Dust Bunnies and Christmas Presents: Chapter 1

Naughty or Nice Contest

Title: Dust Bunnies and Christmas Presents

Your Pen name: Thyra10

Beta’d by: The amazingRascalthemutant

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or anything else from the Southern Vampire Mysteries. Charlaine Harris does. I just took them home with me for Christmas.


“Fuck, fuck, fuck.”

I usually didn`t use that kind of language, but I felt entitled to mumble it while hammering on my computer keyboard. I had been a fool of gigantic proportions and now the prize was no vacant seats on the planes going home – and me having to celebrate Christmas in this butt-freezing country.

Who would voluntarily live in a country with temperatures that would make the snot in your nose freeze every time you drew a breath?

My mouth and brain were full of words that would make Gran turn in her grave and should have made me blush. Instead I flushed from anger. My face could produce many shades of red and now I was sure it was the deepest tone it could muster.

I was wrong. When I had a warm hand on my shoulder and a deep voice in my ear, my internal face-painters found some buckets of purple.

I had noticed him when I entered the café. He was tall, blond and handsome and was one of the only positive sides this freezing cold country had. The men. Not that I was staring, but a girl has eyes, right? Even an angry… no, devastated girl.

Yes, I had seen him, but I wasn`t interested in pursuing anything. I just wanted to find a seat on an airplane home. NOW. Furthermore he was way too young for me.

“What`s wrong?” he asked in that charming accent they have here.

I melted just a little bit, but then I huffed. This was not the time for me to be charmed by some youngster.

“Why do you ask?” I said, trying to dismiss him. I wanted my own personal space and he was invading.

“I felt sorry for your keyboard. Those sweet little letters seem so innocent and yet you punish them for something. What have they done to you?”

I stared at him. I realized he was trying to be funny and somewhere inside me I wanted to smile. I just couldn`t.

“I want to go home and the planes are full.” I was surprised. Why had I answered his question?

“And home is…?”

“Louisiana.” I looked at him. “USA,” I continued.

“I know where Louisiana is. I`ve been there.”

I couldn`t help smiling a little. “Really? Where?”

“New Orleans. It was before Katrina and it was really amazing. I cried when I saw the news about the hurricane. It was so sad.”

Without me really noticing, he sat down at my table.

“Yes, it was.” I answered.

“And now you want to go home?” When I nodded, he continued. “Why are you here in the first place?”

That question made me huff and sad images came rolling through my brain. Before I could stop myself, tears flowed to my eyes. I didn`t want to cry in front of a stranger. I just wanted to crawl into a little hole and stay there until the world had turned into a better place. Which would be as soon as the earth had decided to swallow Bill and make me forget he ever existed.

If I could travel back in time, I would have traveled to the moment Bill and I met each other and I convinced myself of turning in the other direction. Or maybe to when Mr. and Mrs. Compton were young so I could have taught them the joys of life without kids.

I looked up and met some very blue and very worried eyes.

“I`m sorry,” I whispered. “I don`t want to trouble you with my problems.” I looked over at his table as if I could will him to go back to it.

He smiled. “What kind of person would I be if I didn`t help out when I saw someone in trouble?”

I looked at him. “A normal person?” I looked away to make it seem less like an insult.

He laughed. It was a nice laughter. Carefree and gentle. “I suppose so.”

I felt his eyes on me and when I looked back, he gave me a little smile as to encourage me to say something.

I sighed. It was as if something inside me burst and everything poured out. I had to work hard to keep my composure, but I couldn`t keep my mouth shut.

“My husband lives and works here and I was to visit him for Christmas. However I came a day too early and surprised him in bed with his mistress. Now I just want to go home.” My hand flew up to stop my mouth from ranting and I felt my eyes fill up again. “I`m sorry. This is not your concern.”

I started gathering my suitcase and purse, but was stopped by a long arm over the table.

“Sit down,” a voice much more sincere and mature than the guy holding it, said. “You are not going anywhere until I`m sure you are fine.”

