Chapter 13 – The Obligatory Date
Before heading to the hospital the next night, Eric had a short errand to run; a quick stop at Herveaux Construction where he and Alcide spoke briefly about Sookie. While Alcide was not pleased to see Eric as part of Sookie’s life, he didn’t want Sookie hurt in any way so he readily committed to keeping Sookie’s gift a secret. Inwardly, Alcide was puzzled by Eric’s desire to keep the gift a secret. One of the reasons why Alcide had never spilled about the telepathy was his fear that vampires could find out and exploit or even take Sookie. Obviously Northman wasn’t interested in her gift and that pleased him. Even though he’d moved on from Sookie and realized she had been right about their relationship, he didn’t want her hurt; he’d keep the secret. Eric’s threat to torture and kill every one of Alcide’s family members – while detailed and very serious – was unnecessary.
Eric spent his entire night with Sookie and Hunter again. They went to the playroom where Sookie played the guitar and sang, Eric led the boys in a few games, they returned to the room to watch a movie and they just relaxed together. He couldn’t get enough of family time with them.
He hated work though. The night after Eric was only able to pop in to see Hunter and Sookie for a quick visit before heading to Fangtasia to work on the bi-weekly payroll. He could spend about an hour with them since he did as much of the prep work as possible after he left Sookie and Hunter the night before, but it still needed to be entered into the system before his 9PM deadline. He stopped short when he walked into the room. Another woman and small boy were laughing with Sookie and Hunter and a large pizza was on the overbed table. Much to Eric’s surprise, Hunter was shoving pizza into his mouth. He was so shocked, he blurted out “Pizza? You can eat pizza?”
With his mouth partially full, Hunter responded. “Doc Maria brings one every other week on the night before dialysis – well the weeks she can. It’s an acceptable treat.”
Eric registered the name Doc Maria right away – she was the woman who’d purchased the magazine for Sookie and waived her medical fees. He put his hand out to her. “Eric Northman. I’m a friend of Hunter’s and Sookie’s.”
“Maria Tennily, bringer of bad food for Hunter. That’s my son, Dylan.”
Sookie cut in. “We met when Maria was Hunter’s doctor at Good Sheppard.”
Maria continued. “Dylan and Hunter met and hit it off. We try to come every other Tuesday as my work schedule permits. Plus, I’m the hero that delivers pizza.”
“Is that a good idea though? Doesn’t it put too much stress on his heart?” Sookie raised an eyebrow at him in question. “I can read you know.” She smiled. That meant more to her than any of his other wooing attempts. In all the months they were together, she wasn’t sure Alcide even knew anything about Hunter’s illness. Eric was only part of their lives for a few weeks and he was already taking an active role.
“Hunter really keeps on top of his diet. I believe there’s always wiggle room and a slice every other week helps him keep on track for the other days. Plus, he has dialysis tomorrow so the timing is right.”
“Are you a Nephrologist?”
“No, a Hospitalist that just took on learning more about nephrology when I met Hunter here. Sookie and I actually studied together some nights. It’s too easy to get lost in the medical talk and not understand what’s happening to your child. I admire Sookie’s persistence to learn and then challenge the doctors.”
“So you’re still at Good Sheppard as a Hospitalist?” She nodded. “I don’t know what that means.”
“The gist is it’s like your primary care doctor but for patients in a hospital. In reality it’s me fighting on a daily basis to get insurance approvals for testing and treatments. I don’t know how much actual medical time I spend versus red tape.”
“Wouldn’t private practice be better?”
“As an on staff doctor, I get the schedule I need being a single parent and I don’t need to deal with the overhead of running an office. I tried the group practice thing – to share the burden – that didn’t work well for me.”
“That’s a shame.”
Eric nodded his understanding then moved to sit in the seat near the boys at the head of the bed. “So Dylan, how old are you?”
Hunter interjected. “Eric’s a Thousand years old!” Dylan’s eyes bugged out. “And he can fly!”
Now Dylan’s head whipped back and forth between Eric and Hunter. “Really?” From there Hunter drew Eric into his conversation with his friend while Sookie and Maria took a walk around the corridor.
“So, how’s it going with the jolly pale giant? Is he a good kisser?”
