Chapter 5: A Change Would Do You Good
We were just pulling up to Eric’s house when he finally broke the comfortable silence. “When will you be able to come to Fangtasia to screen my new day man?”
I looked at Eric curiously, was he really asking me when I could come to Fangtasia, instead of telling me when to show up? I wondered to myself. “You’re not just going to tell me when you expect me to show up?” I couldn’t help but asking.
Eric grunted, and I was pretty sure he rolled his eyes too. With a scowl, he grumbled, “Pam has been reading Dear Abby to me non-stop lately. She says human women today expect their mates to make decisions with their spouses, not for them. Pamela also informs me that I need to learn the art of compromise.”
I was trying really hard to keep a straight face because from the look on Eric’s, you would have sworn that Pam had offered to pull his fangs out for him, but I really did appreciate that Eric was trying to learn how relationships worked in this day and age. I was also beginning to really understand that Eric had lived in different times.
“Well, when would you like me to screen your potentials? Would you prefer I do it during the day or at night?” I asked, deciding that if Eric could work on compromising, I probably could too.
Eric pulled into his garage and turned to look at me. Very slowly, he said, “I would prefer that you do this at Fangtasia so I can be present, but if that is not possible I suppose I can set something up for during the day.” Eric was looking me over curiously.
“I’ve got to work tomorrow night, but how bout we do it the night after that before I leave with Sam for his brother’s wedding? I’m supposed to work the dinner shift that night too, but I can probably switch shifts with someone and work the lunch shift instead,” I explained.
Eric nodded and climbed out of his car. I was fairly certain I heard him say, “Perhaps compromise does work.” I just smiled and climbed out too as Eric gave me his hand.
“Thank you, dear one,” he said as he placed a soft kiss to my forehead.
“I’m happy to help, Eric,” I said, looking up into his eyes.
Eric lightly ran his fingers down my cheek as he drew my body closer to his with his other hand. “Come, lover,” he said as he led me into the house. Without another word, he led me into his bedroom. We kept ourselves occupied until nearly dawn, though not a word was spoken, save for screams of satisfaction.
When I woke the next morning, it was to the oddest sensation that I needed to go outside. The sensation even seemed to be telling me that I needed to go to the backyard in specific. So, I quickly threw my dress back on and went outside. I was shocked to see Dermot standing in the backyard.
“Wha— how— did you call me out here?” I sputtered incredulously.
“Yes, I did my niece. I knew you had spent the night with the vampire, so I figured I would come here for our training,” he calmly explained. I was feeling anything but calm.
“How did you even know where to find me,” I asked, it wasn’t as if I’d given my uncle, Eric’s address or anything.
“We are of the same bloodline and I have sworn an oath to protect you. So long as you do not shield yourself from me, I will be able to find you.”
I shook my head; I was definitely going to need to think about that later. “But how did you do that calling thing?” I asked next. It reminded me of how vamps could supposedly do that too with their children.
“Again, you are of my bloodline, but also since I have been training you, I am able to recognize your magic and call out to it. Come, I have brought breakfast,” he said gesturing to the bench in the yard. He handed me a paper cup with coffee and a paper sack with a beignet. I was surprised at the very human food offerings. Dermot chuckled at my shock, “Long have I watched the ways of humans, though indeed it has been long since I was able to interact with them.”
I hugged my uncle, saying, “Well, not anymore. Thank you so much for the breakfast, I’m not sure I would have been able to focus on anything without my first cup of coffee.”
Again, Dermot chuckled, “As I have noticed. I admit it was also in self-defense that I brought the coffee, I noticed you are not at your most pleasing in the morning without it.”
I stuck my tongue out at my uncle, and again he laughed. I was really glad to see that Dermot was doing better and better and seemed to be happier every day.
After we had finished our breakfast, I stood and said, “Well, why did you want to practice here. Why didn’t you just wait until I got home?”
“I had thought it might be easier for you to teleport here. Sometimes it can be easier to teleport to some place you very much wish to be or somewhere you feel safe. I thought we might have you try teleporting to your vampire. You having a bond with him might make it easier as well. It is something within yourself that you can focus on, yet it will lead you to the vampire,” Dermot carefully explained as he led me out into the grass and pulled me down.
