Dust Bunnies and Christmas Presents: Chapter 6

A/N:

Thank you so much for all your lovely reviews, PMs and comments. They made me smile!

I also want to thank my lovely beta Rascalthemutant for the job she`s doing on this story. And yes, Rascal – it was that Anita *wink*


EPOV

I`d never thought a simple walk through Central Park could be such an amazing experience. After all it was just a park, not the nature I was used to back home.

The sun was out and even if there was a slight chill in the air, it felt like the spring we were never getting in my wintery home country.

I wished I`d brought my sunglasses. Not just because I had to squint because I got sun in my eyes but because I wanted to look great when Sookie was around. And I looked incredibly hot wearing sunglasses.

Then it hit me – hadn`t Sookie mentioned problems with her eyes?

I stopped and stepped in front of her. She turned her face up to look at me, a questioning smile on her lips, and suddenly I was kissing her instead of checking her eyes. It was just a small kiss and I immediately pulled away.

“I`m so sorry,” I said. “I didn`t mean to.”

Sookie was gracious enough to say that it was okay, but I cursed myself the next five minutes. What kind of brute was I?

“I wanted to check how your eyes were doing in the bright sun,” I explained. I wanted her to know that I had had honorable intentions when I stopped her even if my stupid lust got in the way.

“Oh,” she said in a voice I couldn`t decipher. “They`re fine. I think the sun is good for me, actually.”

That made me grin like a fool and I tried to look away so she wouldn`t see it. I`d done something right for Sookie. When I had finally managed to un-grin I looked at Sookie sideways and noticed roses in her cheeks despite the makeup I`d been the very unqualified master of.

I`d never put makeup on anyone before but the result wasn`t half bad. I was especially pleased with the lipstick. It looked great on her. Sexy.

I had just started contemplating whether I had any of the red lipstick on my lips from the kiss and how I didn`t want to remove it if I did, when a woman walked over to Sookie. She was probably a couple of years younger than Sookie and the type you wouldn`t notice in a crowd. Actually you wouldn`t notice her at all.

“Are you Sookie Stackhouse?” she asked.

Sookie smiled, but I could feel her tense against my arm. “Yes,” she replied in a voice that told me that Sookie didn`t know the woman.

“Is it true that Anita has found a new vampire?” the woman asked in a voice full of accusation and I looked at her in wonder. Why was she talking about vampires and who was Anita? I`d just written the woman off as crazy when it hit me that Anita was the heroine in Sookie`s vampire-series. “Anita and Stefan belong together!” the woman shouted and I was back to thinking she was crazy.

“You`ll have to read my next book…” Sookie started saying.

“NO! It`s all over the net that you`ve given Anita a new man in your new book. You have to change that! Stefan means everything to me.”

The woman was obviously not in her right mind so I started pulling Sookie forwards, away from the crazy lady.

Suddenly Sookie fell into me and when I turned my head I saw that the woman had pushed Sookie. I never hit women, but I was very close to making this one pay for pushing my Sookie. What was she thinking?

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked. My voice may have been both loud and angry. Even menacing.

“Stay out of this,” she hissed at me and was about to go back to her verbal abuse of Sookie.

“Get a life!” I shouted. “Sookie writes books. If you can`t handle the way she writes them then stop reading them.”

I wanted to say a whole lot more, but felt Sookie sag against me and knew I had to get her away from the craziness as quickly as possible.

The woman kept ranting about Anita and Stefan being perfect partners and how much they meant to her but she stayed behind when we walked away from her. Outside the gates of Central Park I waved for a taxi, but Sookie stopped me.

“No. I don`t want her to ruin the day. Let`s find a café someplace,” she said.

“Sure,” I said and started searching the streets for a place to sit but couldn`t find any.

Then Sookie took charge and pulled me down a smaller street and to a café I wouldn`t have found if I`d been by myself. We went in and sat down.

“What was that all about?” I asked when we`d placed our orders to the waitress.

Sookie sighed. “I made a mistake,” she said. “Just before I was … Back in January I gave a speech to the fans of my books and I mentioned that they shouldn`t feel too sure that the heroine would stay with the same man all through the series. I`ve had a few reactions after that.”

“But if you think it was a mistake to give your heroine a new love interest, couldn`t you just change it? I mean, the book isn`t published yet, is it?” I had no idea how the publishing business worked.

I knew that she`d started writing on her new book just after she got home from her Christmas with me but she couldn`t have finished it, could she? I faintly recalled her saying that it took months of intensive work to write a book. And surely her publisher would have to work on it too?

Sookie smiled but the smile never reached her eyes.

“No, the book isn`t finished. But I`d had a good start on the writing when I gave that speech. I suppose I was just so pleased with the progress and I didn`t think…” She looked at me. “I don`t regret changing who my heroine is in love with, Eric. Stefan was too possessive and I`d begun to dislike him. He wasn`t right for my heroine. When I visited you I had an epiphany and figured that heroines can break up with their lovers and find new ones just like everyone else.”

