Chapter 1

If I were the kind of girl who kept a journal, these last few years would certainly have filled a few. Not that anyone would have believed the contents. All the people in Bon Temps turned a blind eye to the many unexplained events which kept happening here since the vamps went public. The supernatural community liked it better that way anyway I guess.

I was having an unusually slow night at work so I had plenty of time to think as I filled the salt shakers and restocked the bar. I had been through the war, literally and more than once, since Bill walked into Merlotte's and vampire politics became a part of my everyday life. I wasn't too thrilled by that fact. Then again, it had been over three weeks since Sigebert's attack on Eric and Filipe de Castro in Sam's parking lot, and I was actually getting bored. Surely this wasn't a good thing. I guess I had expected to hear from Eric, or even from Pam, after the night they stopped by the bar to offer me the formal protection of the vampires, but I had been wrong. Everything was quiet and everything was, well, normal. If such a thing existed, that is. With a sigh, I looked at my watch and noticed that it was already 1:00 am. There was no one else in the bar besides Sam, who was going over the float while drinking a Bud Light.

"I'm done for the night so I'm going to head home, okay Sam?"

"Sure. Goodnight Sookie. See you on Monday." Sam replied while counting bills.

I smiled and waved in response. By the time I got to my car, my boredom had quickly turned to irritation. Why hadn't Eric called, or stopped by the bar, or anything? I hadn't even been sensing him through the bond. I felt cut off. Was this how he treated his friends? I'm sure it probably was how he treated his former lovers, but he had assured me I was more than that to him. I was actually getting used to our banter, I was even getting used to him randomly appearing in the parking lot at Merlotte's or on my back porch. Jesus Christ, Shepherd of Judea. I missed Eric.

The drive home was all too quick as I pondered this new piece of information. Sure, he had saved my life on more than one occasion, but hadn't I saved his in return? Pam's too? Even though he was always doing things like re-gravelling the driveway and replacing stuff like my cell phone and jacket, how thoughtful was he when his memories of spending time with me came back? Not thoughtful at all. He became even more secretive and broody and distant than normal. Okay Sookie, snap out of it or you'll have to explain your bad mood to Amelia. Shaking the thoughts from my mind, I opened the back door and went inside. There wasn't any sign of Amelia or Octavia so I figured they must be asleep. Well I suppose it was getting pretty late. Why wasn't I tired? I guess three weeks of normality after more than two years of constant action was enough to refresh anyone. Besides, I had the next two days off and could sleep whenever I wanted, why not stay up a while?

Suddenly, a strange thought came to mind which instantly excited and surprised me. If I missed Eric so much, what was stopping me from driving over to Fangtasia and having a quick drink? After all, I'm an adult and I had nowhere to be tomorrow. Quick as a flash, I was hopping in the shower and yanking things out of my closet which would be just provocative enough to incite Eric's attention, and just conservative enough to be decent. Why hadn't I thought of this before? Just because I wanted to have a talk with him, it didn't mean it had to be the talk. Besides, hadn't it been Eric who had visited me the last time, the last two times?

Since it was Friday night, Fangtasia would be open later than its usual closing time of 2:00am so I had a little window with which to get ready and get my ass over there. Why stay bored when a thousand year old Viking vampire, a gorgeous blond haired and blue eyed one, would probably really like to see me?

Settling on a royal blue silk shift dress and a pair of pumps, I was ready to go. Screw the cold; I'd only be outside for a few minutes anyway. I was almost out the door when I thought I should leave a note for Amelia in case she woke up and wondered where I was.

Amelia, I'm gone to Fangtasia. I have the cell if you need me. – Sookie.

That being done, I hopped in the car and made my way to Shreveport to see Eric.

* * * * *

Even at 2:30am, there was still a small lineup outside of the bar and Pam was selectively letting people in and taking their cover charge, as usual. Looking up from an excited looking frat-type guy, Pam saw me and waved me in.

"Sookie, I was wondering if you'd come." Pam said with a wicked grin. That Pam.

"What do you mean? I came here on a total whim, Pam."

