“Aww…hell. Here comes the Gab-inator,” I heard Officer Prior chuckle and glanced to my side already knowing I’d be seeing Maxine walk up to our booth.
She acknowledged the all of us in turn with nothing more than a polite, “Corbett; Kevin; Eric,” respectively, with the two of them saying hello to her before she sidled up right next to me. I didn’t know what she was waiting for until she leaned down by my head and speaking quite loudly, she asked, “HOW’VE YOU BEEN, ERIC? I’VE BEEN MEANING TO STOP BY, BUT I’VE BEEN BUSY KEEPING AN EYE ON MY POOR HOYT.”
I couldn’t stop my eyes from cringing and my head from leaning away from her loud voice, but over the sudden spiritual din I was still able to hear Corbett say, “Good Lord Maxine! The boy’s not DEAF!”
Maxine thankfully took a step back and huffed, “Well then, why isn’t he saying anything? He was never this rude when I was alive, so he must not be able to hear me that well.” She leaned in again and I barely had time to brace myself as she yelled, “ERIC!”
“Woman!” Corbett yelled and moved himself in between Maxine and I. “What in the hell do you expect him to do? Say, ‘Hey Maxine! How’s it hanging?’ when you know damn good and well no one else at the table can see us?”
It was nice to know at least they knew I was trying to look normal, despite their chattiness, and I tried to busy myself with removing the wrapper from the straw for my soda, but I damn near choked on my first sip when she answered, “Oh, he knows how it’s hanging. You should’ve seen him leering over my naked body in that morgue of his. It was scandalous!”
She mumbled out an outraged, “Pervert!” in my direction and in my peripheral, I watched her stomp away to a nearby table, taking my appetite with her thanks to her reminder. She leaned down in between two patrons who were speaking quietly to one another and from the looks of it, I assumed it was so she could hear whatever it was they were saying, but all I could hear was Officer Prior chuckling and I glanced up to see them both shake off a shiver as he said, “You had to do her autopsy? You musta done somethin’ pretty awful in a former life to have gotten punished so bad in this one.”
His theory had merit. Maybe I’d been Christ’s crucifier? It could also explain why I wasn’t so handy with a hammer and nails.
Since it had quieted down now that Maxine was mostly gone, I looked up to see that everyone else was looking at me expectantly and I wondered what I’d missed when Corbett chimed in with, “Hoyt just said he didn’t know you knew Sookie and Jason.”
I was glad at least one of us could keep up with the multiple conversations, but before I could focus enough to formulate a reply, I felt Sookie’s hand squeeze my leg as she answered for me saying, “We met a few days ago at work.”
A few days…
A week ago I was sitting in my apartment with nothing better to do than watch a Star Wars marathon on TV while flipping through my comic books. A week ago I had no one else to hang out with other than my dead best, and only, friend. A week ago I was warming up a frozen TV dinner because although I could cook pretty well, I rarely bothered anymore since it was too depressing to prepare a meal just for one person.
Now I was out on a date with my incredibly beautiful maybe-girlfriend who seemed to like me just as much as I liked her, despite my frequent odd behavior. Now I was out in public sharing a meal, although without much conversation on my part, with an entire group just like any normal human being out on any given Saturday afternoon. Even with all of the headaches that came from my curse, I couldn’t help but be grateful and I shot a pointed look at Corbett and Officer Prior to let them know I was done listening to them so I could concentrate on what was being said by those I could actually answer out loud without looking like a crazy person. It was a good thing too, or else I might’ve missed Hoyt’s next words.
The waitress had just left again after taking Hoyt’s order when he nudged Jason with a smile, saying, “Hey Sook, looks like you got yourself an admirer.” I followed his gaze to the other side of the restaurant to see that Bill guy sitting there all alone and staring a hole into my head.
I hadn’t asked Sookie yet who he was other than to clarify that he wasn’t the one Jason was suspected of murdering, but I didn’t have to when she replied, “Ugh…I wish he’d move away or something. You’d think he’d get the hint that I don’t want anything to do with him after ten years of turning him down for a date.”
Her explanation was another powerful shot to my ego knowing she hadn’t turned me down when I’d asked her out, but before I could even gloat to myself I noticed who was sitting directly behind him, also staring a hole into my head. He at least had the decency to look back towards his sister, who was sitting directly across from him and as my eyes swept back across the room they registered Sam’s cold stare too. Sookie seemed to have accumulated a whole gaggle of dark haired admirers, but I stood out, not only by my blond hair, but because I seemed to be the only one she admired back and I was suddenly feeling so much better about myself that I wondered if she’d be willing to handcuff herself to me, if only so I could feed my ego by her presence.
Sookie must’ve noticed Rene as well because she gestured towards him, saying, “I guess Rene wasn’t lying when we saw him at the movies earlier. He told me to tell you that he’d be seeing you soon and there he is.”