Sookie smirked at her friend, the woman who knew very well about the crush she’d had on Eric since first seeing him. “His kisses are the best and the whole thing is wonderful and scary.”
“Fast.” They’d reached the end of the hall and found the waiting room empty so they went in and closed the door. Maria was quiet as she watched Sookie think things through. She was shocked to hear what Sookie had to say. “I think I’m in love with him Maria.”
“And the problem is?”
“My priority is Hunter.”
“Loving Eric doesn’t hurt Hunter. In fact, given what I just witnessed and what Hunter has been saying about Eric I think it helps Hunter.”
“I don’t want to be with someone for their money. I’m not like that.”
“That’s not what I said. Granted, Eric has money and he’s obviously willing to share it to help you guys. But it’s his acceptance, friendship and attention that’s helping Hunter. Don’t hold it AGAINST Eric that he has money.”
“Ok, how about it’s only been two weeks, in reality just some visits here, phone calls and texts. We haven’t even been on our first date!” She threw her hands up in the air showing her exasperation.
Sookie rolled her eyes at Maria but answered. “A designated activity for a scheduled date and time with the purpose being of a romantic nature. For me that would include a boy, Eric, picking up a girl, me, for said activity.”
“And this rigid definition is the only way for people to get to know each other? It’s the only way for people to court?”
Sookie was quiet then answered. “Well no, but. . . “
“But what? Seriously Sookie. There had better be a good statement after that but.”
“But we don’t exactly have the opportunity for certain other date activities.”
“Liar. You already told me he’s the best kisser.” Maria smirked and Sookie just stuck her tongue out in response. “Besides, intimacy was not in your definition of dating.” Knowing her friend’s history, Maria wanted to help Sookie realize that Eric was different than Alcide or Sam. She wanted her friend to be happy. Taking her hands and looking at her with seriousness she continued. “Just don’t fight it. Enjoy it, please?”
“OK, but we better get back, Eric only has a short while tonight; he has to get to the bar.”
“I’ll stay with Hunter if you want to walk him out.” They’d started down the corridor back towards Hunter’s room. “In fact, I can coordinate my schedule and add an extra night anytime you want to, I dunno, go out and NOT kiss your boyfriend.” She giggled at Sookie’s indignant face until they walked into the room.
“There you are. I was just connecting Hunter to the monitors so I could find you. I need to head out.”
“I know. Maria is going to stay here with Hunter so I can walk you to the door.”
Eric said his goodbyes quickly and they got in the elevator. He’d just started getting handsy when the lift stopped on the floor below to pick up new riders and he had to settle for the G-rated version of keeping in physical contact with her. His eyes darted around looking for an opportunity for some privacy on the way to the hospital doors but he found none. “I’m afraid a good old fashioned chaste kiss goodnight will need to suffice for tonight my sweet.”
“It’ll leave you wanting more for our date tomorrow.”
“I can hardly wait. I’ll be here just after first dark.”
“I’ll be ready. Maxine is coming back with me from cooking at her house so I can get prettied up while she occupies my baby.”
“Very good.” He said out loud but in his head he laughed at the plan he and Maxine had already cooked up for Sookie’s day. She’d probably be mad at first but if anyone could talk her into the day of pampering he had planned, it would be his new favorite ally, Maxine. He walked towards his car at first and glanced back to be sure Sookie wasn’t in the lobby any longer. Then he made his way to her car and using the key he had made on a prior visit, he grabbed a large bag and snickered to himself on the way to his Vette. Sookie wasn’t going to have a leg to stand on when she started arguing about his plans the next day.
His evening at Fangtasia was without incident – and that included no fighting with Pam, a first in recent history. After a brief meeting with Indira to confirm their plans for the next evening, he drove home, quickly took care of his surprise for Sookie and got into bed early. He was too excited for first dark and his date to bother with anything but downtime and slipping into an early rest.
Shortly before lunch the next day, Maxine walked into Hunter’s room. Behind her was Bobby. “What’s going on?” Sookie asked in surprise.
“Hang on, I’ll tell you after I give my grandbaby kisses.” Hunter and Gramma Fortenberry did their kissy thing with him calling her ‘Goofy Gramma’ before she stood and informed Sookie, “I’m kicking you out little girl. Eric arranged for some pamperin’ for you so you just go with Bobby and leave me with ma grandbaby.” Maxine was practically ready to bust at being here to deliver Eric’s surprise.
