking her head at the thought she focused on what she was doing. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Alcide and Tray move to sit at another couch along the wall further down, and she knew they were far enough away that they wouldn't be able to hear her. Smiling at the guy who she'd found from Emily was named Travis she felt Lafayette wrap his arms around her waist and asked, "Mind if I sit down?"
Travis looked up at Sookie and scanned her body. 'Girl's got a body. Damn!' Pushing at the girl on his side to make room next to him he gestured at the now vacant seat and said, "Have a seat Darlin'."
Across the club on the other side of the second floor Eric watched Sookie take a seat next to the man who had to be a dealer if she was willingly paying him attention. He'd known as soon as Sookie asked for the night off to come here that he would be following to keep an eye on her. He'd been waiting on the roof of the building for her to arrive and jumped down to follow her in as soon as she and her little party entered. He was wearing his customary black leather Fangtasia ensemble so he fit right in. At the moment he had about six women dancing around him to the loud abrasive music trying to capture his attention, but his sole focus was on his Sookie.
'She wouldn't dress like that for me, but her friend gets into a spot and she strips down? Annoying. Though I do like her look … I'll have to have her wear those clothes for me again once she is mine, but she will definitely not be going out in public like this again.' Forcing himself to focus he watched as Sookie put her hand on the man's arm and leaned close to him to speak into his ear, and he felt a growl build in his chest. He didn't like Sookie touching other men. He didn't like it at all.
"So I hear you're the man to see about a good time around here?" Leveling a sweet smile at Travis Sookie played on the guy's ego.
'Oh Baby, I'll show you a good time. I'll fuck you so good you'll be screaming my name for weeks. I took some V a few hours ago so I can go all night long. This bitch is going to love my cock!'
"You heard right. What kind of time are you looking for sweetheart?"
Travis eyed Lafayette curiously as he leaned against the end of the booth and watched them intently. From the guys clothes it was obvious he was gay but he asked anyway, "Who's your friend?"
Glancing at Lafayette Sookie replied, "This is my friend Lafayette … he's a little jealous you're obviously straight. Don't mind him, we compete for the best catch all the time."
Put at ease by her words Travis let his eyes linger on Sookie's breasts as he said, "So what kind of time are you looking for?"
Knowing that Sookie wasn't really up to date on the lingo Lafayette stepped in and offered, "The kind where a drop goes a long way man."
Travis flicked his eyes to Lafayette before focusing on Sookie and replying, "I might be able to help you … course my help ain't free."
'She wants V? Oh I can help her…but I ain't lookin' for her cash here. This bitch is too hot to let go. I'll hook her and twinkle toes up in return for her riding my cock long and hard. I can't wait to tap that ass!'
Ignoring the shudder of revulsion she felt at those thoughts and reminding herself her guards weren't too far away and Lafayette was definitely capable in a fight Sookie asked, "Is your source good?" When his hand settled on her thigh and he began stroking her his mind opened right up to her. His sister was the girlfriend of some small time vamp in Shreveport. All three of them had an arrangement. The boyfriend gave the blood and they all split the profits. His name was Travis Miller and he lived in a rental house with his sister in Shreveport. 1413 Westcrest Ave. "How much does your help cost?"
"I'm thinking of a straight up trade. You make me feel good, and I'll hook you and your friend up with enough to party the night away."
"That won't be necessary," growled a dark voice.
Eric had seen the man put his hand on Sookie's thigh and that had been it. The beast in him roared in fury, and within the blink of an eye he was in front of them. He ignored Lafayette's scrambling back from him, and glared solely at the human vermin touching his Sookie. No one touched what belonged to him. No one. Grabbing Sookie's arm he jerked her to her feet and hissed, "Did you get what you came for?"
"Eric!" Sookie was shocked at his sudden appearance and asked, "What are you doing here?"
"Did you?" Truthfully he didn't care if she had or not. She wasn't staying there a moment longer.
Seeing the tightly controlled fury in his face Sookie nodded and replied, "Uh … yeah, I did."
