A Let Love In side story
By Terri Botta
Disclaimer: I don't own the Southern Vampires. Sole copyright belongs to Charlaine Harris. I'm poor so don't sue.
Rating: M for later chapters.
Timeframe: Post-From Dead to Worse
Summary: The Monday night photoshoot for Fangtasia's nude male calendar
A/N: This is the last chapter of Kodak Moment. Please look for the next story in the series, Life and Death in New Orleans, coming soon. Thank you to everyone who reviewed and wrote to me. Your opinions are greatly appreciated.
They did have fun with it. Lots of fun. Now that Eric was finished with his paperwork, he took her into the main bar and started snapping pictures of her there. He set her up on the bar, lounging on her side with a 6-pack of TrueBlood hiding her crotch. Then he had her put on the Fangtasia black cotton camisole that had the bar's logo splashed across it, and the black thong panties with two little fangs and a drop of blood silkscreened on the front, and he had her pose while sitting on a bar stool with her legs hooked behind the metal rungs on the stool, and also at his usual table in the middle of the bar, curled atop it, her expression sultry and enticing.
"You gonna use those shots to sell these things in the gift shop?" she asked coyly, indicating the camisole and underwear.
He chuckled and winked at her. "Maybe."
She flipped her hair back, puffed out her chest a little and smoldered at the camera. "Make sure you get my good side."
Her Viking's fangs ran down, and he grinned. "All your sides are good."
The thong panties didn't make it out of the bar. She felt bad, but Eric said he'd just write them off as a business expense.
After another round of very intense lovemaking right on top of the table in the middle of the bar (he said he'd be smelling their sex for days, and so would the rest of the undead staff), he took her back to his house. As they entered the kitchen from the garage, she gave him a come-hither look and beckoned with a finger.
'Where to, my lover?' he asked with a sly smile.
'The den. We have some… unfinished business with a bearskin rug.'
His eyes burned and she saw him lick his lips. 'Of course. How could I have forgotten?'
'Bring the camera.'
'Your wish is my command.'
She smirked. 'Oh I like that. Come over here.'
He picked up the camera bag and presented himself. 'Yes, my lover?'
She could see that he was already hard and straining against his jeans, so she boldly reached down and stroked him through the fabric.
"That can't be comfortable," she cooed.
"What do you intend to do about it?"
She batted her eyelashes innocently even as her fingers unzipped his fly, making him spring free.
"Better?" she asked sweetly. "Not as much pressure?"
His eyes fully dilated and his fangs flashed white as he pulled back his lips. "Only a little. There is still a great deal of… pressure from the… inside."
She gave him a sexy smile, then grasped him lightly in her hand, pulling him very gently towards her as she took a step backwards. His eyes opened a little wider, but he followed obediently.
"Careful," he warned when she tugged a little harder.
"What? It isn't going to come off, is it?"
He snorted, but allowed her to lead him, her hand still firmly around his length, to the den.
"When did you get so brazen?" he asked.
"Don't you like it?" she replied, releasing him once they were in front of the hearth and pressing her hands to his chest.
"I didn't say that. You are a vixen when you are like this. I can't resist you."
Her hands got busy again. "Who says you have to resist?" she purred, then dropped to her knees to give him a few licks.
He barked a shocked cry and threaded his hands into her hair, encouraging her to take him into her mouth. She did, but only to tease and torment him because she pulled back a few moments later.
"Build us a fire," she said in her sexiest voice.
"I was working on that," he complained.
She tapped the tip of him in admonishment, making him bounce a little. "A real fire."
"Yes, my lover."
She rewarded him with a brief lick and little suck just to the head, then she sat back on her haunches so he could kneel beside her and begin laying the fire. She caressed him as he did so, running her hand up his back and hooking her fingers under his shirt so she could pull it off. He returned the favor by ripping off her sweater and bra, and tossing them both into the fire.
"Cotton makes good kindling," he explained, his eyes bright as the flames started building both in the fireplace and in her body.
"You're going to replace both of those," she stated.
"Of course. And you will have a line of credit at our new lingerie store so I may rip and tear my way through your underwear whenever the mood strikes me."
She chuckled and leaned back, sliding her skirt off before he could toss that on the fire too, and removed her thigh highs.
"Nylon's no good for burning," she said. "And I like that skirt."
