"Oh no…no no no…don't do this….c'mon. no no no." Sookie could only plead with her second hand Malibu as it sputtered to a halt on the side of the road. She pumped the gas and made a worried squealing noise as she willed the car to move again. "Come on. Please." She rested her head against the steering wheel and sighed. She dug her cell phone from her purse and flipped it open.

8:13 PM.

"Great. Just great." She mumbled as she stared at the display. She looked around into the darkness and started to think about who she could call. Sam? She looked toward the sky and quickly saw the reminder of the full moon. Jason? No, she still wasn't speaking to Jason. The sigh puffed from her lungs as she hit number 2 on her speed dial.

Eric's sudden anxiety was confirmed by the display on his cell phone.

"What's wrong?" He asked without preamble.

"How did…" She questioned.

"Are you hurt? Where are you? I'll come." She smiled into the phone and let out the breath she didn't even realize she'd been holding.

"My car died. It just quit." She ignored his muttering about her piece of shit car and continued. "I'm comin' home from Monroe. I went shopping. I'm on Miller Road."

"Lock your doors. I'm on my way." She heard him walk through Fangtasia. The music from the bar ebbed and then disappeared. She heard the sound of his car door slamming and smiled at the fact that he hadn't hung up.

"Thanks. I'm sorry I had to bother you."

"You never bother me, lover. I am available to you always." There was a sudden rush of emotion through the bond that made her cheeks heat up. She clicked the lock on the car door again, even though she knew it was already locked and tried to calm her nerves.


"You're frightened." He stated and she felt a pang of fear snap into the bond.
"Well, yeah. It's late, I'm stuck on the side of the road and given my track record, I'm just wondering what's gonna jump out of the woods at me."
"Let's not even talk about it." She giggled at his dry tone and felt his comfort.

"Why tempt fate, right? Where are you now?"

"I'm about 10 minutes away."
"Are you driving or flying?" She laughed.

"Maybe a little of both."

"I'm fine, Eric. Don't kill yourself getting here."

"I'm already dead, lover." She heard the rumble of laughter in his chest.
"Smart ass." The conversation kept her mind off sitting alone in the dark in the middle of nowhere. She was grateful for that. She and Eric bantered back a forth until she saw his headlights pull off the road behind her.

"There you are." He whispered with relief before closing his cell phone. He was at her door before she had a chance to close her own phone. He reached for the door handle and smiled when it wouldn't open.

"Good girl."

"I'm not an idiot, you know." She muttered as she unlocked the door and allowed him to open it for her.

"I'm buying you a new car."


"Argue all you want." He waited while she retrieved her purse and a few items from the glove box. She popped the trunk and Eric started gathering up her shopping bags. "It's not going to do you any good."

"I can get this car fixed. Besides, I can't afford a new car. We've talked about this a hundred times."
"Well, I'm done talking." He stowed her packages and settled her into the passenger seat of his car. "You could have been hurt or worse out here on the side of the road."

"Eric." She sighed. He held up his hand and shook his head.

"No. You, yourself, would…what do you say…bend over backwards for people. But you are too proud to let me help you. Well, that's too bad. Your safety is too important to me. So you can just be mad in a new car that I know will be reliable and safe." Eric started his car and pulled off with a little more force than necessary. Sookie turned to face him as much as she could in his Corvette.

"You can't just boss me around like you do Pam. You're not my master."

"Sookie." He ground out her name and she could see his hands gripping the steering with force enough to nearly break it.

"Don't 'Sookie' me. What gives you the right to just proclaim you're going to buy me a car?!"
"Because...I…dammit, you are infuriating."

"I am not!"

"You most certainly are!" He glared at her as he sped down the highway.

"Oh, so because I won't just take, take, take, I'm infuriating?!"
"You know that's not the case. Why won't you let me take care of you?!" His voice rose and his frustrations were just fueling her own.

"I can take care of myself! And slow down!" She clutched the console and tried to look past his arm to see the speedometer.

"Insufferable woman!"

"Chauvinistic..." She paused trying to think of something to say and then settled on the only thing she could come up with, "…butthead!"

"Butthead?!" His shock turned to laughter. She felt his amusement seep into her own mood and tried to keep her features from breaking in to a smile. He slid one hand from the wheel and offered it to her. She slid her hand into his and sighed at his touch. The fact that he offered his hand instead of taking hers was nice. She knew he was trying to calm her down. They sat in silence for a few minutes as Sookie absently rubbed her thumb against the back of his hand. Eric took a curve a little faster than she was used to and she squeezed his hand and reached for the handle on the door jamb with the other.
"Slow down. You're scaring me." She pleaded before she felt the car slow slightly. "I'm mortal remember. This little car wouldn't do much to protect me when you wrap us around a tree."

"So you would like something with a little more size? An SUV maybe?"

"You're not buying me a car." She stated once again.

"I most certainly am. Besides, I'm having your piece of shit Chevy hauled away."

"You most certainly will not! That's MY car!" She tried to pull her hand away but he wouldn't let her go.

