LATE Chapter 055

Sabrina’s Web

 

“Sookie? Time to drink.” Alicia shook her gently and she opened her eyes.

“‘Morning, Alicia,” she smiled and drank from the straw as Alicia held the bottle. When she was done she smiled and said “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome dear. I’ll see you in two hours.”

Sookie was back to sleep before she was out of the room. The 9 o’clock and 11 o’clock feedings went pretty much the same way, but Sookie was up for breakfast at 1:00. Salmon! Yay!

She looked at the note from Eric.

My beautiful wife,

Last night was wonderful. If you feel up to it, be ready to go to Fangtasia with me tonight. I feel like showing you off. If not, stay in bed, but if so, I’ll shower quickly and we’ll go. It’s the last night before Pam’s vacation so we can say goodbye to her. 

Don’t forget to feed the baby. 

I love you very much.

Your Husband,

Eric

That was weird, she thought. She was supposed to be spending time in bed but he suddenly wanted to take her to Fangtasia? Her eyes got big when she thought maybe he wanted to take her to the basement at Fangtasia and that sounded like lots of fun. She wouldn’t say anything to him, but that’s what she was hoping for – something wild and kinky and extreme. She could still hear Eric’s voice in her ear, reading that book to her, making her feel sexy and safe in his arms. She thought hard for a minute. Did she dream about Eric? What did she dream…when? She knew she had another important dream recently, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. The concept of Lucid Dreaming was going through her mind. Why? Did she do that? It was right on the edge of consciousness for her. Whatever – she shook it off and hoped it would come to her later.

She wolfed down the salmon and bagels, drank 2 bloods and put her swimsuit on. She grabbed the iPod, wondering when and how it got back on the charging station. It had to be Alicia or Eric, but she wasn’t sure which one. She grabbed her tote and headed down to the pool.

“Hey, Alicia, Hey, Margaret – I’m going out.” She was happy and bouncy anticipating some kinky sex tonight. Please, please let that be why he’s taking me there, she thought. She had just settled onto a mattress when Bjorn came out.

“Hey, Bjorn! Isn’t it nice out today?”

“Yes, your majesty, it’s very warm and sunny.”

“Don’t you even think about standing in this heat. Get over there under an umbrella so I don’t feel so guilty about making you stay out here.”

“Don’t feel guilty ma’am, it’s my job.”

“Yeah, but still – I wish you could swim with me.”

“I couldn’t protect you very well that way, though.”

“True. It would be fun though. I’ll be glad when Bobbie gets back. We have fun out here. Eric swam with me last night, but it gets lonely in the daytime and I like to sunbathe. It’s my only vice,” She laughed. She was obviously in a really good mood today.

She was quiet for a few minutes and he tried to get the image of being in the water with her out of his mind. He had heard through the guards’ grapevine about the sexcapades in the pool last night between the King and Queen. It was obviously very, very good to be that particular King, if even half of that story was true. Would that girl actually get naked and have sex out in the open like that, then let him walk out of the pool with her wrapped around his waist, bare before the whole world? Maybe she didn’t know people could see her? He thought about telling her but he was afraid the King would have his head for ruining his fun if she didn’t. As much as he might want to spare her some undue embarrassment, he wanted to stay on that King’s good side, or at least stay off his bad side, more.

The King made no secret of the fact he wasn’t crazy about Bjorn, and he probably knew Bjorn wasn’t crazy about him. He figured he still had a job because he was the closest available thing to him being with her in the daytime. That might be the problem, though – he had access to her when the King was unconscious. That must suck to be out of it for half the day. No matter how tough he is, there’s still a part of the day that he can’t do anything to protect her. In fact, she had saved him when that hotel was bombed. Not many people would do that for another person – that alone would make you fall in love with her. He couldn’t blame him for wanting her, but he was determined to figure out what she saw in him. She had mentioned sex with him twice – maybe that’s the key? Could he possibly be that good in bed? He’d heard a lot of stories about her screaming and moaning. There were stories of him moaning and calling out her name too and he was dying to know what she did that would make that big Vamp lose control that way if it was true. Bjorn had been with a lot of women and he didn’t remember ever calling out a girl’s name like that. He’d love to know what that was about.

“BJORN!” “BJORN!” Sookie and Alicia both called his name.

“Yes?”

“Would you like some sweet tea?” Alicia laughed.

“Oh, yes, thank you.” Damn – what was he doing? He was supposed to be watching for danger and here he let his boss and her maid catch him daydreaming… about her! Damn – there was no way he could get back the advance he took for this job so he was going to have to deal with this for at least 6 months. He needed to think about finding a girlfriend in the area. Sabrina was OK for an occasional marathon, but she was the very definition of high maintenance and he had heard some serious horror stories from the guards that worked for her. In the end, the only ones that stayed were the ones she didn’t find attractive because she’d leave them alone. If she decided you should belong to her, though, look out. She’d go after your new girl, her family, your friends, her friends, your job, you name it.

She had to beg him to even give her his cell number and he only did that so he wouldn’t have to try and chase her down if she was in the mood to be friendly. He knew if she had an open night he’d get a call from her. Sabrina didn’t do “alone” – she wanted a man around all the time, no matter what she was doing. He had made it clear to her not to call unless she planned to spread her legs, and that’s what she did so far. He was not the guy that was going to go shopping with her or fix her sink. He was strictly in it for the sex in her case. He was going to need something regular to handle Sookie Syndrome and seeing Sabrina that much was probably not an option. Even if she was available that much, the more he saw her, the more likely she was to get attached to him and he didn’t want her thinking of him as relationship material.

“Bjorn?”

“Yes, ma’am?”

“Do you have any friends in the area?”

“No, ma’am, just business contacts.”

“Have you ever been to Fangtasia? My husband’s club in town?”

“I met somebody there once but I didn’t stay. I didn’t know how they’d feel about Weres there. ”

“Pretty much anything goes there, though it’s mostly a tourist trap. Humans who have a thing for Vamps go there, or tourists who want to think they’re walking on the wild side. There are a lot of open-minded girls there, though, and now that Eric is off the market, the field is wide open. A lot of them will be looking for someone new.”

“He… got around a lot?”

“He was the main attraction for a lot of them – men and women, though he won’t tell me if he ever did it with a guy. I don’t even want to think about how many women he’s been with in a thousand years. I’m sure the number at Fangtasia alone would keep me up nights,” she laughed.

“Quite a ladies’ man, huh?”

“Oh, yeah, but now he’s MINE and nobody can touch him without my permission.”

“Have you ever given anyone permission?”

“Only because I was touching her, too.” She laughed. Why was she talking to him about sex again? And why would she tell THAT? It had to be the Swedish thing.

FUCK – now he had the image of Sookie, the King and another woman in his head.

“A friend of yours?”

“No, his – another Vampire.” She had had sex with a male and female Vampire at the same time? And her ex was a Vamp, too? Damn, this girl loved fangs.

“Please tell me her name was not Sabrina?”

“Ew – no way. The only Vampire named Sabrina that I know is a… well, I can’t say that word, but she is one.”

Uh-oh – do they know each other? He was suddenly very focused on something other than Sookie’s legs.

“The Sabrina I know is a Sheriff,” he said.

“You don’t like her, do you?” Sookie was obviously horrified.

LIE, DUMMY! “No, I just worked for her once. She’s the only female Vamp I know around here, but I don’t know that many people.”

