**A/N: Your love for this One Night in Eric’s unlife has bowled me over – thank you!! Ok, here’s the second of the four parts, and this one has its more serious tones simply because of the subject matter. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!**
Eric’s face froze for an eternal second as he barely stopped himself from gaping at the woman. Only an eon of well-honed self control prevented him from palming his face “sit-com father” style.
She…she… No, she did not just say that she agreed with Compton solely to ensure a ride back to Bon fucking Temps. Granted it’s a fair distance from Shreveport for a human…actually in that respect she was highly pragmatic, but… Fuck! Obviously she doesn’t realize the implications…all the implications…
“Sookie… Sookie… I…” He raised then dropped his hand as he shook his head. “You have no idea what you’ve done, have you,” he stated rhetorically.
She tilted her head as she watched him with eyes too intelligent to qualify as dim-witted.
“No, apparently not, but you’re gonna tell me, right? It can’t be that bad…can it?”
His face hardened.
Babe in the fucking woods. All she needs is the red cloak and a basket…and the stench of his blood in her veins is revolting.
He wasn’t sure why all the humor he hadn’t been quite aware of feeling seemed to suddenly disappear, but it had.
Is this a mood swing? I have seen them occur in others…
“Yes, it absolutely could, but luckily for you, no, this time it isn’t. If any other vampire had heard you state that you are his without…”
Her apologete grimace halted his building tirade and he could have sworn he felt either his heart dropping or his blood pressure rising. Since neither was technically possible he concluded it didn’t matter which.
“Well,” she started hesitantly, “Bill said it to those three nasty weirdos in his old house the other night but I think that was mainly to keep them from biting me and doing God knows what else.”
The sickened expression on her face said much.
“What…three weirdos?” Eric felt his anger rising as he was sure he knew who she would say. His hair fell over his eye again and he impatiently shoved it out of the way.
So…blood pressure it is…
“I call them the Disco Triplets. One was really tall and bald – he was on a sex tape with one of the girls whose pictures I showed you, and I think his name was Malcolm, but I forget the names of the other two.”
“They wouldn’t happen to have been Malcolm, Diane and Liam, would they?” His fangs snicked down and he didn’t bother to retract them. He couldn’t stand those brain-dead fuck-ups.
Sookie’s eyes brightened at what Eric guessed was a refreshed memory. There was nothing about that trash worth such a bright, happy look.
“Yes, that’s them. I’d gone over to Bill’s house, he’s my neighbor right over there,” she said as she pointed in the correct direction, “to give him some information and they started acting real strange with me, like I was a toy or something, but finally Bill told them to leave me alone, that I was his.”
I can just imagine… They were toying with the chit as a cat would with a mouse before ripping its head off…only the cat would have an excuse. Those three mongrels bathed in their victim’s blood as often as they drank it.
“He let them be in the same room with you?” Eric knew he was growling but could not help it.
Compton had been so fucking stupid, so foolishly careless, as to allow that unholy trio to even come near Sookie? Mother. Fucker. No, there is no way in hell he’s in any way concerned about her if he let…
He glared straight into her wide, innocent eyes as images of the likely outcome of that fiasco burned through his mind.
“Once again you are fortunate as they can and likely will be made irrelevant. However, you must never allow yourself to be claimed by any vampire unless you are very willing to be his feed and fuck,” he ordered brusquely as he automatically reverted to the colder, harsher side of his personality.
This situation definitely warrants it, he inwardly seethed.
To have let that fucked-up trio even know she existed is a crime against common fucking sense…to needlessly expose such a naive virgin delight to that kind of vermin…fucking criminal… It’s bad enough that fucking Compton hadn’t bothered explaining even the most basic facts about the vampire world… You don’t bring someone like Sookie into our world without ensuring they know what they’re getting into. Any vampire worth their Turning… Why the fuck hadn’t Compton educated the chit?
Without examining why it was suddenly so important to him that she understand the world she had for whatever reason blundered into, he continued in a firm, no-nonsense tone.
