Breezing through my chamber’s doors, I put on a burst of speed to get to my office, with the hope I would be far enough away from Sookie that she wouldn’t be able to feel just how uncertain I felt about everything.
I suspected she might misread it, but I also knew I wasn’t ready to try and explain.
My uncertainty wasn’t so much about her, but more so the ambiguity that clouded my mind over the increasingly odd reactions she pulled from me, with no effort on her part whatsoever.
For a thousand years I’d been a creature of pragmatism and selfishness. I’d only cared for what my own needs were and – other than my child – I cared nothing for anyone else or their wants.
But with Sookie, everything I’d ever known to be a tried and true practice in the art of survival didn’t seem to apply.
I couldn’t even pinpoint when the change within me took place, but there was no mistaking that I was different.
And I didn’t like it.
And yet, I still wouldn’t change it.
It was that fact that bothered me the most. I should – at the very least – want to change it, knowing these new feelings were uncharted waters. They could very well lead to my final death – if I couldn’t find a way to blend them into what I already knew – because there was no doubt I wouldn’t be able to think clearly, when just the very thought she could be taken or harmed already threatened my control.
There would be no one left standing.
No one that could stop me on my murderous rampage.
I would take down legions singlehandedly, leaving a sea of blood in my wake, just to get to her.
No one would be spared until I finally had her back in my arms safe and unharmed.
I was fucked.
And I had yet to actually fuck her.
Never had I given any thought to the desires of those I’d been with in the past, only taking my own pleasure from their bodies as I saw fit.
But even when she’d been willing to give me what I’d been dying to hear from her lips – permission to finally have her underneath me, surrounding me, in a way no other has ever had her – I couldn’t do it.
I’d been wrong when I’d thought I could deny her nothing, but it was worse than I’d feared.
Because it would seem I could deny her, when I knew the possibility existed she could come to regret her rash decision.
That was a lie.
I denied her because I wanted her to give herself to me – to truly give herself to me – because somewhere deep down, I knew that when she did, she would truly be mine.
And that was what I wanted most of all.
At least I wasn’t as altruistic as I’d feared.
As I sat at my desk, going through the reams of paperwork, I could feel Sookie’s increasing amusement through our tie and found myself distracted by her once again.
I felt a small foreign twinge of insecurity, wondering if perhaps her thoughts were mocking me in my inability to not act like the giddy schoolgirl Pam had painted me as, until I felt the jolt of embarrassment from my tie with Pam.
My connection to each of them left me smiling.
Whatever had happened between the two of them, left my lover feeling joyously amused. And knowing she didn’t have many friends in her past – and feeling my child’s ever increasing fondness for Sookie – it was the only reason I allowed Pam so much leeway in taunting me over my ever increasing fondness for the little Fae princess.
But my curiosity got the better of me, so I logged into the security feed from my computer and pulled up the camera in the dining area where I suspected them to be.
And found I was right.
Sookie was still laughing at a scowling Pam, but I couldn’t figure out why, until I rewound the footage and nearly fell out of my chair seeing it for myself.
It was better than having Ginger flown in and lent credence to the laws of karmic justice.
Even on a security feed, Sookie seemed to light up the entire room and I found myself jealous of those around her who got to witness it firsthand, while I was left watching from afar like the besotted teenager Pam had accused me of being.
Sometimes my child was too shrewd for my own good.
I switched back over to my email with a scowl to match my child’s and forced myself to work.
Lest I run out there and beat Pam to death for the crime of being right.
But my thoughts were quickly diverted by the quick sharp rap on my door, so I called out, “Enter!”
The door opened, revealing the half-demon Diantha who – thanks to Pam’s love of pop culture – I would regrettably always think of as Punky Brewster, with her sister Gladiola relegated to the role of Rainbow Brite.
The broad spectrum of colors and patterns they chose to wear would send any LSD user into convulsions.
But I merely acknowledged her bow with a nod and took the scrolled parchment from her offered hand.
The sisters had been out of circulation since the bombing six weeks earlier, but I’d had no need of their messenger services in that time, so I had no idea of what she could be bringing me now.
