Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
When Sookie rolled over to look at the bedside clock, she groaned, rolled away, rubbed her eyes, and checked again. She couldn’t remember any time in the past ten years she’d slept so late. It was almost noon and there were no messages. No one had knocked on her door or rang her phone, looking for her. Sookie marveled again at the difference it made, working with vampires.
What hadn’t changed was her need for coffee and something to eat. She rolled into the bathroom and tried to construct stories she could tell herself to dampen the growling in her stomach and the dull pain that centered between her eyebrows. She texted Amber and jumped in the shower.
When she finished toweling off, she checked her phone. There was no message from Felipe’s companion/secretary, but Sookie wasn’t surprised. Amber had spent time last night teasing the King, and Sookie had the impression that Felipe liked to pay his debts. It reminded Sookie of mornings she had woken pinned under Eric, having to wriggle and wiggle to get out of the bed. It was crazy, but it never made her angry, in fact, just the opposite. Sighing, Sookie texted Ted instead.
The accountant was up and offered to meet her downstairs for lunch. Ted ran numbers for Felipe’s various enterprises. Ted had never married and he loved being associated with Las Vegas. Sookie picked images out of his head featuring the accountant using his base of operations and occupation to pick up women in his travels. Sookie figured if Ted hadn’t started working for Felipe, he’d still be living downstairs in his Mother’s basement. He didn’t sport a comb-over anymore, but his thick middle looked ridiculous wedged into his skinny jeans.
Sookie ate a salad that was very good. There were other humans here, mostly retinue or companions. It wasn’t quite the same crowd she’d seen at the spa last night. She figured those people were likely hanging upstairs until the evening programs began.
Ted asked her questions about her personal life that Sookie mostly dodged. He had no idea whom she had been, and Sookie found that to be a welcome change. She tried not to look directly at the accountant since he had a tendency to talk while he chewed. Ted started working harder to try and impress Sookie. He slipped information about famous people he’d met into the conversation and, at one point, lied about the size of his bank account.
“Do you know why Felipe has me on payroll?” Sookie asked after Ted told a particularly big lie.
“I figured you were his back-up plan.” Ted shrugged, and Sookie realized Ted assumed Felipe was sleeping with her when he tired of Amber.
“No, Ted, that’s not it,” Sookie rolled her eyes, wishing she had brain bleach. “I read peoples’ minds. Surely you knew that.”
Ted smiled in his vacant way, then he blinked once, and once again, “Oh! For real? I thought that was your cover,” and his face fell.
“Nope, it’s the real deal,” Sookie shrugged. She tapped her forehead, “I can hear every time anyone tells a whopper, a near whopper, and a down-right lie. I write it all down and pass it along. That’s why I’m here, to be Felipe’s personal lie detector.”
“Oh,” Ted said flatly. Sookie raised her eyebrows, so Ted knew she was on to him, and then she smiled when he reached for his phone and started answering emails. It would make daytime a little lonelier, but Sookie figured it was a better option than another meal alone with Ted, Casanova Accountant.
When lunch was over, Sookie took the stairs up to the ballrooms and walked around. She poked her head into meeting rooms to see the setups. She scoped out the registration tables and then she walked into the exhibitors’ hall. Tables were already up, and many of them had flashing lights or other devices designed to lure those attending into stopping to see whatever was being sold. It felt familiar, seeing how similar the exhibits were to the ones Sookie remembered. There were exhibitors selling travel coffins and light-tight security systems. Concierge services seemed to be a hot commodity as well as bonded courier services. Sookie didn’t wander in too far. The room was dark and although she could tell she was alone, she felt a chill and decided to head back to her room.
There were no particular clothes designated for tonight, other than her monogramed blazer. Sookie knew her job was to sit quietly on a side chair during presentations and business meetings and take notes. Sookie grabbed the complimentary newspaper and curled into the chair in her room and read until she dozed.
Shortly after sunset, her phone rang. It was Mr. Cataliades telling her they were all expected to meet in the main restaurant downstairs, and she was late.