She ignored me and pointed past the bar at Eric's booth where he was sitting, looking as bored as I had an hour ago. Oh boy, maybe this was a bad idea. As soon as I saw him, I got knots in my stomach the size of baseballs. He looks, well, he looks amazing. In dark jeans and a tight fitting black undershirt, his muscles seemed to ripple deliciously just by existing. I mean, he wasn't even moving for goodness sake. Being careful to stay hidden for the time being, I walked a few steps behind a group of fangbangers and watched as his expression changed from boredom to curiosity. Did he sense my nervousness in the bond? Did he sense my excitement? Or are those slutty fangbangers just making him hungry? You never really knew with a vampire. I decided to order a gin & tonic and let him come to me. After all, I had driven all this way. As soon as I sat down at the bar, I was flooded with a feeling of supreme satisfaction. Eric must have spotted me. I wasn't going to turn around though, I was going to sit here innocently and sip my drink.

"You look incredible, lover." Eric crooned into my ear, licking the lobe so quickly I couldn't have objected.

"Thank-you, Eric. So do you." I wasn't about to forget my manners; no matter how turned on that one simple lick had made me.

"Why don't we go to my office where there's a little more privacy?" asked Eric while pressing his hips and his obviously building arousal into my back.

"I think the bar will be fine. I came here for some company Eric, some innocent company. Is that okay or should I go home?" I said with a little edge in my voice. I hadn't expected such an instant physical reaction to Eric's touch and it was almost unsettling. I missed him, sure. I had been bored and lonely lately without him…but we had too many unresolved issues between us for me to just enjoy his company or his sexual advances in an uncomplicated way. Whenever I felt him through the bond it made me wonder if all my feelings were his or mine and that was too confusing. Maybe I was just plain stubborn when it came to Eric.

"Dear one, you may come here and enjoy my company any time you like. Now, to what do I owe this totally unexpected pleasure?" Eric said pleasure in such a way that I could have melted into the barstool.

"Pam didn't seem that surprised to see me." I said, questioningly.

"Well, she should have been. I knew nothing of this. I was hoping, of course, that you would come visit me or contact me but I wanted to give you some time to digest the news of the King's intention to provide protection. I've also been very busy under his new regime." Eric stated quietly, ending all my suspicions as to why he hadn't called.

"To tell you the truth, I don't know why I'm here. I was at home, thinking about how bored I was, and it suddenly occurred to me that since I have tomorrow off I may as well have some fun." I wasn't going to tell him I missed him, his head was big enough already.

Eric instantly looked at once thrilled and baffled.

"When did it occur to you as you said?" Eric asked.

"An hour and a half ago; why do you ask?" This seemed an odd question. Naturally, I was expecting him to remark on how I chose Fangtasia, and him, as a destination for fun.

"Oh, no reason in particular, just that around that same time I was thinking about how much, fun, it would be if I got to see you tonight." With that, he leaned in and kissed my neck. Oh hell, I must have known deep down that he would try something like this and I was enjoying it. For a moment or two, I let him graze his hands over my shoulders and down into the neckline of my dress. And then I realized what Eric had just said and pulled away violently.

"Eric, you told me you'd never use the bond to make me answer your call! How could you?" I asked, hurt and affronted.

"Sookie, I swear to you I didn't call you to me. You'd never adhere to my influence even if I tried. You know this. I wanted you to come here, you must have wanted to as well. It seems the bond worked to our mutual advantage in this instance. Wouldn't you agree?" He asked with a little smirk. "Are you not glad to see me?" He leaned in again, and this time I caught his lips with my own. Oh, what the hell. He almost growled into my mouth with his deep hunger for me as I responded to him with my lips and tongue. His passion for me was so intense that it warmed me all over and made me shiver at once. I missed him and I wanted him, everything else could wait.

"Eric, I won't do this here, at your bar." I said, pulling away from him and speaking into his roped and muscular neck.

"Of course not lover." He said as he picked me up and tossed me on his back with no effort at all.

"Where are we going, Eric?" I almost giggled as the speed in which he had picked me up, put me in his Corvette and started driving away from Fangtasia without a second thought.

"When are you working again?" He asked with a grin.

