A little frying pan only.
Chapter 15 – The problems with V
Old Norse used in this chapter:
Jǫtunn = giant
Min kära = My dear or dearest
pokk = thanks
“Northman? What are you doing calling at this hour?” Sam’s phone had woken him from his sleep in the very early morning.
“I need your help.”
Sam snorted. “This is rich. First you somehow get Sookie to pick up and leave the state, likely through some blood control. Now you want me to help you? Is there some other human you need from Bon Temps?”
When he grabbed Sookie’s phone to call Sam’s mobile, he knew it was going to be difficult but he couldn’t believe what Sam was saying. Still, he didn’t have time to correct him right now. “Sam, we’ll have to discuss your comments some other time. Right now, I need your help to save Lafayette. Are you interested in saving your cook? Do I have your attention now?”
“What did you get him involved with now? Is nobody safe from your . . .”
“SAM! I have limited time and you have to get Lafayette today. Can I go on?”
It took a moment for Sam to respond and he did through a clenched jaw. “Fine.”
Eric went on to explain the issues with the Queen and Bill Compton. After Sam cursed a bit about Bill and the Queen, he allowed Eric to continue. Sam had a list of tasks with detailed instructions, starting with breaking in unseen at Fangtasia and collecting Lafayette. Once securing Lafayette and seeing to his healing by Dr. Ludwig; Sam also needed to convince Jason to get on a plane with Lafayette for the Bahamas. Gritting his teeth at the thought of having the shifter on the island, Eric begrudgingly issued an invitation to Sam; he couldn’t assure his safety in Bon Temps.
“This is a pretty tall order Northman.”
“It’s all for Sookie. I understand Sookie’s childhood friend Tara is away right now?”
“Yeah, I’ll ask Lafayette to tell her to stay away; the rest of us don’t know where she is; ran off with some guy.”
“You’ll have help as I mentioned. Alcide Herveaux and Barry Horowitz will meet you at Fangtasia; Dr. Ludwig will heal your friend.”
“Well, I can’t pick up and leave my business so I’m stuck here.”
“I’ll hire guards if you want.”
“Is the threat really that great?”
“I don’t know. The Queen’s prepared to kill Lafayette to see if she can get my attention and return Sookie to Louisiana. That’s my theory at least. I have to act to prevent additional opportunities.”
“I’ll fly out with them but only for a few days. We can discuss the situation in person and then I’ll decide on guards.”
“Very good. Barry will be in touch with you shortly.”
Eric made several more calls before he needed to die for the day but he completed the plans to have the additional guests on the island until he could deal with the Queen and Compton. For now, he still owed Sophie Anne fealty: he had no contract signed linking him to the council, and his progeny was in the state. Thank Gods his island guesthouse was nearly the size of a hotel; he certainly wanted these new arrivals to stay there, on the other side of the island from his and Sookie’s house. To keep her idiot brother away, he might need to have an invisible fence installed and put him in a collar. Really, it was for his own safety since Eric wanted to kill him for hitting Sookie.
Regrettably, Sookie’s afternoon on the boat was canceled, as his staff was needed to prepare for the additional guests. After writing Sookie a note, he climbed into bed with her and held her tight. As usual, she murmured something in her sleep but never woke and he allowed himself to die wrapped around her.
I’m afraid some other business has come up for my Bahaman crew and you will be unable to go out on the boat today. I’m sorry for the last minute change; I know you were looking forward to that. To make up for this, I can take you out for a while tonight.
Please enjoy your day and the sun (you know how I love your sun kissed skin). I will see you when I rise.
“Well poo!” Sookie said to a resting Eric. “I really was looking forward to the boat.” It was before 1:00 PM so she had several hours to herself. The island staff kept the kitchen in Eric’s house stocked for her so she quickly made and ate brunch and started to head outside. A large package addressed to her was near the door and she stopped to inspect it. Someone had dropped it off for her before she woke – that was unusual. From what she understood, Eric’s staff normally didn’t enter Eric’s home while he was at rest. She opened the box and gasped. Inside was a huge collection of painting supplies: an easel, canvases, paints, brushes and anything else she could possibly want. Now she couldn’t wait for him to wake; she wanted to know how anyone knew about what she thought was her secret painting hobby.