“But I need to . . . “
Maxine nodded and the same chef that had come in for Thanksgiving walked in with several food containers. He gave a small nod and explained to Hunter. “I know it’s not Momma’s home cooking, but it’s all within the guidelines of his renal diet and hopefully more tasty than his hospital trays.” He put one container on the overbed table. “This is your lunch Sir Hunter. I’ll place these others in the nurses’ lounge for the rest of the week.” He was about to walk out and he remembered something. “Ma’am. Mr. Northman isn’t trying to replace the cooking you do for Hunter. This is just a one-time or perhaps occasional thing just to give you a break.”
Sookie was relieved to hear that. Truth was she was gearing up to take his head off about ignoring her desire to cook for Hunter. A break though? That she could handle. The cooking was only part of her plans though – she still had a pile of laundry in the car. “But I had. . . “
Bobby knew that was his cue. “If you give me the key to your car Sookie, I can put your now clean laundry back in. Or does some of it need to be placed in the closet up here?”
Sookie was at a loss. She opened her mouth and closed it several times trying to come up with something to say, but she couldn’t. He had her laundry done and meals prepared for Hunter. The only question she had was – who did the laundry, but she’d ask later. Finding out Bobby had folded her delicates was not something she wanted to know while he was standing there. When Sookie said nothing, Maxine took over. “Bobby, why don’t you leave the laundry here? I know what goes in Hunter’s closet and then when you return later you can put the remaining items back in her car.”
“Very good Maxine.” He placed the bag near the closet. “Sookie, are you ready? You have an appointment in twenty minutes.”
“Renewal Day Spa. You’re getting a whole day of pampering. I’ll pick you up at 4:30 so you can come back here to change. Mr. Northman will be here after first dark.”
Again she stood speechless. This was too much of a splurge. She shouldn’t accept; it was above and beyond wooing and he knew it. It was Maxine that got out of her chair, helped her into Eric’s leather jacket, and pushed her towards the door. “Go. I don’t want to hear anything about you not accepting.” Sookie looked at her with curiosity. “I know what’s going through that head of yours. Stop over thinking this and GO little girl. Or I’ll tan your hide.”
Sookie gasped and Hunter laughed at the thought of Maxine telling his Mommy to go pick a switch. A phrase he’d heard often when Maxine was mad at Hoyt. “Go Mommy. You’ll be all relaxed and pretty for tonight. Please?”
And that was the face that got her out the door. Hunter’s pout got her every time.
She and Bobby pulled up to the spa and he helped her out of the car. “I’ll just walk you in so you’re settled. Then I’ll be back later.”
“Thank you Bobby.”
At the reception desk, Bobby introduced Sookie. “Miss Stackhouse for her appointment.”
“Yes, Miss Stackhouse, please come this way.” She was lead to a private room and given a menu of services to select from while she ate lunch. Eric had arranged for her appointment at the spa, but not the specifics so she was able to choose. “Mr. Northman did want you to select a long massage with the hopes that you would relax enough to nap and we’ve been instructed to give you privacy should you fall asleep. Other than that, you can have anything on the list.”
When Bobby picked her up several hours later, she was relaxed, buffed and polished. Her hair was styled with loose curls falling over her shoulders, soft makeup accented her face and her fingers and toes were painted a soft silvery pink she selected to coordinate with the dress from Eric. Bobby had a hard time focusing on the road with Sookie seated beside him looking like she stepped from the pages of a modeling magazine and Sookie heard quite a few thoughts before she shielded them. One thing she read from him did make her smile. Bobby thought Eric was the luckiest man alive for getting to date Sookie. Words like that – even unspoken – were good for the ego.
Eric dressed in his dark grey suit with a shirt that closely matched the silvery shade of Sookie’s dress. While they were going to a human restaurant, he wanted a subtle show that they were together in the event some other unplanned vampires showed up. He also thought Sookie would like the gesture of coordinating.