Sookie walked into the restaurant to find everyone already seated. Felipe was holding court. His bodyguards were arrayed around them. There were other monarchs in the restaurant as well. Sookie didn’t remember vampires hanging around the restaurants before, but it seemed that practice had changed.
Amber was eating steak and Ted was, too. Sookie ordered broiled fish. She couldn’t see eating a heavy dinner when she’d be sitting in meetings all night. Mr. Cataliades was working on a large salad, which was how Sookie knew he was miserable. Happy demons ate a lot; unhappy demons ate healthy.
“How was your day?” Felipe asked Sookie. He was running his fingers over Amber’s shoulder. He reminded Sookie of someone who admired the line of a thing, but didn’t really understand it’s value. Amber was pretty, beautiful even, but Felipe didn’t seem to think about her beyond that.
“It was fine,” Sookie smiled. “I slept later than I have in years. Could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw the time.”
“Good, then you should be able to keep up with the meetings tonight,” Felipe grinned. When Sookie looked concerned, he laughed, “Don’t worry! I’ll make sure there’s coffee ready if you need it!”
“What about me?” Amber preened.
“I’ll have other things ready for you,” Felipe purred. Amber simpered, but Sookie was willing to put down money that the next Summit would see Felipe with another companion.
“How many meetings are we talking about?” Sookie asked, diverting attention from the all too public display Amber was providing them.
“It’s a busy schedule,” Felipe acknowledged, “but the third item on the agenda is a professional presentation. That should be around eleven. I want you to take Amber downstairs during that time to see the exhibitors.” Sookie wondered when she’d become the designated babysitter, but she schooled her attitude. She didn’t have anything against Amber. She was just another silly girl looking for love and money, not necessarily in that order.
As promised, the first meeting was a fairly general presentation, but it did involve a rival territory. There were a fair number of vampires in the room, but there were others. Sookie listened carefully, but nothing of interest was said, either verbally or mentally. The second meeting was boring. They were talking about financial risk balancing and the talk included words like ‘hedging’ and ‘surplus notes.’ Sookie felt her eyes crossing, and she was embarrassed at how relieved she felt when it wrapped up and she could escape with Amber.
The exhibitors’ hall was crowded. It seemed there were plenty of people who didn’t care about arbitrage or risk sharing and were escaping here. Together, Sookie and Amber drifted down the aisles, pausing to pick up give-away items in a little bag they were each presented on arrival. Sookie saw vampires she’d met before, but they turned away from her like she was a bad smell.
“Having fun?” Rubio asked from behind her.
Sookie couldn’t help jumping, startled just a little, but she drew a breath, turned, and said, “Not really. I was prepared for the cold shoulder, but folks here take it to a whole new level.”
“Vampires, for all we live forever, exist with intensity,” Rubio acknowledged.
Sookie was smiling at Rubio, which is why when Bill Compton stepped in front of her, she ran into him. While Sookie blushed furiously, Rubio greeted Bill. When she gathered herself, Sookie pasted her smile in place, “Well, hi, Bill. I didn’t expect to see you here.”
“It’s been many years,” Bill replied. He was standing still in that vampire way that was kind of creepy and then he leaned forward a little, “I have been looking for you.”
Sookie knew her smile had gone to Crazy Sookie intensity as she said, “Oh.” It wasn’t a great answer, but she couldn’t think of what else to say. Truth was, she hadn’t thought of Bill Compton in many years. She glanced away from him, aware of how close he was standing.
Amber chose that moment to walk up. In her thoughtless way, she inserted herself into the space, and Bill took a step back, “Oh! I know you!” she gushed. “You’re the vampire with the database!”
Bill’s expression changed from intense to carefully civil, “Yes, that’s right,” and he bowed a little. “That is why I’m here, carrying out the wishes of my King.”
