“So since you’re up, does that mean it’s nighttime now?” I asked, hoping to keep us from delving into any deep and meaningful discussions.
Yeah…I probably should be freaked out more. After all, I’d been attacked and nearly died the night before.
But the same thing could be said about last Tuesday.
And I was obviously fine. My latent immortality mojo must have kicked in at the last second and I just assumed Eric had felt my ‘Oh shit!’ meter redline and had come to my aid.
Like a true friend would.
Besides, I hadn’t been lying when I’d said this was my first slumber party. And since I seemed to have taken a literal approach to the term ‘slumber’, I hoped to be a more active participant in the ‘party’ part of it.
But at the very least, I hoped to keep us in a lighter mood.
His room had no windows – for obvious reasons – but by that same logic, I supposed a clock would be just as unnecessary.
I doubted Big Ben could wake him up.
“Nearly,” he replied and then using the arm behind my body, he pulled me closer to his, as he added, “But it won’t be safe for me to leave the room for another hour or so.”
His words were mumbled against my neck now that his face was smooshed into the crook above my shoulder, while my body had arched against his on instinct when he hauled me against him.
But his whiskers tickled and I couldn’t help laughing out, “So what do you normally do for that hour? I’m not keeping you from spending some quality time with a bottle of Jergens, am I?”
No longer smooshed, his face suddenly appeared in front of mine, with the length of our two noses being the only things keeping us apart.
And the length of something else was now smooshed against my outer thigh.
But he knew better than to try and kiss me.
But then again, maybe not.
Because I should have known better than to tease him about moisturizing his hose.
Although at the moment his hose felt more like the ladder from a fire truck.
But whatever you wanted to call it, my hydrant was starting to leak.
The only reason I could see him at all in the pitch black room was because we were nearly nose to nose and hoping to keep him on track – because that fire would just have to burn itself out – I attempted to break the intimate spell we seemed to be under by rambling out, “I’m glad you don’t have a dog. It’s so dark in here, I had to slither off of the bed and do a fireman’s crawl to try and find the bathroom before I finally gave up. But if I’d come across one of the hounds of hell, I’m sure at least one of us would have left a puddle.”
A puddle of pooch or a puddle of piss.
Either one of those would have been a sure fire bet.
But since he only stared at me, like I would stare at a brownie sundae, I tried to think of something else to say.
However it turned out I didn’t need any words because my stomach growled a second later and I giggled out, “Uh oh. Maybe you do have a dog.”
And I wasn’t talking about his Oscar Meyer wiener, although I was sure I could scarf down a dozen of them.
I was staaarrrrvviiinnnng…
“Hungry?” he innocently asked, even if his expression was anything but innocent.
And it spoke volumes, telling me he was hungry too.
And not for any wiener.
But when I only nodded in response – inadvertently giving him Eskimo kisses in the process – he asked, “Why didn’t you eat anything earlier?”
“Uh…because you’re the cannibal, Hannibal,” I snorted with a roll of my eyes. “I might not be an etiquette expert when it comes to slumber parties, but I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to nibble on your host when they’re asleep.”
“I wouldn’t have minded,” he purred.
And thankfully, my stomach growled for him to straighten up.
But because this was Eric, it felt like only one part of his body seemed to be listening.
However he proved me wrong because even though I was certain his mind was filled with a plethora of pornographic thoughts, he only asked, “Didn’t you get my note?”
“Did you pass it to me in study hall?” I chuckled.
Like our slumber party, it would have been another first for me.
The soft shake of his head made his hair tickle the tops of my shoulders and I shivered underneath him, in spite of my heated skin, while he said, “I left you a note on the nightstand, telling you there was food for you in the kitchen.”
“Well then instead of a dog, maybe you should look into acquiring a carrier pigeon,” I offered. “If it landed on my chest, then at least I would have felt it. But, then again, I can’t read braille and you would have needed to use it since I can’t see a foot in front of my face in here.”
Barring – of course – that he didn’t know anyone who could conjure up one of those howler letters, like in Harry Potter, that could just squawk his message at me.
But, on second thought, if he had, I most definitely would have left a puddle in his bed.
“Sorry,” he sighed. “It didn’t occur to me that you wouldn’t be able to see.”
But I was the one who was sorry when he rolled off of me and to my side.
So I must have been a glutton for more than just hot dogs.
But I was grateful for my control over my bladder when I heard him dramatically say, “Let there be light.”
Two loud claps rang out in my ears and my eyes squinted against the brightness now flooding the room.
But all I could do was curl up into a ball and laugh hysterically, choking out, “You…The Clapper…I shoulda known…”
Now that I could see him clearly, his smile was nearly as blinding as the thousand watt light bulbs he must use.
To say it was bright in the room would be like saying the center of the sun was warm.
But when I could finally breathe again, my mind automatically flipped through every other As Seen on TV gadget I could think of and I sat up, staring at him wide eyed and open mouthed, while I shoved two fingers in through my lips and whistled loudly enough that taxis all over Shreveport were likely lining the city’s sidewalks.
