Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
This little story takes place before the vamps have 'come out of the coffin.' This is for my fans who wanted to see Eric in a kilt (I'm talking to you Elphaba17, kathy79, Annie, Loftin, whew hot blooded). Please review and tell me what you think. (The Tilted Kilt is a real restaurant, which I am not condoning or endorsing, so please keep that in mind.). I love SeriousCrush for always making time to read and encouraging me to write more!
The Tilted Kilt
Sookie's head rested against the steering wheel in her car. Another lunch shift at Merlotte's and she still wasn't bringing in enough tips to help Gran with the bills. Her boss, Sam, only offered her twenty hours a week, working during the middle of the day, for what he called a 'trial period.' His trial period was killing her. She had a newspaper on the seat next to her, and even with the dim light from the parking lot coming through the windshield, she could see the jobs page covered with red circles.
Sookie flipped through the pile of bills in her pocket again. Twenty-seven dollars. She made twenty-seven dollars in a four-hour shift. For the fifth time that day, she glanced at the job in Shreveport for The Tilted Kilt. The job description specifically requested interviews after dark for some reason, and because it was already mid November, it was dark by five thirty, so Sookie threw her car in reverse and got on the highway.
She pushed through the long line of men waiting outside. Her mouth hung open as she made her way inside and saw the outfits the servers were all wearing. If she thought the short shorts and skintight T-shirts of Merlotte's were bad, this was a thousand times worse. These women weren't wearing T-shirts, they were wearing bikinis with sleeves. She clutched her purse under her arm and turned on her heel to leave, when a young blonde woman appeared in front of her.
"Looking for a job?" The woman smiled sweetly, but her blue eyes were dark and hungry. She wore a beautiful black silk pantsuit and her straight blonde hair was styled perfectly.
Sookie bit her lip. "I'm not sure." This woman made her nervous.
The woman stared at her, narrowing her eyes. It was almost as if she was pushing against Sookie's brain with her own. "Hmm, interesting. I think you should meet the night manager. He'll be able to answer all your questions."
Sookie tilted her head. "I'm not sure I have any questions."
"Oh sure you do, sugar. Come with me." She directed Sookie to walk in front of her.
Sookie jumped initially when the woman put her cool hand against her back to guide her.
The woman led Sookie down a long hall, past the kitchen and into an office filled with leather chairs and a highly polished desk. Sookie's mouth hung open again, but this time for a completely different reason.
Sitting behind the desk was the most gorgeous man she'd ever seen. He was also incredibly frightening, but Sookie couldn't figure out why she was afraid. His hair was long and nearly the same color as hers. He wore a crisp Tiffany blue button down shirt, which was stretched taut over what was probably a deliciously muscled body. She closed her mouth when she realized she was probably drooling.
"Eric? This young woman has questions about working here."
"Thank you Pam." Eric nodded to the door.
Pam made no move to leave. Sookie opened her mind to Pam to listen and blinked in shock when she heard nothing. Absolutely nothing. Sookie turned and faced Eric and did the same thing, only to come back with nothing again. "You're different."
Eric looked at Pam and then at Sookie. "Different than what?"
"How do you mean?" As Eric spoke he stood, towering over Sookie.
Sookie's hands were clammy and her heart was trying to pound out of her chest. She gaped at him, and reminded herself to close her mouth. Eric was staring intently at her, just as Pam had done, and she felt the same pressure in her head. "What are you doing? She did that earlier too." She motioned to Pam.
"Fascinating." Eric's eyes burned into hers.
"She smells delicious," Pam added, inhaling while she closed her eyes.
Eric took a step closer to Sookie and inhaled too. His body shuddered. "You're also different."
Sookie's eyes flashed away. No one had been able to tell she was different just by smelling her … well, except for that weird boy in middle school everyone called Wolfie. Eric and Pam looked nothing like Wolfie, who was squat and hairy, even at twelve. "You know, I think I made a mistake. I should be going."
Eric reached out and touched her gently. His fingers were cool against her bare arm. "I didn't mean to alarm you. Please, feel free to ask as many questions as you like about the job."
Sookie pulled away from him. She took a seat on the edge of an overstuffed leather chair. Her muscles were at attention, ready to leave at a moment's notice. "How much do you pay?"
"Ten an hour, plus tips." Eric said as he took his seat behind his desk again.
"What? How can you offer that? No one offers that much for servers." Sookie's eyes bulged. She wondered how this job had remained open for longer than ten seconds with pay like that.