She spread her legs, offering him the opportunity to divest her of her panties, and he happily obliged. The fire flared briefly as the cotton landed on the burning wood.
"You're over dressed," she pointed out, pouting because he was still wearing his jeans.
"I need to set up the camera," he reminded.
She smiled. "So you do. You best hurry before the fire goes out."
He kissed her, making sure his tongue swiped the back of her throat before pulling sharply away. "Oh, not to worry, my lover. My fires burn all night."
He gave her a wicked leer, then hopped to his feet, moving with vampire swiftness to setup the camera.
"Lie back on the rug, my lover. I want some pictures of just you."
She obeyed, stretching out on the bearskin, half on her side, half on her back, with her head supported by the massive skull. This time she didn't bother to conceal her private parts, but laid her body out in all its naked glory. She heard and felt her Viking's appreciation through the bond.
"You are a siren, a vision of beauty," he whispered, then instructed gently, "Stay as still as you can. I have set a slow shutter speed to compensate for the lack of light."
She sighed and relaxed, doing as she was told and staying very still. About two seconds later she heard the click-whirr of the camera going off; there was no flash.
'To take advantage of the firelight and not ruin the wonderful glow it is spreading on your skin,' her lover explained.
'It will look even more wonderful on your skin. Why don't you get your butt over here and join me.'
'Just my butt or would you like the rest of me there, too?' he questioned playfully.
'Well… just your butt would be fine, but if the rest of you wants to come along, that'd be okay.'
'How generous of you.'
He set something on the camera, and an instant later he was sliding, naked, in behind her, pulling her body tight against his as they both laid to face the lens. He had his hand pressed possessively on her lower abdomen and his chin on her shoulder, his hair falling across her arm.
'There is a ten second delay,' he informed, nibbling her earlobe.
She moaned, but forced herself to smile for the camera just in time for it to take the picture.
'Tease!' she accused.
He gave her an incredulous look. 'As if what you were doing earlier wasn't. You, my lover, are a cruel cock-tease.'
'And you love every minute of it.'
He preened and grinned. 'Of course.'
He got up and reset the camera. "Sit up for me, lover, please."
She did as asked and rose up to sit, perched on one hip with her legs curled underneath her. He nodded in approval, set the timer and moved behind her again, embracing her with one arm across her breasts and the other low, over her hip. He kissed her throat and the camera clicked.
They took several more shots in different positions, each of the two of them naked in the firelight. There was even one of her sitting atop him, both hands on his chest as he leaned back on his elbows. The camera took its shot just before she slid herself onto him, and no more pictures were taken for an extended period of time.
Making love with her Viking on the bearskin rug was a sensuous experience meant to be savored, and for once she was glad that her mate liked to do things slow if he had the chance. By the time he was finished ravishing her, she was a boneless puddle of satisfaction and contentment, and he took one last picture of the two of them. In it she was lying, sated and spent (and she looked it) on the rug, and he was behind her, but positioned in the opposite direction with his cheek pressed lightly to the curve of her hip and his hand on her thigh. The firelight gave both of them a warm, golden glow.
She must have dozed off because, the next thing she knew, the camera had been packed away, the fire had been doused, and he was carrying her to the master suite. At some point, he must have run a bath because the big tub was full of hot water, and she sighed as he lowered her into it, making sure to pile her hair up so it wouldn't get wet. He did something similar with his hair, and she wished she had the camera to capture the image of Eric the Viking Vampire with a Pebbles Flintstone topknot on his head – minus the bone.
'It's a Japanese mage,' he sniffed, irritated, pronouncing the word "mah-gay."
She chortled. 'Looks like Pebbles to me, but you're more of a Bamm Bamm,' she teased, reaching to tickle him on his belly.
'I'll Bam Bam you all night,' he countered, leering and moving closer.
'Bam bam, thank you ma'am?'
He put his lips against her throat and hummed. 'Always thank you. I will show you my utmost gratitude for having me, for being my woman, every night.'
She slid her arms around him, holding him close as he slid between her legs.
Contrary to what adult filmmakers would have people think, having sex in water wasn't nearly as easy as the porn stars made it look. There were… lubrication issues, and her vampire found it necessary to lift her from the water long enough to give her a good licking with his amazing tongue to get her good and ready, before mounting her and sliding both of them back into the tub to finish what they'd started. The compromise yielded some very pleasurable results indeed.
