I drove into Shreveport early in the afternoon to meet with Mr. Cataliades to go over my court case. It was a cool, but sunny day outside. I had worn a sweatshirt and jeans to travel in because I planned to head over to Eric’s house to freshen up and change. I looked at my watch. I had a little bit of time to do so before I went in for my appointment.
Tray Dawson had towed my car to his garage. I had to get all new tires, because I had let the threads get so bare on my tires that it was only a matter of time before I had another flat. It was a good thing that Eric had told Tray that he would pay for it, I thought to myself. Four brand-new tires wasn’t something that I could easily afford, especially now with my court case coming up.
It seemed like I was spending Eric’s money more and more. I did have a sizeable nest-egg in my savings account because I had finally gotten paid by Queen Sophie-Anne’s estate for my duties in Rhodes. But I was saving it for the court case proceedings.
I drove towards Eric’s house. I knew the way by memory now, I had been there so often. Sometimes I would run into his housekeeper, Bella and sometimes I wouldn’t. She reminded me a lot of my own Gran.
I had my own key that Eric had given me. Which showed how much Eric trusted me with his life. A vampire’s resting place was usually kept a big secret to protect them during the day.
I walked into Eric’s house from the garage entrance. I heard some singing coming from the kitchen. I smiled as I entered. Bella was singing, Amazing Grace, an old hymn from church.
“Good afternoon, Bella,” I greeted Eric’s housekeeper cheerfully.
“Oh, Sookie!” Bella exclaimed. “You startled me. I thought that I had the whole house to myself,” she explained, feeling bashful.
“You have a great voice,” I complimented her.
“Oh, goodness me, no,” she shook her head. “I’ve sung in my church’s choir for many years now, but I’m not as good as some of those singers on American Idol, I can assure you.” She winked at me. “How have you been doing?” She asked.
“I’m good,” I smiled at her. “I just came by here to freshen up. I have an appointment with a lawyer in a little while,” I explained.
“A lawyer?” She repeated. “I hope it’s nothing serious,” she softly exclaimed. I could hear her mind whirling around with thoughts about it. Did I do something illegal?
“No, I’m just looking into adopting a little boy.”
“You are?” She was surprised, I could hear in her mind. “What does Eric think of it?” Obviously, Eric hadn’t told his housekeeper about the latest news.
I shrugged. “I think he’s getting used to the idea,” I hesitated. Eric could do no wrong in Bella’s eyes. “At least, I hope so since he found this lawyer for me.”
“No wonder I found that book on his desk while I was busy cleaning,” she mused, thinking aloud.
“What kind of book?” I asked, curiously. Eric had lots of books, so it wasn’t unusual for him to have one laying around. He had a variety of interests. But if it was the kind of book that made Bella notice the subject, it must have been something strange.
“Oh, you know the type…one of those parenting books.” She waved it off, as if it weren’t that big a deal. It was to me though.
I was surprised. Eric had been studying on how to be a parent? It made my heart race, but it was almost funny at the same time. Eric reading a parenting book was not something that I pictured a Viking vampire doing. “Oh,” I didn’t know what to say. “Well, I’ll go up to change and freshen up. I’ll talk to you later.”
I found my way upstairs to Eric’s bedroom. It was a huge room. He had had a closet built in it as big as my bedroom at home, just for all of the clothes that he had purchased for me. I found a couple of outfits. One, was a skirt and blouse. The other, was a dress. I chose the dress.
I made my way back downstairs and noticed that Bobby had arrived. He was carrying a package. He was definitely not one of my favorite people, but we were both in the business of Eric, so we had to act polite around each other.
“Bobby,” I greeted him, as I stepped off of the bottom step.
“Oh, hi, Sookie,” he looked like he was hiding something from me. He moved the package behind his back so that I couldn’t see it.
“Don’t worry, I’m going to an appointment,” I tried to reassure him that my stay wouldn’t be for long. I walked out through the garage entrance again and pushed the garage door button. I climbed into Amelia’s car, started it up and backed out of the driveway.
I wondered what Bobby was hiding. I hoped that it wouldn’t harm Eric at all.
I drove to Mr. Cataliades offices which were downtown. Finding a good parking spot was a huge nightmare for me. You would think that since people wouldn’t have to work on a Sunday, it would be empty. It seemed like the downtown was bustling with activity. I was not used to being in a place where you had to pay to park your car. It was a good thing that I still had some of my money that I had earned in tips.
