Chapter 2 – First Date
Sitting down at his desk in his Fangtasia office seemed strange, looking around and seeing things from several years ago and knowing that here they were new. Shaking off his sense of déjà vu for now, he set his mind to the problem at hand. He had told Pamela how his first meeting with Sookie had gone in his time and she had in turn told him of their first meeting in this world.
It would seem everything had gone the same until that fool Compton had first tried to declare her his own, according to Pam the moment the word mine had left Compton’s smarmy mouth, his Sookie had taken offense. She’d put Bill in his place in a way that Pam described as hilarious because it was done so politely. His southern Belle had informed him in her prim and proper tone, that he had no problem imagining since she usually used that same tone with him when she was accusing him of being high handed, that she belonged to no one but herself and if she wanted to do something neither him or anyone else on gods green earth besides her Gran could stop her.
He couldn’t hold back his smile wishing he had been able to see that. Now all he had to do was make certain that after this first date, she decided to go on another with him. Before he got to deep into planning their first date however there were other things to take care of first. Rene or Drew Marshall whatever his name may be, needed to be seen to before he killed his lovers beloved grand-mother.
While he had not known her well back then in his time, even he saw how the death of their beloved matriarch had affected both of the Stackhouse siblings, causing them to behave recklessly without her guidance. He needed to save the old woman and if he truly wished for his lover to look kindly upon him this time around, he needed to get in her Gran’s good graces.
He may not have been close to his lover during this time in their lives, having spent this time trying to discover her secrets and weather she was worthy of his attentions, but after deciding that Sookie was perfect for him he’d had Pam do a check on her life and tell him everything. He knew all about Drew Marshall’s reign of terror, how he’d not only killed Sookie’s Gran but had tried to kill his lover as well. That alone sealed his fate in his basement. He would offer the pathetic man to Pam as a sort of peace offering, or a gift for her loyalty.
Now he just needed to make his plans, because everyone knew whatever the Northman wanted, he always got.
Sookie could not believe what she had done last night. She had not meant to take the big blonde sex symbol up on his offer, but then that high handed idiot Bill had declared her his. She’d been so mad that she’d accepted the offer of a date to show both of them that she didn’t belong to him or anyone. Not that mister tall blonde and sexy hadn’t caught her attention already, he just wasn’t the kind of man she would usually go for. It was obvious to anyone with eyes that he was a player, but if her Gran had taught her anything, it was to never judge without first giving things a chance, so now she supposed she was going on a date with a vampire.
When she’d gotten home the night before and told her Gran all about the declaration made by their new neighbor, she’d been just as furious as Sookie herself had been. On the way home Bill had tried to explain his statement away saying that he’d only been attempting to protect her, which just seemed to set fire to her temper. How dare he just assume she’d needed protection, with those other three at his home she’d sort of understood they were attempting to possibly kill her, mister sexy was only asking if she was interested. Big difference between the two and if the civil war hero couldn’t see that he’d been out of the world a lot longer than he’d first said.
Deciding to put thoughts of Mr. Compton to the back of her mind she decided to focus instead on her upcoming date with Mr. Northman. He’d told her that the date itself was to be a surprise just that she should dress casually, more for comfort than presentation. She’d been so relieved by that, knowing that her best clothes would most likely not be up to par for anything formal.
Walking up the stairs she called out to her Gran that she was going to take a nap before it was time to get ready for her date. Her Gran’s giddiness at the fact that she actually had a date was both cute and slightly insulting, but if it made Gran happy… stifling a yawn she slipped into bed after seeing the alarm for three thirty in the afternoon. She smiled to herself as she began to drift off to sleep wonder what a date would be like where she didn’t hear every thought the man she was with was thinking. She hoped he behaved so she could enjoy it, but either way if was sure to be memorable.
Pam stared at her master who was distracted and agitated, neither of which were natural states for him. He was so nervous about messing up his impending date with Sookie she would have laughed if she hadn’t seen the worry in his eyes. He acted as though his very life was in this girls hands, and maybe in some ways it was. She knew from what he’d told her of the other world and everything that had happened there that this girl meant more to him than his own life.
