Sookie went inside after she heard what sounded like a cat hissing in the dark. She was working very hard to be okay with what was going on when Bubba hunted, but that didn’t mean she wanted to hear it.
As soon as she was in the house, she said under her breath, “Bill Compton, I rescind your invitation.” Sookie immediately felt better, and she was saddened when she realized why. She wouldn’t put it past Bill to try to sneak in so that he could force her to take his blood again. Her anger rose in her body at the thought, and she felt her fingers start to tingle. She chuckled, “That’s right, Fairy Sookie. If Bill tries anything, you have permission to blast the shit out of him!”
She put the casserole leftovers into the refrigerator, unconsciously running her fingers over the comic strip. She washed the few dishes from the evening and folded the load of clothes that had been in the dryer. As she folded the flannel shirt and jeans that Eric had worn, she said out loud, “Screw It! I’m just gonna call him!” Bill had received his fair chance as far as she was concerned, and she wanted to hear Eric’s voice. She could be honest with herself. After almost 24 hours apart, she missed him like crazy.
She got her cell phone and dialed Fangtasia. She would need to get Eric’s personal cell phone number soon, she resolved.
An extremely bored-sounding Pam answered, her usual drawl exaggerated. “Fangtasia, where all your bloody dreams come true.”
Sookie laughed, “Pam, you need to come up with a better line than that.”
Pam sighed dramatically, “I would, but the vermin love that one. It’s disgusting really.”
“Oh,” Sookie said still chuckling, “well as long as the vermin like it, I guess it’s okay.”
“I see you wasted no time depositing my check,” Pam deadpanned.
“I was afraid you’d cancel it if you saw a new pair of shoes you liked,” Sookie countered sarcastically.
Pam laughed, “You are an entertaining human; I’ll give you that. He’s in his office; I’ll get him for you.”
Sookie stammered, suddenly feeling a bit nervous, “Um, if he’s busy, it’s okay. I don’t want to disturb him if he’s in a meeting, or―uh―feeding, or anything.”
Pam made a disgusted sound on the other end, “Pfft, don’t worry about that, Sookie.” She continued in a conspiratorial tone, “He’s had only TruBlood since he’s gotten his memories back. Even before then, he’s been mostly on the bottle for a little more than a year.”
Sookie couldn’t help but to smile at the implications of Pam’s statement.
“It’s revolting really and pathetic,” the vampiress continued, though Sookie could hear a smile in her voice.
Sookie’s own smile grew wider. She’d had questions about whether Eric could be satisfied by feeding only from her. Her other major insecurity―whether or not he could be faithful to her in other ways as well―had been sitting in the back of her mind since she’d admitted that she still loved him. Despite that love, she knew that she would not be willing to be with Eric if he was going to feed from and have sex with other people. She hoped―in the end―that he’d think she was enough. But if he wouldn’t be faithful to her, it’d be a deal breaker. The topic of fidelity was already on the list of questions that she’d started for him.
Within moments, Sookie heard Eric’s voice on the line, “Hello Sookie, is everything well?” His question was full of significance.
Sookie relaxed immediately upon hearing his voice and plopped herself down onto the couch, “It’s fine.” She looked at the daisies on the coffee table and sighed contentedly for the first time that night.
“Hard night?” Eric asked. Sookie could tell he was trying to hold back from questioning her about Bill, even as he fished for information.
“Yeah,” Sookie admitted. “But I think I got what I needed out of it.”
After about thirty seconds of silence, Eric asked playfully, “You’re being purposely vague to toy with me, aren’t you, min kära?” He continued in a stealthy voice, “It’s still okay for me to call you ‘min kära’, isn’t it?”
Sookie couldn’t help her chuckle as she recalled their exchange the night before. She’d given him permission to call her that as long as she hadn’t chosen someone else. She shook her head. He was sneaky; she’d give him that. “It’s still okay,” she paused dramatically, “for now―at least.”
She thought she heard a sigh of relief from the other end of the phone before Eric spoke, “What can I do for you this evening then, min kära?”
Sookie shook her head, “I just―um―well I guess I just missed you and wanted to say hello―or goodnight.”
Eric chuckled. “I have been sitting here working for the last four hours getting things caught up from when I was incapacitated, but have been missing you too,” his voice was sincere.
“Oh,” Sookie said, her lips turning up into a smile. “You almost caught up?”
“With sheriff’s business―yes. Pamela did an excellent job in my stead, despite all the other problems she was having.”
“Hey―is her curse thing gone too?” Sookie asked.
“Yes, it broke when the necromancer gave up her existence on this plain.”
“Yes, it’s very good. You did not see her face before she had treatments from Ludwig. It was not a pretty sight. And her scent was quite―unnerving.”
Sookie chuckled. “Hey, I was wondering. Did you want to have those clothes you wore while you were here? I washed them.”
There was a pause on the other end of the phone before Eric sighed even though Sookie knew he had no physical need to do so. “No thank you, Sookie. While I appreciate the offer, I’m afraid I’m a bit set in my tastes when it comes to my clothing.”
Sookie giggled both at Eric’s choice of words and the apparent trepidation in his voice. “That’s okay. I guess you’re just not a flannel shirt kind of guy.”
“No,” Eric answered quickly and then laughed too. “Just like you’re not a leather kind of gal, I fear.”
“Nope,” Sookie answered definitively. “Though I didn’t mind so much those black leather pants I saw you wear that once, but I couldn’t help but wonder how someone as tall as you could get yourself into such tight pants. Weren’t you afraid of―uh―chafing?” She found that she couldn’t help flirting with him a little.