I hated to sit on the grass in my new dress, but the grass wasn’t wet, so I hoped the dress would be ok. I thought carefully about what my uncle had explained, and I guess it made some sense. Either because of the bond or just because of Eric himself, I always felt very safe with him.
We went through our warm-up exercises and then began trying to teleport. This time, I could almost feel like something was happening, which was enough to excite me.
Dermot smiled at my enthusiasm. “You are nearly there my niece; I can feel the strength of your magic as you gather it. You simply need to properly channel it. This time, when you have gathered your magic, focus your mind on the bond you share with your vampire, think of the feeling of love and safety that you associate with him, then picture where he is, focus solely on his being. If you accomplish teleporting to your vampire, we will stop for the day and I will meet you later in Bon Temps.”
Dermot seemed to have faith that I could do this, and it added to my confidence. I nodded to him, and closed my eyes to do as my uncle had explained. I cleared my mind of everything else and thought about my vampire. I pictured him lying in bed, as he had been when I woke up. I imagined how he looked sprawled out on his side, his blond hair fanned out around his head. In my mind, I reached out to touch his cool skin—soft but firm—suddenly, I realized I was touching his cool skin.
Opening my eyes, I squealed with delight to see that I was indeed sitting in my vampire’s bed, and that it was his arm beneath my fingertips. It was a good thing he was dead to the world and I couldn’t wake him up. I guess I hadn’t squealed quite loud enough to wake the dead.
Looking at the clock on my side of the bed, I saw that I did have some time to kill, so I laid down with my vampire and curled into his body. I knew I should probably head back to Bon Temps to prepare for leaving with Sam in a few days, but right now, I think I deserved to relax next to my Viking. I knew it would be a long night working the dinner shift.
The next day my magic seemed a little easier to use than it ever had. I had been able to easily call several birds and even two rabbits, though I was starting to feel like Bambi in the woods or maybe one of those Disney princesses that sings and all of the animals come to hear her.
I still couldn’t teleport into the house, but I almost felt like I was about to once.
“Teleporting is more difficult and requires more concentration my niece. It is likely that at least for a while, you will only be able to transport yourself to somewhere where you feel absolutely safe,” he clarified for me.
We eventually decided that I had practiced enough for one day and I went to go get ready for my evening at Fangtasia. Luckily, I had been able to get Holly to switch shifts with me. She and Hoyt were still saving up for their wedding, and the dinner shift always had better tips than the lunch shift.
I had been considering my relationship with Eric all day. I still wasn’t sure what we really were to each other since I still didn’t think a knife made a marriage, but I had been starting to realize that Eric and I seemed to be on the right track to something with the compromise thing. I realized that sometime I was going to have to tell Eric about the magic training. At least now I could tell him that I had teleported myself once, and was working on being able to do it consistently. I knew that if I wanted Eric to start telling me more things about what was going on, I was probably going to have to do the same.
Making my decision, I called Eric. It was only shortly after sunset, so I was hoping that he was still at home.
“Yes, my lover,” Eric purred as soon as he answered. “I was just stepping out of the shower and wishing that you had been here to make it more pleasurable.”
“Good, you’re still at home. Hopefully I’ll see you in just a sec,” I said, hanging up the phone before he could respond. I knew this working could be pretty chancy, Dermot had explained that it was slightly more difficult to teleport over distances. I just hoped Shreveport wasn’t too far.
I concentrated on my magic, and cleared my mind. When I had focused enough, I began to picture my Viking, fresh from the shower. I imagined him dripping wet, holding a towel to his head, drying his hair. This time I felt a distinctive “whoosh” and then I was standing behind my naked Viking, getting a very enjoyable view.
Eric whipped around and crouched down into a defensive posture, hissing and snarling. When he realized it was me, his jaw dropped open and he stayed squatted down staring up at me.
“You were just in Bon Temps—I felt you—you were nowhere near here, and then suddenly I felt you move instantly here. How is this possible?” he gaped. Eric finally stood up, but he didn’t move any closer to me.
I shrugged. “Uncle Dermot said since I have the essential spark that I have magic, I just need to learn to use it, so he’s been teaching me ever since he started staying with me. I just teleported for the first time yesterday, and I haven’t been able to do it again, but I figured I’d see if it worked to teleport to you again. And it did,” I explained.
Eric was still staring at me. “Again?”
