I pulled into the driveway, appreciating the smooth ride thanks to Eric, and shook my head in disbelief. Someone had decorated a Christmas tree in my front yard and hung a holiday garland all along the front porch. Before I could really stop them, tears began rolling down my cheeks. It was Christmas Eve and I had just finished a double shift at Merlotte’s. I had been working as much as I could to make up for the time off I had taken to help all the local vampires in all of their politicking and wars. and I hadn’t had any time to decorate the house or do any of the holiday baking I loved to do.
I was feeling a little sorry for myself as well, I mean I had given a lot to the local vamps and since Felipe came into town I hadn’t heard from one of them. Anyway, back to the tree and the garland… Who put them there? Amelia and Octavia were on a cruise for the holidays, some witches retreat sort of thing. As I drove around the house I looked for another car, but whoever had come to play Santa was long gone.
I sighed and headed into the house. When I stepped into the kitchen the most heavenly scents assaulted my nose. I blinked in surprise as my counters were lined with the most delicious treats I could imagine, some of the things I saw were divinity, pralines, pecan pie, sugar cookies, molasses cookies, and a gingerbread house that looked like it had been made by Ty and the Extreme Home Makeover team. What the? And then I saw a gift and note on the table. Written in his beautiful script was a note from Eric.
I have been very busy with the Nevada vampires but I could sense your sadness regarding the holidays. I borrowed your cookbook and Pam made the recipes she believed were your favorites. I would not allow her to make fruit cake.
I hope you enjoyed the little bit of holiday spirit I left in the front yard as well. I will not be able to join you for Christmas day tomorrow, but want you to know I will be thinking of you. I would like to escort you to the New Year’s celebration at Fangtasia.
I will send a car for you at 9 p.m. Please, let us spend this New Year’s Eve together, as we did the last, however under more pleasant circumstances.
It was signed with only the letter E.
That Pam. She had just begun to watch the Food Network two months previously and she already cooked like be a gourmet chef! I looked from the note to the box wondering if I should open it. I had a feeling I knew what it was, a sexy outfit for the New Year’s party, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to open it. I wasn’t sure I was ready to go to the party. I mean, was this all I was going to hear from Eric before New Year’s Eve? It’d been six weeks for Pete’s sake! What if I had plans for New Year’s, or if I had to work? That would serve him right.
The only problem was that I didn’t. I didn’t have plans and Sam wouldn’t let me work. His rule was if you worked New Year’s last year, you didn’t work this year. And no matter how I explained to him that I didn’t have other plans, he wasn’t budging. He told me I could come and sit at the bar as a customer, but I wasn’t working on New Year’s.
So…I could stay at home alone, go to my work for the night, or go to Fangtasia with my blood bonded even though I wasn’t sure I wanted to talk to him. I still had feelings for him, too many probably. The blood bond made sure of that. I didn’t know how much of what I felt was the bond and how much of it was me, but I knew that I’d cared for him before the bond and I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to tell the difference.
While we were apart, I had truly missed him though. I missed the Eric who had stayed with me and the one that I knew was inside of the vampire sheriff somewhere. But after six weeks, I was feeling neglected and was considering giving the man a taste of his own medicine. He had a state of the art cell phone and was constantly texting the other sheriffs in the region – but he couldn’t text me or call me over the last few weeks? I couldn’t think about it. I was exhausted and went to bed. I would be spending my Christmas with Sam eating deep fried turkey and watching movies; I would worry about Eric and New Year’s later.
On the thirtieth of December, I figured I had better open Eric’s gift and truly decide what I was going to do. I had been procrastinating (I got another word-of-the-day-calendar, from Sam this year) even thinking about New Year’s, but since Eric was sending a car, I knew I should figure out what I was going to do. The box was intricately wrapped with thick silvery paper and had a huge, beautiful, red bow on it. I carefully untied the bow and slit the tape with my fingernail hoping I could save the paper to re-use. Gran had taught me how to iron wrapping paper to flatten it back out, and this paper was too good to crumple up and throw away. I took a deep breath and slowly opened up the box.
My breath froze in my lungs. I just stood there with my eyes wide open. It was the most beautiful dress I had ever seen! And, oh-crap, I had left it folded up in this box for almost a week! It was black and silver satin, almost the color of smoke. I held it up and it just got better. The bottom was surrounded by varying lengths of black bugle beads forming an uneven curtain that fell just below my knees. The beading continued up the dress, but lessened as it moved up the gown, so the dress was blacker at the bottom and more smoky silver at the top. It had spaghetti straps and a cute scoop neck so it wasn’t too revealing. It was like a modern version of a flapper dress, and it would look perfect on me. In the box, I also found a black shawl; I guessed he didn’t want me to wear the one from Alcide, and a black necklace that would match perfectly.
