**A/N: In one way I feel that this fic is taking for-fucking-ever, that the pace is extraordinarily slow-moving and so it’s going nowhere fast, but in another, I love investigating the almost “hour-by-hour” details of their daily/nightly lives, too. What do y’all think?**
As he wove in and out of traffic while taking the most complicated and circuitous route he had memorized, Eric was thankful he tended to keep spare vehicles stashed at all his properties. There was no way the immensely pregnant lady beside him could have fit comfortably in his preferred Corvette. Granted he’d had to lift Sookie up into the ubiquitously elevated SUV, and he would certainly enjoy helping her to descend once they reached their destination, but at least she was comfortable in the meantime.
Mentally, he shrugged. As much as he did prefer the slick speed and smooth lines of his collection of ‘Vettes, he would gladly put them all in storage if that meant he would have his Sookie by his side. His SUVs had been commissioned with safety and security in mind anyway, which made their use all the more appropriate…and timely. They were large and comfortable enough to suit her currently gravid condition, and later that spaciousness would suit the transportation of the child.
There would be no minivans in his future, thank you very much. If she wanted such an atrocity, he would politely offer her any other vehicle her heart desired…but not…but not…
He shook his head in dismay as he realized that if the love of his life had her heart set on a fucking minivan, he’d have to commission her a fucking…minivan.
But he’d put up a damn good fight first, damn it!
Sookie looked over at Eric, her attention caught by the shaking of his head when they hadn’t been talking, and asked, “What’s up?”
Throughout the trip thus far she’d been clutching at her seat belt and trying to keep from grabbing at the dash during all the sharp turns he had been making, and was afraid to look at the speedometer to verify just how fast they were going – the occasional squalling of the tires was confirmation enough.
Thankfully her mind had also been busy pondering over whatever it was that was brewing between Willa and the hot chunk of mystery vamp-meat that was Sevrin. He struck her as someone who knew what he wanted and went straight for it, a gruff “take no prisoners” kind of guy, but there seemed to be an odd kindness in his nature, too. She just hoped he remembered that part of himself when dealing with Willa. To Sookie he felt like a brother in an odd way she couldn’t define, and she’d hate to have to blast his ass with her magic fairy light.
Willa might appear to be all ballrooms, gentility, and juleps, but Sookie knew her to be surprisingly strong-willed and intelligent. Even so, she was a bit worried on her friend’s behalf. Her competent attitude and independent nature belied her need to be treated with tenderness and respect, honesty, and a whole lot of sweetness. She suspected Sevrin had that capability hidden under his almost frightening exterior, well, she hoped so at any rate.
Sookie been keeping an eye on Sevrin’s surprisingly huge SUV via her side-mirror to make sure they kept up with Eric, and the dark vampire had kept good pace with the Viking’s crazy driving.
“Nothing,” Eric finally replied as he kicked himself mentally for that lapse in his vampire facade. Good thing it was Sookie beside him and not an enemy…
A few minutes passed before Sookie spoke again. She didn’t believe him for a second, but she’d been wondering about something else since for a while now. There hadn’t been time since the issue first arose to ask about it, but now was as good a time as any to clarify things with the tall blond.
“Eric, are you sure you don’t mind taking me to your house? I mean, I know you’re a really private person and that you’re not…”
“Sookie,” he firmly if gladly interrupted her. He was glad she raised this issue if she had any doubts whatsoever about him or his desire to be with her. In the past she would have let her doubts grow and fester, and in the end she would have blown up at him and done something stupid like leave during the day when he couldn’t protect her. He was proud of her for now having the common sense and maturity to simply ask him.
“No, not only do I not mind, but your place is by my side, and that includes being at any of my safe houses. Yes,” he said with a quirk of his lips as he sensed her surprise, “I have many safe places and not all of them are in the continental United States, either, but that my dear, is for another time.”