Not knowing the source though didn’t stop her from grabbing a bunch of the supplies and running to the side deck to find the first view to paint. As soon as she saw it, she knew she wanted to capture the image of the beach where she and Eric took their moonlight swims, only now it was the sunlight – a view that Eric never had. Part way through her work, she made a decision to capture as much of the island in the sunlight as she could. Hopefully he’d like it. So engrossed in her art, she lost track of the time and suddenly packed up and bolted for the house.
Meanwhile, Eric rose in bed alone and pouted. Since her outing on the boat was canceled, he thought for sure Sookie would be in bed when he rose. Then he chuckled to himself about how accustomed he’d become to rising with her in such a short time. What sounded like a herd of elephants came running down the stairs to his chambers. He watched her face fall as she walked in and saw he was already awake. “Sorry.”
“I got carried away with what I was doing and didn’t notice the time. I wanted to be with you when you woke.” As she spoke, she’d made it to the side of the bed.
“It’s only been a moment.” He tugged on her hand and pulled her down. “Come here.”
She pulled her hand back and responded. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea. A game of Scrabble could start by accident and your phone has been beeping and ringing more than usual. I think you should check it.” Her head cocked to the side as she asked. “Does all this phone activity have anything to do with why my outing was canceled?”
“Gonna tell me?”
“After you’re in bed with me and after you tell me why it looks like a rainbow was smeared on your arms and face.” She stood firm on the side of the bed until he pouted at her. “Please get in bed with me Lover.”
Sookie couldn’t believe how in many ways he behaved like a little boy. Of course it was seeing his youthful and playful side that she enjoyed. She knew most others never got to see him like this. “Oh my God, you did not pout at me again!?” He put his hand out again and this time she let herself get pulled into the bed. “You be good.”
“Oh Lover, I’m always good.” He reached up to her neck where the tie from her bikini was. “You don’t need this.” She responded by pulling and slapping his hands away from her. He really did have quite a bit of business so it was probably good that she stopped him. “Very well. Good evening kisses only Lover.” Thinking back to one of her first joke kisses, Sookie puckered her lips out far and leaned in. “You think you’re funny don’t you?” She nodded but kept her lips out. “I’ll show you funny.” With a mischievous look, he grabbed her waist, put her on the bed on her back, and tickled her mercilessly. They were both laughing out loud as they tumbled and played on the bed.
Finally, Sookie had had enough. “ERIC! Stop.”
He relented only long enough to make his request. “Give me kisses, real ones.”
“You’ve conquered me Viking, you get your kisses.” Sookie was surprised that her lips weren’t chapped and constantly swollen from all the kisses Eric wanted (and she willingly gave).
He rolled on his back and put his arms out. “Kiss away Lover.” The look he gave her caused her breath to hitch and she bit her lip. As it always did, that action had his dick twitching but Sookie was so focused on his face that she didn’t see it. His lips parted in anticipation as she moved toward him but she stopped short of his face. Instead, she moved to his chest then continued further down to the waist of his boxers and started planting kisses all the way up to his neck. He was panting by the time she made it to his mouth so she took advantage of his parted lips and dove in with her tongue. It was then he took control and rolled them over, taking her breath away from his actions. When he feared he wouldn’t be able to stop, he pulled back giving her a final peck on the nose. “You are going to be the death of me.”
“I should hope not.” She giggled and craned her neck to kiss him. “I like things exactly the way they are.”
“Hmmm, actually that segues into one of the topics for tonight. Things, as you say, will be different when this vacation is over because I might not be Sheriff any longer.” That caused her to shoot out from under him so she could sit up and ask him what the hell he meant. He gave her the highlights of the potential contract with the Vampire Council and explained what it could mean in terms of not having fealty to a King or Queen anywhere in the world. His excitement over the opportunity was infectious and Sookie was happy, truly happy for him. “I’ll meet with Roman soon. We’ll discuss all the details together Sookie.” When she gave him a quizzical look he asked, “I want us to both make decisions on this next step. I want you to come with me, I won’t leave you behind; you know that right?”
