Okay everyone... So in the midst of my story 'Adopt a Vampire' this story has been nudging my brain... i had to get rid of it so that I could get back to the real Eric and Sookie...

So here it is... my first all human Eric and Sookie. No sci fi.

I promise I will be continuing A.a.V. asap... i just couldn't get this out of my head.

Hope ya'll enjoy... it's long for a one shot.. probably could of made it like multi chapter-- but when I started writing it i had no idea it would end up this long. As per usual with me No beta... please ignore the mistakes. :)

*** - indicates a memory coming on... and it'll be in italics.


Halloween Night, always a display at Castro's. Every year we were forced into costume, chosen by management of course. This year's theme was vampire. So there I was stuck in a slutty Elvira looking costume all evening. I wanted to be angry, but I had to admit it was an upgrade from last year's scandalous Little Bo Peep outfit. I shivered with the thought of everything that disgusted me about slutty fairytales. There was a lot to be cleaned up this year. The bar was filled with crappy decorations in every direction. Bats, blood, and coffins, oh my!

I was wiping down my section when Amelia approached me, "Sook, tell me you got a good look at tall, dark, and hotness!" she gestured with her head to the newest bouncer at the club we worked at. Quinn was his name, at least that's how he had introduced himself to me earlier.

"Yup, I saw him." I replied then went back to my cleaning.

"And that, Miss Sookie, is why you are single." She looked knowingly at me. "He's been eying you all night. I bet he asks you out!" She was trying to get me excited, but I had no interest in him.

"And?" I paused from my cleaning to meet her look.

"And, maybe you should say yes for once." She put her hand on her hip.

"You know how Felipe feels about us dating at work." I reminded her.

"Yeah, I know, but that's just with higher ups. You can date a bouncer. The only person you really can't date here is…"

As if the man had been cued I heard a yell across the now quiet bar, "Stackhouse!"

Amelia laughed a little at the timing and I joined her. Throwing down my rag I gave her a smile, "The North Man calleth." I rolled my eyes and headed towards his office door. When I reached the hall I was stopped by the new bouncer. I noticed then he had pretty almost purple eyes. He grinned at me as I stared in innocent observation. Cocky bastard.

"Can I help you?" I finally asked when he hadn't spoken up.

"I sure hope so…" he leered at me then continued, "I was hoping maybe you'd want to go somewhere and talk… get to know one another." In other words, have a one night stand.

"No thanks." I tried to say it as nicely as possible, but he seemed offended and shocked by my rejection. It must not happen to him often enough. I'd have to talk to my waitresses to make sure that changed. "Is that all?" I added when he didn't walk away or say anything. He responded by putting his hand on my backside.

"I like a challenge Babe." He grinned at me again. I opened my mouth to tell him exactly where he could put his hands when I heard it again.

"Stackhouse!" I knew he could hear me outside his door, why he felt the need to scream was beyond me. Before I could turn my attention back to Quinn he released me and was already in the main bar area. I fumed and opened the door to the manager's office.

He sat behind his desk, his head stuck in the books as usual. He wasn't forced to wear a costume; instead he was wearing a dress shirt, blue to match his eyes, unbuttoned to reveal a bit of the glorious chest beneath it. I noticed that he had rolled the sleeves up in attempt to be more comfortable; he hated wearing anything other than t-shirts. I could see the tattoo he had gotten the year before on the inside of his left forearm. It was the sun; he said he got it in honor of the thing he missed most due to working late night bar hours. I had to admit, I missed it myself. I had gotten my tattoo at the same time. A small cluster of stars were usually hidden under my uniform, on my upper back. It was our way of getting the same thing, but different. Stars were suns after all, just further away.

I broke from my observations and knocked quietly on the door, "You called me, Mr. Northman."

"Come in, and shut the door." He responded coldly without looking up from his paperwork. I did as I was told then turned back to look at him. "Did I just hear you get propositioned by the new bouncer?" he finally looked up with an eyebrow quirked, his voice drastically warmer.

"Maybe." I answered walking slowly to his desk.

"And what did you say?" he asked as he watched me carefully. When I got to his desk I sat on the top next to where he was sitting.

I leaned down so that my face was inches from his, "What do you think I said?" I didn't wait for him to answer; instead I pressed my lips to his. When I finally released him I leaned back on his desk waiting for his brain to start working again.

"If that's how you answered, I'm going to have to fire him." He tried to sound serious, but his smirk gave him away.

"I said, no, just like I said to Alcide, Sam, Bill, and Calvin before him." I reminded him. For some reason bartenders and bouncers gravitated to me. He stood up and pushed my knees apart so he could get closer as he stood before me. He leaned over me placing soft kisses on my lips, my jaw, and my neck. I sighed in relief. It had been a long night and his lips were the best medicine.

"I don't know how much more of it I can take." He mumbled into my skin as he continued to kiss me.

"Much more of what?" I asked breathlessly not wanting to break the spell I was under, but needing to know what he was talking about. He stopped kissing me and held my face in his hands forcing my eyes to meet his.

"You're mine." He stated matter-of-factly. I rolled my eyes at his possessiveness. We had this conversation a million times and it appeared we were about to have it again.

"Eric, you know that we can't let anyone know about us." I reminded him of the owner's rules. We'd been sneaking around for almost two years and I was amazed at how good at it we were. Most people thought we hated each other.

"If you quit we can." He repeated his favorite resolution. I pushed him away from me and stood from his desk.

"I can't quit, we've been over this. How would I pay my bills? Besides, I like it here." I crossed my arms across my chest.

"You know as well as I that we can live on my salary." He was like a broken record. I was seriously considering recording our argument to save us both time and energy. We could just sit in a room together, maybe order a pizza, and listen to it.

"Why don't you quit and I'll support us?" I knew the answer; he made a billion times more than me. I was head waitress at Castro's, but Eric was manager of five of Felipe's businesses, including the club, restaurants, and a very popular strip club.

"Sookie," he got that puppy dog look in his eyes that almost melted me, almost, "if I quit I'll never have the means to open my bar. It'll be a year at most and then you can work for me and sleep with the boss if that's what you want."

"You want me to sleep with Pam?" I tried to lighten the mood. Pam was Eric's partner in the bar they were trying to open a few towns over. She was also the only person who knew about our situation.

"I could always fire you." He challenged me for the 800th time, completely ignoring my joke.

"You could, but you won't, not if you know what's good for you anyway." I walked away from him and back to the door I had entered through. "Is there an actual reason you called me in here or did you just want to pick a fight?" I asked bitterly with my back turned to him.

"Watch Arlene, she keeps coming in short." He was back to Mr. Northman. I turned before leaving to see him face first in the books again. I left his door open on my way out and grumbled my way back to the bar to supervise the clean up and finish up my own side work.

"Whoa, you look pissed." Amelia observed. I merely looked at her. "What did he want?" That reminded me.

"Arlene…" I waited for the skinny red head to make her way over to me. "Watch your money, Mr. Northman says your till keeps coming in short." She cracked her gum and looked like she was going to argue with me, but with one look at my face she just nodded and went back to work.

"He ream you out?" Amelia placed her hand on my shoulder to comfort me. "I swear I don't know what crawled up his ass, but he needs to figure it out and fix it!" She loved bad mouthing Eric. Usually it made me laugh, because it was harmless and she had no idea who he really was. I was the only one who really knew. Tonight, it only made me want to crawl in a hole and die. I urged Amelia and the other girls to finish their work quickly so we could leave as soon as possible. I must have been scarier than normal because in no time they were all clocking out and making their way to the exit. When Amelia finally left hand in hand with Tray, one of our nicer bouncers, I was alone with Eric.

I made my way to his office after shutting off all the lights in the bar front. His door was still open and the light poured into the hallway. I peered in. There he was just as I left him face in books. His blonde hair had been loosened and fell around his face and his shirt lost another button.

"Eric?" my voice was soft and insecure, giving away my current feelings. He looked up and met my eyes saying nothing. "Are you coming home?" I tried not to sound pitiful, but I was sure I did.

"I'll be there in a little while, I have some more work to do." He responded and went back to his paper work. I sighed and walked out the back entrance to my car. I had my own apartment across town, I hadn't been there in I don't even remember how long. I stayed with Eric every night, most of my clothes and personal items were at his place. The only thing at my apartment was furniture, appliances, and some of the clothes I no longer wore. Oh, and most likely about four inches of dust.

Tonight was the first night in months I even considered revisiting my old stomping grounds. I knew it was wrong, but I wanted Eric to remember what it was like to have to sleep alone. Maybe that would make him forget about all this revealing our relationship stuff.

It wasn't that I didn't want people to know I was with Eric. Trust me, I had my own jealousy to deal with anytime he stepped foot in the crowded bar. I swear he made women swoon. To be honest, they'd be crazy not to. 6'4, blond hair, icy blue eyes, and a bone structure carved out of stone by God himself, Eric was gorgeous. I had no idea what he was doing with me. Sookie Stackhouse, barmaid to the masses. 5'6, blond hair, size 8 on a good day, and incredibly stubborn. We fought from the day we met, but there was something else there. We got each other. We laughed together. We had an unspoken bond. I felt what he felt and vice versa… which is why I found myself pulling my crappy Chevy Malibu into Eric's garage.

It was true that we could live quite comfortably on Eric's money, but I wasn't a kept woman before and I wouldn't become one. As I made my way through the house I looked at the set up. I thought about how nice it would be to actually have pictures up of the two of us or to be able to answer the door or phone. We never knew when Felipe would stop by or call, I had spent many a day hiding away in the bedroom waiting for him to go away. I made my way to Eric's bedroom, our bedroom, shedding my clothes. Elvira wear was a bit more difficult to peel off than my usual shirt and skirt combo. When I finally got out of it I made my way to the attached bathroom and turned on the shower. It was my nightly ritual of washing away the memories of booze and bad pick up lines. Usually I had some help, but tonight I'd be going it alone.

I let the steam envelope me and relaxed my extra tense muscles. I hated fighting with Eric. Okay that's a lie, sometimes I loved it, but I hated this fight in particular. This fight was rearing its ugly head more and more as the days passed. I had to be honest with myself, I wasn't sure if we'd make it until Eric and Pam opened the new bar. That depressing thought was pushed from my mind when I heard the bedroom door open and shut.

"Eric?" I called out as I poked my head out of the shower. He stood in the doorway leaning against the doorjamb, hands in his pockets.

"Hey." He smiled sadly.

"Care to join me?" I tried to sound seductive, but I think I sounded more desperate than anything.

"Pam's here, we have to talk shop. I just wanted to let you know we're here." He looked at me for another moment before turning to leave.

"Northman." I called after him and he turned. "Come here." I wasn't asking and if he refused me I'd have to try not to beg him. He didn't refuse me. He walked slowly to me until I could place my wet hands on either side of his face. I pulled his face to me and kissed his lips softly, "I'm sorry." I was sorry. I never wanted to make him sad or angry. I feel what he feels, remember.

He kept his eyes closed and his forehead pressed to mine, "Sorry enough to do what I want?" I couldn't help but think that he was keeping his eyes closed in a way of hoping, wishing, and praying.

"Eric, I can't." I could, but I wouldn't.

He sighed and turned to leave again, "Then you aren't sorry enough." With that I was once again alone in the bathroom. When I got out of the shower I found the bedroom was still empty and I could hear Pam and Eric from the living room.

"Well, did you explain to her that you just want to live in some sick sexually explicate version of happily ever after with her?" Pam asked Eric and I smiled at her way with words.

"And that is why I will be handling press for KVÄLL." Eric reminded her, but I knew he thought Pam was as funny as I did.

"Don't try and change the subject." She chastised him as only Pam could.

"Isn't it obvious?" He asked her. I didn't have to see her to know Pam was giving her one of her famous looks.

"You should never assume. Have you even told her that you are madly and might I add disgustingly in love with her? And don't say, 'Isn't it obvious'." Pam and Eric were definitely not talking shop and I couldn't eavesdrop a second longer. I didn't want to hear his response to that. We had never really told each other how we felt. It was more of an unspoken understanding, we just worked. Well, most of the time. I put on a silky nightgown and crawled under the covers of our bed. I tried to stay awake, I really did, but sleep took me over.

I woke up a few hours later to find myself still alone. I pushed the covers off of me and went in search of my lover. I didn't have to look long. As I approached the sofa I could see his long legs hanging uncomfortably off the end. I sat down on the edge of the couch and pulled his arm that had been draped down the front of the sofa onto my lap. He was still in his clothes from work, sans shoes. I found myself tracing the sun on his arm absentmindedly as I stared down at his face. He didn't look peaceful tonight; his brow seemed to still be furrowed from earlier. I took my free hand and tried to rub the wrinkles away. His eyes slowly opened as I did and I gave him a small smile.

"Northman." I whispered.

"Stackhouse." He replied giving me a sleepy smile.

"What are you doing out here?" I knew the answer; he was still upset with me and couldn't stand to be around me.

"Giving you space." He answered. Okay maybe I didn't know the answer.