His quirked lips spread into a full smile at his fairy-hybrid’s laughing snort over his intentionally grandiose statement. He quickly continued speaking before she had a chance to comment on his “by my side” slip…
“The hallway between the apartments already smelled strongly of Fairy, so it was past time to move you, but with the Campbell situation, your safety is even more of a priority. Most importantly,” he paused, knowing he was possibly grabbing the tiger by the tail but was now determined to go down the path his previous slip suggested, “you are mine, Sookie, and so I want you with me. Even if there were no danger, I would still want you with me. Now is the perfect time to bring you into my home.”
Eric held his breath. He knew the Sookie of old would have spit nails over this obvious fact, but he wasn’t sure how this new version would take such a pronouncement. Better to know sooner than later…
From the side of his eyes he watched as Sookie rubbed her abdomen as she gazed out the window in thought. It annoyed him that he didn’t know what she was thinking, and the bond wasn’t telling him much, either. At least he noticed no spikes in irritation or fear, but that didn’t tell him enough to satisfy his qualms.
After what seemed like a lifetime to him but was only a few minutes, he heard her laugh softly.
“I remember a time when I would have screeched bloody murder if you’d said something like that. And even right here, right now I can see why I would have acted that way back then, but things just seem different now. Used to the thought would have brought fear and suspicion of you and your motives, of your intentions.” She shook her head sadly, then looked over at Eric. When she saw the frozen look on his face, she put her hand on his thigh and squeezed gently. “Now, though, all I feel is warm and safe. I want to go to your real home with you. I want to be in your life, and I want to be close to you where you feel most comfortable.”
She watched as his face – his whole body – relaxed with her words, and then grinned evilly.
“Just remember, though: as I am yours, you are mine.”
Eric’s delighted chuckle sent shivers down her spine.
He took her hand in his and raised it to his lips.
“Yes, dear,” he mouthed against her knuckles before turning her hand over to kiss her palm.
She laughed, then asked, “How much longer until we get there?” Squeezing her thighs together was completely unsuccessful in stopping the annoyingly increasing urge to pee.
Eric, quickly glancing over, caught the subtle motion. “Need a break,” he asked instead of answering. He knew it would be a while before they arrived at their final destination, and that their trip would now be even further extended in case they picked up a tail at wherever they stopped. One could never be too careful with the location of one of one’s safer safe houses, but he didn’t mind. If his Sookie needed a restroom break, then she’d have a restroom break.
She huffed at both his observational skills and her peanut-sized bladder, and nodded. Should have known not to try to hide anything from him…
“There’s a place on ahead that should be appropriate,” he assured her, then started slowing down in stages to alert Sevrin to the upcoming stop.
Sookie just grabbed her phone from her purse and called Willa to tell her about said upcoming stop.
Eric rolled his eyes. Modernists…
Not a moment too soon for Sookie’s comfort they pulled into an all-night market-diner combo place, and she appreciated Eric’s vamp-speed as he helped extract her from the elevated vehicle. Willa promptly appeared by her side to escort her to the Ladies’ Room.
Once her mission and relief were complete, she paused by the row of sinks lining the surprisingly clean facility, and chatted with Willa while she washed her hands and face (which never felt fresh enough since along about her sixth month).
“So, is Sevrin any more talkative when you’re alone with him or is he still Sir Grunts-a-Lot?”
Willa snorted, then shrugged. “I get the feeling that he has no idea what to say,” she mumbled to her fingernails.
Eric’s youngest was somewhat disappointed in the trip so far. While she hadn’t expected the Dark Walking Mountain to start quoting soliloquies, a conversation of any kind would have been nice. He smelled damn good, and his huge presence was somehow both comforting and…invigorating, but the silence between them seemed uncomfortable, as though anything said would come off sounding stilted or unnatural. Things had seemed fine until he’d helped her up into his surprisingly colossal SUV.
Maybe he didn’t like my butt, she thought, torn between feeling sad or miffed at the idea. She chose miffed.
“Maybe he’s just shy?” Sookie suspected that was actually the case, but couldn’t be sure. He did give off a stoic, brusque-to-the-point-of-rudeness air, but he wasn’t, in fact, rude. He was simply…terse, so it was highly likely that he really just didn’t have anything to say, but she didn’t want to discourage her friend. Maybe she could get Eric to have a word with him?