"I swear I've never had so much sex in my entire life," she sighed some time later after they had dried off, and he had her tucked into bed.
"Am I wearing you out?" he asked, smiling as he propped himself up on one elbow beside her.
She chuckled. "I should be. I shouldn't be able to walk. I should be a boneless lump of Jell-O, but I'm not. I want you just as much as you want me."
She frowned, wondering when she'd turned into such a sexpot. It was unseemly for a lady. Was she even a lady anymore?
Her Viking snorted, his irritation coming across the bond. "Of course you are a lady. You are a Queen. My queen. And you want me as much as I want you because of my blood. Vampire blood is an aphrodisiac in humans."
"So it isn't the bond making me want to have sex with you all the time?"
"Oh, not this again," he complained.
"Well, how can I tell what's the bond and what are my real feelings?"
"My lover, I thought we had resolved this. Our bond doesn't make you feel anything. Everything you feel, everything that you experience through our bond, is genuine. If you are feeling like you want to have sex with me, it's because you want to have sex with me. If you feel happy and content, it's because you are happy and content. Our bond allows us to feel each other and know what the other is feeling. It lets us project feelings and give each other strength and courage. In our case, it lets us hear each other's thoughts. But it doesn't make us feel anything we weren't already feeling. It might amplify those feelings or bring them to the surface, but it doesn't manufacture feelings that weren't there to begin with."
He leaned down and kissed her gently, nuzzling her and giving her that low croon that she always found soothing.
"I am sorry if you were operating under the misconception that our bond was somehow making you feel things you wouldn't normally feel. That was my failing in not explaining it to you in more detail. I'm sorry. I kept thinking that we would have time for me to take you aside and tell you everything, but we never seemed to get the chance."
She pressed closer, snuggling. "And it wasn't like I was giving you much of one either," she admitted.
He stroked her hair. "No, but that was part of the challenge, wasn't it?"
She shrugged. "I guess."
To be honest, she was a little mad at herself for being so stubborn for so long. If she'd just faced up to things from the beginning, things might have gone a lot differently.
"Don't be angry. Your stubbornness is what gave you the strength to survive in a world that had cast you out. It's what kept you sane when a weaker person would have been driven crazy by the voices. While I admit that your bullheaded ways sometimes irritate and confound me, I love you all the more for them because it means that you will always meet me toe to toe," he told her fondly.
"You want me to argue with you?" she said, giving him an incredulous look.
"I want you to engage me. I don't want someone who will always tell me yes. Not even Pam is completely obedient. Obey me when it is important for you to do as I say – and you will know when those times are – but call me out when you think I am taking you for granted or doing something that could be done better a different way. I cannot count the number of times your perspective has opened a new door for me or helped me see something from a different angle. Don't ever stop doing that for me, my lover."
She blushed under the praise and nudged him. "Like how my idea that you should take your own damn pictures led you to dump $2000 on camera equipment tonight."
He chuckled and fondled her breast. "And it was worth every penny. You were absolutely stunning, a muse of muses. I have such wonderful plans for you and that camera."
He sounded almost dreamy, and she hated to burst his bubble, but she needed him to understand something.
"Just so long as you and I are the only ones who ever see them," she cautioned.
"Of course. I would not have such images of you out where anyone could see."
She snorted. "Hell, I haven't even seen most of them."
"Would you like to see them?"
She blinked. "Right now?"
"Of course. Give me five minutes, lover," he said, sliding out of bed.
He didn't wait for her protest, nor did he even put on a robe as he walked, naked, out of the bedroom. She hoped the neighbors weren't Peeping Toms, then again, knowing Eric he wouldn't care if they were.
She waited, lying on her back and casting a glance at the clock. It was almost two-thirty in the morning. She groaned. She had to work today, but thankfully, she didn't have to be in until late. She doubted very much if she was going to get to sleep before dawn.
Eric returned in less than five minutes carrying a lightweight laptop, the card reader thingy he'd bought at Wal-mart and camera bag. He took the camera out of the bag and deftly removed the little data card from the slot in the camera's casing. Then he got into bed and piled pillows up behind them so they could both sit up comfortably as he plugged the card reader into the laptop and inserted the data card into it. The speed and ease with which he handled the technology boggled the mind, and she shook her head.
