Close to Dead

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Chapter 8: Kiss my Butt

I walked up to the backdoor, and with the iron ladle still in my hand, I pulled back the curtain at the backdoor and then I screamed.

“Hey, Sis,” my brother said from the other side of the door. “Do you want to let me in?”

“JASON STACKHOUSE!” I bellowed. “What in the hell are you doing out there?”

“Calvin has me watching you today, well, not really. A Were named Malcolm was supposed to be watching you, but then he got sick, and I told him you were my sister, so I took over. They don’t even have me on the rotation, and you’re my sister, for God’s sake!”

“I don’t need you to watch me, and don’t use the Lord’s name like that,” I reproached.

“Are you going to let me in?” he asked again, totally ignoring my preaching and proclamations.

I pressed my nose up against the glass and looked around. “Jason,” I began, “was there just a man out here?”

“Yeah, you mean Larkin Talkington?” he asked, all innocent like.

I stared right at my big brother, incredulously, and said, “How do you know his name?”

“He told me. I spoke to him a few days ago. Found out he’s a cousin of sorts to us. I told him where you lived. This time the fairy guy came to me first, instead of coming to you first. He said he wanted to get to know us. Why?” he asked.

I let the curtain drop and wished for the millionth time in my life that I was born an only child. I wondered if I should call Eric again, but when I opened the curtain back, I saw his red Corvette fly into the back driveway, rocks and pebbles flying everywhere. I looked up at the sky and blessed my soul, because at least now it was a reassuring shade of gray.

“Jason, go away!” I hissed. “Eric’s here.”

Eric opened his door, got out smoothly, slammed it shut, and stormed up to the back porch. He towered over my brother and demanded, “What are you doing here?”

“Hey, this is my house,” Jason stiffened.

From the other side of the door I barked, “No, it’s my house!”

“I will ask you once more, Stackhouse, what are you doing here?” Eric asked, with a voice that meant business.

“I’m the one assigned to watch her tonight, though I hardly know what all the fuss is about. If we’re guarding her against our cousin Larkin, I have to say, I met the guy, and he seems okay.”

Before I knew what was happening, Eric had Jason at least five feet off the ground. I dropped the iron ladle and my phone right on the floor, unlocked the door, and flung it open. Eric had Jason pinned against the wall, and I swore I heard him growl.

I put my hand on Eric’s shoulder and I said carefully, “No, Eric.”

He looked down at me, intensity banked, and said, “Are you sure? I know you sometimes wish to be an only child.”

Damn that blood bond. He even knew my wishes. Jason said, “Ah, it’s a might uncomfortable up here, and besides, I think Larkin wants to talk to Sookie. He’s right there behind us.”

Eric dropped Jason, I’m sure harder than was necessary, and turned quickly, but not before he put me behind his body.

“Northman,” Larkin called. He stayed in the yard, and the outside yard light had already come on, and it cast an eerie glow all around him. Eric pressed me up against the outside wall on the porch so tightly I thought I might suffocate.

“Larkin,” Eric parried back. “You are forbidden to come near Sookie. You know that. The prince forbade it before he left.”

“True,” Larkin acknowledged. I moved slightly so I could see him, and I saw him smile. He looked right at me as he continued. “However, the prince crossed over, did he not? He no longer rules over the fairies that remain on earth.”

“That does not mean you have a choice to go against his edict,” Eric announced.

“Being part fae, I actually don’t have to follow any of his laws. I only followed them while Fintan was alive, and the Prince was earthbound, because I feared them both slightly,” he admitted. “I fear no one now.”

Eric let off a small laugh. “You should.” Even though I couldn’t see his face, I knew he was smiling, and I knew that smile showed a hint of fang.

“You?” Larkin asked. “I would never fear you, Northman.”

“Again,” Eric said evenly, with a lazy drawl, “You should.”

I pulled on Eric’s sleeve and said, “Would someone like to tell me what’s going on?”

Jason was still on the floor and he grumbled, “I wouldn’t mind knowing either.” He stood up and said, “I met this guy a few times, and he’s a grandson of our grandfather and some woman who was part fairy and part human. He told me the whole story.”

Eric looked at Jason and insisted, “Your presence is no longer needed, Stackhouse. Leave.”

“Like I said before, I don’t take orders from you!” Jason said, with what I was sure was false bravado.

Larkin smiled at him and said, “Perhaps, cousin, you should leave, and let me speak with Eric and Sookie for a moment. I will visit with you another time.”

“Fine, fine, but I’m supposed to watch her until midnight, and then Bill is taking over, and it’s only seven-thirty,” Jason complained.

“Bill?” I asked. I moved from behind Eric, and he slipped his arm protectively around me. “Is he all better?”

“Mostly better.” He looked at Jason and said, “Get word to him that I will take his watch tonight.”

And then I swear, Eric sighed. It was such a human thing to do, and for a man, or whatever he was, who hadn’t been human for over a thousand years, it was such an odd thing for him to do. It was even an odd thing for me to notice.

“Bye, Sook,” Jason said. “See ya, Cuz,” he nodded to Larkin. He hopped off the porch and ran through the woods.

“Well, Northman, shall we talk?” Larkin asked.

“Not tonight,” Eric said, decisively. “I shall explain some things to Sookie first.”

“You mean you want to skew the truth first,” Larkin provoked.

“I really don’t like people talking about me like I’m not even here,” I pointed out.