“I don’t know, but, ok, there was this one thing – do you remember that one really sharp curve with the car stopped in the middle of the road a little while after we left the apartment? Where we had to slam on the brakes?” At Sookie’s nod and grimace, she continued, “Well, he did that thing my mom used to do if we had to come to a sudden stop, where she’d throw her arm out in front of me to keep me from being flung into the dashboard even though I’d be wearing my seatbelt? Well, he did that,” she ended with a blush as she remembered the feeling of his long, brick-hard arm shooting out at the speed of light to stop her forward momentum.
Sookie grinned as she rubbed her abdomen. Apparently just the memory of that sudden stop made the baby kick in protest.
“That’s a really good sign, you know,” she proclaimed happily, glad to hear of such a positive sign. Willa, having heard a confirmation of her own thoughts, nodded in agreement.
Sookie thought for a moment. “Maybe he’s just not used to trying to deal with someone he thinks is special, somebody he wants to treat well but maybe he isn’t exactly sure how, or maybe he’s not sure about what would constitute treating someone well?”
The brunette vampire shrugged a shoulder, then nodded. “I’ll just give him time to do whatever it is he’s going to do or, you know, not do. I don’t know how long he’s even going to be here, and it’s not like he’s someone I’d be running into after he leaves, so I don’t know. I kind of do like him, and Lord knows he’s delicious to look at, but it’s not like he lives around here.” She turned around to wash and dry her hands. After being Turned, she was constantly amazed by all the odors that her hands would collect during the night. Most of the accumulated odors didn’t really bother her, but the stench of metal on her hands was even nastier as a vampire than it was when she was human.
“True,” Sookie agreed dolefully, then perked up. “But anything is possible, you know. Seems to me like he’s going to be hanging out a while and helping us figure out whatever the hell Steve is up to, so there’s time for anything to happen.”
She patted Willa’s arm, then they exited the restroom…only to find Eric and the man in question standing just on the other side of the door. Eric’s blue eyes danced with barely suppressed humor at the situation, while Sevrin’s black eyes glittered slightly. Both wore faces far too impassive to be innocent.
Unable to stop herself, Sookie grinned evilly. Maybe this was the prod the grunting mountain needed? The look on his harshly handsome face wasn’t one of anger or disappointment, not from what she could tell at any rate. With a wink to a similarly smug Eric, she started to wander over to the drinks aisle, then caught the mesmerizing scent of barbecue cooking in the restaurant portion of the 24-Hour establishment.
Hot, smoky, rich, tangy barbecue…
Her mouth watered, her stomach growled, and her swollen feet automatically went in that direction. She almost felt guilty for leaving her friend alone with Sevrin under such embarrassing circumstances, but that party apparently needed a kick-start anyway, and this was barbecue… Oh, the luscious barbecue…and maybe some coleslaw…and pickles…and peaches? With chicken tenders…or maybe some fish sticks if they had any? Determination evident in her features, Sookie squared her shoulders and made a beeline toward her intended target.
Eric glanced first at his mortified, faintly pink-cheeked child and then at the trusted vampire by her side who now had a devilish new gleam in his eyes. The Viking had already very quietly given Sevrin both is approval and his warning with the “if you hurt my Daughter I’ll kick your ass” speech while they were politely eavesdropping on the ladies, so he just shrugged.
Willa was an adult by human standards if most assuredly not by vampire, and Sevrin might be a grumpy, fearsome old bastard, but he was a good grumpy, fearsome old bastard who had some sense. This was up to them, and he wouldn’t interfere unless said grumpy, fearsome old bastard hurt his Daughter, then he would, indeed, beat the fuck out of him.
Then again just on principle.
Right now, however, Sookie needed feeding.
**A/N: So, what did you think? Reviews…muse, yadda, so I hope you liked it! I never know what else to write here so I’ll just hush now and let you get on with the commenting…**