"I don't want space, come to bed." I stood and he let me pull him with me. He looked like he might argue my statement of not wanting space, but we were both tired so he conceded and followed me to the bedroom. I helped him discard his shirt and pants. We crawled into bed and I found my place snuggled against his chest. After an eternity of silence I knew neither of us was asleep.

"Eric?" I whispered into the dark. I knew he was awake, but if he wanted to fake it I would grant him that much.

"Hmmm?" He mumbled as he pressed his lips into my hair.

I sighed, "I'll start looking for a different job next week." He stiffened under me and I think he may have stopped breathing. After a minute he shifted me so that I had to look at him. His eyes were filled with a multitude of emotions, at the forefront love and relief. I expected him to thank me or maybe tell me it was about time. He didn't do any of that. Instead he stared into my eyes. Searching. And then he did the unexpected once again.

"No." he said as if there was nothing else to be said. I sighed in frustration and sat up.

"What?" I about yelled.

"Pam and I will just rush the bar. You're right. I shouldn't ask you to give up something when I'm not willing to do the same." He sat up with me. I considered pushing him off the bed onto the floor, but figured that would just make the situation worse. He moved closer to me and pulled me to him, "When I do leave Felipe, I want you to come with me. Once I can have you as mine completely I never want to be without you."

"You're infuriating." I laughed because I literally felt like I was losing my mind.

He smirked at me, "As are you." He pressed his lips to mine, reconnecting with me after our evening of emotional separation. I pulled away suddenly when he pushed me onto my back and hovered over me.

"Wait, did you say I'm right?" I looked at him in shock. He laughed and planted his mouth on mine without another word.

We made up then. Twice.

When I finally let myself drift to sleep I could have sworn I heard Eric whisper in my ear. "I love you, Stackhouse." He was so quiet; I had to have imagined it. Right?

The next day we arrived at work in different times, in different cars per usual. The only thing we had in common were the ridiculous smiles neither of us could rid ourselves of. When he walked through the bar before we opened I was prepared for our usual cold look.

Instead he smiled crookedly at me, "Miss Stackhouse." He bowed his head slightly and moved along.

Amelia was immediately at my side, "Whoa, looks like the North Man got the stick removed from his ass." I laughed at her in attempt to cover up my rapid heartbeat.

"Looks like…" I agreed with her.

"I think he wants you." She was still watching him as he wandered the bar, inspecting, but throwing a glance our way every once and a while.

I choked on my own spit, "What?"

"That's why he fights with you all the time. It must kill him that he's not allowed to get with you, so he has to work out that tension some way." She grinned mischievously at me. I wished that I could tell her how right she was, but I couldn't, not yet. I hoped that once we could be honest she would still like me. As crazy and hyperactive Amelia was, she proved to be a loyal and true friend. And I was living a lie. Before I could let the guilt take me over she continued, "You know Ginger says he used to only come here once a week, but in the last couple of years," she waggled her eyebrows at me so I would know she was implying this was my doing, "he's in here most of the week." Maybe we weren't as good as we thought at hiding ourselves.

"Ginger also drinks more than all of her customers combined." I defended myself without denying that she was right. Amelia laughed because she knew it was close to the truth. Ginger had worked in the club since it had opened, she was absent minded and usually drunk off her ass, but for some reason her regular customers worshipped her. As long as she was getting the job done, I had no plans of getting her fired.

"Whatever you want to believe…" Amelia winked at me and went back to setting up her section. I went back to my busy work and my thoughts. Maybe I could ask Eric if I could talk to Amelia, she wouldn't rat us out and he had Pam, it was only fair that I have someone to talk to about him. I was pulled from my thought process when large hands wrapped around my waist and hot breath hit my neck.

"Where's your boyfriend?" a low voice whispered in my ear. I turned in his arms only to come face to face with Quinn whose hands were lowering to my ass once again.

"Excuse me?" I pushed him, but he didn't move an inch. He smirked at me, not in the sexy way Eric did, but in a way that made my skin crawl.

"I asked where your boyfriend is, you know, Northman." He was still whispering. I gasped.

"Sook, are you okay?" I heard Amelia approaching. I gulped before finally dislodging me from Quinn.

"I'm fine Amelia." I didn't move my eyes from Quinn while I answered her. The bastard was grinning from ear to ear.

"Is there a problem over here?" Eric asked from behind me. I turned to face him. I could see the rage in his usually cool eyes, but his face was a mask of calmness.

"No problem," Quinn spoke before I could, "I was just asking Sookie if she had seen you."

"Here I am. What do you need?" Eric had an edge to his voice. I looked back and forth between the men and my stomach lurched.

"Can I speak to you in private?" Quinn asked. I wasn't sure if that was a good idea, Eric might rip his head off in private. Eric didn't answer; instead he gestured in the direction of his office and waited for Quinn to pass him.

Before he followed he turned back to me, placing a hand in mine, "Are you okay?" I nodded, not sure if I could answer without being sick.

Amelia was at my side immediately after Eric stormed off after Quinn, "Are you alright? You are completely pale." She placed her hand on my arm, bringing me to the present. I was going to be sick. I gently pushed Amelia out of my way and headed to the ladies room. After losing my lunch I unlocked the stall and walked to the sink. Amelia was there waiting for me. She handed me a travel size bottle of mouthwash from her purse and waited for me to talk.

"I'm fine." I tried to reassure her. I was being honest. Puking seemed to do the trick and I no longer felt sick.

"What was all that with Quinn?" she pushed for information.

"I don't know. He's a sleeze. Promise me you'll stay away from him." I warned her. She nodded in agreement.

"How about the North Man turning into a knight in shining armor? We might have to reconsider hating him." She then did some weird purring thing with her throat letting me know she thought it was hot.

"We don't hate him." I corrected her.

"We don't?" she looked at me mischievously. I wanted to spill and tell her everything, but figured this was neither the time nor the place.

"Come on, we're opening soon." I pushed her out of the bathroom in front of me. As we made our way down the hall I saw Alcide and Sam walking towards Eric's office.

"Eric needs to see us, you too Sookie." Sam smiled at me. I followed them into Eric's office after giving Amelia a reassuring smile. Eric had his 'Mr. Northman' face on again so I stood in between the two other men in the room waiting for him to speak.

He spoke to Sam first, "Sam, I'll be out for the next couple days and I need you to make sure that the bar gets closed up and the books get caught up." Sam nodded and was dismissed. Sam was usually in charge when Eric wasn't around; he was like his second in command, dependable and honest.

Eric passed me over and looked to Alcide. Alcide was the head of security of the club; he had a kind smile and a mean left hook. He asked me out a few times, but took the hint that I wasn't interested. We quickly became good friends.

"Alcide, I want you to keep an eye on Miss Stackhouse and the other ladies tonight. Our new bouncer was showing what I assume to be unwarranted attention to Miss Stackhouse's backside earlier and I want you to make sure he keeps his hands to himself." He continued to look at Alcide as he questioned me, "Am I right to assume it was against your wishes?"

"Of course." I wondered if he was actually questioning me or if that was just for Alcide's sake.

"Do you want to fire him?" Alcide's voice was now almost as angry as Eric's.

"No, the situation has been taken care of; he will be transferred to Fantasia by the end of the week." Eric assured Alcide. Fantasia was another one of Felipe's businesses that Eric managed, specifically the strip club. I wondered if it was smart to send such a jerk to such a sexually charged environment, but I trusted Eric's judgement.

"I'll see to it he doesn't go near any of the girls. Is there anything else?" Alcide asked and was dismissed to his post by the door; he closed the door on his way out. That left me. Alone. With Eric. A very angry Eric by the looks of it. I stood silent, waiting. He hadn't even looked at me at this point and I had to admit I was starting to sweat a little.

Eric let out a loud sigh and ran his hands through his hair, "Are you alright?" he finally made eye contact with me. He was no longer angry, just concerned. "Did he threaten you or hurt you?" He stood from the desk and made his way over to me. I shook my head so he would know that nothing had occurred. He leaned on his desk in front of me and pulled me closer to him.

"He knows." I whispered, pushing back my arising nausea and tears.

"I know. Why do you think he's being transferred and not fired?" He gave me a small smile.

"He blackmailed you into getting transferred to a strip club? How pathetic is that?" I was disgusted, but happy that I wouldn't have to deal with Quinn any longer.

"I'm sure it is just the beginning of his demands." He closed his eyes and pressed his forehead to mine while winding his arms more securely around my waist. "You don't really think I'm gonna let this go on for long do you?" I didn't want to think about what Eric was going to do to get Quinn to relent.

"How did he find out? Was it all those goofy looks you were giving me earlier?" I cocked an eyebrow at him.

"Goofy looks?" He opened his eyes and gave me a skeptical look, "No, it was you asking me if I was coming home last night. Apparently everyone had not left the club as we thought." He sighed and my stomach flopped again. It was all my fault. We hadn't missed a step in two years and I finally slipped up when we were so close to the end. I couldn't fight the nausea anymore. I pushed out of Eric's arms and ran to his office bathroom, locking myself in. After losing whatever was left in my stomach, I stood and rinsed my mouth and face with cool water.

"Sookie…" Eric was knocking on the door, "Are you okay? Let me in." I sat on the floor, no longer willing to stand and unlocked the door. He rushed in when he heard the door unlock.

"Hi." I looked up at his giant form from the floor. I pulled my knees to my chest and hugged them.

"You're sick?" He crouched to my level and placed a large hand on my face, checking my temperature. I nodded slowly. He stood and turned on the sink, when he crouched back down he held a cool towel to my head. "Don't move. I'll be right back." Then he disappeared and I did as I was told. I closed my eyes and laid my head against the wall.

I yelped a little when I opened my eyes to see he had returned.

"Can you stand?" he already had his hands on my arms ready to help me up. I stood on wobbly feet. "I'm taking you home. Do you want me to carry you?" I gave him a look that I hoped would tell him how I felt about him carrying me. He laughed and placed an arm around my back to steady me.

"What about the girls?" I asked weakly as we made our way through the back hallway.

"Amelia and Holly are in charge tonight. Amelia told me that you were sick earlier, too." He paused for a moment, "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I didn't really have time and I thought I was fine. After I was sick, I felt better and then you called us into that meeting and it hit me again." I explained as best as I could. When we made it to the employee parking lot I immediately headed to my car.

"Oh no, I don't think so." Eric quickly pulled me to his Corvette.

"What about my car?" I pointed at it as if he didn't understand what I was talking about.

"I'll get it ho… to you before morning." He corrected himself before he said the H word that had gotten us into enough trouble already.

We got into the car and home without incident. I managed to not throw up inside of the Corvette; I knew if I had I would never hear the end of it. Eric was at my car door before I could even unbuckle my seatbelt. He bent down and picked me up out of my seat.

"Eric, I can walk." I looked at him very seriously. He just smiled and started on his way to our bedroom. He placed me gently on the bed and removed my shoes. When he moved to help me with the rest of my clothes I slapped his hands away. He chuckled and went to his closet. He returned with one of his t-shirts that he helped slip over my head. I had stopped buying sleep shirts when I realized that I was sharing a bed with a giant. His shirts worked just fine and he loved seeing me in them. He disappeared out of the room when I went into the bathroom to brush the gross taste out of my mouth. We came back into the room at the same time. I headed over to the bed and he followed. He placed a glass of what I assumed to be ginger ale on my bedside table and then tucked me under the covers.

"I have to go to Fantasia to see about getting a bouncer switched." He kissed my forehead gently, "I'll be back as soon as I can, but I have Pam coming over to watch you."

"Eric, I don't need a babysitter… especially Pam!" I chastised him. He smiled at me and backed out of the room. I fell into a comfortable sleep moments later, surrounded by my favorite scent: Eric. I still didn't think I was sick, but I had to admit getting sick had taken a lot out of me. Not to mention the emotional stress that Quinn had thrown into the mix.

I woke up when I felt a weight shift the mattress. "Eric?" I called out sleepily. When I finally peeled my eyes open I found Pam sitting on the side of my bed looking down at me with a smirk. I took in her appearance and couldn't help but crack up laughing.

"What?" she asked never removing her smirk.

"What… are… you wearing?" I got out between laughs. She was sitting so poised in a little sexy nurse costume, complete with a little white cap.

"I thought if Eric wanted me to play nurse, I'd go all in." She stood and smoothed her little dress so I could take in the full look. "I won't lie; I was hoping you'd be a bit delirious and allow me to give you a sponge bath." She waggled her eyebrows only causing me to laugh more.

"Pam, I don't care how delirious I am; you will never give me a sponge bath." I assured her. She feigned disappointment.

"You don't look sick." She looked me over while I was still calming from my laughing fit.

"I don't feel sick, not really. I got sick earlier, but I think it was just stress or maybe something I ate." I sat up straighter on the bed while considering the possibilities.

"Well, I brought you this just in case." Pam threw a paper bag on the bed in front of me. I nearly screamed when I looked inside.

"That's not funny!" I quickly shoved the bag into the drawer of my bedside table.

"It's not supposed to be." She replied completely serious.

"Pam, I am not pregnant." I tried to match her look. I couldn't be pregnant. It would just make already complicated things that much more complicated.