"Pam and I own this franchise, and we set the salary," Eric said.
Pam scoffed. "I, for one, don't know how you live on so little."
Eric cleared his throat and shot Pam a searing look. "It's a fair wage, and it comes with strings attached."
"Oh?" Sookie raised one eyebrow.
"There are rules you must follow if you work here. One, you must show up on time. Every night. Two, flirting is allowed, but you must not date any customers. Three, friendships between the servers are highly recommended. This is not a competition, you are a family."
"Are there any rules in place to protect us?" Sookie crossed her arms over her chest.
Eric nodded slowly. "If a customer touches you, he will be reprimanded."
Eric held his finger up, telling her to wait. "If he will not apologize for his behavior, I will take care of it." He was emanating waves of violence.
Sookie's eyes widened and her heart raced. "You'll … take care of it?" Her mouth went dry.
Eric nodded. "It's only happened twice, but I am serious about keeping the women who represent my business safe."
Sookie was terrified and oddly thrilled by how nonchalant he was about inflicting pain. She had never been offered that kind of security before. "Let's say I want the job, then what?"
"There's a trial period, and –"
"Here too, huh? I can't do a trial period, that's what's killing me right now at my other job." She pointed to her right breast with the Merlotte's logo embroidered into the fabric.
Eric smiled at her. "The trial period is tonight. If you can keep up for the next two hours, I'll hire you. If you can't, you keep your tips and leave. Are you twenty-one?"
Sookie beamed at him. "As a matter of fact, I am, just this year. Are you asking so you'll know if I can serve beer? I must've seen thirty different taps out there."
"Very good observation," Pam chimed in. "Shall I get you a uniform?"
Sookie bit her lip again and pushed her fear down. The money was too good to pass up. "Yes."
Pam grinned and snapped a tape measure out of nowhere. "Let me get some quick measurements so I can find a uniform that fits."
Sookie narrowed her eyes but consented, putting her purse down and raising her arms so Pam could get measurements of her bust and hips. She thought Pam's hands lingered a little too long as they held the tape over her breasts, but she didn't say anything. Eric leaned against the desk and watched them work. He kept licking his lips, which was incredibly distracting since Sookie had the urge to kiss him, which was equally matched by her desire to run as fast as she could.
"Okay, I got what I needed." Pam darted out of the room and was back a few seconds later.
"That was fast." Sookie blinked at the clothes in her hands.
Pam shrugged. "Do you need any help changing?" She blinked innocently.
"Um, no thanks. Is there a bathroom or changing room?"
Eric was at Pam's side. "There's no need for you to leave. We'll step out for a minute. Pam?" Eric's grip on her arm was firm, but Pam wasn't leaving. "Pam!"
"Call me if you need me," Pam called over her shoulder as Eric dragged her out into the hall.
Sookie was glad she had just shaved her legs, because the "uniform" didn't cover much. It was a tiny red plaid skirt with built in shorts, a matching bikini top and a skin-tight white cropped shirt that tied under her breasts.
When Sookie opened the door again, Eric was leaning against the wall, but there was no sign of Pam. "Where's Pam?"
"I sent her away. Back to work." Eric's eyes swept up her body. The corner of his mouth pulled back into a half smile. "You are stunning."
Sookie looked at the floor, her cheeks were hot. "Thank you."
Sookie looked up to see Eric's hands hovering in the air next to her head. For once, she wished she could read his mind. Her head swam as her pulse quickened. "What?" She wanted to ask him what he was thinking, what he wanted, and why she wanted him so much.
"Your hair. It should be down." His long fingers dug into her hair, and released the elastic that held her hair in a ponytail. He raked through her hair, scraping her scalp lightly and giving her goose bumps. "Even better." He inhaled again. "What are you?"
Sookie smiled nervously. "Just a girl looking for a job."
Eric straightened his back, towering over her again. "Then I guess it's time you got started."
Well? Are you ready for more?
On a side note, I'm hosting a contest to giveaway an epub copy of my book Orchids for Lila. Search Facebook for 'Orchids for Lila,' like the page, and enter the rafflecopter contest for a chance to win (you can either follow my blog septemberroberts . wordpress . com or answer a question – which you can find the answer for on my blog. You can do both and be entered twice!). I will announce the winner on the 25th of November, and an epub copy of the book will be e mailed to the winner that day, which is the day before the book is going to be released. Confused? Send me a message!