"Calm down."
"No. I knew I shouldn't have called you. Damn full moon." She regretted the words as soon as they crossed her lips. She felt the car speed up and Eric's grip slacken against her hand. He stared straight ahead as he raced down the interstate toward Bon Temps. She slowly pulled her hand away and turned to look out the window.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean that." She whispered.

"Unfortunately, I can feel that you did." His tone was like ice.

"No. It's not like that." She kept her gaze on the passing guard rails.

"Then explain what it's like."

"You're…frustrating." She could only imagine the look on his face. She knew she was the pot calling the kettle black, but she had to make him understand.

"You're one to talk, lover."

"I know. But, I knew this was going to happen. I knew as soon as I called you, the whole 'buy me a car' thing would start up."
"Why do have to be so stubborn?"

"The same reason you are, I guess." She finally turned to face him. He seemed to be thinking about what she just said. He nodded his head slowly and reached for her hand again.
"Okay. So what do we do about this?"

"I don't know. You're stubborn. I'm stubborn." Sookie shrugged her shoulders and shifted in the seat so she could rest their joined hands in her lap. They were quiet a few minutes as Eric navigated the streets of Bon Temps.

"You and I need to come to some sort of understanding. It's extremely frustrating when you won't listen to reason."

"No, you mean it's extremely frustrating when I won't do as you command." He smirked at her and could see the glint in her eye.

"Hard headed woman."

"Stubborn Viking Butthead." At least he laughed this time.

Sookie held the door for Eric while he carried in all her shopping bags. She directed him to just place them on her bed while she heated him up a bottle of blood.

She was shaking the bottle gently to even out any hot spots when Eric returned to her in the kitchen.

"So what are we going to do about your car?"

"Maybe Tray can fix it again?" She wondered as she handed the blood to Eric. They moved to the living room and settled beside each other on the couch.

"I want you to listen to me, please." Eric spoke quietly.


"Do you love me?" He asked as she snuggled into his side.
"Of course. You know that."

"Then why won't you let me love you? Please, dear one, let me take care of you and know that you are safe. It would make me feel better to know you are in a reliable car." She could feel the guilt covering her like a thick cloud.

"But I feel like you do too much for me. You shouldn't have to buy me a car."

"I don't feel like I have to buy you a car. I want to buy you a car because it would make me happy to know that it's one less worry in regards to you."

"Eric." She whined.

He tightened his arm around her shoulders and kissed the top of her head. He knew he had pulled on the exact right strings to get her to see things his way.

"Can I take you car shopping tomorrow?" She pushed away from him and looked into his eyes.
"I know what you're doing, you know. You're guilting me into a new car. That's so not fair."

"All's fair, lover." He smirked. "Besides, I would feel better if you were in something a little more…substantial. You yourself mentioned your mortality on the drive here."

"Eric." She warned. Thoughts of armored tanks ran through her head.

"I have the perfect car in mind."

"Car…not tank, right?"




"I work at a bar! I'm a barmaid!"

"What's your point?"
"I was thinking more like a Focus or something."

"A Focus?!" Eric looked as if he smelled bad fish. Sookie couldn't help but laugh.

"What's wrong with a Focus?" He only made a face and ignored her question.

"600 series Guard is perfect."
"I don't even know what that means."

"We can't buy one here. I'll have it ordered. What color would you like?"

"Why does this sound expensive?"
"What's the value of your life, lover?" She paled slightly and knew that he had just sealed the deal. She was getting a new car.

"You've got to be kidding." She remarked drolly as the dealership delivered her car. A black Mercedes 600 Series Guard. The salesman happily went over all the standard features and then started in on the selling points of the car. Bullet resistant glass, check that, grenade resistant glass. Fireproof, sealed gas tank, run flat tires. Eric really did buy a tank. The salesman placed the keys in her hand and smiled.

"How much did this thing cost, again?" Sookie asked still trying to recover from all the safety features.

"I'm sorry ma'am. Mr. Northman gave us explicit instructions against discussing that sort of thing."
"I'm sure he did."

"Enjoy your new car, Miss Stackhouse. My card is in the glove compartment if you need anything."

"Th…thanks." She stood stock still taking in her new car as the salesman stepped into another waiting Mercedes to return him to the dealership.

"An armored car. The man bought me an armored car. I'm going to kill him." She closed the driver's door and hit the little lock button on the key fob. She stalked up the front steps and tossed the keys against the kitchen counter before grabbing a bottle of Sprite from the fridge. She stood at the sink and looked out across the yard. There it sat, mocking her. Black shiny paint, dark tinted windows, sparkling silver wheels. It looked like something out of a James Bond movie. She sipped on her drink and shook her head wondering how she was ever going to be able to drive a car like that around Bon Temps. She turned her back to the window and sighed looking around the kitchen. Another depressing thought entered her mind. She needed to go to the grocery store and the bank. Dammit. She stared at the keys and then out the window again. She checked her watch before pulling her cell phone from her back pocket. She pressed 3 on her speed dial and waited for him to pick up.

"Sam? Hey, can you do me a big favor?"

"Wow." Sookie rolled her eyes as Sam walked around the gleaming new Mercedes. "This is a Guard, Sook. Eric bought you a Guard."
"Yeah, I'm well aware of that." She mumbled as he whistled his appreciation.
"So, you need me to take you to the store and the bank? Why?"