As he walked to her room, he stopped at the doorway and just stared before she saw him; she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Maxine was helping her fuss with the cowl back of the dress so they were both focused there and hadn’t seen him yet. He cleared his throat and when she looked up her breath stopped; he was truly gorgeous and for a moment she doubted herself; unsure of what he was doing with her but she stopped those thoughts right away. Instead she wondered how she was going to make it through the night without jumping him. In his hand were flowers arranged in a beaker as his date offering and Maxine was clearly confused even though Sookie was giddy at the gesture. “Boy, what made you put that beautiful arrangement of flowers in a gosh darn beaker?”
“Maxine,” Sookie started. “On Eric’s first night here, he arrived with a bouquet of flowers and I had no vase. Theresa grabbed a beaker for them. When he gave me flowers again, he had an arrangement made in a vase, but I commented that I liked the beaker. It’s sentimental – my first flowers from Eric.”
“You’re a sap Sookie. But I love you. Now go on and get started on your date.”
“Yes Ma’am.” She leaned over to kiss Hunter. “You have a good night. I love you very much.”
“I love you too Mommy. Don’t worry about us.” He turned his head to look at Eric. “You keep her out as long as you want.”
As Sookie stood, Eric leaned over. “Well thank you Fidget. You’ll be asleep when we do return so I’ll wish you a goodnight.” Before he rose he gave him a quick peck on the forehead. “Enjoy your visit with Gramma.”
Eric grabbed a bag he’d placed on a chair when he walked in. “I have one more surprise. It’s chilly tonight so I thought you might want this.”
He pulled out a beautiful wrap coat and held it for Sookie to put on. The hem came almost to her angles and the fur collar offered extra warmth. The fur, she suspected, was real but she chose not to ask since she didn’t want to think about the cost if that was the case. She knew Eric was very conscious of keeping her warm so she appreciated the gesture. “Shall we?” He put his arm out for her and she took it.
The limo Eric hired pulled up to M&S, a fancy and very expensive restaurant in Shreveport that Sookie had heard of, but never guessed she would be able to patronize. The valet opened the door and Eric stepped out first then assisted Sookie. The heels on the shoes he bought her were high and he knew she wasn’t accustomed to teetering around so he wanted to offer as much support as he could. She seemed perfectly steady, but he kept his hands on her – just to be sure.
They entered the restaurant and Sookie thought the inside was lovely; tastefully done with walls in burgundy and tables dressed in cream linens edged in gold. While Eric removed her coat, she continued to look around. The center of the room held several tables and along three walls were booths. They were lead to the booth in the corner. She noticed Eric never said his name when they walked in, the hostess, a woman she read as being a Were, greeted him first. Only two other tables were occupied which made sense since it was pretty early; he’d arrived almost directly after first dark to pick her up. The restaurant had a dance floor at the far end and though there were no couples occupying the floor yet, she did hear the music playing. She was pretty excited about getting out there after dinner. Dancing was a luxury she gave up when she became a mother.
Eric watched Sookie as she took in the restaurant. Her eyes sparkled when she saw the dance floor and he was pleased. His little Röðull hadn’t mentioned yet that she had a background in dancing – but then neither had he. To blend in over the years, it was a necessity to keep up with cultures and trends; he was sure she would be surprised when he finally got had her in his arms to dance.
They tucked into the booth, skooching to sit right next to each other in the semi-circle seat. From their position, Eric could see most of the other tables and the dance floor. It was good to keep an eye on everyone.
“So you come here often.”
“I do. What made you think that?”
“The hostess spoke to you first, using your name; then led us directly here. There was no discussion or anything.”
“I have used this location for business meetings – human business meetings.”
“I noticed a lack of vampires here. Will you be able to drink anything?”
“Yes, there is a nice selection here.”
“You’re not telling me something. You’re answering my questions but keeping something back.”
“You’re getting to know me too well.” He pulled her close and kissed the tip of her nose. “I like that.” He lingered close looking into her eyes before he pulled back and said. “I happen to own this establishment. Fangtasia has its own . . . unique clientele and this place has a higher level of class. It’s more appropriate for my business meetings. Tonight, it is most appropriate because it has a dance floor.”
“Moon and Stars.”
“Appropriate. So if it’s vampire owned, why aren’t there any other vampires here. Oh wait, one just walked in.” She turned to look at the beautiful woman walking in with her date. The woman had caramel skin and long flowing hair. She was dressed in a Sari and her date was in a suit with a tie. “So you know her?”
