FUCK! Eric couldn't believe he broke the laces on his combat boots. What the hell was wrong with him? It wasn't like he'd never been on a date before. He was ERIC NORTHMAN, damn it! He'd been with thousands of women in his long life, on thousands of dates and trysts. He'd had affairs with women, vampiresses, Queens, Witches and Goddesses. Why in hell should he be nervous about a little blonde girl from Bon Temps, of all places.
He rustled through his top drawer for another pair of laces. He was sure he had a couple because they often got broken or ruined or used in a fight or an escape. He didn't normally break them trying to tie his damned boots. He found them and sat down to change them. His hand was shaking as he tried to lace the strings into the eyelets. What the fuck, Northman?
He finally got them on and stood in front of the dresser in his bedroom. He was wearing a blood red silk shirt, black jeans and his newest looking combat boots. He brushed his hair again – it was almost dry now, and it was nice and shiny. This was good. He knew she liked his hair and he wanted to entice her to touch it. They'd been together a few times, but this was different. She was coming to his house for the first time, and he wanted her to like it here. He wanted to do everything he could to make her want to be here. He wanted her to want him, to want to touch him, to want to live here some day.
It was early in their relationship, but they had a blood bond now and he wanted her more than he'd ever wanted anything. The feelings he had when he was in her presence were overwhelming. She was like a drug to him. He used to try to explain it away by blaming it on her fae parentage, but that was bullshit. He'd been with a fairy or two under various circumstances and this wasn't like that. Fae essence only affected you when you were with them. When they weren't there, they were just another being, and you liked them or didn't for who they were, but it wasn't a compulsion like it was when you could smell them. He thought about Sookie all the time and had for months. He couldn't get her out of his head. The fact that he could feel her so strongly, even when she was far away, and she was exceptionally horny since they'd seen each other last, had distracted him so it was affecting his work.
He looked around the bedroom. She would be staying her tonight for the first time. He wanted it to be perfect. He looked in the bathroom – it was neat and had been cleaned that day so it was spotless. He cleared the top of his dresser. He put on some soft, musky cologne – enough to make her want to come closer, but not enough to make her draw away once she did. The table and two sitting chairs by the window had been dusted and were clear of any debris. The velvet on the chairs had been vacuumed. The bed had 1200 thread count sheets on it. They were expensive, pristine, and had been ironed by his maid, Margaret, and were perfect. There was a brown woven silk blanket on top, and a brown velvet bedspread that was also perfect. The bed was a California king because he was so tall, and he smiled to himself of how big it would seem when that little girl was on it. A chill ran through him. If everything went well, in a few hours, he would have her here in his own bed, all to himself. He was glad he didn't breathe because he'd be having trouble right now. He inspected the huge carved headboard of the bed. It had been polished and was gleaming and dust-free. He checked the dimmer switch in the headboard that controlled the lights and found that they were working.
He went to Sookie's nightstand – not that she knew she had a nightstand in his room yet – and looked to see if everything was ready for her. He had her favorite hand lotion, two books by her favorite author, a very nice manicure kit, an expensive hair brush for her pretty blonde hair – his mind wandered a bit remembering the scent of her hair, which usually smelled like perfume from the Pantene conditioner she liked and which was already in his shower with her favorite soap – the kind of hair elastics she used, a little note pad and pen and a small makeup bag with a Chanel powder compact, a pretty pink Chanel lipstick. a black Chanel mascara and a silver contraption Pam told him was an eyelash curler. Sookie usually used drugstore makeup brands, but he wanted her to have something nicer when she was here and this was about all the makeup she needed in his opinion. He had sent Pam to the store to pick these things out for her. The powder and lipstick he could have handled but he would have been clueless that a blonde girl would put black mascara on her lashes or would use one of those things to curl the hair on her eyelids. Women amazed him sometimes, but Pam had assured him that these were things Sookie definitely used and this was a very fine quality brand. Pam enjoyed using cosmetics so he trusted her opinion.