"Good." Swinging her up in his arms bridal style he glared at Lafayette and ordered, "Come." He walked over to Sookie's guards and said, "Take him home and leave Sookie's car at her house. Wait in the woods after that. You are done here." With that he walked off with a shocked Sookie in his arms.
"Eric what are you doing? Put me down!"
Popping out his fangs when she struggled against his hold he hissed down at her, "Be still!"
Feeling the rage roll off him, Sookie shrank back in his arms and wondered, 'What the hell is wrong with him? Why is he so upset? What's wrong?'
Scenting her fear and feeling it from the bond he put on a burst of speed to have them out of the front door and in the parking lot in a mere second. He didn't waste time and launched himself into the sky.
He heard Sookie eep! in surprise before she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed closer to him as his faster speed frightened her. Her hat flew off her head from the wind, but neither of them made mention of it. He hadn't flown this fast the time he took her flying and he could understand her fear. He knew she was afraid, but at the moment he was so pissed that it was all he could do to keep from forcing his claim upon her. The entire flight to her home was made in silence. When they landed on her front porch he pulled out his copy of her house key he'd had made without her knowledge and opened the front door. Stepping inside he set her down and slammed the door behind him. The force of the movement caused the wood of the door to crack and the glass panes to shatter, but that was the least of both of their concerns at this point.
"Do. Not. Ever. Do. That. Again."
Stepping back from Eric, Sookie could feel fear beating at her as she asked softly, "Eric … what … why are you so mad?"
His hands clenched at his sides and his beast threatening to overwhelm him Eric watched Thor come padding out of the kitchen with his hackles up as he growled. He was mildly pleased at the puppy's actions before he focused back on Sookie. Her hair was wild and free about her shoulders from the flight and the need in him to force her to his will grew to even greater heights. "You know why."
Shaking her head Sookie said, "I—you—I thought we agreed I didn't have to come to Fangtasia tonight? You … you said I could go to the club!"
"I did not say you could play the whore. Perhaps I was wrong about you Sookie…perhaps you enjoy letting scum paw at you while you parade yourself around them like a slut. Perhaps your good girl act is just that … an act."
She didn't even think about it. Her hand was flying of its own volition and the resounding slap of her palm against his cheek rang out before dead silence filled the air. She was breathing rapidly and staring straight into Eric's eyes as he glared at her and his fangs popped down. Suddenly remembering his words about what would happen to her if she slapped him again Sookie slowly began to back up.
'Oh lord almighty! I'm in for it now!'
For his part Eric was restraining himself with everything he had. The tiny sting of her palm against his cheek was nothing to him of course; it was the action itself that was the problem. His beast was already raging in possessive fury at Sookie's behavior and appearance tonight, and her further defiance was the final straw.
"I warned you if you slapped me again you would be punished."
"Eric I …" Her words were cut off as she was suddenly over Eric's shoulder as he practically flew up the stairs and kicked the door to her bedroom open. When he sat down on the side of her bed and pulled her face down over his lap she understood what was about to happen and began, "I rescind—Mmmph!"
Knowing she was going to try such a thing Eric tore part of her pathetic excuse for a skirt off and shoved it into her mouth before capturing her arms and crossing them behind her back to keep her from pulling it out. "I don't think so Sookie, you were warned, and now you will face the punishment."
It was only a half hour before 11 and Tara was still at work, and since it had only seemed to take Eric about 10 minutes to fly them here Sookie doubted Alcide or Tray would be back soon enough to help her out of this … if they would help that is. With those truths in mind Sookie realized she was all on her own. She felt Eric tearing away the rest of her skirt and leaving her in only her top and black lace boy shorts as she kicked and squirmed against his hold while screaming into the gag.
'He had better not! I swear I'll never work for him again if he does!'
