Sitting in a booth in the back corner of the semi-darkened room, my gaze never wavered from Sookie. Standing at the bar of Manhattan’s newest trendiest nightclub, she was waiting to order her drink and being simultaneously amused by the attempts of the fool beside her, who was trying to pick her up. But while my eyes never strayed from her, my words were for the fool sitting across from me.
“Why are we here?”
Called back to New York by our mutual pain in the ass, we were only a few blocks from the penthouse apartment. And now that we were back, I was looking forward to getting reacquainted with it.
And revisiting all of the places, within those four walls, Sookie and I were already well acquainted with.
Starting with the shower.
It was the first time we’d been back to the city since the night she’d been kidnapped and instead we had been spending the last few months in virtual seclusion.
We’d spent our time traveling between the various homes I owned throughout the world, with her wanting to see “all of the little pieces of me” that made me whole.
While I had no issue showing her every place I’d hung my hat, my only argument had been her turn of phrase.
She only had to look into a mirror to see the piece that made me whole.
Sookie thought semantics could fuck off too.
But leaving each one with the distinct scent of our activities permeating the air and marking our territory wasn’t semantics.
It was just a foregone conclusion.
Reminding me of his presence in the seat across from mine, our mutual pain in the Al-ass-dair, replied, “Because I need dick and she’s the best wingman I’ve ever had.” Then condemning me in the next second, he added, “You can’t keep her all to yourself.”
But rather than state the obvious – that Sookie was mine and would be until the end of time – the title of cheap erotica said so – I only briefly glanced at him and teased, “What about me? I’ve been your wingman on more than one occasion and you’ve done well enough. Besides, how are you going to find dick by using Sookie?”
The only dick she would attract would be the kind I would need her professional services to clean up behind, after I shredded their bodies for daring to get too close to her.
“Please…” he huffed with an eye roll. “They all wanted you, but settled for me.”
Chuckling, I offered, “At least you admit it.” Then using his previous text messages to Sookie against him, I added, “It’s because those jeans make your ass look big.”
“Fuck you,” he growled, biting back his smile more than anything else. “And Sookie uses her gift to find whoever may be watching us together and lamenting the fact I’m straight. A fact I then dissuade them from believing any longer, if they keep my attention for longer than a song or two.”
We could have avoided the whole charade by just going to a gay bar – and by we, I meant he – but I knew him well enough to know he would consider picking up someone here more of a challenge.
I also knew him well enough to know he would not consider using Sookie’s gift a cheat.
It was a little known fact his middle name was Hypocrite.
But I wanted to give him the middle finger when he noticed Sookie walking her way back towards us with her drink in hand and he turned his puppy dog eyes on her – and his pout on high – while he whined, “Sookie…Eric’s being a horse’s ass. Be a luv and crank your mittens up on high to toast the fucker, would you?”
Her fireball hands had been an unexpected surprise and even though I missed out on giving Leclerq her true death – although it hadn’t stopped me from grinding her charred remains into the floor with the soles of my boots – I was glad to give up the kill to my fiery lover.
It made me feel slightly better, knowing she could protect herself if push came to shove.
Not that I wouldn’t want to be there with her, pushing and shoving my fist into the chest of anyone who dared to try and harm her.
A lesson Compton ended up learning the hard way.
His body hadn’t even hit the floor, with his stone cold heart still clutched in my fist, and Sookie acted as though she couldn’t magic his blood off of my body quick enough for her tastes.
Pursing her lips in disgust the whole time, she accused me of being Cumpton stained.
“Of course,” Sookie nodded at our forever stray and then smiled at me, lifting her drink up high with a wink aimed my way, and toasted, “Cheers.”
“I hate you both,” he groused.
And his face only twisted even more when I laughed, “The feeling is mutual.”
But being able to mutually feel one another again took Sookie and I going through the process of reestablishing our bond, as though we had never shared a blood tie before. It was during our tortuous sessions with the queen’s remaining children – torturing them each in turn and taking out my frustrations on the only stand-ins I had for their Maker, until giving them their final deaths – where we found out Leclerq had employed the services of the youngest vampire’s landlord to dissolve our blood tie.
A witch, as it turned out, named Amelia Broadway.
She’d shit herself when Sookie popped into her apartment that same night and then popped them both back to the palace.
And proving she was also a shitty novice when it came to practicing magic – Sookie had laughed herself silly when she’d heard from the witch’s thoughts what had happened to her previous lover turned cat – Broadway’s spell had also unwittingly masked Sookie’s blood from her Fae kin.