I was ushered into Mr. Cataliades office as soon as I reached his receptionist. His office was opulent. The walls were painted a beige color, with reds, golds and oranges in the fabrics. All of his furniture was made with a dark brown wood, probably mahogany. They were antiques, I could tell.
“Sookie,” he walked around the desk to greet me. He leaned over and kissed my cheek. “You are looking amazing on this bright and sunny day.”
“As do you too, Mr. Cataliades,” I returned the favor.
“Please, have a seat,” he motioned for me to take one of the chairs in front of his amazing desk. “I have had my assistants busy working on your case ever since you hired me. I have recently received word that a social worker will be picking Hunter up and will bring him to your house for supervised visitation sometime later on in the week,” he explained.
“That soon?” I wondered, surprised. “That is extremely fast.”
“Yes, it is,” he agreed. “A judge has been appointed to your case. We will be meeting with the judge and the opposition, Remy’s cousin and his wife, in a couple of days.”
“Um…Mr. Cataliades?” I asked, interrupting him. “I have a question.” I hesitated before asking. I hoped that Mr. Cataliades would answer me honestly.
“Go on,” he urged, with a wave of his hand.
“How long have you known Eric?” I asked.
“Let me see,” he paused. I could tell that I’d surprised him with my question. “A very long time. He’s a man to be trusted and yet feared. Why do you ask?”
“No reason really,” I shrugged my shoulders. “I was just curious. You seem to know him very well,” I commented.
“I do,” Mr. Cataliades replied. “I am surprised that he is going through with this adoption, to tell you the truth. I have never pictured Eric as a father figure.” He frowned. “It must have to do with you.” He gazed at me. “He has always had women do things for him. I don’t recall him ever trying to do things for a woman before,” he mused. “Until you.” He added, smiling.
“Is Eric’s name officially listed as a parent for the adoption?” I asked, just to be sure.
“Yes,” Mr. Cataliades answered. “He told me that in no uncertain terms, he would ever allow another man to be the boy’s father if he is in your life. He also told me that since he will live longer than you, that he would be honoured to be his parent long after you’re deceased.”
I wasn’t ready to think about what would happen if I died, but my pulsed raced anyways. Eric was more serious about all of this than I had given him credit for. It made sense now that he was reading up on how to be a parent. It reminded me that I should do the same.
We started to discuss the procedures and what was expected for the adoption. The visitations. The background checks. Had we ever done anything illegal? I could think of a few things, but they were nothing that anybody else knew about (hopefully). Only Eric and myself, as I remembered killing Debbie Pelt. I hoped that there wasn’t anything that would affect us. Mr. Cataliades told me that since Eric was a vampire, they would be looking at him closely. Even in this day and age where humans knew about vampires, there were still a lot of common misconceptions about them. Mr. Cataliades told me that he would talk to Eric himself about what to expect from those visits.
Basically, it was all a bunch of hog-wash if you asked me. If two people wanted to share their life with a child who needed a parent or guardian, it shouldn’t be that difficult to get done. But I understood that too. There were so many bad parents out there. There were papers on top of papers that I had to sign. Mr. Cataliades would see to it that Eric signed them too. It was a good thing that Mr. Cataliades was familiar with both of us, I thought.
After our meeting was over, I drove back to Eric’s to change before heading back home to Bon Temps. Bobby was in Eric’s office when I arrived, but I ignored him. I was sure that Mr. Cataliades would talk to him if he needed anything.
“Sookie!” I heard Bobby call from the office as I walked by.
I backed up and peered into the room. Bobby was sitting at Eric’s desk, with papers strewn all over the place.
“Is it true?” He asked, curiously.
“Is what true?” I asked, curiously. I studied him, trying to read in his mind what it was that he was talking about. I didn’t normally put my talents to use on purpose. But since it was Bobby, I didn’t really care.
Eric had sent Bobby out to buy me a ring? I exclaimed in my mind, after reading his. I stared at him, incredulously, wondering what the H-E-double hockey sticks he was thinking about. I didn’t want it to appear as if I knew about the ring. I was stunned speechless anyways. My palms were sweating and my heart raced. Was Eric going to propose to me? I couldn’t seem to get past that fact.
“Good…it’s not too late,” Bobby breathed a sigh of relief. “But you should know that Eric…he really isn’t the settling kind. He’s too Alpha male. I knew it as soon as we met, you would try to change him and make him do things that he wouldn’t normally do. I’m going to say this just once…if you answer ‘yes’ to him, then I will make sure that it doesn’t last,” he threatened.
I was more angered that he had the nerve to threaten me than anything else. While I was still shocked that Eric had plans that I hadn’t foreseen…Eric had bought me an engagement ring! I was more irate that Bobby seemed to think that he could tell me what to do.
