Auld Lang Syne

"Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven!"

A few minutes before the countdown to ring in the New Year had begun, Sookie Stackhouse had slipped out the back door of Merlotte's Bar. On her way, she'd picked up one of the bubbling glasses of champagne that had been poured for when midnight struck. Even though Sam lived in a trailer behind the bar, he wasn't poor, and he'd insisted on a free glass of champagne for every live patron and a glass of Royalty Blended for the dead.

Moving through the crowded room, she'd heard Sam calling her name, and she'd felt him reach out to her with his mind. Fortunately, she could blame the noisy bar and her almost always in place mental barriers for not hearing him. It wasn't that she didn't like her boss, because she did. They'd become close friends over the past few months. She just didn't feel like being near him when the ball dropped. His thoughts might have been more difficult for her to read, but she could decipher his intentions loud and clear.

And Sookie just wasn't sure if she wanted the same thing.

So instead of facing him like an adult, she'd run the other way when she'd seen him coming for her. He'd almost caught up to her too, until a very drunk, very amorous Katrina refugee wrapped herself around him. Sookie had thanked the redhead mentally before disappearing out the back door.

When she'd walked out, Sookie hadn't grabbed her coat. She'd only planned to be outside for a few minutes, but already the cold was getting to her. It might have been Louisiana, but it was Northern Louisiana, and it was cold in the winter. Sam's appointed winter uniform of pants and a long sleeved shirt was fine indoors, but it did nothing against the cold night air.

Wrapping her arms around herself, Sookie listened to the countdown rage on. A few minutes more and she'd be able to go back inside. Sure, she could have gone in when the magic moment struck, but it was possible that her boss would be waiting for her. And she wanted to avoid him through all of the counting, singing, and kissing that would take place in the last few of this year and first few minutes of the new one.

"Six! Five! Four!" The voices inside were becoming louder, more excited. And as they did, Sookie remembered an old resolution she'd made one New Year's Eve, not so long ago. It had seemed simple at the time. No more getting beat up. Thinking of it now made her laugh. Since she'd met Bill, the occasional beating wasn't unordinary, and black eyes and fractured bones were par for the course anymore.

She supposed that that should have made her sad. As far as she was concerned, no one in their right mind should be that calm about being routinely injured. But it didn't. That wasn't not to say she enjoyed the beatings, because she didn't. Not one little bit. And as much as she tried to distance herself from the violence, she always, some way, some how, managed to get sucked right back in. To Sookie, it seemed silly to make a resolution against something that she simply could not avoid.

Listening to the last few seconds of the year tick by in an anticipatory chorus, Sookie decided not to make a resolution for herself. For the most part, she was happy. Sure, there was a sore spot or two in her life, but she wasn't about to make a resolution involving Jason. He was going to have to make the first move regarding that mess himself.

"Happy New Year!" The anxious counting had exploded in a joyous cacophony of squawkers, screams, and singing.

Sookie didn't join in. Instead, she took a sip of the champagne in her hand. She'd never been a heavy drinker, seeing the effect of alcohol every time she worked. But it was New Year's Eve, and she'd only planned on having a drink or two to celebrate. Swallowing the bubbly drink, Sookie wrinkled her nose in distaste. She knew champagne was supposed to be sweet, but it really wasn't her taste. And this particular brand seemed to be even more sugary than the last she'd tried. Looking at the pinkish liquid, she decided that perhaps she would only take one sip after all.

With the drunken chorus of "Auld Lang Syne" dying down, Sookie decided that she'd waited long enough. Hopefully the urge for people to the kiss the closest thing near them would be over as well by the time she was back inside. Taking a deep breath, she plastered on her cheeriest smile before turning to the door that led back into Merlotte's. Content that she'd sufficiently pulled herself together, Sookie reached out for the door handle.

"I wouldn't mind a little sip. To, you know… ring in the New Year." His voice was low, suggestive, as he whispered in her ear.