Sookie saw that Bill was standing in front of a table displaying disks and offering downloads of the vampire database. She couldn’t help but notice how people walked past them, not lingering like they did at other tables. “I should probably move along,” Sookie said dryly, “Folks here like to keep their distance from me. I’m probably killing your business.”
Bill laughed that weird laugh of his, “This business dried up long ago,” he told her. “Those who needed the database have purchased it, and there’s not enough new vampires to drive new sales.”
“Then why…” and Sookie stopped talking.
“Because my King thinks it’s charming to have me show up at every Summit and stand at my table,” Bill said, not hiding his bitterness. “He seems to think it will inspire me to come up with another money-making idea that will benefit him.”
“You could simply sign it over to the King,” Rubio reprimanded him.
“It’s mine!” Bill hissed. Bill’s reaction was quick and violent, and Sookie was taken aback by the way mild-mannered Bill looked every inch the vampire, but then, just as quickly, he retracted his fangs and Bill the Gentleman slid back in place. “Are you back for good?” he asked Sookie.
“I’m working for Felipe under a contract,” Sookie replied. “He’s got my services for four more trips, and then we’ll see.”
Bill reached forward and awkwardly took Sookie’s hand. There was something sad about her first love, so Sookie allowed it. “You look wonderful, Sweetheart,” he said quietly. “Please don’t disappear again.”
Amber giggled, but it wasn’t a nice laugh, “Oh, Sookie! You have an admirer!” she smirked.
“I should be getting back upstairs,” Sookie pulled her hand from Bill. Turning to Amber, she said, “Coming?”
“No,” Amber pouted. “Tell Felipe I went to the spa and I’ll have something waiting for him when he gets upstairs,” and waggling her eyebrows, she turned and flounced away.
Sookie and Rubio walked back toward the elevators. “She’s foolish if she thinks she will hold the King’s interest for long,” Rubio observed.
“Is he still watching me?” Sookie asked. She could feel a prickling feeling all the way down her back.
“Yes, Compton is still staring,” Rubio nodded. When the elevator doors closed, Sookie couldn’t stop the sigh of relief. “I will alert the bodyguards,” Rubio told her.
“Oh, don’t be silly!” Sookie pasted a quick smile on her face. “He just startled me is all. He was my boyfriend once upon a time. It just feels awkward, seeing him.”
Rubio nodded, but Sookie could tell he wasn’t convinced.
When they re-entered the meeting room, several heads swiveled their way. Felipe and Stan Davis were talking and the tension was so thick, Sookie almost took a step back. “That is a groundless accusation,” Felipe said smoothly. He reminded Sookie of a snake.
“I’m smarter than you think, Zorro!” Stan snarled. “Don’t think you won’t pay either! You think I don’t know about those shipments across the Panhandle? I heard there was an accident…”
“You had better hope that isn’t the case,” Felipe leaned in, his voice cold and deadly.
“I’m not saying I had anything to do with it,” Stan shrugged, a satisfied smirk on his face. “I’m just a reporter.”
“There are courtesies we have always observed,” Felipe was starting to step to the side. It almost looked like a flanking maneuver and Stan stepped right along with him.
“Courtesies? Like keeping the interest rates low for friends?” Felipe’s eyes were flat, so Sookie figured whatever this meant it must have been a good hit.
“There is no reason for you to fight,” and Sookie recognized Russell Edgington. He stepped from the crowd that was on the far side of the Kings and he physically stepped between them. The other vampires in the room seemed ready for a fight, and Sookie could see disappointment on the faces of several. For his part, Rubio stepped back and Sookie realized he was waiting to pull her away if things became physical.
Later, as Rubio walked Sookie to her room, she asked, “Was that as bad as it looked?”
Rubio nodded, “The purpose of this Summit is to broker a détente, but it’s going badly. In some ways, it might be better to let them fight, then it would just be the two of them, and this could be settled.” Rubio stepped back while Sookie used her key, “It won’t be settled, though,” Rubio continued, “and I worry that when things do come to a head it will be a bloody affair.”