And it was only due to my thousand years of practice that kept my features from portraying the shock I felt upon opening it.
Your Royal Highness,
I apologize for not bringing you this news in person and for not being available to offer my services during what I am sure was a difficult transition to the throne. I suffered severe injuries in the bombing in Rhodes and I am afraid there are those who would try and exploit my weakness, in order to learn all that I was made privy to in being in her Majesty’s service during her long tenure.
I have been quietly recuperating with the intention of approaching you when I am fully healed, however I can no longer wait for that time to come before speaking with you.
It has been brought to my attention a missing woman by the name of Sookie Stackhouse has resurfaced and is currently a part of your court, as your Royal Courtesan.
Your Majesty, I feel it is my duty, not only as your faithful servant, but as a longtime friend to Miss Stackhouse’s grandfather that I must warn you she is in grave danger.
I ask that you meet with me tomorrow evening, so that I may inform you of the details in person, as I did not want to take the chance of this correspondence being intercepted. I am already on my way to you, but in my weakened condition I will not be able to arrive before then.
I look forward to seeing you again and only hope that I am not too late.
I felt the beast within me rise up over the thought of anyone daring to try and harm Sookie.
But no sooner had he tested the chains that kept him tethered inside of me, did my little Fae princess walk through the door.
Seeing her unharmed, while feeling the residual merriment flowing through her – no doubt thanks to the vampire princess at her side – calmed both me and the monster that threatened to break free.
She was safe and she would remain that way.
With Diantha gone and explanations given, my little spitfire again tested my restraint by insisting she speak with the fairy prisoner. I sidestepped her request, while giving no promises, but I knew her well enough to know she’d be bringing it up again, if Cataliades didn’t have the answers she sought.
No matter though because there would be no way I would be allowing her near him and – if need be – I would just remove him from the equation by killing him.
She’d already given me her silent approval.
My murderous fantasies were put on hold by the arrival of my spy, but before I could warn Sookie to not react to his former human identity, he walked in with his usual jovial greeting of, “Hey, Mr. Eric!”
I turned to see Sookie’s face light up with recognition, along with feeling her need to possibly squeal at potentially deafening levels.
She got as far as, “Oh my God! You’re…” before I was up and had my hand across her lips, while whispering into her ear, “Bubba.”
Since I now knew she could feel me, I pushed caution through our bond and felt it when she calmed on the inside.
So I turned to face my accidental undercover agent and said, “Bubba. This is Sookie. She is mine.”
I thrilled inside not feeling one ounce of irritation from her, but I pushed it aside as I continued their introductions with, “Sookie. This is Bubba.”
Further explanations would have to wait until he was gone, but at least she hadn’t brought Hund with her, which was what I’d decided to call her pet.
Swedish for ‘dog’, it was close enough in my estimation.
That silver nitrate would bathe my balls before my lips ever uttered the name, ‘Sammy-kins.’
With the formalities out of the way, I resumed my position behind my desk and said, “So Bubba, did you find anything of interest in Jackson?”
I hoped he wouldn’t reply he’d found a litter of kittens to drain, knowing Sookie couldn’t be glamoured to forget such a thing, so I was relieved when he responded, “Yep. That Bill Compton turned up at Mr. Russell’s, just like ya thought he might, and ran straight to that Maker a his. She ain’t so nice.”
Saying Lorena Ball wasn’t nice was the equivalent of saying a rabid grizzly bear was moody.
After Sookie had finally fallen asleep the night before, I tore myself from her side with the intent of calling Russell to ask for his assistance.
But then I remembered Bubba was in Jackson visiting.
I had some level of trust with Russell, but any monarch would rightfully covet a part-Fae telepath.
So instead I put my faith in the anomalous vampire in front of me, knowing he was at least good at following orders.
I could tell by the excitement on his face – yet another incongruity of his vampire state, with his ill-advised turning – there was more he wished to share, so I asked, “And?”