“Bluntly, places like Fangtasia are vampire-lite. In the real vampire world you as a human have few to no rights. That is slowly changing, mostly due to the efforts of those such as my Maker, but in the meantime it would be wise for you to avoid mingling with unknown vampires unless you are accompanied by one you trust implicitly…one strong enough and powerful enough to keep you safe…”
Sookie started to speak but he overrode her with a stern look. She appeared to have questions but at least she seemed to be listening as she nodded for him to proceed.
“Yes, it is that big of a deal, and fortunately for you that vampire would be me. As the Vampire Sheriff of this Area, I am your safest bet. You were lucky that Pam and I were the only ones who noticed your naive agreement tonight. Unless you fully intend to become Compton’s pet, you will never again agree to be “his“,” he growled as he glared into her eyes.
The mere thought of Compton’s body writhing atop her softly tanned flesh made his skin crawl. He couldn’t stand either Compton or his deranged Maker…never had, never would…surely that was the basis for his sudden urge to end the useless cum stain.
Compton’s sainted mother really should have swallowed.
He let his words sink in for a moment and when she grimaced and shook her head, he was glad to see that she seemed receptive to his advice, that she was at least taking the situation seriously.
“I don’t know how you are accustomed to being treated, but by my standards Compton has failed you more than you realize by bringing you into his world without adequate preparation. Unfortunately it is too late for you to back out now. Already you were seen being escorted by a vampire into a vampire bar. “
He rolled his eyes then allowed his tone to soften a bit.
“Consider that your debut, if you will, into vampire society. If nothing else your scent will attract the attention of my kind – you smell like candy to us. Now I must question Compton’s presence in my Area. Do you know why he is suddenly here? How did you meet him?”
He watched a small frown appear as Sookie thought for a long moment. With a furrow between her brows, she looked up at Eric then rose from the old couch.
“In a little while I want you to tell me more about this whole ‘vampire sheriff’ and ‘area’ thing, but for now let’s go to the kitchen table. I need something to drink and I’m starting to wonder about a few things myself.”
Not sensing any form of evasion and coming to the conclusion that the kitchen table was the family location for more serious discussions, he rose with a warrior’s grace and followed the pensive woman through the house.
After she made herself a glass of iced tea, Sookie took her seat across from Eric and told him in brief but plain detail how she had come to meet Bill Compton.
Eric felt a tic forming near his eye. The more she said, the more suspicious he became.
“So you’re telling me that Compton coincidentally arrived too late to prevent an assault upon your person by the very drainers you had saved him from the night before – drainers he is required by vampire law to immediately notify his local Sheriff about,” he ground out. “And because he obviously failed to do so, you suffered grievous injuries… injuries so extreme that Compton freely offered you his blood, the second time he had done so in as many nights, to heal your wounds. Soon thereafter these drainers were conveniently found dead.”
Subconsciously tapping a finger against the saltshaker, Eric stared across the table at the now brooding blonde girl who nodded at him.
“How many times since then have you known Compton to be late?”
Sookie blinked as she thought, then shook her head.
“I didn’t think so.”
Naive as fuck. I could smell this set-up from a hundred klicks away – why the hell didn’t she? Maybe this is a case of not seeing the forest for the trees but damn… Perhaps she’s not a true telepath because if she was then surely she’d know how underhanded people could be. But, if she can’t read vampire thoughts then maybe…maybe she has depended far too much on her ability in the past and simply doesn’t know how to read signs and clues that would otherwise be obvious? This is all too fucking convenient…smelling a definite set-up…need more information…
Eric exhaled. The girl’s expression had slowly changed from suspicious and contemplative to suspicious and angry.
At least stupidity doesn’t seem to be the issue…dangerously gullible, maybe…time for teacher mode…
“You should know that no vampire will give their blood freely. Some, as with my Maker, even consider the blood sacred and to be used solely to Turn a new child. Others will only use their blood to control their pets and blood slaves.” He paused until he caught her eyes again. “In older times it was common for vampires to use their blood to create and control human slaves.”