“There’s always hope,” Sookie said, before she said good night. That night as she lay in bed she thought about the way the Kings had bristled and postured. She thought about how the vampires had stood back from them, almost willing them to battle. Somehow, none of it felt hopeful.
The next day there was a planned excursion for humans to go into town for shopping. Sookie got on the bus and spent the next few hours lost in gift shopping and generally poking around. She resisted the temptation to buy Rick a cowboy hat. Instead, she settled on a belt buckle. She bought a soft, hand-loomed wrap for Lora and a tooled leather bag for Fran. She made arrangements to have everything shipped, so she wouldn’t have to answer questions at the hotel.
Felipe didn’t seem interested in tracking down where she lived, but Sookie wasn’t fooled. She kept an eye open, watching for surveillance. When she bought things, she kept her phone in her purse. It wouldn’t keep the King from tracking her, but at least he couldn’t pull video footage.
That night at dinner, it was clear that something was not right between Amber and Felipe. Amber was a clear broadcaster and Sookie was given a full view of the evening before. The King had brought another man into their room, which was fine with Amber until she realized the man was gay, and the King expected them both to service him. When the King pushed Amber away, showing a preference for the male hustler, Amber took exception and she made a scene that didn’t end well for her.
When supper ended, Ted tucked his paunch into his jeans and said, “Maybe I should go talk with Amber.”
“If you value your balls, I’d suggest you let sleeping dogs lie,” Mr. Cataliades observed. Ted blanched and then headed the other direction. “And how is your visit going so far?” the attorney asked Sookie.
“I’m ready to go home,” Sookie sighed.
“Well, only two more nights,” Mr. Cataliades nodded. “Of course, you could be in contract talks with Ted and myself. Surely your time is spent in a more pleasurable way.”
Sookie laughed, “Yup, you got me beat for entertainment, and that’s for sure!” Sookie headed back to her room. The dress code for tonight was more provocative. Sookie was expected to wear a tight skirt and a low-cut blouse. Even her bra had been chosen and it both lifted and enhanced, neither of which she needed. She figured she’d look like the stuffing pouring out of a Thanksgiving turkey, but that was the effect she knew the King wanted.
There would be vampires tonight, mostly male. They were not immune to handsome humans and Sookie’s job was to distract. Amber was also supposed to be there, but announced she had a headache and wouldn’t be attending. Felipe was unconcerned. He explained that while vampires will admire the pet of another, they will honor a prior claim. Sookie, however, was unclaimed, so, dressed as she was, she would trigger hunting instincts, creating the desired distraction.
Sookie was fighting with her own very different instincts. She wanted to hide, sensing the eyes on her. She remembered the King’s instructions, though, and self-consciously shifted in her chair, flashing cleavage and thigh. Her face was burning and she had to bite her lips to keep from trembling. That only seemed to draw more notice from those in the room.
The next meeting, Felipe moved her chair, so she was closer to his table and in clear view of those who would sit opposite the King. “You are doing very well,” he complimented her. “I realize this is uncomfortable, and I apologize. I’ll find a way to make this up to you, but I do understand my audience. As foolish and shallow as it is, it works.”
When the next group came in, Sookie was so nervous she dropped her pen. Almost without thinking, she leaned over to retrieve it and when she sat back up, she saw two sets of fangs and dark, piercing eyes fastened on her. She blushed so hard she could feel sweat running down her back, and it took every bit of self-control she could muster not to wiggle in discomfort.
Felipe was triumphant at the end of the meetings. He felt the outcomes and agreements were favorable, and he told Sookie he was in her debt. “Please, let me take you downstairs to the bar. There is music planned, a singer.”
They took the elevator downstairs, and Felipe joked with her. He had a light, sure touch with mimicry, and Sookie couldn’t stop giggling as he imitated first one and then another of the vampires who’d come through the rooms tonight. “Fools!” he laughed before taking Sookie’s hand and kissing it, “To not see beyond the surface to the treasure you are!”