Hesitantly she replied, “If that’s what you want.”
“It most certainly is. Is it what you want?” She nodded almost shyly and he responded with an enthusiastic kiss. “I wish we could spend more time on this and,” he stroked her arm, “Other things. But, I can hear my phone buzzing and you my dear . . . well it’s not the right time.” He stood and offered his hand to help her up from the bed but she had a very puzzled look on her face while she joined him to stand by the bed. To save her from what he was sure would be an embarrassing situation he leaned into her ear and whispered. “You’re about to start your bleeding.” Then he kissed her cheek, hot from her blush and ran into the shower to give her space.
A short while later they met up in the kitchen where Sookie prepped a quick dinner while Eric caught up on voicemail, texts, and emails. Only a few minutes into his first voicemail he was furious. Sookie stopped her cooking and came to sit with him at the table, holding his hand while he kept listening and reading. After about ten minutes, he stopped with his messages and emails to give her an update.
“Sookie. Much has happened today.” He paused trying to figure out the best way to tell her what he’d learned. After taking a deep breath, he pressed on. “Very early this morning I had an email from my Queen. Basically she had ordered that your friend Lala be captured for selling V.” Though Sookie’s eyes widened and she was obviously concerned, he pressed on with his update. “I thought it was a simple set-up; a way to try to get us back in the state.” He ran his hand through his hair and sighed in frustration. “It wasn’t entirely a set-up.” Sookie gasped. “The end result is Lala was selling V from a vampire named Eddie Gauthier. The good news is Eddie will testify that he willingly gave his blood to Lafayette in return for ah . . .”
She put her hands up. “I don’t need to know.”
“Very well. The problem Sookie is that Eddie was kidnapped a few nights ago. That’s what led to the accusations against your friend.” The next part was going to be hard so he moved her to his lap. “Sookie. Sam broke Lafayette out of Fangtasia this morning, luckily he wasn’t injured. He hid Lafayette with Barry and Eliane so he’s secure. Per my instructions, Sam went to collect Jason so he could be flown here for safety along with Sam and Lafayette. When Sam got to Jason’s, he discovered that there was a vampire in the basement. It was Eddie.”
Her eyes closed as she processed that information. Suddenly she realized what Jason’s actions could mean. “Is Jason going to be killed?”
“I’m going to do my best to prevent that. Sam called Pam to handle it from a vampire perspective. Eddie is saying that Jason had been trying to set him free and he was feeding him True Bloods though Jason’s girlfriend forbid it. Per Eddie, Jason’s girlfriend Amy, was behind the kidnapping and detainment of Eddie. She was controlling him by using his V-addiction against him.”
“Jason is addicted to V?” Eric nodded. “Why am I not addicted?”
“You had Bill’s blood from the source. V needs to be out of the vampire for about a week to become the addictive and more potent drug. V causes hallucinations among other things. I’ve been told it’s a very pleasurable experience.” He rubbed her back for a moment. “This Amy is quite the V expert though. Apparently, she knew how to cook the blood to speed that process. She won’t get out of this situation alive.”
Sookie nodded in understanding. “What happens next?”
“Pam is the acting Sheriff so I’m waiting for her to arrive at Jason’s; the sun only set for them.”
“So we wait.” He nodded. “I guess you have to do lots of follow-up on this. I need to lie down for a bit.”
“Has this all been too much Lover?” He stood with her in his arms and headed towards the bedroom. “I’ll tuck you in.”
“No, not the bedroom, I want the big outdoor porch swing. I’m stressed about all this but now I have cramps on top of it. That’s really why I need to lie down.”
“Then the outdoor swing it is and a belly rub.”
“Do you know what a cramp is?”