“She brought my ex-boyfriend all the way to Las Vegas to try and ruin my engagement party. And then she ditched him to flirt with Creepy Felipe.”

“You mean de Castro?”

“Yeah, he was always touching me. It made my skin crawl. He licked my palm one time… and he tried to… mess with me.” She was making faces and shaking her hands to illustrate how he creeped her out.

‘And now he’s dead. That’s one rumor that seems to be true.’ Bjorn thought to himself. He needed to know this story and he needed to know it now, so he just got straight to it because Sookie wouldn’t think anything of it. “Why would Sabrina try to ruin your engagement party?”

“She thinks she should be with Eric, but he never had any interest in her, or if he ever did, he doesn’t now. She’s jealous of me.”

THAT’S why Sabrina wanted him to go for this job so badly. She wanted to pump him for information and she hoped throwing him in front of Sookie might cause her a problem. She was hoping he’d be attracted to Sookie and that Sookie would be attracted to him. Now that he knows this, how does he use it? And the fact still remains that he IS attracted to Sookie and he can’t leave this job. He couldn’t believe that he fell into one of Psycho Sabrina’s traps. You had to give it to her – she was good at being evil.

“So you worked for her?”

“Just some under the table stuff. Never officially. I wouldn’t trust her enough to give her my address or Social Security number.”

“You’re smart, then. I wouldn’t trust her, either. Eric really chewed her out the night he was appointed. He told her he better never see her disrespect me again.”

She had a personal vendetta against the King? Great, just fucking great. Does he tell Vincent? The King? He couldn’t let Sabrina know he knew what she was up to, that was for damn sure. She was crazy and vindictive. He was sure she was probably in the club when Eric killed Victor and the crazy bitch was still going to mess with his wife?

“I’m glad you trusted Eric enough to work for him. He’s really generous to his employees. He pays well for good service and he rewards loyalty. People that work for him really like him.”

“He does pay unusually well.” She was right about that, and he had heard from other sources that Northman was great to work for. It’s one of the reasons he took this job. The more he thought about it, the more he thought he needed to just tell the King what was up. Maybe it was a way to get on his good side? At any rate, this was technically a plot against the Queen and it was his job to warn him that Sabrina was gunning for his wife.

Alicia came out and handed Sookie a bottle of blood. When she went back in the house, Bjorn asked about it. “Is that what I think it is?”

Sookie put her fingers up to her lips to tell him to be quiet. “Yeah, they don’t know.”

“For the baby?”

“Yeah.” She nodded.

“Doesn’t it taste bad?

“No, it tastes good. It’s like I crave it – I guess because the baby needs it.”

“Is it worth all this?”

“Oh, yes – it’s a dream come true. The only reservation I ever had about being with Eric was that I could never have his baby. This is an amazing gift.”

“That was the only reservation?” He found that impossible to believe.

“I was never crazy about the Vampire politics stuff, but I love Eric and this is our life, so I deal with it. It’s worth it all to be with him. I never thought I could be this happy. I never thought I would be married or have a baby – I thought I was always going to be alone. I never dared dream my life would be this good.”

“But you’re gorgeous – why would you think that?”

“I can’t be around humans – they’re all afraid of me because I’m telepathic. I never had a boyfriend until I met Bill. I can’t hear Vampires so I can be normal with them. I never had that before.”

“Can you hear me?”

“Now and then. It’s harder with…” she looked around to make sure the maids weren’t where they could hear, “Weres for some reason and since I’m drinking so much of Eric’s blood, it’s a lot easier for me to screen thoughts out so I’m actually having some peace for the first time, ever. You wouldn’t believe what a relief it is.”

“What have you heard from me?” This was not going to be good.

“I know you like my legs.” She smiled at him. “And I know you know not to mess with Eric. That’s about it, though.”

“Really?”

“Really. Believe me, I’ve heard it all, being around people, especially when I worked in a bar. You wouldn’t believe what goes on in the minds of perfectly normal seeming human beings. I’m sort of … un-shock-able when it comes to random thoughts or fantasies. I don’t really get words from you – what you project is more like pictures. Mostly of my legs.” She was teasing him a little now to get him to relax. “Just relax, OK? I’ve had a lifetime of people being afraid of me. I like being around Supes because you get it – you know what it’s like to be different.”

“Aren’t you one, though?”

“Technically, I guess, but I never knew it – I never knew what it meant or about some of my ancestry. As far as I knew I was the only one like me until I was about 25 and I met Bill.”

“And you’re already Queen? That’s quite a change.”

“Yeah, it is, but I was lucky to meet some good Supes or I’d probably be dead now, I was so innocent and trusting.”

“You still seem that way.”

“Yeah, I guess I am, in some ways, but I’m old in other ways, if you know what I mean. I lost my parents really young, I was abused by a family member, and my Gran who raised me was murdered by someone who wanted to kill me because I dated a Vampire. Believe me, I know who the real monsters are.”

“I didn’t know that about your…”

“Grandmother. She was pretty much all I had in the world. I have a brother but he’s kind of wild and we aren’t really close, though he did manage to give me away at the wedding, mostly because Eric’s child, Pam took care of him for me. She’s taking him to Hawaii with her, though, so she obviously didn’t mind.”

“The Pam that runs Fangtasia now? Eric is her Maker?”

“Yeah, she’s cool. She sort of has a sense of humor and not a lot of Vamps do. Eric does, though, He can be really funny. He can do everything well, and he knows everything. He can explain things in ways that other people can’t. He’s been all over the world and lived through so many different ages and cultures, it’s like you can’t even imagine.”

“You sound like you’re star-struck. Like a little girl talking about a movie star or something.”

“Being with Eric is kind of like that. He’s the ultimate Prince Charming. He’s beautiful, he’s romantic, he’s sexy, he’s a Viking warrior – how cool is that? You should see him fight with a sword. He loves to fight and even the baby knows it. You should see the way he dances with me, the way he twirls me and makes me fly. He’s like something out of a movie. I can’t believe how lucky I am.”

She really meant that, he could tell. That’s how she saw that big Vampire. He was her Prince Charming. He took her from a sad little life where no one cared about her except one person who wound up being killed because of her and he gave her all of this – the big house, love, sex, a swimming pool, big diamonds, fancy cars, gorgeous clothes and now even an impossible, miracle baby. He took a sad, lonely little girl and made her a Queen. That’s the attraction. He got it now. What woman wouldn’t fall in love with that?

He had to admit Eric was good looking and women go for guys like that – tall, slim, long hair, extravagant, over-the-top, he dressed well, and he bragged about Sookie like… like she deserved. He was her dream, she was his. That’s why he’d kill for her, and that’s why she wasn’t afraid of him. There was no point in ever being interested in Sookie – she was HIS. Nobody would ever compare to him in that girl’s eyes. Maybe nobody should. He saw what was in her before anyone else did and he did what it took to bring it out of her. He was smart enough to know a good thing when he saw it. He had to give him credit for that.

Well, damn it, he was definitely going to tell Eric what Sabrina was up to. Sookie deserved to be safe, so he was going to keep his job and make sure she was, and part of that would be making sure Psycho Sabrina didn’t mess things up for her. He went from lusting after Sookie to feeling protective of her. Like she said, she finally had some peace, and he was going to make sure it lasted. Maybe her real brother didn’t look out for her the way he should have, but he would. Between him and Eric, nobody was going to hurt that girl again.