Eric could feel the shock and horror Sookie was feeling at his actions through the bond and he was determined he'd feel obedience soon enough. After tearing her skirt from her body he smoothed a hand over her voluptuous backside and pulled down her lacy panties to her knees in order to bare her ass to him. Ignoring the kicking of her legs he said, "You will learn to obey me Sookie. When I tell you not to do something you had damn well better listen! I'm going to spank you 10 times to make sure you understand this lesson, and it will hurt."
"You are not to let other men touch you."
"You are not to wear such clothes unless it is for my viewing pleasure alone."
"You are not to disobey me."
"You are not to attack me unless I give you permission to beforehand, and it will be for your martial arts training only."
"You are mine Sookie, and you will recognize this fact."
"I own you."
"You belong to me."
"You will never go to such a place again."
"You will never seek the attention of any man that is not me."
"You will never flirt with any man that is not me."
Sookie had felt the vicious sting of every spank to her ass thoroughly since he gave her a few seconds in between each to tell her his rules. She knew he wasn't using his full strength of course, but he was right….it hurt! It hurt like hell and her ass felt like it was on fire. She screamed after each strike of his hand against her ass into her makeshift gag and by the fourth blow tears were streaming down her cheeks.
When he was done Eric pulled her panties back up before shifting her in his arms to cuddle against his chest. When she began struggling against his hold he warned, "Looking for more?"
She went still at that and shook her head furiously. When he pulled the gag from her mouth she screamed in a rush, "I RESCIND YOUR INVITATION!"
Eyes widening Sookie stuttered, "W—why aren't you outside?"
Just as stunned as her Eric looked around as he gripped Sookie tighter when she tried to jerk out of his hold. 'How am I not being forced outside?' Looking back to Sookie he demanded, "Say it again."
"I rescind your invitation."
"What the hell?" Sookie asked in total confusion.
Shaking his head Eric thought, 'It must be because of our bonding. We are so tightly connected she can't kick me out. However I've never heard of such a thing happening, even among bonded vampires and their humans. This is most strange, but advantageous. Now she can never force me away.' Grinning darkly down at Sookie he said, "Oh you poor thing, you are truly between a rock and a hard place now aren't you?"
Feeling Eric buck his hips against her, pressing the erection he'd obviously gotten from spanking her, against her still sore ass Sookie shoved against Eric's chest and hissed, "Let me go! I don't care if I can't kick you out! You had no right to touch me like that! Get your hands off me!"
Flipping Sookie onto her back on the bed with him looming over her Eric said, "If I were you I'd be trying to waylay my anger pet …
not inciting it further. I truly enjoyed spanking that perfect ass of yours and won't mind having to do it again tonight if you can't learn your place…so by all means, continue to misbehave."
Glaring up at him in righteous fury as he pinned her waist and legs with his lower body and trapped her wrists beside her head with his hands Sookie replied, "If you think you're touching me again you're crazy! That's the last time you'll ever touch me! And I quit! I'm never working for you again! You've gone too far!"
Shaking his head at her words Eric leaned down to nuzzle her cheek as he whispered, "We have a deal, and more importantly a contract … not to mention even if I did let you go the Queen would know immediately and send Andre to retrieve you for her own … he would make you his pet and you would be bound to serve him. Is that what you want?"
Fear ripped through her heart as Sookie remembered the terrifying vampire that had looked at her like a piece of meat last week, and made her feel like she was literally in the company of death. Sure Eric frightened her from time to time, but he didn't ooze evil and malice like Andre had. Fresh tears filling her eyes Sookie whispered, "I hate you! I wish I'd never met any of you."
Eric felt a strange twinge of pain in his chest at her words. He didn't understand what it was, but what he did know was that Sookie was fast approaching meltdown. He'd proven his point, and now that Sookie couldn't expel him from her home it was time to comfort her. Sitting up he pulled her into his arms and stroked her hair back. Her tears had caused her mascara to run, but she still looked adorable to him. Kissing her temple he tucked her into his chest and said, "Calm yourself little one. Your punishment is over, and now I shall care for you. I won't let you go, and I'd never let anyone take you from me. You are safe from both Andre and the Queen. You are safe from everyone."