The bottom drawer had her brand of tampons, a tube of lubricant for sex that he hoped they might need soon, a bottle of makeup remover, a Clinique skin care set Pam had also purchased, her favorite deodorant, and three clean thong panties. He knew about her preferences from having stayed at her house and he was using every bit of insight he had into her likes and dislikes to give him every possible advantage. Some of this stuff should probably go in the bathroom, but he thought it would be best to store it all in one spot for right now and let her put things where she wanted them as she became more comfortable. He was completely ready to give her room in his dresser and his closet if she wanted it. He had an extra set of keys made for her already, but he wasn't sure when to offer them. Since they had reached their understanding, he had simply been operating under the assumption that she was going to be his wife, though he hadn't officially asked her yet. He knew their bond would grow stronger – something he hadn't told her yet – and he knew ultimately she would have to be his legal wife to believe he was committed to her.
He took one last look at the room and decided he couldn't make it any more perfect so he went downstairs. It was still an hour until Sookie was due to arrive, so he went to look around the living room. Sookie didn't know that this room, the dining room and the kitchen had all been decorated specifically for her. These areas had been unimportant to him before now, since no one but an occasional accountant or attorney visited. Sookie was the first girl ever to come here. He never wanted any of the fang bangers at the club to know where he lived. Pam had been here when he first bought it, but she hadn't seen the new improvements. He had hired a designer form New Orleans and told her he wanted a home straight out of a Southern Belle's dream. She had delivered for him in a big way. Margaret had assured him that his new lady friend would love the rose living room with its dark cherry furnishings and pink floral upholstery.
He had considered using the dining room for tonight, but he knew Sookie would be more comfortable eating in the kitchen and he thought the more relaxed atmosphere would put her at ease. Margaret had left a meal for her that only needed to be heated and she showed him how to do it. He could have asked her to stay but he thought it would be best to let Sookie get comfortable with him before he introduced her to the servants. He knew the idea that he had servants made her nervous, so they'd take that one step at a time. This way he could focus on making her comfortable with him.
He looked at the kitchen table, beginning to straighten the place settings. He would only have True Blood and she would have the dinner and desert that Margaret had left for her. He took the salad out of the refrigerator and as he set it on the charger at her place setting, he closed his eyes – she was coming. He swallowed hard. Please Freyja let her like it here. I did all of this for her – let her love being here with me. He went to the front door and turned on the porch light so she could see the house number. He knew she couldn't get lost here but the house would look more inviting with the lights on. He went out and opened the garage door so she could park her car – that awful car – in there next to his red sports car.
He hoped some day soon she would let him buy her a new one, but that would take a little work on his part to convince her it was appropriate for him to do that for her. She had some very strange ideas about accepting gifts from him that left him at a loss as to how to deal with it. Most girls loved to be showered with gifts. Sookie took it as a weakness in some way, thinking it made her look "kept" – a concept he didn't quite understand. Isn't that a man's role, to keep his woman safe and provide for her? And she wasn't just his girlfriend, she was his bonded. He hoped she'd start to understand what that meant. At this point, she thought of it as being inextricably tethered to him, but it was more than that. She was a physical part of him now, and they would never be able to be without one another without suffering. He already suffered every time he had to leave her. He knew she had no concept of how excited he was that she was coming to his nest. It had literally been centuries since a woman other than Pam had been in his home. He couldn't go back in the house and began to pace a little but then he felt her turn onto his street. He could nearly visualize where she was as she came down the end of the dead end street.
He saw lights flash - it was Sookie. His heart jumped into his throat and the bond was singing as never before. He fought with himself to calm down but he couldn't. His bonded was coming home for the very first time and she would see the nest he had created for her. He felt tears in his eyes and his fangs popped out as she slowed near his drive way and turned in.
Holy Shit! Sookie had no idea Eric lived in a place like this. This wasn't a house, it was a small mansion! This was definitely the place, though because there he was, that unmistakable silhouette – 6' 5" of hot, gorgeous Viking. She felt a chill run through her as she saw his eyes glisten in the lights. He was so beautiful! He waved to her and pointed to the garage door, which was open. There was his red car and next to it was an empty spot for her. OK, Sookie, calm down and don't hit his car or the garage door. She always parked outside so this was a little nerve wracking, but she managed to get in there without any trouble. He was at her door instantly, holding it open, offering his hand to help her out. She was really here. She was really doing this. She was going into Eric Northman's house alone with him. She felt such an intense mix of excitement, fear, longing, lust - love, even - that she could hardly breathe.
"Do you have a bag with you, my lover?"
