I opened up the jewelery box that Eric had given to me over dinner during our date at Fangtasia. I stared speechlessly, at what was inside.
“Eric, you shouldn’t have,” I gasped, as I gazed at the object. I took it out of the box and held it up to look at it, in the dim lights.
Eric shrugged. “It’s nothing…I wanted you to have something nice. There’s something else inside there too.”
I checked inside the box for whatever else that he had given me. I was speechless. They were the prettiest and most expensive things that I’ve ever owned before. “I’m sorry…but I can’t take them.” I tried to hand him back the gift that he’d given me. “It’s too much.” I shook my head in denial.
“Nothing’s too much,” Eric dismissed my refusal with a wave of his hand. He stood up and walked around to stand behind me. “Here, let me put them on you.”
He took it out of my hand and placed it around my neck. One item was a ruby and diamond necklace. The other gift, were earrings to match. They looked like something that royalty would wear, not a little ole barmaid like me.
“Eric…” I tried to protest, once again.
Eric ignored me. Instead, he put the matching earrings in my ear. “They match perfectly with your dress,” Eric complimented me. “Perfect.”
I glanced down at the dress that I’d bought. It was red too. A deep red. It was almost the color of blood. The darker shade emphasized the blue of my eyes and my blonde hair really stood out.
Eric bent down and kissed the side of my neck, which caused me to shiver. “Perfect,” he repeated.
I didn’t know what to say. “Thank you, Eric.” I decided to be the polite young woman that my Gran had raised me to be. “I really don’t know what to say… This is the nicest thing that anybody’s ever done for me.” I told him, gratefully. Tears sprang to my eyes at the thought of his generosity.
Eric grinned at me from the other side of the table, since he had returned to his seat. “Then, you have been living wrong. You need to hang out with me more. I would show you what it’s like to be appreciated for who you are. I would show you everyday, what a special woman you are, Sookie Stackhouse.”
I blushed, because I wasn’t used to hearing such praise coming from anyone. All I heard all day long was dark, depressing things. Or, things that disgusted you. Things that you were better off not knowing. It was refreshing. I felt pretty sure that Eric was helping me feel relaxed and carefree. I was felt happier than I’d ever been. But don’t tell Eric…I think that I was starting to really appreciate our bond when he would try to project his feelings on to me. It made things seem a whole lot easier.
“Dinner is served…” Pam approached our table; pushing a cart. There was a plate on the table, with a cover over top of it.
Normally, I would’ve gotten a kick out of seeing Pam acting like a maid. It was something that she had been the furthest thing from, when she had been alive. I knew that she was disgusted at having to do it and for a human too. Even though, I was one of the very few humans that she actually tolerated. I looked over at Eric, who looked up at Pam, proudly.
I knew that Eric must have ordered Pam to do it. I looked up at her, while she placed the plate down in front of me. She didn’t have a very happy look on her face and she kept glaring at Eric, like he was making her do something that she really didn’t want to do.
I stifled a grin, to keep myself from laughing. Pam was biting her tongue. She kept casting mean looks towards him. Eric was purposely ignoring her, like she was a child who was throwing a temper tantrum.
“Thank you, Pam,” I told her, appreciatively. “This looks amazing.”
“You’re welcome, Sookie,” Pam turned to me. “I hope you like it.” Pam wandered off, giving us some privacy.
“Eric, you shouldn’t make Pam act as our waitress,” I scolded him. “You know that she’s angry and upset with you.”
“She will get over it,” Eric reassured me, dismissing it. “Eat, Sookie. I had the cook prepare you a special meal.” Which wasn’t surprising because there were only vampires in Fangtasia right at that moment. The fangbangers who usually worked there had either been given the night off or weren’t coming in until the club reopened.
I picked up a fork and took a bite. It tasted delicious. Eric watched me eat. He was gazing at me very intently.
“What?” I asked him, my mouth full of food.
“Nothing…I just enjoy watching you eat,” he explained, with a shrug. He raised his wine glass full of blood and took a sip, then set it down again. “The way your lips move… While you’re chewing your food… The way your tongue licks your lips…it’s all very… Arousing to me.”
I didn’t know what to say to that. The mood in the room suddenly became very sexual. I felt my body temperature rise. My heartbeat started to race.
“Dance with me?” Eric asked, as he reached his hand out across the table. I wanted any excuse just to touch him. That’s how much his comment had aroused my desires.
I put my napkin down on the table and placed my hand in his. He led me out on to the dance floor, where magically, music began to play. It was a slow song: romantic and smooth. The music seemed to become a part of me, making me forget about everybody and everything. All of my attention was on the dance that Eric and I were sharing together.
We danced for awhile. The songs switched from being slow and romantic, to fast and fun. Eric and I danced in harmony, as if we’d been doing it for awhile. It seemed natural. I laughed and giggled. It was the most fun I’d had in a long time.
The music died away and we both stopped. I looked up into Eric’s eyes, while he gazed down at me. The mood in the room had taken on a more serious, but sexually charged one. His head lowered and our lips met. I wrapped both arms around his neck. His circled my waist, and pulled me up against him.