“I have been reading up on females, dating, and all kinds of related information. I have a heating pad ready for this.” Her mouth was wide open as he carried her to the porch swing. “Shall I get the heating pad? Some Midol?”
“If I wasn’t already falling for you, I’d be falling for sure now.” She scooched back on the porch swing and said. “I already took Ibuprofen so rest and that belly rub will be fine. But first, you go catch up and help with my brother. My tummy and I will be here.”
“I’ll keep you updated. Sleep Lover.”
Eric gathered his laptop and phone and set-up to work in the bedroom right inside the deck with the porch swing. This would satisfy his need to be near Sookie but give her some space to rest. Pam had arrived at Jason’s and they were working through the events when Eric dialed in to participate via speakerphone.
“Eddie, from what you’ve said, Lafayette Reynolds is guilty to the human world for selling drugs and I care nothing about that. Under our laws, you, Eddie, willingly provided the blood. That offense falls only on you.”
“Yes, I understand Sheriff.”
“I believe your kidnapping was enough of a lesson on the dangers of selling our blood for profit so I will consider your detainment as time served. If I find you’ve sold or traded your blood again, it will be your second offense and you will meet the True Death.”
“Again, understood Sheriff.”
“Pam, please ensure the crime and punishment have been recorded on the proper forms.
“So that leaves me to the kidnapping, detainment in silver and forced blood withdrawals from Eddie Gauthier by Jason Stackhouse and Amy Burley.” He paused for a moment then continued. “Has Amy arrived at Jason’s yet?”
“Yes, and she is quite unhappy.” Pam reported to Eric.
“Eddie, can you please describe your past few nights?”
“I went to Lafayette’s as usual three nights ago and when I left, I was grabbed by two people and tossed into the back of a truck. I will tell you, they argued the whole time; the man didn’t want to be involved but the woman kept pushing and yelling at him. I was dragged into a basement and secured to a lounge chair with silver chains. The man introduced himself and apologized immediately; I was puzzled about why he would do something he clearly didn’t want to do. That was solved pretty quickly though. The woman, who never introduced herself but I know from Jason her name was Amy, well she coerced Jason into his actions by using his addiction to V. When Jason wasn’t high on V or being tempted, he was a nice guy and tried to keep me comfortable. He was too afraid to go against Amy I guess.”
Eric was quiet for a few moments. Were it not Sookie’s brother, he’d simply order them both killed and be done with it. He had to find a way out of this conundrum that kept Jason alive. It seemed that Eddie favored Jason and was the vampire victim here; Eric decided to see what he could get away with. “I propose this. Through some investigating by my dayman, Amy Burley is wanted in two other states for V crimes. She will be tortured for five nights then killed by Pam.” He could hear the woman screaming followed by Pam’s voice glamouring her to shut up. “This needs to be recorded and shared with the other Sheriffs that require justice be served by this criminal. I’m emailing you those details tonight Pam.” He paused before continuing. “Jason is to be held in Fangtasia witnessing Amy’s first night of torture and he will retain the memories as a lesson on the dangers of V. Pamela, han är inte fysiskt skadad. (Pamela, he is not to be physically hurt.) Eddie, are you satisfied?”
“Very good. Pam, prepare the paperwork for Eddie to sign.”
Of course, Jason had something to say. “Now hol’ on. What right to y’all have to disper ah, desp . . .”
In frustration, Eric offered. “Dispense?”
“Yeah, dispense punishment.”
“Sam, Pam can you please clear this up with Mr. Stackhouse?”
“Nah, I want to hear from you. You’re the man in charge righ’? Why ain’t you here anyways?”
‘I’m not there because I’m on a private island wooing your sister and now I have to take care of your shit.’ He kept that to himself and repeated a variation on his original request. “Pam and Sam are adequate to explain.”
Before he could stop her, a half asleep Sookie appeared in the doorway and called out to him. “Eric, any news?”
“WHOA Mister, I know that voice. Watcha doing with ma sister?”
Pam snarled. “I don’t have time for a family reunion here.”