I sat down again with a `humph` and noticed that his hand had gone from my shoulder to my wrist. Soon I had my small hand under his huge one. It felt way too good.

I was not brought up to hold hands with strangers. Not even good-looking strangers. Especially not good-looking strangers.

I pulled my hand away and we sat in an uncomfortable silence for what seemed like hours, but probably just was minutes.

“I`m Eric Northman,” he said out of the blue and looked at me.

“Sookie Stackhouse.”

“Sookie Stackhouse, Louisiana, USA.” He seemed to taste my name like fine wine. “So what do you do when you are not being harassed by the locals in foreign cafes?”

I had to smile. “I`m a writer.” He looked way too interested in my profession, so I continued. “You have probably never read me. I write romance and action, you know vampires and werewolves and that sort of thing. Almost exclusively female readers.”

“Really? You`re not that woman who wrote those very popular books, hmmm Moonlight was it?”

“Twilight? Oh no, I don`t have that amount of readers. And my heroine is older and more mature.”

Eric grinned. “So maturity and age go hand in hand?” He had apparently spotted the difference in our ages too.

“Of course,” I teased. “Every year you are given two inches of maturity. The longer you`ve lived, the more mature. You didn`t know that?”

“Nah. Apparently the maturity-fairies skipped my house a couple of years.” His grin was wide now. Daring me.

“Or you are just too young to have received any maturity at all?”

“Not much younger than you, judged by the maturity level we both are at.” He winked at me.

I was looking for a great come-back when a waitress came over and rescued me from the embarrassment of not having anything witty to say.

The waitress said something I didn`t understand, but I assumed she was asking if we wanted anything else. She smiled at Eric and hardly noticed me – and I couldn`t blame her. He was the kind of guy who has women of all ages drooling. He was very handsome, but guys can be good-looking and still no one notices them. Eric had a lot of charm too. He had it painted all over him with a little hint of danger behind his gentle eyes.

I quickly looked away. If age hasn`t granted me maturity, it has certainly taught me never to reveal infatuations. Not that I was infatuated by Eric, of course. I had only just met him – and I still had the visuals of Bill`s white butt going up and down between a pair of female thighs.

Nausea hit me and I ran for the restrooms. I barely made it before my lunch made a second appearance. I was still crouched with my head in the toilet, when I heard a voice behind me.

“Are you ok?”

Isn`t that the silliest question to ask someone busy throwing up everything but their intestines? I was about to make a snappy comment, but forfeited. Partly because I didn`t have the energy and partly because he was stroking my hair so gently it made me sigh slightly.

I tried to get up and he helped me. He quickly got a few napkins wet and started to wash my face. This was a definite low point of my life. First Bill and now some kid wiping puke from my face. I wanted to get out, go home, be somewhere else.

Eric could apparently read my mind because his grip on my arm tightened.

“You are coming to my apartment to lie down,” he said in a way that wasn`t open for debate. So I complied.

He steadied me and we got out into the café, grabbed my suitcase and were out of the door before I had thought it through. Outside the biting cold cleared my mind.

“Thank you for your help. I`ll just find a hotel and be out of your hair.”

“As you can see, I have plenty of room for you in my hair,” he shook his head and his long blond hair looked like a shampoo commercial. “And you are going nowhere. I came over to your table because you intrigued me. Now I`m worried.”

“Great,” I said, rolling my eyes. I had turned a young hottie from potential lover (yeah, as if) into a big brother.

We walked in silence for a couple of minutes until we came to the door to where Eric lived. He unlocked and we walked up the stairs to his apartment. I did not want to enter, but I did.

I walked in and I couldn`t help giggling a little. He had certainly not planned on company. It was a studio apartment so in one look I saw the dirty dishes in the sink, the clothes scattered around the bed and the books and magazines in piles around the couch.

“Your maid hasn`t been in today?” I couldn`t help myself.

Eric blushed a cute pink color.

He rushed in and started to clear the couch for me to sit on, then threw all the clothes on the floor into the closet. After that he frantically washed his dishes and I secretly vowed not to eat off any of them. He was truly a slob and I mentally knocked a few more years off his age. No one on my side of 30 would live in a pig sty like this.