I hung the dress on the back of the closet door for a better look, and thought about what I should do. Eric and I were bonded and I had been feeling miserable without seeing or talking to him. I couldn’t figure out how much of it was the bond or if I truly missed him, but I did miss him. I missed him so much it hurt. Since Eric had remembered what happened between us in the days following last New Year’s Eve, we hadn’t had a moment to talk and I wasn’t sure I wanted to. He seemed to really need to think things over and I felt like if he remembered or if he felt the way I had during our time together, and even our time apart, then I didn’t know what he was thinking about.
I sighed, if my life didn’t take any more crazy turns in the next year, hey, a girl can dream, I would be working at Merlotte’s next New Year’s. I was starting to think maybe I should go to Fangtasia. It would be a huge night there, Eric wouldn’t likely have a lot of time to spend with me and hopefully we could avoid any awkward conversations. I realized my mind was made up when I began rummaging in the closet for my black bodyshaper lingerie and my favorite black heels.
New Year’s Eve came and I was primped and prepped, waiting at 8:45 p.m. for my ride. Drinking a gin and tonic to relax, I was feeling a little giddy. I had taken to calling my ride the vampmobile. I didn’t know if Eric was coming himself, or sending a driver, so I was making silly jokes about it to myself. Was it a bad sign that I was talking to myself? It was going to be a long night. Then I heard the gravel crunching and looked out to see, not the red Corvette, but a beautiful stretch limousine pulling down the driveway. Thank you again to Eric for re-graveling the driveway, or the driver would have been cursing me six ways to Sunday.
As I started down the stairs, the back door of the limo opened and I froze. Eric stepped out of the car and his beautiful blue eyes focused on me. He was wearing the most amazing outfit. I actually licked my lips as I took it in. Soft black leather pants caressed his gorgeous long legs. His best assets were covered, however, by an oversized dark red linen tunic that was belted at the waist. There was a sword at his hip held in place by the belt. The hilt was jeweled, yet it was very obviously made to be used. His hair was loose except for two small braids, one on each side of his face. Eric looked perfectly at home in this outfit. He looked almost alive.
I stood still, and just stared into his eyes. I felt the reassurance that he cared for me and that he remembered what we had shared. I also felt uncertainty. I knew we would have to talk, but I wanted to pretend we didn’t. He looked me up and down and I could feel my body react immediately.
“Lover,” he said with a grin, “I knew that gown would look amazing on you.”
I could feel the bond between us. It was warm and comforting, like a fireplace on a cold wintry day. I took a deep breath to recover and continued down the steps.
“Thank you,” I said dipping my eyes sheepishly, “You look great, too. I’ve never seen you dressed like this.”
With a smile he said, “New Year’s for vampires is a time to celebrate our past and our heritage. Many of us like to wear clothing representing the time we lived in. It is a salute to our ancestors. You will see many vampires dressed in period clothing tonight, yet some cannot bear to be reminded of their humanity and will wear tuxedos or fashionable suits this evening.”
He leaned forward to kiss me. Oh that Viking and his 1,000 years of practice. He was dazzling. Irresistible. As his tongue danced across my lips, he put his arms around me. A hand in my hair, a hand on my hip…I was lost, or was I found? I wrapped my arms around him and gave myself to the kiss. When I began to feel light headed, I realized I needed to breathe. I pulled myself out of the kiss with a sigh and Eric groaned.
“Lover, I have missed you.”
I smiled and laughed, “What have you missed?” Oh Lord, was that me?
Eric chuckled. “I have missed everything about you, Sookie. Have you missed me?”
Still wrapped in his arms, I could feel just how much he had missed me, as I’m sure he could tell from my response to his kiss that I had missed him. Not to mention the fact that because I was so weak in the knees, I was leaning on his chest to stand.
I sighed, Eric made me sigh a lot. “Yes, I’ve missed you. And I was worried. It’s been weeks, couldn’t you have called, or texted me, or something?”
“Sookie, I was busy with the king. I’ve been giving his entourage tours and introducing them to the local community.”
“But-” I started to interrupt.
“No buts,” he said firmly, “I know you are not interested in our politics, but I could not contact you until the king’s party had left town. I did not want anyone to see us together.”
That didn’t go over well, and Eric could sense how extremely pissed off I was getting.
“Lover, the king may know of our bond…but what is between us…it’s not common. It was safer to keep my distance while they were here. I did not call or visit because I was protecting you. People have been exiled and executed during the king’s visit. It has not been a vacation, believe me. I have been lonely and miserable, and Pam is hardly speaking to me. She said if you did not come to the party tonight she was going to run away and join the circus. Whatever that means.”
I was not entirely sold on the idea, but I knew he was probably telling the truth. The thought of exiles and executions gave me the shivers, but the idea of Pam joining the circus put me over the edge. I laughed and hugged Eric to me.