He let his words hang, and sure enough…
“You guys can control people with your blood? How does that work?”
The tic became full-blown. Just as he suspected, Compton hadn’t explained a damn thing.
“When you ingested his blood, it did heal you but it also formed a partial link between the two of you – it bonded you to him. His blood in your veins allows him to sense your emotions and your location. If you have enough of his blood in your system, he can use that blood to influence your emotions to make you more receptive to his advances and more biddable to his orders. Had he been older and stronger or had he given you much more of his blood, he could have easily influenced your behavior to the point that he would control you. Yet again, you are lucky. I can tell by your scent that his blood is weak in your veins. He is considered young in the vampire world, young, and common.”
Sookie looked shocked and nauseated, and he felt a moment of pity for her. She didn’t realize how lucky she was, and while he didn’t want to hammer that point home too brutally, she needed the facts.
“How do I get his blood out of me?”
Now you’re thinking, young one…
He admired the fire gaining strength in her eyes before answering. “You don’t. You can either override it with a stronger vampire’s blood or let it fade from your system. It will slowly disappear over time, usually three to six months. Considering how thin his blood is and the quantity that I sense in your veins, without tasting you I estimate it will be around two, at most three, months before you are clean of him.”
Sookie’s jaw dropped.
“It could last three to six months,” she hissed. “Months? Eww! His nasty blood is going to stay in my body for up to three more months? Fucking hell!”
Eric simply nodded although he was inordinately pleased with her reaction. When he had seen her on Compton’s arm he had automatically questioned her intelligence and was pleased to see ongoing proof that his original conjecture was wrong.
So…so glad she’s not actually stupid, simply criminally uninformed. Glad to see that she’s pissed off rather than whining, too. I like her spirit…
The vibration of his secondary phone alerted him to an incoming text and he hoped Rasul had some needed information.
“A moment,” he said to Sookie before turning his attention to the screen.
Compton fkd up n court, pvtly sent 2 procure poss. “telepath” as pnshmnt. Tld 2 a’quir “by any means necesry” or don’t retrn. Telpth cuz is SAs shared f&f, braggy bldbag cnvncd SA hr cuz is “special”. Cmptn fm same area as tele, n’bor r smthng. BnTmps? n ur Area? Sry – ddnt know.
(Compton fucked up in court, privately sent to procure possible “telepath” as punishment. Told to acquire “by any means necessary” or don’t return. Telepath’s cousin is Sophie-Anne’s shared feed and fuck, braggy bloodbag convinced Sophie-Anne her cousin is “special”. Compton from same area as telepath, neighbor or something. Bon Temps? in your Area? Sorry – didn’t know.)
So that’s Compton’s angle. Well, well, fuckity-do-dah-day…this did not bode well…
After deciphering Rasul’s strange version of texting, Eric considered withholding the message until he could do more of his own investigating but unfortunately saw no true reason to do so. His primary source for that additional information was sitting across from him still looking slightly sick at the thought of Compton’s blood in her nicely curved body.
I need to know if the telepathy is real…and she needs to know that her own cousin apparently sold her out to the brat-queen…and what Compton’s objective is…
Without understanding why he was strangely loathe to share the potentially devastating message with her, Eric stoically handed Sookie his phone.
He wasn’t worried that she would see the other vampire’s name as he was simply identified by a random number, so that wasn’t it. Dependable sources were to be protected at any cost, and should his phone be lost, stolen, or cracked, Rasul’s identity would remain safe.
“This person works in the queen’s palace and has a…sensitive ear. Do you have any cousins who might know of your ability?”
According to the movement of her eyes, she read over the screen several times, and a peculiar feeling, somehow both sinking and twisting, flashed through his chest as he watched the golden color drain from her face.
As she seemed to shrink in on herself in reaction, it occurred to him just how young she truly was.