"You are such a fast learner. You have got to be the most adaptable…" She paused. Man? Vampire? She couldn't say she knew too many humans who could pick up new things as fast as her Viking could, but she also knew that his talent for learning wasn't a universal vampire trait.
'Just the smart ones,' he told her, then spoke aloud, "We have to be. To stop adapting, to stop learning, is to get swallowed up by change, especially in this day and age when the world is changing so quickly. If we want to survive, we have to keep up."
"Well, you're doing a better job of it than I am. I can barely use the computer I got from Hadley."
He smiled at her, a gentle, loving smile that told her that he would help her in whatever way he could, and that he would be there to guide her. It made her warm all over. She'd been without a partner for so long, she'd almost forgotten what it was like to have someone she could depend on.
"I'll teach you, my lover. You'll pick it up in no time."
Amazingly, she believed him.
He clicked something and opened a window on the computer screen, his fingers flying across the keyboard and touchpad, and she saw him select a bunch of files from the data card and drag them to copy to the laptop's hard drive. The action made her nervous because she knew computers could be hacked.
"Not to worry, my lover. This is my personal computer. It is not on any network, I never bring it to Fangtasia, and it has the highest security settings available. No one is hacking into this laptop."
She dearly hoped so because, if not, pictures of her naked on Fangtasia's bar and on Eric's bearskin rug were going to be splashed all over the Internet.
"I will hunt down and disembowel anyone stupid enough to do that, my lover."
He was dead serious too.
She snuggled close, waiting for the pictures to transfer to the computer, then rested her head on his shoulder as he clicked on the first image and brought it up on the screen. It was the first one he'd taken: the one of her in the sheer white robe posing on the bed at Al's studio. The last time she'd seen it had been on the tiny viewscreen built into the camera. Now that it was displayed on the larger laptop screen, she got a better look at it.
"Magnificent. That will be my January," he purred.
She blushed, but had to admit that she did look really good. He smirked at her and opened the next one: another of her in the white robe, spread on the bed surrounded by purples, greens and golds. His nostrils flared, and he licked his lips. She could feel the stirrings of arousal in the bond, and she knew for sure that he'd be seeking more attention from her very soon. And who could blame him? Even she wasn't unaffected by the pictures.
He scrolled through the rest of them, pausing to appreciate each one, and making a little comment or paying her a compliment. None of the pictures were vulgar or degrading, and she found herself remembering how much fun she'd had posing for them. Her favorite was one of her sitting on the edge of the bed, positioned in the same pose her Viking had been when he was Mr. January – one foot on the floor, one knee curled under her. She was wearing the purple sleep shirt and matching panties. The shirt was unbuttoned but draped to cover her just at the edge of her nipples, and her goldgubbe shined against her skin. There was something alluring yet classy about the image. It said that she was a lady and should be treated with respect, even if the photographer knew she could make him beg for mercy.
Eric's favorite from the photoshoot at Alfred's was, not surprisingly, a nude, but, surprisingly, one of just her torso from the tops of her breasts up, again with her necklace a central focus in the image. It was a close-up; her hair loose over her shoulders, her eyes soft and her expression tender as she looked at the camera.
He stared at the picture for a long time, before he turned to her, his eyes rimmed with red, and whispered, "That's my Sookie."
She smiled at him, and he leaned over a little to kiss her gently.
'I love you.'
She closed her eyes and sighed, sinking down into the deep contentment of the bond. To be sure the sex was the greatest, but it was the moments of sweet intimacy that were the real bedrock of a relationship, and she and Eric had those moments down pat.
Eric hummed and the vibration sent a little massage all along her side. She opened her eyes lazily and focused them back on the screen. They'd reached the first of the pictures taken at Fangtasia, the one of her on the couch in Eric's office, topless, wearing her thigh highs, panties and shoes, and looking like she was just begging her bonded to come over and do something about the itch she couldn't scratch by herself. Oh he'd scratched it all right. He'd scratched it but good.
A surge of lust came across the bond, but they both held it in check, and Eric opened the next one – the one of her naked on Fangtasia's bar with the 6-pack of TrueBlood.
"I wish I could have this framed and put up in my office," he sighed.
"No way, buster."
The next four were of her in the Fangtasia camisole and panties. They weren't bad for an amateur photographer and an inexperienced model.
