Chapter 9 – Taking care of business, again
Tissue – possibly for sweetness – I know that gets some of you – I’m not even giving it the one box rating though.
Frying Pan – we should be fine – for the most part
When Eric rose and listened to his messages, he never hated being a vampire more. His messages included a warning from Bobby about Jason and his summons to court and another call from Donald Narvon telling him that Bobby was arrested and jailed with no opportunity for him visit today. With over an hour before the sun fully set, he could do nothing but make calls trying to ensure Sookie’s safety while he was locked in his light tight chamber. His first call was to the local Were Packmaster. Colonel Flood, requesting a discreet guard be stationed on Hunter’s floor at the hospital – just until he got there then again before dawn the next day. He didn’t want Sookie to know he’d hired anyone so he requested that Tony stay out of sight. The colonel called back and confirmed that Tony was glad to help and actually hoped Jason showed up. Eric mentioned that Bobby’s attorney would likely call Tony to testify on Bobby’s behalf and hopefully that would happen quickly. Flood confirmed that Tony had already been called and he would gladly testify. Eric preferred Desmond as in attorney, but given that he shared him with the Queen, he couldn’t do anything about the situation now. Donald was focused on getting Bobby out and he seemed to be doing an adequate job. His final message was to Mustapha, requesting that he find Jason – and quickly.
With his work items done, he tried Sookie directly next. She was evasive, claiming that she had just heated Hunter’s dinner and she would talk to Eric soon. Something was wrong, and he was sure it was Jason, but he wouldn’t push her since perhaps she was keeping it from Hunter.
He confirmed with the limo driver that he was picking up Maxine within the hour and that was his last task before he got ready to go.
Again he stopped for her drink, hoping the calories would put on some weight. He wanted to stop for strawberries, but that process took a while since they dipped them by hand and per order. His need to get to Sookie was too powerful, so he drove directly to the hospital.
Before stepping into Sookie’s room, he greeted Tony, the Were guard and sent him off for the night. He planned to stay until dawn and Tony confirmed he’d be back before then so Sookie would be protected. Having taken care of that business, he went to Hunter’s room after offering a good evening to the nursing staff. Sookie smiled as she always did when he arrived, but he could see it wasn’t a wide or bright. Admittedly, that could be due to the farmhouse news he knew Maxine was delivering today so he didn’t jump to conclusions. The clothes she had on looked like what she’d been wearing on the nights he peeked in to find her asleep. He wasn’t sure to be happy about this (since he could see she didn’t have a bra on) or upset (since he was hoping to go out for a little bit, and this clearly indicated she wanted to stay put). Hunter was the first to speak, taking him out of his thoughts. “Hiya Eric! I watched one of the new movies you bought me today. Jurassic Park, it had some scary stuff in it – but the dinosaurs were great!”
“I thought it looked very realistic when I saw it and I suspected a little boy would like dinosaurs.”
“You bet I did. I can’t wait to show my friends.”
Sookie finally spoke. “Well, I’ll need to talk to their parents. You remember I struggled with whether you should see it or not myself. It does have violence.” Sookie had agreed to the movie because honestly, as a telepath there was little he didn’t already know about that was happening in the world. He looked at her as she spoke and she still seemed reserved, again it could be the news she received today, but he didn’t think so. She looked like she was sitting stiffly. He was getting a little concerned at the possibilities.
His conversation had halted the delivery of Sookie’s drink so he reached across the bed to hand it to her. When she put her hand out to accept the drink it was shaking.
As he took his seat on the opposite side of the bed from Sookie he asked, “So what else happened today? Sookie? Hunter?”
Again, Hunter answered first. “I just had dialysis, not much else. I didn’t get to the playroom. I heard that Marjorie is pretty sick again.”
He nodded at the boy and turned to Sookie with his eyebrow raised. “Nothing much.” She was evading him again. He also noticed she put the drink cup down without having taken a sip.
Hunter started spilling the beans. “Gran’s house got demolished today.”
“I know, I had Bobby – you met him right?” Hunter nodded. “He was at the meeting with your historical society when they found out. I talked to Gramma Fortenberry and we decided to have her tell your Mommy.”
