Bill stood there staring at Eric with a scowl on his face. Eric could tell that Bill was not happy to see him, which was fine with him because he was not happy that Bill may be stalking Sookie either. More to do with southern hospitality than fact that Bill owed Eric fealty, Bill led Eric inside. It angered Eric because he could almost taste the lack of respect that Bill had for him. When had that changed?
“I have not found out as much as I hoped to have at this time,” Bill explained to Eric. He sat down at his computer desk, in his office.
Eric took a look around the room. Bill had still not fixed up the house, like he would have done if he’d been the one who owned it. It made Eric suspicious. What did Bill spend all of his time doing? Did his database take up all of that time? Or, was it something more sinister, like stalking Sookie?
“That is fine,” Eric replied, graciously, even though it angered him that Bill almost seemed to be incompetent, which he knew was not true. It made Bill look guilty. “Tell me what you have so far,” Eric motioned with his hand for Bill to show him the stacks of files on his desk.
Bill reluctantly reached for the top file. He flipped it open. “I have found that you have a lot of enemies,” Bill replied.
“Naturally,” Eric agreed, grinning wickedly. It had never bothered him in the past how many enemies that he had. He knew that his outlook would have to change now that he had Sookie and once they gained custody of Hunter. But he had to find out who is involved with selling V in his club and punishing those involved for it. It would only bring more problems in the future if he didn’t. “Anyone in particular that have access to V or drainers?” He asked.
“Of course, there’s a number of them,” Bill replied. “I have hit a dead end though. They all refuse to admit to the crime or have alias to support their claims.”
“What about the Sookie situation?” Eric asked. He could tell that Bill was startled by the question. The look on his face could only be described as speechless. He could tell that Bill didn’t know quite what to say.
“What ‘Sookie situation’?” Bill asked, surprised and alarmed.
“You remember…I had asked you to look into the person or persons’ who had flowers delivered to her door. I also wanted you to find out more about the vampire that had appeared outside her window,” Eric reminded him. “Do not tell me that you forgot…” Eric studied him, shaking his head. “That will not do. If you have not found out anything, I want you to get on it as soon as possible. In fact, stop with the other investigation until we have Sookie’s situation under control. I do not want anything to mess with our upcoming wedding.” Eric grinned. He knew exactly what kind of reaction that he was going to get after mentioning it. It didn’t bother Eric at all, that he was putting the wagon before the horse…so to speak. He only wanted Bill to realize that Sookie was never going to be coming back to Bill. Never.
“Wedding?” Bill cried out. “You can not be serious!” He exclaimed, shocked and outraged.
“Well…it is not ‘official’ yet, but I am thinking about it. I think it would be a great idea.” Eric grinned at the thought, gleefully. “I have always had a soft spot for her. I do not see why not.” Eric shrugged, as if pretending to think it over.
“Eric, I think you are making a big mistake.” Bill replied.
“Really?” Eric pretended to mull that over. “I think it is a great idea, especially since we are adopting a child together. Two parents are better than one, do you agree?” Eric smiled at him, expectantly. “You know Sookie…what do you think that she would like; a diamond solitaire or a cluster of diamonds?”
“I can not believe this is happening…Sookie did not mention any of this to me earlier toni-” Bill quickly realized his blunder.
“What was that Bill?” Eric was quick to catch on to Bill’s slip of the tongue. “When did you last see Sookie?” he wondered. Bill remained silent. “Sookie told me that she wants you to stay away from her.” He pretended to frown. “I do not understand why she would think that. She knows that I have asked you to protect her. I had to have Pam come to her rescue tonight because I knew that with you being there, it would have only made matters worse.” Eric could tell that Bill was buying what he was saying. He was eating it up. “But it was funny…Pam told me that when she got to her car, Sookie was nowhere to be found.” He paused and stared at Bill. “I wonder where she went? I wonder who picked her up because her car was still there?” Eric made sure that his tone of voice had the proper amount of speculation. He didn’t want Bill to think that he was really suspecting him…not yet. Eric wanted to do things in his own way, in his own time. Eric really enjoyed toying around with Bill, especially if Bill tried to show him any kind of disrespect.