"Whatever you say my stubborn little friend, just promise that if you are you'll let me throw the baby shower." She had a twinkle of amusement in her eyes. I only responded by throwing a pillow in her face. Of course, Eric chose that moment to walk into the room. I was glad that I had secured the bag in the bedside table before he came in.

"Feeling better I see." He stood at the end of the bed taking in the picture before him. I had sat up on my knees and the pillow I had hit Pam with was still in my hands. Pam of course was dressed like a naughty nurse holding in her laughter.

"Yes." I said sitting back on the bed. I shot Pam a look letting her know to keep her suspicions to herself.

"Now that Eric's home, I suppose our sponge bath will have to be postponed." She winked at me and bent to kiss my cheek before walking to the door. "I'll see you two later."

"Sponge bath?" Eric grinned at me. I threw the pillow I had hit Pam with and it collided with his face.

"Get your mind out of the gutter." I laughed as he pulled the pillow off his face feigning shock.

"Me?" he pointed at himself. I crawled my way to the end of the bed and stood on my knees so that I'd be closer to his face. I grabbed a hold of the tie that had been loosened from the grip around his neck. I pulled him down to me and let my lips brush his. He kissed my lips softly then placed a hand on either side of my face forcing me to look at him.

"I'm sorry about earlier. It's all my fault. What if Felipe finds out and fires you and then you and Pam can't open the bar? Oh god! Pam's gonna hate me. You're probably gonna hate me too!" I started rambling and crying. Crying was not normal for me and it looked like I was scaring the hell out of Eric. I found it a little amusing that he could handle big bouncers and scary bosses like Felipe but he couldn't handle a crying woman.

"Sookie, please stop crying." He pulled me to his chest and stroked my hair murmuring softly for me to please stop. "Everything's going to be fine. No one's going to fire anyone, unless it's me firing Quinn. Pam's not going to hate you." I calmed a bit and he pulled my face up again to look at his, he looked very serious, "I could never hate you and I don't want to ever hear you say that again." I nodded and sniffed.

"I don't know what came over me." I sunk back into his embrace. I had some idea what had come over me and suddenly the test that was sitting in my drawer was calling to me like a beacon.

The next week was less stressful. Quinn only worked with me one more day before the transfer took place and we ended up with a great replacement. He was a tall muscular black man by the name of Lafayette. I loved him instantly. Not in a romantic sense, not that it would matter if I had, I wasn't exactly his type. I continued to get sick on daily basis, but refused to take the test that I had begun to carry with me. I wasn't sure if I had stuck it in my oversized purse because I was afraid of Eric finding it in the house or because I hoped I would build the courage to take it.

Sunday night I made a decision to accomplish two things. One, I was going ask Amelia if she would have dinner with me the next night (Our night off), I had to talk to someone and Pam wasn't on my side. I had spoken to Eric and we both agreed we trusted Amelia to not rat us out. Two, I was going to take the pregnancy test that was burning a hole in my purse.

"Amelia…" I called over my friend.

"Hey Sook, what's up?" She smiled at me. I looked around to make sure everyone else was in their respective stations. They were so I continued.

"I was wondering if maybe you wanted to have a girl night with me tomorrow. I thought maybe dinner and then you come to my house for dessert and meet my boyfriend." I said it so quickly I wasn't sure if she had heard it. I realized that the way I said it she might take it the wrong way. "Nothing weird, I just don't really have any friends outside of here and we get along really well." Gosh, I sounded like a fifteen year old asking her crush to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Thankfully she stopped me by placing a hand on my arm and smiling.

"Of course, that sounds great." She laughed a bit and I sighed in relief. "I didn't know you had a boyfriend." She lifted her eyebrows at me.

"Yeah, no one really does, but we've been together for almost two years." I divulged a little bit of information, hoping to lessen the blow by feeding the info to her slowly.

"Serious, huh?" She looked absolutely shocked. I just smiled, I hated that question. Serious, what made something serious? "Well that explains all the rejections to the hot men in this establishment." She laughed. I must have looked a bit nervous because she felt the need to reassure me, "Don't worry, you're secrets safe with me." And then I knew I made the right decision.

We went back to setting up after making plans to meet the next night at a diner we both liked. I would be lying if said I wasn't excited about having a girlfriend that I could talk to again. Pam was great, but she was so on Team Eric.

I was on my way to complete task two for the evening. The main room was all set up and the girls were relaxing before the crowds poured in. I made my way to the staff lounge, grabbed my purse, and started to the bathroom. I walked into Eric's empty office. He had been roaming around the other businesses he managed all week. I guess Quinn shook him up more than he wanted to admit. I had to admit. I missed him, even though I still saw him every night when I got home. I went into his personal restroom and locked the door behind me. After reading the simple directions eighteen times I took the test, capped it, and waited. While I did, I thought about the first time I realized that Eric and I had something.

***

"Miss Stackhouse…" Eric called me across the bar from his office. I had been working at Castro's for six months and we had fought most of that time. Lucky for me Felipe had hired me himself. He stole me away from a competitor, Sophie Anne. I liked her well enough, but her creepy manager Andre had me running for the hills the second Felipe made the offer.

"You rang?" I said sarcastically when I reached his office door. I walked right in, shut the door, and sat on the couch across from his desk. It had been a long night and there was no reason I should have to keep standing on my aching feet. He arched an eyebrow at my usual manner. Everyone else quivered in his presence, especially the women. I didn't quiver for anyone. Sure, he was a fox and a good manager, but that didn't make me bow down at his feet and call him Master.

"Miss Stackhouse, you never cease to amaze me." He stood from his desk chair, walked around to the front and leaned on it facing me.

"I'm an amazing woman what can I say?" I fluttered my eyelashes innocently, knowing he wasn't trying to compliment me. He laughed. I loved it when he laughed. It was a deep rumbling in his chest and I couldn't help but smile when I heard it. I smiled despite myself and stood to leave. "If that's all you wanted…" before I could make it to the door his hand clutched my forearm. My breath hitched. That was the first time he touched me and I remember it like it was yesterday. I turned to meet his eyes. He smirked at me, but didn't release my arm.

"Actually Miss Stackhouse, there was something besides your being amazing that I needed to discuss with you." I turned and his hand released my arm. I immediately missed its presence.

I gulped, pressing down my new found desires, "Yes?" My voice was surprisingly steady considering my heart was suddenly beating out of my chest. I stood before him waiting. He appeared to be thinking his words over. He never did that. He usually had a plan of attack before he even had me in the office.

"You sent Ginger home without talking to me first, why?" His voice was firm, but it lacked its usual chill.

"She was staggering all over the place. I know we look past her little problem, but not when it's effecting her work. She was barely conscious when I finally got her into Alcide's car. Trust me, you would have sent her home too." I explained myself even though I didn't think I should have to.

"Are you in charge in this establishment, Miss Stackhouse?" He challenged me.

"Oh, cut the Miss Stackhouse stuff." I spat at him, "And, no, I'm not in charge, but you appeared to be otherwise occupied so I took matters into my own hands." I was of course referring to the woman he was 'entertaining' in his office earlier in the evening. I threw it in his face, I didn't admit it to myself then, but I was jealous.

"Have you ever heard of knocking? Had you taken the time to try you would have been allowed to interrupt the meeting I was having with Felipe's assistant Sandy." He looked insulted, and he had every right to be. I had implied he was using his place of business to have his way with women. I started to swallow my pride. I looked at my feet, preparing myself to apologize when he continued. "And I will cut the Miss stuff out, as you said it. You obviously don't respect me, so why should I show you any respect?"

"Excuse me, Mr. Northman," I said through now gritted teeth, "I didn't mean to imply anything unsavory."

He laughed, but not my laugh, this laugh was short and mocking, "Like hell you didn't. You know what your problem is Stackhouse?" I met his eyes once again. I wasn't sure how much more I could take before I slapped him.

"What's my problem?" I matched his look, hoping he would know not to push me.

"You're jealous." He grinned at me, actually grinned! It was my turn to laugh.

"That's absurd." I countered. His hands gripped my wrists, this time he pulled my body to his. I gasped.

"Is it?" he whispered, his lips only a breath away from mine. My breathing was becoming shallow and my heart was beating out of my control. I tried to pull away, but his hands held me to his chest. "Stackhouse, your heart is racing."

"Northman, if you don't let me go I'm gonna…" I was cut off by his lips ghosting past mine. Not a real kiss, just the dream of one.

"What are you going to do, Stackhouse?" He whispered into my lips again. I couldn't take my eyes off his mouth that was now smiling broadly.

"I'm… I'm…" I was about panting at this point.

"Sookie, look at me." He commanded softly. When my eyes met his I saw the fiery blue I had come to adore and he closed the gap between us. His lips fit mine perfectly. I couldn't help it, I melted into him. I knew at that moment I would do anything in my power to have him kiss me again and again.

***

I was torn from my memory by a soft knocking at the door.

"Sookie?" I heard Amelia whispering my name. I quickly hid the test behind my back, the trash in my bag and opened the door.

"What's up?" I asked as she walked in with me shutting the door behind her.

"You're a brave woman. You do realize this is The North Man's private bathroom, right?" She was still whispering.

"He's not here tonight. I figured he wouldn't mind." I smiled at her.

"What are you doing in here?" She eyed me suspiciously. "Are you sick again?"

"No, well yes, but no." I didn't know what to say so I just pulled the test out from behind my back. I knew it was wrong to share this with Amelia and not Eric, but I needed support damn it!

She gasped, "Are you serious? What does it say?"

"I don't know. I'm too afraid to look." I admitted sheepishly.

"What do you want it to say?" She asked me something I had asked myself about a billion times in the last week. I crumpled and sat on the closed lid of the toilet.

"I don't know." I shook my head.

"Do you want me to look?" she offered. I really did love this chick.

"Maybe just hold my hand." I gave her a small smile and she complied with my request. I closed my eyes, taking in a soothing breath. When I opened my hand to see the indicator scream I felt about every feeling you have. Joy, pain, worry, fear, hope, heartache, but the most prominent emotion was love. I was pregnant alright.

"Well?" Amelia squeezed my hand to get my attention and I looked at her with tears swimming in my eyes. "You have to tell me, I don't know if those are good or bad tears!" she was just about jumping up and down in frustration and crushing my hand.

"Good, I think." I nodded at her as I stood, "I'm pregnant." Saying it out loud just made the tears come harder. I was somewhere else, out of body. I could barely hear Amelia screaming in excitement. A loud knock at the door stop our little crying/screaming party fast. I opened the door to see Sam and Alcide staring at Amelia and me in the private bathroom of one Mr. Eric Northman.

"Ladies?" Sam looked absolutely flabbergasted. I could see all the reasons we could be in the bathroom screaming and crying pass across their faces. I laughed and quickly shoved the test into my purse. I had never let go of Amelia's hand so I pulled her past the men and out of Eric's office.

I watched as Amelia went to the main floor, it appeared that we had just opened. No wonder Sam and Alcide came looking for us. I walked to the employee lounge to secure my purse with my other belongings. I was in a crazy place in my mind as I wandered to my locker and locked my purse inside it. I was wondering what Eric would say. I was hoping he would be happy. I also figured I'd have to quit my job. There was no way I was going to be able to hide my relationship with Eric if we were going to be parents. I think I was finally okay with that though. I would go to my apartment manager in the morning and tell her I no longer needed the apartment, and then I would tell Felipe I was quitting. I smiled and placed my hand gently on my belly that showed no sign of what I was carrying.

In a dream like state I turned to leave and was faced with none other than Quinn. His hands grabbed my arms and slammed me into the lockers behind me. I cried out in pain. His purple eyes were glowing with rage as he got in my face.

"What are you doing?" I screamed at him, trying to wiggle out of his grasp.

"Your boyfriend thinks he can set me up and get me fired. I'll teach him a lesson." He slammed me again and my head hit hard this time.

"What are you talking about?" I questioned him with a shaky voice, but it was like he didn't even hear me. He released one of my arms and pulled back his hand aiming straight for my face. I ducked out of the way just in time, but I couldn't get out of his grasp. He pushed me to the floor and straddled my legs. That's about when he started hitting me anywhere he could and as hard as he could. I screamed as his fist plowed into my abdomen over and over.

"Shut up!" He finally noticed me as he grabbed my face with his vice like grip. I sobbed.

"I'm pregnant, please, I'm pregnant!" I begged him to stop. I saw the rage drain from his eyes. His brow furrowed and he looked down at his fists that were now coated in my blood. I knew my face was a bloody mess and I could feel the blood leaking from my forehead, but I didn't let myself pass out. I had to stop him first. He stood from his position straddling me and looked from me to his fists in disbelief. When he made it to the door I allowed the blackness to take me over.

***

"Sook?" I heard a voice, but couldn't place the language. I felt like I was swimming. When I was able to I fluttered my eyes open to a painful bright room. I squinted quickly. "Sook!" the person speaking was a cute little brunette girl with bright red rimmed eyes and tears rolling down her cheeks.

I looked at her quizzically, "Do you speak English?" She laughed and cried a bit more.

"Of course I do!" She looked at me like I was crazy. "Let me go get the doctor!" She ran from the room before I could ask her what a 'sook' was. I tried to sit up a little bit more and was met by pain shooting through my body. I decided to stay put.

