Sookie glares at Russell, “I’ll agree to protection during the daytime, but not him. You know damn well I want nothing to do with him,” Sookie says while angrily gesturing at Alcide.
Russell moves to Sookie, trying to placate her. “Now Peaches, I know you and Alcide aren’t exactly friends, but be reasonable about this. You need someone who is familiar with the Supe world in Mississippi; Alcide can provide that. You need someone who won’t arouse suspicions while looking for Lorena; Alcide can provide that. And the local Packmaster recommended him for the job when I said I needed more security. He is the best option for the job,” Russell says softly.
“Fine,” Sookie snarls, “but there are ground rules, Herveaux. You do not talk to me about anything of a personal nature. I don’t care to know about the details of your life, and I sure as hell do not want to discuss my life with you. You stay out of my way and let me work the way I know how. And most importantly, you do not touch me. You think you can remember that?” Sookie crosses her arms over her chest as she waits for his response.
Alcide smirks in Sookie’s direction. His eyes move up and down her body, lingering on her heaving chest. “There was a time you didn’t mind me touching you.”
Eric grabs Alcide by the shoulders and slams him against the wall. His fangs are out and he is growling. “You dare talk to my bonded that way?” Alcide is snarling at Eric in return and his eyes are taking on a yellow glow indicating that he is close to shifting.
“Your bonded?” Alcide stares at Sookie. “You bonded to this dumb shit fanger?” Eric slams Alcide against the wall again causing the plaster to crack and pieces of drywall fall to the ground.
“Eric,” Godric says from beside his son. “Release him.” Eric growls in frustration, but releases the wolf. Alcide smirks as he begins dusting plaster off his shoulders. However, he is slammed back against the wall and Godric’s diminutive body is in front of his.
“The only thing that stopped me from tearing you limb from limb years ago was Sookie. Something tells me she would not be so inclined to stop me this time,” Godric says with his fangs out. “Do we have an understanding, Mr. Herveaux?” Alcide nods his head in agreement. Godric releases the Were and steps back.
“I must return to Dallas,” Godric says to the room at large. He moves to Sookie and embraces her tightly. “You will keep me updated with your progress. I am only a short flight away if you should need me.” Godric pulls back from Sookie and smiles at her softly. He moves to stand in front of his progeny. “Try not to kill the wolf,” Godric says to Eric in Old Norse.
“I make no promises,” Eric responds in the same language. Eric inclines his head in a deep bow towards his maker. Godric nods respectfully in return. Godric bows respectfully towards the remaining occupants of the room. He glares at Alcide and vamps out of the room.
“Alcide, you will return to Jackson tonight. Tomorrow you will begin trying to pick up Lorena’s trail…discreetly of course. Sookie and Eric will join you in Jackson in a few days.” Alcide opens his mouth to argue with the King of Mississippi, but Russell silences him instantly. “You would do well to remember that you report to me, Wolf. You already have two old vampires ready to tear you apart; are you so sure you want to add a third to that list?” Russell’s fangs snap down as he finishes speaking. Alcide leaves the room without further comment.
“Did you know he was coming?” Sookie demands of her aunt when Alcide is out of earshot.
The Ancient Pythoness looks displeased. “I did not. You know I do not see everything. But I must say that I find his sudden reappearance in your life curious. Be wary of him,” she cautions.
Sookie nods her head. She turns to Eric and they bid goodnight to the two elder vampires. She hugs her grandfather and great-grandfather; Eric nods respectfully at both. The couple rushes out of the room leaving the two Fae with the two vampires.
The Ancient Pythoness stares at Russell lost in thought. Although he has been a vampire for more than three thousand years, he feels the urge to fidget under her intense stare. “What?” he blurts out.
“You said the Packmaster recommended Herveaux for the job. Who is the Packmaster in Jackson?”
“Colonel Flood. He’s been Packmaster for nearly twenty years. He is more tolerable than most,” Russell states.
“Something does not feel right about all this,” the Ancient Pythoness murmurs.
Niall nods in agreement. “I will send Claudine to watch over her,” he offers.
The Ancient Pythoness nods absentmindedly. “And what of the young fool that tried to attack Eric at the funeral?”
Fintan speaks up, “He is not talking. Preston has expressed interest in Sookie from the moment he met her, but she has never reciprocated. He seems almost obsessive in his desire to have her.”
“Keep him locked up,” the Ancient Pythoness commands. “I want him watched. Too many oddities are happening at the same time to be a mere coincidence.”
Eric and Sookie return to his home in Shreveport. They did not speak on the return trip to his home, both lost in their thoughts. Eric tries probing their bond several times to find out how Sookie is feeling, but he cannot feel anything from her. She had shut down their bond the moment she had seen the Were. He does not know how she is doing this. Usually only the vampire can control the bond until the third exchange. Perhaps it is due to her Fae heritage that she is able to exert control over their bond. He worries about what she is hiding from him. Does she still have feelings for the dog? It is obvious from the mutt’s comments that he had a relationship with Sookie. It is also obvious from Sookie’s surly attitude that things did not end amicably.