He opened up his jacket and handed over what appeared to be a computer hard drive, saying excitedly, “I saw him bury this back in Mr. Russell’s woods. So when him and that Maker was sayin’ their hellos, I went back and dug it up. I figured it musta been important for him to hide it like he did.”
“Very good Bubba,” I smiled back at him.
Having an extraordinary child myself, I normally had no sympathy for inept vampire and felt they should be staked by their Makers in shame for what they’d produced. But I’d always had a soft spot for Bubba.
Pam attributed it to the brief period in early 1956 when I’d worn blue suede shoes.
She could fuck off.
They were cool.
“And what was Russell’s reaction to Compton’s presence?” I asked. “Did they speak about anything, other than the formalities of him checking into the state?”
“Naw,” he smiled affably. “Mr. Russell didn’t pay him no never mind. He ain’t built like them other young guys he likes to keep around and him and Mr. Bartlette was busy, if ya catch my drift.”
Between his waggling eyebrows and his pointed looks in Sookie’s direction, a cruise ship would have been able to catch his drift and ride it clear across the Atlantic.
But feeling the momentary spike of terror from Sookie as he spoke diverted all of my attention to her.
She must have felt my concern because she raised her hand up in front of her and shook her head, denying, “It was nothing.”
It was also a lie.
I involuntarily pushed my need to know the truth from her through our bond, but – if anything – it felt like she was pushing back her own need for me to let it go.
Unfortunately for her, there was no way I could.
She had fairies and demons after her. Her own brother had assaulted her and all but called her a whore, as he disowned her. She’d taken a bullet meant for me and not once had I felt the kind of fright inside of her that she’d just experienced.
Fear. Pain. Humiliation.
I felt them all coursing through her, as she tried to bury them away again.
But not wanting to have our impending discussion with an audience, I turned to the King of Rock and Roll and said, “Very well, Bubba. I would like for you to go back to Jackson and see if you can learn anything more.”
Then glancing at my child, I added with a smirk, “Pam will see to your dinner before you go.”
After all, she was the self-proclaimed pussy prize patrol.
Pam huffed out her annoyance, as Bubba said, “Thanks Mr. Eric!”
Then turning to Sookie, he added, “Nice ta meet ya Miss.”
When they were both out the door, Sookie’s anxiety only rose up now that we were alone. I despised feeling it, knowing she felt that way because of me.
But – even so – I couldn’t let it go unspoken and asked, “What is it?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” she mumbled, while looking everywhere but back at me.
I moved to sit next to her on the couch and was appeased somewhat, when she felt better as I pulled her into my lap.
So I pressed her further by saying, “You felt fear. Is it Compton?”
She shook her head and I knew from our connection she was telling me the truth. So I continued on, listing everything and everyone Bubba had mentioned, with none of them eliciting any reaction from her until I said, “Bartlette?”
It had been a very long time since I had felt physically ill, but now that I was tied to Sookie, I could feel her nausea as if it were my own.
So I reflexively swallowed and asked, “Why is it you fear the King of Indiana?”
I knew I was the first vampire she’d ever met and he hadn’t looked twice at her during the coronation.
Simply put, she wasn’t his type.
But her distaste for who I thought was him was very real, until she softly explained, “Not him. My great uncle. His name is Bartlett too. He’s my Gran’s brother.”
I could tell it took all of her strength just to tell me that much, so I sat back and analyzed her reactions.
Fear. Pain. Humiliation.
It wasn’t long before I felt a link of the beast’s chain snap, when I could only draw one conclusion and snarled, “Did he strike you?”
I’d had a hard enough time allowing her brother to live after witnessing him smack her, but a great uncle was far enough removed in my mind that his death would mine.
She hadn’t even mentioned his existence when I’d asked her if she had other family members she wanted me to locate, so I knew she wouldn’t miss his presence in her life.
But I wouldn’t miss out on his presence in my dungeon.
I was brought up short scenting her tears, soon followed by the soft shake of her head, as she whispered, “No. He…he didn’t hit me.”
The growl ripped through my chest before I could stop it, realizing now what it was she couldn’t say.