Sure, in her world and in his she was an adult and with this ability she had, at least in theory since he would require more proof before putting much faith in it, she would probably know more about the human world than she would like, but in the end her lack of experience combined with her innocence made her…
In a strange way it made her someone he wanted to, perhaps, maybe, shield from the harsher realities. He feared that notion would preoccupy his waking hours for the foreseeable future.
After a few moments she asked in a faint voice, “Queen?”
He let his tone soften.
“We will discuss this more later, but yes, each American state has a vampire king or queen, as do most countries in the world. Some have several. But yes, Queen Sophie-Anne is the vampire queen of Louisiana. Her court is based in New Orleans. She is a temperamental teenaged brat, but she is a very old, very powerful temperamental teenaged brat. She is manipulative, spoiled, brash, and very self-centered. She can also be intelligent, cunning, and when pressed, fair, and will generously reward loyalty. Like all monarchs, she runs this state with the help of her Sheriffs. Because she is also lazy, she tends to leave her Sheriffs to tend their Areas as they wish so long as the taxes are paid in sufficient quantity to buy her absence.”
Sookie appeared understandably bewildered and Eric felt his normally limited patience expanding as he waited for her next question.
After thinking for a moment and sipping her tea, she asked, “Procure…that means to get something, right? So Bill was sent to, what, to get me? Was he supposed to take me to this Sophie-Anne after he, I don’t know, softened me up or something?”
With a sneer Eric nodded.
“That is how I understand the text.”
“And you trust the person who sent it?”
“I have no reason to doubt him.”
Still obviously stunned, Sookie nodded absently as she looked at the screen again.
The name slipped from her lips with a sniff. Unfortunately, as Eric had begun to fear, that was indeed the name he recognized from vampire gossip…and from the last couple of times he had been ordered to attend some inane court function.
Hadley…there is no fucking way that trifling, sniveling little bloodbag is related to the lady sitting across from me. True, they’re both blonde and Hadley was tasty enough when I was directed to enjoy myself with her, but…no, there’s no way. They’re entirely different species from each other!
Outwardly composed, Eric replied, “Hadley is your cousin?”
Sookie nodded, still staring at the phone’s screen, and sniffed again.
He inhaled and caught the tang of her tears in the air.
Fuck…now she’s leaking? Why is she leaking?
“What is this? Why are you leaking?”
Sookie snorted a small laugh but he wasn’t sure why.
“It’s called crying, and I’m crying because I’d thought she was dead. Hadley ran away from home a while back and we haven’t heard a thing from her in so long that…” She shook her head and set his phone down before rising from the table with a mumbled excuse.
This is your one intermission during this Part…use it wisely. I mean, I’m not going to suggest that you go get corn chips or anything – you’re adults, you know if you want, or even like, the deliciously crispy-salty-greasiness that is a corn chip, right? So you’d know if you wanted to go grab a bowl – oh, hell, who are we kidding – THE BAG – of that insanely good combination of, yea, crispy salty grease, or not, right? Right. I’ll wait… Don’t forget the salsa.
Eric watched in unaccustomed concern as Sookie left the room. He listened intently as she rushed down the hall while he retrieved his phone and sent a reply to Rasul before returning the phone to his pocket.
As he catalogued her actions from stifling a cry to blowing her nose to washing her hands and probably her face as well, he recalled what he could about this Hadley.
The queen’s “pet” was a well-told joke in the state. Nothing more than an annoyingly loud and overly enthusiastic feed and fuck, Hadley welcomed being passed around as community entertainment once any supposedly “official” court business had been concluded. The chemically thin blonde was a well-used party favor who for some insane reason thought her “position” with the queen was in some way special.
That was ultimately what had made her become such a court joke. What the little moron didn’t seem or want to realize was that Sophie-Anne steadfastly refused to share her true pets with anyone. The queen was as greedy and possessive as any vampire when it came to her favorites.