“Not if I see him first,” Jason answered, hunching down into his seat. Hoyt nodded his agreement and I wondered if they thought he was too intense to, but Jason continued, explaining, “You know him and Arlene started seeing each other?” Sookie just shook her head, so he kept on, saying, “Well, they are and Arlene’s found Jesus or somethin’ and has condemned us as heathens, so now Rene’s fallen for it hook, line, and sinker and he’s been trying to save us ever since.”
At least Sookie and I weren’t the only heathens at the table, but I’d never been close to being a religious person either. With my curse I knew not everyone that died went to heaven or hell, but when I’d asked Corbett about it once the only thing he’d said was, “This ain’t no Albert Brooks movie. It’s not like I got a manual explaining the ins and outs of the afterworld. All’s I know is I don’t feel the need to leave just yet, but I suspect when I do, I will.” His cryptic response was enough to make me back off figuring he had enough to deal with just being dead, but my curiosity was still there. He was the only ghost I’d ever befriended and I didn’t want to piss him off by harping on it.
Sookie’s next question broke me from my reverie when she asked Jason, “Why are you heathens?”
We probably gave ourselves away when our eye met one another’s briefly as he answered, “For gettin’ up to no good with our lady friends.” It was a similar accusation that Rene had made to us outside of the movie theater and we both blushed, but I was surprised I’d managed to since a fair amount of my blood was traveling south again just remembering it. It was completely selfish of me, considering everything Jason was going through, but all I really wanted to do was go somewhere where Sookie and I could be alone. We wouldn’t even have to fool around; I just liked it best when it was just the two of us. No dark haired admirers; no Detective Doodlebugs; just me and Sookie.
Knowing that plan wasn’t an option right now, I focused on the present. The conversation at our table became minimal while we all dug into our meals, so I was able to listen as Corbett and Officer Prior made their own plans. Corbett would be heading to the murder scene to look for Maudette while Officer Prior would go to her apartment to look for her with each of them becoming more excited by the minute now that they had a reason to do police work again. They even brought Maxine into their investigation by pumping her for anything she knew about the victim which, from the sounds of it, was nothing very flattering. It seemed Maudette wasn’t very choosey over her lovers and, according to Maxine, had bedded most of the single men in Bon Temps. It was the first time I’d heard her give thanks for Hoyt’s move to Shreveport, but she was also quick to add that her son had higher standards than most. I could tell her comment had rankled Corbett, given Jason’s current predicament, and he and Officer Prior were quick to leave after that while Maxine went back to literally sticking her nose into everyone else’s business. I knew I’d be hearing from Corbett if they’d found anything and I figured if they could get a name or description of the murderer from her, then I could always call in an anonymous tip to the Sheriff.
With the ‘extra’ people gone from the table and with those left behind busy eating their meals, my mind wandered back to my relationship with Sookie. I’d already declared myself as her boyfriend, in front of both her and her brother, and while she didn’t contradict me, did that make my proclamation true? Was I her boyfriend? Was she my girlfriend? Did she want to be? Was it too soon? Were we too old for those types of labels? Should I ask her formally for her hand in…boyfriend/girlfriend-ship?
Could I be a bigger loser?
My own insecurities were making my ego take a nosedive and I wished we actually were handcuffed together so I could feel better having an actual physical tether to one another. I also wished I’d learn to take a moment and think before speaking because when Sookie leaned over and asked me, “What’re you thinking?” I blurted out just that.
I felt my face flush realizing what I’d said a minute too late and even though Sookie seemed to like my one word faux pas (at least that’s what I assumed since she licked her lips and put her hand back on my thigh), I cringed hearing Maxine yell out to no one in particular, “See? Pervert!” while Hoyt and Jason stared back at us with their mouths open.
Since no one other than Maxine had said anything in response, I stumbled over my words trying to explain away my perceived deviant thoughts, stuttering, “Umm…you know…from an engineering point of view.”
I’d give anything to have Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak right about now.
“Uh huh,” Jason uttered, clearly not buying my lame explanation, but thankfully he let the subject drop and I shoved a handful of fries into my mouth hoping I’d at least choke to death if my mouth decided to mutiny again.
Everything seemed to right itself after that, especially now that Maxine was the only ghost I had to ignore and she was too busy being a busybody to bother me, so I actually had fun over the next few hours we’d spent there. The four of us ended up playing several games of pool and I got to see firsthand just how popular the Stackhouses were. They seemed to know everyone and several rounds of drinks were bought for them with the general consensus of the townsfolk being that there was no way Jason could be guilty and the Sheriff was an ass. I volunteered to be the designated driver knowing they were the ones who needed to blow off some steam, but it wasn’t a sacrifice since the more Sookie drank, the more she wanted to attach herself to me.