Eric, whose arm was still tightly around me, looked down at me and said, “I am sorry, lover. I am remiss not to include you in our conversation.” He looked back at Larkin and said, “You will leave, or not live to see the light of day. I could kill you so easily, it would not even be a challenge for me.”

The other man smiled, and for the first time, I didn’t think he looked beautiful, but a bit evil, and I became afraid. Eric picked up on my thoughts right away and he put me back behind his body, and he moved us so that I was in front of the back door. I could slip inside easily, if I wanted. It was nice to have someone anticipate your every mood.

“Don’t be afraid of me, Sookie,” Larkin urged, as if he too could pick up on my thoughts. “I am not like those other fairies, the ones that hurt you. In fact, I am trying to keep people from hurting and using you. This vampire is using you for his own person gain, and I’m not sure how much longer he thinks he can hide things from the other vampires.”

“You will not address her at all,” Eric commanded. “I am tired of this. Leave now, or die now. Those are your only options.”

“Eric,” I said from behind him. “Don’t kill him. Just make him leave, please.”

“I’ll leave, for now,” the man said. He turned and started to walk away, but then he turned back and said, “Ask your boyfriend how it was that he was able to come out while it was still daytime, my dear Sookie. I think you will find it very enlightening, since it has to do with you. He’s using you, you know. That's all he’s doing.”

And then it happened. Eric bounded from the porch so fast that he was a whirl of white light and flesh and he had the fairy Larkin pinned to a tree across the side of the yard. And the fairy, while he seemed helpless against Eric, didn’t seem afraid. He was still smiling, and they were speaking to each other in low voices so that I couldn’t hear. Finally, Eric let go of the man’s neck, and Larkin brushed the front of his jacket and shirt with his hands. He nodded his head twice and then took off toward the woods. Eric stayed planted in the yard, watching him, until he was out of sight.

He turned to me, and it seemed almost as if he was afraid to approach me. I swallowed hard before he came up on the porch.

“What in the world was all of that?” I fixedly stared, pointing toward the woods. “What did you say to each other? Why did he just leave like that? Is he coming back? Is he the reason everyone is watching me? Am I in danger?”

“You ask way too many questions, my loved one,” he teased. He grabbed my wrist, and walked into the backdoor. He picked up my phone and iron ladle, and he locked my backdoor. He looked in the refrigerator and said, “No blood for me? You aren’t a very good hostess, are you? I’ll have some delivered.”


He opened his phone and I said his name again, but he put up his hand to ‘hush’ me. He said something low into the phone. I rather doubted he was ordering blood from anywhere, but frankly, I didn’t really care. He closed the phone and moved to the living room. He sat down on the couch, his long legs stretched out in front of him. He actually closed his eyes, and placed his head on the back of the couch. His arm went over his closed eyes.

“Eric? Please, what was that about back there?”

“I’m weak,” he protested by way of explanation. “Wait until I get my blood. I went out while the sun was not yet completely set, and it’s done some damage. Please.”

He seemed strong enough when he lifted my brother, and again when he pushed the fairy across the yard and against the tree. I wondered if he was faking, just so I wouldn’t question him. I decided to test my theory. He remained motionless, his arm across his eyes, his head on the back of the couch. He was practically lifeless, as if he was on vampire downtime. I looked around the room and I saw an old snow globe that I got when I was fifteen from the state fair. I picked it up and hurled it right at his head.

He caught it with the hand that was over his eyes, without any effort at all. He didn’t even have to look. He didn’t flinch. Yeah, he was faking. He looked at me, and smiled with an impish smile. “You knew I was faking?” he asked evenly.

“The old blood bond works both ways, Mister,” I said. “Tell me, why were you able to go out in the daytime, without any real damage. Does it have to do with what Larkin wanted me to know?”

“Come here, Sookie,” he murmured invitingly. He crooked his finger toward me.

“No,” I said, like a spoiled brat. “Just tell me.”

“Lover, I want you,” he said smokily.

“Yeah, right, like that will work any better than the old, ‘I’m weak from the daylight’ trick,” I huffed with a roll of my eyes.

“Please, Sookie, I’ve missed you,” he persisted. His smile was alluring, his eyes bright, and I admit, I felt a tingling all over.

“What will happen when I get over there?” I asked, coming slightly closer.

“I plan to make love to you,” he said, matter of fact.

“Are you ever going to answer my questions?” I pleaded, although I knew he wasn’t planning to, at least, not at this point.

“Not right now,” he confirmed.

“Fine, then I’ll get my answers from Larkin. Thanks for coming, Eric,” I said flatly. I turned to leave the room, but wouldn’t you know it, that super fast vampire was already off the couch, and standing right there behind me, blocking my way, so that I couldn’t leave the room.

“May I have a kiss first?” he whispered. He was leaning over me, and his breath tickled my cheek.

“You know what, until I get answers to the questions I have, you can just kiss my big southern butt,” I replied tartly. I tried to walk past him, but he grabbed me by the waist, picked me up, and though I was kicking and hitting him, he walked with me to the couch, where he sat down with me across his lap. Then he dipped his head, and I’ll be damned if that stupid Viking didn’t kiss my butt cheek, right on top of my jeans.

Then he turned me over so fast, that I felt dizzy. He was on top of me, though he was careful as always not to press his weight on me. He nuzzled my neck and said, “I’ll answer all your questions, but first, yield to me, lover. I want you. Do you want me as much as I want you, Sookie?”

Well now, wasn’t that a stupid question?

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