After a time she began to see similarities between his situation with Sookie and hers with him. She’d lost her Eric just as he’d lost his Sookie, then she’d gotten him back in a way just as he was soon to regain his love, but there was where the similarities stopped at least for the time being. Eric had welcomed her into his life, treating her the same as he ever had, with Sookie there was a chance of rejection. Thinking about how she would have handled it had this new Eric rejected her sending her away from him and the life and connection she craved, she would have been devastated. Realizing that and understanding his anxiety kept her humor at bay. She just hoped this girl saw him for the wonderful man he was, and gave what they could have a chance. She would hate to have to harm someone who obviously meant so much to her maker.
Sookie was finally ready for the evening. She’d had trouble deciding on what to wear, going for comfort coupled with casual and cute was just not as easy as it might sound. But finally she’d picked a adorable light blue cowl neck shirt coupled with her favorite black pair of skinny jeans with the sparkly design down the legs. She left her hair down but put a hair tie in her jeans pocket just in case, she had considered some make-up but discarded the idea. Just as she was about to go downstairs to tell her Gran she would be leaving soon she heard a knock at the door. Grinning to herself she ran down the stairs telling her Gran she would get it, and opened the door.
Eric had searched his mind for hours and could not remember ever being as nervous as he was now. He continued to run through his plans over and over again in his mind until he very nearly drove himself mad with it. Glancing at the clock on the wall his mind froze momentarily, it was time to see his lover. Walking out of his office at Fangtasia on autopilot he made his way to his convertible and drove to his lovers home without much thought.
All he could think about was how light no matter how dim always managed to get caught in her golden hair giving her a sort of ethereal glow. Or how every time something touched the third toe on her right foot she would give a cute little squeak even if it was the barest touch, revealing just how ticklish she was. Or how if she loved you every time she saw you, no matter how angry she was with you at the time, for just a moment her entire face would light up as though she was just happy to see you before she would remember her ire and turn her smile quickly into her adorable little scowl that never intimidated anyone but her brother.
Finally pulling up to the Stackhouse residence his good mood faltered for a moment. On the porch stood his lover and Bill Compton, at first he thought she might be waiting to tell him that she’d changed her mind, a completely irrational thought, Sookie would never behave in such a disgraceful manner. Looking at her face as he exited his vehicle he saw the exact moment when she realized he was there and the relief on her face, it would seem Billy boy had not been invited, and whatever he was saying was causing his lover distress. Fighting to keep his fangs firmly retracted, he stepped forward as Bill turned to stand between Sookie and himself. Noting the look of annoyance Sookie aimed at Bill’s back and watching as her adorable little scowl fell into place, his heart lightened and he saw nothing but amusement in this entire situation.
Bring it on Billy boy for this time you will lose.
When she’d opened her door to find Bill standing before her with big puppy dog eyes she’d just been annoyed and to her mind rightfully so, now over twenty minutes later she was furious. How dare he stand there on her own front steps and try and tell her she didn’t know what she was doing, going out with Eric was her decision to make and he was insulting her by even suggesting that she was making the wrong choice.
He’d even gone so far as to blame her wrong thinking on her hormones, saying her pretty little head had been turned and now she wasn’t thinking straight. But have no fear the strong southern gentleman was here to show her the error of her ways.
She was about two more sentences away from hitting him, vampire or not, when she looked up at the sound of an approaching car and nearly sighed with relief. Eric was here, she bet Vikings were better at rescues than southern gentleman anyway. So she just stepped back to enjoy the show, when that idiot southern gentleman stepped between her and the Viking.
Bill had tried every tact he knew to try to get Sookie to see reason and cancel her date with the raunchy Swede. The Queen would not be happy if he had to report that Northman had gained access to her future pet. The main thing that would infuriate her, he knew was that there was nothing she could do about it. Having never made her intentions known to the Sheriff she could not cry foul, she could in fact be reprimanded herself for keeping things from her underling that effected his area.
Turning to place himself between the ditzy blonde barmaid he’d been sent to seduce and his sheriff was risky at best, suicidal at worst, but he wanted to be able to report that he’d done everything in his power to stop this from happening. The moment he looked into the powerful thousand year old vampire’s face he knew he’d made a mistake, and only hoped he’d be alive tomorrow to regret it. Squaring his shoulders he prepared to make the first move in what he saw as a battle of wills. As he opened his mouth to speak he was quickly put in his place.
