At precisely 5:00 p.m., Eric woke up from his day rest. He’d been awoken by Sookie’s anxiety about an hour before, but this time he woke up on his own, despite the fact that it was still fourteen minutes before the sun officially went down. Unconsciously, his hand stretched to Sookie’s side of the bed—seeking her. His action caused the kitten to stir next to him. Not finding her in bed, Eric immediately reached out through the bond to feel his beloved one. Sookie was fine―happy even―but she was not in the house. Given her range from him, he knew that she was still at Merlotte’s.
Eric couldn’t help but to chuckle at the kitten, who had laid its head back down like it weighed a thousand pounds. “You are lazy, little one. Weren’t you here when I went to sleep as well?” The kitten yawned and got up, rubbing Eric’s hand so that the vampire would be compelled to pet him. Eric chuckled louder as he complied. “Your tactic has worked, my clever one.” His phone rang, and he reached over to the nightstand to retrieve it. He knew who it was by the ringtone and from the bond.
“Sookie,” he said. “I was hoping you would be here—in bed—when I rose.” His voice was halfway between a purr and a pout.
Sookie laughed. “Sorry. I’m still at Merlotte’s.”
Eric was quiet for a moment as he tried to calm the concern creeping into him. “I know. I can feel your distance from me. Sookie,” he paused, “I do not want you away from me after dark.”
“Then you’d better get your cute ass down here as soon as the sun sets.”
He could hear the smile in her voice. “Sookie?” he questioned.
“Listen―Sam is letting us block off part of the back so that we can all watch the football game together in a big group.”
He could feel her excitement and delight at the prospect of being with her family, her friends, and especially him. He couldn’t help his smile as he continued petting the kitten. “I’ll be there minutes after sunset. Until then, keep close to Miranda.”
Sookie responded, “She’s right here. And so are Lala and Jesus and Sam. I’ll be waitin’. Oh―and Viking,” Sookie teased, “be sure to wear clothes.”
He was laughing as she hung up.
Eric gave the kitten one more pat and quickly jumped into the shower. Once there, he allowed himself a moment to recall the shower he’d shared with his wife the previous evening and stroked himself a few times at the memory. He looked down at his semi-erect cock. “I know, G.P.,” he smiled as he called his cock by the nickname Sookie had christened it with, “I want her here too, but she has other plans for us. Later,” he promised. He willed his erection away as he finished washing himself.
It was less than seven minutes until sunset when Eric stepped out of the shower, so he quickly dressed in dark jeans and a black V-neck sweater before adding his black boots. “Well, little one,” he said to the kitten, who was staring at him from the bed as he combed his hair, “do I look like a proper husband meeting up with,” he paused even though he was speaking only to the kitten so that he could try out the word, “friends for a get-together?”
The kitten yawned and flopped over.
Eric chuckled, “I will take that as a yes.” He sped downstairs. As he went, he used his senses to confirm that Scott and his crew had already left for the day; he smelled fresh cement.
It was three minutes before sunset, and he felt no danger from the sun whatsoever, especially given the fact that it was a cloudy day. He put on his leather jacket and stepped outside onto the front porch, watching the last vestiges of light escape into the trees. Jarod came around the side of the house.
“Evenin’ Eric,” the shifter greeted.
“Jarod,” Eric nodded. “I take it your woman has summoned you as well?”
Jarod chuckled. “Yes―they certainly have a way of doing that.”
“Indeed,” Eric agreed. “I will fly to Merlotte’s as soon as the sun is officially down. Bubba should be here soon. Tell him that he may come to Merlotte’s too, but ask him to wear his disguise if he does.”
“Disguise?” Jarod asked with a laugh.
“Oh yes,” Eric chuckled. “He’ll know what I mean.” And with that the sun dropped into the horizon, and Eric took off into the young night.
Jason walked into Merlotte’s with some trepidation. He glanced around the room, and when he saw that Hoyt wasn’t there, he breathed a sigh of relief. Sookie waved from across the room.
“Jason!” she yelled out.
The elder Stackhouse sibling walked across the bar, nodding to Holly and Sam as he went. Several tables had been pulled together near the large-screen television that Sam had recently installed in the back of the bar for football games. Much to Sookie’s relief, Miranda had agreed that the location was ‘secure enough’—as the Werelioness had put it. Miranda was currently standing off to the side of the forming group, watching everything that was happening in the room carefully. The bar had been filling up a bit for dinner, but was still relatively quiet.