Bill was looking decidedly more and more uncomfortable. It pleased Eric immensely. He decided that Bill had enough to think about now. “I will let you get back to your investigation.” With that, Eric walked out of the room and out of Bill’s house, leaving Bill sitting in stunned silence behind him.
Eric walked back over to Sookie’s. Pam must have gone upstairs to the attic, because she was not on the porch swing nor anywhere else outside. Her car was still parked in the driveway and he could feel that she was still around. Eric entered the house and Sookie’s bedroom, where he saw her sleeping form laying in bed. He stripped and laid down on the bed next to her and watched her sleep.
He laid there, in deep thought, while he thought about Felipe’s idea. He knew that Sookie was a romantic at heart. She would outright refuse at first, Eric mused. He was surprised by how much he really wanted this. To take this next step. It was something that he had never thought about before. But with Sookie, it seemed natural. She was the only wife that he could picture himself tied to. She was the only woman who had seen beneath his carefully constructed façade. The only woman who he had dared to let see inside his soul. She made him laugh. She was great in bed. She understood him better than anyone else, including Pam. Her talents still managed to amaze him, which was surprising in the amount of time that he had known her. Usually, once he had bedded a woman, he was quick to forget about her. But not with Sookie.
She brought out unusual feelings (for him) that he had never felt before. He felt protective. He wanted to give her everything that she could possibly want or need. He enjoyed just being in her presence. He enjoyed watching the way her eyes lit up, when she thought that something was amusing. Most of all, he loved her. He had never felt that way before. Wasn’t that what people in love did? Get married?
The only thing that he had to figure out now was how he was going to do it. He knew that it would be difficult, but he also knew that he would look at it as a challenge as well. Sookie deserved to be wooed. Ergo, he would woo her.
He was only disappointed in himself, that he hadn’t thought of this sooner. He had always prided himself on coming up with brilliant plans and ideas. Felipe was very clever. He had been right in the fact that he would have to watch himself around him. It was a good thing that Felipe and he had managed to work out a respectable partnership. But Eric was still cautious.
Eric laid there and watched Sookie sleep, while he planned on how he was going to woo her. This was something that he had never done before. He had always been the one who was pursued, not the other way around. Eric had always loved challenges. He saw obstacles in his path and worked them out in his head, until he had thought of a good way to get from point A to point B. All that mattered, was that the end result was the same. Sookie as his wife. He liked that idea very much.
“Eric?” I mumbled in my sleep, as I realized that there was someone else laying in bed next to me. I had a slight moment of panic, that it wasn’t him and was my stalker. Through our bond, I knew that it could only be him because of the way that I could sense him near me through our bond. I was relieved. “When did you get here?” I asked, curiously. I pushed the rest of my creepy thoughts out of my head.
“Just a little while ago.”
I raised my head to look at him. “Did Pam tell you about what happened tonight?” I asked. I had no problems with Pam telling Eric about Bill coming to pick me up and not calling Pam. It was just the fact that I didn’t want Eric to know about how Bill had shown up in my bedroom or my suspicions that Bill might be stalking me. I wouldn’t know how he would react then.
Eric nodded his head. “I am sorry that I could not come myself. I would have flown you home, in your car, if you wanted me to. But Felipe was there. We had an important meeting to attend to.”
I giggled at the image in my mind; me in the driver’s seat and Eric holding the car up high above his head and flying us home. Only someone with his strength and powers would be able to do something like that.
“You find that funny?” He asked, looking down at me curiously.
“Yeah…no, forget it.” I sat up in bed.
Eric sat up too. We rearranged ourselves until he was my backrest and I was leaning back against him. It reminded me of when he had fed me in Russell Edgington’s compound in Jackson, Mississippi after I had been staked. It was hard to believe that it had been so long ago. And look where we were now, I thought to myself.