“Ah, Billy boy, how nice to see you this evening. I’m going to assume that you are here to make amends to Ms. Stackhouse for your behavior yesterday in the form of an apology yes? Because I know as a proper southern gentleman you know that you behaved horribly, and you would of course wish to make up for it by giving her your stout support in whatever she may choose to do isn’t that so?”
He stared at the ground not wanting his Sheriff to see the rage in his eyes. How dare he reprimand him in front of a human. He knew he could not argue with the older vampire without placing his existence at even further risk, so instead he remained silent.
He bowed respectfully to his superior before slowly making his way back across the cemetery towards his dilapidated home. He could not wait until the Queen finally let him end his assignment here, and allowed him to leave this backwater town.
Eric could barely suppress his laughter as the fool left. He knew the younger vampires down cast eyes, were a vain attempt on his part to disguise his fury, but his anger was written all over his body. From his tense jaw down to his clenched fists he radiated anger, and the only thing that would make the Viking happier was when he finally saw him radiating pain and fear instead.
He fully intended to see the idiot punished for all of his wrong doings, the only one he would publicly claim of course would be his being in cahoots with the Queen behind his back. However, when he finally set about to torturing the smug little weasel it would be about so much more. He would pay for everything he had done to his lover in the other realm, even though he had not done so here, the fact that he had before only proved him capable of such things.
Turning his back to the retreating simpleton his eyes landed on his former, and hopefully; future lover and he had to fight not the lick his lips. She was amazing as always and he could not take his eyes off of her. Finally shaking himself from the stupor her beauty caused he slowly walked up the few steps of her porch to her side. Looking down into her eyes he had to fight not to kiss her, knowing that in this reality they had not known one another long enough yet for his southern beauty to allow such things.
“I hope Compton did not upset you Ms. Stackhouse.” He knew with her manners were a must so he refrained from using her given name without leave. He may be an opportunistic Viking, but that did not make him a total heathen.
“Not really, he did not have time to make me really mad before you got here. Please call me Sookie, not only should we leave off with formality since we’re going on a date, but surely such a valiant rescuer as yourself deserves such a small reward?”
The look on her face as she said the last, such a teasing carefree smile, he did not realize until that moment how much he’d missed her until then. Deciding to play along and see if he could once more hear her musical laughter, he stepped slightly closer to her and let a small smile play across his face.
“Surely the rescue of a maiden from such a dastardly fate as a prolonged conversation with one such as that buffoon calls for a greater reward than just the pleasure of her name.” He waited a moment for her to begin to build her anger as she read into the innuendo before continuing. “Let’s have a smile and we’ll call it even.”
As he thought it might the sudden playful impact of his words and his true meaning, surprised a smile and a laugh from his lover. She playfully spread her arms out as though spreading a skirt before dipping into a perfect curtsy.
“One should always repay one’s knight in shining armor. Well, Sir knight now that you have slayed the monstrous dragon of boredom, shall we be off.”
Her playfully saucy come back coupled with the surprise of her perfect curtsy that no lady of his acquaintance could do better, followed by the shock and pleasure he felt in hearing her refer to Compton as the ‘dragon of boredom’ made him smile and laugh. Taking her had he lead her down the porch steps to his red corvette. As he opened the passenger door for her and helped her in he thought again on all he and his Sookie had gone through together, before turning to round the car to his side.
In that moment he vowed to do all in his power to help this Sookie keep her playful side intact. Knowing that his Sookie had once been just this way before the weight of all of the pain and loss dragged her down, crushing her inner light forever.
Getting in the car he shook off the melancholy feelings caused by his maudlin thoughts and turned to his still laughing companion.
“Shall we begin our date dear Sookie?”
He had wanted tonight to be perfect. He’d had a bit of a time constraint in planning this, but he hoped his little southern goddess loved it all the same. His other self had told her to dress comfortably, most likely planning to just take her somewhere secluded for a drawn out fuck and feed. He however had gone for a bit of classy romance.
As they pulled up to the building that outwardly looked like any other office building he knew she was confused, she cocked her head a little to the side and scrunched up her cute little eyebrows like she used to do in his world every time he made a sexual comment that was just a little to subtle for her to get.
