I really, really needed to stop offering to pay for my orgasms with this girl.
As she ran upstairs to find something to wear for the second time in as many hours, I stormed into my library, cursing my own soppiness. It was getting to the point where she could barely touch me without me falling on my knees and offering her a fucking luxury liner in return. The pussiness of it disgusted me. Most of all, because I knew the next time she touched me, I’d be racking my brain, trying to think of something to top oceans and diamonds to give her. And as always, she’d roll her eyes at me, telling me to shut up and muttering something about how keeping a woman will give her nothing of substance except a fat ass. Not that she needed to worry about that. If she kept splattering my brains all over the insides of my skull like this, I’d never leave her alone long enough to pack on the pounds. It was fucking ridiculous. My legs were still rubbery. I’d been so distracted by the talents of her hot little mouth around me that I’d almost missed the feeling of her fingers running over my thighs and shins. However, I was becoming very familiar with the tickling streak of impish curiosity she felt when pleasuring me. That was all the warning I received before she literally took me out at the knees. My sciatic nerves – the Union Pacific of all nerves – was treated to enough sexual voltage to take out a transformer as it raced up to detonate in my heart. Another forced heartbeat, another gasp on unneeded air, and I collapsed to the ground, the broken slave of a fairy who was obviously trying to kill me. Fine. Wonderful. Let her blow sunshine up my ass in the meantime. When it finally costs me my life, my cock will have written a will asking that it be buried in Sookie’s mouth. I’ll notarize the fucker. It’s a fitting end that the scene of my murder also be my final resting place. It’s the least she could do.
Footsteps padded down the stairs and Sookie reemerged, wearing my fantasy robe. My fangs nearly severed my tongue. She had her head tipped forward as she efficiently tied her hair up in a messy, sexy bun that advertized her neck in such a way that made me want to get my cock’s will written as soon as possible so I could shove it down her throat and continue my suicide by Sookie.
The shades were open. Sunlight poured into a room I’d never seen so bright. Her hair and her scent were pure wheat. She smiled sweetly as she walked by me, stretching out on my sofa, seemingly unconcerned with my hard stare or the aggressive fucking I was thinking about giving her. God only knew what she was wring under that flowery jizz tease. Hopefully an iron chastity belt. More than likely nothing but her dagger pendant. “You okay?” she asked.
Cute. “Get dressed.”
Her smile widened. “Why? I’ll only end up like this again.”
I glowered. “Because you look like my wettest dream and you know it. I can’t concentrate when you’re in it.”
She snorted. “You’ve concentrated through two world wars, a messa civil wars, and God knows how many small fry brawls. You tellin’ me there weren’t robed women sprinkled in there somewhere?”
“Robed women? Thousands. Robed Sookies? Not a one.”
She grew radiant under my unintentional compliment, making it even worse. Her smile was distracting under normal circumstances. But the shy pleasure she felt in my honest opinion that she was the sexiest, prettiest, most desirable creature to ever traipse into my life made me volatile. She threw her arms backward, gripping the armrest, biting her lip as the knot in her belt loosened. The laziest flick of my finger and that garment was a puddle around her body. Damn it all to hell. Surely one of the ancient books surrounding us could enlighten me as to just how a fairy could also be a siren and an ingénue rolled into one. Time to grab a bucket of ice water before I succumbed.
“You seem awfully unconcerned for a woman expecting.”
She inhaled sharply and the seductive arch of her back deflated. She went limp on my sofa. Still looking sexy as fuck, much to my consternation. She bit her lip. “Dammit, Eric.”
“I’m gifted, lover, but I doubt I can fuck Claudine’s words from our memories.”
“It’s not like you to not even give it the old college try.”
“We’ve had our time out. Now it’s time to talk.”
“Shit,” she muttered, all hope of avoiding it gone. She pulled the panels tighter around her, biting her lip harder in thought. It was still adorable. “What happened to chaining me to your bed and making scream all day?”
“That was before your godmother informed us that you were the immortal mother of the next Moses.”
Irritation filled her and she huffed as she sat upright, her back against the armrest and her knees drawn into her chest. She wrapped her arms around her bent legs, looking ruefully at me as she lay her cheek against her knees. “You don’t seriously believe that, do you? I love Claudine and all, but there’s no way in hell that I’m pregnant.”