“Yes, she’s coming this way. I invited her here to meet you. Her name is Indira and like us, she is in a vampire / human relationship. I trust her with your life and if I’m ever out of town and you need help, I want you to call her. I’ll put her contact information in your phone.” Sookie nodded in understanding and noted the flash of pain when Eric spoke. In reality, it should be Pam as his backup but she knew he did not trust his younger child these days.
“Are they joining us?”
“No. Just introductions. They are here for their own date.”
He stood as Indira reached their booth. She bowed and offered. “Master.”
“Indira, thank you for coming; this is Sookie Stackhouse, my date. Sookie, this is Indira, one of the senior members of my retinue.”
“Miss Stackhouse, a pleasure to meet you.”
Sookie nodded and purposely withheld her hand. “Please call me Sookie. Thank you for coming out tonight.”
“I assure you, it was not a problem. I’ve been curious to meet the woman who has put a smile on Eric’s face for the past few weeks. Not that he shares that smile with many. May I introduce my date, Phillip Delaney?”
Now Sookie put out her hand. She didn’t know much about full vampire protocol, but the article about Eric had covered the basics and no hand shaking was one of them. “Phillip, it’s nice to meet you.”
“Same here Ma’am.”
“Well, we’re off to our table. Master, Sookie, enjoy your evening and if you ever need my assistance, please call.”
“Thank you Indira.” He settled back into the booth with Sookie and answered her earlier question. “The reason you don’t see many vampires here is because I have a strict rule. This establishment is for vampires and their human dates. It’s not a buffet like Fangtasia is.” She grimaced at his wording. “I apologize Sookie, but that is what Fangtasia has become and specifically what I do not what to happen here. I own M&S, but the primary target clientele is human. I would very much like your opinion on the menu.”
“Certainly.” She scanned the selections and found several she wanted. “It all looks wonderful. I guess it won’t help by asking you your favorite.”
“You might be surprised at the answer if you do.”
“Ok, I’ll give. What’s your favorite?”
“I have a few I’d like to try.” She raised a questioning brow at him. “When you eat I can kiss you and while the taste is altered, I still get the essence.”
“So for every bite I swallow you get a kiss?” They were moving closer as they spoke.
“Maybe I’ll let you take two bites in between kisses. We need to have time for dancing.” He’d placed his arm gently on the back of her head and moved their faces even closer.
“All that kissing? Your restaurant is filling with guests. Do you think that’s appropriate Mr. Northman?” She licked her lips in anticipation.
He groaned. “Oh, call me that again.” And he moved in closer for a pre-dinner kiss.
Their lips were just about to connect when the waiter cleared his throat. “May I take your drink order?”
Sookie opened her eyes and saw Eric glare in anger. She was truly afraid for the young man who hadn’t timed his question well. Before Eric could do anything, she put a hand on his cheek. “I do need something to drink Sweetie. Nothing to be too upset about, right?”
Eric kept his eyes on Sookie while she soothed him. He wanted to kill the boy but knew Sookie wouldn’t like that. Still, he needed to do something; he couldn’t have an idiot waiter ruining other patrons’ meals like this. Without taking his eyes off Sookie, he simply said. “You’re fired.” He raised his voice and added. “Gennel, get me another waiter.”
Sookie gasped so he explained. “This is a very high end restaurant. The servers can’t interrupt patrons as that fool just did. I have very strict guidelines here.”
The hostess who heard Eric’s orders with her superior Were hearing walked quickly to the table with another waiter and apologized. “Mr. Northman, Michael will be assisting you this evening. I’ll ensure that Daniel is removed promptly. I apologize for the problem.”
Eric simply nodded at the hostess and Michael took their drink order and left. “Where were we?”
“I was looking at the menu; you were trying to take advantage of me in the dark booth.”
“Well by all means, make your dinner selection.”
“I’ve decided on the duck ravioli.”
He licked his lips, “I can’t wait to try it.”
“And what are you having as a starter?”
“How do you even know of these things?”
“I’ve needed to blend in for 1000 years my dear. You pick up a thing here and there.”
“Hmm, handsome, smart, adaptable. I caught a good one.” They started leaning close together again but he didn’t hesitate; he wasn’t going to miss his opportunity this time so he dove in for his kiss. The kiss was quick but he lingered close to her face just to look in her eyes while one of his hands held hers tightly under the table.