Alicia came out with another blood for Sookie and she drank it right down, and they talked about what Sookie wanted for dinner. Fried chicken, though she knew it wasn’t really good for her, but the maids thought she needed to gain weight and he could see that. Except for the baby bulge, the rest of her was small. Even he could tell she wasn’t as heavy as she should be to be pregnant. If she got sick, there was nothing extra for her to lose. It was like her little body couldn’t keep up with the baby.

“You want to have some fried chicken with us for dinner, Bjorn?”

“No, ma’am, thank you. I’ll need to stay to talk to your husband a bit, and then I’ll be on my way. That’s nice of you to ask, though.”

“Well, listen, any time you want to stay for dinner, you feel free. If you’re going to be around this much, you’ll be part of the family like everybody else who works here, OK?”

“OK, I’ll remember that.” She really was that sweet. If anyone asked him, he’d tell them that rumor is absolutely true. She’s an Angel.

Sookie rolled off the mattress and lay across it sideways, floating around.

“I never saw anybody use a mattress that way,” he teased her.

“I want to get some sun on my back. It’s hard to balance face down on these things and I can’t really put any pressure on Baby E.”

“Baby E?”

“Yeah, Baby Eric. His name is going to be Eric Alexander, and we’ll probably call him Alex, but for right now he’s Baby E to me and Eric is the Big E.”

“So you can feel him, right? Do you know anything about him?”

“I’m pretty sure he’s going to have blond hair and blue eyes like Eric. I hope he has Eric’s blue eyes. Mine are blue, too, but his are really bright blue and they sparkle sometimes. But yeah, he’s supposed to look like Eric specifically so no one will doubt Eric is his father.”

“Yeah, I can see where that might be a problem.”

“That’s why we had Felipe announce it. Part of it was to get his protection for the baby, too, but part of it was so people would know it really was his baby.”

“How did that happen?”

“Magick. I don’t know any of the particulars, just that some of my qualities and some of his qualities were combined. I think he’s going to be telepathic because sometimes he reacts to what I’m thinking. I was already pregnant before we knew anything about it.”

“Is it true a member of the Council made it happen?”

“Well, I guess so, he just got appointed or whatever to the Council.”

“Is he a relative?”

“People aren’t really supposed to know but he’s my great grandfather. I’ve only known him a couple of years, though.”

“And he didn’t ask you first?”

“No, he just did it. We kind of think he didn’t want to give Eric a chance to say no, but Eric has been excited about it from the very beginning.”

“What would you have said if he’d asked you?”

“I might have waited a couple of years, but the only real hang up about being with Eric was knowing I could never have his baby and it made me really sad sometimes, so I’m thrilled. I get the best of all worlds this way.”

“And your great grandfather thought you being with Eric was the best thing for you?”

“We were already blood bonded, so Eric wasn’t going anywhere, and my telepathy kind of makes me a target for Supes that want to exploit me so I needed protection, and he figured this way Eric would marry me and I’d have access to all his money and he’d take care of us. He was looking out for me, in his own way. He made sure I’d be taken care of, and that I’d get to have a family.”

“Yeah, I can see that. He set you up for life this way and he did it by giving you something you wanted but didn’t know you could have.”

“Yep and so far it’s working out great. Eric is so happy about the baby. You know he goes into the nursery every night and looks at the stuff and opens the playpen and stuff to see how it works. When he goes to rest every day he looks at the Internet and reads about pregnancy and babies. He’s lived so long that I think anything different is a welcome change to him. For a thousand years he never thought he could have a son and it turns out he really wanted one.”

“Yeah, he was very happy when I drove you to the hospital the other night. I never heard a guy so crazy about a baby.”

“I think he has the ultrasound picture in his resting place, because the one he left on my nightstand is a copy. He probably thought I wouldn’t notice, but I did. He was so fascinated with getting to see his son’s face. Sometimes when I’m asleep he just lies there and listens to the baby’s heartbeat. You should see his face when the baby moves and he can put his hand on my tummy and feel it. He’s just fascinated with the whole process. I can’t wait to see how he is at the birth.”

“He won’t be there, will he? All that blood?”

“He says he’ll drink RM and handle it. He wants to be there. Part of it is also because he’s always there to take care of me when I’m in pain. He’s stayed with me at some times when other Vamps and Weres ran off and left me. He has enough control of himself to deal with the blood. He stayed with me all night once when I got staked.”

“You got staked?”

“Yeah, a member of the FOTS tried to stake a woman that worked for Russell Eddington and I warned her and got in the middle of it and he staked me. The Were I was with ran off in a bloodlust but Eric was there in disguise and he stayed with me all night and got me the healing I needed. He let me dig my nails into his hands when they pulled the stake out. Of course, next morning when I was better he made a pass at me…” she laughed. “He was always after me to leave Bill for him back then. As it turned out, Bill wasn’t what he seemed and I left him anyway, but Eric wouldn’t let me go no matter how much I said I didn’t want him. The thing is, I did always want him and I was afraid of it. He always knew, though. I wanted him the minute I saw him and he wanted me, too. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes. He’s amazing.”

‘It always comes back to him for her. Lucky guy, but it sounds like he’s earned it,’ he thought, ‘he’s been there when she needed him. They’ve been through such intense trauma together, dynamite couldn’t get them apart – literally. They’re like war buddies.’

“War Buddies? That’s a good one.”

“I thought you didn’t hear words from me?”

“That one was real strong. You’ve got a strong emotional response to war concepts. I guess that’s from your time in the military. That could come in handy.”

“It could?”

“Yeah, if we’re ever like, under fire or something, you can think at me and I’ll know what you’re telling me. Once you get used to it, it will be handy.”

“Hmmm – I’ll take your word for it.”

She laughed at him.

“You can’t read Vampires, though, so that’s no good.”

“Well, not exactly. If Vamps are around, they’re like blank spaces. I just count the blanks and I know how many and where they are. That came in handy in the Witch War.”

“You mean that showdown with Hallow’s group? Were you part of that?”

“Yeah, I went in first and told people how many there were and where they were in the building.”

“You did reconnaissance for the Witch War?”

“I guess – is that what you call it?”

“Eric let you walk into that?”

“He was cursed then and didn’t know who he was, so I was taking care of him. I took him into it, even though he tried to get me to take him home and marry him.”

“Even when he didn’t know who he was, he was after you?” he laughed.

“Yeah, he was. If it hadn’t been for that time, we wouldn’t be together now. I got to see who he was when he wasn’t the Big Bad Boss Vampire. There’s a part of him that only I get to see that’s all anyone would ever want. He’s cool with the people that work for him, too, as long as they do what they’re getting paid to do. The rest of it is politics and war – and he’s good at it. The best.”

“Yeah, I heard he’s not somebody you want to mess with.”

“Exactly. People that do…”

“Don’t live long?”

“Something like that. Sometimes they just aren’t around anymore.” She sounded a little sad and resigned about that.

“Doesn’t that scare you?”

“No, he would never hurt me. I know that. I’ve seen him hungry and in bloodlust and he didn’t hurt me. I’ve seen him in war, with his eyes shining and he protected me and kissed me then went back to the fight screaming like nothing you’ve ever heard.”

