The second Eric became enlivened for the day, he also became very, very hard. Sookie, though dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, was by his side and spooned into his body as she’d been when he fell into his sleep. As if her presence alone wasn’t enough to arouse him, she also smelled strongly of the sun again, and he knew that the incredible woman next to him had purposely soaked in its scent after her shower so that the smell would linger. He pulled her more tightly to him and inhaled deeply, picking up the smell of peaches as well. He smiled into her hair, knowing that this was also for him.
She snuggled into him delectably, moving her little bottom against him and gripping his arms tightly.
Eric sighed, “Min kära, I believe that if I could wake up like this every night, I would be the most content being in existence.”
Sookie chuckled, “Yeah, I can plainly feel your contentment back there, mister, but don’t get ahead of yourself. We need to have our dinner and our talk before we do anything else. Plus, Jesus is coming over between now and 6:00 to refresh his privacy spell. I don’t want anyone hearin’ us tonight when we talk.”
Eric said teasingly, “My G.P. is merely saying good evening, lover. Perhaps later, you would be willing to say it back.”
“Yes,” Eric whispered nuzzling his face into the hair next to her ear and nibbling the lobe slightly, sending streaks of electricity straight to Sookie’s center, “my gracious plenty.”
Sookie giggled and went to get up. Eric half-heartedly tried to pull her back to him. “Mmmm, come back to bed, lover,” he purred.
“Nope,” Sookie laughed, standing up next to the small bed. “We have a plan, and we’re stickin’ to it. We have to make sure we get things settled before there’s any funny business.”
Eric leered, “There is nothing funny about the business that I wish to conduct with you, Miss Stackhouse.”
Sookie laughed and then pointed to the floor, gesturing for him to get out of bed.
After a moment of good-natured grumbling, Eric got up, adjusting himself in his shorts as he did so in order to gain a bit more comfort.
Sookie gasped at seeing his member straining against his boxer briefs.
It was his turn to laugh. “You were the one that wanted me up, lover. And now that I am, what are you going to do with me?” he asked suggestively.
She rolled her eyes and pointed toward the stack of clothes on the bedside table. “I am washing your clothes, but they aren’t dry yet.”
He looked at the pile and then leered at her again, “Wouldn’t it just be better if I stayed this way―at least until the others are dry? Don’t you like what you see?”
Sookie inhaled sharply and turned a deeper shade of pink.
Like the predator he was, Eric slowly stalked toward Sookie from the other side of the bed as she backed toward the steps that led out of the cubby. “Care to join me for a shower?” he asked, looking her up and down.
“But then you won’t get to enjoy my delicious scent,” she reminded.
Eric seemed to be weighing his options before he said decidedly, “I’m willing to take that chance, lover.”
Sookie slapped his arm as he approached, “You, Mr. Northman, are incorrigible.” She gestured for the stairs leading out of the cubby.
Eric, a mischievous look in his eyes, smirked, “Ladies first.”
The glint in Sookie’s eye was no less naughty-looking, “No, please―I insist. You are still a guest in this house, after all.”
“Why Miss Stackhouse,” Eric said in mock surprise, “I think that you just want to look at my―what did you call it, oh yes―cute little bottom as I go up the ladder. Do not think that I missed you ogling it as I made the fire last night.”
Sookie snorted in mock indignation. “And why, pray tell, do you want me to go up first―because I don’t think your motive is chivalry,” she challenged.
“That’s no mystery at all, lover. I want to stare at your delectable body as it wiggles its way up those steps.” He moved even closer to her, causing her to back into the steps, but he did not quite touch her.
“That’s real interestin’,” Sookie said, her voice low and seductive. She raised her hand up into the inch that he had left between them and ran it down his bare chest, leisurely caressing all the way down to the waistband of his briefs. Keeping her eyes locked into his, she slowly pulled the elastic waistband toward her, knowing that if she looked down, she would see the culprit behind the tent in Eric’s underwear.
Eric took in a sharp, unnecessary breath as the air hit his cock. Sookie pulled until the fabric was at its limits, and then she let it go, causing the elastic to pop loudly as it made contact with his lower abdomen.
His face was a beautiful picture of surprise and sulking for a few seconds before his lips spread into a broad grin. “You, my lover, never fail to surprise me.” His voice was thick with both mirth and what Sookie thought sounded like gratefulness.