Her Majesty, however and quite tellingly, particularly enjoyed watching as others – sometimes directed to participate, usually enthusiastically encouraged – did with a very happy Hadley what they wished. Unless the girl was an accomplished actress, which she certainly wasn’t, she obviously and rather vocally enjoyed the attention. The lingering reek of her “pleasure” gave rank testament to that.
Eric remembered the first time he had been ordered to the palace after the girl’s arrival. It had been a while since his last visit but luckily by the time his command attendance came around, he had been forewarned. The vampire world’s unofficial official pastime – gossip – had prepared him for the vulgar queen’s “generosity” with her latest party acquisition so he had a handy excuse already in place…that time.
He hadn’t been so lucky during his second and most recent visit, however.
After the official portion of that evening had ended and the party had immediately commenced, he had taken the initiative and opted to sip from the blonde communal cup before “having to return to his Area to check on Pam” that same night.
Fucking was fine but he refused to fuck on command.
Oddly enough, even laced with admittedly good quality street drugs the girl’s blood truly had been tastier than most, though, and he couldn’t help but wonder how much sweeter Sookie’s blood, pure but for the Compton contamination, would be.
A few moments later she returned, her eyes red and swollen, her nose pink, but she was otherwise admirably composed.
“So my cousin is alive. I’m honestly kind of surprised, ya know? We all figured she’d have been found dead in an ally by now. Drugs and men were her thing from about the time she hit puberty but she had her reasons. I’m just glad to hear that she’s still alive.”
Eric caught an odd note in Sookie’s voice when she’d stated that Hadley “had her reasons” but chose to overlook it for the moment since she didn’t seem inclined to elaborate. Something about it demanded that he give it attention later, however, and so he stored the bit in his memory.
“Even though she apparently informed the queen of your talent?” He gave Sookie a straight stare.
No one could be that forgiving.
Sookie shrugged with a glare. “I want to pinch her fool head off for that and for some other things, and I will if I ever see her again, but she’s never been… Honestly, she’s dumber than a box of rocks is what she is, and she’s flighty as hell, so her doing that doesn’t surprise me. I bet she was bragging to this queen of yours and that’s how it come out. She always needed to feel special but never realized that she already was.”
She sniffed and Eric subtly cringed.
“Her mama, our Gran, Jason…we all loved her but it just wasn’t enough, I don’t guess. Well, then again she never did have a lot of sense, so I don’t know. They all missed her so much when she ran off. So, yeah, I’d really love to pinch her head off but that’s Hadley for ya. Do you know where she is now or how she’s doing? I didn’t understand half that text.”
Despite her very real anger with her relative, there was no denying the guarded hope shining in Sookie’s eyes for a happy answer.
“Hadley is one of the queen’s pets, and she seems to be very happy in her current position,” he replied smoothly. He could go into much, much more detail if the need arose, but until then he saw no reason to distress the lady before him.
She might leak more.
Sookie cleared her throat and blinked a few times, but to Eric’s relief she composed herself quickly, and his kindness was rewarded with a relaxing of the tension from her face and shoulders, and a small genuine smile graced her lips…lips he couldn’t help but imagine doing other things…
“So, I know you said you don’t like them but you’ve been talkin’ an awful lot so you must be getting thirsty. Are you sure you don’t want one of those fake bloods? Or maybe some water? Can vampires drink water? What about coffee or tea, they’re both liquid?”
“We can drink water, and if pushed we can drink plain tea and coffee but we definitely prefer not to. And I am thirsty,” he said as he allowed his mouth to widen in a slow fangy grin, “but not for fake blood as you so aptly describe it.”
She stared at him blankly for a brief moment before his true meaning dawned. Her jaw dropped as she blushed a most becoming shade of dark pink.
Eric found himself fascinated with how far down her shirt that blush might go and was pleased with the results of his diversionary tactic.
Sookie rolled her eyes with a huff. As her blush slowly began to fade, she spoke.