“Go ahead…make my day,” I replied back, quoting the famous line from the Clint Eastwood movies. “We’ll see what happens.” I was confident that if Eric had to choose between me and Bobby, that I would win.
I rushed away from Bobby before I could say anything more. I was royally mad. How dare he?
I went upstairs and my clothes back on to wear back home. I brought my dress that I had worn downstairs for me to give to Bella so that she could wash it. I handed it to her, thanking her for washing it for me.
“Don’t be silly,” she admonished. “It’s a part of my job. You run along now. Mr. Eric will be waking up soon and you will want to be home for that.”
“You’re right,” I agreed. I turned to leave, but Bella called me back.
“I almost forgot!” She exclaimed. “Here’s some baking that I wanted to send home with you. I baked them while you were at your appointment. I figured that you would like to share them with your roommate.” She handed me a container that held something that smelled incredibly good.
“Thank you very much, Bella,” I replied. I hugged her gratefully. She was an excellent baker I thought.
I turned around and left the same way that I had come in. I didn’t bother saying goodbye to Bobby though. Did that surprise you? My anger still hadn’t evaporated. I didn’t think that I’d mention anything to Eric though, not unless I needed to.
I drove home and made it home just in time for dusk. I knew that Eric would be waiting for me. I couldn’t wait to see him. I grinned in anticipation. My heart raced. I was terribly excited.
I entered my house and expected Eric to greet me at the door. Instead, I heard voices coming from the kitchen.
“You better not hurt Sookie or you will regret it,” I heard Amelia say.
“I would never hurt her,” Eric replied back. “I love her.”
You have no idea how much I loved hearing that, although a part of me wondered if he had said it because he would be able to sense that I was home. I entered the room, and looked from one to the other. They looked like they were in the middle of some sort of mortal combat. “Hi, y’all…am I interrupting somethin’?”
Argument forgotten, Eric turned around and smiled at me. He came over to take me in his arms and gave me a kiss that melted my bones. “Hello, my lover,” he greeted me. He stared down at me, happily. “How did your appointment go with Mr. Cataliades?” He asked.
I looked beyond Eric to Amelia. “If you would please give us a moment…”
“Sure…leave me out of the loop,” she complained, before she stomped out of the room.
I waited until Amelia had disappeared. “Mr. Cataliades told me that we have an appointment this week and that Hunter will be coming to visit as part of our supervised visitations.”
“I will have to rearrange my schedule,” Eric replied, making plans of his own. “Are these appointments during the day or will I be able to be there?” he asked.
“Mr. Cataliades told me that he would get back to me on it. He wasn’t sure either.” I explained. I glanced up at him, to where Amelia had disappeared up the stairway, then back again. “What was that about?”
“What was what about?” He replied back, as he lowered his head and started to nibble on my neck. Eric couldn’t seem to get enough of my neck for some reason. If I were busy talking, he would lick my neck as a way to keep in close contact.
“You know, what were you and Amelia arguing about?” I questioned, curious to see what I had missed out on. “If it’s to do with me and you, or adopting Hunter…tell me. I can take it.” I braced myself for the worst.
“What makes you think that you walked in on an argument?” He asked back. He raised his head and stared down at me. “Amelia and I were discussing what was going to happen once we have Hunter, that is all.” He shrugged. “She got concerned that we would be playing house, without the benefits of a real marriage. She was only concerned about me using you.”
“Oh,” I didn’t know how to respond to that.
“I was trying to reassure her that I am in it for as long as you will have me. That if anybody would be doing the using it would be you, and not me.” He explained. “Does it bother you…what we were discussing?” He asked, full of concern.
“Yes, I thought that you and she were arguing about the fact that she isn’t crazy over the fact that we’re together. I think she wants what we have and that she feels like you’re taking over my life. That I won’t be her friend anymore.” I grew sad at the thought. “I guess I’ll have to tell her that I’ll still be around.” I sighed.
“Sorry that it makes you feel sad,” Eric replied. “Would you like me to cheer you up?” I nodded my head. “Go, get ready and meet me back here in an hour,” he winked at me. “I have a few surprises that I hope that you will like.”
At the tip of my tongue, I wanted to ask him if it was true that he had sent Bobby out to buy me an engagement ring, but I kept my silence. I could tell that Eric really wanted to surprise me. It was only due to my telepathy, that I knew what his plans were. Would he propose tonight? I hoped so.