“Well―then I think I deserve a reward,” Sookie purred. “So get that cute little ass of yours up those steps, and give me a show!” she said, surprising herself at her own brazenness.
Eric chuckled and went to grab the clothes that had been set out for him. “Pity,” he said suggestively, “there’s no underwear here. I suppose I will have to do without since I don’t have another clean pair with me.”
Then he returned to the steps and carefully moved Sookie to the side so that she could get a good view. He slowly mounted and then climbed the steps, moving like a cat and making sure all his assets―emphasis on the “ass”―were on clear display.
Sookie sighed lustfully and then mumbled, knowing that Eric could hear her easily, “Cute as a button.”
Eric was waiting just outside the cubby, “Enjoy your show, my lover?”
“It was acceptable, Northman. Now, go take your shower. I want you presentable when Jesus gets here.”
Eric sighed in mock exasperation and then zoomed to Sookie’s room; moments later she heard the shower water running.
About ten minutes later, Sookie sensed Jesus’s brain signature outside and skipped from the kitchen to the entryway.
She opened the door for Jesus before he could even ring the doorbell. Giving him a winning smile, she hugged him excitedly. Then she waved happily to Bubba, who stood about ten feet from the porch. “Hey Bubba!” she grinned.
“Evenin’, Miss Sookie. I’ll be keepin’ my eye out tonight.” Bubba assured before dashing back to the tree line.
Sensing Sookie’s giddiness, Jesus couldn’t help but to comment on it, “Good day, today, Sook?” he asked, a playful glint clear in his expression.
“Yep and a good night last night too,” she whispered.
Just then, Eric zipped into the room and embraced Sookie from behind. Of its own accord, her body melded backwards into his. He’d dressed in the jeans and flannel shirt, and he smelled of the lavender soap. “A very good night indeed,” Eric added.
Sookie blushed as Jesus chuckled and came inside. He was very happy to see both the woman that he now regarded as a very good friend and the thousand-year-old vampire that he was also beginning to see as a friend looking so content.
After leading them into the living room, Sookie said quietly, “I’d like you to do that privacy spell thing from before, okay?” Then she turned to Eric, “Don’t you agree that’d be best for tonight?”
He nodded, “Yes, I think that we want our actions tonight to be very private, min kära.”
Sookie blushed yet again as Jesus chuckled. He went back to where he’d done the spell the day before and repeated the chant.
“That spell will last for a day, right?” Sookie asked once he was finished.
“The way I’m doing it lasts for a whole cycle of the sun, but with a bit of adaptation, it could probably be made to last longer―if you want.”
“I think I’d like that, Jesus. Eric is most likely gonna be here a lot more from now on, and Bill came by last night―to spy on us―but the privacy spell made him think that we weren’t here, so he left.”
Eric added, “I would like for you to try to adapt the spell even more if you are able. I noticed that with the spell in place, we could see what was happening outside, but I could neither hear nor smell what was happening. Thus, I did not sense Bill’s presence last night.” Eric paused for a moment, “I would like to be able to use my senses to monitor things outside even as we are safely hidden from prying eyes, ears, and noses inside.
“Okay, I’ll see what I can come up with. I’ve almost got the protection ward I told you about figured out too, Sook,” Jesus said, looking excited. “But I had to order one of the ingredients I needed, so it’ll be a day or two more before we can try it.”
Eric quickly zipped into the kitchen to grab a pen and a pad that he knew Sookie kept by the phone. He wrote something down and handed it to Jesus. “This is the information for my day man, Bobby Burnham. Contact him when you need anything for your spells, and he will secure it for you quickly.”
Jesus took the information. “Thanks.”
After a bit more chatting, Jesus said he wanted to get home and change since he was going to Merlotte’s so that he could visit with Lafayette and grab a bite to eat.
Sookie saw him to the door. When she turned around, Eric was right in front of her, looking down at her with soulful eyes. He gently placed a kiss on her forehead.
“We should have our dinner too, min kära,” he said softly.
Sookie worked quickly to get the table set, her salad dressed and plated, and a TruBlood ready for Eric. She heard the door open and close twice within the ten minutes that she was working, but she knew it was Eric since she was following the void that his mind registered to her telepathy. She figured he was talking to Bubba or getting something from his car.
