Sookie walked back upstairs so that she could get a load of laundry into the washer before it got too late in the afternoon. When she went into the bedroom, the sight that met her melted her heart. The kitten had returned to its master and was lying peacefully on top of Eric’s unmoving chest. Her two boys looked completely in harmony together. Sookie shook off her jealousy at the kitten’s position and, right then and there, she promised herself a nap with her beloved later. “Soon it will be my turn, little one,” she warned the sleeping kitten.
She got the laundry from the hamper. Once again, she was amazed by how washing Eric’s clothes together with hers made her feel. It was an odd sensation―certainly―to be so enthralled with a domestic task, but the feeling it gave her was wonderful. Never in her life did she imagine that she would have a husband’s clothes to wash. Well―she’d let herself imagine that and similar things when she was a very young teen, but her telepathy had soon made her realize that those imaginings were just pipe dreams, so she’d given them up.
As soon as Sookie had started the load of laundry, she made herself a quick omelet and devoured it. She said to herself, “The vampire is definitely good for helping me to build up an appetite. Thankfully,” she added to herself with a chuckle, “he’s also good for helping me to burn those calories—very good.” She fanned herself at the thought of just how good her husband was and then popped a couple of pieces of bread into the toaster. Once she’d devoured those as well, she walked out back to see the progress being made.
Seeing her standing there, Scott approached her. “I’ll bring over a skeleton crew tomorrow at around noon to lay the cement for the foundation, Miss Stackhouse,” he said. “The weather calls for a slim chance of rain this evenin’, and it’s best to be safe, so we won’t lay it today. It’ll still be dry when we all return on Tuesday.”
Sookie smiled at him. “Call me Sookie—remember?” She looked around, “Seems like you already have done so much!”
Scott returned her smile and nodded. “There wasn’t much rock to break through to make the ground even here, so we’ll be done with preparations early. I think we’ll stay on schedule with the workshop even if we miss a whole day due to rain.”
“Thanks, Scott.” She smiled even wider as she read in his mind that he thought that she was a nice girl and well-suited for Northman.
“Miss Sta-,” he stopped himself, “I mean, Sookie. I should have some preliminary plans for the rest of the house to show you and Mr. Northman when he wakes up for the night on Tuesday.”
Sookie nodded and thanked him again.
Jarod, who had been standing nearby and watching over the work and then Sookie, suddenly went on alert, which caused Scott to tense up a bit too. She noticed that the older Werewolf had instinctively taken up a protective stance in front of her. Yep—she liked Scott Cusmano more and more all the time.
The shifter took in a deep breath and then relaxed. “It’s just Lafayette and Jesus,” he said in a calm voice. “I would recognize the sound of Lafayette’s car anywhere.” Sookie smiled a thanks at Jarod and patted Scott’s arm before walking around the house to greet her friends.
As soon as Jesus and Lafayette got out of Lafayette’s vette, Sookie hugged them both affectionately. “Hey boys, you must have ESP or something! I was just gettin’ ready to call y’all.”
Lafayette scoffed, “Hooker, don’t be talkin’ none ‘bout ESP or shit like that. We’s already gots too much strange shit goin’ on between us all.”
Sookie chuckled. “It’s just that I was wantin’ to talk to y’all for some advice, and now you’re here.”
Jesus smiled at her, “And we come bearing gifts too!” He reached into the very small trunk area of Lafayette’s car and pulled out a couple bottles of wine and a grocery bag. “We brought some steaks if you wanna grill this evening. Or if you wanna wait for another time, we can just leave them in your freezer. They were on sale at the supermarket.”
Sookie smiled and licked her lips, despite still being full from her late lunch. “That sounds heavenly, and Eric will be happy to see you too!”
Lafayette rolled his eyes. “Sure he will. He’s likely to order us away just to gets into those pretty little britches of yours.”
Sookie blushed as red as the corvette. She heard Miranda’s chuckle from the porch and blushed even redder. “Lala!” she exclaimed. “Be good!”
Her friend laughed, “Oh―I’s always good, bitch.” He looked at Jesus, causing his beloved to blush a bit too. “Just ask my man there how good I was to him last night.”
Jesus laughed and tried to ignore Lafayette’s words so that he wouldn’t turn just as beet red as Sookie. “Sook, we also wanted to talk to Eric tonight. I’m going to take his offer of work. I gave notice at the institution earlier in the week, and I’m officially available to start working for him as of—well—today!”
“Yeah,” Lafayette said. “I’d say gettin’ outta the bat-shit crazy house would mean no more crazy shit for him, but knowin’ you and you’s vamp, I’s guessin’ we’s about to be covered over twice with all kinds of crazy.”