Felipe dropped her hand almost immediately and reminded her of another moment, making it feel like it was not that she had humiliated herself, but that they had pulled some great joke together. It salved her pride and made her smile come more easily.
The bar was crowded. Rubio was standing to one side, speaking with others from Amun. Sookie saw their eyes wash over her before landing, coldly, on Felipe. Sookie watched Rubio murmur something, an excuse, and make his way to their table. Felipe immediately launched into his story, outlining how brilliantly the wonderful Miss Stackhouse had conducted herself and sympathizing over the short-sightedness of men. Drinks were ordered, gin and tonic for her, and blood for the vampires.
The singer took stage and her voice carried, pure and clear over the crowd. By the time her set was over, Sookie realized she’d had two more drinks, and her laughter was a shade too loud. “I’m sorry,” she stammered. “I guess I’m not used to drinking any more. I should get upstairs.”
“Nonsense!” Felipe shushed her. He had his arm across the back of the bench seat, his top shirt button undone. “Just don’t have any more to drink and stay for the next set. You’ll settle a little more by then and I’ll have Rubio walk you up.”
“That’s real nice of you,” Sookie said in a rush, and she realized she really was feeling drunk.
Felipe turned then and his face sobered, “I expected to see your wife,” he said, and Sookie knew. She swallowed, and then forced her eyes to lift. Eric Northman was standing to the other side of their table. He glanced at her and she saw loathing in his eyes. She felt hot all over and, for a moment, she thought she’d be sick. He flicked his eyes away from her and focused instead on the King.
“Freyda was called away unexpectedly. She asked that I make her apologies personally. I am sorry I interrupted your evening.” He voice was smooth, a courtier’s voice.
“You aren’t interrupting anything!” Felipe laughed. “Of course, you remember Rubio and the charming Miss Stackhouse.” Felipe looked at Sookie in a kindly way, “Sookie is working as my consultant. She drove a hard bargain, but she is well worth it. She has a rare talent and I am most grateful.”
“I remember her…talent,” Eric kept his eyes on the King. “I see she still dresses well for the occasion.”
Sookie’s misery flashed to fury, “Well, don’t you have a lot of assumptions, Mr. Northman!” she snapped. “At least my contract is just a money exchange. I don’t have to put out other favors, and for the record, I don’t!”
All the alcohol faded away and Sookie stood, her eyes blazing. “I think I’m done for the evening, Felipe,” she announced. “Thank you for an enjoyable evening and I’ll see you tomorrow night.” She bowed to Rubio and, with her back straight, she headed for the elevators.
As the doors closed, she saw her reflection in the mirrored walls. Her blouse was gaping, her breasts looking as though they were popping out. Her skirt was so tight she could almost see the outline of her panties. She felt her humiliation all over again, but she held her tears until the door to her bedroom was closed.
Eric couldn’t help watching Sookie as she stomped away. He remembered that set in her shoulders and the way she held her head when she was angry. He remembered the feel of her fury, how alive it made her. Then he stilled. He could sense the King’s eyes on him. “I see you are still fond of her,” Felipe purred.
Eric schooled his expression and swung to face the King again. Rubio was looking neutral, but Felipe’s look was more than speculative. “I admire a woman who maintains her looks,” Eric nodded. “Sookie has done well for her age.”
“Of course,” Felipe nodded, but Eric could see he wasn’t fooled. “Perhaps you would like to join us, now that you have chased my consultant away. We can reminisce about Louisiana and when we were together.”
Eric had to hand it to Felipe, he had a rare way with words. “For a moment,” he agreed.
“I really am disappointed that Freyda wasn’t able to come. It has been too many years since I have seen her. I hear you are well settled,” and Felipe signaled the waitress to bring more blood.
“I am content there,” Eric nodded. “It has proven a profitable union for both of us.”