Preying on children was a crime I had never condoned, be it as a human or vampire.
That I knew for a fact he hadn’t penetrated her, through my own exploration of her body, would not grant him any mercy in what would be a painfully drawn out death by my hand.
However, I would not make my lover relive her nightmare by asking any more questions. She’d supplied me with all I needed to know in order to find him, so instead I merely held her and pushed comfort through our bond that she need say no more.
Sookie had had enough pain over the last day or so and I would not purposely add to it now, when she’d managed to find a way to overcome her earlier sadness.
When she felt calmed down again, I hoped to bring that spark back up to the surface by asking, “Would you feel better if I ordered Pam to wear that ridiculous crown around the palace for a week?”
My very serious offer was met with a not so serious snort, as she wiped away her tears and chuckled against my shoulder, “I don’t know. She broke that one, but if you’re willing to get her a real one, I doubt she’d complain.”
Her lightening mood was improving my own, so I squeezed her tighter and smiled, saying, “I was thinking more along the lines of getting her one of those crowns from the fast food chain. She could pick you up a burger while she’s there, so her new title as the Burger Queen isn’t a false one.”
It was enough to tip her away from the edge of her despair and she laughed outright, barely able to choke out her question, “Is Pam in danger of being commanded to end every sentence she speaks with, ‘Do you want fries with that?’”
She is now.
Sookie herself was in danger of hyperventilating from laughing so hard. But her rising spirits and shaking body were making things other than my spirit rise – and harden – as well.
My dick had never been as singularly preoccupied by someone as it had been with Sookie and now was no different. So both of us were quite delighted, when she moved to straddle my lap with her legs, but I couldn’t tell if my ingenuous future lover truly realized the affect she had on me.
With the fabric of her dress bunched up in between us and her lap firmly pressed down on my own, there was no hiding it.
But instead of the raunchy and wanton display I had become accustomed to from my past relief – and would be more than welcome from her, if that was her intention – it was Sookie who was flooded with relief, as she cupped my face in each of her hands.
I didn’t understand.
I couldn’t understand the feelings coming through our bond, but it was intense.
Similar to the tender adoration I’d already felt from her, but where those gave me the sense they were floating towards me on a warm breeze, these new feelings were barreling towards me like a freight train.
Her warmth and affection had grown tenfold, intermingled with a rapidly building and scorching desire. But my little fairy princess surprised me yet again when she pressed her lips to mine, as though I was made of spun sugar and she was afraid of distorting their shape, yet could not help but taste.
The beast inside of me purred.
I held his chain tighter before we both pounced.
So I let her take from me what she wanted, without regard for my own desires, and when she finally pulled back, she simply said, “Thank you.”
“For what, lover?” I asked, not understanding at all what she could be thanking me for.
But still hoping to keep her spirits from plummeting again, I added, “I’m sure I could buy a whole warehouse full of those paper crowns for a fraction of the cost of what a real one would be.”
She grinned impishly, replying, “For just being you.”
I’d known from the beginning that my Sookie was a survivor, but despite all of the things I now knew she’d overcome in her short lifespan – as well as the things she had yet to face – I still had the unreasonable desire to steal her away.
To protect her from everything that would hurt her.
To keep her all to myself, so her smiles would only ever be for me.
To cage her body with my own, so that my own personal sun only ever shined down its warmth on me.
But I knew the selfless creature in my lap would fight me tooth and nail if I dared try. I had the wealth, power, and cunning to give her whatever material things her heart desired and I yet I could feel her heart only desired me.
She’d had me long before she’d ever made the request.
Unfortunately, my night had only begun and I was due to hold court to settle a few disputes between vampires in my fealty that could not be resolved by their sheriffs.
But with Cataliades’ warning, I refused to let Sookie out of my sight, so when Pam returned a few moments later I had her sit beside Sookie in the hall, off to the side of my throne.
I had quickly changed out of my normal jeans and t-shirt into something a little more formal, but when Sookie saw me now dressed in the gray slacks and jacket, with a black button up shirt, my fangs threatened to click down, feeling the lust that tore through her veins.