Sookie felt like she couldn’t take a full breath from the intensity of the stare. His eyes conveyed so much that words were not needed. Being human though, Sookie needed to blink and her action broke the spell. She blurted out “wild mushroom soup.” Eric’s brow wrinkled in confusion and she caressed it with one finger. “You asked me about my starter. And wow, I bet folks don’t see that often.”
“Must have been the kiss.”
“I better not give you any more than.” That got a growl out of him and she just giggled.
From across the restaurant, Indira watched Eric with fascination. She’d never seen Eric so happy – not that she would expect to: She’d only ever seen him in Sheriff or business mode. Sure she’d caught an occasional smile from him recently – a noticeable change for Eric – but that was different then seeing him enjoying himself as he was right now. Knowing she’d found her own mate and she was very happy gave her an outlook other vampires in Eric’s retinue didn’t have. She was honored when Eric asked her to serve as his backup protector for Sookie and she’d guessed that Eric selected her because of her having her own human mate. It was an honor she would never take lightly. She turned to Phillip and kissed him gently on the lips before looking back across the restaurant. Eric had picked up a utensil and was feeding Sookie something from a bowl. A few seconds later he followed with a lengthy kiss. Indira knew that routine; she really enjoyed ‘sharing’ her mate’s meals as well. Phillip brought her out of her thoughts after noticing where she was focused. “They look very happy.”
“They do.” She looked to Phillip. “I was just thinking about the honor he has given me in helping to protect her.”
Phillip laughed. “I always forget you can be fierce since you’re not like that with me.”
“I’ll kill for them if needed.”
“She has a son; my master has claimed them both.” They both took another glance at the couple across the way and laughed. Eric had ‘accidentally’ dribbled something on Sookie’s chest and he was using his own napkin to clean it up. Such a gentleman.
“I’m glad he selected you. I know you’ll live up to the honor.” She smiled and turned back to her mate giving him a kiss. Eric knew Indira had been glancing at them but given her own relationship he knew she would be discreet. He was thoroughly enjoying his time with the woman he now knew he loved. Revealing that, he guessed, would likely scare Sookie, but that didn’t change the fact that he was sure. He never wanted to be without her now – and that included Hunter. The trouble was convincing Sookie that that they were together for love and she was not a gold digger looking for a way to improve her son’s life. Stubborn, fiery, independent, beautiful, loving and his, all his if she’d just have him.
A short while later Sookie had eaten her fill and the music was calling so he led her to the dance floor. He smiled and offered, “I didn’t know if you wanted club dancing or ballroom dancing. We can go to a club if you want. I know many in your generation don’t know how to ballroom dance. . . “
She cut him off. “Enough Eric, I know you were told about my dancing – you better be prepared to lead.”
From there, they were off on the floor twirling and gliding together. Sookie hadn’t danced in a while but her body remembered the steps. While she was part of the dance club at her school, she danced all the time – even in some small local competitions – so her muscle memory was kicking in. What was new for Sookie was the feeling of dancing with Eric. In school they just buddied up with other members of the group. This was the first time she was dancing with such feelings about her partner and she really liked it. Speaking of feelings, she could feel that Eric liked the dancing too. Right now they were quite close and something was definitely happy. She smirked up at him and he just waggled his eyebrow but he continued to dance as if there wasn’t a steel rod in his pants.
They danced for a short while at the restaurant when Sookie suggested they move to a club. “I haven’t been club dancing – ever. I was just 21 when I got Hunter. I was never legal.”
“Well, let’s go change that.”
“Another place you own?”
In the limo they sat attached to each other in companionable silence. Sookie realized without a doubt that she was in love with Eric and given his reactions to her, she was pretty sure he felt the same. Her love was something she was keeping to herself for the moment. This was just their first official date after all and she was overly concerned with what others would think. A mother with responsibilities falling in love so quickly? It had to be wrong somehow. Even thinking that though didn’t change what she felt.
Eric was wishing they could slow down time he was enjoying the evening so much. Just his physical reaction to her was proof enough. The teasing in the restaurant had put him into a state of constant erection and he had no plans to push for satisfaction: This was a problem he would handle (literally) on his own for now.