And I fell over again, laughing myself hoarse, hearing the responding chirp of his sure-to-be Key Finder coming from somewhere beyond his bedroom.
“You are easily amused,” he huffed, trying to act angry.
And failing miserably at it.
“And you are easily swayed by an enthusiastic audience,” I giggled. “For a vampire you seem to do more damage with a credit card and cable TV.”
And when all he did was glare at me, I dug my grave a little deeper by sounding as though I was letting him in on a great big secret when I explained, “You know they would probably clap and cheer, watching Mother Theresa being stoned to death, just because they’re on TV, right?”
While my mind wandered, casting out mental feelers for the hidden Snuggie he probably had tucked away somewhere in the house, he only said, “I thought you were hungry.”
“I thought you were faithful to Billy Mays,” I chortled in return.
But hearing him mention anything to do with eating, I sat up ramrod straight again, with my eyes darting to each of the three doors lining the walls. They all looked exactly the same, so I had a one in three shot of guessing which one would lead me into the rest of the house.
And when my eyes made their way back to him again, I started my mental countdown as I playfully accused, “You have a Slap Chop, don’t you?”
But my internal ‘On your mark’ had already reached ‘Go!’ before he could answer and I sprung up off the bed, like my ass was on fire, and beat feet across his bedroom floor and through the door I’d been betting on.
And lost, ending up lost in his closet.
“You live in a Men’s Wearhouse?” I snorted in disbelief, while my eyes took in all of his clothes, with his Slap Chop rapidly becoming a distant memory.
Clothes of all types, for every conceivable occasion surrounded me. But then again, Eric did say he like to be prepared for every possibility.
Was that a pink Lycra bodysuit?
I couldn’t imagine what occasion he could wear that to – unless he had another gig as the tooth fairy that I didn’t know about – but just as my hand reached for what was surely just a trick of the lighting, it froze in midair hearing a whispered, “No.”
But his whisper of an answer caused a shriek of a reply because I hadn’t heard him even come into the closet.
And if I didn’t know any better, I might have assumed that pink Lycra was a sign he’d been in the closet all along.
But I whipped around, ready to do something that was surely called for – if not badass – but I forgot whatever it was when I saw him standing there.
With all of his parts whipped out for inspection.
“Jesus!” I laughingly screeched and covered my eyes with both hands. “Put that thing away before you take an eye out!”
If only I’d known to clap earlier then I might have gotten a clue I’d been lying on the dark side of his moon.
The bed sheet had been keeping that glorious secret from me earlier and if I didn’t need my hands to cover my eyes, I sure could have used them to fan myself from the inferno now blazing in his closet.
And across my skin.
But my hands had to stay put.
I had zero confidence in my eyelids’ ability to remain shut.
But Mr. Cocky – for a whole host of reasons, let me tell ya – only chuckled as he said, “Ahh…my innocent future lover, let us begin your training in the sexual arts now. Lesson number one, your eye isn’t where this thing goes.”
“Don’t make me get the Slap Chop,” I warned, ignoring his teasing, while I decided now was the time to make a run for it.
And by ‘run for it’ I meant using my big toe to try and feel my way out of the room.
If not a hell hound, why couldn’t he at least have a seeing-eye dog?
It was one thing for him to have already seen me naked, but that had been out of necessity. I was just grateful to have woken up safe and sound with him, so I didn’t give a rat’s ass as to how he’d accomplished that task.
My ass was clean.
My ass was safe.
My ass was grateful.
And I now knew his ass was just as spectacular clothed or unclothed.
But finding my way out of the room with only my big toe leading the way was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
Probably because we were suddenly toe to toe.
And my butt clenched, bracing for impact, at the possibility we were about to be cheek to cheek.
He was a cheeky bastard, so it was a distinct possibility.
And my glutes weren’t the only muscles getting a workout because at the same time, I was sure I was doing a spot on impersonation of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, now leaning away from something of his that started also with a ‘P’.
And was also a muscle.
“If you insist on finding your way out without your eyes, might I suggest your earlier method of the fireman’s crawl?” he suggested.
And then dropping his voice several octaves, I was certain my panties would have dropped with it – had I been wearing any, that is – when he added, “And perhaps you’ll get a head start on lesson number two – where my thing actually can go.”
Hearing his words, I immediately pictured myself on my hands and knees. A thought that wasn’t helped any when I couldn’t picture which end of me to imagine Eric at.
But it didn’t matter because we weren’t going there.
Even if his thing could technically go there, regardless of which end was up.
Heads or tails.
But knowing he was mostly teasing – because while he might be technically dead, we both knew he would be all-the-way dead if he tossed caution to the wind and tossed me onto my back – I hoped to change the subject by hoping he would have pity on the poor starving human and whined, “I’m hungry.”
“Me too,” he whispered, with his words unexpectedly blowing into my left ear.
My hands still covered my eyes, so I hadn’t expected him to be so close. And just as my left shoulder hunched on reflex from the tickle of his breath, his mouth was suddenly whispering into my right ear, “You are very tempting, Sookie.”
So I gave him a warning of my own by mumbling out, “I hear antifreeze smells and tastes sweet too. And it’s just as deadly.”