When the girl returned to the room she had a man in a pair of scrubs in tow. He had a very serious look on his face. I assumed this was the doctor she spoke of and hoped that someone would tell me what the hell was going on.

"Miss Stackhouse?" He was looking at me, so I had to presume he was speaking to me. He was an older man with a bright face and beautiful white hair. I stared blankly at him.

"Is that my name?" I looked back and forth between the doctor and the girl. Who let out sob and sunk into a chair.

"What do you remember Miss Stackhouse?" He asked me with a kind smile. I thought for moment, all I saw was blackness in my mind. I closed my eyes and concentrated nothing but blackness and sudden pulses of the most beautiful blue. It was almost icy.

"I'm sorry, I don't really remember anything." I knew I should be more worried than I was, but all I felt was annoyed. "What's a sook?" I asked and the girl on the chair gave another sob and covered her face in her hands.

"That's your name, my dear." The doctor answered. What kinda name was Sook? "Sookie Stackhouse." He added, I guess Sookie was better than Sook, but not by much. "My name is Dr. Brigant. Do you think you can remember that?" I gave him an 'are you kidding me' look and nodded.

"What's happening? Why can't she remember anything?" the girl had calmed herself down enough to speak.

"She's been through a trauma." He told her and my hand went to my head where I could feel stitches. "Yes, my dear, you have been physically harmed, but I believe the memory loss is a mere defense mechanism of the psyche."

"You mean I don't want to remember?" I asked him as if he were the one out of his mind.

"You don't by any chance remember your boyfriend's name, do ya Sookie?" the small girl asked quietly. I looked at her in disbelief.

"Oh yes, I forgot, when I said I don't remember anything, I meant I don't remember anything except my boyfriend's name." I threw my arms in the air and regretted it immediately. I hissed in pain and put my arms back down.

I didn't have to think about the pain or ask any questions about it because I heard that name again, "Sookie!" except this time it was said by a strong male voice. I heard it again as a god among men stormed into my room. I noticed quickly that his eyes were the same icy blue that I had seen in my head earlier. Before I could ask him who he was or make out the small blonde woman that followed him in his lips pressed into mine. I resisted a bit at first, but found myself lost in his kiss. Just when I was getting into it he pulled away. "Sookie…" He seemed to be assessing the damage with pain in his face.

"Mr. Northman?" The small brunette asked from beside the doctor.

"Amelia…" Ah she has a name! "What happened?" He quickly turned his eyes back to me. I crossed my arms as they ignored me completely.

"It was Quinn, he attacked her in the employee lounge." She seemed to have something else on her mind, "Wait, are you the boyfriend she was going to introduce me to?" She looked shocked. I was a bit insulted. Did she not think me worthy of such a beautiful creature? Who was I kidding, I probably wasn't.

He just smiled at her and offered her a hand across my broken body, "Nice to meet you. I'm Sookie's boyfriend, Eric." The smile faded as soon as the handshake ended and he finally met my eyes.

"Hi, remember me?" I was upset that they talked like I wasn't in the room.

"I'm sorry." He looked defeated, I know I didn't remember him, but it killed me to see him so sad. "I'm so sorry." He assaulted my face with feather light kisses. I was going to protest, but I was enjoying myself. Amelia finally pulled his arm so that he stopped.

"She doesn't remember you Eric." She was back to crying. Eric looked back to me with shock all over his face.

I shrugged a bit, "Sorry." I didn't know what else to say, but I definitely thought the doctor was wrong if he thought I wanted to forget the man who was standing before me.

"Maybe you could give us some privacy; there are some things I need to discuss with Miss Stackhouse and Mr. Northman." Dr. Brigant spoke to the mystery blonde and my friend Amelia.

The blonde turned to Amelia and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, "I'm Pam, let's go get something to drink." Pam led her from the room as she continued to cry.

The doctor closed the door behind them and turned to me and my alleged boyfriend. He still hadn't removed the look of shock from his face. I reached out and grabbed his hand. I found it odd comforting him when I was in the hospital bed, but I just couldn't take his obvious heartache. He squeezed my hand and turned to face the doctor who looked almost as sad as the Amelia girl.

"Mr. Northman, I was explaining to Miss Stackhouse that she is suffering from memory loss, most likely because she is not ready to remember what she was feeling earlier. She will return I assure you of that. Her injuries for the most part are superficial, cuts and bruises mostly." Eric let out a breath he was holding and relaxed his hand in mine a bit. "With that said, I do need to get to the bad news." Eric's hand tightened again. "I am sorry to inform you that we were unable to save the baby." I was pregnant and now I'm not. That's what I didn't want to remember. Okay, so now I know, memories, you can come back anytime now.

"Baby?" Eric was turning pale white so I quickly reached out and pulled him. He sat hard on the side of my bed staring at the floor.

"You were unaware of her condition?" The doctor asked. Even I knew he was unaware by the way he was taking the news. Eric shook his head but kept his eyes down. I couldn't help, but reach out to him. I placed my hand gently on his face and turned him to look at me. He blinked as if he just realized I was still there. Then they filled with tears. He pulled me up to his chest and held me there. I wept with him. I didn't know if I loved this man or had been happy with the idea of having a child with him, but I knew that it was possibility and I was sad for him, for our baby, and for the me I didn't remember.

After lots of tears and reassurances from the doctor that no permanent damage was done to my womb, Eric calmed and I was left alone with him. He had moved from my bed, but didn't go far. He pulled a chair over to the side, laid his head in my lap, and entwined his fingers with mine. I smoothed his hair and wished for any memory of this man I could get. I wished I could tell him why he didn't know about the pregnancy. I wished I could tell him how I felt about him. I wanted to tell him anything I could to take away the look that was in his eyes.

"Eric?" I had to break the tension that was filling the room. He sat up straight but didn't let go of my hand. "What happened to me?" Rage flashed in his eyes and his hand tightened on mine.

"You were attacked." He looked away, shame filling his face, "It's my fault. I set him up to get fired and he went after you before I could get to you."

"Why would you set someone up?" I was truly curious. I wasn't sure what I had gotten myself into, but if Eric was some kind of mobster I wasn't going to stay in it.

"He was blackmailing us. At first he just wanted something small, but his demands…." He trailed off.

"What was he blackmailing us with?" I was trying not to jump to conclusions.

"We're not supposed to be together." He continued when I looked at him questioningly, "I'm your boss. The owner of the club you work at, Felipe, he doesn't want management," He pointed to himself, "dating staff." He pointed to me.

"So this guy that attacked me, found out about us and starting blackmailing us?" I asked trying to wrap my mind around the situation.

"Pretty much." He nodded.

"But his demands got to… what? Expensive? Outrageous?" I wanted him to finish his thought from earlier.

"Impossible." He filled in the blanks in a somber tone staring at our entangled fingers.

"What did he want?" I was afraid to ask, but I wanted to know.

Eric paused for a second, "You."

"Excuse me?" I couldn't even imagine two men discussing my ownership without getting pissed off.

Eric chuckled a bit and met my eyes with a half smile on his face, "He wanted me to let him take you out for a night. He thought if he could get you alone he would convince you to sleep with him. I think you're the first person in a long time to tell him no."

"And this is funny because?" I couldn't believe he was being so lighthearted about it.

"It's funny because he obviously didn't get you, Stackhouse. Anyone who knows you knows that you would never stand for that kind of behavior… from me or him. I was nervous thinking about having to tell you what he suggested." One look at my face and he went on, "I would have never even considered it, even if you would have. You don't like being considered property. From the tone of your response I'm going to assume that hasn't changed regardless of your memory loss." He ran his thumb over the back of the hand he held.

"I guess not." I smiled a bit back at him. I found it amusing that the thought of telling me that had made him nervous. His eyes turned serious once again and I braced myself for what else he was going to tell me.

"Sookie, I'm going to request something of you and before you freak out I want you to consider that I have seen every inch of you from every angle in every kind of lighting." Uh oh... He was still rubbing his thumb over my hand. I held my breath as I waited for him to continue. "I want to see the extent of your injuries. I need to see what he did to you."

Before I could answer he was already pulling the curtain closed around the bed, never moving his eyes from mine. When he returned to my side he helped me sit up a little and I felt his hand untie the top of my hospital gown. I didn't realize until I felt his hand on the bare skin of my back that I was shaking. He pulled the gown to my shoulders and leaned me back against the bed. He searched my eyes once again before placing his hands on my shoulders grabbing a hold of the gown.

"Are you okay?" I nodded and turned my eyes from his as he lowered the gown. I glanced down and saw my breasts were covered with rainbow covered bruises. I gasped when his hand reached out and his fingertips lightly traced the bruises. I looked up to his face afraid of what he was doing, but there was no lust in his eyes. His face was streaked with sorrow and regret. Another moment went by and he pulled the gown down further, revealing bright purple bruises on my ribs. His large hand covered it tenderly and I started to feel warmth and comfort fill my body. When he pulled it down the rest of the way we saw the bruise that covered my lower abdomen. It was the worst looking of them all. His hand once again covered it and I couldn't help but cover his hand with mine. When I looked at his face I found his eyes closed, his lips moving, and tears rolling down his cheeks. I gave him his time. We had a moment of silence for the baby we had lost.

"Eric?" I pulled him from his murmuring. His face met mine and suddenly it twisted with rage. He pulled the gown back up covering my naked body and tore the curtain back heading for the door. "Eric!" I yelled as he reached the door. "Where are you going?"

"I am going to find Quinn and I am going kill him." His voice was cold and distant. He didn't even turn to look at me.

"Eric, look at me." He turned, but his face didn't change. "If you leave, then I'll be alone and I don't want to be alone." His face softened a bit and his hand dropped from the door knob, "If you leave and do something stupid, you'll end up in jail or hurt and I'll be alone even longer. So, if you could do me a favor, walk your selfish ass back over here and maybe do that thing where you kissed my entire face again… that would be great." The rage had disappeared completely from his face and was replaced by a very sexy smirk. He walked slowly over to me and I felt my heart pick up with every step. In fact I heard my heart pick up with every step. Stupid heart monitor.

When he reached me his fingertips grazed my face, over what I assumed to be more bruising. I was thankful to not have a mirror, although I had to wonder what I looked like. His lips replaced his fingertips and the warm feeling returned to my body. From the sound of the heart monitor my heart was increasing speed. Eric laughed into my skin when he noticed. I couldn't help but love the sound of it. It was a deep rumbling in his chest and I yearned to hear it more.

"You should rest." He said as he placed a final kiss on my forehead and took the seat next to my bed. I nodded in agreement and lay back closing my eyes. I felt his lips press into the palm of my hand right before I drifted to sleep.

"I still can't believe that Mr. Northman and Sookie…" Amelia voice trailed off. I had woken up to her and another woman, I assumed to be Pam, speaking. I kept my eyes closed. I didn't feel bad about eavesdropping if it was about me.

"Believe it." Pam said in an emotionless voice.

"You know I was just telling her last week that he had a thing for her and she acted like it was so far off." Amelia sounded a bit miffed. I guess I would be too if I found out someone was lying to me.

"Amelia, get mad later. Right now Sookie needs all the friends she can get. And since currently you and I are the only ones that know the truth she can't afford for you to be mad at her." Pam reasoned with her. I was kind of sad I didn't have anyone.

"You're right. Besides, it's not like she didn't have her reasons and she was going to introduce me to him tomorrow. I don't understand how they've lived like this for so long. I thought they hated each other the way they act at work. I mean they fight…" she stopped again.

"…like an old married couple?" Pam finished for her.

"I'm so blind." Amelia laughed a little. Their conversation stopped when I heard Eric enter the room.

"She's still asleep?" he asked quietly.

"Looks like. Did you get everything you need?" Pam asked Eric. I wondered how long I had been out for.

"Yes, thank you for staying with her. The doctor said that he'll most likely be able to release her tomorrow. I'll call you both and let you know when that will be." I heard a couple kissing noises and then the door shut again. I couldn't help but feel a little jealous that those kisses weren't on me.

"Okay Stackhouse, you can stop pretending to sleep." I opened my eyes to see Eric smiling knowingly at me. He had changed out of the stuffy business clothes he had been in earlier. Now he was wearing a white cotton t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants.

"How'd you know?" I smiled back at him and he pointed to the heart monitor.

"You're heart rate was up and you weren't breathing as evenly." He pushed a piece of loose hair behind my ear. "Now, I've brought you a few things to make you more comfortable and some clothes to go home in tomorrow." He walked over to a bag that had been placed in a chair. When he came back over he placed what looked like a very large men's t-shirt on my legs, I assumed it to be one of his. "Let's get you out of that god awful hospital gown."

"Are you sure I'm allowed?" I asked as he leaned me gently forward and pulled the gown from behind my back. I pulled my arms out of the gown and held it up over my chest. Eric didn't comment or ask me why I was being shy, he just smiled. He placed the shirt carefully over my head and I pulled it on, removing the gown completely.