It took Sookie spending her days with her fairy cousins for a full week straight before their connection was repaired.
It took from dusk until dawn on each night after for me to sate myself with my full fairy-scented lover.
Neither one of us had complained about it though.
But thinking of complaints…
Sookie settled into the booth next to me and asked, “How is Jessica doing?”
I needed no blood tie to know the feeling was mutual on that topic too – mutual between Alasdair and myself – because he threw himself against the back of the booth and complained, “All she does is whine. She’s inbred and illiterate. She’s the poster child for why cunts should be more like a Rubik’s Cube. If you can’t solve the puzzle, then no pussy for you. I guarantee if there had been some sort of test and her daddy didn’t just have to fall into her mommy’s hole, then I wouldn’t be left dealing with her. I don’t know how I let you talk me into letting her live after what she did to you.”
“It’s because I’m the best wingman you’ve ever had,” she giggled. “But give her some time. She’s still young – in every way – but I’m sure she’ll come around once they find a suitable Maker to foster her.”
I doubted it.
vHarmony was a matchmaking service. Not a magic-me-a-Maker service.
In fact, the only one who’d shown any interest so far had been Bubba.
And we all knew for a fact what a bad idea that would be.
But Sookie was right, in a way, although not in the way that she’d meant.
The stupid bitch would have come around alright – around my sword – had it not been for my lover’s tender heart, but she’d been completely sold on the twat’s doe-eyed remorse.
“I didn’t have a choice, mister.”
“That Bill guy said I had to do it and it was like…like…I couldn’t not do what he said.”
“I thought he was a nice guy. I thought he really cared about me. I didn’t know he was a…a…jerk–wad.”
She’d even whispered ‘jerk-wad’ as though she would be beaten for her daring to say something so offensive.
A fact that only added to Sookie’s case, that she was indeed young, but the little bitch wasn’t my problem.
Not since I’d resigned from my post as the Enforcer for the North American territory to take up my new – and eternally permanent – position.
As the Cleaner’s personal guard.
She needed one now that her anonymity among our kind was gone. Not that anyone appeared to be stupid enough to go after her.
The news of Leclerq’s spectacular fall from grace had quickly traveled to all parts of the world, but just how she had met her demise was still unknown.
No one knew it had been from Sookie’s oven mitts cranked up on high.
But it didn’t take a genius to connect the scorch marks from her, to the unprecedented show of force by the Fae, to know they were somehow related.
So I would be there to present their Darwin Award to any and all comers who dared to come after Sookie.
She didn’t need to work. Nor did she need my money for that fact to remain true. But she wanted to work.
I couldn’t fault her drive.
So I would work in concert with her until the day she decided to retire. Something she’d teased me about, saying she was sure it would happen before her first millennium.
But in the meantime, the little orphan Annie redheaded twat, whose own likeness should be on the Darwin Award, was the new Enforcer’s problem.
The one who was sitting across from us and wearing a sourpuss on his face.
Something Sookie either misread or read correctly because she changed the subject by saying, “Speaking of coming around, let’s get this show on the road. We need to find some dick for you to cum around, so Eric and I can get back home to our baby.”
“Baby?” he gasped in shock. “What baby?”
It was a tossup on whether or not he was shocked we’d found–bought–kidnapped a ‘baby’ or if he was more shocked by the fact he hadn’t been invited to the baby shower.
Probably the latter.
Pulling her phone from my pocket, she pulled up the photo gallery and turned the screen to face him, crooning out, “Isn’t she sweet? We adopted her last week.”
“Sweet?” he gawked. “The fuck is that? A Chernobyl rat?”
“No!” she gasped, pulling her phone back and clutching it to her chest, as though the baby could hear him and be irreparably harmed.
But my lovely little liar sounded completely offended, even though she only felt amused when she said, “She’s. A. Chinchilla.”
“Chinchillas are meant to be worn, darling,” he chided, with a shake of his head. “Skinned and sewn together to make a lovely coat or perhaps a soft blanket to fuck on in front of the fireplace. But they’re not meant to be cuddled, like you’re doing in that picture.”
“Keep it up and you’ll be the one who’s soft tonight,” she warned. “I won’t help you find anyone to fuck or cuddle with, so you’re the one who’s going to need a lovely coat or a soft blanket to keep you warm.”
Now she was feeling offended.
But she was back to feeling amused when he mused aloud, “Let me guess. You’ve named it Gus.”