Sookie moves to the kitchen to fix something to eat. She is still silent. With a sense of resignation, Eric moves to his office to work on his sheriff duties as well as check on his businesses. He checks his email and responds to the few he has from vampires in his area. There are two requests for new vampires to move to his area. Although his area doesn’t have the appeal of a large city like New Orleans, his area has the most vampires in the state of Louisiana and is the most profitable. Others respect him for being a fair leader as well as an astute businessman. He will need to meet with Pam to discuss her covering for him again while he leaves the area. He feels guilty adding this to her burdens; she is already covering for him at Fangtasia as well as fostering Jessica. He knows that all of this will cost him a small fortune in addition to the money she spent last night on their shopping trip.
“Fuck!” Eric whips out his cell and dials Pam. She answers after the first ring. “You will return my credit card this evening and you will stop buying anything else with it from this moment forward.”
“Fine,” Pam grumbles. Eric can feel through the maker/child bond that she is up to something even though she grudgingly agreed to his order. He admires her cunning, and chuckles as he starts speaking again.
“You will also not glamour any humans to shop for you using my credit card. Furthermore, Jessica will not shop for you using my credit card. The Bank of Northman is closed for the evening,” Eric smirks.
Pam gasps in outrage; he figured out exactly what her plan was. He smiles knowing if he were with her, she would be stomping her foot in anger. “You can be a cold-hearted bastard,” she spits out before hanging up the phone.
“I didn’t realize a vampire was anything other than cold-hearted,” Sookie says as she leans against the door of his office. She gives him a small smile, “After all, y’all are dead.”
Eric stares at Sookie without blinking, his face giving away nothing. She sighs and walks in his office. She moves towards him and climbs on his lap. Her legs dangle over the side of the chair, her hands folded in her lap, and her head rests against his non-beating heart. “What do you want to know?”
“What is the Were to you?” Eric rests his cheek on Sookie’s head. His left hand plays with the ends of her hair, his right hand moving across her lap to hold her hip.
“We met while I was attending Ole Miss; we had a few classes together. We flirted a lot. Eventually, he asked me on a date. We dated for almost three years. Things ended badly,” Sookie states flatly.
Sookie finishes the last exam of her collegiate career with a smile. She gathers her items and moves down the aisle to turn in her blue book with the teacher’s assistant. She walks quickly out of the classroom and then out of the English building. Once outside, she closes her eyes and breathes deeply of the spring air. She opens her eyes as she exhales. She begins the trek to her dorm room. It’s a beautiful spring day, so she takes her time walking around campus. This has been her home for the last four years, and part of her is sad to be leaving. She has made a lot of friends during her time here, and she will miss everyone. But she is excited to begin her life.
Sookie arrives in her room, but finds her roommate hasn’t returned from her exam yet. She doesn’t want to stay in the room by herself; she feels like celebrating. Besides, the room looks depressing given that she and her roommate have both packed all of their belongings and intend to leave tomorrow. Grabbing her purse and keys, Sookie decides to go see her boyfriend.
She heads for the office of Herveaux and Son, the company her boyfriend works for. Sookie had met Alcide when she was a freshman; they had been in the same English and communications classes. Alcide was a senior that was finishing up his general education requirements. Whenever they had to partner off in class, he was her partner. Alcide had flirted with her the minute he laid eyes on her and she flirted back. When they began dating, it was intense and very passionate. Even when Alcide graduated, they continued dating. Alcide wanted her to move in with him, but she wanted to live on campus. She wanted to experience college fully.
Alcide had tried to hide from her that he was a Were. The first full moon of their relationship, he had tried to tell her that he was going out of town on business a few days with his dad. Sookie, knowing he was lying, called him on it. While Alcide floundered to think of other plausible excuses, Sookie shot down every one of them before he could give them voice. His eyes widened as she explained to him about her telepathy. He admitted it was nice to be with a non-Were that understood what he was; he didn’t have to lie or hide anything.
The only issue between them was her association with vampires. Sookie never explained to Alcide how she grew up , merely telling him that her parents had died when she was young. She let him assume her grandparents had raised her. He couldn’t understand why she willingly worked for the vampires. Alcide had gone with her on several occasions when Russell had summoned her to his complex. He watched over her like a bodyguard, never interfering with her work, but never approving either.