I got up and started helping him clear things up. I went to find a rag and washed tables and shelves. It made me feel like Eric`s mother, but I figured I had to do it if I didn`t want to catch some advanced disease.

I picked up a broom and made my way towards his bed when Eric rushed through the room, soap bubbles running down his arms.

“Let me clear under the bed, Sookie.”

“Afraid I would find your dirty magazines,” I laughed. I had no idea what had gotten into me.

“No. Just worried the dust bunnies would be dangerous for a woman of your size. They are probably huge and lethal.”

“Dust bunnies?” I snickered.

“Ah, that`s our word for the mean creatures under the bed of slobby, single guys,” he laughed.

“Ok, Sir Northman. Go kill those dust bunnies and save a lady in distress.”

Two hours later his little studio apartment had been sanitized and we sat down with the coffee Eric had made. Suddenly my stomach started growling. I was starving, which was no wonder since I had effectively lost everything I had eaten that day.

“I`ll call for a pizza,” Eric offered.

“I can cook if you have something in your refrigerator.”

“Ah, sorry. I`m really not the domestic type. I only have coffee and a couple of vitamins.”

An hour later we were both stuffing ourselves with pizza with double cheese and all the trimmings.

“So how do you feel now?” Eric had stopped eating and his blue eyes scrutinized my face.

We had been having a good time with the cleaning and eating and I suddenly realized that I was okay. I had seen my husband having sex with his mistress this morning – and I was just fine. I told Eric and he was thrilled.

I got up. “I suppose your job is done now so I`ll find myself a nice hotel. Thank you for cheering me up.”

Eric`s smile left his face.

“Oh, no no no.” His hand was on my upper arm. “You may have some late reactions. You are traumatized, remember?”

“Who gave you the degree in psychology?”

“Actually I did take psychology classes at nursing school.” He smiled his trademark smile.

“You`re a nurse?” I was surprised. I shouldn`t be, of course. Men could be nurses.

“I will be. This summer.”

“You`re still in school?” I mentally knocked a couple of years off his age again.

“Yeah. I took some years off after high school and travelled the world.”

I un-knocked the years and my relief surprised me.

“So why nursing school?” I asked.

Eric laughed. “Everyone told me there were no male nurses so I figured I would have all the women to myself. Only, I never thought of all the handsome doctors.”

I laughed so hard, tears were rolling down my cheeks. “So you regret your choice?”

“No. It gives me the training so I can meet serious cases like your sweet self in a professional and orderly manner.”

“You are planning on a career in geriatrics?” I laughed, but Eric`s laughter died.

“What are you talking about? You`re not old.”

I didn`t feel old, but you know how it is when people tell you that you are not fat and it makes you feel like you weigh a ton? I suddenly felt like my own grandmother.

“I think we`re a perfect fit,” he declared.

I was stunned.

“Are you trying to hit on me?”

“Yeah. Am I successful?”

I just gaped. “Eric. This morning I saw my husband`s hairy butt going up and down between legs that weren`t mine. You and I wouldn`t happen even if we were born on the same year.”

Eric was quiet for a minute or two. Then he looked back at me.

“That just means you`ll have to stay here until you are over your husband`s hairy butt.”

“I can`t stay here. I hardly know you.”

“Where is your sense of adventure? You`re a writer and you write romance. Allow yourself some of it.”

I couldn`t help laughing. “Does that really work on girls your age?”

Eric was annoyed. “Stop the age-thing. I like you and I`m attracted to you and I couldn`t care less if you`re 20 or 40.”

“And you are a handsome and charming guy, but it`s just not enough.”

There was an uncomfortable silence. Then Eric spoke.

“Then consider this research for your next novel. I`m the old vampire soul captured in a young body and you are the hot girl….”

“Woman,” I corrected.

“…woman he just has to have.”

I looked at him and my sense of adventure began to grow.

“Oh, what the hell. I can`t get a plane home, so what do I have to lose?”

Eric looked thrilled. “You have just put me in the Christmas spirit, Sookie.”