“That was good; she got most of her crying out so she wouldn’t do it in front of me.”
“Seems like she got most of her talking out earlier today too.”
“She’s just upset.”
“I can see that.”
Hunter opened his mouth again to speak but Sookie turned and glared at him. He shut his mouth. Eric didn’t know that Hunter was about to tell him about how Jason hit Sookie and Sookie stopped him with her thoughts. He was curious about what Hunter wanted to say though. Instead of telling Eric about Jason, he asked, “Can we finally watch Monster’s Inc together tonight?”
“Sure. I have the whole night.” Hunter just clapped and smiled. “Should I get it out Sookie?”
“I’ll get it.”
He watched her stand and he knew that look. She was hurting, real physical pain. Her distant behavior wasn’t the farmhouse news, rather it wasn’t JUST the farmhouse. Maybe it was just a backache from all the sleeping she did bent over the bed, but it seemed like more. By the time she got to the closet, he was there to help her. When she twisted her torso to hand him the DVD player, she winced. Now he knew something was very wrong. “Sookie, can I talk to you for a moment? Outside?”
Hunter’s voice filtered into his head. ‘Mommy, he can tell something’s wrong. Just tell him.’
‘Hunter, he’ll overreact – it’s just some bruises.’
‘Mommy, I saw what he did when you thought about it earlier. It’s not just some bruises.’
‘Enough Hunter. Mind your Mommy!’
This was not a conversation she wanted to have, and she certainly didn’t want to have it with Hunter in the room. She could see that he was upset already and the reason why was probably going to make him madder. “Maxine told me she was coming over tonight. Will she be here soon? I don’t want to leave Hunter alone.” His head was shaking now before he started to answer and she added. “I’ll tell you what’s wrong I promise, I just don’t want to leave him right now and I don’t want to talk about it here.”
He gritted his teeth together and answered, “Fine.”
He calmed after they were all settling in for the movie, knowing that Sookie would tell him what the problem was in a bit. They were still watching the previews when he noticed Hunter moving around in the bed. “You’re quite the fidget, you know that?”
“I’ve been told.”
“Kinda funny for someone who supposed to be so tired.”
“I think it’s ‘cause I don’t move around enough. Like my head’s tired but my legs want to go. It’s called something. Mommy?”
“Restless Leg Syndrome, baby.”
“Yeah, I got that apparently.”
“Well, I think you just fidget.” Hunter giggled at him. “Maybe I’ll call you fidget since you can’t seem to keep still.” Hunter’s giggles confirmed that he liked that – his own special name just for Eric to use.
“Are you done giggling Fidget? If so, we can hit play.”
Maxine arrived about half way through the movie, but they all stayed together to watch it since this had been Hunter’s request. Sookie sat gingerly on the bed with Hunter while Eric and Maxine took a chair on either side of the bed. Eric had a hard time concentrating on the movie; too many scenarios of what could have happened today were playing in his head. He was sure that this was all Jason drama and he wanted to kill the man. A text from Mustapha confirmed his suspicions: Jason was already back in jail for assault against Sookie and Bobby was still there as well – though Mustapha had been able to visit Bobby and at least they were in separate cells. He seethed in his seat but respected Sookie’s wish to not talk about ‘something’ in front of Hunter.
Hunter was asleep before they got to the end and Maxine practically started pushing Sookie and Eric out the door. Looking at Sookie she tapped her head and thought, ‘You’ve got to tell him about Jason; he can tell something is wrong. During the movie, he did nothing but look at you and fret. Are you going to tell him?’
She wanted to laugh out loud at Maxine saying a vampire was fretting but didn’t. Instead, she nodded Maxine’s way while Eric was pulling up Hunter’s blanket and they headed out, Sookie wearing the leather coat Eric had given her for some modesty since she was dressed for bed. “Where are we going Eric?”
“Somewhere we can talk. I noticed a waiting room at the end of this hall. Let’s see if it’s empty.” It was empty when they arrived and it had a door. ‘Perfect,’ Eric thought. They took seats and angled them slightly so they could talk more easily, but they remained quiet for several moments.
Needing to break the silence so he could learn about what happened, Eric drew in a breath he didn’t need and started. “What happened, why do you seem like you’re hurt?” The chewing she started doing on her lip revealed her nervousness. For Eric, it was almost an immediate distraction and he had to fight the urges to bite the plump lip himself. Rather than giving into his physical desires, he pressed her for information. “I know Jason’s in jail. I got a text during the movie.”
When her eyes flickered between fear and surprise, he knew it was probably going to be bad. A single tear escaped and he moved to pick her up so she could sit on his lap. When his arms were around her and he tightened to pick her up, she practically howled. Immediately, Eric’ face grew dangerous and though it wasn’t directed at Sookie, it did scare her. Only focused on Sookie’s injuries, he didn’t see her flinch at his anger and he questioned her. “What. Did. He. Do?” It was practically a growl.
She tried to get the answer out as best she could, but her breathing was a bit erratic now. “I . . . I’m fine. Re . . . really Eric. You . . . You’re scaring me.”
Since she was even trembling now, he realized she was frightened and he backed off. “Sookie, I’m sorry I frightened you. It’s just driving me a bit mad that he hurt you. I didn’t even hold you that hard and you yelped from the pain. We should go to the ER.” Her protests started immediately with some rapid head shaking. “There is another option to make you feel better.” He couldn’t believe he was about to suggest it, but he was. Eric Northman was going to offer his blood to a human. He hadn’t done that since Pam was turned, and then it was only for the turning. He suddenly realized he wasn’t just doing it to take the pain away – he WANTED her to have his blood. He wanted the connection to her; the blood tie that would be created. She looked at him waiting for him to continue his thought. “You could take my blood. It heals.”
“I don’t know Eric. I don’t want to become addicted.”
“My dear Sookie, it’s not V if you take it from the source. Vampire blood becomes V after it’s been out of the body for several days. You will feel better but it’s not a high.”
He had to appreciate the question. Likely she’d learned to ask details on everything related to Hunter’s care and it was probably habit – a good habit to have. “I’ll be able to feel your emotions and to a certain extent, feel where you are. It will increase your attraction for me.”
“Increase, huh?” She was catching onto his amused tone. “Are you sure there’s an attraction to increase?”
“Oh, I know so but we’re getting off track. What’s it going to be? Blood or ER?”
“It’s really not that big of a deal. I don’t need either.”
“Sookie, there’s something you need to learn quickly. I’m stubborn and in this case, I’m not taking no for an answer. I’m also pretty sure that if we need to discuss this with Maxine, she’ll be on my side. Answer this; what did he do – Something in your torso, yes?” She nodded. “And it hurt when you twisted?” Yes again. “How about deep breaths?” He didn’t recall having them as a human, but he’d broken his ribs as a vampire and even though they healed quickly he recalled the pain from moving around. He knew the symptoms.
“I don’t know about that. I haven’t tried.”
“But you’re afraid to, aren’t you?” It was slow and subtle, but there was another nod. “You could have a broken rib or ribs. Sookie, you need treatment. I guess since he’s in jail you pressed charges.”
“Good. Now, ER or blood?”
This time he started lifting her shirt to see the damage. It was clinical, not sexual, but she still couldn’t believe how forward he was being so she pushed his hands down and glared while thinking about the choices he gave her. What she really wanted was for this to just go away but he was relentless. The offer of his blood seemed huge – but she wasn’t ready for the consequences of that. The ER? She really thought it was just some bruises making treatment unnecessary. BUT – he was right. If he tried to bring this up with Maxine, she would be all over her to go the ER. She’d already been yelling about it earlier in the day. Giving in was not something Sookie did easily or often, but she did. “I appreciate the offer of your blood, and I’m pretty sure it’s significant. I just don’t think I can handle the side effects just yet. ER it is.”
He was reeling from one word from her answer: Yet. She said she wasn’t ready to take blood YET! Needing to focus on the immediate problem, he pushed his excitement about that to the side. She also agreed to the ER so he helped her stand, even though he wanted to carry her, and they walked out. When he was looking at her torso, she had pushed his hands away quickly but he’d seen enough of the bruising to want to kill Jason; he’d hit her hard.
So Maxine wouldn’t worry, they stopped in to tell her where they were headed. “Land sakes! You got her to cave? You’ll need to stick around now. Ain’t nobody but her Gran could ever do that.”
Sookie stared in shock at Maxine while Eric just chuckled. “I was already planning to stick around Maxine.” He turned just before they walked out the door. “I don’t know how long this will take.”
“Don’t worry about me. I’m fine. Wake me when it’s time for my limo ride.”
The doctor confirmed she had a cracked rib and deep bruising and he did give her some pain medication to use while she healed. Eric had called in his contacts at the Shreveport police department to document Sookie’s injuries, making her even madder than she already was about the whole ordeal. It was bad enough he insisted on staying for her exam, now photos were being taken. He and the police were respectful and she wasn’t exposed – but it was still embarrassing. Providing his reasoning did calm her down. Eric told her about Jason’s release and that the pictures and visual inspection of Bobby’s injuries would be needed to put Jason back in jail for his assault against his dayman. She couldn’t disagree with his request after hearing that since Bud didn’t document her injuries by taking pictures.
The same two officers from the other night were the ones sent from Shreveport so he asked about Bobby while Sookie was changing out of the hospital gown and into her clothes. Officer Farner confirmed that she’d been contacted by Donald Narvon and she was due in court the next morning, hopefully to help free Bobby. Eric also left a message with Tony calling him off guard duty the next day since Jason was back in jail. Believing there was more to this than a simple hearing in Bon Temps today, Eric needed to learn more about what happened. “Detective Farner, where were you today? Do you have an insight on how Jason was freed?”
“It’s a little too coincidental if you ask me. I was in Baton Rouge with Detective Sheridan here,” she gestured to her partner, “testifying on a State court case. No cell phone permitted and no getting out of court. We think something happened with the judge here to allow this to happen conveniently.”
“I’ll investigate with Mustapha. He may call you for help.”
“We’ll help in any way we can.”
“Thanks. Sounds like she’s ready to head back up. I appreciate your respectfulness in documenting her injuries.”
Waiting times in the ER always took forever, so it was pretty late when they got upstairs. Maxine was asleep as they expected as was Hunter. Sookie gently woke her while Eric called for the limo to head towards the entrance; then walked her out. Maxine asked Eric about the ER visit and he filled her in, explaining her medication and that she needed time to heal. With Maxine settled into the limo, he returned to Hunter’s room, wondering if Sookie was still upset with him.
She was just coming from the bathroom when he returned and to his relief; she walked over and wrapped her arms around him. After spending a few minutes alone, she looked back at her stubbornness today and felt like she’d taken out her bad day on Eric when he was clearly trying to help her. She also had heard via thoughts that Eric sent a Were to stay on the hospital floor just in case. She appreciated his concern. “Eric. I’m not really a stubborn bitch, well I am sometimes but it’s not intentional. I’m accustomed to two things: Being in control of everything and putting my needs on the backburner. Your request for me to go to the ER obviously grated against both of those things. I’m sorry if I made you upset.”
“Mostly, the situation made me upset, specifically your brother. I hate that I was dead when it happened, but you can leave me messages. Remember, you can also call Mustapha or Bobby as well. Though Bobby was unavailable due to his own Jason drama.” He moved to a seat and perched her, gently, on his lap. “Though, I wish you felt comfortable enough with me that you would have told me about Jason. I can’t explain it, the draw I have to you but it’s there and it hurt that you tried to keep this from me.”
“I’m sorry. I was kinda afraid you want to hurt Jason.”
He shrugged at her comment about Jason but did answer her about the apology. “I’m not looking for an apology; I know it’s only been a few days.”
She hesitated to add her next thought, but she did. “It’s a little scary.”
“What? Hanging out with a vampire scares you? I won’t ever hurt you.”
“That’s not what I mean. Hunter, he’s my priority and I’m scared about what I feel for you.”
“I know that, he needs to be your priority. I don’t want you to change that. I’ll take the leftovers.”
“Leftovers? Wow, that wooer is working hard tonight.” She put the back of her hand on her brow. “Enough my prolific poet, your words cause me to feel faint.”
He laughed at her antics and responded. “Teach not thy lip such scorn, for it was made for kissing, lady, not for such contempt.”
She paused only a moment, smirked then replied, “Mind your speech a little lest you should mar your fortunes.”
He was astonished. ‘Smitten might not cover it – the woman could respond to Shakespeare quotes – with Shakespeare.’ In response to her words, he took her face gently in his hands and kissed her. It was a chaste kiss; not only did he need to be careful with her ribs, but Hunter was in the room. With her head still grasped in his hands he told her what he was thinking, even though he wanted to express it with actions at the moment. “I don’t think I’ve ever been turned on by words so much Sookie. You test my control.”
“I trust your control right now; I’m not up to much.” The words were delivered with a knowing glance – one he’d seen her give Hunter. “Understood Ma’am.” She burst into laughter when he said that, but then regretted it – the laughter caused a spike of pain over her cracked rib.
“Sorry, are you alright?”
“Yeah. No more jokes or funny stuff ‘til I feel better.”
“Well, then back to my leftover comment; that wasn’t derogatory.”
“I know, I was only teasing you. You make it too easy.”
“Hmmm, maybe I should suggest a movie so I can’t talk and give you ammunition for teasing or get myself otherwise in trouble for my words.”
“I’d rather hear a story from your life. Something fun.”
“That’s the opposite of me being quiet.”
“You can handle the pressure, I’m sure.”
“Then I’ll tell you about Ireland since you want something fun. But before that, I do have a bit of important vampire type information to tell you.”
“You remember you called me majesty, joking about my throne?”
She nodded first then recalled, “You said hardly and said that would cover that another time. I guess this is the other time?”
“Yes, I want to go over our hierarchy and something very important about your safety.” She nodded for him to continue. “Each state or sometimes a group of states has a vampire king or queen. I report to the Queen of Louisiana for example, as do the other sheriff’s in the state – you know the human/vampire liaisons. That we have kings and queens is not publicly known – though my understanding is some human officials are aware.”
“Is it a title only or does she wear a crown, do you bow – you know that sort of thing?”
“Each state varies a little on protocol, but my Queen is big on it. I bow to her or even kneel for official ceremonies. The crown she has is ostentatious but luckily it’s only worn for special occasions. The Summit I’m attending, all the kings and queens will be there as well as one or two sheriffs from each state so it will be full protocol.”
“How did she become Queen?”
“She killed the former King and the council approved her takeover. She’s been in place over 150 years.”
“Why do we, humans I mean, know about liaisons and the council, but not this royalty level?”
“The secret was due to it being our old tradition and some believed humans would either start groveling to vampire royalty or there would be rebellion for such a role. The council, as you know, works very well with human government officials and was very much needed right after the reveal.”
“Yes, but that Nan woman, the spokesperson, she’s just irritating.”
“She has been for over 500 years.” They chuckled then he stopped quickly when she winced from it. “Sorry.”
“Ah, I set myself up for you to make that joke.” Absently, she started rubbing her hand up and down his arm, soothing both to herself and Eric. “What else goes on at the Summit?”
“Lots of training sessions – human/vampire relations, I’m presenting one of those; a vendor fair; a wedding.”
“A VAMPIRE WEDDING?”
“Yes, and yours truly is the officiant. I’m a priest, ordained online by the Church of the Loving Spirit.”
“Well, I’ll want details when you return. Is there blood involved?”
“Yes, the couple, in this case the Kings of Kentucky and Mississippi, will exchange blood and combine their states into one territory. It’s a contract, and normally that’s all it really is, for Bart and Russell, they happen to be in love.”
“Oh, that’s sweet.”
“You’re big on the sweet thing.”
“I hadn’t noticed – maybe because so much sweet is going on around me.” He kissed her nose at that comment, she was being too cute to resist. He heard a nurse comment when she saw it; no doubt it would be shared between all the floor nurses quicker than green grass through a goose. He laughed at the thought. “What’s so funny?”
“I was just remembering something Maxine said about green grass . . .“
“And a goose?” He confirmed her guess. “Yeah, she‘s good for southernisms. So the other thing you need to tell me?”
“Well, the other night by the lake?” She nodded. “I . . . ah smelled you for the first time.”
Her eyebrows rose and she acknowledged, “I thought I felt that going on. Care to explain?”
“My sense of smell is heightened as a vampire, so I purposely don’t sniff anything here at the hospital. When you were sitting with your hair right in front of me, I took a whiff. Sookie, I don’t know why, but you smell better, sweeter than any human I’ve ever met. Once I inhaled, I couldn’t stop.”
“Alcide said something similar.” He stiffened at the comment. The other day she’d mentioned him and he had no reaction. Somehow, today, he could no longer tolerate hearing that he had been part of her life; had known her intimately. A low growl started in his chest. Since she was still on his lap, she heard it. “What the hell was that growl?”
“Don’t speak about him.”
“I did before.”
“Before I could handle hearing about him with you. Now I can’t. I want to rip his arms off for having touched you.”
“ERIC!” She whisper yelled at him. “Don’t talk like that.”
“Don’t mention him then.” Her eyes rolled in response. “Back to what I need you to know. . . . if you run into another vampire, you could be very enticing. For your own protection, you must say that you’re mine – goes for Hunter too.”
He couldn’t read her expression and he was a little worried about her reaction. “Yes, in reality – per vampire protocol – my humans. I know you might not like the terminology, but it will protect you.”
“Are you what?”
“It’s what I want; I don’t want to see or be with anyone else and to me this all includes Hunter as well.”
“The most eligible bachelor of Shreveport is going exclusive?”
He grimaced. The article in the Shreveport Monthly painted him as quite the ladies man. Thanks to Pam’s additions of course. “I’m going to burn that article of yours.”
She smirked. “It is strange that the man is starting this conversation, you know that?”
“I’m leaving for New York in a few days. I’m worried.”
He could see from his face that he was being honest and that he did worry. She was already accustomed to the use of the word ‘mine’ from Alcide, though she fought him every time it came up. An ‘AHA’ came to her at that moment; she fought Alcide because she didn’t want to be his – it wasn’t the terminology it was what it meant. She enjoyed his company and the physical release from the sex, but that was it. With Eric, that wasn’t the case. In addition, Eric openly included Hunter. Alcide was OK with Hunter but never saw him as a permanent part of her life. She only pushed back on Eric to see his reaction – he was fun to play with like that. “It’s nice to have someone worry. I’m yours Eric or rather we’re yours – even though it’s been four days. Jeez Louise, we must be nuts. We haven’t even had our obligatory date.” The use of the term Eric used that caused a bit of a problem before added lightness to her words.
“It hasn’t been just four days. You’ve been dog-earing that magazine for weeks and I’ve been going to bed with your picture in my hand since before Halloween. Admit it. Besides, we aren’t getting married, just deciding to ‘go steady’.” He smiled at his wording. “If it really bothers you, just think of it as protection.”
“I’m OK with going steady. I never went steady in school, you’re my first. Let’s see,” She looked up like concentrating, “I need your letterman’s jacket and your class ring to make this official or maybe you pin me, I’m not even sure what the rules are.” She was smiling and this relieved him. Sookie was quite independent; being called ‘Mine’ could have caused a fight.
“You have my leather jacket already – for the ring or pin; I’ll research and come up with something.” Before she could protest, he continued, “I think I get a kiss for our new label.”
Her hand started waving before she spoke. “Pfft. If this was the 50’s – when going steady was the thing – we wouldn’t be doing that much kissing. In fact, I bet I would be sitting on a telephone book instead of directly on your lap Mister.”
“A telephone book couldn’t hold me back.” He leered at her.
“No, but having my baby in the room does.”
“You’re right. I’m only teasing you.”
“I know. You’ve been a perfect gentleman.”
He whispered. “In deeds only, not my thoughts.” Since he moved to speak right to her ear, he gave it a kiss before he leaned back and enjoyed the shiver he felt move through her body. “Now, back to your original request for something fun.” He went on to tell her about his time in Ireland and the grand castle he owned. It was shortly before he made Pam and he was considered the recluse royal. She loved hearing about his history and would stop him many times to question him on a particular fact or tidbit. Even in the rare times he did share his life with anyone, he couldn’t recall anyone being so interested in every detail – and she was. Sookie was enthralled. His story was fascinating and she only wished they had a map so he could show her some of the areas from his tale. When she said as much he pulled out his phone and opened his map app and continued his tale. One thing she knew, Eric didn’t indulge just anyone with the personal aspects of his life and she felt privileged. Neither realized how long they’d been sitting together; it was after midnight when the new nurse for the night shift came in to do a quick check.
“Again, must be the company since I didn’t realize it was so late.” She was staring at Eric and they both were smiling at each other. Nurse Vicki wanted to say ‘aww’ out loud but refrained. The affection the two had for one another was obvious – she couldn’t wait to report back to the nurses’ gossip chain.
Eric broke their gaze, “It’s time for another of your pain meds. I’ll get some water.”
“I’ll get ready for bed while you’re gone.” She headed to Hunter’s bathroom and did her bedtime routine while Eric went to the nurses’ lounge for some water. When he returned she took her pill and he suggested she get in bed with Hunter since it was so late.
He didn’t have anywhere to go and he surprised her by saying, “If it’s OK, I can do my Viking Industry work from here. Since you’ll be asleep before I’m done work tomorrow and I can’t see you again til a week from this Sunday, I just want to be near you.”
“Going for the wooer award now Eric. Of course it’s OK. So sweet.”
“Shh, on the sweet part – we’ve talked about this.”
“It’s too late, I’m sure you can hear the nurse gossip about us – well specifically you.”
“Don’t remind me. I have very good hearing, I know everything they say.” Something dawned on him as he was moving Hunter to make room in the bed. “I will likely text you only while I’m away. I’m rooming with Pam and there really aren’t too many opportunities for a private phone conversation.”
Sookie melted a little bit more when Eric took the time to straighten Hunter’s pajama top and touch his face gently before she answered. “Ok. I’ll explain to Hunter.” Her words caused a frown to appear on his face.
That bothered him – talking to Hunter, or rather not getting to talk to him for a whole week? If he called early enough, he could talk to him before Pam rose; a text wasn’t the best way to ‘talk’ to the boy. “I don’t want to miss him; I rise early enough to call on the days he’s not at dialysis. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that.”
“Silly. It’s not like you spend your days thinking about us.”
“Not my days, no. My nights though? I think you’d be surprised.”
“Charmer.” That got a chuckle out of his frown. She tucked herself into the space left on the bed as Eric held the blanket up for her. Then he leaned over and gave her a goodnight kiss. It was sweet and perfect and left her with a smile on her face as she turned her head towards her baby. His next actions took her back years: He started to rub her back. After a moment, she turned towards him and said, “My father did this with me. It’s one of the few memories I have of him before he and my mother died.”
“I can stop.”
“No, I’m really enjoying it. Nobody’s ever done this since then, it makes me feel safe.”
“I’m not hurting anything, right?” He was purposely avoiding the area where he’d seen the bruises earlier.
“No, it’s heaven. Thanks.”
She was asleep about 10 minutes later, but he continued the action since it was soothing to him as well. His mind was racing with plans now that they’d had the ‘mine’ conversation: He wanted to get Ludwig involved in Hunter’s care; he wanted to replace the car shaped piece of rust she drove; he wanted to take her on their first proper date for Gods’ sake. Oh, he was sure she’d fight him on the car and he knew the foster parents had a role in the medical decisions, but for the fosters, he’d use glamour if needed.
After an hour, he realized he should grab his laptop and get some work done. He was out the door to his car and back by her side quickly and he did stay almost until dawn. Part of his work was setting up the investigation of the Judge and the Sheriff of Bon Temps. Like Detective Farber, he felt that something was amiss and needed to get to the bottom of it all. It was his last task to send out the requests to Mustapha and he knew he needed to start packing up. Hunter woke when he was loading his laptop into his backpack so he whispered a few words to the sleepy boy, Hunter smiled and fell back to sleep quickly.
He took one last look at the family that agreed to be his, something that caused tightening and warmth in his chest – like his breathing was suddenly necessary again and he couldn’t. Knowing it would be days before he saw them again, he could barely remove himself from the room – the pending sunrise forced the issue.