What had I done?
The notion of a wish—what I thought might be the perfect wish—had jetted into my brain faster than any thought ever had. But I hadn’t actually wished it—had I?
The light that had lit up the room seemed to “disagree” with that denial, however.
“I didn’t say anything!” I said. “Not aloud!” I added insistently.
“I don’t think it mattered,” Eric smirked, though his eyes also showed some concern.
“Oh, God!” I yelled out, still gripping the spent cluviel dor.
“So?” he asked. “What did you wish for?”
“How do you know I wished for anything? That the cluviel dor thing even worked?” I asked defensively.
He shook his head and chuckled. “Can you still feel its magic? It was glowing before, and now it isn’t.”
I stuck out my tongue at him. “I know, but still! I didn’t say anything!”
Quicker than lightning, Eric pulled me to him and made good use of the tongue I’d shown to him. Only when I was gasping for air did he end our kiss.
“So?” he asked again. “What was the wish?”
“I just thought,” I panted as I tried to catch my breath, “that if I could be yours—stay yours—then everything would be okay.”
“That is what you wished for?” he asked incredulously.
“Um—yeah,” I stammered. “I mean—um—I didn’t intend to actually wish it until I’d run it by you, but yeah.”
His mouth was open—catching flies as Gran would have called it. The expression was disconcerting on Eric Northman—to say the least.
“You trusted me—to have you? To have you?” he repeated.
“Well—uh—yes. Of course.”
In the next moment, I was on my back and the fairy charm was on the floor somewhere. No matter.
“You are mine. You will always be mine,” he growled, immediately inflaming my body. It was funny how he was able to do that with a mere sound. But it was also welcome.
“But what about my wish? What do you think it means? Are you mad I used up the cluviel dor thingy?” I rattled off, even as my breath rattled because of his attentions.
Eric stopped kissing me for a moment and looked at me with a smile that stopped my heart. “You want to be mine. You wished to stay mine,” he whispered. “And that wish can only help us.”
“You aren’t mad?” I whimpered.
“Do I feel mad?” he asked as he rubbed his gracious plenty against my thigh.
“No,” I gulped. “But . . . .”
“Sookie,” he said, pressing a finger over my mouth, “it’s time to shut up now and be mine.”
I nodded. I could do that.
Eric’s hands and mouth were suddenly all over my body. Breasts were seen to. My lady parts were seen to.
And when I was quivering with anticipation, expectation, and impatience, he finally entered me.
And he filled me.
Yes—I was his.
And his I would always stay—come what may.
THE NEXT DAY, 9:03 A.M.
SANDRA PELT POV
“I’m going. I swear it,” I assured Alcide, who was looking at me with his sad, “puppy dog” eyes.
“Promise me that you won’t come back to Louisiana—unless I call you and tell you that it’s okay,” he beseeched.
“I swear,” I said with false sincerity, even as I threw him his crumpled jeans. In truth, I appreciated the information that Alcide had given to me—and the fuck—but I was ready to be done with him. I had better things to do. “So—out of curiosity—who’s guarding Sookie?” I asked.
He growled at me.
“Come on!” I chuckled. “You really believed Northman? Believed that I would disregard all of my therapy and go after a vampire’s bonded, pledged mate?” I emphasized, knowing just how much Alcide hated the thought of the telepath belonging to anyone—but him. Plus, I enjoyed twisting the knife through Alcide’s weak psyche. After all, he’d strung my sister along for the sake of that backwater waitress. So—in my estimation—he deserved to suffer a bit.
“Northman is threatening your life,” Alcide practically whined.
“I know. And that’s why I’m going to leave until things can get straightened out. I mean—I have no doubt that Sookie Stackhouse found some new enemies that are threatening her. But I’m not her enemy. Once the real culprit is found, things can go back to normal.”
“Northman said you’d been arrested—that you’d escaped from the Bon Temps police station,” Alcide frowned.
I sighed. “Yes. That’s true. But being arrested and being guilty are two different things. It seems that Sookie thinks I’m behind various things going wrong in her life. But I’m not. My bet is that the real culprit is Victor Madden—but whatever.” I rolled my eyes. “I’m sure that the Viking will eventually figure things out.”
“So you really didn’t—uh—threaten Sookie?” he asked.
“Of course not,” I assured.
“Why do you want to know who’s guarding her then?” he asked.
“Because I wanna say goodbye to some people,” I returned accusingly—as if his question had offended me.
“Um—okay. I guess that makes sense.”
I smiled and moved to embrace him. “Hey, listen, Alc, I just wanna see Jannalynn before I go. And maybe a few of the other women who welcomed me into the pack—despite what Debbie did. I,” I paused and drummed up a tear, “owe them. And I’ll miss them—and you—so much.”