We laid that way in silence for awhile. I was slowly beginning to wake up. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get back to sleep that night. I ran my hands along Eric’s forearms, as they were wrapped around me. His hands rested on my stomach, his favorite resting place. I felt amazingly happy and content. I wasn’t sure if they were my own feelings or if they were Eric’s too. I felt a jab from behind me and knew that his gracious plenty was happy too.
Eric leaned over and began kissing the side of my neck. I reached around for him. My head tilted, his lips grazed along my jaw until our lips met. He laid me down on the mattress and our desire for each other bloomed. I wanted to sigh. I wished that it could be this way every night.
Soon, my nightgown disappeared. I found myself staring up into Eric’s glittering blue eyes. My legs wrapped around his hips, as he slowly entered me. Riding the wave of desire, we both crested at the same time. Something seemed different to me though. I couldn’t explain what it was exactly, but it seemed like Eric had tried to make it a lot more special somehow. He seemed to be much more focused on me, than in the past. But none of it made sense in my befuddled, passion-filled mind.
I found myself wrapped in his arms once again, pressed up against his hard, cool naked body. Our legs were tangled around each others’.
“Eric…” I began to tell him about my suspicions. I suddenly realized that I wanted him to know about Bill. If there was one person who would know what to do and how to react, it was Eric. I had to have faith that he wouldn’t lose control and make my fears a reality. I had to trust him. I loved him so much.
“Sookie…” he began to talk to me at the same exact time. “You first,” he encouraged.
“I have something to tell you…and I’m not sure how well you’ll like it.” I frowned. This was hard. I wasn’t sure how well Eric was going to take it. But I was sick of hiding things from Eric. I enjoyed the fact that we could trust each other with pretty much anything. He had always been the one person who I didn’t have to guard myself around. At first, I had been afraid of him, but that soon wore off as I realized that he had a sense of humor, like myself. Plus, the fact, that he had been trying to hit on me constantly. You tended to not be afraid of someone who is constantly making you laugh or roll your eyes.
“I am listening…” Eric replied.
I smiled. “That’s one of the things I love most about you. You’re always listening to me, even when I don’t think that you do.” I replied back.
“Go on…what will I not like?” he asked. He squeezed me closer to him. He had no idea how safe his actions made me feel. I felt truly treasured in his arms.
“I think…I know…that I’m being stalked,” I announced, deciding to take the plunge. “I think that person is someone close. Closer than any of us think.” I began to plead with him. “Promise me that you won’t do anything rash or destructive until you hear me out,” I pleaded. “Promise.” I stared into his eyes.
“I promise,” Eric replied, frowning.
I could tell that he was puzzled by what I was trying to say and was already trying to guess at who I thought it might be. “And no…it’s not a vampire from a different Area.” I paused. “It’s someone closer than that. Someone who owes you fealty. Someone that may surprise you.” I hinted.
“Let me guess…is it Bill?” He asked, curiously.
I was surprised. “How did you…? No, forget it. I tried to hide my thoughts from you. I guess I didn’t hide them good enough.” I frowned, disappointed that he had read my mind anyways. I had always thought that it would be easy for me to hide my thoughts and feelings because I had been doing it all of my life.
“I did not read your thoughts,” Eric denied. “I had my own suspicions too. You see…Bill has been acting strangely. He does not do as I ask, or at least, not as quickly as I want. Bill has always had a soft spot for you. He hates the fact that I have you and he does not. He is hiding something…I can feel it.”
“Why aren’t you freakin’ out about this?” I asked. I could feel that while he was indeed angry, it wasn’t what I had expected. “I thought that you would head over to Bill’s and punish him right away.”
“Believe me, Sookie. I will make sure that he pays,” he said, in a threatening tone. “I want to have more proof first, just in case we are both wrong. And I want to handle this my way…not anybody else’s.”
“Oh.” I didn’t know what to say. Eric could still surprise me from time to time. I hadn’t thought that he would be practical enough to be rational. I could feel that his anger was wanting to break free, but his self-control kept it reigned. He was extremely livid. I had to admire how good his self-control was.