“No, no, no. We can`t celebrate Christmas together. I`m sure you have a family you want to celebrate with and I`m not in the habit of singing my Christmas carols with total strangers.”

A hard look came over Eric`s face, but disappeared so fast I wasn`t even sure I had seen it. He got up and started clearing the table. His face was expressionless, but I could see he was hurt.

“Look, I`m sorry. I didn`t mean to offend you. It`s just that Christmas is the holiday for families and I don`t want to impose on you.”

He leaned back on the kitchen table and looked at me. I felt the fjords and the icy sky flowing from his eyes.

“You`re not imposing. I was planning on spending Christmas alone so you would be doing me a favor by sharing it with me,” he finally said. “My parents died a couple of years ago and this is my first Christmas back home since it happened.”

I felt awful for him. “I`m sorry.” I didn`t know what to do. If he had been less sexy, I would have given him a hug, but I just couldn`t now.

I was lost for words and I didn`t know where to go from here. I should have been looking for a hotel, but I couldn`t leave him like this.

Eric drew a breath and his fingers went absentmindedly through his hair. He had lost his usual cool and gave me a shy smile.

“I`m really a downer, huh?” he said. “You know, I can understand why you would think it weird to be invited for Christmas with a total stranger and if you want, you can leave. It`s just… I like you and I would love to show you our local Christmas traditions.”

That ignited something in me. Maybe it was my sense of adventure, maybe it was pity, maybe something else entirely, but I ended up flashing him a huge smile and saying. “I would love to spend Christmas with you.”

If I was worried about touching Eric, he had no problems with physical contact. Before I could stop him, I was swung around in a hug any bear would be proud of.

He sat me down and started gathering the dirty laundry he had thrown into his cabinet and pulling the sheets from his bed. It all went into a huge backpack and he grabbed his jacket and put on his boots.

“I need to wash my clothes and buy some things for Christmas. I won`t buy the Christmas food until tomorrow, but I have a sore lack of Christmas ornaments and Christmas cookies and that just won`t do. I`ll be right back.” He was half-way out the door before I managed to stop him.

“I`ll come with you,” I said.

Xxxx

Three hours later we were home, giggling and carrying an obnoxious number of what he called `nisser`; little figures in all kinds of material of men and women with red clothes and Santa-hats. We also had Christmas lights for the window, Christmas table cloths, Christmas bed linen and enough Christmas candles to start a small fire.

And we had seven different kinds of cookies. According to Eric, you had to have seven kinds. Or 14 if you were ambitious.

“It`s just a shame we had to buy the cookies. They really should be home-baked,” Eric sighed when he put the cookies in the cabinet. I was more worried about eating them all and was already envisioning a huge diet when I got home.

Eric turned into the Tasmanian Devil and before I could blink, he had the whole apartment turned into Santa`s workshop. It was way over the top, but he claimed all houses looked like that at Christmas time.

When it was time to go to sleep, I suddenly understood that I had been railroaded into spending the night in Eric`s apartment. An apartment with one bed and no guest rooms.

“Don`t worry. I`ll sleep on the couch. This is about you celebrating Christmas here, not us having sex.” He looked like a little angel, saying that, but the halo disappeared. “Of course, feel free to jump my bones at any time,” he grinned. “Christmas isn`t about sex, but I wouldn`t hold it against you if you wanted to include it.”

“I think I`ll settle for the seven kinds of cookies, Eric,” I answered him dryly.

With a sense of adventure, I crept under the Rudolph the raindeer-covers on Eric`s bed. I felt slightly bad about Eric having to sleep in his sleeping bag on his couch, but he assured me it was perfect. A slight snoring from that area of the apartment convinced me I wasn`t stealing his sleep even if I had occupied his bed.

Xxxx

Apparently shopping for food for Christmas was a task everyone had for December 23rd. Or `Littlechristmaseve` as Eric claimed `lillejulaften` meant. Eric had written a shopping list that was shockingly long, but wouldn`t listen to reason when I tried to shorten it.