He exhaled as he gripped me in a hug. “I’ll miss you too, Sandy.”
I smiled up at him. “And that’s why you’re gonna make sure that Sookie Stackhouse is protected by the best people you have. And you’re gonna work this out with Northman. That way,” I said, rising onto my tiptoes so that I could give him a peck, “I can come back soon.”
“I will fix this,” he assured.
“I know,” I whispered, kissing along his jawline. “I really want to make sure I get to tell Jannalynn goodbye though,” I added, biting down on his flesh a little.
He groaned. “I’m sorry. But she’s one of Sookie’s guards,” Alcide said regretfully. “Since she’s with Sam and knows Sook, I figured it’d be for the best.”
“It is,” I said, patting his chest comfortingly even as I smiled to myself. “And it’s okay. Will you tell her I said goodbye? That I hope to come home soon?”
“And how about you? Have you told me goodbye yet?” I asked suggestively.
Predictably, Alcide growled as he picked me up and put me back onto the bed. Given the look in his eyes, he’d be “done” quickly. And that was good for me. I had shit to do.
“We can get you out of here,” Claude said firmly. “There are people who want you—um—who want to protect you.”
There was something in my fairy cousin’s eyes that made me suspect that I didn’t want to know who those people were. I was just angry at myself for not seeing his “shiftiness” before.
Maybe it was because I was literally surrounded by “shifty” people (no pun intended).
“We could go to Faerie,” Dermot said. “Or Kazakhstan.”
“Kazakhstan?” I asked incredulously.
“I’ve got a friend there,” Dermot smiled. “We could be together there,” he added.
It seemed Eric was right about Uncle Dermot too.
“Faerie wouldn’t be safe for Sookie,” Claude frowned. “But there’s someone I know in New Orleans who could help us.”
“I’m safe as long as I’m within the wards,” I told them, not wanting to let on that I was also perfectly safe with Eric. Supe gossip—being what it was—had ensured that both of the fairies living with me had heard an exaggerated version of what had happened at Fangtasia. And—once they’d finally come home after sunrise (since they were—thanks to me—afraid of Eric attacking them during the night)—they’d hesitated only a few hours before they woke me up and made sure that I heard all about that gossip.
As if I hadn’t supposedly experienced it firsthand.
Apparently, Eric had struck me—several times.
Apparently, he’d bitten me—in public—several times.
Apparently, Bob had needed to be rushed to a hospital!
Of course, even though there wasn’t a bruise on my body that wasn’t a “good one,” the fairies were quick to believe every bad thing said against Eric.
I didn’t know if that was more my fault for not being a better mate to Eric up to this point or their fault for wanting to believe all bad things about Eric.
I suppose that their reasoning didn’t matter. What mattered were the subtle things that I was noticing for the first time.
Claude was watching me like a hawk—not out of care, but like a predator. And—when I made a point to make a subtle mention of Claudine, which was something I’d avoided doing around him up to that point out of respect—he’d looked at me with pure venom.
The look had lasted only a second. But since I’d been looking for it, I’d been able to recognize if for what it was.
Hate. Claude clearly hated me.
As for Dermot? Well—he, too, had been watching me closely.
Specifically my breasts.
It seemed that all men—whether human, Were, shifter, vampire, or fairy—appreciated a good rack.
But I didn’t think that a relative should “look”—even if fairies had different notions about “family relations” than humans did!
In addition to noticing these things about the fairies in my home, I picked up on something else too. It was as if they were “missing” something. They seemed “twitchy”—for lack of a better word.
It didn’t take me long to guess what they were missing. I went to the bathroom and texted Mr. Cataliades on the disposable phone Eric had given to me.
“The cluviel dor—could it attract fairies?” I typed.
Soon after, the demon lawyer texted me back a single word: “yes.”
“I need to claim my fairyness and Eric,” I typed as a follow-up. “ASAP.”
He sent: “I’m coming. Diantha too.”
I couldn’t say that I was sorry about that.
After I’d sent and received my texts, I decided to take a nap.
That turned out to be a mistake.
I woke up to warmth—too much warmth.
Way. Too. Much!
And there was an arm slung over my hip.
Wrong! That arm felt wrong!
“Alcide!” I yelled as soon as the mind in bed with me told me who the body belonged to. The Were woke up almost simultaneously.
“Why are you here?” I yelled as I squinted my eyes in order to avoid seeing Alcide in his tighty-whities.
I’m sorry, but a man as muscular as Alcide needed to go with boxer-briefs. Moreover, white undies didn’t flatter any man who didn’t have a laundry-doer who understood the nuances of bleach.
“Sookie,” Alcide said with a sleepy, amorous grin. “I realized something today.”