One of us moaned, but I couldn’t be sure of which one it was. Our kiss deepened, our tongues met, our heads tilted to give us better angles. Eric lifted me up, until my feet were up off of the floor. I felt his gracious plenty rub against me. My breasts were plastered up against his chest. I wanted him to take me.
I wasn’t sure how long we stood there like that, but we both broke apart when Pam made an, “ahem” sound.
Eric dropped me to my feet and I spun around to look over at her. I could tell that Eric wasn’t happy that Pam had interrupted. All I felt was embarrassed that she had caught us in a clinch.
“What is it, Pam?” Eric demanded, angrily. He didn’t like it that whatever he had planned, had been interrupted.
“I’m sorry to interrupt, master, but there’s a…” This was where Pam looked uncertain. She looked from Eric to me, than back again. “A situation that you have to deal with,” she finished, lamely.
“This can’t wait?” Eric growled. “You know that I’m busy.”
“No, I’m sorry, it can’t.”
Eric looked down at me, apologetically. “Wait here. I will go see what is going on, then we’ll pick up right where we left off,” he explained.
I could feel how badly he felt. I also knew that Eric felt responsible for a lot of things. He had a lot to deal with. I watched, as he left the dance floor and headed into his office.
Pam and Felicia followed, leaving me alone on the dance floor and in the bar area. It was the first time that I’d ever had the time to really take a good look around. I noticed that there were pictures on the walls and the upholstery had been recently replaced. It looked like Eric had spent a lot of money, investing in his bar, making sure that it would be successful.
The dim lights made my new necklace sparkle; catching my eye. I looked down and held it up away from my chest to take a better look at it. The ruby stone in the center, was surrounded by glittery diamonds. It was in the shape of a heart. Even the ruby was in the shape of a heart. It felt heavy on my chest. The necklace must’ve cost him a fortune.
It reminded me of the necklace from the movie, “Titanic”, except this one had a ruby in the center, instead of a darker stone. And it wasn’t quite that big either. This one was probably half the size as the one in the movie. I wondered if Eric had ever seen the movie, or if he had been on board the Titanic to begin with. There were a lot of things that I didn’t know about him. I wanted to learn more.
My cell phone rang. I dug into my purse and picked it up without looking at the call display.
“Hello?” I asked.
I heard nothing but a click on the other end. I gazed at the phone, wondering if the number had shown up on my call display. It had not. All it said was, ‘unknown name; unknown number’. That was strange… I thought to myself. The only people who knew my number, would’ve talked to me. Maybe they had been interrupted and had to end the call before I answered?
I put it back into my purse. I figured that if it had been important, they would just have to call me back.
Just then, Eric came back out of his office and walked over towards me. He had a sad look on his face. His mood wasn’t a happy one either.
“I’m sorry, lover.” He cupped my face with his hand. “Something’s come up. I’ll have to take you home now, so that I can deal with this.”
“I hope it’s nothing too serious,” I exclaimed. I knew from his feelings that it was definitely serious. I tried to cheer him up. “It’s okay, I’ve had a long day with everything that’s happened. I could use a good night’s sleep and I don’t get very many of those with you around.” I teased, hoping that my joking mood would make him feel a little bit better.
Eric did chuckle, but it was short-lived. “Ah, my dear one. You didn’t complain about your lack of sleep last night.” He teased back. He grew serious once again. “Come, I’ll drive you.” He helped me put on my cranberry coat, then walked me outside of the building, towards his waiting Corvette.
I climbed in and he took the wheel. We drove along at a fast pace. I could tell by the way that he was feeling and how his mind was preoccupied, that I shouldn’t tease him about the cops pulling him over. He was no longer in a happy mood.
I just hoped that whatever it was, Eric wouldn’t have to kill anybody.
He drove me home and walked me up to my front door. Underneath the glow from my outdoor light, he gently cupped my face in his hand, gave me a quick kiss, then hopped into his car and disappeared into the night.
I let myself in, turned on the lights as I entered. I noticed that there was a number flashing on my answering machine, so I walked over to check it. I pushed the play button and listened.
Again, there was nothing but a click. As if the person realized that they had the wrong number and realized that after the machine picked up. I deleted the message, then headed into the kitchen where I poured myself a glass of iced tea. I was thirsty, since I’d had alcohol during supper.
I heard something on my back porch. I looked out of the kitchen window, but didn’t see anything.
I took a sip, but then noticed a flurry of movement out of the corner of my eye. An envelope slipped and skidded underneath my back door and stopped underneath the doorframe. I bent down to pick it up. I opened up the back door, and looked to see if the person who had slipped it under there was still there. Why hadn’t they just knocked? The lights were on…they must have known that I was home. But there was no one there.
I looked down at the envelope in my hands. There was no name or address on it. I didn’t even know if it was addressed to me. I figured that it must have been, only because everyone knew that I lived in Gran’s house.