Eric had given me a long lecture on how lucky I was to have met him, and not one of his countrymen, because I could easily have run into someone who would consider rotten fish, smoked sheep ribs or, and I swallowed hard when he showed me pictures of it online, half a sheep`s head, complete with tongue and everything.

Apparently Eric`s family had settled for `ribbe`, which was pork ribs with crusted fat on the top, as their food of tradition. We were also to eat sausages and meatballs as `ribbe` couldn`t be eaten alone. Not to mention the red cabbage, the sour cabbage, the sour jelly and the potatoes we were to stuff ourselves with.

I had offered to pay since I undoubtedly earned more money than a student in the art of nursing, but that almost offended Eric. “You are my guest,” he had declared and that had been the end of that discussion.

We had barely put the food away before Eric said that we needed a Christmas tree. I laughed because I could not see where that would fit in his tiny apartment, but I still went with him to help carry it.

We were in a good mood, laughing and joking all the way down to the local lot where a guy was selling trees of all sizes and prices.

Suddenly I stopped dead in my tracks. I would have recognized the dark hair, the pale skin and the Southern accent anywhere. I had, after all, been married to the owner the last ten years. Unfortunately Bill turned around just when I was looking for a place to hide.

“Sookie?” he asked with surprise in his voice.

“Hi Bill,” I coughed out.

Eric looked at me and then at Bill. Suddenly I felt an arm snake its way around my waist.

“Is that the shitty excuse for a husband of yours?” he asked and I could have kissed him. Bill`s face crumbled and even if I`m a `turn the other cheek`-kind of girl, revenge had a sweet taste just then.

“Excuse me?” Bill was offended and the inner Sookie danced a dance of victory.

“A bit late for excuses, don`t you think?” Eric continued. He was voicing my thoughts, which was lucky because I would not have been able to speak if my life depended on it. “But never mind. Your loss is my gain. So I should thank you. I would never have met this wonderful woman if you had treated her right.”

I stared at him. As much as I appreciated him verbally knocking down Bill, enough was enough. I was a grown up woman and should be able to speak for myself.

“We are a bit busy, Bill, so we`ll just have to talk at another time. I`ll file for divorce when I get back home and then we can put it all behind us.”

“You would just throw away ten years like that?” Bill had apparently expected a different reaction to his infidelity. “A boy-toy lover and you forget your husband?”

It was lucky that Eric held on to me because it would have been sad to have spent Christmas in jail for assault. Or manslaughter. My only weapon was my tongue, unfortunately.

“My personal life became none of your business when you decided to screw that…”

“Are you coming, Bill?” As if on cue, a brown-haired woman came over to Bill. Since I couldn`t see her pale, naked legs now, I could not be sure this was the woman I had caught Bill with, but I was willing to bet it was. “Who are you?” she looked at us.

“I`m Bill`s wife. Nice to meet you.” I stuck out my hand to her. If you plan on being sarcastic, you might as well go all the way.

“And I`m her boy-toy lover,” Eric said with a smile.

The woman blushed and she and Bill were suddenly in a hurry to get away.

Eric and I decided on the largest Christmas tree on the lot. We felt the need to have the grandest celebration we could have. Never mind if it would take up most of Eric`s apartment.

The rest of `Littlechristmaseve` disappeared in a haze of tree decorating, Christmas preparations and drinking of gløgg, which was a warm and spicy drink with alcohol, raisins and nuts. It tasted great, but we were both pretty tipsy after the first cup. After four, we were dead drunk and went to sleep.

Xxxx

A very sweet smell woke me up on the 24th. When I opened my eyes, Eric was at the stove, looking very focused.

“Good morning,” I yawned.

“Good afternoon,” he teased, staring at the pot he was stirring, and I looked at my watch. It was 1 pm. How had that happened?

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I`m making hmmm I`m not sure what it`s called, but it`s sort of a porridge out of rice. And I don`t want to burn the milk.”

“Rice pudding?”

Eric looked at me. “No, not really. We often have it for dinner here and on Christmas Eve we have it for lunch. We put an almond in it and the one getting the almond receives a present.”