"Better?" He asked and turned to place the gown in the corner of the room. With his back turned I pulled the shirt up to my nose, I breathed in deep. I was comforted immediately by is distinctly male smell. When I opened my eyes I caught him looking at me, with amusement in his eyes. I blushed. Again, he didn't make fun of me or say anything at all. Instead, he walked over and stuck his nose in my hair and took a deep breath in. "Beautiful." He murmured into my hair before placing a kiss on my head.

"Eric?" He moved from my hair and looked me in the eye, "Can you help me up? I need to use the restroom." He removed the heart monitor that was clamped to my finger and positioned an arm under my legs.

"Grab the IV pole." He commanded and I did so. Before I could protest he had me midair, carrying me bridal style.

"Eric, nothing is wrong with my legs I just needed help out of bed." I reminded him but he walked to the bathroom despite me. When we got to the door I threw my arm out before he could go in with me, "This is my stop." He put me down and I locked him out.

I completed my business, avoided the mirror, and leaned on the IV pole on my way out of the bathroom. When I opened the door I saw Eric standing by my bed. He made to come over and I stopped him with my hand in the air, "Don't move a muscle." I slowly made my way over to him, my legs were fine, but the ache everywhere else made it hard to move. When I made it to him I allowed him to pick me up and place me on my bed. He covered me and disappeared behind the curtain for a moment. When he returned he was pushing my bed table that appeared to be covered with food.

"All your favorites..." He grinned and winked at me. He wasn't kidding. There were at least five full dinners in front of me.

"Expecting company?" I asked nervous that he wanted me to eat all the food myself.

"I wasn't sure which to get you, so I got them all. I figured we could take a little of all of them and what we don't finish we'll save for later." He picked up two forks and handed one to me. I dug in as did he. Everything was delicious and I was glad that someone knew what my favorite foods were, because I didn't. When we finished he pushed the now empty tray aside and pulled his chair back to its place next to my bed.

"How late can you stay?" I asked as he intertwined my fingers with his again.

"As long as you're here, I'm here." He looked up at me and placed a small kiss on each of my fingertips. He wasn't going to leave until I could; I guess my little speech about not wanting to be alone was better than I thought. I couldn't make him stay all night in the chair. I slowly pushed myself away from him in the bed. He looked at me like a hurt puppy when I took my hand from his. When I was as far over as I could get I reached my hand out pulling him to stand.

"Come on." I pulled him a little bit more before he got the hint.

"Are you sure?" He asked very seriously. I nodded and watched him crawl into the bed with me. He was a big man and there wasn't much space so I curled my aching body into his, resting my head in the crook of his neck. He sighed and wrapped his arms around me.

"Can you tell me about us?" I whispered, breaking the comfortable silence.

"Of course, what do you want to know?" He was whispering too.

"Everything." I didn't know what to specifically ask, but I really did want to know anything he could tell me.

He laughed a little, "Well that'll take some time, but I'll see what I can do for now." He tightened his grip on me. "We met about two and a half years ago when Felipe hired you to be head server at Castro's, that's the club you work at. We've been together for one year, eleven months, and three days… give or take. We fight fiercely but make up like no one else." I blushed a little at that comment. "I don't really know what to say, you get me. You challenge me, you make me laugh, you infuriate me, and you make me feel things I've never felt with another."

"What do we fight about?" I asked into his neck with a yawn.

"What do we fight about? The weather, who finished the milk, what color the sofa is… I still say grey." He chuckled and I felt that amazing rumble in his chest. I yawned again. "Go to sleep."

"But I want to know more…" I whined a bit.

"Tomorrow, now go to sleep." He commanded softly. I closed my eyes, breathed in Eric's comforting scent, and went to sleep.

***

"Northman?" I yelled as I wandered out of the bedroom. It was my first time staying over and I hated waking up alone. I walked through the house until my nose led me to the kitchen. There he was. Clad only in a pair of sleep pants, I was wearing his shirt. His chest, back, and arms exposed to me. He was beautiful. He sauntered over to me with a cup of coffee I happily accepted, along with soft kiss on my lips.

"Good morning, Stackhouse." He smirked and returned to his cooking.

"Are you making me breakfast?" I asked as I wrapped my arms around him from behind and laid a kiss between his shoulder blades.

"Breakfast? Lunch? I'm making something." He laughed. I looked around him at the grilled cheese sandwiches he had in the pan. "It's the only thing I know how to cook." He shrugged with a smile. I laughed. He turned in my arms and backed me into the island behind me.

"I'll have to give you some cooking lessons." I offered. He lifted an eyebrow and picked me up, setting me on the island. I opened my knees to allow him to get closer.

"Does that mean you're going to keep seeing me?" He asked as his lips pressed against the pulse point on my neck. I laughed when I saw what was occurring behind him.

"Eric, you're burning the food." I laughed as he turned to see the smoke coming from the pan. He yelled some expletives as he removed the pan from the heat. He turned to face me, showing me the now black sandwiches.

"Plan B." He removed frozen waffles from the freezer and put them in the toaster. He walked back over to where I was seated on the counter and put his hands down on either side of my closing me in. "Now where was I?" his lips returned to my neck. "Ah yes, you were about to tell me how you couldn't imagine not seeing more of me."

"You mean there's more that I haven't seen?" I asked shocked, I was pretty sure I had seen every beautiful inch of him the night before.

"Stackhouse, don't avoid the question. Are you going to be around for cooking lessons?" By the way he said cooking lessons; I knew he meant nothing even close.

"I'll try, but I work for this real jerk so who knows how much time I'll have." I laughed as he stopped his kissing and met my eyes.

"Jerk?" He asked feigning hurt. I nodded and tried my best to look innocent. He grabbed me around the waist and threw me over his shoulder.

"Northman, you put me down this instant!" I yelled into his back. I kicked my feet and pounded my hands playfully. He headed out of the kitchen and back to the bedroom. "What about my waffles?" I felt him laugh from my place on his shoulder.

***

When I woke up I found myself still wrapped up in Eric. He was sleeping soundly with his face buried in my hair. I noticed for the first time a tattoo on the inside of his right arm. I picked up the sleeping man's arm and began to trace it with my finger. It was an involuntary moment, like my finger just had to do it.

***

"Stop being such a baby, Northman!" I giggled as I held his arm down on the bed. "I have to put lotion on it or it'll get dry and gross."

"No, I don't want you to touch it!" He whined. I gave him a look to let him know I meant business.

"Oh, if all those who fear you could see you now… you're nothing but a little kitten." I mocked him.

"People fear me?" He actually looked pleased with himself.

"Seriously, you are losing man points by the second." I warned him.

He covered his eyes with his free hand as he waited for the lotion to hit his skin. I squirted it on and gently rubbed it in. The skin around the new ink was still red and puffy. After I finished rubbing the cold lotion onto his skin I leaned down and blew on it. He looked between his fingers at me.

"Was that so bad?" I mocked him.

He jumped up excitedly, "My turn!" he pulled the straps of my tank top down my shoulders to get a better look at my newly decorated skin. I felt him gently kiss the skin before showing it the same consideration I had shown him.

***

The feeling of him moving broke me from my vision. He nuzzled my ear before speaking. "Sookie?" He mumbled sleepily.

"That's what they tell me." I tried to joke, but it was actually getting sad. He pushed my chin up to look at him.

"What's going on?" His eyes were a beautiful almost clear blue when he first woke up.

"Would you have been happy about the baby?" I don't know why I asked, but I had been wondering why I hadn't told him. Was I afraid of him or how he'd react? I saw him flinch for a moment before returning to his calm face.

"Of course." His eyes gave away the sadness he was trying to suppress.

"Why didn't I tell you?" I wanted to understand, but I hated hurting him.

"Amelia told Pam you found out only a few minutes before you were attacked, so you didn't have a chance to." Closed his eyes and lay his head back onto the pillow.

"I'm sorry I lost your baby." I was sorry; I wished I could have protected it.

He moved his hand to caress my cheek. His thumb wiped away tears I didn't realize I was crying, "Our baby, Stackhouse… our baby." He reminded me as he pulled my face to his so he could kiss away the tears on my cheeks.

After a few moments I spoke up again, "Do I love you?"

He chuckled a bit, "I hope so." I met his eyes again and saw that he was being serious.

"You don't know?" I had been with this man for two years and we didn't know if we loved each other… that just didn't seem right to me.

"Aren't you supposed to ask me how I feel about you?" he smiled down at me pulling me in tight against his chest.

"Okay, how do you feel about me?" my voice was shakier than I would have liked it to be.

"You don't know?" He repeated my earlier question with that sexy smirk on his face. I rolled my eyes and tried to turn away when his hand kept my face looking at his. His eyes were no longer the clear blue they were when he woke, they were stormy and serious.

"You love me." I stated.

He nodded, "Yes, I do." I sighed, relieved for some reason. He kissed me sweetly and I reveled in it.

"What are we going to do?" I closed my eyes and leaned my head back into his neck.

"Well, tomorrow we're going to go home. You're going to get better and then I'm going to convince you to never leave the house again." I could hear the smile on his face.

"I doubt that will go over well." I smiled into his skin.

"Well, I've got to try." He kissed my hair and we settled into a calm quiet again.

***

"Sookie?" I heard Gran call me from the kitchen so I ran in to see her.

"Yes?" I smiled at her and kissed her cheek.

"Why don't you have any food in your refrigerator? Are you having a hard time with your finances?" She was concerned as usual since we had gone our separate ways, her to a retirement community, me to my first apartment. I hadn't known she was visiting or I would have stocked up on things I never had any more, like food.

"No, I'm doing fine. I'm just not home much." I hoped she would drop it.

"Oh?" She gave me that knowing look.

"Work's been crazy." It was true work had been crazy, but really I was always with Eric any more. There was no need to keep food that would never get eaten. I had rushed home that morning when I got Gran's message that she would be by to visit. By the look on her face she wasn't buying it. She crossed her arms over her chest and waited. "Fine, I've been seeing someone."

She clapped her hands and looked absolutely giddy, "Where is he? Let's go meet him!" She had her hand in mine pulling me to the door before I could argue. I shot Eric a text warning him that my Gran would be at his house in about fifteen minutes so he better be decent. All I got back from him was a two worded text: 'can't wait'. I pulled into the garage and closed the gate behind us. Before I could get out of the car Gran was already making her way into the house.

"Gran, you can't just walk into a strange man's house." I chastised her gently as I led her inside.

"I can if he's seeing my granddaughter." She shot back. This was going to be a long visit.

"Eric?" I didn't think screaming his last name through the house would give my Gran the right idea of our relationship, so I stuck with Eric. He came around the corner with a grin from ear to ear.

"Miss Stackhouse?" He bowed a little to my Gran and took her hand in his kissing her knuckles.

"And you must be the young man I've heard nothing about…" She smiled back at him.

"Eric and it is an honor to finally meet you. I've heard a lot about you." He guided her into the living room and set her down on his sofa.

"So Eric, what are your intentions with my granddaughter?" She asked very seriously. Eric's jaw dropped.

"How about I get everyone some tea?" I spoke a little louder than necessary as I ran from the room into the kitchen. It was probably wrong leaving Eric with my Gran, but I couldn't stop her and I didn't want to be in there for that conversation. Three hours and countless trips to the kitchen later I was finally ushering Gran out to the garage to get her out of Eric's hair. Before we made it out she surprised me by kissing Eric on the cheek and whispering something to him. He whispered back then allowed her to leave with me. He winked at me as I got her in the car to drive her back to my apartment.

***

I was woken up this time by a nurse with a serious skin problem checking on me. I couldn't help but notice her eyes ogling my boyfriend. I placed my hand protectively around his waist. Where that came from was beyond me, but apparently I was the jealous type. Eric woke up when the door closed behind her.

"Hospital's are the worst places to sleep." He said as he stretched beside me.

"I'm sorry. You can go home and just come back and pick me up in the morning. If you leave your number I'll call you when they release me." I hoped he would say no, but I felt bad for ruining his sleep.

"I'm not going anywhere." He repositioned himself so that he was on his side, his leg draped over mine and his long muscular arm surrounding my waist. He burrowed his face in my neck.

"Do I have any family?" I asked what would seem out of the blue.

"You have me." He answered sleepily.

"What about parents? Siblings? Grandparents?" I didn't want to assume that what I was seeing in my sleep, in the flashes were real.

He sat up on his elbow and looked down at me, "You're parents died when you were a little girl. You have a brother, but he's never around and hasn't been for a long time. You had a Gran, but you lost her last year." He looked sad at the loss of my Grandmother.

"What did she whisper to you… when you first met her?" I continued due to the look of disbelief on his face, "When I was taking her home, she kissed your cheek and whispered something in your ear. Was that real?"

"I've always wondered when you would ask me what she said. How do you remember that?" He didn't answer my question.

"I don't know, I just had a dream, but if felt… real." I answered honestly hoping it would rub off on him. "Are you going to tell me?"

"She told me you were a stubborn girl, but to not give up on you because beneath the rough façade you have a beautiful heart." He tucked some hair behind my ear.

"And what did you say to her?" I asked cautiously.

"I told her you were the sunlight to my once dark life and I planned on basking in you forever." He smiled down at me.

"That's corny Eric." I laughed a little. He joined me.