If Sookie could have jumped, she would have. But Eric's hand was pressed against her stomach, effectively pinning her body to his. And so, all she managed to do was let out a little yelp. Even her glass of champagne was spared; his other hand, so large, was wrapped around hers, keeping the fragile stem protected in her grasp.

Instead of letting her go, he merely chuckled before pressing his lips to the pulsing vein in her neck. "Well…" Eric parted his lips, and Sookie could feel the points of his teeth on her exposed skin.

Recovering her senses, but still unable to really move, Sookie tried to adjust her head so that her neck wasn't so easily accessible. In response, Eric pulled his face back, but just a little. When she finally spoke, Sookie was happy to find that her voice was calmer than she was feeling. "I don't think so, Eric. I wouldn't want you to drink and fly after all."

Trapped in his embrace, she had half a second to consider things. Flying was the only way he could have snuck up on her, she'd have seen and heard his car if he'd driven. As for not sensing his emotional state, she was currently blaming that on the barrage of sexual desire and drunkenness from in the back that she was unsuccessfully trying to block out. It had simply been too much.

Eric responded by chuckling softly before pressing another kiss into her skin. This time, it was to her shoulder as Sookie had managed to block her neck. The moment his lips left her skin, Eric loosened his grip on her body. But even though he'd freed her, he didn't move away. In fact, as the blonde turned so that her back was against the door, Eric moved closer.

Once again, she was trapped.

With the Viking pressed up against her, Sookie could have reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck. Eric, of course, would have responded instantly. She could feel it in his mood. But they still hadn't had their talk, and she wasn't about to give into him until they worked out a few things. So sure, giving into her lust, at that moment, would have been easy. But in the end, it would only have made things much more complicated.

To keep herself from reaching out to him, Sookie safely pinned her free hand to her side and cleared her throat before looking up. But instead of looking into his eyes, Sookie started at Eric's Adam's apple. "Why are you here, Eric? Isn't the new King keeping you busy?" She had sounded calm, collected, except for when her voice broke on his name.

Once again, Eric chuckled, and the sound caused her to blush like a silly, little girl. There was no use trying to hide your feelings from a vampire you shared a blood-bond with. Not for the first time, Sookie cursed the connection between them.

"It's New Year's Eve, my lover" The last word, whispered directly into her ear, caused all of her insides to turn to jelly. And he knew it. "Isn't it a human tradition to spend tonight with the one you…"

Eric's lips were barely a millimeter away from hers. If she wanted to kiss him, all Sookie had to do was pout. And at that moment, despite all of her rationalizing, she really, really wanted to do just that.

It would be so easy…

So simple…

Ignoring her brain, as it screamed, "Stop! Bad Idea!" Sookie pressed her lips forward. The moment her kiss should have found his, Sookie tumbled backward through the door leading into Merlotte's. She'd forgotten that, for easier deliveries, it had been made to swing both ways.

"Sookie! Are you alright?" Sam's voice was full of concern as he held her body in his. "You didn't come back in. I came to see if everything was…" Trying to regain her balance, while untangling her limps from his, Sookie was barely aware of what her boss was saying.

His words sinking in, Sookie pulled herself out of her boss's arms. The champagne glass was still in her hands, but unfortunately, its contents were now spilled down her front. "Yeah, I just…" Confused and still slightly dazed from Eric's closeness, she struggled to find the right words. "I spilled…" Sookie gestured helplessly at her soaked shirt.

As Sam led her back into the bar, Sookie spared one last look over her shoulder. Eric was nowhere in sight, but she could feel his amusement. She finally had a New Year's resolution. Stop allowing Eric to get away with grand exits. But even as she vowed it to herself, Sookie knew that that was just about as practical as resolving to not get beaten up.

Squeeka Cuomo's Notes
- This was originally written for chasedestructo's Eric/Sookie drabble challenge. The prompts I chose were "resolutions" and "champagne". A sequel to "Past and Present" is on the way. You have her to blame for the delay. :P
- Quack: Yep, you're the red headed Katrina refugee throwing herself at Sam. That's your gift for being such an awesome beta. Thanks for your help!
- Reviews are love.