My brow quirked. “Sure of that, are we?”
“This ain’t the time to play devil’s advocate, Eric. I’m really not in the mood. Yes, I’m sure.”
“We’ve only been together for a week. How can you be sure?”
She looked at me like I was an idiot. “Uuuh, because you’re not a quarterback and I’m not a cheerleader and we’re not sitting in the Planned Parenthood waiting room staring at anti-chlamydia pamphlets. This isn’t some teen pregnancy scare. A vampire baby has never happened. It sounds lame even saying it out loud. And you’re the one with Superman senses. If I were pregnant, couldn’t you smell it? Change in hormones or something?”
Yes. In theory. Pregnant women were easy to detect ordinarily. Their bodies’ chemistry began changing the moment they conceived. I lifted my nose to the air and inhaled slowly. Thousands of molecules filled my nostrils. I could practically feel each one as I frisked them for changes in her fragrance. More estrogen, more blood, something. Sookie’s eyes went wide as a hunted deer. I filled my chest with the scent of old parchment. Cracked leather binding. Dried ink. Expensive hardwood. Dust. Human. Woman. Sex. Fairy blood. I exhaled slowly.
I smelled no mother.
I shook my head. “Nothing. Not a human child, at any rate.”
Sookie shivered and drew her legs in tighter. “Could you tell this early? Like you say, it’s only a week.”
I nodded, leaning to sit back on my desk. “Yes. I would know.”
She let out a relieved breath. “I guess that’s something.”
“Is the prospect of my child so repulsive to you?”
“What? No!” she answered, her curled body turning towards me in disbelief.
She shot off the couch and launched herself at me. Her speed surprised me. I was barely able to put my arms out before she dove straight into them as denial and comfort bubbled hotly from her. She thought I was upset. I gathered her up as she began to babble.
“No. No, that’s not it at all! I just…I mean, it’s crazy, right? We’re not even talking about a baby that goes goo-goo-gaa-gaa and needs diapers and bottles and stuff! Claudine called it a Scion! Some sort of super baby made out of tempered steel with chainsaws for hands that can deflect anything from bullets to atomic bombs! And for what? To save the whales? Or help end hunger in Southeast Asia?”
I smiled. “Only Southeast Asia? With chainsaws for hands, I imagine he could easily help as far as French Polynesia.”
She punched playfully into my shirt. I felt her agitation waver. “Shut up,” she mumbled, craning her head all the way back so she could look at me.
Interesting that I wouldn’t suffer that comment from anyone, including Pam, and yet I barely noticed now. I craned mine all the way down to rub my nose against hers. “It’s a child. Not Dr. Manhattan.”
“You know what I’m saying,” she murmured.
“Not really. I have been alive for so long, lover. So very long. Do you know how many prophecies I’ve heard? How many fervent believers have sworn that God was coming? Or his proxy? Or his wrath? Or his paradise? Thousands. Tens of thousands. Do you know how many I’ve seen come to pass?”
She shook her head slowly, even though she knew damn well. I answered anyway. “None. Not a single angel has trumpeted. Not a single locust or plague that bore a holy maker’s mark. Neither the sky nor the ground have opened up and swallowed everyone whole. There was always another day. Nothing more.”
Her cat appeared at the doorway. Upon seeing us, it made a beeline for Sookie’s ankles, rubbing happily on her bare feet. I rubbed her back reassuringly, hoping her two Erics could ease her worry.
Pleasure simmered in her dark eyes alongside her anxiety. My hands wandered lower, massaging the flare of her hips. She bit her lip.
“So you don’t think it’s possible?”
“I think possibility and occurrence are two very different things. I sincerely doubt a fairy messiah is brewing in your womb.”
She snorted in derision. “Who said anything about a messiah? You heard Claudine. They never bothered to give this alleged Scion a job. He’s just supposed to show up and wield unlimited power, minus an actual purpose. Promote synergy like a boss, or some shit.”
“A shame. I was looking forward to raising a bulletproof Moses.”
“Ha! You’re assuming he’ll be a good guy. I could be mother to the next Anakin Skywalker.”