My heart raced in anticipation and also because…well, he had to give me a kiss before I started to get ready. It involved some tongue. I knew that it was only a prelude to what would happen later on that night. I backed away from him, although it was extremely hard. And something else was hard…if you get my drift. He gave me a pat on my ass as I walked away from him.
I got showered, dressed and ready. I couldn’t wait to see what he would do for an actual date. All glammed up, I headed out to meet him. He stood there in his usual jeans, but wore a shirt and tie. He slipped his leather jacket on as I came out. He sensed me standing there and turned around to greet me. His eyes took me in from head to toe. He licked his lips in anticipation. I knew that I looked good. I had chosen a skirt and blouse. I briefly wondered if going out on a date was such a great idea. I was ready to jump his bones right at that moment.
“Are you ready?” He asked.
In my mind, I answered, I was ready as soon as you kissed me. Aloud, I said, “I’m ready.”
Eric grinned, because of course, he had read my mind. He winked at me, before ushering me out the door. “Let us save that for dessert.”
We walked out to his car, which was sitting in my driveway. He must have flown home and got it. I distinctly remembered seeing it in his garage. Had I taken that long getting ready? I thought that I had been rather fast.
I climbed in and he started up the engine. I reached out to turn the heater on. The temperature had dropped outside, and it wouldn’t matter to Eric. He usually let me play around with the buttons in his car. He smiled at me now.
“Happy?” He asked, as we drove out of my driveway and onto the road towards Bon Temps.
I knew that he knew that I was. I nodded my head anyways. “Yes,” I answered, practically giggling in excitement. I couldn’t remember the last time that I had gone out on an actual date. Had it been with Bill? With Quinn? Either way, it had been way too long I figured.
We ate at a crawfish place. Correction, I ate. Eric watched me eat. He drank a bottle of Tru-Blood. The food was good. The atmosphere in the restaurant was lively and entertaining. Families sat at tables. Parents were trying to get their kids to finish eating before having a taste of their desserts.
Eric and I sat out on the patio, at a table in the corner. While the atmosphere was loud, we were lost in our own little world. Eric had that way about him. When he stared into my eyes, I didn’t want to look anywhere else.
He reached across the table and held my hand in his. Was this when he was planning on asking me? I wondered.
“Sookie, have I told you how beautiful you look tonight?” He asked, charmingly. His grin turned wicked. “That scent that you are wearing, makes me want to rip that outfit off you and fuck you on this table right now.”
I swallowed the mouthful of gin and tonic that I had been drinking at the exact same time that he had spoken. I could see us vividly in my mind. “With all of these people around?” I asked, incredulously.
“Yes,” he nodded his head. “It would be even hotter. Can you see us, lover?”
Hell yeah, I thought to myself. I could barely keep myself from jumping on his lap and letting him take me right then and there. “Yes,” I whispered.
“I can see us with Hunter too,” he threw the comment out there. He glanced away from me and watched the children at the nearest table for a few minutes. “Yes,” he answered an unspoken question in his mind. “They are curiously strange humans beings.” He added after a few minutes of watching them. “They do not like real food but like sweets. They like to play around and poke each other with forks. How do those parents put up with all of that crying?” He asked, curiously, staring at the parents of the children in question.
I had to stifle a grin. “They deal with it the best way that they can,” I answered. “But Hunter is different. He’s really a well-behaved little boy.”
We sat in companionable silence for a few minutes. “Sookie, it has been a very long time since I have courted anyone. What do we do?” He asked, curiously. “What do couples do on dates in this day and age?”
I smiled at him. “We talk. Get to know each other. Find out what we like and dislike,” I answered.
“Men and women find that sexy?” he asked, incredulously.
“Well…some people like to get to know each other better first before they get horizontal.”
“Horizontal?” Eric repeated, puzzled and confused.
“It’s a slang term for sex,” I explained, trying to keep my smile from getting wider. Eric wouldn’t appreciate it if I laughed in front of him, but sometimes he was surprisingly clueless about things. It was almost comical. A thousand year old vampire, who didn’t know what some things meant. I suddenly thought of a great idea of what I would buy him for Christmas. A book of slang words or something like that.
“I like sex,” Eric grinned proudly.
Now, I laughed. “I know you do. You’re very good at it too,” I praised him.
It stroked his ego. He sat there with a proud expression on his face. “I would be happy to spend our dates in bed,” he told me. “But Pam and Amelia advised me not to. They told me that a woman likes to be taken places and do fun things.”
I made a note to thank the two of them for giving Eric dating advice. “Yes, we do. Once a woman finds a man that she marries, they no longer go out on dates very much.”