“Yeah, the battle cry. Everybody is talking about that. The night he became King there was a skirmish outside… Fangtasia, is it?”

“Yeah.”

“And they say he made a sound that a human couldn’t even imagine and people froze in the streets and stopped fighting and he just told them to pledge fealty or die and everybody there knew they damned well better do what he said.”

“I wasn’t where I could hear the battle cry that night, but I heard it once when he was defending Sophie Ann. Some guy had his head cut off and Eric grabbed it and said “bowling for Vampires” and threw it at a guy and knocked him down. He loves a good fight – even when he didn’t know who he was, he said there was nothing like a good fight. Even the baby knows it.”

“How do you know that?”

“The baby associates three words with Eric – love, proud and fight. He can’t wait to kick ass like Eric does. When Eric cut Victor’s head off, Baby E kicked the crap out of my insides, he was so excited. I bit my lip until it bled because I didn’t want to distract Eric at such a critical moment, but the baby was all excited. He sort of cheers Eric on when he’s fighting or….uh” she caught herself, but she blushed and he knew what she meant.

“Really?”

“Yep – he’s Eric’s tiniest fan. They’re already crazy about each other.”

“What does he associate with you?”

“Love, happy, warm, and sometimes comfort. He’ll send me comfort if I’m lonely or sad. He already looks out for me when daddy’s not around.” She was patting her tummy and smiling. “He even has an association for Bobbie – soothing. He knows she gives the soothing massages.”

“These are words that he knows?”

“Not words, exactly, more like feelings, but they’re real and they’re distinct. It’s not our imagination.”

“Our? Eric can feel it, too?”

“Oh, yes, they have some time every day where Eric sends him love and pride and he sends it back. He’s going to be a very plugged-in daddy.” She was laughing and he could tell she was proud of him and really happy.

“That must be amazing.”

“It is. This may be the first baby ever tied into a blood bond. No one has ever seen it before so we don’t really know what to expect. We’re learning as we go.”

“So this baby is like, the first of his kind, ever?”

“Maybe. Probably. He’s special. He’s….”

“God-touched?”

“Goddess, to be exact, but yeah, Freyja is very involved with him.”

“Freyja?” Bjorn was taken aback. Freya was a formidable Goddess and he knew he’d better damned well do a good job protecting this baby. This was why he got this job. Psycho Sabrina notwithstanding, Freyja wanted a Swede watching that kid day and night. This might be the whole reason he ended up in Louisiana.

“You know Freyja?” Sookie had a feeling that would get him.

“All Scandinavian soldiers know Freyja. She stands behind us.”

“So I hear. You should feel right at home then, because She’s all over this deal.”

“Do you… know Freyja?”

“I see Her in my dreams, but Eric has known Her personally. Biblically, in fact.”

“Are you serious?” He was in awe, because he knew Sookie wouldn’t lie.

“Yep. A long, long time ago.”

“Then you must be…”

“So I’ve been told, but I don’t know if I believe it.”

NO WONDER he was so attracted to Sookie! It was Freyja! SHE’S Freyja! That’s why she’s so irresistible to Supes. That’s why she has that unusual scent. That’s why she can have a Vampire baby. That’s probably why she grew up with humans being afraid of her – she might have been intended for Eric from birth and the fear kept her unattached and probably untouched. He’d heard of situations like this before but he never landed right in the middle of one. He had thought before that he was the closest thing to Eric that could protect Sookie in the daytime. That’s got to be it. He’s literally supposed to be the daytime Eric from a soldier’s standpoint. He wasn’t supposed to mess around with her, but he was sent there to do what Eric couldn’t.

“Bjorn – are you OK?”

“Yeah, I’m just a little … awe-struck. I believe it, Sookie. It answers a whole lot of questions I’ve had about you and about this job. It has to be true.”

“You’re not going to quit are you? I’m just getting used to having you around.”

“Don’t you worry, ma’am, I’m not going anywhere. I think I’m right where I’m supposed to be.”

Sookie smiled. If he thought he was destined to take care of her like everybody else did that was fine with her. She liked Bjorn and he was good company, plus she could just tell that he was going to keep her safe. And she liked that he still thought she was hot even though she was pregnant. She knew a little more about what he thought of the situation than she told him, but she didn’t know about the connection to Sabrina yet. She told him as much as she did today to get him to soften up on Eric a bit, and she was planning to do the same to get Eric to ease up on his dislike of Bjorn.

It had finally dawned on her that they didn’t like each other because they were so similar – but she needed someone similar to Eric to watch her in the daytime and if she could get Eric to admit that, and convince him she wasn’t going to cheat on him with Bjorn no matter how hot he was, this would be a good arrangement. People thought just because Sookie was sweet and blonde that she wasn’t smart, and sometimes that included even Eric. Eric might have a lot to teach her about sex, but she could teach him a little about getting along with people and in this case, she really did think Bjorn was the best guy to watch out for her. She didn’t have to be a genius to make the Freyja – Swedish connection. Naturally Freyja would want a big Swedish warrior watching Baby E night AND day. She would want the best, and she would think the best was from Scandinavia. Sookie couldn’t argue with that logic – based on the available candidates the big Swedes in question really were the best available.

Alicia came out with a bottle of blood then and handed it to Sookie.

“Wow, has it been two hours already?”

“Yes, it has. Margaret is starting your dinner and Mr. Northman will be home soon.”

“Cool. Can I get another one of these?”

“Of course, dear.”

Alicia went back for a bottle.

“You like her a lot, don’t you?” Bjorn asked

“Alicia? I love Alicia and Margaret – they’re part of the family. They’re both so supportive and excited about the baby. Margaret has worked for Eric for years and always thought he seemed sad and lonely and she was glad for him when I started coming here. I’m the only woman that has ever been to this house with him, and he only had it finished and decorated when we started being an item. He did all this for me. He had never used the pool before, either. Oh, thanks Alicia!” Alicia handed her the bottle with a smile, took the empty one and went back inside.

“He hired Alicia as a ladies’ maid when I started staying here a lot so she could make sure there was food for me and she took care of laundry and stuff so I didn’t have to worry about it, and he had her start buying better clothes for me. Then when I found out I was pregnant, just about a month ago, we decided I’d move in here and we’d get married and Alicia took on additional duties to help me buy for the baby and lately she’s been acting as my assistant with the Queen stuff. I’d be lost without her. She always helps me know what to wear and the best way to do things. I gave Eric a hard time about hiring her, but she has helped me more than I can say. She’s good at explaining a lot of the fine points of manners and social expectations and I really love that because I want to seem polished and well-mannered so Eric will be proud of me.”

“I don’t think you need to worry about seeming well-mannered. Everybody in both kingdoms thinks you’re an Angel or a saint.” He laughed, “and from what I’ve seen, the King thinks you are, too. He even calls you his Angel, doesn’t he?”

“Yeah, he just started doing that a little bit ago. I love it when he says that.”

“He’s very proud of you, Sookie, and he should be. You make him look really good to his subjects. They’d think he was one evil motherfucker if it weren’t for you. They figure if anyone as sweet as you cares that much about him, he must have a good side somewhere. There’s even a joke about it.”

“There is? Is it mean?”

“No, it has more to do with everyone thinking you’re fearless. They call him Eric the Untouchable, you know?”

She giggled “Yeah, I love that.”

“Well, the joke is that nobody dares to touch King Eric except Queen Sookie but she’s not afraid of anything.”

She cracked up. “Well, that’s good. Maybe that will keep all the fang bangers away from him now. I swear, when he was at Fangtasia all the time, it was like dating a rock star. Talk about some evil, jealous women! That Sabrina we were talking about for example – she’s horrible, but she’s on a different, maybe more dangerous, level. The fang bangers are mean young girls that will scratch your eyes out if you aren’t careful. He won’t tolerate any outward show of disrespect toward me, of course, but I can hear the awful things they think about me. I mean, I can understand that they don’t have access they used to have and that would be awful to lose Eric in any way, but they’re so vicious! I hate the thought that he was ever with any of them.”

“He didn’t have a choice, did he?”

“No, he had to feed and he’s not the type to be celibate unless he has made a commitment so I understand. And I’m sure he had fun, although he swears he never had the kind of fun he has with me. He says I brought light into his life and that he used to be darker.”

“Yeah, I can see that. I know the kind of girls you’re talking about – they’re dark and intense, which can be enjoyable if you’re just looking for sex, but there’s a brightness to you. You sort of light up any room you’re in. To a guy like him you must be the closest thing to the sun.”

“Aw – that’s sweet of you to say. Thank you.”

“You know that Freyja is described as “shining on the sea?”

“No – but She shines in my dreams.”

“She shines in your eyes, too, Sookie.” He couldn’t believe he just said that. It was out of his mouth before he realized what he was saying.

Sookie blushed and smiled, and didn’t know what to say. It was getting dark so she hoped he couldn’t tell she was blushing because she did that a lot around him.

“Wow, I really talked your ear off today, didn’t I?” Sookie laughed and changed the subject.

“It made the day go fast. I feel like it was so short, but we’ve been talking for hours,” he said.

“You said you’re going to stay and talk to Eric, right?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“You aren’t going to quit, right? Promise?”

“No ma’am, I just need to talk to him about a security issue. Something he needs to be aware of.”

“OK, good. You’re fun to talk to. Most bodyguards are kind of gruff and boring.”

“I usually am, too, ma’am. I rarely talk as much as I talk with you. I’m being a bad bodyguard.”

“No, you’re not. If we’re friends you’ll look out for me a lot better than you would if you didn’t like me.”

“Yeah, but my attention is on you and it should be on what’s going on around us.”

“There are other guards all around, though. If anything happens, they’ll see it. You’re just staying close because if something does happen, you can get to me first, right?”

“Yes, ma’am, I guess that’s true.”

“So no harm done. When we’re out in public you can be a bad ass – believe me, I know about the need to be a bad ass – but I have no doubt that you’re plenty ready to fight if things around here get rockin’. Your eyes are constantly roaming around looking at things as we talk – you probably don’t even realize you’re doing it any more.”

“It does get to be a habit if you’re any good at your job.”

“See that? You’re supposed to be the best, right? You must be or Eric wouldn’t have hired you to protect me. I know him. He picked the best of the bunch to look out for me, didn’t he?”

“Yes, ma’am, he went out of his way to get me to work for you. He hired me away from another job and gave me a huge advance.”

“Yeah, he pays well. He believes you pay well for good service and you end up with even better service and more loyal employees. He gives scholarships and stuff to employees and their kids. Most people will do anything to keep a job with him because they can’t make as much money anywhere else for the same work. He says “bean counters rarely look at the big picture.””

“That’s an unusual attitude for a business man.”

“He’s unusually good at business. I told you, he knows everything. He’s going to be a great King.”

“This is a rude question, but, if he’s that good, why wasn’t he already King?”

“He never wanted to be King. Something came up and he didn’t have a choice but to take control, so when he decided to do it, it got done.”

“So something happened and he just decided ‘OK, now I’ll be King’ and he was?”

‘Yep, pretty much. He probably could have been King centuries ago if he wanted to.”

“So what happened?”

“I can’t go into detail, but let’s just say somebody made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. It was a family thing.”

“OK. And you think he’ll be good at it anyway?”

“He’ll be great. He does everything as well as it can be done. If he’s going to do it, he’ll do it better than anyone.”

“You don’t think you might be a little biased?”

“I’m not biased, I’m convinced. I made him work hard to get where we are in our relationship and he had to prove himself. You just wait and see. He’ll be fantastic.”

“I guess wait and see is all I can do.”

“Yeah, but it won’t take long – you’ll see.”

Suddenly the outside lights came on.

“Sookie, my Angel, you are not ready to go?”

“I want to have family dinner and our shower and then we’ll go, alright? We’ll be there plenty early.”

Eric kicked off his boots, took off his shirt and dived into the pool swimming toward Sookie, who screamed a happy scream and laughed at him. He came up out of the water face to face with her and said “As you wish, my Lover.” And kissed her. Bjorn was standing looking away.

“Eric, Sweetie, Bjorn needs to talk to you about something?”

“What is that?”

“I don’t know – he said it’s security related.”

“Alright – stay here and I will be back. ” Eric walked out of the pool, his jeans all wet, and he smoothed his hair back as he walked toward Bjorn, who nodded and spoke first. “Your majesty.”

“Yes, Bjorn, you have something to discuss with me?”

“Yes, sire, I think you need to know how I came to work here.”

“And how is that?”

“Sabrina Maxwell told me I should apply for the job as the Queen’s bodyguard. I believe she had an ulterior motive and when I realized that she had a vendetta against your wife, I thought it best to tell you about it immediately.”

“You think she put you here to trap Sookie?”

“I don’t believe it would have worked, of course, but knowing her as I do, yes, sire, I believe her intention was to create problems in your marriage.”

“That’s about what I’d expect from her. Sabrina is going to be leaving my territories one way or another. Do you wish to continue working here?”

“Yes, your majesty, the Queen and I spoke today and she told me about Freyja. I’d consider it an honor to keep her safe. You’ll never have to doubt my loyalty or my respect for her or for your relationship.”

“You believe Freyja had a hand in your being here?”

“I do, sire – I believe that is why I came to be in Louisiana by such odd circumstances. I think Freyja wanted a Swedish warrior with your wife and child both night and day. I’m honored to do that for you if you’ll allow me to.”

Eric nodded. “Alright. You keep showing up as you have been. There’ll be a bonus in your next check for alerting me about Sabrina. You realize I’m trusting you with my life – that Sookie and the baby ARE my life.”

“Yes, sire, I believe I understand that as few people would.”

Eric nodded and offered his hand. Bjorn offered his and they shook but it wasn’t a normal handshake. They gripped each other’s forearm, met eyes and nodded to each other. Sookie figured that was some kind of male bonding thing, like a pact between warriors, and she was proud of both of them. She knew their loyalty to Freyja was strong enough to make them work together. This was good. Both of them swallowed a little pride and agreed to accept help from the other.

“Alright, I’ll be leaving for the night if you don’t need me anymore.”

“Sookie and I are going to my club, Fangtasia, later on. If you’d like to come by around 10 o’clock, I’ll buy you a drink and introduce you to Felicia. She’s a bartender – I think you might like her.”

“I could do that. I don’t have any plans tonight.”

“Alright, and I assume you won’t be sleeping with Sabrina anymore?”

“No, sire, I’ve had enough of Sabrina’s machinations for one lifetime.”

“Yes, I reached that point about 150 years ago. Live and learn.” Eric actually laughed and patted him on the back. Bjorn knew he had slept with her, too, and got sick of her games. He also knew Sabrina would be lucky if all he did was run her out of his territories. If she called him he would tell her that she’d better get the fuck out while she can, and tomorrow he would get a new cell phone.

“Yes, sire.”

“I’ll see you later, then.” Eric nodded and dove back into the pool near Sookie, splashing her, then he picked her up in his arms and kissed her as she threw her arms around his neck.

‘Yep, no one will ever get between them.’ Bjorn thought, laughing at the way he had looked at Sookie earlier on. Goddesses were definitely out of his league. A cute Vampire bartender, though, might be just what the doctor ordered. Even if they didn’t hit it off, “I’m the Queen’s personal bodyguard” is a great pickup line. No harm in checking the place out.’

Alicia and Margaret had dinner on the table and Eric carried Sookie out of the pool. He sat her at the picnic table and she ate her chicken while he drank an RM. He actually ate a bite of chicken, and thought it tasted good, not getting sick at all. When they finished, they went to shower, telling the maids good night because they would be gone before the two of them were dressed. They had fun in the shower, but they mostly washed each other’s hair and made out a little instead of actually having sex because Eric really wanted to get to Fangtasia. Sookie was hoping he wanted to get to the basement, although that would probably be later since Bjorn was supposed to stop by at 10 o’clock. She thought it was cute that Eric was going to introduce him to Felicia. She was sweet and hadn’t been out with anyone in a while as far as she knew and she knew she’d like to have someone because they had talked one night when Sookie was waiting for Eric to finish some paperwork. She was pretty sure Felicia liked blonds, too.

Eric went to check his messages and email while Sookie got his clothes out and she decided to wear a red Juicy Couture maternity dress that had white flowers on it that someone had given her at the reception. It was cute and would be comfortable and she knew it would fit. A part of her was kind of proud of her new curves because they were signs of being a mother and she knew Eric really loved them and wasn’t just saying it, but that part of her that absorbed too much from TV and fashion magazines cringed every time she tried on something that fit a week ago and doesn’t now. She knew she needed to be proud of her connection to life and to the Goddess. She was trying to make the cognitive shift that it would take for her to love getting heavier with baby, her hips widening, her breasts filling – it wasn’t easy, but Eric was helping a lot and actually, so was Bjorn because she knew he thought she was hot even as pregnant as she was.

She stared at herself in the mirror for a few minutes, looking at the dress, looking at her tummy and chest, trying to see Freyja within herself. Eric was at the door but she didn’t notice him and he didn’t make any noise. He was trying to see if he could tell what she was feeling because she was obviously looking into the mirror very intently. There was a swirl of emotions flowing from her into the bond, but he decided the primary emotion was insecurity, and that made him sad.

“Sookie, my Angel, that is a very pretty dress.”

She was a little bit startled when he spoke, but she shook it off quickly. “Oh, thanks. It was one of the presents from the reception. You really like it?”

“It’s very sweet on you. Very young and bright – like a summer day.”

“It’s a maternity dress, you know…”

“Yes, but that’s good.” He stood behind her and put his arms around her, kissing her shoulder.

“It is…” she didn’t really agree, but it wasn’t really a question, either. It’s like she was trying to convince herself. “Am I being childish, worrying about my figure when I ought to be proud I’m having a baby?”

“Childish is a little harsh. Girls in these times are brainwashed into thinking they should be sticks and bones their whole lives. Women have curves, my Angel, you are supposed to be soft and round and warm. You should be proud of being a mother, and treasure this time with your child.”

“I do treasure Baby E, more than anything. I guess I’m just vain.”

“Focus on the joy, Sookie. Focus on being a part of Nature,” he rubbed her belly, “growing ripe and bearing a fat, healthy baby is such a gift, my Lover, I don’t want you to look back and be sorry you didn’t embrace it.”

“I don’t want that either. I want to enjoy this and remember it. I was looking at myself, trying to see Freyja in me since everybody else seems to. I think I had another dream about Her.”

“What happened in the dream?”

“I just get flashes of it. It was like the baby was dreaming and I was there. There weren’t any pictures, just warmth and feelings of love and happiness, and I said ‘Eric Alexander, is that you?’ and he responded with Love and Happy the way he does. I think I said ‘I love you, Baby E’ and suddenly there was light shining around us and Freyja spoke to me. She said he couldn’t answer me, but he understood what I said. I asked Her if he was all right, and She said “he’s magickal. You are too, if you want to be.” I was… I don’t know, scared, I guess? She told me not to be afraid of my power, that She wouldn’t let me harm the innocent. Then Alicia woke me up to drink an RM and she said I was humming a lullaby like I was singing to the baby. She told me the words to the song and it was about ‘shining Angels’ watching over a baby.”

Eric kissed her hair, and rubbed his cheek against the top of her head. “That is a very beautiful dream, Sookie. You were with the baby mind to mind, then Freya told you about your power, and you woke up singing to the him.” He turned her around and bent over to look her right in the eye as he held her hands. “Freyja is telling you that She’s there for you, Sookie. She wants to help you be a good mother. She wants you to be proud of yourself and own your own power. Part of that is loving your body. I promise you, Sookie, you have never been more beautiful than you are right now. Try to revel in the changes to your body.” He straightened up and stroked her cheek. “I’ll be glad when Bobbie gets back. You need your massages and you need her reinforcing your self image.”

“Don’t make her come back early, though…”

“I won’t do that unless you are in pain. I need Bill to be cooperative and time with Bobbie makes that more likely.”

“Good. I’m sorry if I’m…” He put his finger across her lips.

“Shhh, my Angel. Don’t be sorry. Feel what you feel and then focus on the joy. I know there’s a part of you in there that is enjoying watching that tummy grow.” He smiled and stroked her cheek and she laughed a little. He turned her sideways to the mirror and smoothed the dress over her stomach. “Look at that strong healthy boy in there! How lucky is he, Sookie, to have a warm place full of love to thrive and grow strong! He’s bathed in your sweet blood and your love for him washes over him in waves. That’s why he’s so happy, my Angel. Be proud of giving him life. Let the whole world see that you are willing to give of your body to let your baby flourish!”

She laughed and nodded. She was getting it, finally. No one with a brain would judge her for not being skinny. People who had any heart at all loved to see pregnant women looking healthy and happy. How many times had she been in Walmart or Merlotte’s and smiled at seeing a Mommy ready to pop? It made everyone feel good to think that a woman would put her body through all that change and endure all that pain to bring new life into the world. “Ok, I think I’m getting it.”

“Good, because I want you to sit tall and proud as I show you off tonight.” He kissed her head and started to get dressed. She had put out his black jeans and a tight black t-shirt and he knew this was a favorite of hers. She was in the mood to show him off too, he smiled to himself. He wondered if she had figured out why he wanted to take her to Fangtasia. He planned a little fun in the basement if everything went smoothly because he knew she was craving a little kink since she had been reading that book. Their sexual positions were becoming a little limited, but he was planning a little game that wouldn’t be physically taxing but it would get her blood and her imagination going.

When they were ready he scooped her up and carried her to the car just because he liked to feel her in his arms. He settled her into the front seat of the BMW and buckled her seatbelt, making sure the lap belt was below the bulge and the shoulder belt was above it the way he’d read on the Internet. He drove at a normal speed and she smiled to herself, knowing that it felt like a crawl to him, but he wouldn’t risk hurting the baby unnecessarily. They pulled into the back lot at Fangtasia and he was at her door immediately, carrying her in.

“How come you’re carrying me everywhere?”

“To make up a little for the fact that you are not in bed. Actually, that’s not true. I must be honest with my bonded.” He sighed, “I’m doing it because I like the feel of you in my arms, against me.” He smiled at her and she laid her head on his shoulder, relaxing and enjoying the ride. She might as well enjoy it while she can, because pretty soon he’d be carrying the baby instead. She figured she’d be lucky if she could get the baby away from him at all and laughed out loud. “Why are you laughing?”

“I was just thinking how you’ll be carrying the baby instead pretty soon and wondering if I’ll ever get to hold him at all,” she teased him.

“Don’t be silly, my Lover, I have to rest every day. You can hold him when I am asleep.”

She cracked up as they went in the back door of the club, which was propped open with a case of beer.

“Hello, Pam”

“Hi, Pam”

“Master,” she nodded, “Sookie. Are you ill?”

“No, Eric just wanted to carry me.”

“Alright…” she would never understand the effect this girl had on her Master.

“Expecting a delivery?”

“Yes, rather large one so they won’t run out while I’m gone.”

“I’ll be here, if they do.”

“I wanted to leave you as little as possible to do so you could get home to Sookie early every night.”

“Aw – that’s nice, Pam. Thanks.” Sookie gushed a little which amused Pam.

“Your brother will be here later on. He’s going to stay at my house tonight so we can leave from there tomorrow.”

“I hope you can trust him to get you there safely” Eric was still not crazy about this.

“I told Anubis to take extra care because my travel companion was unreliable. I think he’ll be fine, but I thought it best to be sure.”

“That is wise,” Eric said as he took Sookie into his office. “It’s almost 9:30, my Angel, we should go out front and see if Bjorn is here yet.” He sat her down and glanced through the mail quickly, seeing that Pam had everything under control. He offered Sookie his arm and escorted her into the main room, taking her up to the stage. She started to protest but he raised and eyebrow and that was enough to silence her. She knew he meant what he said about showing her off. He settled her into her chair then sat beside her, one of the bartenders running over to see what they wanted.

“A warm RM for me and a cold one for your Mistress. And tell Felicia I’d like to speak to her.”

“Yes, Master.”

Felicia came back immediately with the RMs. “Here you are, Master. You wanted to speak to me?”

“Yes, Felicia, there’s a gentleman coming here tonight I’d like to introduce you to. He’s the Queen’s bodyguard” Felicia’s eyes grew big, “He’s new in town and doesn’t know many people, and I thought you might like to get to know him. You’re under no obligation, of course, I just thought you might like him.”

“Thank you, Master.” She was beaming that he would think of her that way.

“You’ll like him, Felicia, he’s really nice, good looking and he’s built like a brick outhouse.” Sookie laughed and Felicia laughed with her. Eric rolled his eyes, but he couldn’t blame them. He could see where a woman would find him interesting – that’s why he wanted him to meet Felicia, after all. He didn’t normally play matchmaker but he had an intuition that they would be a good match and it would make him less tempted to see Sabrina again.

Eric remembered perfectly well how much fun could be had with Sabrina. Too bad she was a lunatic. He had no patience at all for mind games. That’s one of the things he liked so much about Sookie. She was perfectly sincere, always. She said exactly what she thought and spoke up when she didn’t like something. He found that refreshing and charming. Sookie might have a negative reaction now and then, but she wasn’t addicted to drama. Being in charge was always more than enough drama for Eric. He didn’t need drama with his Lovers.

A few people came up to congratulate Eric and Sookie and one pledged fealty because he had been out of town. It wasn’t long until Pam came wiggling through the bar with Bjorn following her, trying not to be obvious about watching her ass as she walked. Eric stood and shook his hand, and asked what he would like to drink. He asked for whatever dark beer was on tap, and Pam went to the bar and told them. Felicia came back with his beer.

“Felicia, this is the gentleman I was telling you about. He’s Sookie’s bodyguard and he’s new around here. I thought you might be willing to show him around and introduce him to people.”

“Of course, Master, I’d be pleased to.” She offered her hand and Bjorn shook it.

“Sit down for a few minutes if you like, Felicia.” Eric was being very generous. Felicia was shocked that he invited her to sit.

“Thank you, Master.” She sat in the chair Eric had pointed to next to Bjorn. Bjorn took his cue and asked Felicia where she was from and where she lived now. He told her about his time in the service and how he came to be in New Orleans, and he asked her to dance. Felicia looked at Eric and he nodded. “Relax and entertain our guest, Felicia and show him around.”

So they headed to the dance floor. It was a slow enough song that they could dance close and talk and Eric was pleased.

“Eric, I think they like each other, ” Sookie was happy for Felicia.

“Yes, he’s attracted to her, at least. That might be good for both of them, and at least he’ll meet some new people. Felicia will probably take him around and introduce him to people since she knows he’s working for you. I’d like him to find a girlfriend so he’ll stay away from Sabrina.”

“So he slept with her, too, huh?”

“She can be a lot of fun, but if you let her get too close, she’s a nightmare. I haven’t been with her for 150 years and she’s still being a pain in my ass. I’m going to find a replacement for her and order her to leave my kingdoms.”

“Wow – you can just run somebody out of town that way?”

“I can just have somebody executed that way, too. If she’s smart, she’ll go away and stay away. I’m not going to tolerate any nonsense from her, particularly where you are concerned. You have enough to deal with.”

She smiled and took his hand and he bent over to kiss her.

Love. Fight!

They laughed.

“My son is awake,” he laughed as he reached over to feel the baby kick.

“He’s awake and doing a happy dance. I think he likes Fangtasia.”

“He might associate it with my killing Victor.”

“He did enjoy that – a lot. I hope he’s not a sociopath.” She was half kidding.

“He will be a warrior, Sookie. A warrior does what must be done, and he fights proudly and enthusiastically, with honor.”

“In other words, he’ll be an ass-kicker like his old man.” She cracked up.

“I don’t see the humor in that, Sookie. Of course he will be like me. He is my son, after all, and Freyja protects him. She only picks the best warriors.”

“Are you ever going to tell me any of the particulars of your relationship with Her.”

“You know the particulars of our relationship, my Angel.”

“You know what I mean – what’s it like to fuck a Goddess.”

“Ask me that question an hour from now.” He gave her a look that would melt butter. Holy shit. That got Sookie’s motor running in overdrive. She could barely sit still, and Eric knew it. He would let her stew a little bit, then he would take her downstairs. A couple of Vampires new to town came to report to Eric and he welcomed them, and introduced Sookie who hoped they couldn’t smell her arousal but one of them looked at her hungrily and she thought he did. She also couldn’t keep one of her legs from shaking. She knew Eric was watching her out of the corner of his eye and smiling about it. He SO knew how to push her buttons. It would be irritating if it weren’t so damned HOT.

When they left, he leaned over and whispered in Sookie’s ear, “Would you like to play a little game, my Lover.”

She swallowed hard and nodded quickly.

“Go downstairs, strip, turn the lights completely off, get on the bed and put the cuffs on your wrists. I’ll be down in a bit.”

Sookie flushed and looked at him with huge eyes. What if someone else came down there? What if there were spiders? What if something happened and no one knew she was there? She was trying to think of something to say when he leaned over and said “Be a good girl and do as you’re told, or you’ll be punished.”

Punished? Punished how?

She was still processing it all when he looked at her and raised his eyebrows expectantly. He stared at her and didn’t say another word. She finally took a deep breath, stood up, slightly shaking, and walked to the door. As she started to go into the hall, she looked over her shoulder and he was giving her that scary, sexy, mean look that made her feel light-headed. She could feel the blood rushing in her ears. Was she really going to do this? This was HUGE trust he was asking for, and her face was burning with – what? Embarrassment? Desire? Fear? She thought wryly that her thong would be in flames right now if it weren’t so wet.

She took a deep breath as she opened the door to his office. She closed the door carefully, praying no one but Eric would come in there. She flipped the latch to the door, hit the light switch and went downstairs. She had never been down here alone before. She could feel the thump of the music upstairs and realized that if you screamed while it was playing, no one would hear you, probably not even a Vampire. You sure wouldn’t want to be laid out like dessert if a strange Vamp found you tied up, especially while you were tied up and tasted like a freaking Faerie!

She took a deep breath and blew it out. OK, think. The light switch is over here. The bed is there and the cuffs are down below the frame. She had to turn the lights off, then do the cuffs. She went to the bed and brushed the top of it, making sure there were no creepy crawlies on it. The basement was clean but it was still a basement. She looked around and didn’t see any webs or anything, so she reached under the base and felt around until she found the cuffs and pulled them up to the top.

Ok, so she could find them in the dark as long as she could make it to the bed. Now came the hard part. She had to strip while she was down there alone with no Eric to protect her. She knew logically that he could feel her through the bond and be there in seconds if she needed him, but emotionally, this was almost, but not quite, like stripping in public. OK, Sookie, you wanted to play, she thought, and she kicked her shoes off and pulled her dress over her head, folding it and laying it on Eric’s chair. Another hard swallow and a deep exhale and off came the thong, which she hid in the folded dress. Why she hid it, she didn’t know, but she did.

OK, two steps to go – no three. She had to turn off the lights. She had to find the bed without breaking a toe. She had to get in place and lock herself into the cuffs. This was not a good time to remember you were slightly afraid of the dark. She looked up the stairs – yes, she had closed the door. OK. She closed her eyes and hit the light switch, then opened them. She stood completely still for a few minutes, hoping her eyes would adjust to the dark, but there was no light of any kind because there were no windows. She slowly started toward the bed, her hands in front of her as she advanced slowly, not wanting to break a toe or a leg or something. Oops – OK, here’s the bed. She climbed up on it and felt her way to the top. She slowly turned on her back, putting the pillow between her shoulders to raise her up just a bit. OK, this was comfortable. Now, the cuffs. She was really shaking now. This was it. Did she trust him or not?

Not that it mattered, but she closed her eyes and reached for the first cuff. She put it around her wrist and slid the snap-lock so it closed. If she stopped right now, she could still get out of this. She could take that cuff off, get dressed, go back upstairs and tell Eric to go to hell… but she knew she was absolutely not going to do that, not because of the threat of punishment, but because she had to see where this ride would take her. Eric was right – she loved taking risks. She steeled herself, took the other cuff and put it on her other wrist. CLICK. She had to press the cuff down on the mattress to make it close because she couldn’t quite reach with the other hand – meaning she couldn’t get out of this now. She took a deep breath and stretched out, trying to surrender herself to the situation. She waited.

Eric was smiling like a Cheshire cat as he checked his email with his phone. He was monitoring the bond carefully, following the roller coaster that was Sookie right now. He knew better than to leave anyone tied up unattended. He just needed to give her enough time to get into position, if she would actually do it. He’d give 60/40 odds that she will. She tends to be awfully compliant, which he loves, though breaking down a little resistance can be fun, too. She wouldn’t resist, though. She’d hear his voice in her head telling her to trust him and she’d work through it. Oh, the sensations she was sending into the bond were delicious. He had to give her credit, if she actually did it, because she was genuinely scared. It wasn’t overwhelming yet, but there was definite fear.

Eric ambled over to where Felicia and Bjorn were talking.

“Bjorn- have a good night. I have some business to attend to and I might not see you again tonight.”

“OK, thanks.”

“I’ll look out for him,” Felicia said with a smug little smile. Yes, they were going to have a good night even after the bar closed. Eric went to the door and asked Pam to come back to his office. They walked into the office and talked about her impending vacation as Eric slammed the door to his office hard, and opened the door to the downstairs. Pam got a wicked look on her face and pointed downstairs and gave an inquiring look. Eric arched an eyebrow and gave her a look that was beyond smug. Pam rolled her eyes and they kept talking knowing Sookie could hear voices but not whose voice or what they were saying.

Sookie jumped when the door slammed and she heard the door to the upstairs open. She could hear voices and was hoping it was just Eric and Pam. She focused all her energy on trying to hear who it was and what they were saying. She heard boots in the hallway stomping the way Jason always did when he … JASON! He was meeting Pam here tonight. Oh, PLEASE don’t let them decide to sneak down here for a quickle!

Shit. Jason would lose his mind if he found her this way. Either he would kill Eric or Eric would kill him. Of course it wouldn’t matter because she would absolutely die of shame. She heard Pam giggle the way she did when Jason was around and heard Jason’s “seductive” voice he used when he was hitting on a girl. She heard the office door open and close. She heard a chair scrape on the floor. She heard the door open, Eric say “Get the fuck out of my office” and the door slam then the light from upstairs went out as if the lamp had been knocked over. She held her breath. She heard the door at the top of the stairs. Nothing.

Please Goddess, let Eric be playing a joke. If it was Eric up there, he would come down the stairs any second. She waited. She listened. She heard something hit the floor and she was sure there was someone else in the room. She was afraid to say anything. What if it wasn’t Eric? She heard a growl, like a Vampire preparing to attack, but she couldn’t tell if it was Eric. She couldn’t see anything, but a Vampire can see in the dark so she was completely visible to whoever that was. Say something, Eric!

Suddenly two hands gripped her ankles and forced her legs apart. It had to be Eric. Whoever it was was sniffing her leg, nipping them with fangs, growling. Nails raked down both inner thighs, then her legs were forced apart and he bit her femoral artery savagely. Sookie didn’t make a sound. If it was Eric, there was nothing to worry about. If it wasn’t she was beyond help now. She was concentrating, hoping to feel Eric’s long hair brush her leg the way it did when he went down on her, but it never did. She was coming. The bite was making her come.

Please let that be Eric because if it’s not he’s going to think I like this. She heard a deep growl as the Fae blood kicked in and she heard his zipper open and pants being pushed down. Wouldn’t Eric get undressed? He entered her holding her hips high and pounding her quickly and he came very fast, howling. It’s Eric. Please, it has to be Eric. He bit her hipbone, ran his tongue up her stomach, took her nipple in his teeth with a short but hard bite and she cried out. Hands brushed down the underside of her arms, then gripping her breasts hard. He was between her legs nibbling her hard and then his mouth was on hers and she was shaking hard. He was almost literally smothering her with kisses and she finally couldn’t take it and pleaded “Eric, please tell me that’s you.”

He laughed wickedly as he began to stroke between her legs. “It took you long enough, my Lover.”

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