Smiling at that whispered response Eric added, "No. Not me. You will never be safe for me Sookie." He stroked his hand along her back in a soothing rhythm for a few more minutes before standing and carrying her into the bathroom. Sitting her down on the side of her tub he grabbed a washcloth and wet it with hot water from the sink before taking Sookie's chin in his hand and beginning to scrub her makeup off.
When that was done he unlaced her boots and tossed them to the side followed by her fuzzy wrist bands, but knew she wouldn't permit him to remove anymore of her clothes. She sat quietly the entire time. When he was done he turned the water on in the tub and adjusted the temperature before pouring some cherry blossom bath oil and bubble bath in. He took a clip out of one of the drawers under the sink and swept her hair up into a twist.
As the tub filled and the bubbles built he said, "Take a bath and I'll get you some food. You'll feel better after a nice soak. When you're done we'll talk."
When Eric turned and headed out of the bathroom Sookie whispered, "I'm still mad at you."
Eric turned back and smiled at her softly. She was wearing only her black lace boy shorts, and her incredibly tiny top. "I know. You'll get over it, and we'll move on … now take your bath."
When he was gone Sookie stood to remove the rest of her clothes and stepped into the tub. Her mind was numb at this point and she decided that Eric was right; she needed a good soak to get her nerves back in line. Besides her butt was on fire. Sitting down she hissed when the hot water met the red skin of her ass and eased into a sitting position in the tub.
Downstairs Eric was rooting around in the kitchen trying to figure out what to feed Sookie. Unfortunately there was nothing pre made in the fridge, and he had absolutely no idea on how to cook anything.
Checking the cupboards he was pleased to find a few cans labeled "Chicken Noodle Soup". He's seen a book in the bookstore once that said it was good for the soul and figured it would be good for Sookie right now. Taking down three cans he read the preparation directions on the back. Scrounging around he found a pot and started up the stove. Popping the lids he poured them in and watched as they came to a boil. He lowered the heat and went to sit down on the couch. Thor was hiding under the coffee table; apparently having been upset by his and Sookie's earlier altercation. Snapping his fingers, he waited for the puppy to come out from under the table and picked him up. "You have to establish dominance early on Thor. It's the only way they learn. Perhaps one day you'll find a female of your own and understand this better."
He turned the television on and was annoyed to see that Sookie didn't even have basic cable. She had only those channels that were free. He made another mental note to get the cable company out here to rectify that. 'And she could use a new TV and entertainment system as well.' He finally settled on a re-run of CSI: Las Vegas and sat back to wait for Sookie.
Twenty minutes later he saw Sookie come down the stairs. Her hair was wet so she'd obviously washed it as well. She was wearing an overgrown Cowboys football jersey that was so large it came down to her knees and draped off one of her shoulders. She had pink pajama pants with white fluffy clouds, and on her feet were purple socks. Her wet hair hung down around her shoulders and her eyes were still puffy from her crying. She looked absolutely beautiful to him and he had the overwhelming urge to pull her into his arms and cuddle her against the chest. He wanted to protect her from all the bad things he knew were coming and keep her locked up in his basement so that brilliant light of hers would shine only for him for all eternity…but he knew such desires could never be fulfilled. Sookie was not a delicate flower to be put on shelf and admired. She would wither away and die under such treatment.
Shaking his head at his foolishness he stood and said, "Sit. I'll get your food." As she sat down on the couch and curled up with Thor he passed by her and headed into the kitchen. A few minutes later he returned with a bowl of her soup and a spoon. "Eat and then we will talk."
Looking up Sookie couldn't help but smile to see Eric carrying her Gran's serving bowl with enough soup to feed her and Tara and then some. Shaking her head at his ideas on how much she should eat she accepted the bowl with a whispered, "Thank you," and watched as he retook his seat beside her to resume watching the television while she ate. The next ten minutes passed in silence while she ate as much of the soup as she could before she set the mostly full bowl on the coffee table and said, "Done."
Eric arched a brow at the bowl and saw how little of the soup she had eaten and demanded, "Eat more."
