LATE Chapter 009

Goodbye, Merlotte’s

 

“4 months is not much time, Eric,” Sookie started

“I’m going to have to engage contractors immediately. You need to plan our wedding – That reminds me, I have to get you a ring! What shape do you like?”

“Shape?”

“Emerald cut, princess cut, marquis, round, heart shaped….”

“What kind of ring will it be?”

“That is my choice, you just tell me what shape you like.”

“Oh, boy – OK, Emerald cut has always been my favorite.“

“Good. Now, do you call your shifter or do I?”

“Sam – what for?”

“You are quitting your job. You can do it, or I can.”

‘I can’t….”

“You can and you will. You KNOW that’s what your instincts are telling you, Sookie. I need to keep you close and you need a lot of rest. Merlotte’s is done.”

“Yeah, I guess so. Amelia took my shift tonight.”

“Good. The Shifter can plug her into your schedule with no problems. I won’t even have to send a girl from Fangtasia.”

“I was afraid you were going to jump on that when she said it.”

“Things are working out perfectly as far as I am concerned. I’ve wanted you to quit Merlotte’s for years. I’ve wanted you to live here. Now even you must agree that these are the most desirable arrangements?”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah – you’re too pleased with yourself, ya know.”

“Expectant fathers who have sired extraordinary sons are allowed to crow a bit, my lover.”

Sookie laughed, “Yes, I suppose they are. So two weeks, huh? I’ll go stir crazy.”

“Your instincts are strong. That is a wonderful sign. You have too much to do to be “stir crazy.” Start another list.”

She turned the page on the steno pad. “OK, what is this list for?”

“Things that have to get done before the baby comes.”

“OK, so I guess buying a car is one?”

“Yes, and getting some maternity clothes.”

“Getting a nursery set up.”

“Putting a wedding together.”

‘That’s a lot of stuff.”

“See what I mean, lover? No time to be bored there.”

“How am I going to do all of this?”

“You’re going to use the internet.”

“I’ll have to live in your office.”

“You’ll be fine right on this bed. I’m getting you a laptop and there’s already a wireless network here in the house.”

“I’m not staying in bed for two weeks.”

“No, but you’re spending a lot of time there over the next two weeks, so make up your mind to make the most of it.”
“Would there be any point in saying I don’t need a laptop?”

“None.”

“You’re taking advantage of this situation to spend money on me.”

“What a horrible guy, I am, wanting to buy you things! Unforgivable!”

“More money than Croesus, huh?”

“Ludwig might actually have known Croesus, so take her word for it.”

“I looked that expression up once – they used it in Tombstone

“Someone put it on a tombstone?”

“No, the movie Tombstone. You know, Wyatt Earp? Doc Holliday?”

“This is another movie you are going to make me watch?”

“Yep.”

“Maybe I should buy a video rental store…”

“I thought you said you had enough businesses”

“That was before I was supporting a family.”

“If we need money, I could keep my job…”

“Nice try, lover. I have more money than you could spend in three lifetimes, so you might as well call Sam now and get it over with.”

“I feel weird.”

“Weird?”

“How am I going to explain it to him? I’m just leaving with no notice?”

“Alright.” Eric took out his cell phone and pressed a button.“Yes, may I speak to Sam Merlotte, please?”

“What are you doing? Stop!” She tried to grab his phone but he held it too high.

“Shifter, this is Northman. Sookie has been advised by her doctor that she needs complete rest for two weeks, so she will not be working at your bar. Two weeks, yes, but she won’t be back at all. She has more pressing matters to attend to here in Shreveport. Her Witch Amelia should be able to help you out until you find a permanent replacement. No need for you to speak to her. Her situation has changed and she will not be back. Goodbye.”

“Eric I can’t believe you did that!”

“Believe it, it is done. Cross it off your list and move to the next item.”

“I owe Sam an explanation!”

“You owe your child a well-rested mother. THAT is your priority now.”

“Ah, you… I … AHHHHH!”

“Can’t think of a comeback?”

“You know I hate it when you get all… all. “

“Commanding? Domineering?”

“Yeah, that. It makes me feel like you want to keep me barefoot and pregnant.”
“Sookie, do you really think that is what I want?”
“No.”

“You are ready to pitch a fit because I said something that was completely accurate. Why?”

“I hate being dependent.”

“I know that. You are not dependent. You could leave me right now and be just fine if you had to, even with the baby. You have chosen, however, to be with me and you are having my child. That means I care more about your well-being than your job in a shitty bar.”

“Hey. Be nice.”
“You be reasonable. You have finer things to offer than your services as a bar wench and you know it. If you cast your mind back, three vampires and their companion were murdered by rednecks that frequent Merlotte’s. How are they, or the FOTS your coworker hangs out with for that matter, going to feel about having what they would consider the spawn of Satan growing in your womb right in front of their eyes?” He put his hands on her shoulders so she was facing him squarely, “It isn’t safe for you there, Sookie, it hasn’t been for a long time. You heard what Dr. Ludwig said about Bill – what if he came to Merlotte’s while you were working?”

“Bill wouldn’t…”

“Sookie, I’ve seen what happens when your safety comes into conflict with Bill’s instincts. He has very little control of his primal nature. Keep in mind, lover, that if he were to harm you or the baby, I would kill him slowly and painfully. You would be endangering not only your life and the baby’s, you’d be risking his, too, and why? So you can serve drinks to dregs of Bon Temps?”

“ALRIGHT. You win. It’s done, anyway.”

“Good. I hope you unlearn that habit in time.”

“What habit?”
“The habit of having a knee-jerk reaction just because you feel like you should. You are smart enough to know that what I am saying is right, but you still felt the need to argue. It is not an attractive quality and it keeps us fighting about nothing instead of enjoying our time together.”