“I didn’t want to tell you because I was afraid of how you would react,” I explained, grateful that I had been wrong. “I was scared that you would do something crazy and that you would be punished by the Magistrate, like you were with Longshadow.”
Eric laughed after hearing that. “That was different…if Bill is doing something wrong, it would be as my right as his superior to punish him, even if you are human. You are my bonded and that changes a lot of things. Bill has no maker, so there is no one to whom I would have to pay a penalty.” He explained. “You worried over nothing.” He shook his head in disbelief. “Sometimes I forget that you are a human and that your thought processes are like theirs.”
“Is that a bad thing?” I asked. Eric’s tone had insinuated that it was a bad thing.
“Well…” Eric shrugged.
I could tell that Eric didn’t want to get into it with me. I knew that we would disagree on our points of view. It wasn’t surprising because I knew that Eric had no respect for humans. He saw them as McPeople for instance. I was only disappointed because it was something that we didn’t agree on that was important to our relationship.
“Forget it…you don’t have to answer that,” I waved it off. “I know that we’re just cows or chickens to you. I guess I should be grateful that you see me as something more than the main course of a meal.” I sighed. “Anyways…there’s more.”
Eric waited silently for me to continue. I knew that he could feel by my feelings that what I was going to say, wasn’t something that he will like either.
“Bill came here one night. Showed up out of the blue. Right here…in my bedroom.” I continued. I closed my eyes, while I waited for his temper, which had suddenly risen sky high to subside. “Don’t,” I softly tried to comfort him. “Nothing happened. He showed up. I kicked him out. He told me that he only wanted to find out from me, if my plans for adopting Hunter were true. At least, that’s what he said.”
I heard Eric growl deep in his chest.
“Don’t,” I pleaded with him again. I raised myself up and kissed him on his cool cheek. “I told you…nothing happened, but it did scare me.”
“That changes things,” Eric growled. His fangs had elongated. His eyes were lit up in anger. “He has no right to show up here in your bedroom. He knows that you are mine. I will have to speak to him about his actions.”
Uh-oh, I thought to myself. Maybe I had been wrong to tell him. “Please don’t, Eric,” I pleaded with him once more. “I was thinking of rescinding his invitation. That would keep him away, wouldn’t it?”
“Yes,” Eric agreed. I could still feel his anger and rage. “You must rescind it, if only to ease my mind. I will make sure that Pam or Clancy watch over you, if I can not.” He tried to reassure me. “Thank you for telling me. I knew that you were scared about something and I wanted to protect you. Now that I know, I can better keep you safe.”
I didn’t know how to respond to that. I remembered that he had wanted to say something to me too. “What were you going to tell me before?” I asked, changing the subject.
Eric’s anger suddenly evaporated. “With your news, I think that mine is not as important now.” He paused. “But…I wondered if you would like to go out on a date later on after I wake?”
I blinked. I didn’t know what to say. “I hope that it won’t be a date like the last time. Fangtasia is a great place, but not exactly a romantic setting.” I couldn’t keep the sound of disappointment from my voice.
“Yes,” Eric nodded his head and agreed. “I am sorry about that. I figured that it would be something that we would enjoy and it was easy for me to plan.” He explained. “But tonight will be different…I promise you. I was thinking of dinner and a movie. What do you think?”
“Sure, sounds good to me,” I replied. I imagined that Eric would like the same kind of movies that most guys in my experience liked. Shoot ’em up action flicks and horrors. “What time should I be ready?” I asked.
“Seven?” Eric asked. I nodded my head. That would work for me too. “I will pick you up here at seven. Then, we will go out on the town.” He grinned.
I could feel that his temper had lessened. I was relieved that our talk about our date tonight had lowered it a little bit. I yawned. I noticed that it was starting to get light outside. Eric would soon have to go into his hole in my spare bedroom.
“You should go back to sleep,” he mentioned, concerned for my well-being. “I will leave.”
He started to get up off of the bed, but I reached my arm out to hold him there. “No, wait until I’m asleep first. I feel so safe in your arms.”
Eric readily agreed. He cuddled me up close to him. I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep.