Chapter 12 – Wheels
I walked over and sat on my bed, I expected Eric to sit next to me but instead he knelt in front of me and ran his large hands up both of my arms, finally cupping the back of my head and pulling me towards him until our lips met. His tongue was cool as it tentatively flicked out and sought entrance to the warmth of my mouth and I allowed it – relishing the sensations that his kisses wrapped my body in. Hands roamed by body until they settled on my thighs, parting them widely and pulling my body closer to the edge of the mattress until our pelvises were touching, then moved back up over my stomach and around my back in an embrace that ensured that not even the thinnest sheet of paper could be inserted between our bodies.
Unsure of what to do with my own hands, I decided to emulate Eric’s actions. Feeling the taut muscles of his arms under his shirt, stroking his shoulders and threading my fingers through his long, blonde hair. I was surprised at how soft his hair was and while I was contemplating the silky strands flowing from his head, his mouth moved down to my neck, nipping lightly at what turned out to be a very sensitive spot below my ear. Eric pulled away a little and looked me in the eye.
“It’s been a stressful few days for you. We won’t have sex tonight but it would be wise for me to mark your neck.”
His lip curled in disgust at the word ‘mark’, I was confused.
“But you said we’d be expected to have sex? Don’t you want to? Is it me? Why don’t you want to mark me?”
“We are expected to have sex but I’d rather it was because you wanted to not because you felt you had to. I very much want to and I don’t want to mark you because you aren’t some common blood bag but just for tonight I’ll feed a little from your neck to make a … visual statement.”
“Oh.” I cleared my throat and swept my hair away from my neck. “Will it hurt?”
“It won’t hurt if you’re properly prepared.” His mouth went back to my neck and his hands brushed over my breasts making my nipples stand to attention. “Just relax; you’ll hardly feel a thing.”
I nodded and he came back up to kiss my mouth. I felt like I should be doing more, rather than just … sitting there, so I pulled his shirt up a bit and ran my hands along the smooth skin of his back. I heard a rumble from his chest and felt his fangs run out against my tongue, curious, I flicked my tongue against one and felt the sharp sting as it nicked me and the slight metallic taste of my blood. Eric growled and sucked, letting out a moan then shifting his attention back to my neck.
“Sookie.” He pinched my hard peaks, making me jerk slightly. “Concentrate on what I’m doing with my hands.”
More nodding, I didn’t think I could speak now if I even wanted to. I did as he asked and thought about his hands moving from my breasts and slipping inside my shirt, stroking the skin of my stomach and coming back up to lift my natural bounty from the constraints of my bra. The skin on skin contact made me shudder and gasp as he rubbed his thumb in a circular motion over one bud and pinched the other. I felt his fangs scrape against my shoulder and stiffened.
“The hands Sookie, where are my hands.”
Right, the hands, I relaxed and shivered as one of his hands moved south, cupping my sex and rubbing through my jeans. The seam was pressing against my bundle of nerves and making my whole body throb. I pushed down onto his hand with my hips and arched my body as he continued to caress my taut nipple and moaned. I know my experience is extremely limited but damn I’ve never felt this good! Thinking of what Eric was doing to me now, both of us fully clothed, made me very excited about how amazing doing naked things would be!
The hand between my legs was moving in focussed circles on my clit and I started to grind against it involuntarily, letting a drawn out ‘ahhh’ escape my lips. I was aware of a slight burning pain against my neck before I came violently, clawing at Eric’s shoulders and groaning through gritted teeth. I shook with pleasure before slumping against his chest, breathless, I could feel and hear him chuckling as he licked at the wounds.
“Okay.” I was still panting slightly “Now I know what’s in it for the donors!” He let out a booming laugh and sat back to look at me.
“Sookie, you are very unusual. You taste different, sweeter, and your reaction to my touch is almost as satisfying as your blood. Any reservations I had about our companionship have been dismissed, after feasting on the nectar from your veins I would be downgrading to feed from anyone else.”
“That good huh?”
He nodded and stood up, bringing the buckle of his belt to the same height as my eyes, I noticed the straining fabric across a very large bulge and felt very guilty all of a sudden. After he made me have an orgasm without removing a stitch, it obviously got him worked up too. The thought of touching him intimately was appealing yet intimidating. Is it polite to offer to take care of that? Isn’t that what I should do as his companion? I cleared my throat and pointed to it.
“Uh … do you need me to … I know I’ve never done that kind of thing but I could try, if you want?” Eric cocked his head to the side and smiled at me before taking a seat next to me.
“Some relief would be appreciated but not necessary, your scent and the delightful noises you make are almost worth the frustration. I’m aware of your inexperience and I am perfectly willing to allow you to practice your techniques on me.” He winked and scooted back to sprawl across my bed, elbows propped on the headboard and legs akimbo.
“Well, now you’ve just made me all nervous!”
“Don’t be. I was only joking, well I was a little bit serious – you really would be more than welcome to touch me whenever you desire, but I believe tonight has been adventurous enough for you. I don’t want to scare you away.”
“Oh.” I relaxed and moved so I was sitting next to him with my head leaning on his chest. “Thank you.”
I was surprised at how comfortable, natural, it felt to curl up next to him and that the lack of heat from his body and absence of a heartbeat didn’t bother me. It was peaceful yet not lonely. I glanced at his crotch and noticed that his excitement wasn’t as prominent, I was relieved but a little disappointed, now I was relaxed in his embrace I was feeling a little more confident but I quickly decided to let sleeping dogs lie and talk to him about more serious matters.
“Where do you think Lorena took Bill?” I looked up at him, his brow was slightly furrowed in thought and he started absently stroking my arm.
“The last I heard of her she was in Seattle, the Queen informed me this evening that she called Bill almost a week ago for the first time in 50 years. Sophie-Ann got in touch with her to tell her that Bill was working on an important project for her and she was not to call him to her again.”
“So that’s why Lorena will be in trouble. If she knew she’d be punished for calling him why would she do it?”
“Lorena is … unstable so there’s a chance she thinks it’s perfectly appropriate to go against a Monarch’s order. Very little can come between a maker and child but Bill swore fealty to Sophie-Ann and Lorena has in effect, made him default on his contract with Louisiana. Bill is fortunate that he gave full disclosure to Sophie-Ann or it would be his head we were hunting for.” I sighed, being a vampire didn’t sound as freeing as a lot of humans thought it was.
“Tell me something about you Eric, something you would only tell your companion.”
“I like to snuggle. Your turn.” I held back my laughter at the fact that a 1,000 year old vampire like to snuggle and thought about what I could tell him that he didn’t already know.
“I eat Skittles, y’know little fruit candies, in order of colour. Yellow first, then green, orange, purple and red last.”
“That’s just weird.”
I shrugged and checked the time on my alarm clock, there was still two hours ‘til dawn. I asked Eric if there was anything he needed to do but he said that there was nothing so important that it would trump snuggling.
I woke the next day under the covers with only my shoes and jeans removed. At some point the night before I must have fallen asleep in Eric’s arms and he put me to bed. I checked to see what time it was – 3pm, Lordy! If I start sleepin’ any later I won’t be needing a daytime guard! I walked into the bathroom and caught my reflection in the mirror. The marks from Eric’s feeding were … neat, tidy and the skin around them wasn’t bruised like I see on a lot of the donors, I wondered if Eric always fed like that or maybe he just went easy on me since it was my first time. I showered, dressed and called my Gran.
Stackhouse residence, Adele Stackhouse speaking.
“Hi Gran, how are you?”
Sookie child! I’m … well I think I’m okay. How are you?
“I’m fine” No point in scaring her by telling her everything. “What do you mean you think you’re okay?”
It’s the strangest thing, I saw cars over at the old Compton place and decided to go and see if I had new neighbours, y’know to introduce myself, last night but … I just stayed at home and watched TV instead, it’s like I just forgot to do it.
“Hmm … maybe you’re coming down with something? Have you been taking your vitamins?”
I think so, maybe I’m just tired. I’ll make sure I go to bed early tonight!
“How is Jason? Is everything okay back in Bon Temps?”
Oh my, what a to do! Jason is fine, Arlene is heartbroken and Catfish Hennessey is a man short. Not much else to say really.
“Okay, well I’m meeting my new daytime guard today so I’d better run.”
What happened to Frank? Did they move him because you were close?
“Sort of, I’ll explain everything on my next visit. I love you Gran.”
Love you too sweetheart!
I made a coffee and called down to security, Tom (who had a very gruff voice) said he’d meet me in the dining room. I gulped my daily dose of caffeine and went downstairs, a few of the staff I passed looked at me strangely, especially my neck. I wasn’t sure whether I should have tried to hide the marks by putting make up on them or wearing a shirt with a high collar but I figured they were there for a reason.
I got to the dining room and grabbed a plate, piling it high with bacon, pancakes and hash browns before looking around to see who was there. A couple of early rising donors were glaring at me, I decided not to explore their thoughts, then I noticed a mountain of a man sipping from a mug and reading a paper. I’d never seen him before so I figured he must be Tom. I made my way over and sat across the table from him.
“Hi, I’m Sookie Stackhouse.”
I offered my hand and he looked up, smiling broadly. He was an older gentleman, with salt and pepper hair and eyes that crinkled when he grinned. I checked his brainwaves and was met with a red, snarly mist. I know Were’s age much the same as humans but Tom could have been anywhere between 40 and 50.
“Tom Drummond” He grasped my hand and shook it firmly “Nice to meet you Miss Stackhouse. I met with Frank and he told me a little of what your day was like, I understand he was supposed to be teaching you how to drive.”
“Well, we went out in his car a couple of times.”
“Uh huh. Yeah I heard the rumours, would it be fair to say he didn’t get round to instructing you much at all?”
“Uh … well … I guess that would be fair. We spent most of our time just hanging out with each other and going for walks.”
“Well missy, that’s gonna change. You asked to learn to drive and by golly I’ll do it if it kills me!”
I nodded and ate the rest of my breakfast in silence as Tom told me all about himself. He was from Dothan, Alabama and served in the military until he was injured in the first Gulf war. Tom was part of the unit that guarded the vampire sleeping quarters and he and Frank had switched places when he came back from visiting his family yesterday. I took my empty plate to the counter and we walked out to the parking lot.
“Now Miss Stackhouse …”
“Please, call me Sookie.”
“Okay Sookie, I have a couple of cars at home, I usually drive a truck but I brought my wife’s Golf. I thought it would be easier if you learned in a smaller vehicle.”
“Oh … okay, is that for manoeuvres and stuff?”
“It’s easier for parking, turning in the road, reversing. Once your confidence is better we can maybe change up to my Corolla but for now you just need to get the basics under your belt.”
He handed me the keys and smiled warmly. Okay, so let’s just throw Sookie in at the deep end! I puffed my cheeks and blew out a big breath; after I adjusted the seat and mirrors I slid the key into the ignition and started her up.
Two hours later we hadn’t left the driveways of the residence, but I was quite confident in my abilities. I had mastered the basics and Tom assured me that tomorrow we would be out on the big bad roads of New Orleans so I could add to what I picked up today. I entered the dining room with a spring in my step, the furthest I got with Frank teaching me was ‘This is used to steer the car’ and ‘this pedal makes you go fast, this one makes you stop’.
I decided to have a small, rare steak with baked potato and sour cream followed by Chef Dalton’s apple and cinnamon crumble. I sat at the table with Tom again and we swapped family stories while we ate. More donors trooped in as I sat back and patted my full stomach, one of the girls from last night narrowed her eyes at me, it was so … hateful.
Fucking bitch, I had him first but the Queen’s little project decides she wants him and the cow just hands the Northman to her. She won’t keep him; I’ve got what he needs.
Her thoughts were so venomous it was almost painful. I’ve read a lot of hate from people but it’s never been directed at me so viciously. She noticed me staring and quickly turned her gaze, obviously remembering what I am and why I’m here. Tom glanced at his watch and stood.
“It’ll be dusk soon. Mr. Northman requested that you be escorted to his room at sunset, he expressed a great … desire to see you as soon as he rose this evening.”
“Oh? Do I have time to freshen up?”
“Sure, we’ve got time as long as you make it quick.”
I looked back at the hateful donor, her name was Gina and she’d been perfectly friendly towards me until today, it made me sad that she all of a sudden despised me just because I was Eric’s companion. Tom walked me to my room and insisted on waiting outside while I cleaned up quickly and grabbed my laptop, 10 minutes later we were walking down to the vampire wing. I’d never been there before, all available entrances were guarded by Were’s during the day and no humans were allowed. As we approached I saw Gina arguing with Will, waving her arms wildly like it would make him see her side of things. I stopped Tom so we could watch things unfold.
“Look Will, I heard in the dining room that Mr. Northman needed a donor at sunset. He fed from me last night and I’m sure he would be very angry at you denying him my attention right now!”
“Gina you’re a fucking trip you know that? Sherriff Northman requested that his companion, Miss Stackhouse, be brought to him when he rose, not just any donor. No humans other than Miss Stackhouse are to be allowed into the vampire wing, he might have fed from you last night but I doubt he’ll want a hamburger now he’s got steak.”
“Fuck you Will! She’s not steak, if anything the freaky bitch is tofu! What the fuck is this companion shit all about anyway?”
“For fuck sakes Gina just get out of here. If you’re such a treat I’m sure he’ll search you out.” Will looked at Tom and me and nodded to us; Gina turned and stared before smirking at me.
“Oh I think he’ll be searching me out before too long, some needs require an expert.”
I was incensed, it was one thing to feel insecure in my own abilities but this girl was making out that I would fail as Eric’s companion. I managed 9 years with crazy people, fighting off sleazy guards and I survived, I succeeded in keeping my own sanity despite the circumstances, I’ll be damned if I’ll let Gina think I’m weak and can’t make the grade when all I have to handle is one Vampire!
“Well, Gina, when he needs an expert in desperation I’ll recommend you. Now would be a good time for you to leave, unless you want to be reported as trying to gain entry to the vampire wing without a summons.”
“Pfft.” She walked right up and stuck her finger in my face. “He’ll get bored and come sniffing around soon enough.”
“That’s not what he said last night.” I flicked my hair back to show the marks he left. “Apparently, compared to me, donor blood is downgrading. In his own words.”
Yeah bitch, I’m not taking your shit lying down! Roll that in your tampon Little Miss Hamburger. Her eyes flashed with anger and she stomped off back towards the donor suites. Tom and Will looked at me with amused expressions. Will looked off in the direction Gina went.
“I’ll need to report her for this, if I don’t we’ll have donors trying to get in here every night. I’ll call Northman’s room and tell him you’re here.”
He picked up a phone that was on the wall and Tom entered the code in a panel next to the door, went we walked through there was another door with a different code, beyond that there were another 2 guards who nodded at us as we passed. Tom stopped and rapped at Eric’s door, there was the click and buzz of electronic locks being disengaged, it reminded me of being back in Valmont, then Tom pushed the door open and told me to go in.
I closed the door behind me and peered into the dimly lit room, a lamp got turned on and I saw Eric hanging up the phone on a desk in the corner, he was just wearing a pair of sleep pants and his swoon worthy (as proven by me) chest was fully on display. He smiled brightly and made his way to where I was standing, pulling me into his arms and nuzzling the top of my head, inhaling deeply before leading me to sit on a small sofa.
“I hear there was a little issue at the entrance to the wing.”
“Yes. Gina, the donor you … fed from last night, she overheard that you’d summoned me and thought that any old neck would do.”
“Hmm … that happens a lot with donors. Some of them overestimate their importance and think they should be afforded privileges they haven’t earned. She’ll not be back in the residence after her display.”
“Does what she did mean she should lose her job?”
“She tasted bitter and sounded like a cheap porn actress. It was almost an embarrassment to feed from her – for that alone I think she should be fired. Showing up trying to gain access to a restricted area in order to fulfil some kind of ego trip just seals her fate.”
“Okaaaay. So … uh … you called for me.” He nodded. “For … ?”
“Oh just to solidify your importance. I instructed the day guards to make it widely known that you are my companion and that I require your presence upon rising each evening I’m here.”
“Do you really require me or is it for show?”
“It’s not often I get the chance to feed directly after waking, I don’t require it necessarily. So it is mostly for show but I wouldn’t be dismissive of any offers you feel inclined to make.”
“Well if you need to feed at some point it’s probably better to do it now before we go to the meeting.” I checked my watch. “We’ve got 45 minutes.”
“I fed well yesterday, at my age I don’t need it every day but I always take advantage of readily available food sources.”
“Okay I’m confused. Do you want to feed or not?”
“I want to but I’d like to dedicate more time to it. I will shower and dress, then we will make our way to the conference room.”
I sat on the sofa and waited for him as he showered, taking in the opulent decor of the room. Less than ten minutes later he walked out completely naked.
“Oh my God!” I covered my eyes and wondered if he’d forgotten I was here.
“Sookie.” I heard him laughing as he said my name. “I’m so used to women clamouring to see me naked. You are … a refreshing change.”
“That’s nice and all but could you put some clothes on?”
“Certainly my dearest companion.” I heard the rustling of cloth on skin and peeked through my fingers to see him pull a pair of jeans over what could possibly be described as a work of art! “There, mostly covered!”
I brought my hands away from my face, feeling a little guilty for peeping at him. He threw on a Fangtasia shirt and held his hand out to me, grasping my small hand in his; we walked in silence to the conference room. Sophie-Ann, Andre, Hadley, Waldo and the Berts were all there and nodded to us as we entered and took our seats at the table. I set up my laptop and glanced at Sophie-Ann who was staring at me and Eric with an amused smile.
“I see you two are getting familiarised with one another.” I was slightly confused until I remembered we had still been holding hands when we came in.
“Yes … uh … we’re getting to know each other quite well.” The Queen quirked an eyebrow at me and turned her attention to Eric.
“Is the … companionship working out favourable for you Sherriff Northman?”
“Very.” Eric smirked and rested his arm on the back of my chair, lightly stroking my shoulder. “I may want to take her home with me.”
Sophie-Ann’s eyebrow went into overdrive and she drummed her short fingernails on the mahogany table. She sniffed the air and tilted her head to the side.
“Interesting.” She sat up and clasped her hands in her lap. “Well the Arkansas representatives will be here in 10 minutes, before they arrive I’d like to go over what we’ll be doing here tonight.” Everyone nodded. “We are negotiating a marriage contract between Louisiana and Arkansas, Sookie there may be a human lawyer or two with them but I doubt it, listen in anyway. I am wary of a union with any state, however I am also tired. I receive up to 10 proposals every week and rejecting those takes up time I could be spending elsewhere. If Threadgill has a fair offer on the table I will be inclined to accept.”
It sounded so sad; vampire politics are even more depressing than human politics. I sat up straight and opened a new document ready to take notes, Eric moved his hand down to rub circles on the small of my back, leaning one elbow on the table and keeping his body turned towards me. I looked up from my screen to see all eyes were on us and felt a flush rise in my cheeks; luckily I was saved by the Arkansas group being escorted into the room by Melanie. While 4 of the group took a seat, one female vampire remained standing.
“Queen Sophie-Ann, I am here to represent my King Peter Threadgill in these negotiations. I am Jennifer Cater.” Sophie-Ann just nodded in her direction. Then Jennifer’s eyes rested on me. “Ah! I see you have provided a gesture of goodwill! This human will be most satisfactory to my leader!”
Eric removed his hand from my back and growled deep in his chest. Sophie-Ann held a hand up and said his name quietly.
“You are mistaken Ms. Cater, this human is my assistant Sookie Stackhouse. She is also the companion of my most trusted Sherriff Mr. Northman.”
“The telepath!” Jennifer said it in almost a whisper but immediately her eyes darted towards two of the group, human men. I instantly zeroed in on their thoughts and was met with wild panic. Both of them were desperately trying to think of song lyrics, movie lines, anything to keep their minds occupied and prevent thinking the wrong things. I started typing on the blank page, nothing interesting – just my name, who was in the meeting, the date, but it scared the bejesus out of them.
Oh god! She knows something! I bet it was Gordon, I bet he was going over everything in that puny brain of his!
Fuck, that idiot Carl must have been thinking about no, no, no. Shit! Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.
“Yes Ms. Cater, the telepath. Have you met my children?”
“I haven’t had the pleasure your Majesty.”
Sophie-Ann introduced all of her entourage and I kept reading the two lawyers, noting their reactions to everyone. My continued typing had gotten them very nervous, so much so that they started sweating which alerted every vampire in the room, especially Sophie-Ann.
“Let’s get started, the humans you have brought with you seem to be less than stable. I don’t need my conference room smelling of fear for the next week.”
The meeting continued, offers were made, rejected, modified, accepted and Sophie-Ann was very impressive. She refused to budge on what she would accept as part of the union and how much she was willing to give. Everything had been fairly amicable, apart from the two lawyers; they were still shitting their pants. Three hours later papers were being stuffed in briefcases and I was doing a spell-check on the minutes I had taken. Sophie-Ann moved to take the seat next to mine.
“Sookie, what did you get from the two human lawyers?”
“Most of the cast of Fame and a recital of well known songs used at funerals.” Everyone looked at me like I’d gone nuts. “They were deliberately thinking of other things to prevent me picking anything up. Something stinks and it’s not just their B.O.”
“That’s very good to know. You can use the printer in the communal office off the foyer to print out any notes; I will expect a full transcription to be in my hands by tomorrow evening. I will be dealing with area business tomorrow night, so you won’t need to be in my office until 10pm. You are dismissed.”
I nodded, packed up my things and followed Eric out of the room. I wasn’t sure whether to reach for his hand again or not, I’d quite enjoyed the hand-holding thing and wondered if Eric had too. We’d only gotten 10 feet away from the conference room when Eric pushed me up against the wall and kissed me very, very hard, eliciting a squeak of surprise. I was gasping for breath when he released me.
“You just made two grown professional men sick with fear just by being in the same room as them.”
“And that deserves a kiss?”
“No, the fact that you had more influence over their fear than a broadsword on a table would deserves a kiss. You’re powerful without threatening physical harm and that is a fucking turn-on.” Oh my!