And directly into my cock.
It was going to be a long night.
Sookie had attended court before, but now that she had disclosed her secret to us, her gift became quite handy. While she couldn’t read the minds of vampire, it was open season on those who brought their pets along.
To everyone else in the room, it appeared she was quietly working on a crossword puzzle. But in truth, she was jotting down notes on the thoughts of the pets and anything of interest was relayed to me by Pam in Swedish.
Which was what gave me the opportunity to tell her to look into Sookie’s great uncle’s whereabouts, without annoying Sookie with my methods.
But spies or lies, they were no match for my lover and thanks to her ability to cut through the bullshit we were able to return to my chambers much earlier than planned.
So after sending Pam off to look into the contents of Compton’s hard drive, I made sure to acknowledge my appreciation to her, by saying, “Thank you for all of your help this evening, lover. Court has never been so black and white before.”
She shrugged, as though her gift was no big deal and said, “Maybe if they didn’t discount the humans they kept around them as nothing more than mindless pets, their secrets would have remained secret.”
She was right.
They’d been foolish to discuss anything within earshot of their pets and while I’d never been guilty of that recklessness, I was guilty of dismissing humans as inferior and therefore inconsequential.
For me, their usefulness fell into one or two of three categories.
Taste. Pleasing physical attributes. Above average business acumen.
Since no one would ever rate higher than Sookie in the first two categories, I only had need of those who fell into the third.
And it only occurred to me then that it would behoove me to have her read my business associates, but before I could ask, she said, “It might be a good idea for me to read the humans you employ. You know, just to make sure they’re loyal to you and don’t have any hidden agendas. I’ve listened in to the ones I’ve run into, but that’s mostly just the donors and palace staff. I’m sure you must have people who handle your affairs during the day, don’t you?”
“I do,” I answered.
Seeing her standing there – now barefoot, with nothing more than a couple of yards of fabric standing between me and her sinful taste, and even more sinful pleasing physical attributes – I couldn’t help but to stalk towards her, as I let my jacket slide from my shoulders and fall to the floor, no longer giving a shit about anything that didn’t have to do with her.
Perhaps it was her self-preservation instincts finally kicking in or her naturally teasing nature, but she took a step backwards in response and the beast inside of me stirred again.
I felt no fear from her, just equal amounts of lust and nervousness. So I took another step forward and licked my lips, asking in a deceivingly sweet tone, which completely contradicted my need to devour her, “Where are you going, lover?”
She swallowed hard and giggled nervously, as the back of her legs hit the bed and she collapsed onto the mattress.
My unintentional temptress positioned herself in the center of it and demurely crossed her legs. Her upper body held up resting on her elbows, she pointedly looked around the bed before meeting my eyes again, and smiled, with her answer of, “Setting your dinner table?”
I was on her before she could even see me move. But instead of being scared, peals of laughter left her lips, until I silenced them with a kiss, showing her I was not made of spun sugar.
Nor was my dick that was now digging into her thigh.
But when I felt her hands begin to open each of the buttons on my shirt and then the heat of her skin, as her palms slid inside, I nearly came undone.
I was almost embarrassed.
The need I felt from her now had nothing to do with her attempts at avoiding pain and sadness.
Now it was all yearning and passion that burned within her, merely fueling my own, but even if she had mentally been ready to take me as her lover, I knew her body was not.
Taking any man into her body for the first time would be a painful experience, but a man of my size would be agonizing, without being properly prepared for such an intrusion.
So when her hands finally divested me of my shirt, I allowed my own hands to wander and tested her willingness, for which I was rewarded with her arching into my caresses.
She gave no verbal, physical, or emotional rebuffs, as I slowly pulled down the zipper at her side and she even helped me in removing the offending piece of fabric that stood in between us by lifting her body as I pulled it free.
Never had I wanted someone as much as I wanted her, but I restrained myself, knowing her body needed to be primed to take mine. That task would take more than a single night to accomplish, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t take my pleasure in feeling her own.