They arrived and Sookie could hear the beat from the street where the limo stopped so she was moving before they even made it into the club. Eric had a strong hold on her hand and guided her directly to the door, bypassing the line and texting while they walked. “Am I not enough to keep your attention?”
He smiled. “It’s a precaution for us, well you. I had Indira arrive already and she’s just confirmed that no other vampires are in attendance. The few that were in there are part of my area and owe me allegiance. My request for them to leave was honored.”
“Geez, I didn’t mean to be trouble.”
“I’m just paranoid and want to keep you to myself.”
Once inside, he led her to a secluded booth a bit above the dance area in the back. A waiter appeared immediately and she ordered her first (and only) alcoholic drink of the night, a white wine. “You didn’t drink at the restaurant.” Eric was surprised by that and assumed she just never drank.
“I’ve hardly ever had a drink in my life. A few beers when I was a teen, you know, keeping up with your peers and stuff. I really focused on my education and not partying while I was in college. This is the only drink I’m having since I probably have no tolerance for alcohol.”
“We’ll dance it all off, I can assure you.”
“Oh, I’m planning on it.”
And they did, dance that is; song after song. Indira stayed at the entrance and prevented any vampires from entering so Eric just let himself go. Yeah, there were a few fangbangers he recognized from Fangtasia, but he didn’t care. He only cared about the woman who was currently shimmying up and down his front while the music blared from the speakers. His focus was taking advantage of their closeness; touching her in every possible place he could (given they were in public). Sookie was really enjoying herself but she wanted more; she wanted him – all of him. As it was now approaching 11PM and Sookie was tired, she reluctantly suggested they leave for the evening. As disappointing as that was, Eric obliged expecting that Sookie would want to go back to Hunter – and he completely understood her need to be with the boy; he would never begrudge him for his position in Sookie’s life. Hunter was a child; he needed to come first. It was Sookie that surprised him as they walked out. “Can we go to the lake?”
He first bid good night to Indira as they walked by then responded. “Sure, I figured you’d want to get back to Hunter.”
“I called Maxine while I was freshening up. Everything’s fine and Hunter is asleep. I want more time alone with you.”
“I’m happy to oblige.” He instructed the driver on the location and when they arrived he dismissed the limo for the night. He’d just fly Sookie back to the hospital. Having a limo driver sitting in a car waiting outside the gazebo wouldn’t be conducive to a romantic encounter. He started the heater as soon as they got in the gazebo and he guided her to the swing while removing her coat. She shook her head and instead led him to one of the deep benches along the wall. “What are you doing Miss Stackhouse?”
He purposely called her Miss Stackhouse in the hope she would call him . . . “Putting you where I want you Mr. Northman.” His cock twitched when she called him that – his plan worked. Not that he was all that subtle about it.
“And where is that?”
She pushed him back when his legs hit the bench and before he was fully seated, she was straddling him. “Right here, without the swing fighting me.”
“You don’t li . . .”
“Enough talking.” With that final statement she claimed his lips brutally, not that he minded. The dancing, the feeding, the kissing all led to this point – they were both hungry for each other. Eric was determined that they would not share their first time making love in the gazebo on a bench – even as nice as the gazebo and benches were. So he was interested in her actions but cautious. She detected as much so she asked. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t want to go too far.”
“Agreed, but we can still have fun.”
“You set the pace.”
She smirked. “I thought I was?”
His laugh was cut off from her attack on his lips again but he didn’t care; her attentions were driving him wild. He did mean what he said and he let her set the pace. When she un – tucked his shirt so she could run her hands up his front and back, he pulled down the shoulders of the dress to do the same. When she unbuckled his belt and undid his pants, he pulled her skirt up a bit to caress her upper and sensitive inner thighs. After more teasing; when she reached in to take and work his length in her hands, he pushed her panties to the side and started working her folds. That’s when she broke the kiss and focused on her breathing into his shoulder. They were both so worked up, it didn’t take long for them to both explode and they stayed together enjoying some kisses and petting while they calmed. Sookie just enjoyed the peace. She had a wonderful release, Eric’s mind was quiet and she just loved their little haven.
After a few minutes, he pulled back and smiled at her. “If these are the results of you setting the pace, you’re welcome to do that anytime my Sookie.”
“Uh uh. Next time it’s your turn.”
“Fair enough.” He pulled up her dress for her and she helped get him re-dressed as well. He grabbed a towel from the powder room to clean up considering he needed to see Maxine back to her limo for her ride home and he needed to look presentable. Once Sookie was burrito’d (a new verb she designated for Eric’s wrap job) into one of the blankets from the gazebo he took off for the hospital.
Maxine was asleep when they got into the room so Sookie gently woke her and helped her gather her belongings. After Eric left to escort Maxine to her car, Sookie got in the shower to clean off before donning her comfy clothes. Eric was waiting for her when she emerged from the bathroom and he positioned her in front of him on his lap. Without words, he took the comb from her and gently pulled through her hair, using the extra towel she had to keep drying the locks. Sookie just sat with her eyes closed enjoying the treat. Since she’d had Hunter, nobody had cared for her like Eric. It wasn’t the money but it was the little things like ensuring her laundry was done (and she’d asked – he did it himself which shocked her). It was the fact that he was researching kidney disease so he could be part of all of Hunter’s world – not just the fun parts. It was the time he was taking to befriend her friends. It was the little kisses he kept giving her behind her ears as he combed through her hair. In the months that she was with Alcide, he hadn’t done any of that. Granted, his mother was dying, but that didn’t consume him 24X7 – he sure always had time for a quickie. Using Alcide for sexual relief was fine – Lord knows they were both going through enough. It was thinking that he was anything other than that – or rather it was HIS thinking they were anything other than that and his shock when she didn’t fall at his feet to marry him that was a problem. No, Alcide was no Eric. Sam was no Eric. Eric, she loved.
With her hair tangle free towel dried and braided for sleep, she just leaned back on him and rested for a few minutes. His hands moved to caress her arms or stomach – anywhere he could reach without moving her. She broke the silence. “Will you stay after I’m asleep or are you going to the bar?”
“I was thinking of going to Fangtasia since it’s still open for about two more hours and I can get caught up on other paperwork. I’m trying to make it so I can truly be free for the entire weekend – well Friday and Saturday night. Sunday is the big reveal of the monthly reports by Pam. To be here for the weekend, I won’t be able to be here tomorrow.”
“Good plan. I mean, I love it when you stay even if I’m asleep but if you have to choose between watching me sleep and seeing me again when I’m awake – awake wins.”
“I was thinking we could split the weekend nights – one night in here with Hunter and another night going out?”
“I like that. I also like that you haven’t pestered me about working at Merlotte’s.”
“I finally spoke to the shifter. You knew he was a shifter, right?” She nodded. “I don’t even recall all the things he accused me of. I pretty much ignored his rants to be honest. He begged me to release you from your glamour or blood hold.” She just shrugged her shoulders – there wasn’t anything she could do – or wanted to do about the Sam situation. Eric did continue talking though about her work. “At the risk of angering you after a perfect date, what are you doing for money?”
“I’m going to look around Shreveport for waitressing work. In the interim, I have a small amount I saved from the auction – which shit – is really your money.”
“Don’t even start on that.”
She rolled her eyes. “Anyway, I have a buffer to get me through a few weeks. Plus, someone had the fridge here filled with food so I don’t need to grocery shop for about a week.”
Eric was pleased she didn’t say she was going to make nice with the shifter so she could keep on working there. He knew what job she would have in just a few weeks – he just needed to stall her for that long. That wasn’t a problem. “Well, I’m glad that since I’m off this weekend, you aren’t working.”
“Yeah, that works out.” She yawned out half the sentence so he started shifting her around to get her into bed. She loved his strength: He rose with her, held her while he pulled back the blankets and got her tucked in – all without her needing to leave his arms. “Will you rub my back?”
“Of course.” It was an indulgence for both of them so he would never refuse.
When he felt she was asleep, he pulled back to leave but bent back down to kiss her one last time and whispered. “Goodnight Sookie. I love you.”
She mumbled back to him and he was sure she wasn’t conscious of her words right now. “I know that silly.”
Secrets have been updated for this chapter.
Carmen Marc Valvo Sleeveless Cowl and Beaded Neck Cocktail Dress
Sofia Cashmere Fur collar belted wrap coat