Chapter 17

A/N:

It`s so strange – so many of you have asked me if the cabin has a shower. I do NOT know what you mean *giggle*.

Thank you so much for all your great reviews. They put such a huge smile on my face. I really hope you`ll like this chapter too.

I would also love to thank Rascalthemutant from the Alexander Skarsgård library forum for taking her time from house painting to read this and give it thumbs up. *hugs*

What to do after you`ve read this? Peppermintyrose has read the SVM-books with so much stronger glasses than the rest of us and has given us so many great theories at the forum. Now she has written her first fic, a one-shot where she has put some of her great knowledge into a story. Go read A Fate Worse than Dead and you will know just what Sookie thinks of Eric – and of being turned.

Suki59 also has a new story out and as usual, she has me chewing my nails for more. I love how the vampires are still in the coffin in her Over the Moon.


Eric was worn out and went to bed. Or maybe he just wanted to forget everything and sleep was the way he figured he could do it.

I, on the other hand, was not in the habit of going to bed at half past eight so I went and turned the television on in the living room. After having flicked through some mindless gameshows and realities I noticed that the clock had turned nine and I put on TV2 to watch the news.

Viking Games wasn`t one of the headlines and it wasn`t one of their top stories either, but just as I was silently hoping that it wasn`t a news item at all, Pam`s face came into the picture while the newscaster announced something I couldn`t really make out. Why did people on Norwegian television have to speak all these weird dialects? The only word I got was `politi` which was ´police´ and I swallowed.

Then they showed a lot of uniformed police carrying papers and computers out of Viking Games` offices. This was not good. The next picture showed Pam with a lot of microphones up in her face and my blood froze when she answered a reporter asking her where Eric was.

“He is out there looking for the truth.”

That of course sent her right into a media frenzy. The reporters wanted to know what truth she meant and if Eric was some kind of vigilante on the loose. Well, actually I couldn`t understand what the reporters said because they were all talking at once, but I imagined those were their questions.

I went to the fridge and took out a beer. I`m usually not one to drink much and especially not when I`m agitated, but now I really had to have a cold Ringnes.

When I had calmed down, I picked up my phone and called Pam.

“Yes,” she almost shouted. Mrs. Ravenscroft had apparently done a poor job of teaching her daughter how to answer the phone.

“What the hell do you think you are doing, Pam? You said I would handle communications and you would just be the face in front of the microphones and the first thing you do is screw up so badly it`ll blow up in our faces. You never ever ever tell a lie to reporters and definitely not when that lie is so extremely lame and only opens up to a row of new questions. Pam,” I shouted. “I know that you probably think that PR is all about lying, but it`s not. You may be painting the truth in beautiful colors, but you always tell the truth. That`s rule number one in PR. Don`t ever forget that if you don`t want to close the doors to Viking Games for good.” I was out of breath, but definitely not out of words.

Pam took advantage of my little pause for air and started talking in her usual calm tone of voice.

“Are you finished ranting, Sookie?” Pam asked in a dry voice.

“No, I am not. I am not putting my name on an insane crisis communication, so you just listen to me.”

And I went on and told Pam just what to say to the media and how to answer different kinds of answers. Mainly she was to say as little as possible, but make it sound as if she was saying a lot. She was not to talk about Eric at all and I gave her specific instructions to hand out a “no comments” to that line of questioning. “No comments” is the last resort-kind of answer, but there were no other options here.

Pam and I had discussed strategy for almost two hours before I was worn out and had hung up the phone. I yawned and decided that Mr. Sandman must have paid me a visit without me noticing. I was beat.

After some toothbrushing, Pam had over 20 unused toothbrushes in the bathroom, I changed into my pajamas and went to bed in the bedroom not occupied by an amnesiac blonde. I was almost asleep when I heard someone tiptoeing into my room.

“Can I stay here with you?” Eric whispered.

I was going to say no, but he looked so forlorn in the moonlit room, I couldn`t bring myself to send him away.

“Come on,” I answered, dead tired.

He jumped into my bed.

“Sookie,” Eric whispered.

“Mmm,” was all I managed to answer.

“What`s your last name?”

I chuckled a little. Eric never used my last name and I wasn`t even sure he would remember it when he wasn`t depressed, in shock or whatever was wrong with him.

“Stackhouse. My name is Sookie Stackhouse.”

“Sookie Stackhouse.” He tasted my name, rolled it on his tongue and smiled. “Thank you for doing this for me, Sookie Stackhouse,” he smiled through the darkness.