She smiled again and this time it was a wider smile. A very beautiful smile. I`m not ashamed to admit that my heart did a little fluttering when I saw that smile. I mean, I`m a Scandinavian guy – we`re supposed to be in touch with our emotions, right?

It must have been the smile that stopped my brain from functioning because it took me well over a minute to connect the dots. Sookie had changed the guy her heroine was in love with and she`d done it just after she`d visited me.

I knew Stefan was dark haired, much like Sookie`s ex-husband Bill. Now I found myself wanting to know what the new guy looked like.

“Sooo…” I asked. “What is the new guy called?”

“The new guy?” she looked at me with questions in her eyes.

“Stefan`s replacement, so to speak,” I explained.

I wasn`t sure what I`d said because suddenly she looked very awkward. She even blushed.

“Oh, you can`t be interested in my silly writings,” she said with a small, but very artificial laughter. “How are your studies coming along?”

I almost told her that I`d had a lot of time to study these last two months, but stopped myself in the last minute. “Fine,” I answered. “I look forward to graduating this summer.”

“Yes, I can imagine,” Sookie said and I felt like I was at some stupid family reunion, talking about unimportant things.

Then I realized Sookie had changed subjects and I hadn`t even noticed.

“I am interested in your books,” I said. Normally I wouldn`t be that interested in a couple of vampire books but I could tell there was something there. Something I needed to know. “So what`s his name, this new character?”

Sookie shrugged. “I haven`t decided yet. For now I`ve called him Spike, you know like Spike in Buffy, but it doesn`t fit him very well.”

I remembered Buffy but wasn`t Spike that skinny Brit? I had to check on Youtube.

I nodded. “How far are you in the book?”

“Not that far, really, but I have it all outlined and the rest should be easy.” She looked out of the window. “Except…”

I knew what she meant. She couldn`t write because of the injuries she`d suffered. I debated for a moment if I should ask her about the injuries and how they kept her from writing but figured she would tell me if she wanted me to know.

I wasn`t even sure I wanted to know. I was good at fixing things. At taking her out in the sunshine and maybe putting a smile on her lips. But talking about painful stuff? That was not my forte.

So I just nodded to let her know I understood.

Our food was served and we ate in silence. It wasn`t an uncomfortable silence and I liked watching her eat. With Pam there was constant chatting. I didn`t mind that but I preferred sitting here in silence with Sookie.

Seeing her put the bites of meat into her mouth was … well, I didn`t have words to describe it but I liked it. I`d never thought I`d one day stare admiringly at a girl while she was chewing on her food, but I found myself doing it now.

She didn`t even put on a show like some of the girls I`d known. They would lick their forks and make little sounds as if the veal brought them halfway to Orgasmland and then they would bat their eyes at me as if it was me and not the veal that put them in such a state. I`d always found it ridiculous but I`d never complained because I`d usually ended up both giving and receiving the pleasure they had suggested.

Yeah, always looking out for my own interests.

Only now I was just as concerned with Sookie`s as my own. And I kind of liked that feeling.

I spent the evening with my laptop in my lap, trying to find information about Sookie`s next book. Those fansites were a mess and I had a hard time navigating.

Half the posts were praising this Stefan-guy to the sky – saying how much they`d like to have him in their lives. Some were pretty descriptive about what they would do to Stefan if they had him in their bed, their shower, on their kitchen counter – well, anywhere. A couple of Sookie`s fans, because I assumed they were fans since they were on her fansites, had even found pictures of dark-haired, muscular, sexy and very naked men they would want to play Stefan if the books were ever filmed.

The other half of the posts were bitching about Sookie not letting Anita declare her undying love to Stefan or about Anita being a total bitch and not good enough for poor Stefan. For some strange reason, none of them seemed to think that Anita was too good for Stefan.

But the real bitching started when someone reported that Sookie was going to let Anita leave Stefan. The discussion thread went into a crazy rant after that. I read a lot of stupid, offensive and very weird posts but I finally found the information I was looking for.

Spike was going to be a tall, blond Viking vampire.

“Yesss!” I shouted to myself – feeling a bit juvenile when I heard the word bounce back from the walls.

I couldn’t help doing a fist pump too. Sookie was planning on giving her heroine a new man. And that man looked like me.

I grinned.

And I laughed when I checked out Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Youtube. I could see why Sookie wasn`t very happy with the temporary name she`d given the character. At least if he was supposed to look like me. Because the only thing Spike and I had in common was blond hair. Oh, and our sexy charm.

The next morning I was having my usual stack of pancakes. Well, two stacks, actually. I`m a big man, I need to eat.

“What are you grinning over?” a familiar voice said in my ear. Pam sat down on the chair next to mine. “I can`t believe you`re still having pancake-orgasms.”

“And good morning to you too, Pam,” I said and shoved yet another bite into my mouth.