“When we name him, we can split the difference.”
The corners of her mouth quirked. “Moses Skywalker?”
“Catchy. I love it.”
“No, you don’t.”
“Pam will love it.”
She giggled and buried her face in my chest. Gradually, her fears were receding, until I was finally holding a Sookie that was mostly full of good humor. When she raised her head again, she had a soft, pensive look on her face. “You know… you know it’s not about the other thing.”
Her tone had me questioning her silently.
“About…having your baby?”
I was quiet a moment. “In what way?”
“I didn’t mean to suggest that I didn’t want your child.”
We were venturing in to one of the many areas we had never discussed.
Sookie was young. She was loving. And she had a body that was meant for two things: me and making babies. Between my hands were beautiful hips that were built to entice men with the promise of healthy children. Under the panels of that robe were two breasts that would nourish them through even the leanest winter. Her skin was sleek and supple. Her arms and legs were slender and strong. In my human days, I would have tied her to my bedding and spent every waking moment fucking her until my seed eventually took hold. It would have been inevitable. As badly as I needed her, I doubt there would have been a single month between her teens and her forties when she wouldn’t have been carrying my children. They would have been toddling testaments to the fact that I couldn’t go five minutes without chasing their mother down and pumping her full of my DNA.
But I was no longer human.
And Sookie was.
“Do you want children, Sookie?” I asked softly.
She burrowed harder into me, shaking her head faintly. “I want you. I want my vampire. I love kids, but nothing is more important to me than you. A life with you,” she chuckled softly, “twenty lives with you…that’s enough.”
I couldn’t help but press. “And if the prophesy is true? If I’ve given you a steel, power-tooled, unstoppable demigod?”
Her chuckle was louder this time and peeked at the bookcases on the opposite wall. “Then I suggest you put the expensive books on the top shelves. First editions and juice boxes don’t mix.”
Chuckling with her, I sat further back on the desk, turning her around and bringing her with me until she was sitting between my legs with her back against my chest. I hooked my chin over her shoulder. Both of us staring at my prolific collection, I wondered if we were both mentally rearranging the room, moving the vulnerable volumes off the bottom shelves and replacing them with Everybody Poops. Losing Sookie’s feet, the cat meowed at us for our rude uprooting and skulked over to Sookie’s sofa, where he leaped onto the middle cushion, circled, and settled. His back to us, naturally. I’d taken away his human itching post.
With slow fingers, I pulled at the yoke of her robe, baring her shoulder to me. She sighed, letting her head drop back against me, offering access.
I kissed it reverently. “What of the other…revelations? Is it true the fairy queen really exists?”
She nodded vaguely.
I gauged her mood. Gingerly, I continued. “You never told me about your absence. Were you summoned?”
She didn’t stiffen. “No,” she said quietly. “At first, I was simply invited. Right after you left that night, I went to see Gran. I was so miserable, I didn’t want anyone except her. Claudine appeared and offered to take me away.” She shrugged under my lips. “Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning.”
The skin behind her ear was so fucking soft. I nosed it. “Was it the paradise they say it is?”
A sliver a tension infected her at last. “I suppose it’s like all paradises, in that there’s a catch.”
“That catch being?”
“That my invitation was actually a summons, like you said. It was beautiful, but the whole place felt…” she searched for the right word.
“Artificial?” I supplied.
“Yeah,” she nodded. “Artificial. Simulated. Like when you see a beautiful bouquet of flowers, but when you get closer, you realize it’s just a realistic, plastic fake. Everything about the place looked like it was sprinkled with angel dust. The plants shimmered. The lakes were as shiny as mercury. The air was always warm and smelled like cookies…”
She nodded again, her hairline brushing my cheek. “At least to me. When I asked someone else, they said they smelled coconut. Another said rosemary. Claudine said it was fairy magic. In our realm, things aren’t what they are, but what we wish them to be.” She turned her face to look at me. “Since there aren’t any secrets between us, I guess it’s time to confess.” She took a fortifying breath. “My name is Sookie Stackhouse, and I’m addicted to oatmeal raisin.”