"Umm… Yeah it is, but your Gran loved it and I meant every corny word." He leaned down and kissed my forehead.

"If you start singing 'You are my sunshine' I'm calling security to have you removed." I tried to look seriously at him. He laughed and snuggled back into my neck.

"I'll try to hold myself back from singing." He placed a kiss on my neck. I shivered from the feel of it.

We made it through the rest of the night and we only woken up every few hours by nosy nurses. If you ask me most of them appeared to be more interested in the man at my side than my injuries. In the morning after a painfully long psych evaluation I was sent home in the care of Eric. I left his shirt on and pulled on the yoga pants he had brought for me. They made me get pushed from the hospital in a wheel chair even though I explained that my legs were perfectly fine. Apparently it's hospital policy to make their patients feel like invalids as long as possible.

I quirked an eyebrow at Eric when he guided me to a red corvette. He laughed and put me in the car along with the flowers that had arrived earlier from my friends at the club. He drove like a manic and I found myself clutching the door and seat for dear life. He must have noticed at one point because I noticed him decelerate and start taking corners a little slower. When we pulled into the garage Eric came to my side of the car and got me out of the car. He walked me into the house and set me carefully on the sofa.

"I'm going to go change the sheets and make sure everything's set for you in the bedroom. I'm sorry I didn't do it last night, but I wanted to return to you before you woke up. Do you need anything before I leave you?" He was being such a good nurse.

"Why do you need to change the sheets?" I questioned innocently only receiving his bouncing eyebrows for an answer. I blushed at his insinuation. "I'll be fine here, thank you." I answered trying to push back my embarrassment. He kissed my cheek and bound into the other room.

***

"Just get rid of the apartment Sookie!" Eric yelled in frustration.

"No! I need it." I yelled right back.

"What do you need it for? You are always here with me. You haven't been to the apartment in a month except to get your mail!" He paced the living room.

"Oh and I'm sure Felipe won't notice that we have the same mailing address." I rebutted with a 'duh' look on my face.

"We'll get you a P.O. box if you are so concerned with Felipe and your waitress job." He sat hard, running his hands through his hair.

"Why do you say it like that? …like just because I'm a waitress I'm not worth anything!" I stood before him, furious.

He stood from the couch and looked me in the eye, "Don't twist my words, Stackhouse. I just don't understand why you need your apartment full of furniture you never use!"

"I hate this ugly green couch." I pushed past him and sat down. Obviously I had nothing that I could offer to make him understand. I was afraid to give up my home. I was afraid the second I did he would realize that we were too serious and break up with me.

"It's grey." He mumbled and sat on the coffee table in front of where I sat.

"Excuse me?" I asked.

"The couch, it's grey not green." He corrected me calmly with his head in his hands.

"Are you blind?" I laughed at him. He simply lifted his head and met my eyes. "Seriously, this is green." I continued to laugh at the look on his face. We could seriously argue about anything. He stared at me through my laughing fit.

"Are you finished?" He waited for my laughter to subside. I calmed and nodded. "It's grey." Was all he said to bring me into fits of laughter again, but this time he joined me.

***

"I'm all ready for you." Eric took my hand and pulled me gently to stand. "Would you like me to carry you?"

I dropped his hand and walked past him towards the room he had fixed for me, "The couch is green Eric." I heard him chuckle behind me as he followed me into the bedroom.

Eric didn't let me leave the bedroom for the next few days. When he wasn't hovering over me he called Pam or Amelia to watch me. Eric still had to go to work and act as a manager who was missing a waitress, not a man whose lover was attacked and beat in the very building he worked in.

Eric had left me with Pam for another evening of her crowding me, taking covers, and eating popcorn in bed while forcing me to watch professional wrestling. Thanks to the pain pills the hospital had prescribed me I was able to block her out and fall into a deep sleep quickly. I actually enjoyed sleeping because more times than not I would get a glimpse into the life I had left behind. That evening I wasn't so lucky. Instead of visions of Eric and I laughing, fighting, or making love I saw violent flashes of purple. The purple soon mixed with red and black. I could hear screaming, it was my own. I was begging, pleading.

My eyes flew open and I sat straight in bed. I was drenched in sweat and could hear myself screaming again, "Eric!" I was screaming his name over and over again. Before I could collect myself someone grabbed my arm, pulling me from the safety of my bed, and threw me into the bathroom. I looked up from the floor and saw Pam. She placed a finger to her lips and I shut my mouth. She closed the door quickly, but stayed on the outside. I crawled into the shower stall and pulled my knees to my chest. I could hear footsteps coming quickly in the direction of the bedroom and I could hear the bedroom door slamming open.

"What's going on?" Eric voice was frantic. I was going to yell for him, but I heard another voice.

"Is everything alright?" It was thickly accented and I decided it was Felipe.

"I'm sorry; I think I saw a mouse in the bathroom." Pam tried to make her strong voice sound frail and frightened. "Could you check it out?"

"Of course." Eric's voice had an edge on it.

"Felipe, would you mind escorting me to the kitchen? I could use a drink." Pam's voice shook with vulnerability. I would have been impressed if my insides weren't still clenched with the fear from my nightmare.

"Of course, Miss Northman." Felipe's voice dripped with charm.

"Eric, be nice. The mouse looked confused and scared out of its mind." She hinted before I heard the bedroom door shut. I had to assume I was the mouse.

The bathroom door opened once Eric knew the coast was clear. I pushed myself into the corner of the shower stall and squeezed my eyes closed. I felt him before he spoke. He was kneeling before me his hands cupping my face.

"Sookie?" He whispered. I wondered if he was whispering for Felipe or for fear of scaring me further.

"Where were you?" I asked when my eyes finally opened.

"I'm sorry, Felipe showed up at the club and when I said I needed to come home because my cousin was here he insisted on coming with me." He explained. "I was just in the office." I guess that explained Felipe calling Pam Miss Northman. He thought she was Eric's cousin.

"Not now, then." I was hyperventilating.

"Calm down." He commanded softly. He sat in the shower with me and pulled me to his lap. I kept flashing on the purple and red, I kept hearing my screaming echoing in my brain. I took some deep breaths. Eric's scent filled me and comforted me. Eventually my breathing evened out and I looked up at him.

"I could hear myself screaming, pleading." I explained as well as I could.

"You're killing me, Stackhouse." He whispered sadly into my hair. I cried then. I cried for the unanswered screams I relived in my sleep. I cried for the bruises that ached all over my body. I cried for the man that I was hurting without even meaning to. I cried so hard I didn't even hear the door open again.

"Eric, Miss Stackhouse." I could hear that same accented charming voice I had heard through the door earlier. I looked up from Eric's now dripping wet shirt to see his face. He was dark and mysterious looking… the kind of man that would wear a cape in a different time and place. I tried to scramble off Eric's lap, but his arms were holding me to him. I turned from Felipe to look Eric in the eye. He looked determined to have this out. It's not like there was any way we could pretend Felipe hadn't just seen Eric sitting on the shower floor with me, in nothing but his t-shirt, clutched to his body sobbing my eyes out.

"I'm sorry." I whispered as I turned my eyes to Eric's shirt. I'm not sure what I was apologizing for or to whom. Maybe I was apologizing to the shirt for dripping all over it.

"There is nothing to be sorry for, Miss Stackhouse." I looked up to Felipe who was smiling kindly at me. I noticed for the first time that Pam was standing behind him leaning against the door frame watching the story unfold before her. I could almost read her mind that she wanted more popcorn. "I am relieved to see that Eric did not abandon you in fear of ruining his career. I must admit I invited myself over in hopes of seeing you." He leaned down and took my chin in his hand lifting my face to get a better view. Eric's arms tightened a bit, but he said nothing. "I'm sorry that this occurred, especially that it occurred while you were in the security of my club." I nodded and he released my face.

"Felipe…" Eric started but was hushed quickly.

"Eric, there is no need to explain. I have known about this for some time now." Felipe's eyes sparkled with amusement. "Eric, did you think I wouldn't notice your sudden attachment to one venue in particular?" I looked at Eric who looked dumbfounded. "Also, I may have forgotten to mention the security cameras in the employee parking lot." He winked and Eric laughed nervously.

***

"Come home with me, Stackhouse." Eric whispered into my neck as he place yet another kiss. I was pinned to the hood of his Corvette… his body lying lightly on top of mine. Everyone had left the club about an hour earlier, but we had stayed behind to talk about our current situation. We'd been pretty hot and heavy since the kiss that we shared in his office, but it was difficult to establish anything since we couldn't exactly date. His hand roamed my body freely, never going too far but going dangerously close to the border. "Don't make me beg." He ran his tongue up the center of my throat to the tip on my chin.

I groaned in frustration. My mind, heart, and body were having an all out war. My hands grabbed his perfect butt pulling him closer to me. I wrapped my legs around his hips to make sure he didn't wander off as I let the war rage on.

"Stackhouse…" he whispered before attacking my mouth with his. I sighed into his mouth; I didn't think I would ever tire of the feeling of his lips battling mine for control. A bright light in our eyes tore us from our make out session on top of the car.

"Sir, Ma'am?" The officer called over his flashlight that was blinding us. "I'm gonna have to break this up and ask ya'll to move along." I felt my cheeks blaze red. I suddenly realized that I was indeed lying on my back on the hood of a hot ass car with my legs locked around Eric. I quickly unlocked my legs and pushed Eric off of me. He had that damn smirk on his face and I couldn't believe he was enjoying this.

"We're very sorry, officer. We'll get out of here." Eric called back, but he held onto my arm not letting me flee to my car.

"I'll be back around in five minutes." The officer warned as he waved and returned to his car, pulling away.

Eric turned to look at me, but I couldn't stop looking at my feet. He pushed my chin up with his forefinger. When he saw that I had clamped my eyes shut so I wouldn't have to see how funny he thought my embarrassment was he kissed each closed eyelid.

"Does this mean you aren't going to come home with me tonight?" He asked and I could hear the smile on his face. When I opened my eyes that's exactly what I saw.

"Goodnight, Northman." I pushed away from him and started to my car. He caught up easily and spun me around catching my lips with his. His kiss was passionate and searing. I couldn't breathe when he finally released me. "What was that?" I asked breathlessly.

"I wanted you to regret your decision." He stated simply, winked at me, and got into her car. I narrowed my eyes at him, stomped to my car, and slammed the door shut once I got in. He waited for me to leave before driving away, making sure I was safely out of the dark lot.

***

My cheeks turned red as the memory returned to me. Felipe was smiling proudly that he had been in on the secret all along.

"You knew… all this time?" Eric questioned. Felipe nodded. "And you didn't let us know because…" He waited for Felipe to fill in the blank.

"I wanted to see what would happen. You two are better than telanovla's." He smiled and Pam snorted behind him. I had to assume she agreed. I laughed. It was a little funny that Eric and I had been sneaking around for almost two years for absolutely no reason. Or was it sad? Eric was looking at me like I lost my mind. Maybe I had.

"You don't know the half of it." Pam started, "One time these two…"

"Pam." Eric's voice said it all. Shut up and get out. And she did.

"I should probably take my leave as well." Felipe nodded and turned to leave, "Before I go, do you have any idea when you'll be returning to work, Miss Stackhouse?" I guess that meant I could return to work. I hoped that didn't mean he was firing Eric instead.

"I hadn't really thought much about it. I suppose I could come back next week, I'll have to be retrained, but I'm sure I'll pick it up." I answered honestly.

"Sookie, are you sure you're ready?" Eric's eyes were pure compassion and concern.

"I can't just sit around and wait for my life to come back to me. I have to take it back." I tried to sit up a little straighter… in his lap on the shower floor where he found me cowering just a little while ago. Oh yeah, I was pure confidence.

"I'm glad to hear, Miss Stackhouse. Eric, just make sure to give her a light schedule at first and only have her there when you will be at that location." He smiled and left us to our shower stall. I suddenly felt empowered; I was going to take my life back. I was going to figure out what I felt for Eric and I was going to do it as soon as possible. I crawled out of Eric's lap and stood. I turned around when I realized that Eric wasn't moving. I could tell he was deep in thought and that it wasn't going to be good. I crouched down and made him meet my eye.

"Eric?" I asked quietly.

"Two years." He sighed heavily than ran his hands through his hair. "Two years I've watched men hit on you, I've pretended not to care, I've hidden us away in this house, and it was all for nothing. We were a soap opera to Felipe." His hands were balled up into fists even though his voice was calm. "You realize if he had told us that he knew and that we could be together none of this would have happened. I would have been able to take care of Quinn the right way." His eyes were cold as they met mine. He was right, but there was no point in dwelling on 'what ifs'.

"Eric…" I reached my hand out to him, but he shot up to stand and walked past me faster than I could move in my beaten condition.

"I have to clear my head." He left me in the bathroom, the bedroom, and then the house. I was alone for the first time since he had brought me home from the hospital and I wished I wasn't. It was 3:30am when I finally let my need for sleep win, but Eric wasn't home yet.

***

I was nervous to say the least, but I couldn't stand another Monday without seeing Eric. I had turned down his every offer to go home with him, but he never stopped trying. Last night was the hardest to say no to, but I had. I parked my car a few blocks away, just in case and hurried to his door. I was wearing my favorite sundress... white with red flowers. I smoothed my dress and took a deep breath before placing my finger on the doorbell.