Taking a deep breath that felt like he’d pulled the air straight from my lungs, I sensed a subtle shift in the air and his mood, when he finally said, “About that…”
And then using his fingers to pry several of my own away from my eyes, he waited until I chanced a one-eyed squinty peek at him to say, “We need to talk about what happened last night.”
“Do we have to?” I asked, needing some cheese to go along with my whine.
I knew I would have to face reality eventually, but I was enjoying my impromptu vacation in Eric’s closet. I’d never been on a real one, but the amenities here suited me just fine.
And I bet he would look fine wearing any one of the suits surrounding us.
Not that he didn’t look fine wearing nothing but his birthday suit.
More than fine.
But thinking of birthdays made me think of cake and my stomach turned inward, gnawing on itself for survival, so I added, “Can we at least talk, while we eat?”
It felt like I hadn’t eaten in days.
Sally Struthers could probably jump start her career by using me in one of her commercials.
And I was starting to wonder if that’s what it would take for Eric to notice I was withering away right in front of his very eyes.
Seeing my sad and drawn face in the background, while Sally Struthers guilted him into feeding me for only fifty cents a day.
If so, I was screwed.
His birthday suit had no pockets to hold his spare change.
Thankfully it didn’t come to that and soon enough we were in his kitchen, with me making a pig of myself on an odd assortment of food.
A can of Dinty Moore beef stew, a slew of Slim Jims, a bag of pork rinds, and a fist full of Power Bars.
Along with a bottle of Gatorade to wash it all down.
Given the time of night he would have gone shopping, I assumed the only place open was a gas station convenience store. But I didn’t care and was just grateful he’d thought to get me anything at all.
And given he was a vampire, I was just impressed he knew what else humans could put into their mouths.
Things that weren’t a part of his lesson number two.
Thanking him for the food again, my eyes took in the way his jeans hung low on his hips, while he sipped from a bottle of True Blood. He’d put them on when I’d squinted my way out of his closet and finally found the bathroom, to my bladder’s great relief.
And I was especially relieved I was already sitting on the toilet when I wondered out loud over him having toilet paper and he yelled back that it had come with the house when he’d bought it.
I definitely would have peed myself from laughing so hard.
But his jeans were the only article of clothing he’d thrown on and since I was still dressed in nothing but his t-shirt, I was about to make a joke about how between the two of us we made up a whole outfit, when he beat me to the punch.
“I think you should stay here with me for the foreseeable future.”
He’d sounded completely serious and looked as solemn as Solomon talking about my imaginary baby’s fate.
But certain he was kidding – because really, he had to be – I decided I would play along and upped the ante.
The Slim Jims I’d repurposed as chopsticks – having given him a glimpse of my refined redneck side by using them to pull the pork rinds from the bag, so I could eat both at the same time – dropped from my fingers, so I could bring both hands to my chest as I gushed, “Oh my god! Are you sure? I mean it’s so quick, but I guess the saying is true. When you know, you just know! I would love to move in with you!”
I beamed at him with what was hopefully my Happily Ever After face – another first I was sharing with him – and only hoped the absolute glee I felt would be misconstrued by him.
Because any glee I felt had to do with my certainty that his grippers were jacking his ass up right at that very moment.
“Sookie?” he asked with uncertainty, looking like he didn’t know what to do.
Other than run from the room.
I was sure that was at the top of his list.
So I didn’t hesitate to follow up my verbal jab to his bachelor pad, with an uppercut to his bachelorhood, by answering him with a squealed out, “Yes! Yes, I will marry you!”
Looking like a statue frozen in time, I let him sweat it out for a long stretch of time – only made longer because he couldn’t actually sweat – before I finally picked up my redneck chopsticks and resumed my meal, letting him off of the hook with a snickered out, “Really, you should know better by now than to think I won’t play into your silly games. I play to win.”
But when I finally looked up at him, he didn’t look very amused.
But after a thousand years, I was sure his bachelorhood was as sacred to him as a cow was to a Hindu.
So I pshawed him with a wave of my chopsticks and said, “Lighten up, Eric. I was kidding about moving in and whatnot.”
Even staycations had an expiration date.
And I briefly wondered if he’d found my ‘Use By’ date when he washed my ass the night before.
But he only stared back at me, with all of the seriousness that said I would have to either give up my imaginary baby or cut it in two, as he said, “I wasn’t.”
And then he sucker punched me with a heavy dose of reality by adding, “Andre’s death won’t go unnoticed and I’m afraid neither will you.”
Wasn’t he the party pooper?
“So what are you saying?” I asked, feeling the dread building up in my processed food filled gut. “That I need to hide out? For how long?”
Closing the distance between us, he put his hands on each of my shoulders and I automatically stiffened, getting the feeling that I wasn’t going to like what I was about to hear, when he answered, “For as long as it takes. Andre was…our political power structure…”
Sighing out of frustration, he dragged his hands down my arms to grab onto my own and dragged me to the couch with him.
And that was where I learned I’d unwittingly killed the vampire child of a vampire queen.