“Really?” I got up. It isn`t easy to change clothes in a studio apartment if you don`t want the other person in it to see you naked, so I headed for the bathroom.

Eric had had no such problems, claiming that nudity was totally normal for Scandinavians. So I had to look away every time he changed. At least I had managed to make him sleep in his underpants. Pajamas were out of the question since he didn`t have any. Why would he since he always slept bare? Or so he claimed.

When I came out, freshly showered and wearing a Christmasy red dress, Eric was setting the table.

“Do you want a butter hole?” he asked.

I laughed. “A butter hole?”

“Yes, I always put a spoon of butter in the middle of the bowl before I pour the porridge. It`s good.”

“Ok, I`m adventurous. Give me a butter hole,” I smiled.

“We also put cinnamon and sugar on it.”

“I`ll take it the way you eat it. Just make sure I get the almond.”

As it turned out halfway through my bowl, Eric had done what I asked him to. The almond was mine and I screamed like a little child. “Yay! I got the almond.”

Eric laughed. “You were supposed to hide the almond until everyone had had three helpings, looking for it. But you should certainly get your present.”

He walked over to the kitchen cabinet where he found something in red paper. I opened it and stared. A marzipan pig with a red bow.

“It`s tradition,” Eric answered my unasked question. “Always a marzipan pig for the one winning the almond-prize.”

We ate the rest of the porridge and then we ate the pig. Eric handed me some gløgg and put on the television.

“We have to see Disney Christmas and `Three Nuts for Cinderella`,” he exclaimed as he sat down next to me on the couch.

“Three Nuts for Cinderella?”

“It`s a Czech movie from the `70s. We watch it every year and I guarantee you`ll love it!”

If anyone had told me a week ago I would love an old Czech movie about Cinderella, I would have laughed hard, but I did. This Cinderella was fun, charming and tough. And the movie was very romantic.

I smiled and a little sigh escaped my lips when it was finished.

“I told you you`d love it.” Eric was pretty excited and I must admit that the Christmas spirit came to me just then. Which was amazing considering what Bill had put me through.

“Yes, you did. You know what? I`m really glad I stayed here. Thank you, Eric.” I gave him a hug, but pulled back when he started caressing my back.

He coughed slightly and I detected a small blush.

“I`ll start on the food. I`ve never done this before, but I`ve found some pretty good recipes online and how hard can it be?”

“Sure you don`t need any help?” I asked.

“Well, maybe you could be my backup. I`ve never handled so many things simultaneously. Usually it`s just a frozen pizza in the oven.”

And so we cooked the pork ribs with crisp fat, the cabbages, the sausages and meat-balls and the potatoes together. We had fun and even if the food didn`t look all that delicate, a very tempting smell filled the apartment.

After a couple of hours of cooking, and one fire put out (crisping fat isn`t as easy as it looks), we sat down for our Christmas dinner. Eric got beer and something he called Akvavit from the refrigerator. I soon learned that Akvavit was pretty strong and halfway through my pork ribs, I was singing Christmas carols.

Eric laughed. “We don`t usually sing until after dinner, but with your lovely singing voice…”

That shut me up. I can dance, but my singing makes dogs howl. We finished dinner and Eric served a lovely dessert with some orange berries I`d never seen before, mixed with whipped cream.

“Now it`s time for the ritual dance around the Christmas tree,” Eric declared.

“The Christmas tree is in the corner. We can`t dance around it,” I said, still pretty drunk from theAkvavit.

“Never mind. I`ve made a special Christmas list on my iPod and we can dance any way we want.”

So we boogied, discoed, slamdanced (I had to explain to Eric what it was and felt I aged myself way more than I wanted to) and danced some newer dances Eric had to teach me.

After an hour of intense dancing, we just fell down on the couch, totally exhausted.

“Now it`s time for the presents. We give away presents on the evening of the 24th here, you know.” Eric gave me a smirk.

“WHAT? You never told me we were exchanging presents!” Shit. I hated getting presents when I couldn`t give any.