Jason came over and gave her a big hug. “What’s all this?” he asked Sookie.
“Makin’ up for last week, Jase,” she said quietly. “I owe Eric a fun football night.”
“All right then,” Jason said, hugging her again. His eyes showed that he was still getting over his fear from Sookie’s kidnapping too. However, he quickly brightened. “Let’s get another pitcher of beer!” He paused and stammered, “And—uh, I guess—some of them blood things too, right?”
Sookie grinned at her brother. Jesus and Lafayette were already enjoying some beer as they bickered over whether to buy new furniture for their living room or bedroom first.
Much to Sookie’s delight, Arlene and Terry had agreed to join the party that night, and Coby and Lisa were fighting over how much ketchup to put onto the plate of fries that Holly had just brought over to the table. Terry was holding Mikey against his chest in a cute baby carrier; he’d been given the remote control by Sam and looked satisfied to be flipping to ESPN.
Luna, whom Sookie had met a few minutes earlier, was talking to Arlene animatedly about the schools in Bon Temps. Apparently, Luna had been Coby’s teacher the previous year. Every once in a while, Sookie noticed that Luna would glance over towards Sam, and the two would share a sweet look. Those looks made Sookie extremely happy for her friend; Sam deserved them.
“Who’s playin’ tonight anyway?” Jason asked as he took off his jacket and sat down.
“The Ravens and the Browns will share the battlefield,” Terry said seriously as he looked toward the television, which was showing the pregame show.
“The Ravens should definitely win this one,” Jason said as he sat next to Terry and poured himself a beer. The two began to talk about the great year that the Saints had been having and then began to discuss their Super Bowl chances.
Sookie looked around the table and smiled widely. The whole scene warmed her heart, and she couldn’t wait for Eric to get there. She’d texted Pam and hoped that the vampiress would be able to come later. She caught Miranda’s eye, and the two shared a knowing look as the sun disappeared outside. Both of their respective mates would soon be arriving, and Sookie had made Miranda promise to have fun after Eric got there.
Happiness filled Sookie to the brim and then overflowed about two minutes after the sun had gone down. She felt Eric drawing nearer well before she saw him, and the feeling made her rise and walk toward the door.
Through their vampire bond, she could feel his raw longing and love. There was also his anxiousness to be near her as well as contentment and happiness, which registered as two distinct emotions coming from Eric―distinct and beautiful. She sent all of these feelings back to him as she neared the door, and then suddenly he was opening it, his tall frame and broad shoulders filling the entrance. The lightness of his skin broke through the darkness coming from outside, and an energy entered the room with him, making most of the eyes in the bar/restaurant turn towards the door. His eyes, however, were only on one person, Sookie―his bonded, his wife. Upon seeing her, the vampire wanted to take her away and ravage her immediately, but it was the husband that he let take control as he swept into the room.
Of course, he could hold back only so much, and he pulled her to him for a toe-curling kiss, which she took greedily.
Meanwhile, the room greedily drank in the scene, some storing what they were witnessing for later gossip. Their friends and family, however, were just delighted by the happiness Sookie and Eric had found.
“Seven hours and four minutes,” Eric whispered into her ear after he’d broken the kiss.
“Since what?” Sookie asked quietly, a light blush washing over her face.
“Since I last tasted your lips with mine, min kván.”
She smirked up at him, “Too long?”
“Way too fucking long,” he answered with a sincere smile as he lifted her hand to his lips for a gentle kiss.
“Come on, vampire,” she giggled. “Let’s go say hi to Sam.”
Gripping his hand in hers, Sookie led him over to the bar.
“Northman,” Sam said with a nod.
“Merlotte,” Eric returned with a similar gesture.
Sookie sighed with exasperation at their stilted, though polite greeting. “Men!”
Miranda walked up next to her. “Boys,” she corrected. “Merlotte, my charge is no longer my concern. Give me a scotch.” She looked up at Eric. “I suspect you’ll pick up the tab tonight?”
“Make it your best, then,” Miranda said, once again speaking to Sam. “And send a few more pitchers over.” She winked at Sookie as she picked up the scotch Sam had poured and downed it in one gulp. Then she walked back over to the group.