I wasn’t complaining.
Rene was long gone, but Sam and Bill were still lurking about and shooting daggers in my direction at every opportunity, so it was just my luck that I rarely had a chance to see them thanks to Sookie’s constant request for a kiss for good luck from me before every shot she made. It didn’t seem to help her game at all, but it did wonders for me and since it looked like Jason would be going home with our waitress that night, who’d been all over him at every opportunity, it was just Sookie and I when we left. She wasn’t anywhere close to being falling down drunk, but she was definitely buzzed and she giggled at everything on the way to the car. She was still giggling as we pulled onto the interstate and her hand found my thigh again as she asked, “So…are you going to take advantage of me now that I’m a bit tipsy?”
“What?” I asked. “No!” And I wouldn’t. Ever.
Her hand squeezed my thigh before running farther up my leg as she said, “Damn it! Next time, you’re the one getting drunk because I’m so gonna take advantage of you.”
As if I’d need the alcohol to let her…
Her hand was doing very distracting things and even though we’d messed around earlier when she was perfectly sober, it somehow seemed wrong for me to let her do the things she was trying to do now since she’d had a few drinks. I put my hand on her wrist and pushed it further down my leg, warning, “Sookie.”
Completely undeterred, her hand ran right back up my leg as she tried to mimic the same warning, saying, “Eric.”
“If you keep it up, we’re going to run off the road.” It was true because thanks to her wandering hand and my straining cock, if she actually managed to get my jeans open like she seemed hell bent on doing, there was a good chance of it getting caught in the steering wheel making us veer off into a ditch on the side of the road.
I pushed her hand back down while the rest of my body protested my own actions, but Sookie was nothing if not persistent and she leaned over the center console to lick the outer edge of my ear as she purred, “No we won’t. All I’m doing is making sure you keep it up, so I can play with it when we get back to my place. You said I could practice…”
Fuck…would I really be taking advantage of her? Maybe I could make her do a field sobriety test before practice gets started?
My eyes tried to close feeling her nibble her way across my neck while her hand was doing its best to get my jeans open, but when the car drifted to the side and hit the rumble strips in the pavement, I sobered up and leaned away from her while placing her hand back on her own lap. My tone was no longer a warning and instead was pleading as I said, “Sookie…”
She giggled again saying, “I love it when say my name like that,” and she took my hand, running it up her own leg.
“You’re going to get us both killed,” I said as I tried to extract my hand from her clutches with absolutely no conviction in my tone of voice. The more she kept at it, the more I was becoming on board with everything she was trying to do and to be honest, if there’d been anywhere for us to safely pull off the interstate, I was getting to the point where I would no longer question anything and instead would just let her have her way.
I’d get MY way just by having HER.
“I’m trying to get us both killed,” she giggled again while struggling to keep a hold of my hand. “La petite mort might translate into ‘The little death’, but it just means an orgasm.” She put her lips back to my ear and whispered, “You won’t really die and I guarantee you’ll really like it.”
Denying her was doing a good job of killing me as it was and I may have pressed down on the accelerator a bit more trying to get to Shreveport that much sooner, but before I could take possession of my hand again, I felt the cool steel at my wrist right before I heard the click. I looked down just in time to see Sookie attaching the other cuff to her own wrist and then she held our arms up in triumph and giggled again, saying, “Ta da! Now you can’t get away!”
I couldn’t really be upset considering I’d been thinking the very same thing that afternoon and smiled back at her, asking, “Did you seriously just handcuff yourself to me?”
“Seriously,” she nodded proudly. She put both of our hands back on her lap, but didn’t do anything more than lean against my arm yawning, and saying, “Alcohol always gives me the giggle fits and then makes me sleepy.”
She got quiet after that and while I tried to remain somewhere in the realm of noble by not allowing my hand to do any wandering of its own, it wasn’t long until I heard her breathing even out. Glancing down I thought she was just as pretty when asleep and I enjoyed the comfort of having her so close to me, but as I took the exit for Shreveport I realized I didn’t know where she lived. Sookie had picked me up that morning at my place, but seeing her sleeping so soundly now, I really didn’t want to wake her until I had to, so I pulled over onto a side street where I opened up her glove box and found her car’s registration to get her address. I was sure she’d told me that she lived in Shreveport, but the address on her registration was the same as her grandmother’s house in Bon Temps, so I had no choice but to wake her, asking, “Sookie?” I gently shook her, but she barely stirred, so I tried again a little louder, asking, “Sookie? Where do you live?”
“Apartment,” she mumbled before going right back to sleep.
“Where is your apartment?” I asked, trying to gently shake her awake again.
“Building,” she eventually muttered.
Where was Corbett when I actually needed him?