“Which is what one wishes,” Felipe smiled more broadly. “Vampires understand vampires. Things are clearer and what is important comes first.” Felipe sipped again, “Of course, like any kingdom, there are those small struggles, those inconveniences. Borders, trade, jealous neighbors: all those petty conflicts that can cause happiness to elude us. But, of course, you don’t have those concerns! Even me, with my good relations with California and Utah, still we fight over inconsequential things! A true and strong alliance would make these difficulties go away!”
“True alliances are rare,” Eric said noncommittally.
“But what better basis to form such an alliance than mutual interests and old favors,” Felipe smiled. “Like our Miss Stackhouse, for instance. When she decided she needed money, who else would she reach out to? It seems like old times, except…” and Felipe let the pause grow. The King leaned forward and his face took on a thoughtful expression, “She has changed. She is more…confident.”
The King’s voice dropped, sounding as if he was imparting secrets. “I will tell you, Eric, I never understood your attitude toward her before. She was lovely, of course, but the appeal escaped me, but now? Working closer with her, I have come to a new appreciation. It’s more than her looks, isn’t it? She’s clever and smart. She has a style all her own.” The King shook his head. “I am intrigued,” he shrugged, “More than I should be,” and he sat back again and then he grinned.
“Look at me!” Felipe exclaimed, “About to ask advice about courting from her ex-husband! I could be in a Spanish novella,” and he waved dismissively at himself. “Well, enough foolishness!” he mock-scolded, “Tell me of yourself!”
Eric spent the next hour telling the King of Oklahoma. He talked about the commerce of the kingdom and the activities in the state. He told the King things that any person could have read in a newspaper about Freyda and himself. He emphasized his pleasure in his Queen and how comfortable their partnership had become. He was free in thanking Felipe because the word of a Consort held no power and they both knew it.
When Eric left, he didn’t take the elevator to his rooms. Instead, he took the stairs and walked all the way around the floor, then he took the stairs up one more floor, and did the same thing. His long legs scissored, eating up the corridors, his teeth grinding. He kept seeing her, her head thrown back, laughing at the Spanish King’s jokes. He remembered how Felipe’s eyes traveled to her cleavage and the proprietary way his arm rested across her back. Sookie may have protested, but the way they were sitting and talking told a different story. The Sookie he knew would only display herself to someone she was intimate with, and there was little being left to the imagination tonight.
Another floor was covered, and then another. He remembered the way her hair was escaping its coil and the way her eyes snapped. She looked rounder, more lush. It made him ache just looking at her.
Another floor and another flashed by. He wasn’t running, but he was walking too quickly, his hands fisted. Another set of stairs, a gray staircase that looked like another hallway where he had brought her within his cape and bonded with her. He could still see her, his Sookie, he could still feel her mouth on him.
Eric rounded the corner and a woman was there. She slammed into his chest and dropped an ice bucket. He registered the sound and feel of the ice around him and he was staring down at her. Sookie Stackhouse. Her hair was curling around her face and she was wearing a loose shirt and jeans. She had been crying, he could smell it and his nostrils flared, taking in more of her; wheat and honey and summer rain.
His hands had automatically closed around her upper arms to stop her from falling, and although her mouth was open in surprise, her hands came up between them, running up his chest. “Eric,” she whispered so low he wondered if he imagined it.
Her fingers fisted then, capturing his shirt and his mouth was on hers. He wanted to crush her, to hurt her, but she wasn’t backing away. She moaned, and, in that moment, he was undone.
“Where is your room?” he growled.
She gestured in back of him. She pulled her key from her pocket and pushed against him. He stepped backward, his mouth on hers. Her hands kept pushing, guiding until they were beside a door. She slapped her key against the pad and the light flashed green. It was Sookie who opened the door, grabbed Eric’s waistband, and pulled him inside.
There were some lights on. The room was neat, but Eric didn’t have time to look around. Sookie pulled his shirt from his pants and ran her hands up his chest. Eric grabbed her tee-shirt and pulled it from her. His hands cupped her breasts. They fit so perfectly, even better than he remembered. Her nipples were hard as he rubbed his thumbs across them and she moaned again, pressing wet kisses through his shirt.