I took my letter opener and opened it up. There was a note inside. It said, “You’re mine.” No name to or who it was from. Just that. I figured that it must have been Eric, just reminding me of the fact, but then he had to hurry back to deal with whatever it was that had ended our date prematurely.
I walked into the living room and put the note down on the coffee table. I yawned. It had been a long day. I was still worried about Hunter and what was happening with him. Was he okay? I guessed that he must be scared. He was staying with strange people and the only familiar faces that he knew were now gone. My heart broke for him.
I got ready for bed, then turned off all of the lights in the house. I climbed into bed and pulled the covers over top of my body, since my bedroom felt really cold. The house sounded eerily quiet. I could hear the refrigerator humming in the kitchen and a few sounds here and there. It was an old house. I was used to hearing it make odd noises in the night.
It had seemed like forever since I’d had the house to myself. I had grown use to Amelia and Octavia living there under my roof. I wasn’t used to the quiet.
I tried to fall asleep, but the more quiet it was, the more that I couldn’t. I heard something brush against my window. I sat up in bed, to see what it was. Hearing the wind pick up, I figured that it must have been a branch brushing against my window. I laid back down.
I flipped on to my side and stared at my alarm clock on the night stand. It was one o’clock in the morning, but I was wide awake. I laid there in bed, wondering what kind of business, Eric had to take care of. From the serious way that he had acted and the way that he had felt, I knew that it wasn’t good.
At least, things were better now, since we’d returned from Vegas. King Felipe had proven that he was trusting Eric more with the territory of Louisiana. I think he was trying to make up for what Victor had done and was trying to make amends. The king rarely came to visit, nor any of his representatives either. That really said something about the trust that he bestowed in Eric.
I happened to think that both Felipe and Eric were similar men. They were both old and men of honor. They both saw creative ways of making money and using them. They both knew what would attract tourists and would keep them coming back. They were both smart businessmen.
I knew that I shouldn’t have to worry about Eric, especially with his business dealings, but sometimes I did. I didn’t know very much about it and I always got scared about things that I didn’t understand. What if someone decided to use one of us once again to break us up? It was like I was waiting for the next bad thing to happen. I couldn’t breathe or relax. I was always looking over my shoulder.
That wasn’t any way to live, I knew, but when you’ve had as much that has happened to you, as it has happened to me…you naturally grew wary and unsure.
My life was never boring.
I must have dozed off, because I started to dream. I was running towards someone, trying to save them from horrible circumstances. I kept running and running, but whenever I got closer to them, they weren’t where I thought them to be. I looked everywhere for them, hoping and praying that I’d make it there in time. I finally found them, but I was too late. I woke up screaming and crying out Hunter’s name.
I sat up, quickly in bed. I looked around my darkened bedroom, trying to come back to reality. I breathed a sigh of relief. It had only been a dream.
The ringing of my telephone startled me. I stared over at it, unsure if I should answer. I picked it up, after five rings. I figured that since I was now awake; I may as well answer it to see who it was that was calling so late.
“Hello?” I asked, hesitantly, into the phone.
“Aunt Sookie?” a young voice whispered into the phone. “I can’t talk for very long. They don’t know that I’m calling you.” I heard Hunter’s voice say. I swung my legs over the side of the bed. I was fully awake now. I listened intently.
“Hunter?” I asked, full of worry and concern. “How did you get my number? What’s wrong?”
“I remembered the number that you gave Daddy. I need you, Aunt Sookie. I need you. They’re bad. Very, very bad.”
“Oh, honey,” I tried to comfort him over the phone. “They can’t be that bad…”
“No, Aunt Sookie.” Hunter whispered in reply. “They are. You have to get me out of here. Please!” his little voice pleaded into the phone. He started to cry and my heart broke for him.
“Listen, Hunter,” I tried once again to reassure him. “I’m going to find you. I will. You won’t have to be afraid anymore.” I promised. “But I need you to be brave until I can get to you. Do you understand?”
He didn’t speak, but he let his thoughts free so that I could hear them. “I understand, Aunt Sookie. But please hurry. I don’t know how long I can hold on. They’re really bad people. I need you. They scare me.” Even in his thoughts, he burst into tears again.
“I have to go…they’re…coming,” he told me inside his head. Without another word, he hung up.
I sat there, unsure of what I should do. I couldn’t ignore the pleading sound in his voice. I could sense his fears. His thoughts had been full of them. Suddenly, I knew that there was only one thing that I could do. I had to find him. I had to find him and rescue him. I had to take him into my home, so that I could raise him.
With a new sense of purpose, I laid back down, thinking of the next steps that I would take. I would need to find a lawyer. A cheap one; first of all. I tried to think of anybody in Bon Temps, that fit that bill. I couldn’t think of anyone off hand, but knew that I would have to start investigating, first thing in the morning.
It took awhile, but eventually I fell asleep, picturing Hunter in my home. He would be happy and carefree. I could see him playing in my yard around the house. I would fix up the spare bedroom, so that it would be something that little boys would enjoy.
I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t let anything stand in my way. All other obstacles would have to be erased.