“Oh, Eric,” I said, “I’ve been lonely and miserable, too. Thank you for the Christmas tree and all of the baking. And thank you for this wonderful dress.” I started to rub my hands down his smooth back. “I know that we have things to talk about, but can we just let it wait until after tonight? I just need to be close to you and have one night of happiness.”
Eric cocked his eyebrow the way he does, and gave me a sweet kiss on the lips. He grinned and quietly said, “What makes you think talking won’t lead to happiness?”
Before I could react he grabbed my hand to help me into the car saying, “Come, Lover. Let’s go to the party and celebrate with our friends. I will grant you a night of happiness and we will talk another time. I will hold you to it.”
As we rode to Shreveport, Eric poured me some champagne and just let me snuggle with him. He had his long arm around me and I leaned my head on his shoulder. I was so relaxed just being with him.
I sighed, “I had no idea how much I missed you.”
Eric laughed at that. “Damn blood bond, right?” he asked.
I had to laugh, too. He knew I was thinking it.
“Yeah,” I said, “Damn blood bond.”
Eric leaned forward and set my champagne glass on the bar, it had these amazing little cup rack things to hold the champagne flutes. Hey, I don’t ride in limos a lot; I’m easily entertained. He sat back and turned his head to look into my eyes. There were times when Eric looked at me that I thought he could see into my soul. His eyes were so crystal clear; I felt like I could really see Eric when I looked into them like that.
He put his hands in my hair and pulled me into a kiss. At first the kiss was soft and sweet and oh-how-I’ve-missed-you, but suddenly we both felt it become much more. Eric’s magic tongue was dancing with mine and his hands were everywhere. I was trying to remove his belt so I could run my hands up his chest. His hands found my nipples and I began to lose all reason. He was kissing down my neck and rubbing the satin of my dress across my nipples in the most delicious circles. I could hardly make my hands work to continue with his belt.
As he continued kissing me senseless, his tongue finding a rhythm that made me wish for more, he lifted me off the seat so that I was lying across him. This allowed him to raise my dress to my waist and I groaned as he ran his hands up my legs. He pulled his head back and our eyes met. I know Eric liked me to watch, and right now I couldn’t have done anything else. He lowered his head to my tiny underwear and planted a kiss just above the waistband.
He smiled. “You don’t need these,” he said as he yanked them off.
I gasped a little, surprised at how hot it was to have Eric tear my panties off. I had a brief thought that I didn’t want him to tear my dress too, and then he was touching me. I felt him blow gently over my most intimate areas and heard his moan as he spread my legs with his hands running up my thighs. He took one long lick up my center and hissed with contentment. I began to shake, my body knowing this was only the beginning. He licked and teased and began to rub circles around my clit. We were stretched out on the leather seat and I had one hand in his hair and one on my own breast. I was kneading and massaging myself along with his touch, taking myself even higher.
Eric saw what I was doing and grinned as he slid two fingers inside me and reached forward as he began to stroke me. My body bucked from his touch and I was crushing my own breast. I felt like I was going to lose control and I moaned, loudly. Eric found a rhythm with his fingers and moved his mouth to my clit. He sucked it between his teeth and I came so hard that Eric put his hand on my stomach to keep me from falling off the seat. My muscles were pulsing around his fingers, contracting and releasing, and he just kept up the pace. I was pulling at his hair to bring him back to my mouth but he would not budge. Seconds later, I was going over the edge again. By now I was shouting his name and a string of oh-god-oh-gods that lasted the course of the orgasm.
While I was still enjoying the aftershocks, Eric moved up for a kiss. I could taste myself on his lips and feel his pleasure through the bond. As I reached for his belt and his pants I realized something was different.
“Ummm… we’re not moving.”
He laughed and began to run his hand down my stomach again.
“No, the car.”
He stopped and looked at me with a grin.
“I told the driver to pull into the back lot and I would let him know when we were ready to go inside.” He was kissing my neck and swirling his tongue around my ear. “But we’re not nearly ready, are we, Lover?”
I looked into his eyes and knew I wanted to stay in his arms forever, but I also knew I did not want to have sex with him in the back parking lot of Fangtasia. I kissed him slowly, and eased myself up to a sitting position.
“I think we need to consider this unfinished business.”
He was playing with my hair and leaning forward to kiss me again.
“No, Eric. I want to go to the party and I’d like to use the front door. We both know we’ll never make it inside if we go any farther.”
He sighed and leaned forward to kiss me even with my hands pushing against his chest, because really I would never be strong enough to stop him. He deepened the kiss and set his tongue to an erotic pace that I could not mistake as anything but fucking.
I pulled away and told him, “I really mean it.” It came out as more of a whisper, but still I managed to say it.
He made a huffing noise and sat back on the seat. We began straightening our clothes and I realized I had probably destroyed my up-do. Luckily the divider that separated us from the driver was mirrored, so I was able to do some emergency repairs. I replaced my completely missing lipstick and decided I was presentable. Eric pressed a button and asked the driver to deliver us to the front of the building.