They had been together for a little over two years when Alcide first met Godric at the Mississippi compound. Godric was visiting to discuss a business venture with Russell. When Alcide got a whiff of Godric, he immediately shifted and tried to attack the vampire. Godric smelled like Sookie and vice versa. Alcide thought Sookie was cheating on him with the vampire. Godric threw Alcide across the room, but Alcide quickly recovered. The two fought for several minutes until Sookie came in the room demanding to know what the problem was. Alcide shifted back to his human form and accused Sookie of cheating with Godric. The usually stoic vampire started laughing, and Sookie turned ten different shades of red. She explained to Alcide about growing up in Dallas, how she viewed Godric as her father. Alcide was dumbfounded and angry; he shifted back to his wolf form and bounded out of the compound.
Sookie cried on Godric’s shoulder all night. Being a typical father, Godric offered to tear Alcide limb from limb for hurting his daughter. Sookie told him no; she wasn’t sure if it was an empty platitude or if he would truly do it. Godric escorted Sookie back to her dorm and she made her way dejectedly up the stairs to her room. She found Alcide siting outside her room. They had stared at each other silently for several minutes before Alcide opened his arms to her. She moved into them swiftly and started crying, apologizing for keeping secrets from him. Alcide soothed her and apologized also. He said he couldn’t blame her for her secrets; everyone had secrets.
Those words turned out to be prophetic. While Alcide and Sookie recovered from their fight, there was a shift in their relationship. Sookie thought it was perhaps just because she was busy with her last year of school. There was a distance between them that she didn’t understand; he seemed to be pulling further and further away from her. When she tried to ask him about it, he just brushed her off, saying he was tired; work and pack matters were stressful. He spent a lot of time on his phone when they were together. When she asked him what he was doing, he would say it was work related. They saw each other less and less; her because of school obligations, him because of the pack. And the biggest change in their relationship was the lack of sex. Before the fight, sex between the two of them had been frequent and intense; they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. Now, if they had sex, it seemed almost robotic. Sookie hopes that with school now finished, she and Alcide will be able to get back on track.
Sookie arrives in the parking lot of Herveaux and Son. She walks quickly in the office and smiles at the secretary. “Hello, Helen. Is Alcide around?”
The secretary smiles in return. “No dear, he said he was going home. He said he had big plans for tonight,” she says giving Sookie a wink.
Sookie thanks the woman and makes her way back to her car. Twenty minutes later she is pulling up to Alcide’s apartment. Using her key, she makes her way in the building and takes the elevator to the fifth floor. When the elevator doors open, Sookie slumps to the side. Someone’s thoughts are rushing over her like a freight train. Someone is thinking of sex, which is not unusual. What is unusual is the vicious edge to the thoughts. Sookie stumbles her way out of the elevator and can hear the grunts and moans of a couple having sex. The woman is a broadcaster; her thoughts are coming in loud and clear to Sookie. Her eyes fill with tears as she realizes what she is hearing, but then her tears quickly turn to rage. She storms down the hallway and checks to see if Alcide’s door is locked. It isn’t so she flings the door open, causing it to bang against the wall. There on the couch is a naked Alcide with his ex-girlfriend, Debbie Pelt, astride him, bouncing up and down like she is on a pogo stick. Alcide’s eyes widen in horror as he sees Sookie. Debbie doesn’t stop her movement; she turns to look over her shoulder and gives Sookie a smug smile.
Eric wraps his arms tightly around Sookie after she finishes her story. “I’m sorry he hurt you Lover.”
Sookie exhales loudly in his arms. “I think I was mad more than anything. Yes, I was hurt, but I got over it quickly. I knew all along that Alcide wasn’t the one for me long-term. I always held a part of myself back; I never even told him I was part Fae,” she says with a rueful smile on her face.
Eric pulls her even closer hearing the truth in her words, as well as feeling the truth of them in the bond. During her story, she had opened the bond between them so he felt all of her emotions. She had remained detached for most of it; her primary emotion was anger as she told him how it ended. But now, all he could feel was her happiness at being in his arms. “Lover, why did you close our bond earlier? I did not like not being able to feel you,” Eric says solemnly.
She sits back and looks at him wide-eyed. “I did? I didn’t know I could do that! When did it happen?”
“Right when the mutt came in the meeting room. You slammed the bond shut when he greeted you,” Eric says as he presses soft kisses along her hands.
“That makes sense,” she says. At Eric’s raised eyebrow she continues, “I pulled my shields up to block his thoughts from me. He was thinking directly at me, remembering our time together, thinking about how good I looked now, and how he was hoping we could pick up where we left off. As if I would be that stupid to repeat my mistakes,” Sookie says with disgust.
Eric pulls her back in his arms and rests his forehead against hers. “I thought you still had feelings for him, and that is why you were blocking me.”
Sookie cups Eric’s face in her hands and brushes her lips against his tenderly. She smiles softly as she whispers, “Silly Viking. I love you. Why would I have feelings for anyone else?”