“You`re welcome, Eric Northman.

I patted around on the sheet until I found his hand. His palm was turned up to meet my palm and his fingers clasped mine. I gave his hand a squeeze and though I would not have thought it possible to go to sleep holding hands with Eric Northman, that’s exactly what I did.

Xxxxxxxxxxxx

We were still holding hands the next morning when I woke up, which was quite an achievement when you consider the fact that scientists claim that we move around at least 50 times during a night`s sleep.

Eric`s eyes were on me.

“Are we… have we been lovers?” That was certainly a nice way to put it. Eric was usually pretty Anglo-Saxon about sex.

“No, Eric. We are not lovers. You are my boss and I also live in your apartment, but we have never been lovers.” I cleverly left out the kisses and the little intermezzo in Copenhagen. After all, if Bill Clinton could claim he didn`t have sex with that woman, I could tell Eric we had never been lovers.”

“Do you have a….” Eric trailed off, which was very uncharacteristic of him.

“No, Eric. I don`t have a boyfriend.” And then I went on to tell him the whole story of why I had come to Norway in the first place, about my job at Viking Games and about Bill. I didn`t feel comfortable talking about the rape. After I finished talking, I didn`t feel comfortable at all, lying in bed with Eric, holding his hand. Or maybe I felt too comfortable?

I jumped out of bed and went to the bathroom for a much needed errand. When I was finished, I looked at my reflection in the mirror and took a deep breath. When I was sent to the cabin with Eric, I was so focused on Eric`s breakdown and everything happening to Viking Games, that it never crossed my mind that it could be awkward to be alone with Eric. I had been alone with him in his house, but this felt different.

The smell of eggs and bacon hit me when I came out of the bathroom. Eric smiled to me in the kitchen.

“I hope you are hungry. I thought we could go skiing and you need all your strength to get through the 50 kilometer track I usually go.”

I just gaped. Eric acted surprised. “What… you don`t want to go 50 kilometers?”

I stuck my tongue out at him. “And just how would a Louisiana-girl have learned to ski?”

Eric nodded and scratched his chin. “Hmm, it seems we need to take the shorter route, the one that is meant for little kids and elderly people.” Eric smiled. “It`s only 5 kilometers.”

We put on skis and I wasn`t really sure if I was happy that Pam`s fit me perfectly. It seemed that not having skis would be the only excuse Eric would accept.

I`ve never tried, seen or even heard of anyone going cross-country skiing so I had to start at the super beginners` level. I had a hard time even putting on the skis, not to mention getting up when I fell. Which I did a lot.

Eric laughed so hard I almost started to worry about his lungs. I got more and more annoyed and told him just what I thought about skis, him, snow and Norway in general. I even used some Norwegian swearwords I never knew I had picked up.

Eric swallowed his laughter. It cost him some coughing and some looking away, but he managed. Then he skied into the tracks in front of me, yanked his ski pole up behind him and asked me to grab it.

“This is how we teach kids to ski,” Eric smiled. “That would be very small kids. 2 – 3 year-olds.” Now his laughter was back. I gave the ski pole a push and almost had him on the ground, but he caught his balance.

“Now grab the ski pole and I`ll drag you around. You just focus on keeping your balance.”

One would think it would be pretty relaxing to just be dragged around in the ski slopes, having the sun in your face and a handsome guy in front of you, but the reality was that I was worn out when we came back to the cabin.

“Did you really mean that you usually go 50 kilometers?” I panted.

“Of course. It`s mandatory to walk at least 30 kilometers if you`re Norwegian. Of course we rarely have clumsy Southern girls hanging on our coattails.” Eric winked.

I was so worn out, I couldn`t even comment on him calling me clumsy. I just sent him a look.

I was dripping wet from sweat, but Eric looked as if he had been out strolling lazily in the sun. It just wasn`t fair. I tried to muster energy for a shower, but I was worn out.

“I`ll take a shower, but it looks as if you could use a sauna, Sookie. Your muscles need the heat.”

I took a quick cold shower and went in the sauna. I lay down on the lowest bench and just relaxed, feeling my brain being drained of thoughts. After ten minutes I was dry and knew I had to go take another cold shower to be able to spend more time in the sauna.

I figured Eric would be finished showering by now, but to make sure, I listened for running water before I left the sauna. Nothing. With my towel around my torso, I went for some cold water, but I stopped in my tracks when I saw Eric behind the shower cabinet. He hadn`t noticed me yet and I knew I should have left, but I couldn`t help staring.