As she took her salad and his warmed blood to the table, she saw him leaning against the doorframe leading from the dining room to the entryway. One of his hands was behind his back and there was a cheeky grin on his face as he produced a beautiful bunch of white gardenia flowers and leaves.
Having set down their dinner, Sookie put her hands on her hips. “Now, exactly where did you get those from, mister?”
Looking like the cat that ate the canary, he shrugged, “I have my sources.”
“Hmm,” Sookie mock admonished. “Would those ‘sources’ be the gardenia bushes I saw right next to Bill’s house?”
Eric laughed, “Indeed, my lover. I saw that―despite the lateness of the season―these were still in bloom the other night when I was there.”
Sookie shook her head indulgently as she accepted the flowers, went to the kitchen, and pulled out the second vase for them. Eric trailed behind her, his signature smirk planted firmly on his face.
“I don’t want you to antagonize him, Eric. What if he smelled you there? What if his guards would have stopped you?
“Oh, lover, do not fear on those accounts. The human guards are nice for show; however, they are not a danger to me, and I made up an excuse for speaking to Bill so that he wouldn’t suspect my being there simply to steal his flowers.”
“And what was that?”
“I let him know that Isabel, Thalia, and myself would agree to increase our tribute percentage by 5% if that money were redirected to Rasul to help with the rebuild of New Orleans. Even this long after Katrina, there is still much work to do, and it will help with vampire/human relations as well as tourism. I actually wonder why Bill hadn’t done it before.”
“Well, that is nice,” she granted. Then she looked at him closely, “At least you had the sense to put on your jacket and zip it up so that your shirt didn’t show. I doubt Bill would much accept you as a flannel man.”
Eric’s eyes glinted wickedly. “He still smelled you on me, lover.”
“Great! And how did you explain that one?”
“I told him that I’d called on you to see if I could leave my car here while I took care of some more area business.”
Sookie looked thoughtful. “That’s all well and good, but you shouldn’t risk goin’ over there like that just for flowers.”
“There was no risk, min kära,” Eric said as he took his jacket off and hung it on the back of one of the dining room chairs that they wouldn’t be using. “Plus, there are two excellent reasons why I needed to secure those flowers for you.”
“And what are they?” Sookie asked as she put the vase on the end of the table so that it wouldn’t impede them being able to look at each other.
“Well, first, I have yet to see if these are your favorite.”
Sookie shook her head and smiled, “Nope, but nice try. They smell lovely.”
“Too bad,” Eric shook his head. “I suppose I will have to redouble my efforts.”
“I think I’m going to like that,” Sookie said as they both sat down at their places. “And the other reason?”
“It involves the meaning of the flower.”
“Oh, and what’s that.”
“May I tell you that in a while, min kära?” he asked soberly.
Sookie nodded and took a bite of her salad as Eric took a drink of his blood.
After finishing her bite, Sookie gestured to the blood. “I don’t know what your favorite type is, and I should probably know that.”
Eric smiled, “Well, as I said before, they leave something to be desired, flavor-wise, but I enjoy variety.” He thought for a moment, “In the 1980s I drank occasionally from a college student who lived in a building I owned at the time. I hired him to collect the rent from the other tenants. He was quite amusing actually―very much into Friedrich Nietzsche and Carl Jung―and was always up at nights studying, so I got to know him more than most people; plus, he was rather easy to glamour. He was quite poor, and every time I entered his home for a snack, he complained about having to subsist mostly on a food called Ramen noodles.”
“Those are packaged noodles. I have seen them in the store, but Gran never bought them, and I’ve never tried them,” Sookie supplied.
“I’m glad. They have a very unpleasant odor. I imagine that TruBlood tastes similar to vampires as those noodle meals taste to humans after eating them for a while. The different flavors make them more palatable, I suppose, but there is little else to be said for them.”
“Hmmm,” Sookie thought. Then she looked at Eric meaningfully. “You know what I like about you?”
“I have a few ideas,” he leered.
Sookie shook her head, “Not that! I like how you always try to make analogies so that I can understand what it’s like to be you―to be a vampire.”
Eric looked at Sookie seriously, “I like that you want to know what it’s like to be me. I like that you care. And I especially like that I want to tell you such things―to share myself with someone as I never have before.”
Sookie’s smile slowly spread across her face as she looked at Eric through hooded lashes. “I like that you like those things.”
The rest of their meal continued in a comfortable silence as both gathered their thoughts.