"Eric you are greatly overestimating how much a human eats at a time. I had a big breakfast and sandwich and salad for lunch…I'm good. Thank you for making me soup, but I really can't eat anymore."
Detecting no lie in her words through their bond Eric nodded his head and asked, "Was he a dealer?"
"Yes. His name is Travis Miller. His sister is dating a vampire and they are all in on his little business. Travis and the vampire, whose name is Julius, each get 40% and the sister, Tracy, get's 20%. His address is 1413 Westcrest Ave in Shreveport. I didn't get a phone number."
Growling Eric replied, "I know this vampire. He is only about 10 years old and not very bright. Your friend is released from our arrangement. I shall handle it from here on out, and we will not speak of this again."
"What did you tell your Were guards you were doing at the club?"
"I told them I was there looking for Fellowship spies."
Nodding his head at her cleverness Eric said, "Good … now let's talk about the rules."
Her anger building Sookie choked out, "Rules?"
"Indeed. You provoked my anger tonight and you will not do it again."
"I provoked you?! You're the one that went all Tarzan on me and … well you know what you did! And you didn't have the right to do it! And you are never to do it again!"
Smirking at her Eric moved to sit with his back leaned against the corner of the couch while he kicked his feet up on the coffee table with one arm draped across the back as he said, "I will if you cross the line and punishment is needed."
Eyes widening as she realized he was serious Sookie argued, "You have no right!"
"Eric I do not belong to you!"
"In my people's eyes you do. Your behavior reflects on me and what you did tonight was unacceptable."
Shaking her head Sookie replied, "I didn't do anything!"
His fangs popping out Eric hissed, "Your clothes were entirely inappropriate and you allowed that disgusting human to put his hands all over you. I warned you before there would be no man for you but me, and I meant it."
"Eric those clothes weren't any worse than the ones you sent me the first time." When he was silent Sookie gasped and said, "You never intended me to wear those clothes did you? That dress was for that night wasn't it?"
Smirking Eric replied, "Perhaps."
"You sneaky, lying, low down, rotten, son of a …"
"Careful pet … I'm still in a spanking mood."
Sookie closed her eyes, took a deep breath and ordered, "Get out."
"Not until I've made you very aware of where we stand little girl."
"Say whatever you want to say and then get out."
Sending gentle waves of calm through the bond to try and dampen Sookie's anger as he knew what he was about to say would only make it worse Eric said, "From this point forward you will never dress in such a way again without my permission. You will go nowhere that you have not cleared with me beforehand. You will never allow another man that is not a friend who you have no romantic interest in or your brother to touch you. And you will not flirt with any man that is not me. Do you understand?"
Her mouth dropping open Sookie argued, "Who do you think you are to make such demands of me? You can't order me around!"
Moving faster than she could see Eric had Sookie across the couch seated sideways on his lap as he wrapped his arms around her to keep her in place and said, "Do you forget Sookie? I can make you obey me in many ways. I enjoy your fire and spirit Sookie. Your sense of independence amuses me, but as you are my asset now I am quite within my rights to make you obey me in any way I choose. You will swear to me to follow these rules or I will take you back to my home with me and keep you there until you learn to obey. Do you understand?"
Feeling tears threaten to spill down her cheeks Sookie looked away and said, "Get out. Just get out."
Taking her chin and bringing her gaze to his Eric pressed, "Promise me Sookie. Promise me to obey these rules or I'm leaving here tonight with you and it will be a very long time before I allow you to return."
Seeing the determination in his eyes and feeling weariness threaten to overwhelm her Sookie finally whispered, "I promise."
Glaring at him she repeated, "I promise not to dress like that. I promise not to go to clubs without your permission. I promise not to touch or flirt with other men. Happy now?"
Kissing her forehead Eric replied, "I'm content. I understand you are upset Sookie, but I do this for your own good as well as my own peace of mind. I admit I do not like seeing you smile or flirt with other men, and the idea of them touching you let alone sight of it inspires rage in me, but these rules are for your safety."