Pinching the bridge of his nose, Eric took charge. “Pamela, as I’ve said before you can explain to Jason with Sam.” He was so frustrated he took a moment to calm himself then pulled Sookie to his lap, she tucked in immediately. “Lover, I’ll update you in a moment.”
“Are you holdin’ ma sister fer sumptin? What the fuck is goin’ on?”
Sookie looked to Eric and he nodded. “Jason, I’m on vacation you idiot. Besides, you don’t have any right to meddle in my life right now. Go with Pam and keep your mouth shut. Sam, please explain to him.”
Sam responded. “I will Sookie, I’ll make him understand.”
Eric ended the call and they both let out a breath. After hearing Jason speak, he had a question he was dying to ask. “Sookie, he’s really your biological brother?”
“Hard to believe but true. So what’s going to happen?”
“I’ll tell you in the kitchen, you never finished cooking your dinner.”
“Hmm, I forgot.”
“That’s why I’m reminding you. What were you making anyway?”
“Steak and a sweet potato. I had a note on the fridge from Diana that Dr. Ludwig wants me to eat foods rich in iron before she arrives. The fridge was stocked for me.”
So while she cooked, Eric summarized the call, what had happened to Eddie, how Jason tried to help, and the punishments he handed down. The part about Amy’s torture bothered Sookie and she expressed her concern about not turning her over to the human police.
“Sookie, Florida tried to work with the human police; they were told to produce the vampire’s body that Amy supposedly killed.” Sookie’s mouth opened wide in shock. “The truth is . . . my hands are tied. The Queen knows and two other monarchs want this woman punished the vampire way.”
“I understand.” Sookie also couldn’t argue about having Jason held for one night. Likely, it would be a good lesson for him to learn. “How will Jason get off V though?”
“That’s part of why you couldn’t go out on the boat today. Jason, Lafayette, and Sam will be here at some point tomorrow night and the staff here spent the day preparing.”
“HERE?” She questioned while she moved her plate to the table and sat down.
“The guesthouse here.”
“Yes, obviously. You finally got me comfortable with skinny dipping; I doubt you want to take a step back from that.”
“Absolutely not, they will be contained to the guest half of the island. To answer your question about Jason and V more specifically, Dr. Ludwig will be able to help your brother while she’s here.”
Sookie grumbled. “The timing is rotten you know.”
“Would it ever be good timing for this?”
“I mean, we’re on vacation and trying to build something here – between us and now we’ll have an island full of guests. Oh, and my freakin period now has us a bit handcuffed.”
“You want to be HANDCUFFED?! I mean it’s a little quick to go from petting to bondage, but if that’s what . . .”
She started slapping him while she laughed. “I needed that laugh. Thank you.”
He watched as Sookie put some of the orange potato in her mouth. “Can I have a taste of that?”
“Of course. Let’s enjoy dinner without all this talk for a bit.”
“One more thing. Another vampire is joining your friends.”
“OK.” She looked at him sideways. “Is this something I need to worry about?”
“NO no, not at all. You’ll recognize him though. He’s the king of rock and roll.”
“ELVIS?” He nodded and laughed at her excitement. “We call him Bubba. He was changed a bit too late and has trouble discussing his real life.”
“Everyone has been warned to call him Bubba?”
He nodded and pointed to her plate. “Talk of Bubba has stopped your eating.”
“And your tasting. I’ll get right back to that.”
For the next half hour, Sookie enjoyed bites of her dinner followed by long kisses with Eric. Someone, likely Diana, had placed a treat in the refrigerator for her and she was sure Eric would enjoy it too. He did; it was a plate with fresh strawberries and dipping bowls of sour cream and brown sugar and he chose to feed her himself. Of course, he took his long kisses in between to enjoy the flavor. At some point during the sharing, he suggested they move to the porch swing she loved so much and he finished feeding her there then followed up with a belly rub.