"Uh, yeah, in the trunk." She handed him her keys and let him get her tote bag out of the trunk while she pulled her purse out of the back seat. He looked so nice in those jeans and that beautiful shirt. Was that silk? She wasn't sure but she was dying to touch it – to touch him. He closed the trunk and held his hand out to her, smiling softly. OK, Sookie, fasten your seatbelt.
She took his hand and he led her to the front door, going slowly as she looked around trying to take it all in.
"Wow – nice statue"
"Oh, the fountain? Thank you – I'm glad you like it. I love Greek and Roman sculpture."
She hesitated at the front step. "How many floors in this house?"
"Four floors plus a finished basement. Would you like a tour?"
"This is going to sound weird, but could I eat first and then you can show me around? My blood sugar is a little low."
"Of course, my lover. Come in," he motioned for her to go up the steps in front of him. Wow – it was beautiful in here!
"Eric, this is gorgeous!" she couldn't believe her eyes as she stepped into the rose pink drawing room.
"I'm glad you like it. It was just finished a couple of months ago."
"You decorated this?"
"I hired a woman from New Orleans."
"She did an amazing job."
He smiled brilliantly and set her bag on the sofa. "The kitchen is this way, Dear One, and your salad it waiting for you. You like to drink Diet Rite Pure Zero, yes?"
"Yes – have you got Diet Rite?" She took the hand he offered and followed him into the kitchen where the table was set.
"Yes, of course, I tried to get things I knew you would like. I remembered you trying to find the cherry cola flavor at the store one time." He held the chair for her and she sat down.
"Hey, this is my favorite salad dressing – the buttermilk ranch instead of just ranch."
"Yes, I remembered that from the time I stayed with you." He went to the microwave and did what Margaret had told him to do. As her food heated, he got her a glass of ice and cherry cola, setting it next to her.
"Wow, this is some kitchen!" She was trying to take it all in, but there was so much to look at.
"Yes, it has everything a person could want if they like to cook. I don't know if that's something that interests you?"
"Sometimes I like to cook or bake – this would blow Martha Stewart away, though!"
He smiled. She was joking with him. Good. She was a little less nervous now, too, since she had seen the place. He took her plate from the microwave and brought it to her. She moved her salad to the side and made room for the plate on her gold charger.
"Mmmm – this looks great!"
"Margaret will be pleased. She tried to make something she thought you would like. She thought baked chicken was a safe bet." He sat next to her with a True Blood in his hand.
"Yes, this is wonderful. And real mashed potatoes and this nice mix of broccoli and carrots- it's all really good, too. Margaret is the maid?"
"Yes, she has been with me for many years. She was very excited to have someone to cook for, especially when she found out it was my…. Lover."
Sookie blushed. Yes, it was true, they were lovers but for some reason, when he said that her whole body responded with lust and embarrassment. She looked nervously at Eric because she was sure he could smell the effect it had on her – hell, she could smell it so she knew he definitely could.
"So she wants you to be in a relationship?"
"Yes, I think she'd like that very much. Her face lit up when I told her I was having a young lady come to visit me. I think she thinks I am lonely."
"Were you? Before we…"
"Yes, I guess I was. I wasn't aware of it, but I must have been."
"And you're not now?"
"No, Sookie, right now, I am not."
She smiled and flushed a little, turning her attention to her plate because she couldn't bring herself to look at him. Her leg was shaking. This was so weird. She'd known Eric a long time and they'd had a fair amount of sex – why was she so nervous?
When her plate was clean, Eric took it over to the sink. "Would you like dessert, Dear One?"
"What do you have?"
"Margaret left you chocolate cake with whipped cream to serve on top."
"Yum – sure, I love anything chocolate, but cake is a real favorite. Where did she get it?"
"She baked it – there's a lot of it. What you don't eat, she'll feed to the gardeners so have as much or as little as you like."
"OK, well, do I need to cut it or…"
"No, she's got it on a plate here, and the whipped cream is here" he picked up a cover on the counter and there was a big slice of cake just waiting for her. He opened a bowl near by and put a big dollop of whipped cream on it and brought it to her. "The rest of it is in a cake plate over there."
"Wow – that's a big piece of cake! I can definitely eat that, though," she laughed.
She was laughing – he was very pleased with that. She was relaxing and she was happy, and not a little lusty. So far, so good.
"I don't suppose you have any milk?"
"Of course, Dear One, I'll get it for you."