"You could use those, though," she compromised. She was fully covered and the poses were tasteful.
"No doubt they would sell our clothing line," he conceded.
"Hey, it means something when the boss's lady is willing to model the merchandise."
"Indeed. I may very well have a couple of these printed out and displayed on the counter in the gift shop."
"Put it next to the teaser pics for the new calendar," she suggested.
He chuckled. "Good idea."
Last they came to the images that had been taken in the den. They were dark and looked raw, but that only made them more sensuous.
"Oh…" she breathed, her eyes opening wide as he opened the first picture of the two of them together, naked in the firelight.
She was reminded of what the light had done to his hair that first night on Isle Elena, and later in the cabin after Maria's performance when they had made love for the first time since Hallow's curse was broken.
Eric looked almost alive in the firelight. The flames were giving his skin a warm glow, and his hair was a golden halo about his head. Curled behind her, his arm possessively across her abdomen, his chin on her shoulder, he looked every bit the pillaging warrior. Even his eyes gleamed in the light.
Her breath caught as they looked at the images because each one was more stunning than the last. The one of the two of them sitting up, his arms around her, their legs curled, was a picture of perfect affection, and the one of her sitting astride him, her thighs straining as her toes grabbed for purchase in the bear fur, was powerfully arousing. His arms were bent back, supporting the both of them as she placed the flats of her palms on the planes of his chest. His chin was raised, his eyes focused on her, his lips were parted and his fangs were down. His expression was hungry and needful, and he looked magnificent.
The last image was the post-coital one with the two of them lying together, but facing opposite directions. Her skin glistened in the light from the sheen of sweat, her body relaxed and draped across the rug in a pose of complete ease and contentment. Eric had his cheek on her hip, his hair falling down to obscure her crotch, but the light from the fire was illuminating his golden locks from behind, making them shine. His face was beatific, a picture of perfect happiness.
It was so beautiful, it choked her up, and a single tear ran down her cheek. Eric caught it with his finger and licked it from his knuckle, his eyes closing briefly in bliss.
"I know you once told me that you wished you could save orgasms in a jar, but I wish I could feel the way I did when we took that picture all of the time," he murmured. "In that moment, I was so happy, I would gladly have slaughtered anyone who had tried to disturb us."
"Well, gee, how romantic of you, you big Viking," she said drolly, laughing softy.
He smiled and kissed her. "That's me. Would you like a severed head with your two dozen roses, my lover?"
"Ah, no. But I'll take the chopped heads of chocolate bunnies if you want to give me those."
He snickered and brushed her hair back with his fingertips. "You don't want the heads of our enemies on a pike, but yet you want me to decapitate helpless chocolate rabbits."
"That sounds about right," she deadpanned with a smile. Teasing him was such fun.
He grinned, going with it. "You know that's beneath me and a waste of my sword skills."
"The things we do for love."
That got a good laugh, and a kiss, from him, then he disassembled the card reader thingy from the laptop, closed the laptop and placed it on the bedside table; then he put the data card back into the camera and turned it on.
"What are you doing?" she asked as he held the camera out at arm's length and appeared to be trying to position it.
"It's only our second night in this bed. I want to commemorate it with a picture of the two of us."
"Since when did our snuggling become a Kodak moment?"
He smirked. "This whole night has been a Kodak moment."
She snorted. "You just want an excuse to play with your new toy."
"I'd rather have an excuse to play with you," he replied and took the picture while she was still snickering.
He brought the camera close and turned it around, setting it to display the latest image. There they were, naked from the waist up with the rest of their bodies concealed by the bed covers, pillows piled behind them, and her snuggled up against his side with his arm around her. They both looked so very happy; Eric especially was simply beaming.
"See? Picture perfect," he told her, giving her a fond look.
She stared into his blue eyes, peering into their ancient depths and certain she could see the soul so many narrow-minded fools insisted wasn't there. She knew better.
Gently she lifted the very expensive camera from his fingers, turned it off, and placed it beside the laptop on the bedside table, then she cradled his precious face in both of her hands and kissed him deeply.
'Yes,' she agreed, letting his love wash over her.
The pillows were all shoved to the side as his arms came around her, and he drew her down into picture perfect bliss.
Watch for Life and Death in New Orleans – an LLI side story, coming soon!