“Don’t be silly,” she laughed and looked at me knowingly, while she played with the pendant around her neck. “That’s a guy’s name.”
Trying again, he asked, “Lola?”
“Don’t be absurd,” she pshawed him with a wave of her hand, then giving me an entirely different kind of knowing look, she added, “That’s my name when Eric and I role play.”
“Don’t make me sick by talking about your sex games,” he gagged. “So what do you call the little rat then?”
“What else?” she asked rhetorically. “She clearly looks like a Princess Pamela, but we just call her Pam.”
I acted like I was with Alasdair on this one because my affection for Pam was not something I wanted to listen to him going on and on about for all of eternity.
And he would.
Besides, she did look like a cartoon mouse on steroids. But wandering into the pet store, while we’d been out for a stroll one night, and seeing the look on Sookie’s face when she held her, I’d had no argument to make.
How could I argue against anything that made her smile like that?
So when Sookie brought her into our bed to cuddle with the first time, my raised brow silent protest was rendered moot the moment her exceptionally soft furry body decided to burrow in and fall asleep in the space where my neck met my shoulder.
And soft was something Sookie had accused me of being when she’d found me sitting on the couch one night, holding Pam in one hand and checking my emails with my other.
She laughed at my argument that Pam was extremely good-natured and liked to be cuddled. Or the fact her fur was velvety smooth under my fingertips and I was a tactile creature.
But she didn’t argue over keeping my arguments our secret.
I made Sookie promise.
“You two are like an old married couple now,” Alasdair playfully accused, without any malice. But he was right.
And I couldn’t have been happier about that fact.
Before we’d ever completed our bond there had been an easiness surrounding our relationship. Even when she’d merely been a faceless cocktease named Gus, there had been something about her that pulled me in. That captured my attention and made me want more.
Now that she was mine in every way, I still wasn’t satisfied. Not completely.
I would always want more of her.
But I was content for the first time in a thousand years. It was a gift I would never be able to fully repay her for.
“Well, Eric is old and we are married, so I guess you sort of got it right,” Sookie laughed. “And don’t act like you weren’t there at the pledging ceremony, wiping your tears away like a little bitch.”
Joining the conversation, I added with a sad shake of my head, “Poor Alasdair. Always a bridesmaid. Never a bride.”
“Thank the gods,” he chuckled. “I look horrid in white.”
So much so, that her dress hadn’t survived our wedding night.
But before I could make another crack about his ass looking horrid in those jeans, he pulled her onto the dance floor to, “Chum the waters.”
Watching the two of them I couldn’t imagine how their ruse would work in Alasdair’s favor. To an outsider, I would think they’d assume the two of them were together.
His hands on her ass being a major factor in making said assumption.
If I hadn’t known any better, he would already be a puddle on the dance floor, but I did know better.
I knew better than to think his intentions were lascivious.
But far from pure, I knew him well enough to know his motives were to fuck with me by tainting her scent with his own.
And he knew me well enough to know it was working.
We couldn’t get back to the apartment and into the shower fast enough.
So instead of plotting his death, I focused on my bonded – my wife – and watched her work. A descendant of Fae royalty she may be, but the magic spell taking over those in her orbit had nothing to do with her lineage. It was from the way she carried herself. The confidence she had in who she was and the innate aura surrounding her that made everyone around her, crave her attention.
A mere glimpse.
Any recognition at all from her to know she had noticed them.
I knew how they felt.
But I also knew I was the only lucky bastard that would get to go home with her. And that was what I considered myself to be.
Lucky that she’d lived beyond that night.
Lucky that she’d been put in my path years later.
Lucky that she’d infused my undead life with purpose once again. Given me a reason to look forward to the future that far surpassed the idiotic things I’d once thought important.
I was lucky she loved me in return.
Although, I still wouldn’t call us fated.
Like being hit by a semi barreling into you from your blind spot.
But certain of my future – and certain their ploy had garnered Alasdair the attention of his companion for the night – I cut in on their dance.
Wrapping my arms around her, I playfully grimaced, “You smell like Asshat.”
Giggling, she rubbed her body against mine and offered, “Think of it this way. Now Asshat smells like you.”
I couldn’t resist smiling at her bright sided viewpoint.
But then, that’s what she was.
My bright side.
The light to my dark.
So I held her in my arms, continuing our dance and smiling softly at the certainty that was where she would always remain.
In my arms, now and forever, dancing through the ages with me.