"On Monday, but why is that relevant?" I looked at him quizzically.

"Do you suppose the shifter would allow you an extra few days?"

"I don't know Eric; I suppose he would since I've been working overtime these past few weeks. But why on earth are you taking me somewhere that would require that much time off?" This didn't make sense.

"Right now I'm taking you to my house, lover. We'll talk about it when we get there." Eric sure had a way of ending conversations. At this point, though, I wasn't about to argue because I was still incredibly turned on and everything else could wait. Something about him caressing the wheel while driving at this speed made me weak with wanting. I wonder why. Emboldened by my arousal, I edged closer to Eric on the seat and starting running my hands through his hair, down his chest and lightly over the crotch of his jeans. He responded instantly; his gracious plenty bulging appreciatively.

"Keep that up Sookie and I'll have to pull over." Said Eric, groaning from the strain I was purposely causing him. Enjoying the power I held over him, I unbuttoned his jeans and ran my hands over his grey silk boxers. Oh, yum. With that, Eric pulled over.

"I warned you, Sookie." He said, laughing in an entirely sexual way. "How do you expect me to drive us home safely when you are rubbing me in this manner? I have wanted this for a very long time and you would dare tease me in the seat of my own car?" Before I knew what was happening, he had hopped out of the car and opened the door to my side, unbuckling my seat belt.

"I was just having a little fun, Eric. I'm not going to have sex with you on the side of the road!" I said in exasperation. This wasn't going how I planned. But then again, he is a vampire. His arousal and mine was so strong through the bond that I was on the verge of yielding to him, and I didn't want to screw his brains out on the side of the highway even if it was after 3:00am.

"Then you will listen to me when I tell you to have patience, lover. Another mile is hardly a long time to wait after two years." Eric was so pleased with himself by this sudden switch in our relationship that I wanted to slap him. Instead I flushed with embarrassment and got back in the car. I have never known Eric to turn down sex, particularly not with me, and the concept of it was beyond comprehension. I remained silent for the rest of the drive to his house.

* * * * *

Eric lived in a posh neighborhood filled with two and three story brick houses. Not that this was any surprise, I knew Eric had money, but his colonial at the end of the street was absolutely breathtaking. He had a fully manicured lawn, a circular driveway, and from what I could tell, a large piece of property in the back. I actually gasped as we pulled up to the door. Eric was positively aglow with pride and contentment at my reaction.

"Eric, your house is beautiful. It's…enormous. Does Pam live here as well?" I asked, suspecting that she must.

"Yes, for the time being, but she won't be coming here tonight. She knows not to." Eric said, taking my hand and unlocking the front door.

Eric flicked on the light switch to the left of the door, and the foyer was illuminated by the dim light of an overhead chandelier. I couldn't have noticed from outside, at night, but I quickly saw that the windows in the house were of the same opaque glass as the hotel in Rhodes. Evidently, Eric had renovated the house and I suspected it hadn't come cheap. Directly in front of me was a winding staircase, and to my left and right were large rooms which appeared to go on forever. I couldn't really get an idea of their style or purpose in the semi-darkness. Motioning to the staircase, Eric said: "after you, lover." As I walked up the staircase, I glanced at my watch: 3:20am. We had, at best, three and a half hours to sunrise. I was going to make them count. Pushing my feelings of anticipation and need through the bond, I looked behind me at Eric to see sheer lust spread across his face.

"I will show you around another time, lover, for now we will go to my bedroom if that suits you?" He knew damn well it did. At the top of the stairs, Eric indicated that we should go right. Turning right, I noticed a giant set of double doors, solid oak, which must have been the entrance to his room. I began to feel both nervous and exhilarated at once. Sensing my conflicting emotions, Eric wrapped me in his arms and kissed me before stopping to open the door to his room. Then he looked me in the eyes and his expression changed from lustful to serious.

"Sookie, I have never brought a human woman to my home. You must understand that to know my place of rest, combined with our bond and the feelings I have for you, is…" He paused.

"Not right now Eric, I know we need to talk about many things. But right now is for you and me to experience one another. Please." I pleaded with my eyes and all my heart that he simply love and touch me right now without all the pain and politics.