Sookie put her arm around Lafayette and walked him toward the door. “You know you secretly love it,” she said playfully as she winked back at Jesus.
“Well, then nobody’s let me in on the secret, hooker,” Lafayette said, though his tone was playful too.
Once they were inside, Sookie led them to the living room and opened up the laptop that Pam had brought over for her to have. Eric had insisted that it was an extra, and Pam had confirmed that. Apparently, at Fangtasia, Eric had been prone to throwing his laptop across the room whenever he became frustrated―especially during the year that Sookie had been missing―so Pam had gotten extras to have on hand as back-up.
Sookie smiled at Jesus. “Why don’t you go ahead and open a bottle.” She gestured toward the wine. “We should celebrate you takin’ Eric’s job offer. Plus, today, I need your help before Eric wakes up, and I think we should relax a bit too.”
Jesus nodded and took the steaks with him to put into the refrigerator. When he returned a few minutes later, he had three glasses and the opened wine bottle.
Lafayette grabbed the glasses, poured them each a drink, and then settled onto the couch next to Sookie. “Okay, what’s up, hooker?”
“Well,” Sookie said. “The first thing I need to do is to get a ring for Eric, and I need your help. As you know, he got me this for our pledging,” she held up her left hand, “and I wanna ring on his finger too!”
Jesus laughed and Lafayette teased, “Possessive much, bitch?”
Sookie chuckled, “Yep―a girl’s gotta mark her property, you know!”
They all chuckled at that.
“Well―what kind of ring are you thinkin’ of getting, Sook?” Jesus asked.
“I’ve picked one already,” Sookie said excitedly. “But Eric has no idea.” She quickly opened a webpage displaying a beautiful white gold ring. The design around the whole ring was a series of loops. “It’s a Celtic knot,” she said proudly. Unconsciously, she reached behind her neck and thumbed her necklace knot. “Knots are kind of a thing with us,” she smiled shyly.
“Is it silver?” Lafayette asked.
“No―white gold. And I can have it engraved too! It’ll take a while to get because it has to be specially ordered and made, but I think it’s perfect.”
“It’s beautiful,” Jesus said. “Why do you need our help if you’ve already picked it?”
Sookie bit her lip. “Two things. First—I want for it to be delivered to your house instead of here. Second—I don’t know Eric’s ring size, and I don’t wanna ask because it’s supposed to be a surprise. I thought about asking Pam, but she might have to tell Eric if he senses I’m up to something through the bond. So I was wonderin’ if there are any spells or anything you could do to help me figure it out.”
Jesus laughed. “That’s it? Sure, Sook. We’ll figure something out.”
Sookie brightened. “Thanks!”
“That all, hooker?” Lafayette asked.
Sookie shook her head. “No,” her tone had turned serious. “I need you to help me figure out how to tell Sam that I’m quitting.”
“‘Bout damned time!” Lafayette said loudly, causing both Sookie and Jesus to gasp.
Lafayette looked that both of them. “Sook, you know that you’s too good for that place. And I can’t even imagine what it must be like to hear all the red-necked, fucked-up shit that travels through the heads of all them nimrods and fuckwits that goes through that place! You can do anythin’ you wants now, baby girl. Hell, you can lie in you’s bed with that hunk of man that you’s got all day long if you wants to!” Under his breath, he added, “Fuck, I’d be tempted.”
Sookie laughed at this. Luckily for Lafayette, so did Jesus.
Lafayette continued, “All I’m tryin’ to say is that you’s can do anythin’ now. You’s can go to college or travel or open up your own ‘telepath for hire’ business.” He used air quotes around the last part of his sentence.
“Yeah,” Jesus agreed. “Sook, you can be anything you want! You should take advantage of that. I know I am. Because of Eric, I’m going to get to study and learn about witchcraft in ways I never imagined before, and I’m pretty sure that because of Eric, I will even get to meet others like me―other demons.”
Lafayette shook his head and looked at his beloved. “You’s better be glad I love you,” he said playfully. “That demon head you can sprout is some fucked up shit.”
Jesus laughed, “So is the fact that you can ‘see dead people.’” He used air quotes around the quote from The Sixth Sense.
Sookie giggled. “We are quite the group. I’m a fairy and a telepath. Eric’s a vampire. You both are witches. You’re a demon.” She looked at Jesus. “And you’re a medium,” she turned to Lafayette.
“And there’s a big kitty cat outside, and another guy that can turn into all kinds of animals,” Lafayette added.
“And a bunch of Werewolves working on building a new workshop for Eric out back!” Sookie added laughing.
They laughed together for a few minutes as Lafayette poured them all another glass of wine, finishing the bottle.