“Make sure our guests are all taken care of,” Eric said to Sam.
Sookie looked up at him, “Hey, I didn’t arrange all this so that you would have to. . .”
Eric interrupted her with one of his beautiful, charming, and utterly captivating smiles. “I do not have to do anything, min kván. However, I want very much to be a good host. And, after all,” he paused with a twinkle in his eyes, “it is not just me; it is WE now.”
She smiled at him. “It is we. And WE need to talk for a minute before we go to the table.”
“You can use my office if you want,” Sam offered.
“Thanks, Sam,” Sookie smiled.
“Sam,” Eric nodded.
“Eric,” Sam nodded back as the couple went toward the back of the restaurant.
As soon as they were in Sam’s office, Eric pulled her to him and kissed her hard on the mouth before moving his lips to place fluttering kisses along her jawline and neck. “Wife, did you bring me back here to have your way with me?” he asked in a throaty voice.
She moaned as she felt his erection poke against her belly.
Sookie tried desperately to hold onto her resolve. It began to fail miserably, however, as Eric brought his large hand under her shirt and then her bra to grasp her breast. When he thumbed her nipple, she had to bite her lip to keep from crying out or begging him to fuck her right on Sam’s desk.
He pushed her shirt up and her bra down and then took that same nipple roughly into his mouth; he bit ever so gently, though he didn’t draw any blood.
“Oh God,” Sookie whimpered as her hands reached under his shirt to settle on his bare chest as if of their own accord. Somehow, however, she managed to stop herself as she thought about Sam having to work in his office. “Eric,” she pushed back on his chest with all her might. “Stop.”
Immediately his stopped his movements and removed his lips from her breast. Panting a little, he stood upright and backed away a step. He quickly composed himself. “Not the time for circus sex, wife?”
She laughed and righted her bra and shirt. “Not quite. I’m not gonna have sex with you in Sam’s office!” She popped his arm as he continued to leer at her. “No―I mean it, Northman,” she warned, though the smile in her eyes was unmistakable. “I’m not havin’ sex with you when there are three Supes out there―including my former boss―who would pick up on everything that we were doin’.”
Eric purred, “Oh Sookie, just consider all the . . . .” He stopped abruptly and looked down at Sookie with surprise. “Former?”
“Picked up on that―did you, Einstein?” she said in a teasing voice.
“Sookie?” Eric asked, not quite finding his full vocabulary yet.
Sookie smiled up at him. “I quit today, Eric. I want to give school a try. I applied to a community college in Shreveport yesterday.”
A smile began to spread on Eric’s face as she continued. “And if I get in, I’m gonna start with some online classes, so we can travel all we want―I mean, if you still want to,” she said, suddenly a little uncertain.
She shouldn’t have been. In the next second, she was being held tightly in his arms, and he was giving her a kiss that spoke volumes. Pride—as well as excitement and relief—filled the vampire bond. He lifted her up and swung her around in his embrace for a few moments. She wasn’t certain―because her lips stayed on his and her eyes were shut―but she thought that his feet might have been off the ground, just as hers were. She certainly had the sensation that they were both floating on air.
When he finally broke the kiss to allow her to breathe, she spoke up with mock hurt, “Hey―I didn’t know you hated me workin’ here that much.”
He grinned, “I did. But maybe not just for the reasons you think.”
She tilted her head, “Then why?”
“Because I am selfish and want you always by my side. Because I know that you could do anything―be anything you want to be. And because now I can take you around the world with me.” The smile on his lips was infectious.
She couldn’t help but to kiss those lips again, “Very good answer, cowboy. I think I’ll be happier too.”
He let out a sigh. “Then, that is the best part, min kära.” He brought his forehead against hers. They stayed like that for a few minutes, enjoying the warmth of their touch and the happiness in their bonds.
“We should go out there,” Sookie said after a while. “I don’t wanna be rude.”
Eric got a look of mischief in his eyes, “Your friend, the redhead―Arlene, I think it is―is speaking with the female shifter right now. She is certain that we are having sex.” He chuckled as Sookie looked horrified. “Oh―and your brother Jason overheard them talking and is speaking in regards to your virtue even now.” Eric winked.
Sookie gasped and moved toward the door, “Well then we’d really better get back out there.”
Eric stole one more long kiss and then let her lead him from the office.