"Do you always go after what you can't have?"

"I did not know I could not have you. You are dating your boss, still?"

His lips twitch at the ends as if he's trying not to laugh, but it just makes me even more pissed off. Not that I have a reason to be pissed at him to begin with but… What does he know of anything anyway?

"We're not technically dating."

"Then what do you call it?"

"Um, I'd really rather not say."

Lafayette's description of what Sam and I are flits through my mind and I can't say that. "Oh… but I thought you two were just fucking?"

I wish I knew what was going on between us.

"So, you are not really dating, but that which you are doing, you cannot tell me? So why not date me?" he asks, cocking his brow.

"I don't know you…" I mutter.

"Ah… but we decided this way we get to know each other, yes? You come out with me. I show you a good time. No funny business. I promise." He makes the cutest face when he says 'no funny business,' but I know better.

"Right. Because you think I was born yesterday? I've seen the way you look at me and I know—"

He leans closer to me, his warm breath brushing across my cheek as he speaks. "You are very beautiful. Of course I will look at you. Would you rather I not? Or is this part of your game?"

"Part of my game? Excuse me, buster! I'm not the one picking up other people's… um…"

"Yes? What are you exactly?" he says with a smirk. Damn that sexy smirk.

"I don't have to answer that. Listen, I don't think I should go out with you."

He leans back into his seat, folding his arms behind his head. His tee shirt raises just a little and I can see a sliver of skin. Tanned, ripped, delicious looking skin. He has to know what he's doing to me.

"You will have fun."

He's a cocky bastard, too.

"I don't doubt that," I mumble. He laughs. I guess he heard me. "I just don't think it would be a good idea and I'd hate to lead you on—"

"Like you do your boss." It wasn't a question.

"I… what will it take to get you to go away?" I huff. I'm feeling a bit indignant and abashed.

"One date. Maybe two," he chuckles.

"Are you done with that beer yet? We're closing soon."

"I will be finished when I get an answer. And your address so I can pick you up for our date tonight."

"I never said we were going out!" I whisper-yell. He merely smiles at me again, a dimple I hadn't noticed before popping out of his right cheek. Cute, cocky, sexy bastard.

His voice drops a few decibels and I feel every word he says in the center of my chest. And somewhere else.

"Sookie… I don't mind you playing hard to get. Just come out with me. Once. I will make it worth your while." I swear he purrs at me.

I look back at the bar and notice Sam's not there anymore. Well, that kind of makes my decision easier, doesn't it? How do I get myself into these dilemmas?

"Fine. I'll go out with you. Tonight. Just this once, but after that you can't come back here again. Deal?"

He holds out his hand and I shake it. Except, when I do, I feel something. I'm not sure what it is but it's almost like an exchange of energy passing through us and I feel connected to him in some unexplainable way. Kind of like I feel every time I see him. Déjà vu, maybe? And it doesn't help that I want to jump into his lap. His large hand engulfs my smaller one and it's so warm. I would swear it burns me but when I pull my hand away, its fine. I tug at my ponytail nervously and pull out my notepad to jot down my address. Light bulb moment!

"Why don't you just tell me where to meet you tonight? I don't feel comfortable giving you my address."

He sighs, then hesitates before speaking. "Okay. That is agreeable. Although, a gentleman should pick up his date, no?"

"We can make this one exception. I won't hold it against you."

He laughs that deep belly laugh which sets me on fire and I can't help laughing with him. His personality is infectious in all the right ways. His smile, his laugh, his countenance. It all draws me to him.

"Do you know of Fangtasia?"

"Um, yeah. I think so. It's in Shreveport, right?"

He nods. "Yes. It's my bar. Meet me there tonight."

I nod. Shit. He owns a bar? Maybe he just wants to steal me away to work for him.

"I look forward to seeing you later, Sookie."

My name rolls off his tongue and for just a brief second I want to take that very tongue into my mouth and suck on it. I have to grab the edge of the table to keep from falling to the floor. Yeah, maybe meeting him later isn't such a good idea. He stands to leave, dropping a twenty on the table and a deep nod in my direction. And just like that, he's gone, taking the air out of the room with him. I fall into his newly evacuated seat and drop my head into my hands. When I look up again, Lafayette is gazing at me (looking quite smug) from the kitchen door. He dips his hip and snaps before twirling out of view. I'm guessing he's witnessed the entire display and is pleased. As if I care what anyone—especially Lafayette—thinks.

Just when I think I'm safe, Arlene approaches the table and sits down opposite me. The smile on her face is so huge I can see the corners of her eyes crinkling under her makeup. Yeah, I bet she is feeling like the Cheshire cat.

"Yes, Arlene? Can I help you with something?" I ask, rolling my eyes.

"So, you going out with him or what?"

I sigh and drop my head to the table with a thud.

"What kind of woman are you that has to have a man that gorgeous beg you to go out with him? You're single, right? Is he not your type?"

"None of your business. And what's with you giving him my phone number?"

"I was helping you out. I haven't seen you with anyone since that loser asshole you dated years ago. Don't tell me you aren't hard up for a little roll in the hay."

"I'm not," I mumble under my breath.

She pulls on my arm and my head shoots up from the table. "Wait, you getting laid and you didn't tell me?"


"Ooh, you sneaky little slut. Who is it? Do I know him? Or is it tall, blonde and fuckable? 'Cause if so, girl…"

"I'm not saying anything. Go do something." I flag her off but she doesn't budge.

"I'm done everything I needed to do tonight, so I can bother you for as long as I want. And I know where you live."

"That you do, but I don't have to go home." I poke my tongue out at her and we laugh.

"Seriously, Sook, who you bonking?"

"I'm not bonking anyone and even if I were, I still wouldn't tell you."

"I bet you told Laffy, didn't you? I'll just ask him." She stands up like she's going to leave but hesitates. I know what she wants to hear but I don't give in that easily.

"Lafayette likes me more than you anyway, Arlene, so you know he won't tell you anything."

"Aha! So there is something to be told! I can't wait to find out what it is…"

I sigh deeply and push away from the table.

"I'm going. I'll see you later, 'kay?"

"Sure thing, sweetness. You call me after and tell me how he is. I gotta live vicariously through you and right now, I'm in desperate need of something good in my life."

She hugs me tight and walks off toward the back to get her purse. I give her a few minutes and head back to collect my things. I run into Sam again in his office and he closes the door behind me, leaning with his back against it, facing me. He looks down at floor. Clearing his throat, he takes a deep breath then looks up at me.

"So is it true?"

"Is what true?"

"You going out with that Eric guy tonight?" How'd he know that?

"I didn't … how'd you…?" Arlene!

"It's okay, Sook. I know why you're not so quick to make things official between us. Go out with him. You go out with him, then come back to me. I have no right to ask you this, but don't sleep with him, okay? Please. I know our 'relationship' isn't conventional in any sense and it probably shouldn't even be—seeing as I'm your boss—but I want to try with you." He pauses and runs his hands through his hair. "I want to see where things could go. And if he's the only reason you won't commit to being with me, then let's get him eliminated. I'm willing to do whatever it takes. Just, please… don't sleep with him."

Well, now what do I say to that?