Their hands moved, alternately drifting and demanding. He didn’t want to hurry, but he couldn’t taste her soon enough. She was straining on tiptoe, her teeth pulling at his lower lip, demanding entrance and he lifted her to bring her face closer. Sookie’s arms snaked over his shoulders and her hands framed his face. She stroked his cheeks with her thumbs as she once had, that gesture speaking of kindness and more. She dipped toward him, licking his fangs, first one and then the other, curling her tongue around them before more fully exploring his mouth. She was different, she was more, she was his home, and he buried his nose in the place just below her ear where her scent was strongest.
Her fingers were tugging, racing with the buttons on his shirt, and when she had them undone, she pulled her face from his and leaned down to lick and bite his nipples, just the way he liked. He was so hard it hurt, and then her fingers were there, too, undoing his pants. He lowered her to the floor. Her hand reached to grasp him and it was perfect. She released him and pulled his pants past his hips and then she followed them, running her hands down the long lines of his thighs, kissing and nibbling, untying shoes, until he was naked before her.
She stood and unfastened her own jeans, her eyes on his. She let them slip from her hips. She was wearing black underwear, and she unfastened her bra and let that fall, too, before pushing him backward to sit on the edge of the bed.
The old Sookie would have waited for his cue, but this Sookie, the one with the hungry eyes who looked at him as he’d always wished, fell to her knees and licked up his legs, her hands cradling and fondling, her mouth kissing and then, taking his head into her warm mouth, her eyes fastened on his.
She wasn’t any better at oral sex than she had been before, but she approached it with a new energy, an enthusiasm, and Eric was soon arching into her. She was using tongue and lips. It was difficult not to grab her hair and bury himself in her throat. His mouth fell open, his fangs displayed, and Sookie moaned around him.
“Yes!” he cried, and, reaching forward, he dragged her off her knees and toward him. He laid back and pulled her toward him. She resisted, holding back to run her mouth and hands over his body, kissing and licking. She rubbed her face against his chest and she trailed her teeth over his upper arms. He was on fire and he reached down to part her lips.
Sookie crawled forward, straddling him and ran herself over his nodding cock, so he could feel how wet she was. When she took him in her hand this time, she ran her thumb over his head, using the moisture he was already leaking to make him wet, too. She positioned him at her entrance. “Yes,” she sighed. “Please!”
She sank down on him then, her walls slowly giving way, enveloping him in her silky heat. She was so tight around him that Eric could feel her pulse beating against him. She allowed her head to drop back, her hands pushing against his chest as she nibbled her lower lip. When he was nearly seated, she rose up and then sank on him again, allowing him even deeper within her, and then the time for slow was over.
Eric sat up and grabbed Sookie’s hips. He lifted her and when she struggled to maintain the rhythm he wanted, he flipped them over, captured her hands above her hand with one hand, and using his other hand to lift her hips, opening her more fully to him. She was perfect, this was perfect. Sookie’s breasts were sliding against him and she opened her legs wider, bringing her heels to wrap around his hips.
She was panting, making noises, her mouth open, her eyes closed. She was going to come, but he wasn’t ready for that. “Not yet!” he growled. He pulled out of her and flipped her to her knees. He kicked her legs apart and entered her again, deep and sure.
“Eric!” her voice was throaty. He could hear her need and it echoed his own. Only she could do this to him. He settled back into his rhythm, running his fingers around where he slickly pistoned within her, using the moisture to wet his thumb, and then inserting it in her rosebud, moving it in counterpoint to his cock, the way she loved. Sookie’s head dropped to the bed as she moved against him, her hips driving him deeper. She swiveled and he almost came undone.
He leaned over her back, “You will come for me now,” he growled in her ear. He leaned back again, so he could lightly slap her left cheek and then reaching around, rubbed her clit quickly while he pushed both cock and thumb within her. Her orgasm took her, hard and fast, and she cried out in her pleasure.