"Hang on a second!" I heard him shout from the other side of the door. I considered for a moment running for my life, much like a favorite adolescent game…ring and run if you will. My feet stayed planted firm on his stoop despite my head's protest. I had to smile when he opened the door. He was wearing jeans and a tight black t-shirt, his feet were bare. He was carrying a bowl of cereal and had his eyes on something in the other room. When his eyes finally turned to me they widened before he replaced his shock with a crooked smile. His eyes took in my appearance and the smile had grown before he made it back to my face again.

"Stackhouse, to what do I owe the pleasure?" Sexier words had never before been uttered in my opinion.

"Am I interrupting something?" I wanted to be sexy and wanton, but I was nervous and self conscious.

"Not at all… would you like to come in?" He raised an eyebrow at me and I nodded, not trusting my voice. When I made it into the house, stupid brick feet, I noticed it was a teen drama that had caught Eric's attention. I turned to him with a skeptical look on my face. He shrugged his shoulders and followed me over to an ugly green couch where I sat. In front of me was a coffee table, it had an open box of cereal and milk on it. I didn't even realize he wasn't in the room anymore until he returned with a bowl and spoon for me. He poured me cereal and milk, and then joined me on the couch.

He didn't say a word and neither did I. We both sat, eating cereal, passing glances and smiles back and forth as we watched the teen drama unfold. After the cereal, he leaned back pulling me to his side and wrapped his arms around me. I had to admit, my first few hours at his house were nothing like what I expected. I thought he would pull me through the door, rip my dress off, and have his way with me in the foyer. Instead, we sat in comfortable silence and just existed together. Three hours and fourteen teenage emotional breakdowns later Eric finally made his move. I was watching intently to see if Margret chose Caleb or Frankie when I felt Eric's lips ghost past my neck. I stiffened for a moment, but as he continued I relaxed into his arms. He kissed down my neck to my shoulder and I could feel the room getting warmer.

"Sookie?" He spoke directly into my ear.

"Hmmm?" I muttered eloquently.

"Stay the night." I wasn't sure if he was asking or telling, but I knew either way I was going to do it. I nodded afraid that my voice would tremble with excitement and anxiety. He rose from his seat on the sofa and pulled me up with him into his arms.

***

"Sookie…" Eric was whispering in my ear. I opened my eyes to the red numbers on the alarm clock telling me it was nearing 5:30am. When I turned onto my back Eric's face was hovering over me. His eyes were red, his hair was disheveled, and he was still in the same crumpled clothes he had left in earlier.

"Are you just getting home?" I squinted up at him in my half asleep state. He didn't answer. He moved slowly closer, desperation in his eyes. His lips brushed mine as he shifted his body to hover over me. His hand slipped under the oversized t-shirt I was wearing and ran up my bare stomach.

"Sookie…" He sucked my bottom lip into his mouth and then moved to the top lip. His hands pushed my shirt up more until it was at the bottom of my breasts. He held himself up making more space between us and looked down at my black and blue still healing body. With only my white cotton underwear and Eric's body covering my lower half I shivered. His thumbs played at the bottom of my shirt, running along the underside of my breasts, begging for permission. He met my eyes again; I could see this wasn't about lust or fun. This was need. Eric needed me. He needed me to remember that I love him, that I want him.

I couldn't speak, I could barely breathe. I moved my shaky hands to his shirt and started to unbutton it one by one. He sighed deeply in relief when he saw what I was doing. Without a word, he pulled my hands away and released himself from his own shirt. Lowering himself back down I could see his chest was solid. I could see the strain in his arms and shoulders from holding himself up above me. He leaned back down to my face pressing unyielding kisses along my jaw line and down my neck. He skipped over my breasts, lowering himself to my stomach where he continued to cover me with his soft caressing lips. I shuddered when his hands moved slowly up and down my sides. His kisses stopped when he reached the top of the white cotton fabric covering me and he made his way back up to me taking my shirt the rest of the way with him.

He pressed his body firmly against mine and I whimpered from the feeling of his skin on mine. I allowed my hands to search, memorize, and remember the topographical area of his chest, back, and arms. Although I had a lot to remember about him, his hands knew me better than I knew myself. I guess that wasn't saying much considering I didn't know myself, but still. With just a touch he could have me laughing one moment and moaning the next. He was tender and sweet with my sore skin.

I woke the next morning feeling warm and blissful. I tried to move to stretch my sore body but found myself wrapped up in the limbs of the man behind me that had me tucked into his body. My memory of the night before came to me when I realized I didn't feel any fabric between the two of us. Eric's murmuring broke me from my cheek reddening memories. He nuzzled his face in my neck and his arms tightened around my waist.

"Good afternoon." He spoke softly into my ear before placing a kiss on it. His hand began running soft circles on my stomach. I turned in his arms and he set a soft kiss on my lips. I avoided eye contact. I could feel the blush creeping up my body and I was sure he could see it.

"Afternoon." I mumbled as I turned back away from him and buried my face in my pillow. He loosened his hold on me and I could feel him running kisses along my shoulders and back. Then suddenly he was gone. I pulled my head from the pillow to see him walking towards the bathroom, still clothing free. I couldn't help but watch him with his back turned to me. I studied the way his muscles flexed and released tension with each step he took. When he closed the door behind him I threw the covers over my head and found myself going back to sleep.

"Stackhouse." I woke up to Eric calling me from across the room. I pulled the covers that still covered my face away. He was by the bedroom door fully dressed. "Get ready." He pointed to an outfit he had placed on the bench at the end of the bed and then left me on my own.

I made my way to the bathroom and to the call of a steamy shower. When I finished showering and drying my hair I went out to see what Eric had placed on the bench for me. I recognized it as the dress I had worn the first time I showed up at his door step. Except now the red and white sundress was paired with a cardigan. I guess November isn't quite sundress weather, but why not pick out something else. Too tired to argue I dressed and decided it was time to find and face Eric.

"Northman?" I felt like I had the first morning I had woken up in his bed instead of my own. He wasn't in the living room so I turned to go to the kitchen, wondering if I'd find him burning grilled cheese again. The doorbell rang before I got there, so I turned and headed towards the door. "Eric?" I yelled again as I walked to the door. He didn't answer. I turned the handle to find what I had been looking for. Eric was outside of the house, dressed in black suit with a white t-shirt underneath. I almost laughed at his sheer hatred of dress shirts, but I couldn't bring myself to make fun of him. Not this time anyway.

"Miss Stackhouse." He bowed a little before pulling a bouquet of daisies out from behind his back.

"What are you doing, Eric?" I asked as I took the flowers he held for me.

"I'm taking you out for our first date." He smiled proudly. I gave him a cynical look and he leaned in to whisper, "Just indulge me." I laughed a little at him.

"Would you like to come in while I put these in water?" I asked while dramatically smelling the flowers and fluttering my eyelashes.

"Please, but we cannot stay long. There are places to go and people to see." He winked at me as I allowed him passage into his own house. I went into the kitchen with my flowers to find a vase. I realized quickly that I had no idea where to find one and Eric was waiting in the living room.

"Eric, where do you think I would keep a vase?" I asked trying to keep up his charade.

"I'm not sure about you, but I know I keep them in the cabinet by the pantry." He yelled and I could hear amusement in his voice. Just like magic I found a vase right where he suggested. I joined Eric in the living room, placing the daisies on the coffee table. He was still standing. "Are you ready?" He asked me with a grin.

"Sure." I answered cautiously before heading to the garage door. He grabbed my hand pulling me towards the front.

"I'll drive." He winked. I had forgotten he was pretending this wasn't his house. He had pulled his corvette out in front of the house. After getting ourselves situated in the car he turned to me and I could see the excitement in his eyes.

"Where are you taking me?" I asked not being able to suppress a grin of my own.

"Everywhere." He answered cryptically before starting the car and pulling onto the street.

Everywhere was apparently a nice restaurant twenty minutes away that was called… well it didn't really have a name, more of a symbol. Some squiggly lines and a few circles were all that were on the sign. When we walked in we bypassed all the couples waiting for tables and were immediately seated. The waitress that came to the table balked for a moment when she saw Eric, then again when she noticed the stitches in my forehead. I was suddenly self conscious; lowering my face behind the menu I was handed.

"Mr. Northman, it's great to see you in here tonight." The waitress greeted him pleasantly.

"Thank you, Belinda." He replied but I could feel him eyeing me from behind my menu. "Would you give us a few minutes?"

"Sure thing." She answered quietly then scampered away.

"Stackhouse, what are you doing back there?" He asked as he pulled the menu down from in front of my face. I blushed ashamed of my reaction to her looks.

"I look like Frankenstein's monster." I covered the stitches with my hand. He smiled sadly. I didn't want to ruin the night he had planned for us, but I knew the waitress' look was just the first of many.

He took my hand that was covering my face and intertwined his fingers with mine, kissing each finger individually. I fought the tears that were burning my eyes. With his free hand he pulled the headband I had in my hair out and ran his fingers through it pulling it forward a bit. Then he moved his hand so his palm cupped my face.

"You are beautiful." He didn't hesitate or avert his eyes. He meant it. I tried to sit a little straighter and feed off of the confidence he was trying to push to me.

When the waitress returned Eric ordered for both of us. He had asked ahead of her arrival what I would like, taking as much attention away from me as he could. I loved him in that moment. He still held my hand across the table and had a goofy look on his face as he watched me. His thumb was drawing circles on the back of my hand soothingly.

"So, tell me about yourself." I smirked, wondering if he was still playing the first date game.

"There's not much to say. I work hard, I have a great car, I can't cook, I Tivo teen melodramas," He smiled and leaned in closer to me before whispering, "And I'm incredible in bed." He winked and I blushed. He ran his finger along my bright red cheek, "I love that color on you." I noticed that he didn't ask me about myself, thankfully he was sensitive enough to remember that I didn't know enough about myself to even give a brief overview… although I could concur about his being incredible in bed.

When our food arrived we sat in comfortable silence. The only thing that you would hear from us was an occasional uncontrollable noise caused by the enjoyment of our food. When we finished Eric paid the bill and pulled me to my feet. I noticed for the first time as we walked hand and hand out of the restaurant that we were getting quite a few looks. I pushed it to the back of my brain.

"Where to next, Northman?" I asked when we reached the car. He laughed for a moment before rubbing the back of his neck. "What's funny?"

"What's funny is that I've been waiting two years to take you out and show you off and now I have no idea where to go. I'm a little out of practice… it's been a few years since I've been on a date." He smiled sheepishly. A look I didn't see often on his face.

"Show me off? Like a new car?" I asked trying to act angry, but I understood completely what he meant.

"Exactly like a new car." He tried to look serious, but laughed when I gave him a dirty look. "Come on, Stackhouse. Let's walk." He grasped my small hand in his large hand again and we walked through the streets of Shreveport. We ended up running into a few people that knew us. Names I recognized from the flowers sent to the hospital. The women, particularly a woman named Ginger shot daggers with her eyes at me when she saw us together. The men, all looked in awe at Eric and apologized for not coming to my aid faster when Quinn attacked me. I thanked them, but really had no idea why they felt the need to apologize.

When we got home Eric stopped out front instead of pulling into the garage. Apparently he was still playing out our first date fantasy. He walked me to the door and I think I may have been genuinely anxious about our fake goodnight. When we reached the door I turned to look at Eric who was on the step below me. At least I wouldn't have to jump to kiss him.

"I guess this is goodnight." I looked down at my feet, overplaying the awkwardness that I was feeling.

"You aren't going to invite me in?" he asked with fake shock.

"What kind of girl do you think I am?" I acted offended. He leered at me; grabbing my waist he pulled my body to his.

"Well then, I guess this is goodnight." He spoke softly before pressing his lips to mine. My arms, having a mind of their own, wrapped themselves around his neck keeping him close. As we kissed I wondered if this is what it would have really been like if we had dated like normal people or if maybe we would have never made it this far. I knew Eric was angry that we had been hiding for nothing, but from what I remember I loved every second I had with him more because I knew how special it was. We were together because we couldn't not be together… despite rules and regulations. We didn't have the pressure of impressing one another or finding the perfect outfit or setting. Our relationship wasn't based on BS questions and answers that apply on every date. We weren't making ourselves into the people we thought the other person wanted. In the beginning all we had to go on was dirty bar uniforms, office décor, and the feelings we had for one another.

We ended the evening with Eric climbing down the stairs and looking after me longingly as I entered the house, closing the door behind me. Of course, five minutes later he joined me on the sofa where I already had a drink for him set on the coffee table. He had apparently shucked the suit when I was in the kitchen because as he approached I noticed he was wearing his white t-shirt and a pair of boxer briefs. I shot him a questioning look when I noticed his lack of clothing.

"What?" He tried to look innocent as he joined me on the couch, pulled me to his side, and turned on the TV.