’Yeah, I guess it does. I just don’t want to be a doormat.”

“That remark is demeaning to me and to you. WE are above this pettiness, lover. You know that is never going to happen. It is not who we are.”

“You know I love you, right?”

“Yes, my lover, and you know that I love you. There is no real conflict here, so don’t invest energy in acting as if there is.”

She puffed her cheeks and blew out the air.

“OK. Now what?”

“Now you must eat. Let’s go down to the kitchenette. I got a message from Alicia that told me to have you check the refrigerator. Remind me to give the maids your cell number. If you are going to be living here, you will need to start overseeing their work.’

‘I will?”
“Of course, dear one. As my wife, the domestic staff will be yours primarily. You will be the Lady of the Manor, so to speak.”

“Do I have to start playing bridge and drinking in the afternoons, too?”

“Your hobbies are up to you. Yes, I know you are joking, but you really do need to start thinking like my partner and not my pet. “

“Isn’t that how everybody sees me anyway.” She was pouting.

“You don’t have to let other people define you. You have the money and position to do anything you want, my lover. You can spend your days shopping, or sunbathing or you could go back to school when the baby is old enough – you can almost literally do anything you want.”

“Really? I mean, seriously, I can do anything I want?”

“Yes.”

“Can we fly to Paris for dinner some time?

“Yes.”

“Can we go skiing?”
“We will – I love to ski and there is a resort that caters to Vampires in Aspen”

“Can I move to Hollywood and make movies?”

“If that is what you want, it can be arranged. Should I begin looking for houses there?”

“No, I was just trying to think of something outrageous you’d have to say no to.”

“You failed, lover.”

“Yes, I did.”

‘I know you’d kill me if I had sex with another man.”

“In a manner of speaking.”

“What if I had sex with a girl?”

“What?!” Eric was half laughing and half shocked. ”Sookie, what has gotten into you?”

“I’m just thinking out loud…”

“You are testing me, lover – you are trying to see how far you can push me before I put my foot down.”

“Yeah, sort of. You didn’t answer me.”

“I’m not going to answer that.” Eric walked out of the room and headed down the stairs. She followed him, running a little to keep up.

“Everything in here is pink,” he said, looking around.

“You never noticed that before?”

“No. Do you like pink that much?”

“Kind of, yeah. I thought Alicia did a good job in here.”

“If you are happy, I am happy, my lover.”

He opened the refrigerator door “Look at this, Sookie – do you like “Chicken Parmesan?””

“I love it – is that what’s in there?”

He handed here a large bag with a food container in it. “There’s also a big Tupperware canister full of something green.”

“That’s my Caesar Salad. We talked about that today.”

“You spoke to Alicia today?”

“Yes”

“And told her what to make for you?”

“Sort of.”

“And asked her if she’d see to your needs concerning the baby?”

“Yes.”

Eric smiled from ear to ear.

“What are you so happy about?”

“You are becoming more comfortable here. You are getting used to having servants and accepting help from them. That is wonderful progress, I thought it would take much longer for you to adapt.”

“So that’s a good thing? “

“Yes, it’s a very good thing. It will make life much easier for both of us.”

“OK. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.”

“That is what is wonderful about it. There was a time when it would have been a very big deal to you. I’m glad we have grown past that.” He kissed her on the forehead, then walked across to the bistro table and had a seat.

Sookie put her food in the microwave.

“We need a bigger chair in here for you so you can keep me company sometimes when I eat.”

“Put it on the list, or just leave a note for Alicia. This one is a little small for someone my size.”

“Yeah, that’s for small people, not big old Vikings.”

“Would you prefer I were smaller?”

“I wouldn’t change anything about you, Eric. Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am.”

“I felt the same way when you took me in off the road when I was cursed. I couldn’t believe this beautiful, brave woman was taking me in out of the cold. I will never forget that feeling, my lover.” He was looking down at the table. Sookie walked over behind his chair and wrapped her arms around his neck.

“You know how you always think things are destiny?”

“Yes.”

“I think that was. I think you were out on that road so I could find you and we could spend time together without you being Sheriff for a few days so I could see what you were really like.”

“I agree. I was confused about it for a long time, but if we had not had that time together, I know we would not be together now. Hallow did me a favor in a way.”

The bell on the microwave went off and Sookie went to get her plate and a fork. She came back and sat opposite Eric. “I am SO hungry!”

“You are eating for two now – eat a lot.”

‘If I eat a lot, you’ll get me a personal trainer.”

“Exactly.”

“Exactly but I don’t want that.”

“I thought we settled this.”

“Did we?”

“Yes. I convinced you it was for your health and that of the baby.”

“Whatever. This is SO good! I wonder why there’s no garlic bread in the bag.”

“Think about it, Sookie.”

“Oh yeah, garlic.”

“All of my staff knows it is strictly forbidden. I don’t even allow it in the garden where it would do some good;”

“What would it do out there?’

“Roses and garlic grow well together. It would be good for the roses but I just can’t take the smell.”

‘So what are we doing tonight since we aren’t going to Fangtasia?”

“What would you like to do, my lover? Are you feeling any better?”

“Honestly? I want to soak in the tub with you and then fuck your brains out.”

Eric laughed out loud. She almost thought she saw a bloody tear in his eye, he was laughing so hard.

“That, my lover, is a promise. As a matter of fact, you finish your meal, and I’m going to go up and make a few preparations. Is that ok?”

“Yes. I’ll be up in about 20 minutes.”

He kissed her on the head and ran up the stairs, vampire style. She had a feeling it was going to be a good night.

 

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