Sookie dozed off and he simply held her while she rested. Because of her planned but canceled boat trip, she’d gotten up earlier than her usual time so she obviously needed the sleep. While he was comforted by her closeness, he took the time to think about his life with Godric; specifically a time in his life that involved some very serious discussions about love. It was the 13th Century and they were in Italy. While there, they had the pleasure of meeting Dante Alighieri, Florentine writer and poet. Eric recalled one particular evening when the three of them delved into the topic of love. Godric mourned his human wife, Belvin, greatly, though they’d only been married for a few years before Gaul was invaded and they were separated. While his marriage was short, Belvin had been part of his life since he was very young and he’d never stopped loving her. Godric’s story of falling in love so young was what prompted Dante to share the tale of his own lost love. Dante’s marriage was arranged when he was twelve and he begged his parents not to force the contract. His parents moved forward against his wishes. According to Dante, he’d met the love of his life, Beatrice Portinari, when he was only nine years old. Dante and his wife Gemma had three children but he never got over Beatrice. It’s why he wrote sonnets to Beatrice and ignored his own wife in his writing. The two men who loved so deeply described the beauty and depth of the emotion to Eric but he scoffed at them. Thinking back, Eric now realized it was because love was something he so desired and hadn’t found that caused him to be so callous. For him, deep and true love was something his parents shared and that wasn’t always the Viking way; marriage was usually done for practical reasons. His mother often implored him to stop playing with the girls in the village and settle down; he always figured there would be tomorrow. Once he was turned, the idea of marriage and love still haunted him but he wouldn’t admit it – even to himself. Sookie changed that. He looked down at the woman sleeping in his arms and realized how right Dante and Godric were about love. With Sookie, he was complete in a way he never thought possible. He hoped his little fairy felt the same because he was never giving her up now. He also realized that the memory had caused him to tear up a bit but he didn’t feel an overall ache from thinking about Godric.
When Eric shifted to wipe his eyes, he jostled Sookie a bit and she woke. Her face was sweet as she stretched a bit but changed to immediate concern when she saw the evidence of his tears. “What’s wrong?”
“I was thinking about Godric.”
“Are you OK?” Her hand went to his face to rub some of the blood he hadn’t cleaned off himself.
“Yes. It was good to remember something and feel it – but it wasn’t painful like the first night on the island. I think because you were snoring away in my arms I was able to handle it better.”
“That’s sweet but time is also helping you adjust.” She moved to sit-up a bit. “How late is it?”
“Early, 1:00 AM.”
“There was something I wanted to do tonight.” He raised his eyebrow at her and she continued. “I want to show you my painting. Oh yeah, who bought me the painting supplies?”
“Eliane noticed the art you had painted hanging in your home and thought you might enjoy some painting while you’re here.”
She smiled and exclaimed with conviction. “Love her.”
He chuckled at her enthusiasm. “Where is this painting?”
“On the other side deck.”
“What did you paint?”
“It’s a surprise.” She moved off the porch swing and put her hand out. “Come on jǫtunn.”
He was shocked. “Where did you learn that?”
“Eliane’s been helping me by researching a few things. That’s giant in old Norse, right?”
“Yes min kära.”
“Ooh, what’s that?
“My dear or dearest.” They’d arrived at Sookie’s painting while talking and Eric was stunned. Since he’d never seen any of her art work, he wasn’t sure what to expect and he was impressed. This was more than a simple hobby. “Sookie I always knew you were more than a barmaid as you’ve always said. This work is fantastic; I can tell that you were happy while painting this. It actually feels warm to me. The sunlight I guess.”
“I was happy. This is where we swim and I wanted you to see it in the sunlight. I want to paint all the beautiful views of this island in the sunlight.”
“I love that idea.” He kissed her sweetly in thanks.
“When Dr. Ludwig has fixed my blood, I want to feed you before dawn so you can spend time in the sunlight with me.”
Her comments shocked him to stillness. “You would do that for me?”
“I would do that for us Eric. Us.”
“I don’t know what to say to that Lover.”
“You say pokk min jǫtunn.”
A/N: Well we we didn’t camp so I was able to post before Sunday! We might go one last time next weekend though, so it could be next Sunday before I post.