“We vampires are graceful creatures,” Eric said, chuckling. “Plus, Pam taught me all about the magical power of talcum powder; I assure you, there was no chafing in any spot you might be concerned about.”
“But that’s not really important right now,” Eric continued, his voice brimming with suggestiveness. “What is important is you telling me more about what you liked about my leather pants.”
Sookie grinned. “I thought I told you that I’d have no dirty talk from you.”
“Hey―you’re the one that brought it up.” Eric was trying to sound innocent. He was failing.
“Well,” Sookie paused and then continued more brazenly, “I thought your butt was cute in them, if you wanna know the truth.”
Eric laughed on the other end of the line, “Cute? I think I have lived a thousand years without having that adjective used to describe any part of me.”
“Really?” Sookie said in mock surprise. “Impossible. I can think of lots of things on you that are cute.”
“Do tell, lover,” Eric purred.
Sookie got goose bumps from both Eric’s tone and his use of the word “lover.” She should have, perhaps, been offended by the word, but she couldn’t deny the truth that they had been lovers. The tingling of a particular part of her body was currently reminding her of that fact; she shifted in her seat a bit.
She pulled herself together enough to tease him. “Well, the dimple on your chin is cute.”
“Humph,” Eric grunted.
“And then there’s the cute way your bangs flop around when they don’t have all that gel in them.”
“And of course there are those two cute little dimples right at the top of your cute little bottom.”
“Sookie,” Eric said in mock warning.
“Oh, and there’s that cute little crevice that forms when you smile. And your cute little ears, which, by the way, are too small for your head.” Sookie paused and laughed. “Should I go on?”
Eric grunted in mock derision, “No, I think I have had quite enough cute for one night, min kära.”
“Okay then,” she giggled “Oh―thanks for the comic, by the way. I hadn’t pegged you for a Calvin and Hobbes kind of guy.”
Eric chuckled, “To be honest, it is not my favorite. However, my memory for things is excellent, and that particular comic seemed appropriate.”
“Hmpff.” Sookie spoke sarcastically, “You just couldn’t help yourself, could you?”
“What did I do?” Eric asked, still not managing to pull off the innocent act.
“You just had to try to get me thinkin’ about you before I met with Bill, didn’t you?”
“That depends, lover.”
“On whether it worked,” he said seductively.
“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Sookie evaded.
“I would,” Eric countered.
Sookie changed the subject, “Hey, I don’t think Bubba much cares for Bobby.”
“No one much cares for Bobby―not even Bobby himself,” Eric said, letting her get by with the subject change. “However, he is efficient.”
“He’s also quite―uh―unpleasant,” Sookie said carefully.
“He has done something to offend you?” Eric asked with an edge to his voice.
“No―he hasn’t done anything.”
“Ahh―so he has thought something that offended you.”
“You’re not gonna kill him if I say yes, are you?”
“No,” Eric laughed. “I will simply explain to Bobby that he should endeavor to be more polite to the people I care about.”
Sookie smiled at his words, “That’s okay. I think Bubba already did that this evening.”
Eric chuckled, “I would have liked to have seen that.”
There was a pause on the line as Eric listened to Sookie’s sure and steady breaths. The sound comforted him. Sookie simply enjoyed knowing that Eric was on the other end of the line.
“Did you talk to Jesus about the dreams?” he finally asked.
Sookie knew that Eric was talking about the dreams she’d been having since the bond had been broken and answered accordingly. “Yes, I told him about them. He’s added that to the list of things you and I have him looking into. You know, you really ought to pay him a lot for all the research he’s doing.”
“Already arranged,” Eric said simply.
“Well, that’s good,” Sookie said. “I guess I should go. I’ve got a lot to do before tomorrow night when I see you, and I should get some sleep.”
“Okay. Sleep well, min kära.”
“Wait,” she said before hanging up.
“Yes?” Eric said. He smiled at her use of his new favorite word.
“I need to get all the house’s utilities changed over into my name, I guess.”
“Already in the works,” Eric answered. “All will be officially changed over as of this Monday, except the satellite television and Internet set-up. We’ll talk about those to see if you still want them.”
“Oh,” Sookie said. “Okay.”
There was a pause.
“You really were very high-handed about the way you did the whole house thing, you know.”
“I am aware.”
“We’re not done talking about that.”
“I am also aware of that, min kära,” he said with a smile in his voice.
“I’ll see you tomorrow then.”
“Goodnight. And, Sookie―pleasant dreams.”
A bright smile on her face, Sookie hung up the phone, feeling better after having heard Eric’s voice. Yes, she most definitely loved him, but she was still not ready to decide to take his blood again or even to be in a relationship with him. She could love him all week long and twice on Sundays, but if he lied to her or told her half-truths as Bill had done, she wouldn’t be able to be with him.
She also figured that noticing Eric’s tells would be more difficult than discovering Bill’s. Eric had had a thousand years to school his expressions, but she also knew that she had two secret weapons. One was her knowledge of him when he had amnesia. She had seen what he looked like when he was being completely open and vulnerable with her, and she was going to compare that to what she saw the next night. The second was her own dreams. She planned to ask Eric some difficult questions if she dreamed of him later that night. Then she would match Dream Eric’s answers to real Eric’s. She had a pretty good idea that dream Eric couldn’t lie to her.
She’d been the naïve girl in her relationship with Bill, and she never wanted that again. If she was going to be with Eric, she was going to have a real partnership with him, one that was honest and equal. And she was not going to have one that was based on a foundation of secrets.
Sookie washed her face and brushed her teeth before changing into her pajamas. She’d decided to spend one last night in her old room, but one of her tasks for the next day was to move into Gran’s beautifully restored bedroom. Sookie felt her Gran would have approved of this choice.