“It doesn`t matter. I have a couple I would love to give to you and they are all presents I`ll enjoy just as much as you. If not more.” He had a sly look on his face. “So here goes.” He gave me a warm hug.

“The hug was your present?” I asked.

“Mhmm,” he answered, his mouth down on my neck. “Here is the second one.” He kissed my neck tenderly.

“I like your presents,” I giggled. That made him hug me closer and nuzzle my neck even more.

“And now for your last present,” he pulled back slightly, looked me in the eyes and suddenly I had his warm lips on mine. First it was a chaste kiss, but when a small moan escaped my mouth, he kissed me harder and let his tongue slip in to play with mine.

His hands started trailing down my back and up my front. I had my hands in his soft hair. I just couldn`t get enough of it. I moaned when his huge hand found my breast. They fit like they were made for each other. He caressed it very gently and we kissed and touched for quite some time.

I was totally lost in the feeling of kissing Eric when I suddenly felt his hand sneaking its way down my side to my thigh and under the hem of my dress.

I pulled back slightly and looked Eric in the eyes. I had to stop myself from drowning in them.

“We can`t, Eric. It`s too soon for me.”

Eric smiled and kissed me on my cheek. “I know. I got carried away and who could really blame me with you sitting so close?”

“Uh-huh. I`m old enough to be your mother, Eric.”

Eric started laughing. “When do people in Louisiana have kids? At the age of 7?”

“I`m 39, Eric.”

Eric kissed me. “I would have guessed 33 or 34, but you would still have been 13 to have had me. I`m 26.”

“I`m not usually a cradle-robber.” The minute I said it, I knew it was wrong. Eric pulled back slightly.

“Well, thank you very much. What am I supposed to say to that? That I`m not usually a rocking chair-robber?” He looked offended, but his eyes told me he was teasing.

“So you don`t go to dances at the local retirement home?”

“Well, I`ll stop now since I already got myself an old lady. But now you`ll have to stop going to the kindergarten-parties. Can you handle that?”

We kissed a little more, held hands and talked about our lives. Eric`s hand never made it under my dress again and I never gave his age another thought.

Soon we were ready to go to bed and even if I would have loved to continue the handholding and hugging throughout the night, I didn`t have the courage to ask for it.

I had a hard time falling asleep. My mind was replaying everything that was said and done and my ears were listening for sounds from the couch.

Xxxx

I didn`t get much sleep and at 7 I gave up and went to the bathroom to take a shower. When I came out, I couldn`t help noticing Eric`s magnificent body. Ok, I was ogling. He was splayed on top of his sleeping bag, face up.

Before I could second guess myself, I went over and gave him a chaste kiss on the mouth.

“Wake up, Sleepyhead. We give Christmas presents on the morning of the 25th. Don`t you want to see what Santa left in your stocking?”

He opened his eyes and then he really opened them. I was naked.

A smile curled on his lips. “I thought Americans were too prude to be naked in front of strangers?” he teased.

“Are you saying you don`t want your present?”

He grabbed my butt and pulled me on top of him. I kissed him and let my hands roam his strong chest while straddling his hips. I ground myself onto him and was rewarded with a groan and a part of him getting harder.

He kissed me back, letting his tongue play around in my mouth. His hands were still groping my behind and he pulled me down on his erection, grinding himself into me.

“Ah Sookie,” he moaned.

I tugged at his underpants and with joint effort we got them off him. I impaled myself on him accompanied by a loud mutual sound, usually only heard on the African savanna when lions mated.

I moved up and down with one of Eric`s hands on my hip and the other making its way down between my legs. His thumb found its target and started rubbing gentle circles that added to the pleasure I got from having him inside me.

We grunted and sweated and it was a glorious thing. When I started to feel my cheeks getting numb, I yelled out loud and was hit in the back of my head with a wave of pure joy. Eric met my hips a few more times and grunted “aaahhh”.

I collapsed on top of him and we lay there bathed in sweat, both panting and shivering.