“Want on, buddy. Ok, then, so…,” she cleared her throat and resettled herself in her seat with what Eric considered adorable primness. “What about this queen? What do I do now that she knows I exist? If she thinks she has the right to go around stealing people from their lives she doesn’t sound like somebody I want to have anything to do with. Who all else has Hadley run that mouth to? And what do I do about Bill? How do I keep him from ‘procuring’ me or whatever and taking me to her? Is there anything I can do to fight it off if he tries to control me with his blood? Will I even know if he tries to…well, do whatever with it? And what were you saying about being a sheriff and something about an area?”
Eric gave up trying to keep his expression straight in the face of that barrage of questions and did something he hadn’t done in recent memory: he gave in to the need to laugh aloud.
What a riot! And every question is important…good mind! With that attitude and with the right support…if she ever gets her feet under her, she will be unstoppable…
Godric, apparently still more attuned to him than usual because of the recent contact, sent him a strong ping of curiosity tinged with concern. Obviously the ancient one wasn’t accustomed to feeling such amusement coming from his child which made Eric feel very, very old.
Sensing humor and delight from me should not be such a rare event as to warrant concern. This…this isn’t right.
Suddenly it occurred to him that it had been far too long since life had simply been enjoyable, far too long since he had laughed purely for the joy of it, and it was all his own damn fault.
Slowly and insidiously the pleasure had faded from his world and he had done nothing to stop it. Fangtasia was a success, true – a loud, tedious, aggravating success, but instead of being one smaller part of a busy, interesting life, it and managing his Area and the annoying vampires in it had become the entirety of a life growing slowly darker by the night.
Rise – shower – work – glare – drink – fuck – deal with morons and imbeciles – drink – fuck – paperwork – come home – shower – dayrest – rinse fucking repeat…
Enough. It is definitely time for a change…a real change…
He eyed Sookie.
Although she was tiring from her long day and evening, there was still a bright freshness about her that drew him as a moth to flame. Her life, short as it was, hadn’t been exactly easy yet she exuded curiosity and cheer with a strong dose of mischief and playfulness.
She didn’t make him feel old. She made him…feel.
The anger was still lurking in her eyes but she now regarded him with confused amusement. She didn’t know “the joke” which had made him laugh but was openly willing to share the pleasure of the moment with him…
How odd…it’s almost as if she sees me as a person instead of a bank with a dick…although it is a mighty fine dick if I do think so myself.
An idea formed and he automatically calculated its likelihood of success, all the relevant tangents and potential problems and how to solve them…his eyes gained a sparkle that should have made the girl across from him slightly wary.
With conviction he sent his Maker a mischievous burst of humor mixed with good, strong cheer…and patience.
Maybe the old man and I both need to lighten the fuck up. Hmmm, wonder what he would do if I showed up with more than just laundry?
His lips remained quirked and when he spoke it was in a tone much closer to…normal. That burst of laughter had shattered his precious facade all to hell but he felt no urge to reclaim it, not now, not when in the presence of only this delightful creature.
“I think I know of a way to save you from both Compton and the queen. First things first, however – he has been inside this house, correct? I smell his leftover presence.”
Sookie nodded then grinned maliciously.
“What exactly do I say?”
“State his name then state that you rescind his invitation.”
“That’s seriously it? I’d thought so but wanted to be sure. Well, ok then!” She cleared her throat dramatically then stated firmly, “Bill Compton, I rescind your invitation.”
She waited for a moment as though hoping for flashes of light or sparks or some other magical indication that her words had worked, but when nothing happened, she just shrugged.
“As for your other questions, the best way to know if he tries to control you is for you to know your own mind and emotional tendencies. For example, if you are in no way attracted to him but you suddenly feel pulled or urged to bed him, you can be sure that “urge” is coming from him. If you usually enjoy an activity or like a person but you suddenly seem to develop an aversion or dislike, or if the reverse suddenly occurs, that is him controlling your emotions.”
Sookie’s eyes widened tellingly.
