The seemingly never-ending cab-ride would soon be over, or so she could only hope. Sookie had been huddling in the cramped back seat of the car for almost four hours now, and she could hardly feel her buttocks anymore, not to say anything about her acute need to pee. She tried to wiggle her butt a bit to regain some blood flow to her behind, but all the suitcases and bags that shared the tiny space with her would not allow much movement. She sighed out of deep discomfort and peered into the rear-view mirror into the eyes of the driver. "Um, excuse me, but I was wondering if we are far from the house still?"

"Only a couple of minutes, now" answered the man as he took her pained expression in, looking back at her through the mirror. "We are already on the property, you see, at least that is what the map is telling me. I have never been this far out before." His accent was heavy, but seemed calm and certain, even though Sookie could tell that he wasn't used to talking English. "I could pull over if you needed to stretch your legs or something…"

"Nah, that won't be necessary, we might as well just get this over with." She couldn't help the weakness in her voice, nor the panic she knew her eyes were conveying to the driver. This was supposed to be the adventure of her life, and she should be enjoying herself, but all she could think about was how far away from her home she was. The distance she had put between herself and her hometown of Bon Temps, Louisiana, USA in the last 46 hours was mindboggling. One week ago, she had only had a faint idea of where in the world Sweden was located, and now, here she was, cramped up in a cab, winding about the northern part of said country, nothing but forests along the narrow road. "What have I gotten myself into?" she mumbled to herself.

Three weeks ago, her whole world had been turned upside down in the flash of merely one hour. She had caught her steady boyfriend Bill in the act of infidelity while paying him a surprise visit at his office in downtown Bon Temps. She had walked in on him, as he was getting a blow-job from his secretary and her, more notably, long-time friend Lorena. Sookie realized afterwards the surprise visit had been her own subconscious telling her what she needed to know, and Sookie had turned in the doorway after announcing to Bill that she would leave her key to his place in the mailbox after she had collected the few items of hers that she needed. Lorena she hadn't ever bothered to look at before closing the door behind her, and neither Lorena nor Bill had made any attempts at stopping her. Hard to run after someone with your penis in someone's mouth and your trousers at your ankles, Sookie had thought to herself.

The same evening she had e-mailed her contact at NorthCorp, accepting their offer of a position as assistant to the CEO, Eric Northman, and she had booked her ticket to Sweden. Sookie had worked for the Shreveport-office of NorthCorp for about two years now, and had been head-hunted, and offered the new job in Sweden by Pamela Korp, one of the co-owners of NorhCorp. Why Ms. Korp had chosen her, she had no idea, but at this point Sookie just didn't care, the opportunity to get the hell away from Bon Temps and therefor Bill and Lorena had been just too convenient to turn down.

So, here she was, out in the northern part of Sweden, a harsh and barren part as it seemed. After getting in the cab at the Kallax airport outside of Luleå, she had seen nothing but miles and miles of pines and spruces as far as her eyes could make out. It was late September, and the few leaves that remained on the even fewer birch-trees were a golden and red splash of color in the giant sea of green. The sky had begun to darken earlier than she had expected, and they had been touring the countryside in complete darkness for the last two hours now. The narrow highway seemed almost deserted, there were no streetlights or light of any kind and Sookie could feel the call of the wild and the wicked through her entire body. Her imagination had no problems with coming up with shadows of wolves and bears alongside the road.

Sookie was startled out of her ghostly fantasies as the cab came to a screeching halt, and she could see a huge, no enormous animal crossing the road just a few inches in front of the car. She couldn't hold a shriek back, but the driver remained calm as he yet again met her eyes in the mirror. "Just a moose, Miss. No need to worry." Well, she had no reason not to trust him, but the sudden stop and the girly shriek had done nothing but increase her need to pee, and now there was no way in hell she was getting out of the car to relive it. That giant of an animal could be skulking out there in the darkness, just waiting to sink its antlers into her. The driver put the car into gear and slowed forward as Sookie tried to sooth both her pounding heart and her bladder.