"Seems like you're being a control freak to me."
"To you maybe, but you must remember my Sookie that this is my world you have become a part of. Supernaturals know you are my asset and you must dress and behave accordingly. To do otherwise will make me look weak and might lead others to believe they could take you from me."
Pulling her chin out of his hold Sookie said, "I gave you your promise now I want you to leave … I'm too tired and upset to put up with you right now. I'll never forgive you for humiliating me like that."
"Be thankful I didn't do it in front of witnesses."
Gasping in shock Sookie cried, "You wouldn't!"
"I have. I have taken a paddle to Pam in front of dozens of vampire witnesses when she failed to obey me before. Ask her about her own lessons in obedience. I am not a cruel Master Sookie, but I will not be pushed beyond my limits. I allow you far more freedom than any other, but you can only test my patience so much. Your attention to other males or allowing them their attentions towards you is far beyond my limits. If you are still skittish about being mine I am more than willing to wait for you to overcome your fear and come to me, but I will not allow you to be touched by or to touch another man."
Shaking her head Sookie replied, "You're a fool if you think I'm going to come to your bed now. Not after the way you just treated me. As soon as Bill gets back I'm going to get him to tell me whatever it is he's hiding and then we're getting married … and you are not my Master!"
He knew most of her words were from her anger. He knew she'd all but decided she couldn't marry Bill because there was just too much wrong with their relationship to do so. He knew his Sookie had already begun to question everything about her connections with Bill, and had probably already admitted that things inevitably weren't going to work out when he got back. So he wasn't upset by her small tirade. Besides he knew even if she still wanted Bill when the fool finally came back she couldn't have him. He had stripped her of all rights to make her own decisions. She just didn't know it yet. He was her Master and soon enough she would know it as well.
Smiling indulgently at her Eric said, "We'll speak more on that later … I expect you to pick me up tomorrow night from Fangtasia at sunset."
"Why should I? You went back on our deal so why should I have to keep up on my end of it?"
Tapping her on the nose Eric laughed, "Ah ah Sookie! I promised to let you go to the club. I did not promise not to follow. I did not promise how long you could stay, and I did not promise I would not take you out of there at any point I wished. I did not break our agreement. You continue to assume too much in our bargains little one, and it is costing you."
Gritting her teeth and shoving against him Sookie hissed, "You are such a jerk!"
Standing with her in his arms Eric strode to the front door. Setting her down he kissed her forehead and replied, "You've mentioned this before, and I'm sure you will again. The fact remains I did not break our agreement and thus you must hold up your end of the deal. You will pick me up from Fangtasia tomorrow night and take me on a date that last until 2am at least. Understood?"
"Yes … now get out!"
He wanted to take her blood, but knew that would be pushing her too far. With that in mind he opened the broken door, made a mental note to have Bobby get it fixed first thing tomorrow morning, and started to head out so he could fly home. Her body guards should be arriving back from Shreveport any minute and he wanted to be gone by the time they got here.
As Eric headed off her porch Sookie called out, "Eric …" When he turned to face her she asked, "Why weren't you forced out?"
He regarded her silently a moment before replying, "I don't know. I've never heard of such a thing happening before … do not speak of it to others though. I will make inquiries as to how this could have come about, and until then you are not to tell anyone you rescinded my invitation and it didn't work. Do you understand?"
The seriousness of his tone alerted Sookie to the fact that this was definitely not an everyday occurrence. She'd already known that really because when she'd shouted the command the first time his eyes had gone wide in shock just as hers had when he wasn't forced from her home. Knowing that what had happened was defiantly not the norm Sookie nodded her head and replied, "I won't."
She watched as he nodded his head at her and that shot up into the sky. When he was gone she shut her mangled door and turned to look at Thor who was sitting by the stairs now and peering up at her curiously. Moving forward she swept him up in her arms and said, "Let's go to bed puppy … I've had a hell of a night. And something tells me tomorrow won't be peaches and cream either."