“Why is that?”
“Because usually they have children and they make your life busier and harder to find some time to do things like that.”
Eric frowned, while he mulled it over. “Then, why do people get married?” He asked, puzzled and confused. “It sounds like it takes all the fun out of it.”
Here, we go, I thought to myself. Was he slowly building his way up to it? “If a couple loves each other. They want to make a commitment to one another. They want to vow to each other that they will be with that one person until they died,” I explained. “Have you really never thought about marriage before?”
“Yes.” He frowned. “But if it were something that my lover really wanted to do, then maybe I would rethink it. Come, we will be late for the movie if we do not leave now.”
My heart fluttered after hearing his words. I was the only person to whom he referred to as his lover. Although, I was disappointed that he hadn’t asked me and that we were going to a movie instead. I never realized until right this minute, how much I wanted to get married to Eric, but a part of me had always held back because I wasn’t sure if I was woman enough to hold on to him.
He took some money out of his billfold and left it on the table. He took my hand and we walked out of the restaurant. I could feel people staring at us curiously. I could read it in their minds that they knew that Eric was a vampire. Some of them thought that we looked perfect together. Others, thought that we should both stay with our own kind. I tried to push those unpleasant thoughts out of my head.
Now I knew what interracial couples had to go through. This was similar to that. It bothered me, but I tried not to let it show. I was happy with Eric. Could they say the same? No. I could hear it in some of their minds that they were not happy with their significant other, even though they were both of the same race.
We drove to the only theater in Bon Temps. Since it was a Sunday, it wasn’t normally all that busy, but the movie that was playing brought the people out in droves. Mostly teenagers, judging from the looks of them. I felt suddenly older than my twenty-seven years. I glanced up at Eric to see his reaction.
“What is this ‘Twilight’?” Eric asked, curiously, after we had waited in line and purchased our tickets.
“It’s a movie about vampires,” I replied back. “It’s based on a popular book series,” I explained.
“Vampires?” Eric asked. “I hope you did not choose this movie because I am one.” He admonished.
“No, not at all. It’s the only movie playing right now. We have to see it, unless you want to rent one from Blockbuster.” I suggested.
“No, this is good. I do not mind watching movies about my species.” He agreed.
We waited in line for popcorn and eventually found some seats. Although, the place was crowded, we were lucky enough to find two seats that were in the back row.
“This is the perfect setting to make out,” Eric whispered in my ear.
I grinned. “That’s why movies are the perfect date. You get entertained and make out in the dark.” I replied back in his ear.
He put his arm around me and the movie started. I munched on popcorn and drank my pop that I had purchased. Although, I don’t know why I had bothered doing that when I had just eaten. I was already full. But one of the traditions of going to a movie theater was that you ate popcorn during the movie.
All during the movie the girls in the audience would scream whenever Edward appeared onscreen. Eric would jump in his seat whenever this happened.
“Why are they screaming?” He asked me the first time. “He is not as scary of some of the vampires that I have met.” He frowned.
I grinned, thankful that it was dark. “They are screaming because they think he’s handsome,” I tried to explain.
When it was revealed in the movie that the vampires could go out in daylight. That they tended to sparkle instead of burn in the sun…that was when Eric started laughing. Every other little myth about vampires in the movie made him laugh even harder. Some of the teenagers sitting closest to us, would turn around and glare at him for interrupting the movie. When it was revealed that their blood contained venom, that made Eric laugh as well.
He whispered in my ear. “That is not true…my blood would not cause you pain. You have had mine. You know that it tastes good. The pain comes when you are a newborn vampire who is starving for food,” he instructed me.
Soon, it was over and we left the theater. Eric had parked a block down the street and on the other side because there had been so many people there.
“Excuse me, but are you a real vampire?” A teenager stopped Eric curiously.
“Oh my God! Oh my God!” The girl squealed. She called her friends over and began telling them that Eric was a real vampire excitedly. They all began peppering Eric with questions endlessly.
I had found it amusing, but at the same time, I was bored. I figured that I would go and sit on the hood of Eric’s car until the teenagers were done with him. I started to walk across the road and stopped unknowingly in the middle of the lane. I turned around to check to make sure that Eric was still charming the teenagers. I grinned, then turned back again. That was when I noticed the pair of headlights fast approaching me.
It seemed like the driver didn’t see me, in fact, the car seemed to speed up. I stared at the headlights, with a deer caught in the headlights expression on my face. I heard someone call out my name. Had it been Eric? That’s when I felt something hard push me out of the way and tackled me down to the ground.