I stood a moment later, inspired. He looked up at me disappointed that I had pulled away from him. I smiled down at him while I removed my arms from the cardigan. It was his turn to give me a questioning look. I answered by dropping my cardigan over his head and walking slowly to the bedroom, lowering the zipper to my dress inch by inch. The zipper was down by the time I reached the door. I turned to see Eric standing in front of the couch; sweater in hand, mouth gaped. I giggled a little at his reaction then dropped the dress, letting it turn into a puddle at my feet. Eric moved faster than I believed to be humanly possible, dropping my sweater onto the couch, vaulting over the back, and standing before me. I laughed when he wrapped his arms around my waist pulling my feet off the ground as he straightened to his full height. He attacked my lips with his and without even breaking the kiss or putting me on my own feet, opened the bedroom door and closed it behind us.

***

"Northman?" I called from the door that let you in from the garage. He wasn't at Castro's for the first time in a week. I couldn't help but wonder if it was due to the fight we were having more and more frequently. I wanted to move in with him complete, I practically already did, but he just couldn't stand that I kept my apartment. I put my things on the green sofa in the living room and yelled out his name again. "Northman? Eric?" I knew he was home. His car was in the garage.

I turned to head to the kitchen and I saw it. The dining area that we never used was dimly lit. There were flowers on the table, heck there was even a table cloth. When I got closer I noticed that the table was set beautifully with china I didn't even realize Eric owned. I also heard a lot of noise coming from the kitchen. I pushed open the kitchen to find Eric, clad in his best suit and an apron. He was bouncing his head up and down to the sounds of some rock song as he pulled something out of the oven. I watched him with my hip leaned against one of the counters. He still hadn't noticed me when he started singing loudly and badly to the song spilling from the speakers. He was hitting a very high note when he turned to face me. I was purple trying not to laugh at him. His face went from shock to a giant guilty grin when his eyes locked on mine.

"What are you doing?" I asked calming my laughter.

"Bringing the restaurant to you." He admitted still grinning. I noticed then the take out containers from one of Felipe's restaurants at the far end of the kitchen. We always talked about where we would go if we had the chance. I didn't want to tell him that I was happy sitting in the living room eating fried rice watching game shows as long as I was with him. It was true. I didn't need fancy dinners or grand gestures. I liked the little things. I liked when Eric would notice my drink getting low and without a word he would jump and get me more. I liked that if he noticed I was getting cold he pull me a little closer. I liked when we'd be sitting watching a movie he would reach out and hold my hand just because he wanted to.

"Can I help?" I had stopped laughing at him. He was really the best man I had ever encountered and I'd have to make more of an effort to let him know that, without telling him of course.

"No. Leave me. Sit." He pointed back out to the dining area. I sat at the table and suddenly music flowed through the room. Not the loud rock stuff Eric was listening to in the kitchen, but soft romantic stuff. I laughed quietly to myself. For being such a bad ass at work Eric Northman really was a corny SOB when he wanted to be. I stifled my laughter when he came into the room placing a delicious meal in front of me. When he placed it before me he bent down and kissed the top of my head. I smiled; it was another one of those little things that made me love him.

***

By the next week, the stitches were all gone along with most of the black and blue marks. Of course they were replaced with nasty yellow marks, bruising was grosser than I remembered. Eric had agreed to let me finally go back to work. I was dressed and ready an hour early sitting on the couch waiting for Eric to tell me it was time to go. I wasn't sure if I was excited to get moving again or scared out of my mind to return to the bar. Either way, my stomach was in knots. I tried to focus on the news that was showing on the TV in front of me but I kept seeing the purple. Somewhere in the back of my mind purple was bashing against my brain.

"Stackhouse!" Eric was yelling my name and by the sound of it, it wasn't the first time. I shook my head, clearing the thoughts. The house had gone dark around my thoughts. "Are you okay? Do you still insist on working?" He asked. I knew he didn't want me to go in, but I had to. I couldn't hide forever. Eric made sure to let me know that staying home for a couple more weeks wouldn't be forever. I ignored him.

"I'm fine." I stood from the sofa and walked to the garage door.

When we got to the bar I automatically blushed from my memory of being on top of Eric's car and being caught by the police. He opened my door, took me by the hand, and led me to the employee entrance. I took a deep breath and smiled at him. He was watching me closely making sure I was okay. I nodded in reassurance and he opened the door, allowing me to walk in first. We walked down a long hallway that had many doors. I kept my breathing steady but my hands were starting to sweat uncontrollably. I quickly released Eric's hand not wanting to drench it, but he caught it and held on tight. When we reached the end of the hall Eric led me into his office. He took the purse I was carrying and walked over to his desk where he deposited it into a drawer.

"Is that where everyone keeps their things?" I asked knowing he wasn't going to let me in the lounge.

"No, but this is where you will keep your things." He stated. I could tell by his face that there was no room for argument. There was a knock on the still open office door and I turned to see Amelia smiling at me.

"Welcome back!" she shrieked and threw her arms around me. "You look great!"

"Thanks." I hugged her back. It was nice having a friend, besides Eric. And of course Pam.

"You're gonna work with me tonight… right Mr. Northman?" she looked past me at Eric, who was now seated at his desk.

"Eric, please, and yes you'll be working with Amelia so that you can get used to things again." He smiled, but I could see he wasn't pleased about my needing to come back to this place... the place where I lost myself, my baby, and my mind.

Amelia pulled me to the floor. I had to admit waitressing is harder than it looks. By the end of the night, I had spilled about seven drinks, tripped over people, been grabbed, and gotten a few numbers along with my tips. I was wiping down tables in my section when suddenly I was filled with dread. The purple was back, flashing in my mind, but now there were memories.

***

I was wondering what Eric would say. I was hoping he would be happy. I also figured I'd have to quit my job. There was no way I was going to be able to hide my relationship with Eric if we were going to be parents. I think I was finally okay with that though. I would go to my apartment manager in the morning and tell her I no longer needed the apartment, and then I would tell Felipe I was quitting. I smiled and placed my hand gently on my belly that showed no sign of what I was carrying.

In a dream like state I turned to leave and was faced with none other than Quinn. His hands grabbed my arms and slammed me into the lockers behind me. I cried out in pain. His purple eyes were glowing with rage as he got in my face.

***

I backed up to the wall to steady myself. I was breathing hard like I had run a long distance. I could hear Amelia, but she sounded so far away.

"Sookie? Sookie?" She sounded frightened. I wanted to calm her, but I couldn't. "Arlene, go get Eric. Now!" She was yelling at the red head I had met earlier. Then she faded into the background again.

***

"What are you doing?" I screamed at him, trying to wiggle out of his grasp.

"Your boyfriend thinks he can set me up and get me fired. I'll teach him a lesson." He slammed me again and my head hit hard this time.

"What are you talking about?" I questioned him with a shaky voice, but it was like he didn't even hear me. He released one of my arms and pulled back his hand aiming straight for my face. I ducked out of the way just in time, but I couldn't get out of his grasp. He pushed me to the floor and straddled my legs. That's about when he started hitting me anywhere he could and as hard as he could. I screamed as his fist plowed into my abdomen over and over.

"Shut up!" He finally noticed me as he grabbed my face with his vice like grip. I sobbed.

"I'm pregnant, please, I'm pregnant!" I begged him to stop. I saw the rage drain from his eyes. His brow furrowed and he looked down at his fists that were now coated in my blood. I knew my face was a bloody mess and I could feel the blood leaking from my forehead, but I didn't let myself pass out. I had to stop him first. He stood from his position straddling me and looked from me to his fists in disbelief.

***

"I'm pregnant, please, I'm pregnant!" I could hear my real voice screaming it as I pushed my fists against someone's chest, "PLEASE! I'M PREGNANT!" My eyes were squeezed shut as the memories came pouring back into my mind. I couldn't breathe. I was drowning in thoughts and feelings.

"Sookie!" I could hear him. He sounded angry or afraid. "Open your eyes!" I did. He was there. He was the chest I was punching. He was the one gripping my arms, holding me against the wall so I wouldn't slump over.

"Eric!" I sobbed before throwing myself at him. I wrapped my arms around his waist and buried my face in his chest. "I tried to tell him I was pregnant! Our baby!" I sobbed as he ran his and up and down my back. I heard a gasp behind him and I knew that not only was the whole staff viewing my mental breakdown, but that I had just informed them that I had been pregnant with Eric's child and lost it. I could have cared less about them.

"Sookie, calm down, you're safe." Eric was speaking into my hair as he continued comforting me with his hands. "Amelia, could you get us some water please?" Eric asked behind him as he led me to a bench near the wall I was previously slumped against. I sat and Eric crouched down in front of me, his hands ran up and down my thighs. I could feel his eyes begging for me to meet his gaze, but I couldn't. Amelia ran over with the water and I downed it. I didn't really want it, but I didn't feel like arguing with Eric at the moment. I took a few deep breaths.

"Eric, I'm so sorry. I tried to protect it. I was so happy. I was going go home and tell you I was quitting my job and giving up my apartment. I was going to tell you how much I love you and how I can't live without you anymore." I was sobbing into my hands. When I finally calmed myself I removed my hands from my face to see Eric's worried face front and center. Looking past him I couldn't see a dry eye in the place. The staff was spread throughout the bar floor staring in my direction, shock on their faces and tears in their eyes. I sat a little straighter wiping the tears from my eyes. When I finally looked back into Eric's eyes he had a small sad smile on his face.

"Hi." I smiled a little through the tears.

"You're back." He stated. I nodded. "Where were you?"

"Hiding." I didn't know where I was when I wasn't me. I just wasn't where I was supposed to be.

"Sam?" Eric spoke but he didn't move his eyes away from mine, "Can you make sure everything gets closed up?"

"Sure thing boss." Sam answered right away.

Eric stood in front of me, grabbing my hand he pulled me to my feet. "Let's go home, Stackhouse." He smiled. I allowed him to pull me through the club, his fingered laced with mine. We walked through the speechless staff, but I didn't really see them. I closed my eyes as we made our way down the back hall, past the employee lounge. That was the last time I went to Castro's. Amelia and some of the guys didn't let me lose touch though. They ended up being really good friends now that I could let them into my life. Our life.

Halloween was in full swing when I made my way through KVÄLL. There were slutty this and that dispersed through a crowd of drooling men. I was more than happy to not have to be in costume for the first time in years. It had been a long year. I left my job at Castro's the memories were just too much for me, Eric followed after me a few months later. I worked with him and Pam working towards what started as their dream and ended up being our dream. I didn't do anything with the business end of it, but I helped Pam with decorating and setting stuff up. I even helped out with the hiring of the staff.

Eric and I spent a few days in court watching the man that beat me get sentenced not only for assault, but for the death of our unborn child. We sat in silence through the sentencing, hands held tightly. We cried when we got home... in remembrance, in heartache, and in relief that Quinn wouldn't be able to hurt anyone else for a long time.

When I reached Eric and Pam's usual booth I found them sitting there having a heated debate about something.

"That's what you think." I heard Pam before she slid out of the booth and turned to leave, almost colliding with me. "Why Sookie, you look absolutely delicious tonight." She leered at me and I laughed.

"In your dreams, Pam." I gave her a serious look. "Is there a problem?" I shot my eyes in Eric's direction. He didn't look angry, he was actually laughing.

"No, I'll convince him if it's the last thing I do." She shouted so Eric could hear her over the music. It just made him laugh harder. Pam leaned down and kissed my cheek, "Later Sook." Then she walked past me into the masses of people.

I stood in front of Eric's booth smiling down at him, "Northman."

"Northman." He grinned back. He loved calling me that.

Eric asked me to marry him shortly after we left Castro's behind. We still fought; we still disagreed about the color of the couch and what the weather would be the next day, but through all that we had nothing but love for one another. We had a small wedding, just a few friends, Felipe even showed up. We had no family to speak of, just each other. Our vows were simple. We promised to love one another for the rest of our lives, to never stop challenging each other, never stop laughing with each other or at each other, and to never let anything stop us from being us ever again.

I slid in next to my husband. His arm slid around my waist and his hand found it new home as of recently, my belly. I wasn't showing or anything, but his hand still seemed to finds it way there every time we sat together. We had just found out the week before that we were expecting. Pam and Amelia were the only ones who knew for sure but I could tell the others suspected.

"Hey Sookie, what can I get for you?" Felicia asked as she approached the table.

"Hmm…" I thought for a moment, "How about a virgin screwdriver?" I smiled.

"So you want Orange Juice?" She laughed at me.

"That sounds wonderful." I winked at her and she went to retrieve my drink. I turned to Eric when she was gone, "What were you and Pam fighting about?"

"What is and isn't appropriate at a baby shower." He answered with a frustrated look. "Remind me why you said she could throw it?"

"I didn't tell her she could throw it, I thought you did." I laughed when I realized we had been had.

"Pam!" Eric yelled over the music and I could see her on the other side of the bar laughing as she scurried away. I stood to let Eric out of the booth. "Excuse me, my love." He kissed the light scar that still adorned my forehead and made his way through the crowd after Pam.

"Be nice!" I yelled after him and he turned to flash me a smile before continuing the hunt.


SO that's that... hope you enjoyed it.. if not that's cool too. Can't please everyone all the time. Hopefully Adopt a Vampire comes back to me now that I've gotten this out!