“What’s that?” I yelled, even as I jetted from my own bed, thankful to see that I was still dressed in the flannel sleep-pants and T-shirt I’d put on after Eric had brought me home at the end of our wonderful night together.
I’d never thanked God so much for my drafty house!
“I love you,” Alcide enthused. “But I’ve been settling for others,” he frowned. “I’ve been tryin’ to make things work with other two-natured women, but we’ve never given our relationship a good try. Now’s the time. When I heard about all that Eric did to you last night, I just knew it! Now’s our time!”
“No! It’s not, Alcide! Who let you in here?!” I demanded. “The wards. They were supposed to keep Supes out.”
“Claude invited me in,” Alcide said, his grin still sleepy-looking. “I came to check on the guards I put in place for you, Sook—guards to protect you—and Claude and I started talkin’. We agreed that you and me would be good together. Claude is your kin, and he approves of me,” the Were said proudly.
“What about my approval?” I asked him angrily.
“We’ve always just had bad timing,” he said insistently.
“Yes. And that hasn’t changed,” I muttered.
“Sook?” he asked.
“Go, Alcide! You and I aren’t happening!”
“But, Northman—you finally know how bad he is. What a monster he is.”
“Yes. I know,” I said truthfully. “But that doesn’t give you or my cousin the right to decide that I need another man the day after my,” I paused, “confrontation with Eric at Fangtasia.”
“But I could protect you from him,” Alcide insisted. “I will protect you.”
“No. You won’t. And you couldn’t,” I returned.
“Oh—is that what all this is about?” he asked, his amorous grin back in place. When he reached a paw toward me, I backed away a few steps. “You’re worried about me? You don’t have to be. I can deal with Northman. And Claude agreed to help.”
“Did he?” I practically growled.
“Yes. And once Eric’s out of the way, we’ll be able to build a life together,” Alcide said fervently.
“You really believe that?” I asked with disbelief.
I felt my anger rising. “And you felt that the best way to start that life would be for you to sneak into my bedroom and crawl into bed with me—unasked?”
“Geez, Sook! It’s not like I was gonna force anything. I came up to see you, and you were asleep. You looked so peaceful that I didn’t wanna wake you, and I was tired too, so I just climbed in.”
“Really!? And I suppose you just wanted to get comfortable,” I glared, gesturing toward his almost naked body.
“Well—yeah. And—uh—it’s not like you haven’t seen me naked before. So I didn’t think it would be a big deal,” he shrugged.
“It is a big deal,” I shook my head. “Even if I were interested in a relationship with you or your protection from Eric—which I’m not, by the way—you don’t crawl into someone’s bed uninvited!”
“It was just a nap!” he said, sounding a little angry.
He was angry?! How f-in rich!
“Don’t tell me you didn’t want more to happen!” I raged back, dipping into his thoughts.
I’d exchanged blood with Eric the night before, so it was easier to decipher the gnarl of Alcide’s thoughts. What I heard there disgusted me, but I was able to keep up my angry façade rather than vomiting where I stood.
Apparently, Alcide had had his revelation that he needed a “good girl” to marry—a non-Were—only after he’d screwed Sandra Pelt six ways from Sunday!
That very morning!
“How flattering,” I muttered sarcastically.
Alcide also figured that I was “ripe for the picking” because of what had happened at Fangtasia. He figured that it’d be easy to get me to “come to my senses” about “blood-suckers” now that Eric had “mistreated” me.
Oh—and he was glad that Eric had “roughed me up” since that was what I likely needed to “see sense.”
Oh—and he had been hoping for wake up sex with me!
“Sook?” Alcide asked, finally looking a little ashamed.
Way too little. Way too late.
Somehow, I kept the rising bile in my throat at bay. “Alcide, why don’t you get dressed, and you and I can talk downstairs,” I said, trying to muster and indulgent smile.
I hurried into my bathroom and locked the door before I sat down on the toilet seat. I closed my eyes tightly.
My name was accompanied by a gentle rap on the bathroom door.
“I—uh—kinda need to go,” Alcide said.
I rolled my eyes.
“So do I! You can use the bathroom in the hall,” I yelled out. “I’m kind of busy in here!”
“Um—okay,” he stammered. I heard his feet dragging as he left. I just hoped that he took his pants with him!
Because of Claude and Alcide, I was in quite the quandary—and I was not a little bitter about that.
I was a lot bitter!
On the one hand, I needed to pretend as if I was devastated by the violence Eric had “subjected” me to the night before.
On the other hand, I wasn’t about to give Alcide false hope—especially since his thoughts told me that he was unsure about whether or not Sandra had really done anything wrong.