“So how are things with the patient?” she asked.

I didn`t like Sookie being referred to as a patient. She`d stopped being that to me a long time ago. Well, a couple of days ago at least.

“Fine,” I mumbled because the last bite of pancake had been big, even for my mouth. No one had ever claimed Scandinavian men were the epitome of table-mannered.

“Did she like the hair?” Pam wondered.

I couldn`t help smiling when I thought about the transformation. Not as much the transformation of Sookie`s looks but how it seemed to transform her well-being.

“She loved it.”

“Did you take pictures of it?” Pam asked.

“Pam. I`m not going to take pictures of Sookie unless she asks me to.” I had a feeling Sookie wouldn`t like having her picture taken just now.

“Why not? You`ll need something to remind you of her when you go home, won`t you?” Pam grabbed a piece of my pancake with her fingers and I tried to stab her hand with my fork. The pancakes were mine.

“I think I may be able to remember her without picture proof,” I grunted. I did not want to think about going home.

Pam gave me that big sister look I hated so much. It told me that she could see right through me, read my thoughts and that she knew everything Eric Northman – just because she was a couple of years older than me.

“So what will happen to Sookie when you do leave?” she asked. Trust Pam to point out the big, fucking elephant in the room.

I stuffed my mouth so I couldn`t answer. Yes, if I had wanted, I would have talked with my mouth filled with food – no table-manners, remember? – but now it was a perfect excuse to remain silent. How could I answer Pam`s question?

“If you break her heart, I`m going for your balls,” she said and then she got up and left.

What about if my heart breaks?” I wanted to ask and it startled me so much, I forgot to be snarky back at Pam.

What if Sookie broke my damned heart? No, not Sookie. What if I broke my own heart because I wanted more from Sookie than she could give?

I visited Sookie every day and I stayed with her most of the day. I was surprised that Pam never gave me any grief because I left her alone in New York when I was the one who`d convinced her to join me in the first place. I suppose that woman she hung out with all day, made it easier to accept her kid brother`s shortcomings.

Sookie smiled more and more every day I came by and after a week she gave me the key to her apartment so I could come and go as I wished. That way she didn`t have to listen for the doorbell or even be awake when I came by. Sookie needed a nap from time to time.

It was a very big moment for me because it meant that she trusted me. And I knew that trust was not easy for her. Not now. My fingers were on the key all the way back to the hotel room, making sure it was really there. That Sookie had given it to me.

And that night I toyed with it for hours, trying to remind myself why it would be a terrible idea to give her a surprise visit.

I wanted Sookie. I knew I shouldn`t visit her because she had too many things on her mind to want me. And I respected that – of course I did. But I wanted her.

I wasn`t sure how I wanted Sookie, apart from the obvious, or what I was going to do about it. I just knew that I wanted more than I was getting.

And it was killing me because I shouldn`t want more. I was turning a new leaf, becoming a better version of myself, and that did not include drooling over a woman who needed my help.

The next morning I was so sleep-deprived when I came to Sookie`s apartment I almost forgot that I had her key and my finger was on her doorbell before I managed to stop myself. Luckily my memory kicked in just before I`d pressed the little white knob.

I put Sookie`s key in the keyhole and opened the door. I tried to make some noise so she wouldn`t be startled if she was awake but not enough noise to wake her up if she was asleep.

I opened the door to her living room and found it empty. She wasn`t in her kitchen either. And the door to her bathroom was open, which meant there was only one place she could be. Her bedroom.

The door to Sookie`s bedroom was ajar and I couldn`t help myself – I looked through the opening and found her sleeping on her bed. I knew I shouldn`t but I pushed the door open to get a better look.

It wasn`t as if she was naked or anything – I wasn`t that big a creep. She was wearing her pajamas or nightgown, I couldn`t tell which because of the sheets she had pulled up to her chest.

She looked so good lying on her bed. Yes, one could still tell the bruises and cuts on her face but Sookie was a beautiful woman. No injuries could change that fact.

I pushed away the nasty thought of me being a dirty pig staring at a sleeping woman and instead I walked into Sookie`s bedroom. I wasn`t going to wake her up. I just wanted to be close to her.

Sookie`s bed was large. It looked old, probably a family heirloom or something, and fit her perfectly. Suddenly I couldn`t help myself anymore. I was tired and I wanted to be close to Sookie. So instead of going back to her living room or even leaving her apartment, like I knew I should have, I laid down next to Sookie.

Not close enough to touch her and I was also very careful that I didn`t bounce the mattress too hard.

But I laid my head on her extra pillow, closed my eyes and fell asleep. I may even have smiled.


A/N:

OK – quick test: How many characters from other vampire series have been mentioned in this story by now? 🙂

If you want to read more from me, I just posted a new one-shot yesterday. It`s called Your Body is and Amusement Park Too and has Eric in a tight pink full-body suit that we call a “condom suit”. Enjoy!

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