So when her hands slid down, with the intention of removing my pants, I slid away from her grasp and my lips trailed down the naked flesh they’d been denied from tasting two nights earlier.
I knew I would need the flimsy barrier of my pants to keep myself from acting too rashly.
Somehow, her skin tasted of sunlight, despite having been kept out of it for weeks and I gorged myself on it, along with her cries of ecstasy.
I had yet to find one thing I did not find remarkable about Sookie and imagined – hoped, even – that I may never.
Her young pliable skin was tone, yet soft as a woman should be, filling my hands and mouth with flesh instead of bones. But it was the scent of her arousal filling the air that drew me further down, like a moth to a flame.
As I settled in between her legs, I could feel her uncertainty over being in a new and atypical position peek through, but with the first swipe of my tongue through her sex she gave herself over to the hedonism only I could teach her.
My lover, however, would not be outshone in teaching one new things because I felt my eyes roll back in my head when the first drop of her arousal hit my tongue.
I’d been with thousands of women – tens of thousands – but none had ever tasted as sweet as my Sookie.
Were it not for the inimitable flavor of her blood, I would have gladly attempted to survive on the river of honey she’d magically produced in between her thighs.
I could already hear Pam’s voice, calling her my own personal Pixie stick.
I sank into her, refusing to allow a single drop go to waste, but I knew in order for me to ever be able to truly sink into her, she would need to be prepared.
So I begrudgingly gave up my second favorite meal and moved my lips to her clit, while sliding a single finger inside of her. Her own fingers had long since taken root in my hair and her hips bucked up in response, but feeling the small flap of skin – signifying her virtue was still intact – I quickly brought her to climax and sliced through it with my fingernail, while she was lost in her rapture.
The flash of her blood on my tongue, combined with the pleasure beating at me through our bond, tore another growl from my chest. But I held fast and stayed my desire to bite.
Instead of allowing her to come down from her euphoric high, I continued to pump into her and redoubled my efforts on her clit. When her inner muscles had loosened enough – and before they could constrict again, with her next release – I added a second finger, making her gasp above me.
The sound drew my eyes to her face and I didn’t like seeing her eyes closed, so I continued to scissor my fingers inside of her – readying her for the day she would truly be mine in every way – and said, “Look at me, lover.”
I could already feel she was close to cumming a second time and I wanted to see it for myself. So I held her gaze, as I ran my lips and tongue across her femoral artery, with each of us watching the other as my fangs pierced the skin of her supple inner thigh.
She cried out with her second orgasm, while I howled my exultation as her fairy flavored nirvana flooded my taste buds, with my hips bucking maddeningly against the mattress in their pitiful attempt at seeking out the spot my fingers had yet to leave.
I’d thought my lover beautiful on many occasions, but nothing would ever compare to the splendor of watching her cum.
Again I was assaulted with the overwhelming desire to feed her my blood and complete the bond we had already begun, but I knew she’d been through too many emotional upheavals over the previous few days to broach the subject now. It would be unfair of me to do so, knowing in her lust-addled brain she would likely agree to anything.
My own lust fueled desires were likely clouding my judgment as well and if we were take that step and permanently bond our lives to one another, I wanted us to at least do it with clear heads. So I shelved the thought for now and just took my enjoyment from my lover’s body.
Sealing her wound, I decided to not heal it with my blood, knowing no other would see it but me and I quite liked having my mark on her skin.
Her eyes were still half lidded, when I finally kissed my way up her body, but the light within them nearly blinded me in their brilliance.
She truly was like the stars in the sky.
But when she pushed on my shoulders for me to lie on my back and her naked body slithered on top of my own, I gasped in shock at the feel of her petal soft lips kissing their way down my bare chest, until they hovered above the evidence of my still woolen clad unfulfilled need.
The silent plea in her eyes and the longing hammering through our bond had my hips instinctively leap upwards and she smiled seductively, with my silent acquiescence.
So I could do nothing else but prepare myself for what would surely be my true death in the mouth of a fairy princess.