That kind of man? Well—I wasn’t about to spend any of my hopes on him! Even false ones!
In his defense, however, Alcide was glad that “Sandy” was leaving town. Being with her made him feel guilty about Debbie. I scoffed. How Debbie could still even matter to Alcide was beyond me! He figured that being with me would make him feel less guilty about Debbie; perhaps I should remind him that I killed the bitch!
And that’s when it hit me: I was no longer hung up on feeling guilty about the Debbies of the world. Or the Lorenas. Or the Bills. Or the Alcides—for that matter!
Debbie had been a homicidal bitch. She’d tried to kill me by vampire in Jackson.
She’d tried again during the witch war.
She’d lain in wait for me in my own home—because she was a jealous twat!
Lorena had also been a homicidal bitch. She had tortured her own child. She’d tried to kill me.
I wasn’t sorry that either one of them was dead.
I had no reason to be sorry!
I smiled at my revelation.
Meanwhile, the men in the equations hadn’t been much better to me either.
Bill had manipulated me. He was still trying to manipulate me. It didn’t matter that he was delusional. What mattered were his actions.
And Alcide? I honestly couldn’t remember what I’d ever seen in him. Once upon a time, I’d thought that he was a kind man—a good man. But, even in Jackson, he’d not acted the part of a friend. Though hung up on Debbie, he’d made a “move” on me, perfectly okay with the idea that I was hurting from the Bill situation at the same time.
I’d shrugged off Alcide’s flirting and kiss; I’d interpreted them as a sign that he needed help getting over Debbie—that he’d been looking for a “rebound.” And—needing to get over Bill—I wasn’t guiltless either. I’d flirted right back with Alcide Herveaux.
Nope. In that situation—neither one of us had been admirable. I shook my head, judging my actions for what they had been: naïve.
And then Alcide had used me to make Debbie jealous—the exact same night she’d tried to kill me! Plus, he’d put on blinders and had gotten back together with her!
After she’d tried to kill me!
What? Did he think that I’d jumped into a trunk with a starving vampire voluntarily?
I took a deep breath. Maybe—after dating Debbie the psychopath for so long—Alcide had thought just that: that I would crawl into the trunk with Bill as some kind of “romantic gesture.”
But that didn’t eliminate the fact that he still used me to make his crazy ex jealous. I shook my head, going over the other times Alcide had used me.
Being his “date” to a funeral so that I could help his dad become packmaster.
The whole packmaster fight debacle, where I was also in danger.
The crazy shaman thing.
I took another deep breath.
Yes—I was done feeling guilty about killing Debbie and Lorena.
I was done feeling bad because Bill still loved me when I didn’t love him.
I was done being a friend to Alcide when he really wasn’t my friend.
I sighed at the last thought. It was a sigh of regret—a sigh of recognition. I didn’t hate Alcide. I supposed that—over the years—he and I had used one another in ways.
But the lack of respect he’d shown me when he’d climbed into my bed—assuming I would want him there when we weren’t together—made me wonder if he thought too much of himself or too little of me. Either way, it didn’t matter.
What mattered was that I had to be “diplomatic” for one more day in order to ensure that Eric and my plans didn’t fail.
And that meant that I would need to lie like a dog—pun intended.
A/N: Some of the most disgusting moments in the SVM series related to Deadlocked for me. The obvious thing I hated was the bond-breaking. But more disturbing to me were the following two things:
1. The Dermot situation. To have another UNCLE interested “romantically” in Sookie was an extremely disturbing turn of events in my opinion. The fairies not seeing “family” the same way as humans didn’t help me either. The essential thing is that SOOKIE wouldn’t have seen family in this way! Given what she had to endure with Uncle Bartlett, I was of the opinion that CH was way too blasé about adding in a second “funny” uncle, especially one that looked like Sookie’s brother! This is why—in this piece—I wanted Eric to point out his theory about Dermot’s attraction. I wanted Sookie to know and to be able to operate based on this knowledge.
2. The Alcide bed episode. Of course, in the book, Amelia is partly to blame for this happening. And it was the moment when Amelia quit being any kind of a likeable character to me! In fact, I couldn’t have redeemed her character for this story if I’d begun it after that moment. Plus, I also stopped liking Alcide. How a “friend” of Sookie’s would think that crawling into bed with her was okay was beyond me! This item from the book definitely tainted this version of this Alcide. I decided to have Claude be a catalyst to that Alcide situation, but I wanted to keep it in b/c it SHOULD have been a “wake up call” to Sookie about the kind of people she’d allowed to be her “friends.” In this piece, I get to help her take a good look at her situation and her friendships.
I hope you enjoyed the chapter.
Many, many thanks to Seph and Kleannhouse–as always.