Suddenly I sat up. “Shit, I forgot a condom,” I yelled. I looked at Eric. “I haven`t had a new sex partner in over ten years and I completely forgot. I`m on the pill so I can`t get pregnant, but…”

“You don`t have to worry about me, Sookie. It`s at least half a year since I`ve had sex and I`ve been checked since.”

“Yeah, but I have no idea what Bill might have given me. I haven`t slept with Bill since he moved over here this summer, but… shit.”

Eric pulled me back down and hugged me. “There is probably nothing to worry about and I refuse to let Bill ruin perfect sex. Let me give Mrs. Santa a proper thank you.” And I was apparently Mrs. Santa`s stand-in because I got a kiss that would curl the toes of any girl. It did more than that to me.

“Perfect sex, huh?” I smiled into his neck when the kiss was over.

“Oh yeah. I really love getting my Christmas presents in the morning”.

“Presents? I only remember giving you one present.” I licked a trail from his neck to his ear and bit his earlobe slightly.

“Yes, but I know you have more presents stashed away somewhere. In the shower, perhaps?”

He got up from lying on the coach to standing up – with me still straddling him. I screamed at the feeling of suddenly being airborne and before I knew it, I was having my second shower that day. I was allowed to stand on my own two feet and Eric used the showerhead on my body.

“I think my next present is to get to clean you, isn`t it?”

I was robbed of by ability to speak so I just nodded. The showerhead made its way down between my thighs and I spread them slightly to accommodate it.

Eric kissed me deeply and had his hand on my breast while the water from the showerhead did magical things to me. Eric made small movements up and down with it, making my body remember the emotions that had flushed through it just some minutes earlier.

And then it happened. I came hard, my entire body trembling. I pushed the showerhead away, being way too sensitive for it now, and leaned on Eric`s shoulder.

“Wow,” was all I managed to say.

“And that `wow` was my second Christmas present.” I looked up and met the most beautiful smile.

“Remind me to give you a lot of presents,” I grinned.

Xxxx

The days between Christmas morning and New Year`s Eve, Eric and I shagged, fucked, screwed, had sex and made love. It was our luck that Eric had bought enormous amounts of food because there was no way we could get out of the apartment.

If I had been worried about what seven types of Christmas cookies, not to mention food with crisp fat on it, would do to my figure, I could relax. The amount of exercise I was getting put me in better shape than I had been in years. We were on fire and no fire extinguisher could put us out.

I learned that on New Year`s Eve. Eric had started the day by nuzzling my neck.

“You know they give each other presents on New Year`s Eve in Russia?” he whispered.

“Mhmm.”

“Well, I`m declaring this Russian territory and suggest we exchange gifts.”

We were very extravagant in the presents we gave each other and it was closer to midnight before we decided to put our clothes on and go down onto the streets. Eric claimed people used up half their December wages on fireworks and we wanted to see it.

We got dressed and when we came out, I was amazed at how little the cold bothered me now. It could be that global warming had finally kicked in, but I figured it was due to the wonderful guy next to me and the way he made my heart pump.

The fireworks were a spectacular view. At midnight Eric opened a bottle of Champagne and filled two glasses while everyone else shot up all kinds of colors in the night sky. He held up one glass for me and lifted his own.

“To the most wonderful Christmas ever.” And then he kissed me gently.

I looked into his eyes and saw little flames. I knew they mirrored the ones in my eyes – and that was when I saw Bill and realized he was out of my life.

He was holding hands with the brunette and I expected to feel pain deep in my heart. When it never came, I kissed Eric again.

“The most wonderful Christmas ever. And the best New Year`s Eve.”

xxxx

In the next book I wrote, the love interest of my heroine was no longer dark-haired and pale. He was tall, blond and very sexy. An old vampire soul trapped in a young body.


A/N:

Thank you very much for reading. I may add a few chapters to this story after the contest if anyone is interested in an extension to the tale.

I have deliberately not written which country this story takes place in. The food is very Norwegian (you really won`t believe the Norwegian Christmas food – I was in shock when I came here :-/ ), but the traditions are pretty much the same in both Sweden and Denmark.


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