Not long after she suddenly saw lights shining through the branches, and the cab turned left into a narrow driveway with glittering lamps on both sides. It came to a stop outside a large red house, how large it was she couldn't really tell in the surrounding darkness, but at least a few windows were lit, and the yellow light seemed welcoming after hours in the dark. The gravel of the driveway creaked under her foot as the exited the cab with a sigh of relief. She was jet-lagged and sore, hungry as hell and had never needed to pee more badly, and the warm pools of light spilling onto her were a welcome sight. She figured there had to be at least one bathroom in there, and she was determined to find it. And soon.

The front door swung open, and a man of uncertain age appeared. He wasn't tall, but built in a square. He had brownish hair neither short nor long, and light stubble covered his jaw. Sookie extended her hand as he approached, and he took it in a firm and warm grip. "Sookie Stackhouse, pleased to meet'ya" she said and beamed at him, not forgetting her southern-bell manners. He returned her smile in a more shy way, not completely meeting her eyes and said with a raspy voice "I'm Janne, welcome to Varglyan."

Sookie pondered about just how long manners and decency would have her wait before she could possibly ask for the nearest bathroom, when Janne said "Please follow me, I'll show you to your rooms so you'll have a chance to freshen up before seeing Eric" and that sentence alone instantly made her forthcoming about the guy. She reached for her purse in the backseat of the car then started after him through the door. She had no time to take in her surroundings as she followed Janne up a steady staircase and into a cozy hallway. "The first door here on the left takes you to one of the sitting rooms, but your bedroom and bathroom is at the end of the hall," Janne said, and then added "You have that part of the house to yourself, but I expect Eric will fill you in on the details when you see him. " He opened the door to what appeared to be her bedroom. The room was dominated by the huge windows completely covering the farthest side of the room, including a glass door, which she assumed led out on a balcony or something similar. Closer to her, to her left was a beautiful dark wooden four-post bed with gorgeous linen and pillows. To her right, a simple door, also wood, looked promising. Sookie glanced at her tour guide, he nodded, saying "trough there's the bathroom. I'll wait for you downstairs."

She wasted no time after Janne had left her room, and went in. The sigh of relief was audible throughout northern Sweden, she thought. The bathroom wasn't big, bur sufficient, and to her surprise and joy there was a bathtub in there. The prospect of soaking in a hot, bubbly bath sometime in the near future lifted Sookies sprits considerably. Her own pale face met her gaze in the mirror as she washed her hands, and she splashed some water on her cheeks, gently pinching them to get some color. Her usual ponytail of long blond hair was looking a bit messy so she straightened it and went downstairs, anxious to meet her new boss. Sweet Jesus, shepherd of Judea! Sookie skidded to a halt at the top of the stairs. She had to blink her eyes, pick up her jaw of the floor, and steady her heartbeat after laying eyes on the man standing at the end of the staircase. He had to be a god. Thor of Valhalla, perhaps?

He was tall. He was muscular. He was blond. And he was absolutely fucking hot. Sookie had to stifle a moan at the sight of him, and she could only hope that this wasn't her new boss, because if he was… Well, let's just say that the working environment would be steamy.

He turned to face her, and when his eyes locked on to hers, blazing blue and deep as the ocean she had travelled across to be here, she gasped. None of them spoke. Oh my god. OH MY GOD! She thought and desperately tried to remember how to move so she could get herself safely down the stairs. She couldn't look away, he had her trapped. He cocked an eyebrow and smiled the sexiest smile she had ever been on the receiving end of, and said "my new assistant, I assume?" with a rich and deep manly voice.

"Um… Eh… Yeah…" She had forgotten her ability to form a coherent sentence. She took a deep breath, mentally shaking herself. "I'm Sookie. Sookie Stackhouse." Phew, at least I managed to remember my name. She beamed at him, and started down the stairs.

"I'm Eric. Eric Northman."