My face collapsed in horror. “My darling,” I wound my arms around her tightly, plastering her to me. “You should have said sooner. I bought oatmeal and raisins for this kitchen. They’re in this house as we speak.”
Sookie, ever my playmate, went rigid with panic. “Eric! Don’t you know I could cook those into my drug of choice?”
“I had no idea,” I offered humbly. “To think I could’ve come home one evening and found you melting them together in a spoon over a Bic lighter.”
She bit her lip, determined to stifle her smile. “You have to burn them. Or better yet, mix water into them and paint Pam’s car. It’ll take her a year to chip it all off.”
“I love that I bonded to such a bitch. Along with the bitch I sired, you make a fetching set.”
“If only we dispensed salt and pepper.”
I lost the battle and smiled. “A great pity.”
She snuggled back, laughing slightly through her nose. “Next question?”
I readjusted my hold, letting my fingers play with the loose, incompetent knot in her belt. It gave up without a fight. Little bastard. “What did she want with you?”
“Her official reason? I was being called to the principal’s office. Word reached her about Bill breaching their world. He’d drunk so much of my blood, he’d accidentally shifted there while he slept. She was furious with me. I was expecting to be handed a piece of chalk and told to write ‘I will not fraternize with vampires’ one hundred times on the board.”
Sookie in a school girl uniform. Glasses. White cotton panties. ‘I will not cocktease Eric’ a hundred times on the board.
Her tone was light, but she couldn’t hide from me. Sadness speared her. The queen had frightened her. My hands splayed protectively over her belly. “Did she hurt you?”
She put her hands over mine and squeezed. “No,” she soothed me aloud as well as mentally. “She wasn’t nice, but she wasn’t cruel either. She said that I’d been stupid, that I’d endangered an already dying race by throwing myself at our worst enemy.”
“And your reply?”
She smirked slightly. “I told her to mind her own damn business and that she brought it on herself by letting fairies rape humans, then leaving those baby mommas with no fucking idea about the hybrids they were carrying.”
“Honestly, Sookie. Is there any monarch you won’t mouth off to?” My pride belied my criticism.
She jutted her chin. “Hello? American? I don’t bow and I don’t kiss ass. Every monarch I’ve met so far would starve to death in any other occupation. They’re nuthin’ but vain assholes and you know it.”
“I do. Perhaps in a thousand years, you’ll learn to hold your tongue around vain assholes with power.”
She pouted, all big eyes and stuck-out lips. “The day I hold my tongue is the day you’ll lose all respect for me.”
She had me there.
“But she let you go?”
Vagueness filled her. “For now.”
I didn’t like that. But I pressed on. “Why hasn’t she sent for you again? You’ve fraternized with an even stronger vampire. I take regular ingestions of your blood. Will she take disciplinary meassures?”
Not that I’d let her. She’d be deader than me if she so much as used colorful language in Sookie’s direction.
Sookie released all of her weight to me, sighing deeply. “I would have thought so, but Claudine said no. Apparently since we have a fairy bond, it trumps any ‘family objections’ they might have had. It’s like the godfather, nobody can say nuthin’ after he speaks.”
I nodded slowly.
A sleepy edge was hunting Sookie. Her mind was getting fainter as her body made itself comfortable on me. I worried that maybe she’d been forced to process too much information in one morning. That, plus limited sleep and a hundred other worries, it might all weigh too heavily on a young mind unused to dealing with multiple snafus.
“Are you tired, lover?”
She hummed. “Yeah. Sorta. I dunno, I feel like I just wanna sink into myself for awhile. The Authority. Hadley and Hunter. Seeing Mab again. Living forever. Losing the book. I need to talk to Jason and Tara. I need to call Sam and see if I still have a job after being AWOL for a week. I feel strung out, like I could sleep for a million years.”
I tsked her, my hands flipping open her belt and slithering into the fabric. She inhaled at my trespass.
“We must plan,” I whispered in her ear, massaging her here and there. Her chin tipped up and she moaned. She was right. There was too much on our plate. It was imperative that we use the rest of the day to prepare for any and all scenarios. Our lives depended on us staying vigilant.
She whispered my name. I kissed her neck, opening her robe. Just as I thought. Her dagger and nothing else.
We’ll make our plans later.