“Yes!” she cried, and “Eric!” as her walls milked him and he allowed her to take him with her. He couldn’t remember coming so hard, not since the last time he had been with her. It was sublime.
He pulled her to him, folding her within his arms, and dropping so they were spooned together on the bed. Sookie was breathing hard, but her hands sought him, her fingers twining with his. It felt right, it felt best. She turned within his embrace, cuddling her head against his chest, her breath warm against him.
As they lay there, Eric knew this was a mistake.
Sookie reached for him again, her hand lazily stroking. “Sookie,” he said, and her hand stilled. Her eyes lifted to his and she smiled. It was a trusting, happy smile and she scooted up, kissing him, and her hand began its movement again. She was breathing her sweet breath. Her scent was heavy in the air. He wondered if she was more Fae, if that could explain his reaction. He tried not to kiss her, but then he did.
“I missed this,” she whispered. “I missed us.”
He couldn’t bring himself to say anything. He had already betrayed himself, he couldn’t compound his wrong with more words. “I should leave,” he said instead, and her hand stilled a second time.
Now her eyes changed. She looked afraid, and then so sad. “Please, Eric,” she begged him. “Please, make love to me one more time. Just once! It will hold me for the rest of my life! Please!” Sookie opened her eyes. She bit her lip as she cradled his face in her hands. He started to turn from her, and he watched the pain as it passed over her face, the way her eyes squeezed shut and her face became tight. He could smell her tears and it was his undoing.
He loved her then. He allowed all the feelings he had buried so deep to come forward. He remembered all the curves and nuances of her body and he revisited every one. Sookie had a good memory as well, and he lost himself in the sweetness that had always been theirs.
As he moved within her, her chest against his, her legs wrapped around him as she moved in his lap, he watched with wonder as she lost herself in their moment. One minute she was watching him, her pupils dark, the next her head was thrown back, her ecstasy robbing her of breath. She was magnificent and in a move so natural he couldn’t stop it, Eric leaned over her neck and sank his fangs into her, and with a cry, Sookie sank her teeth into him as well. It was stunning, the feeling of it. “Perfect!” he sighed. “You are so perfect!”
“I love you,” she whispered, giving him the words he had once longed to hear from her, and Eric knew he loved her, too, and always would.
He held her until she fell asleep in his arms. He could tell she knew he’d be gone when she awoke. He could feel her, her happiness tinged with regret twining across his nerves. It was not a bond, but a mutual exchange was still a powerful thing. It would take some time before the effects wore off and Eric knew he would smell of her as she smelled of him.
He carefully withdrew from her, trying his best not to disturb her. A sadness passed over her face, echoed across their connection, and he sat on the side of the bed, reluctant to go. His hand moved back to tuck her hair away from her face, and her brow smoothed again. He glanced at her form under the blanket and stood up, pulling it from her. He ran his eyes across her, from head to foot, slowly cataloging the changes. It was on her belly that his eyes lingered. The faint crisscross of scarring told its tale. “You are a woman of mystery, my Sookie,” he whispered. “Willing to break your honor for this thing, as I do,” and he pulled the blanket back over her.
Eric walked around the room, collecting his clothes. He checked the time on his phone and started texting as he walked down the corridor and away from his heart.
The first message was to Mr. Cataliades, asking the demon to meet him in his room. The next was to his dayman, instructing him to arrange transport back to Oklahoma for first thing tomorrow morning. It was time to go home, and as Eric walked up the stairs that would take him to his floor, he thought about what would come next. He would shower and then feed from several donors tonight, muddling the bright scent of her. He would fly to Oklahoma and he would hide for the next week until she faded further.
As Eric reached his room, he resolved to never see Sookie again, not while she lived. He simply didn’t have the strength of character, and he hated his weakness both for himself and for her. He had betrayed his Queen and himself. He owed Freyda better and he vowed to become the consort she deserved and to make this memory the one that would finally allow him to put Sookie Stackhouse behind him.