She would know in the back of her mind that what he was saying or doing was something sneaky, but couldn’t quite figure it out. So she’d give him the same look he was getting now and would just either wait for him to explain, or on the rare occasions no explanation was forthcoming she would just flip her hair like not getting what was going on around her didn’t bother her in the least and turn away from him. He would normally only hold back telling her something when he wanted a good look at her perfect backside, but that was neither here nor there. Now he was slightly stunned to see that look on this Sookie’s face, and all the memories it brought rushing back.
Shaking his head a little to clear it he realized that her expression had changed to one of mild concern since he’d been staring at her for so long without speaking.
“Trust me you will love this, and if you don’t I promise to let you choose what we do on our next date.”
“Our next date? So sure that I’ll want to go out with you again?” Now her look was nothing but pure feminine amusement. He quickly got out of the car and went around to her side to let her out as well. He knew that if he’d spent much longer sitting in a confined space with her, watching her as she teased him, he’d start teasing her starting with her mouth. That was not the first impression he wanted to make no matter how loud his mind was screaming at him that they would both enjoy it.
As they made their way to the private elevators he felt something he had not felt in so long that it took him more that a moment to identify the emotion for what it was. He Eric Northman, Viking God of women everywhere was nervous. While he’d had nearly every stunningly beautiful woman in existence, in every way possible he’d never been on an actual date before. He knew that if vampire’s could sweat he would be doing so at this moment.
Each ping of the elevator as they passed another floor drawing closer and closer to their intended destination frayed his nerves even further. As the elevator doors finally opened her gasp of shock followed quickly by her little girlish giggle of delight, put him back at ease.
He didn’t even know why he had been so nervous now, of course Sookie would love what he’d done, he was a natural at this dating stuff. His smirk of smug self confidence lasted only until Sookie turned towards him. When he looked into her eyes his nerves returned with a vengeance what if he did something to mess things up?
She’d thought for a minute that he’d taken her to one of his offices to screw her on his desk or something. For just a minute she’d started to believe that everything that Bill had told her about him was right. Then the elevator doors had opened to reveal… their own private eden. It was a rooftop garden, filled with all different kinds of flowers and plants. She didn’t even recognize over half of them.
She knew in that moment that she had been right to give him a chance. She’d just started to turn to ask him if he owned this place when she spotted a soft glow to her right. Turning towards it she saw a small round table with two candles sitting on it, on the floor near one of the table legs was a wicker picnic basket. Seeing that her heart melted, and she knew in that moment that she was falling in love with this man.
When she felt his hand slip softly into hers she smiled a little. The big bad viking was nervous. She didn’t know how she knew that, she just did and everything in her wanted to put him at ease.
“This is so beautiful, and romantic. No one has ever put this much thought into doing something for me. Thank you Eric.”
She saw him visibly relax at her praise and had to suppress her laughter. To think just a few words from her could change this man’s attitude so drastically. She turned to face him fully still holding his hand in hers for some reason reluctant to release him almost as though she were afraid he would disapear is she weren’t holding on to him.
“So what do we do first sir knight. Do we eat or stroll through the garden? I must warn you though when we do walk through the garden I will be peppering you with questions about what everything is.” She was so giddy with the prospect of learning new things, and just being with this man that she had to fight to keep from doing a little happy dance every time she looked around her.
“We can do whatever you like my angel. On the edge of the garden that way there is also a blanket for us to lay on and star gaze. This evening is for you, you say what we do and when.” As he spoke he had placed his hand on her cheek and it took all of her will power not to press herself into his touch. This man could be down right lethal to a girls self control.
“Alright how about we eat first, then we can wander the garden, and end with the star gazing.
“As you wish, my heart.”
As they sat at the table he began unpacking the picnic basket. Inside there was a three different sandwiches, four bags of chips, assorted drinks from juice to soda, two pieces of pie individually wrapped both chocolate and pecan, a small ceasar salad with chicken, and finally a vegetable wrap. When she’d looked up at him questioningly he’d explained that his childe Pam had filled the basket with what she termed as ‘date food’ that she’d seen in movies. The variety was because she hadn’t known what her favorites might be they had both wanted her to have a selection to choose from.
She smiled at that, the consideration he was showing her was so new and novel, she just got fuzzy feelings in the pit of her stomach every time she looked at him. It felt so nice not to be treated like ‘crazy sookie’ for once in her life. She chose the ceasar salad, with baked lays potato chips, apple juice, and pecan pie. While she ate they talked about little things, neither wanted to speak on anything meaningful at the moment.