"Wait here for one moment" Eric said and I nodded. A few minutes later, I heard him call to me and opened the doors to his room. It was the biggest room I'd ever seen. A king-sized four poster bed with a gorgeous white Egyptian cotton canopy, sat in the middle. He had lit candles on his shelves around the room and tied the curtains to the canopy back, revealing him lying shirtless and surrounded by big white pillows. Eric quite literally lived the fantasy I didn't know I had.

"Is this to your liking, lover?" Eric said quietly, in a voice laced with hopefulness and passion.

In response, I slipped the sleeves of my silk dress over my shoulders and let it fall to the floor. Standing there in the royal blue lace bra and panties that I had expressly worn to match the dress, along with my pumps that I hadn't bothered to take off, I let Eric stare. I wasn't coming any closer to the bed just yet.

"Is this to your liking Eric?" I said mischievously. Eric's eyes were on fire and his fangs were fully extended. It may have been to his liking, but he was staying put. Apparently, our little game was exciting to us both.

"Your turn" I said to Eric, and he immediately removed his jeans and left me to gawk at his six and a half feet of pure perfection laid bare save for the grey boxers. He ran a hand through his long hair to get the loose strands out of his eyes, the muscles in his arm rippling as he did so. Oh. My. God. After a moment or two, he looked at me expectantly and didn't need to remind me it was now my turn.

Instead of taking anything off, however, I simply ran my fingers under one of the straps of my bra and let it fall, exposing just a little of my nipple. Sensing his approval of my method, I then ran my hand over my stomach and down to the top of my panties. Slipping my hand inside, I became aware of just how ready for Eric I truly was. Wet and excited, a let a finger run over my nub and gasped at how hard it was. Seeing this was enough to make Eric jump from the bed and grab me. I win. I thought wickedly to myself. In seconds, I was on Eric's bed and he had lost his boxers and I my shoes.

"Sookie, I…" Eric started to say while kissing my neck and mouth and arms and stomach.

"I know Eric, me too." I replied in a whisper while taking off my bra and pulling off my panties. I did not want this pair ripped so I quickly removed them myself. His joy resounded through the bond at my comment and sent his hands and mouth into a frenzy as though he wanted to touch all of me at once. Running my hands through his hair and bucking my hips against him, we soon became too excited to delay any longer.

"Look at me, lover" said Eric, and as soon as I did, he thrust into me with such force that I nearly came immediately. Oh EricEricEricyesyeysyesyesyes. Oh Eric I missed you yes. Holding my face in his hands and moaning a low growling moan, Eric kept pushing himself into me as deep as he could go while looking directly in my eyes. We had both waited so long for this that I knew it would be quick and intense. Oh yes Eric oh yes. Oh Eric yes. Just when I was about to release, I tilted my head and exposed my neck to him in anticipation. At the last possible second, he pulled out from inside me and bit. I screamed his name in total ecstasy while I grabbed his bottom and pulled him back in but deeper. Watching me come while looking at him had pushed him over the edge; another thrust and he collapsed on top of me. Basking in the aftershocks, I ran my fingers over his back and kissed him for all I was worth.

"That was…" I started to say.

"Yes it was" he finished, while wrapping me up in his arms.

"Eric, I'm sorry…I…didn't even know I was supposed to be missing you until now." I said, stroking his arms and breathing in his scent.

"Don't say you're sorry lover, it is I who should be apologizing to you. But, as you said earlier, tonight is for feeling each other again, for touching, for loving. We have a lot to talk about, but let's wait until tomorrow." He said, with sincerity and kindness in his voice.

I couldn't see anything wrong with that and so instead I kissed him. First on the mouth, then on the neck, and then all the way down his gorgeous Viking chest. As I got lower, I noticed he was already hard again.

"Shall I continue, Mr. Northman?" I asked, almost in a purr.

"Oh yes, Miss Stackhouse. Only, turn this way" he said, positioning me in such a way that I was facing away from him, "so that I might reciprocate. I seem to recall this being a rather enjoyable experience for us both."

It was. And then we slept like the dead.