My breath stuck in my throat. I made a sound like “Guck,” and made myself close my eyes tight. I clenched my fists. If there was an international butt competition, Eric would win, hands down—or cheeks up. He would get a large, large trophy. I had never realized a woman could have to struggle to keep her hands off a man, but here I was, digging my nails into my palms, staring at the inside of my eyelids as though I could maybe see through them if I peered hard enough.

It was somehow degrading, craving someone so… so voraciouslyjust because he was physically beautiful. I hadn’t thought that was something women did, either.

“Sookie, are you all right?” Eric asked.

I floundered my way back to sanity through a swamp of lust. He was standing right in front of me, his hands resting on my shoulders. I looked up into his blue eyes, now focused on me and apparently full of nothing but concern. I was right on a level with his hard nipples. They were the size of pencil erasers. I bit the inside of my lip. I would not lean over those few inches.

“Excuse me,” I said, speaking very softly. I was scared to speak loudly, or move at all. If I did, I might knock him down. “I didn’t mean to walk in on you.”

“You have seen all of me before, haven`t you?”

“Yes, but intruding wasn’t polite.”

“I don’t mind.”

I went back to the sauna much hotter and just as dry as I was when I left it to take a shower. I sat with my towel around my body when I saw the door open and a very naked Eric enter with a wooden bucket full of water in his hand.

He took out a cloth with cold water from the bucket and moved over to me and pulled my towel away.

I gasped, just short of a shriek. He was very naked. He was also in the mood, the same mood I was in. You could really tell, with Eric. I was embarrassed, horrified, and absolutely ready to jump him. While I lay there stock-still, paralyzed by conflicting waves of emotion, Eric took the cloth and began to wash my arms, raising each in turn to stroke my armpit, down my side, never touching my breasts, which were practically quivering like puppies who wanted to be petted.

“And we have never made love?” he asked.

I shook my head, still unable to speak.

“Then I was a fool,” he said, moving the cloth in a circular motion over my stomach. “Turn around, elsker.”

I turned around to lie on my stomach, and he began to work on my back. His fingers in the cold wash cloth were very strong and very clever, and I had the most relaxed and cleanest set of shoulder blades in Norway by the time Eric got through.

My shoulder blades were the only thing at ease. My libido was hopping up and down. Was I really going to do this? It seemed more and more likely that I was, I thought nervously. If the man in the sauna had been the real Eric, the Eric without the shock or depression or whatever was wrong with him, I think I would have had the strength to back off. I would probably… hopefully have ordered him out the minute he stepped in.

The real Eric came with a whole package of flirting and women, something I had a hard time dealing with. This was a different Eric—without the personality that I’d grown fond of, in a perverse way—but it was beautiful Eric, who desired me, who was hungry for me.

Eric`s anatomy was reacting to me or the heat, I wasn`t not sure which, but he certainly had a reaction. I paled a little when I saw it.

I felt like a someone who had never been skiing and now she was supposed to go the Birkebeiner race – the Norwegian ski race copying a historic event where a prince was saved by a couple of guys who skied with him 54 kilometers over the mountains. Let`s just say that I wasn`t sure my body was ready for whatever Eric had to offer.

My brain started an internal debate on the wisdom of having sex with someone I didn`t love and who wasn`t himself. Would it be wrong for me to make love to Eric in the state he was in now? Was I exploiting him? After a few minutes my body took over and my brain went into hibernation.

I grabbed the cloth from Eric, dipped it in the water from the bucket and started washing him. Eric was lying on his side, looking at me and I gave his butt, his glorious butt some extra attention. Eric started to shift a little and I felt that it was my duty to make sure that the heat from the sauna wasn`t preventing him from having children some day. His swimmers needed a cooler environment so I started washing him between his legs.

Eric moaned slightly and I couldn`t help myself from kissing his strong chest. I licked his nipple.

“Bite a little,” Eric whispered and I used my teeth. He liked that.

His hands began to move restlessly over whatever bit of my skin they could find, stroking and teasing. When I pulled away from his chest, he had decided to reciprocate. While his mouth closed over my breast, his hand glided between my legs. I gave a deep sigh, and did a little moving of my own. He had long fingers.

The heat from the sauna made it unbearable for us to stay there and Eric got up.

“Come here,” he whispered and carried me bridal-style out of the sauna.


A/N:

My shoulders gave in and I had to stop here. But really – you want a full chapter of…. of whatever is going to happen, don`t you?

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