She couldn't believe Eric was waiting on her and being so sweet. He brought her a glass of milk that was nice and cold and it complimented the cake perfectly. She was enjoying it so much that she was humming a little as she ate, Eric watching her with love in his eyes. She was like a little girl for a few minutes and he could imagine how sweet she must have been as a child. She finished her last bite and drained her glass with a big "ahh!" after and she was obviously happy at the moment.
"OK, well, I guess it's time for you to show me around?" In for a penny, in for a pound, she thought.
"Alright, come this way." He pointed toward what turned out to be a den or TV room.
"Wow – nice big couch." It was velvety and brown and huge and looked very soft.
"Yes, it's very comfortable. I have a home theatre set up in here," he pointed at the TV system, "and I have a lot of DVDs in this cabinet, though I haven't seen most of them. Do you like to watch movies?"
"Yeah, and this looks like a perfect place to do it. It looks like a good place to snuggle up."
"Yes, I hope it will be."
"What's behind those curtains?"
"That's the door to the back yard."
"What's through this door?"
"The formal dining room – in case you want to entertain."
'You as in anybody or you as in me?" she was teasing but she really wanted to know what he meant.
"You as in you, of course. Shall we go upstairs?"
"Sure, I guess." She took his hand and he led her back through the living room, where he picked up her bag.
"This hallway here goes back to the stairs."
"What's behind these French doors?"
"Supposedly my office, but it's mostly for show and meeting with accountants." He opened the door. "My library is here though, if you ever want something to read." He switched on the light and let her look around. He had a state of the art Mac computer on the desk, high ceiling-to-floor bookshelves full of expensive looking books and a couple of leather chairs in front of a desk with a commanding presence and a large fancy chair behind it. She looked at him again and he turned the light off and led her to the stairs.
"These stairs go all the way up to the 4th floor." He led her up to the second floor and hit the hall light. "This floor has three guest rooms, one with a bath, and there's another full bath in the hallway. This is a kitchenette here that can be used by guests or by you if you want a snack and don't want to go all the way downstairs. The refrigerator here has some things you might like, and there's a microwave over there. Go ahead and see what's in the refrigerator and the cupboards so you'll know what's there if you want something later."
Sookie looked through the kitchenette and there was a lot of stuff she might like – sodas, trays of fruit and veggies with dip, a box of fried chicken, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and pizza in the freezer, pop tarts and cornflakes and cans of soup and boxes of crackers in the cupboard. "Wow – this is really nice. There's some good stuff in here."
"Good, I told Margaret to stock some things a girl might like to snack on or have for breakfast. So she did a good job?"
"Yes, she did a great job."
"I'll see that she gets a bonus then."
"Next floor then?"
"Right this way." He turned off the hall light and went up the stairs first. He threw her bag in the first door and she looked at him. "That's our room, but we'll come back to that."
OK, when he said "our room", that shot right down to her center and made her throb. Oh, man. She barely heard him as he pointed out a junk room that was used for storage, his "real office" and then asked her to go up the next flight of stairs. She tried to glance into the bedroom but didn't have time. The Fourth floor was next and it was amazing. There was a guest room, a meditation room, a massage room, a sauna and a big room that looked like a dance studio except for the swords on the wall – a lot of swords of every shape and size. "Do you practice with swords here?"
"Yes, I try to stay sharp. You never know when war will break out."
"Yeah, you're telling me!" She laughed and he smiled.
"You have seen me fight with a sword, Sookie."
"Yes, I have. You kissed me and then went to defend Sophie Ann. It was like something right out of a movie!" She flushed a little as she remembered it.
His hand brushed her cheek, then tipped her chin up as he stepped toward her. He kissed her softly, their tongues meeting as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. She was glad he was holding her tight because her knees would buckle if he weren't supporting her. The kiss went on for several minutes as he held her tight and she ran her fingers through his hair.
"I'm taking you to bed now."
He swept her up off the floor and into his arms and before she knew it they were in his… no, their… bedroom. Part of her wanted to look around but another part of her knew she would be spending a lot of time in this room from now on and she'd have plenty or time to look around. He put her down in the dark, on the bed sideways and kissed her hard, over and over. Only a little light spilled in from the hallway and he decided to leave the lights off until he had taken her. His hands were everywhere and she was trying to grind against him so he slipped his hand under her dress and rubbed her, making her gasp. He kept kissing her, almost afraid if he stopped she would change her mind. He pulled her panties down – a thong just like he had in the drawer for her – and she pulled her knees up so he could get them off completely and he swept her shoes off with them. His hand slid slowly back up the inside of her leg and found its way home, his fingers slipping into her as she moaned and he began to move his long, long fingers in and out of her. His thumb was rubbing her clit now and she was writhing uncontrollably as she started unbuttoning his shirt. She was desperate to be naked against him.