She told him about Merlottes and how she’d met Bill. He told her about Fangtasia and about his childe Pam. By the time she’d finished eating they were both loose and comfortable in each others company. As they walked through the garden still speaking of small things like family or friends, she would occasionally stop when she saw something pretty, or even something strange looking and ask if he knew what it was. Of course he always not only knew what it was, but he also explained any and all uses for the plant, from medical to just aesthetically pleasing.
As they finally lay side by side on the blanket at the edge of the garden she felt a sort of contentment that she had never felt before in her life. As he was pointing out constellations to her and explaining where their names came from and the stories behind them she was lost in thought. This man, this viking, made her feel so alive. He was considerate of her needs, he put a lot of thought into this date, she felt so relaxed not having to keep her shields up at all. The more she thought about him the more she found to love about him. He was kind, generous, funny, smart, sexy, he was everything a girl could ever possibly want.
With that firmly in mind she built her courage and when he turned to her to say something else about the stars she leaned in and kissed him.
She was kissing him he couldn’t believe it. His Sookie had taken charge and kissed him in a sneak attack. One minute he was talking, the next second they were kissing. He would have to take his lover out on dates more often if this were the result. No wonder human men practiced the art of dating so regularly if doing so emboldened their women.
Being a Viking Vampire God meant he never had that problem before, he always took what he desired from his companions, be they male or female. Now with the woman he loved above all others, she was sweeping him away. NO! This was not how this was supposed to go, he knew that here and now she was still a virgin and he would not divest her of her chastity on a blanket spread across the cold stone floor of a rooftop. No the first time his lover was introduced to the art of love making would be at his home, surrounded by silk and ambiance. Not here, no matter what his groin and her wandering hands were voting for, he had the veto and he voted….
No! Yeah that’s right. No that’s the answer. But oh her hands felt so good gliding over the panes of his chest so hesitantly. He was good he could bring her such pleasure even here…. No! He would not take his lover here and now as though she were some… some fangbanger she deserved so much more. She deserved warmth and caring not some quick fuck on a hard floor. He would do things right this time around, there would be plenty of time later for his lover to explore her inner exhibitionist.
“Lover, we must stop. If we do not I fear we will both do something you’ll regret come dawn.” Tearing his lips away from hers was the hardest thing he’d done in a long time. His conviction that he was doing what was right for their relationship was a cold comfort that did nothing for the ache that filled his jeans.
She pulled back as well blinking several times to put her mind back to rights. She looked at her hands as though they were touching him without her permission or notice. Her delightful scowl was back into play for the second time that night, as she tried to understand what was happening. Her eyes widened to the point he thought it must have been uncomfortable, before she bit her lower lip and looked up at him sheepishly as though she thought he would condemn her for her actions.
He grinned at her in what he hoped was a reassuring manner before slowly taking her hands, that were still pressed against his chest, into his own and kissing each softly before placing them gently on her lap. His lover would learn soon enough that she could never do anything that would cause him to condemn her. Until then he had to make her understand that she had done nothing wrong, that he had in fact welcomed her advances.
“I must admit when I suggested star gazing I had hoped to steal a kiss from you, but you seem to have beaten me to it. If you’re going to be taking my role in this relationship I do believe I’ll just have to try harder to surprise you in the future. My darling girl, you are a delightful surprise aren’t you.”
She could not believe she had done such a thing. His words were light and his tone amused, which was better than the anger and accusation she had expected. However, she still did not know how to take his response. While his amusement did help to lighten the mood a little after their little make out session, laughter was not typically the response a girl looked for after a kiss.
Then again she had basically attacked him so maybe that was his way of telling her that he didn’t mind? Did she want him to mind? Oh how she wished she had a little more experience so she’d have something to compare this to.
Oh no! She hadn’t said anything since he’d broken their kiss. Had she waited too long? Would he be offended that she hadn’t responded or apologized? What if she said something and what she said was the wrong something to say, what would she do then? He had worked so hard at setting up this beautiful perfect evening and what did she do? She kissed him without any warning, and now she just sat here staring at him like a mentally defective statue. Come on Stackhouse use your words, use your words, say something, anything, before this entire night is ruined.