Sookie looked with great affection at her two friends. “Suddenly, I feel really, really normal!”
They all laughed again.
Finally Jesus spoke up, “Sam will understand, Sook. He wants what’s best for you―above everything else. And this is best.”
Sookie nodded. “Thanks boys. Thanks so much.” She got up, hugged them both, and then retrieved her cell phone before sitting back on the couch. “Well, here goes nothin’.” She dialed; Sam picked up on the second ring.
“Sook? You okay?” he asked on the other end of the line, obviously having checked caller I.D. before answering.
“Yeah,” Sookie said, taking a deep breath. “I’m fine, Sam. But I need to talk to you. Can we talk after my shift tomorrow?”
“Sure, Sook,” Sam said. “I’ll see you tomorrow, cher.”
Sookie hung up and exhaled.
“Well that’s that, hooker,” Lafayette said.
“What are you going to do with your time after you quit?” Jesus asked.
Sookie smiled, “Right now, you boys are gonna help me figure out how to apply for admission to Bossier County Community College, and then we are gonna pick some classes that I could take online in the spring semester, but you can’t tell Eric yet. I want all this to be a surprise, okay?”
Lafayette smiled, “Bitch, I’m so proud of you that I can’t see straight.”
“Me too,” Jesus added.
For the next hour, Sookie filled out the online application. She learned that if she was admitted, she would have to go to the campus, which was just southeast of Shreveport, to take math and English placement tests. The thought of the math test made her cringe, but she was resolved to give it a try. She decided that if she were admitted, she’d try to take two online courses for the spring; Art History I and Major American Writers were the ones that stood out to her most. The prospect of learning new things thrilled her, and she knew that if she did her studies online, she and Eric would have the flexibility to travel.
“What are you smilin’ ‘bout, hooker,” Lafayette asked as he brought in the second bottle of wine.
She grinned, “I can only imagine all the conversations that Eric and I will have about the classes I’m plannin’ to take.” After a few moments, she grinned even wider, “And, I can feel him startin’ to wake up through our bond!”
She gave a quiet signal to her two friends in order to remind them not to talk about her decision to go to college, and then she closed her laptop lid. Since it was still about half an hour before sunset, she quickly got up to close the curtains in the living room while Jesus took care of the ones in the dining room and kitchen.
Lafayette had just poured them all fresh glasses of wine when she felt Eric come fully to life. She inhaled sharply and closed her eyes as she felt the emotions of her vampire come into focus through their vampire bond. She first felt his intense love and longing for her, both of which made her smile. She sent those things back through the emotional connection they shared. Next she felt amusement and what she could only describe as Eric’s wicked sense of humor and his quintessential goofiness inflame the bond. If someone had told her two years ago that the adjective “goofy” could ever be used to describe the badass Viking vampire sheriff of Area 5, she would have thought he or she was crazy. But he’d shown her—perhaps only her—that side of himself, and now she felt his mischief strongly through the bond.
Seconds later, a very naked Eric, holding the kitten, walked down the stairs slowly. “Good evening, wife,” he said casually as he petted the kitten. “Jesus. Lafayette,” he continued as he winked in the direction of the boys. He walked slowly over to Sookie and gave his currently speechless wife a peck on the cheek. “I did not know we were having company,” he said with mock apology. “If I had, I would have dressed more―appropriately.”
“No problem at all,” Lafayette managed with a stammer.
Sookie was equal parts amused, flabbergasted, and aroused by Eric’s antics.
For his part, Eric continued his casual behavior and placed the kitten on Sookie’s lap before heading toward the kitchen to prepare a TruBlood for himself. The kitten didn’t stay with Sookie, however. Instead, it jumped off of her lap and trailed his master. Eric made a show of bending over slowly in order to top off the kitten’s food bowl. The creature accepted a pet from his master and then began to eat.
Lafayette’s mouth was agape and even Jesus inhaled sharply as they both tracked Eric’s retreating ass as he completed his task and then disappeared into the kitchen.
“Shit,” Lafayette gasped, “I vote for stayin’ in bed with that all day, Sook.”
Sookie gave him a warning look and then found her voice, “Eric Northman,” she yelled, getting up from the couch; she quickly perched her hands onto her hips. “If you don’t have your skinny ass in some clothes before I count to ten, you are gonna be in some real trouble, mister!”
They all felt the air rush past them as Eric came back into the room and was in front of Sookie in a flash. “What exactly would this trouble entail, lover?” he asked naughtily.
She couldn’t help her amusement, which showed in the raise of her lips as well as a surge through the bond. “I’m countin’, Viking!” she said, hardly stifling a giggle.