The shirt was open and she was unbuttoning his pants when it started – she was going to come in his hand and she moaned a little desperately and moved faster. He nipped a little at her erect nipple through the fabric of her dress and that was enough to push her over the line. She was crying out as he was deliberately making her squirm more than necessary to get her to really let go. When she finished he slowed his movements, but still stroked and petted her as he kissed her neck. He pushed her dress up and slid it with some difficulty up toward her shoulders then up and off so she was naked and his hand explored her gently. "Beautiful" he whispered in her ear. He kissed her breasts as he took his shirt off, gently sucking on he nipples just enough to keep them hard. He went to vampire speed to get his jeans and boots off, and before she knew what was happening, she was under him, skin to skin. His cool skin against the heat flowing from her skin. She felt like she was on fire, even though she had had an orgasm, and now she was moaning as he moved inside her. She pulled her knees back wide and opened to him all the way. She felt so small and safe under him, his big body covering her, his strong arms wrapped around her, growling softly as he took her slowly, deeply, and then he moved faster and she knew he was approaching his release. He began to cry out rhythmically as he did and finished growling loudly, then collapsed on top of her.
For some reason, she was afraid to say anything. After a few minutes, he rubbed his cheek against hers and said "minn kvan fagr."
"Does that mean something good?"
He laughed. "Yes, it means something very good. I'm glad you have finally come home."
"I don't … I mean…"
"Shhh, Sookie. I'm not trying to rush you. I am just thankful to have you're here. I have wanted this for a very long time, and now you are here."
"I wanted it, too, I was just…."
"You were afraid."
"Yeah. Not that you would hurt me…"
"I know, Sookie. We don't have to talk about it now. Let us just enjoy that we are here together, and we both know who we are…"
"… and we are both happy to be here. That's all I want in this moment."
"OK. I can do that."
He kissed her cheek, her forehead, her lips, and brushed her hair back from her face. He reached up to the switch in the headboard and turned on some soft lights.
"Wow – that's handy."
"Yes, it keeps you from needing to get out of bed to turn off the light. Unfortunately, it doesn't work on the hall light. I'll be right back."
He got up and turned the hall light off, then came back and scooped her up, turned down the bed and put her on the sheets. "This is your side of the bed." He sat on the bed next to her.
"My side, huh? Why?"
"Because your nightstand is there."
"Yes – there are things you might need or want in the drawers."
He opened the drawer and she looked over. "Holy smoke, Eric, what is all that."
"I told you – things you might need. Lotion, hair brush, elastics, make up. You can look through it all tomorrow. It will keep you from needing to carry so much back and forth."
"How long did it take you to get all that stuff together?"
"I don't know – a few months I suppose. The last thing was the makeup and the skincare. Pam did that recently."
'You sent Pam shopping for me?"
"She was very helpful. She bought this." He took out the little makeup bag.
"Wow – Chanel –this is good stuff. I've never had anything this expensive before." She opened the powder: "Good color." The lipstick: "Ooh, nice pink – Pam knows what I like." The mascara: "This stuff is supposed to be really good. And there's even an eyelash curler! I guess Pam did buy it. I know a guy would never know to buy one of these." She teased him and he nodded. "I'll have to thank Pam when I see her."
"She bought this, too," he got the skin care set from the bottom drawer.
"Wow – nice. This is better than stuff I have at home. You trying to get me to move in?" she laughed.
"Yes, I am," he said in all seriousness.
"It's a little soon for that, don't you think?"
"I think it has already taken too long. You are my bonded. You should be here."
"Let me take it one step at a time, OK? I'm here now, and I like it, and I'll be here a lot. You may not like having me under foot all the time."
"I guess I will just have to make your time here so pleasant that you will never want to leave."
"Oh, and how do you plan on doing that?"
He wiggled his eyebrows at her and got a predatory grin on his face, standing and crawling over her. "I'm going to fuck you until you can't live without me."
"Oh, really?" She was teasing him back, "I'd like to see you try."
And he did – right up until dawn.