“Well, since I stole my kiss already would you like to steal yours? Just so we’re even.”
Oh my god! Why did she just say that? He’d given her an out and like an idiot she hadn’t taken it. No not her, she’d decided to invite more kissing. Oh no, what if he starts to think that kissing was all she thought about? What if he thinks that inviting kissing was inviting more than just kissing? Maybe if she just kept her mouth shut her foot wouldn’t be able to get back into it. Yeah that was a good plan.
“Not that you have to kiss me or anything. I was just trying to be fair. Not that me kissing you wasn’t fair cause it was.”
Apparently keeping silent was not something her motor mouth agreed with at the moment. Why was she making this worse? Alright she just needed to play it cool and …. Was he laughing?
He tried really hard to keep from laughing, he really did. He understood that she was nervous, and that she didn’t have any experience with dating. But the more she spoke the funnier it all became. He could even see her inner monologue in her expressive eyes. Every time she spoke her panicked eyes would glance in his direction, and he could see her telling herself to stop talking.
Now that his laughter was breaking free she was becoming more and more agitated and embarrassed he needed to think of something quickly before she bolted never to see him again.
“I agree your kissing me was more than fair. However I believe I’ll take a rain check on my kiss until the end of the night. After all the goodnight kiss as I understand it is the most important part of any date is it not.”
He watched her closely as she tried to decide for herself what her reaction should be. He hoped she chose to play along and let the awkwardness from earlier just fade. He did not want his lover to be self-conscious in his presence.
“Your right the last kiss of the night is by far the most important. But so is the first and I do believe your kiss will have to be something quite spectacular to beat mine. I’m not sure if you’re up to the challenge.”
Her playful mirth was back in full swing, his little vixen was teasing him. Not only that but she was questioning his prowess. That could not be allowed to stand. Very slowly and deliberately he brought his hand up to her face, moving carefully inch by inch, giving her ample time to stop him he moved towards her. Finally as their lips met, he took control of this kiss putting all of his built up passion into it. Calling on centuries of honed skill, as he drew back stunned at the passion in her that rose to the call of his own, she was breathless. Trying to keep the mood light, because he still refused to go any farther than a kiss, he spoke in a low lovers voice.
“I think that when the time comes I’ll be able to hold my own.”
Wow was not a good enough word for his kiss. He’d overtaken all of her senses, making her physically shake with need, and all with just a kiss. On the long ride towards her house and her Gran her mind continued to twist and turn. She knew she was diving into the deep end of things, but for some reason she could not seem to care.
As her home finally came into view, her nerves also made an encore appearance. What if she did something completely stupid at the last minute? Hopefully all would be well in her world for once, in a lifetime full of disappointment and heartache, she deserved this one moment of bliss didn’t she.
As they climbed the three steps to her porch together her heart began to pound in her chest. Her ears filled with the sound of it, ba-bum, ba-bum. As he took her hand in his, he leaned towards her and … stopped at her ear?
“I think I’ll be better at the first kiss of the evening than the last after all. Until we meet again Sookie Stackhouse, dream of me.”
With that he turned and walked away. Stepping inside on legs that felt too weak to hold her she fell against the door and closed her eyes. Who was that man, and more importantly when would she see him again.
It was a calculated move not to kiss her. He needed to keep her off balance, keep her guessing. He knew his Sookie better than anyone in the world, and he knew she would want to see him again if only to try and figure him out. She could not abide puzzles for long, her mind would twist and turn things until she understood what was happening, until her feet found solid ground again. Now he had so much to do before he called on her again. He needed to plan their next outing, arrange the apprehension of Drew Marshall, make plans for Bill and Sophie-Anne, prepare for the queens request that he sell V for her, and most importantly he needed to plan his introduction to Mrs. Adele Stackhouse.
He certainly had a lot to do in a short amount of time. Good thing he loved a challenge. Pulling into Fantasia’s parking lot he couldn’t stop the grin from stretching across his face, she loved him, or at least she was starting to. Meeting his childe’s gaze as he entered the bar he nearly laughed at the worry he saw in her eyes.
“So how did it go with, Mrs. Brighteyes?”
“Perfectly Pam, it went perfectly. Now there is something I need you to do for me.”
Oh yes he did love a challenge.