"I can't drive this?!" Sookie looked at him like surely he would understand why she couldn't be seen in a Mercedes that probably cost more than her house.

"Is it a stick or something? I can teach you."

"No!" Did the man just not get it?!

"Sookie, what's wrong?" He finally pulled his admiring eyes away from the car and looked at her stricken features.

"How in the world am I gonna show my face around town in this…this…"

"I don't think I follow." She sighed and shook her head.

"I'll look like a…a…whore."


"A kept woman. Like Eric buys me this because we…" She looked out across the field toward the cemetery hoping Sam would get the gist of what she was saying.

"Oh Sookie. We all got better sense than that. Give us a little credit. Your friends understand and the rest can just go to hell." She looked at him with surprise and then smiled.

"Thanks, Sam."

"So you still want me to take you to the store?" He grinned as she looked at the car again frowning.

"It's armored."

"I know. Eric's a lot of things, but stupid isn't one of them. It's a good choice."


'How many times have you been shot at? Once was even with Eric in his car! Hell, I'm surprised it took him this long to get you something with a little more security than that crappy Malibu of Tara's." She glared at him and he laughed, "Oh, now I see. I bet he's been trying to talk you into a better car for a while now."

"Why can't ya'll understand that I can take care of myself?!"

"Ah, c'mon, Sook. Listen to yourself. Everyone knows you're not helpless, but you're not exactly under the radar when it comes to the Supes, either. You've got enemies; whether directly or indirectly." He pinned her with a look and she felt her lips purse into a scowl.

"I hate this."

"It's an awesome car."
"It's showy."
"It's safe." He emphasized his point by reaching out and giving her upper arm a squeeze. "You need all the protection you can get. Eric knows this. He's being smart, Sook. Let him." She sighed and looked at the keys in her palm.

"Want to ride with me?" She asked.

"Can I drive?"

"No way! I've got to be the first!" He laughed at her as he walked around to the passenger side and opened the door.

She hesitated a bit before starting the engine. She smiled at the little buttons to adjust the seat while ignoring Sam's expression as she moved the seat back and forth. Turning the key, she couldn't help the little flip her stomach did as the engine roared to life. She adjusted the mirrors and then tried to familiarize herself with the bottoms. She shifted it in gear and looked once over at Sam.

"It's still ostentatious." She smiled a little at being able to use one of her Word-of-the-Day calendar words.
"It's cool as hell."

Sookie had driven Sam around with her as she went to the bank and the grocery store. She didn't need much so it wasn't too painful of a trip for him. She thought about letting him drive back home, but she knew Eric would throw a fit if anyone besides her drove the car he bought for her. She said goodbye to Sam and waited for Eric to show up. It was her night off and he should be arriving soon.

She put away her groceries and enjoyed her bacon cheeseburger from Wendy's. In her old car, she and Sam would have eaten going down the road. She couldn't bear the thought of spilling fries on the floor of such a beautiful and expensive car. The more she drove it, the more she loved it. A few people turned to look today, but it wasn't as bad as she thought. It was mainly the men that stared as she went through town. Must be a guy thing. She did enjoy spending time with Sam. They hadn't had a lot of time just to spend together as friends. It was nice to catch up. She glanced at the clock and finished off the last of her Diet Coke.

She saw Eric's headlights coming up her driveway and decided to meet him on the back steps. She knew he would want to look at the car. She sat on the top step and waited as he exited his Corvette. She couldn't help but grin at the look of pure satisfaction on his face. He smiled at her as he walked over to the car.

"Won't you take me for a ride, lover."


"Of course." She hit the button to disengage the alarm so Eric could slide into the passenger seat. As soon as she saw his face she knew what he was going to say. She cranked the car and waited for him to explode.

"Why does your new car smell like shifter?!" He looked absolutely livid. She turned to face him and matched his stare.

"Sam and I ran some errands today." She saw his jaw tighten and his hands clench into fists. "And before you go all vampire crazy on me, you better be glad he did."

"Why is that?"

"Because he's the one that made me realize…" She leaned forward and squeezed his stern face between her fingers,"…that you're right."

She squeezed his cheeks and puckered his lips. She kissed him soundly and waited on him to speak.
"And how did your shifter boss convince you of something that I could not?"

"I guess I just needed to have things put in a different perspective."

"What did he say?" She pulled out of her driveway and started down Hummingbird Lane. She sighed before answering.

"I was kinda upset about the car at first. It's armored!"
"It's safe."
"I know. Sam pointed that out. You just want to keep me safe and that I should let you."

"Perhaps, I've underestimated Sam Merlotte."
"Perhaps you did." She cast him a small smile as she sped up.

"So, you like it?" He asked as he rubbed his hand across her shoulder sweeping the hair from her neck.

"I do." She felt a push of satisfaction and pride across the bond.

"I love you." He trailed his fingers along her neck eliciting a contented sigh from Sookie's lips.

"I love you too, thank you."

"See how nice things are when you listen to me." He smirked.
"Shut up." They both laughed as Sookie pulled onto the interstate.