“That asshole! That dirty rotten disgusting…ugh! I knew I didn’t like him that way! I knew it! That first night I met him I thought he was a little creepy but because I couldn’t read his mind I thought he might be interesting to be around, kind of a break from all the other people whose brains won’t shut off. But no…gross… That nasty pig!”
Eric’s face hardened.
Compton was said to be especially enthusiastic with Hadley…and somewhat sadistic with some of the communal donors. The thought of him foisting his perversions on Sookie was revolting.
“Has he tried to…”
“Yes! He’s tried flirtin’ hard with me several times and I keep telling him that I just want to be friends, but here lately I started…” She shook her head and Eric found the nauseated expression on her face somewhat amusing…or would have if the situation had been different.
She is right to be so angry. Malignant corpse-fucker! No doubt it would not have been long before Compton ‘urged’ her into his bed one way or another…her mind isn’t weak or she would have been there already considering the amount of his blood still befouling her veins…and I bet it wouldn’t have been too much longer until she was conveniently so ‘injured’ that he ‘had’ to give her his bloody wrist again, too. I wonder… That gives me an…
“He can’t even say my name right and he thinks I’m going to want to date him or…or anything else? Well, that queen of his did tell him to get me ‘by any means necessary’ and I guess that slimy toad took her literally,” she said with an angry huff.
Eric nodded and flicked his eyes toward his watch. Dawn was still pleasantly far away.
“Compton values the benefits of her court far too much to risk failure.”
He debated telling Sookie more about Compton and his worthless Maker but decided against it for the moment. Helping her understand his world was one thing; giving her disgusting nightmares was another. He changed the subject somewhat.
“As for being the Sheriff of this area…that means I am the vampire authority in this part of the state. First the Queen, then her Second in Command named Andre – a vicious vampire you would do well to avoid whenever possible, then the Sheriff of an Area comprise the general vampire power structure of each state in America…”
A scratching noise interrupted him and he glanced toward the back door before blurring over to peer out.
“Oh, that’s probably Tina,” Sookie said as she rose.
Eric didn’t budge.
Eric sniffed and sure enough detected the concentrated scent of a pure feline – the same scent he had detected on the porch and in the house.
The scratch came again so he opened the door and in strode a small, dainty cat who immediately padded over to sniff then rub her face on the legs of his jeans.
He wouldn’t admit it for all the blood in the bank but he had always had a soft spot for cats and dogs, but had long ago given up welcoming true pets into his life. Being a vampire wasn’t conducive to walking dogs or allowing pets to enter and exit an abode during the day. Modern times allowed for hiring dayworkers to do such things as well as taking pets in for veterinary care, but by now he was simply accustomed to being alone.
“She likes you!”
Sookie’s pleasure was obvious as she smiled at the cat now twining between his long legs and purring loudly enough that even she could hear it from across the room.
He bent down to scratch Tina behind her ears and was rewarded with the equivalent of a jet-engine purr.
Sookie went over to the counter and started dishing out cat food while Eric scooped Tina up into his arms and sat back down at the table.
When she turned around from the counter with the bowl in her hands, she saw the cat batting at Eric’s shoulder-length hair and laughed.
“I’m thinking of getting it cut,” he stated unexpectedly. He wasn’t sure why that particular set of words had burst forth from his loose mouth, but as they were true, he let them ride.
“Why? I think it looks nice, well, except for the part where it hides your face, though.”
She placed the bowl of food in Tina’s usual eating spot and walked over to Eric still holding the purring cat who showed no signs of wanting to jump down. When he looked up at her, she brushed his long bangs out of his eyes and although she ran her fingers through his hair as she spoke, she said, “Yeah, maybe get these bangs trimmed. You have pretty eyes and great cheekbones. It’s a shame to hide them.”
Eric was stuck for words. Honest, direct compliments were a rarity in his life. Without too much conceit, he knew he was handsome but that was as far as it went. In his line of work and with his power, compliments usually came with a hidden agenda – the giver either wanted in his pants, in his wallet, or in his good graces.
“What, Tina got your tongue?”
**A/N: So…what’d ja think?