Short of yelling at her to wake up, my options were limited. I could always drive us to the police station because someone there would probably know where she lived, but since we were handcuffed together, that might look strange.
And that Brawny bastard might be there.
That was enough of a reason to strike that from my list of options. My eyes flicked towards her purse on the floor by her feet, but I didn’t feel right going through it to look for her driver’s license either and for all I knew it would have the Bon Temps address too. It seemed my only viable option was to take her home with me.
I pulled in front of my building a few minutes later, but it wasn’t until I tried to get out of the car that I remembered we were handcuffed together. I searched through her key ring, but there was nothing resembling a handcuff key on it, so I tried to wake her up again, saying, “Sookie? Where’s the key for the handcuffs?”
It took several shakes and several ‘Sookies’ before she finally woke up enough to answer me. Her hair was all pushed up from leaning against my arm and I could tell she wasn’t quite lucid as she grinned, answering, “It’s somewhere on my body. You just have to find it.”
My eyes automatically traveled over her body with my brain compiling an extensive list of places to search. I was a doctor. I knew them all.
And I knew what tools I would need to use in order to be thorough.
My main tool was making wearing my jeans quite uncomfortable and seeing that she was about to nod off again, I said a little louder, “Sookie. Where’s the key?”
She shrugged and snuggled up against me again, saying, “I’m not saying, but I guarantee I’ll wake up when you find it.”
Any other time I would’ve been more than willing to search her body for hours on end, but I really didn’t want to do it under the streetlamp parked out in front of my building. Since Sookie literally held the key to my dilemma, I decided it was time for me gain back some ground in our lopsided arrangement, so I nudged her back against her seat earning me an unhappy glare from her until I put my lips on hers. My free hand came up to hold onto the back of her neck while my tongue searched every nook and cranny in her mouth and I waited until she was breathless before pulling back and whispering, “No key in there.”
Sookie was wide awake now even if her eyelids were only halfway open, but she agreed by shaking her head and saying, “Nope, not there.”
Her challenging eyes flicked down at her own body and then back up at mine, but knowing we were out where anyone could just wander by and see us made me apprehensive. If we were indeed going to go down this road, I didn’t want to have to stop because the Brawny bastard or some random bum was banging on the car window. Besides that, even though I’d never been the typical teenager making out in the back of a car, it wasn’t enough of a fantasy that I cared to try and make it come true when it would be our first time together.
She was more than likely still a little drunk, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to make her a little more drunk with another kiss, but when I pulled away with her lips still searching for mine, I said, “Wouldn’t you rather I search you upstairs?”
It seemed my question was the only thing that made her realize we were still in the confines of the car, but it also seemed to tip the scales of logic over lust and she grinned as she quickly reached into the front of her pants where she pulled out the elusive key.
I definitely would’ve found it.
I watched as she unlocked the cuff at her wrist, but left mine in place only to grab her purse and then jump out of the car while laughing. In the time it took me to get out of the car and meet her on the sidewalk, her back was facing me until she spun around with a smile and proclaiming, “I’ve hidden it again and not in the same spot.”
Didn’t matter…I would still be checking there.
A part of my psyche, a very small part, reasoned now that she was fully awake I could ask her where she lived and then drive her home. I may have even asked her if she wanted me to do that if she hadn’t jumped, making me catch her, and wrapped her legs around my waist while her lips wrapped around mine.
Nope. Not asking her.
I don’t know how long we stood there kissing, but she eventually pulled away to resume my death by a thousand kisses against my neck, asking, “Are you going to be starting the search any time soon? That key is poking me and I’m not enjoying it as much as when you do it.”
Before I could contemplate when I’d ever poked her she illustrated her point by loosening her grip enough to slide down my front far enough to grind her crotch against the accused ‘poker’.
Guilty. I couldn’t deny it. I’d poked her plenty of times.
Her body seamlessly slid back up mine and my feet was the only part of me that answered her by carrying us into the building and up the flight of stairs. My mouth couldn’t do it because Sookie had taken control of it again with her own, which was probably a good thing because my brain was busy marveling over how much upper and lower body strength she had. She was writhing against me like a seasoned exotic dancer and thoughts of Sookie, and a floor to ceiling pole, doing a striptease with me as her only audience made my head want to explode.
Both of them.
I swallowed the oomph she let out when her back hit the door to my apartment and I pulled away from her to try and get my keys out of my pocket so we could continue with the search of one Sookie Stackhouse. My hand got caught up when the handcuff dangling from my wrist got snagged on my jeans when suddenly my head wanted to explode for a whole other reason hearing, “Seriously?”
Sookie, of course, was oblivious to the whole thing, but my glare was matched with his own when I turned my head and saw Corbett leaning against the opposite wall in the hallway and all I could think was the same exact thing.