Eric sighed dramatically, “Just no fun, Sookie.” He turned to Lafayette, whose mouth was agape again, and winked, “No fun at all—is she boys?”
In another flash, Eric was up the stairs, and Sookie was stomping up after him. Behind her, she heard both Lafayette and Jesus let out simultaneous curses that sounded like, “Dayum.”
“Be right back,” she said over her shoulder.
Lafayette quipped, “Take your time, hooker! I sure as hell would.”
Sookie blushed as she continued up the stairs. As soon as she had entered the bedroom, the door closed behind her, and Eric had her up against the door. His hands were all over her, and his mouth was exploring her neck.
Sookie half-heartedly tried to push him away and said, “Hey, buster, you are in trouble. Don’t think that you can,” she had to pause as his lips and tongue assaulted her earlobe even as his hands began to fondle her breasts through her shirt. She breathed heavily, “Don’t think you can distract me.” She tried to push him away again but quickly gave into his ministrations when he snaked his hands under her shirt. “Fine―distract me,” she said as she grabbed his head and pulled his lips to hers for a searing kiss.
He growled into her mouth; he needed to be inside of her. He pulled her shirt over her head and had her bra off moments later. Still with her against the door, he brought his lips to first one breast and then the other. His hands were already working her sweatpants down her hips, taking her panties along with them. He quickly removed the offending garments, leaving her only in her socks.
He checked her readiness with another growl and then picked her up and thrust into her, his hands taking most of the impact of her body against the door.
Sookie wrapped her legs and arms around him. He carried her to the bed and—still buried inside of her—pushed them both onto it, causing his cock to sink even more deeply into her welcoming core. “Eric,” Sookie gasped as she moved her hands so that she could grab hold of his beautiful shoulder blades.
Eric’s hands roved her body as if he couldn’t touch her skin enough—as if he wanted to touch her everywhere all at once. “It had been seven hours and forty two minutes since I’d been inside of you, wife,” he growled before taking her lips with his own once more. After leaving her breathless with a kiss, he added, “Too. Fucking. Long.”
He sped them toward their completion in a frenzy of touches and thrusts. She held onto him as if her life depended on it; part of her thought that it did. “Eric,” she moaned again, unable to say anything but his name even as she became certain that she’d forgotten her own.
A few minutes later, in the midst of his stimulating her clit with his fingers and his working her inner nerve bundle to perfection with his cock strokes, she burst around him and pulled him into his own release. “Fan, Sookie!” he yelled out―not quietly at all―as he joined her in orgasm. She was too busy writhing below him to scold him for the volume of his yell for the moment, so she simply enjoyed the jolts from the aftershocks of her own orgasm that were roving through her body.
The bonds between them were singing with their reconnection.
Finally able to speak, Sookie popped Eric in the arm, “You are incorrigible!”
“And you are irresistible,” my love, he said as he kissed her tenderly on the lips and looked lovingly into her eyes. “I missed you,” he almost pouted. “I needed you.”
She couldn’t help her smile. “I missed you too, but you can’t just walk around the house naked.”
He grinned. “Can’t we just call it a Scandinavian thing? Or a vampire thing?” he asked hopefully.
“No!” she said, swatting him playfully again. “You need to put on clothes when we have company.”
He tried another pout, “But Lafayette and Jesus didn’t mind.” He nuzzled her neck. “In fact, I think they quite liked the show.”
He was still above her, so she used her position to swat him on the bottom this time. Her action was met by Eric’s growl. “If you want to get out of this bed tonight,” Eric said grinding his already rigid-again cock into her thigh, “you’d better be careful about what kind of punishments you dole out.”
She moaned as the tip of his hard cock dragged across her clit. She looked up at him coquettishly, “You are a very, very dirty boy, Mr. Northman. I think that you need to get clean.”
Within moments, Eric had Sookie in the bathroom and had turned on the shower. “You need to be cleaned too, lover,” he growled. “We should save water by showering together.”
“But Lafayette and Jesus,” Sookie started.
Eric tilted his head to the side as if assessing something. “They have marinated the steaks for your dinner and are now outside talking to Miranda, who just sent Jarod out to get more steaks and beer. So you see—they are fine,” Eric whispered into her ear as he took her earlobe between his blunt teeth. He reached up to her hair and took it out of the bun that had miraculously managed to stay somewhat in place throughout their frenzied sex.
“They will be fine for a while,” he added between nibbles to her earlobe and jaw line.
Sookie sighed into him. “You are irresistible, vampire. But one day, I’m gonna get you to understand boundaries.”
He gave her a 1000-watt smile and then pulled her into the shower after him.