Sookie was placing a tape in the VCR when Eric walked back into the house. "What took you so long?" Sookie pushed the tape in and sat down on the couch.
"Making sure Bill went home, and stayed home," he said with a smile. "I thought you wanted to hear about my trip, not watch a movie."
Sookie laughed. "I got you a gift too. I told you that you needed to see Gone with the Wind."
A little after dawn, Sookie walked up the stairs to her room and lay down. Eric's presence still lingered on her skin, in the air around her, and in her mind. She looked up at the ceiling, her mind wandering back to sitting on the couch watching the movie as they wrapped themselves up in each other. It was like a normal human relationship, the kind that Sookie always dreamed about. Except human relationships never really worked out for her. Her eyes fluttered and she knew sleep would come soon. She smiled and leaned over to set her alarm. Lying back down on the bed, Sookie touched her lips lightly were Eric's last kiss was still tingling. She closed her eyes and sighed, Eric on her mind as she fell into slumber.
Late nights were making it hard on Sookie, and she was running late when she entered the bar. Sam motioned for her to follow him to his office, and she sighed. She had never been late before, so he wouldn't be too hard on her, right? "Sam… I can explain."
"Bill came to the bar last night, to see me." Sam said as he sat down in his chair.
Sookie leaned on the edge of the desk. "What did he want?"
"To warn me and to ask that I talk some sense into you," Sam said. "He said you had taken up with another vampire, the one from the bar, and that you were in danger. He said that, while what he had done was wrong, he had never hurt you intentionally. He explained what Eric was in relation the vampire's hierarchy and how much more trouble he would bring you."
Sookie rolled his eyes. "He was all angry that I continued to work with you while you still had feelings for me. But here he is now, playing on that same thing he hated, because it benefits him. If I wasn't raised a lady, I'd have plenty of things to say to him, and to you too Sam Merlotte. You are my boss and who I have sex with is none of your business, unless it affected my work."
"You've never been late before Sookie," Sam pointed out.
"Oh Sweet Jesus," Sookie said and crossed the room to put more distance between her and her boss. "This is how Bill does things. He had no use for you when he was seeing me, and you had feelings for me. But now that I'm seeing Eric, he hopes that you will take me away from Eric, and then he can take me away from you. All three of you think that I am some weak little woman who has no say in her own life and can't make her own decisions. Well, I'm just not having that anymore. I will tell you right now Sam, Eric and I have a close relationship. I am his and that won't change unless I want it too. As for Bill, the only reason you were nice to him was because of me. But seeing as how he lied to me, cheated on me, and attempted to leave me without even saying anything to me; you have no reason to be nice to him because I no longer give a damn about him. I fought Eric tooth and nail to keep working here. I like my job and I like you, but you won't treat me like a child!"
Sam looked at her with wide eyes. "I just want you to be careful Sookie." He shrugged. "Tell Eric to come by the next time he is in Bon Temps. He asked that we make an arrangement for when you have to go out of town for vampire business."
Sookie looked up at Sam. "He's right about that… I hate having to leave you a waitress short. I think he plans to send one of his waitresses, a human of course, when he needs me. Which just goes to show how much he cares about me."
"I don't like him, anymore than I like any vampire that you are with. But compared to what Bill has done, so far Eric seems decent. Just be carefully Sookie. I couldn't stand losing you." Sam whispered the last sentence.
Sookie smiled and placed a hand on Sam's shoulder. "First off, I'm not as weak as I seem. And second, Eric's already said he would protect me with his life. And I believe him." She stood on her tiptoes and gave Sam a peck on the cheek. "Gotta get to work Boss." She said as she bounced out of the room.
Sookie went home after her lunch shift was over and began getting ready. She had, what she guessed was a date, with Eric that night. She was applying lipstick when his arms wrapped around her waist. "I've come to pick up my date."
She smiled. So this was a date, an actual date with Eric. She shuddered. She knew how this date would end. "Where are we going?"
"Now that would ruin the surprise if I told you. And here," Eric pulled a silk scarf out of his pocket. "You are going to have to wear this."
Sookie loved the mischievous smile that came across his face. He tied it around her eyes carefully. "You know, I love your smile."
"You will be seeing more of it if you keep making me happy." His hand traced down her hair and played with the diamond choker she was wearing. "You are wearing it."
She nodded and turned. He kissed her softly. "It's beautiful, and besides… I want all those vampires to stay away from my neck."
She felt, rather than saw, him smile. "Come on Sookie, I have many things planned for us tonight." In Eric's normal way, he made those seemingly innocent words drip with sex. And she shuddered as she took his hand. This, she could tell, was going to be a night she would never forget.
AN: I read an interview with Ball, who said Eric would play a huge role in the next season. YAY!