“Well, Uncle Dermot had me try teleporting from your backyard yesterday, to you in your bedroom. He said it would probably be easier if I teleported to somewhere where I felt safe, plus, our bond is something within myself that I can focus on to find you,” I said, taking a cautious step forward.
Suddenly Eric was in front of me, crushing me to his chest and pressing his lips to mine in a fierce kiss. When he pulled away, he said, “This is wonderful news, Sookie!” He gently kissed my forehead. “You can teleport and remove yourself from danger should the need arise,” he said looking at me in wonder.
“Well, eventually I will. I’ve only done it twice so far, and both times, I’ve only been able to come to you. I haven’t been able to go anywhere else yet,” I admitted carefully.
“Yes, but I have no doubt that soon you will learn how. I have no doubt in your skills, lover,” he said confidently. Strangely, I felt like his confidence infused me with even more self-assurance. I was actually really excited to try teleporting somewhere else tomorrow.
I still felt a little uncomfortable with all of Eric’s praise, so I decided to divert his attention. “We should get going to Fangtasia so I can screen your potential hires and move on to something more fun,” I told him with a wink.
Eric grinned and zoomed out of the bathroom. He came back seconds later fully clothed in his normal Fangtasia wear. “This discussion isn’t over, dear one. You will still need to tell me more about these magical abilities of yours,” he said as he took my hand to lead me out to his Corvette.
“I know,” I replied. “But let’s talk about it later and focus and doing these interviews first.” I was really surprised at how exciting it was to be able to share this with Eric.
As we were driving to Fangtasia, Eric handed me three manila folders. “These are the resumes and other pertinent information on the three I have narrowed it down to. Look over the information so you can know what things to look for with each applicant,” Eric explained.
I flipped through the files. There were two men and one woman. Not surprising, all three had gone to college; two of them had masters and one of the men even had a PhD. In some ways, it shocked me that people with that much education would want to play gopher for vampires, but I guess it was none of my business. The two with masters’ degrees had studied various forms of economics and business courses, including administration. The PhD had as well, but seemed to have studied more heavily in economics and had spent a lot of his past on Wall Street in the stock exchange. He had been teaching economics at the Louisiana State University for the last three years, and had great recommendations from there.
All too soon, we were pulling up behind Fangtasia, and Eric was leading me into the backdoor of the bar.
“Does this look alright, Eric?” I asked, indicating to the bone colored skirt and jacket suit I was wearing. I had it in the back of my closet from one of the desk jobs I had worked temporarily before I began working for Sam.
Eric smirked, “You look quite sophisticated, lover. Perhaps after our interview, we can do another kind of interview.”
I rolled my eyes. What was it with guys wanting to play out office secretary fantasies?
Eric led me into his office and settled me into his chair. When I looked at him questioningly, he responded, “You shall be the one conducting the interviews, Sookie, I will simply be observing.” And then, he took a seat on the couch.
I nodded in understanding, and soon we were underway.
After the last one had gone, I stood and stretched. “Well, I would recommend hiring Jacob,” I told him.
Eric waved his hand, indicating that he wanted me to go on. I slipped my jacket off, revealing my lavender silk camisole, and settled onto the couch with Eric. “Jacob was by far the most honest. His resume speaks for itself and he didn’t need to lie to make himself sound better like the other two. Lillian really only wanted this job in hopes of trying to sleep with you and have you turn her, or if not you then maybe another vampire close to you. And Patrick was mostly lying through his teeth. He never even finished his master’s degree, and he’s stolen money from almost every job he’s ever had. I figured after Long Shadow, you’d probably had enough of that. Jacob wants to be back in Shreveport, closer to his family, and he’s actually really open-minded about vampires in general. I think he wants to take a dip into history and see if he can’t get some of you vampires to tell him some things so that he can write a book. He’s really genuine about wanting to invest your money in the stock market too. Apparently there have been a lot of guys on the stock exchange that have ripped vampires off because they think they’re easy targets, and he wants to prove that he’s not like those other guys.” I stopped and looked at Eric, waiting to see what he had to say.
“You are remarkable lover. I knew he looked good on paper, as they say. However, I had been leaning towards Patrick; he made a very impressive presentation about new business ventures. It is wonderful to have your insight to know what they are really thinking and who is sincere. Thank you, lover,” he said gently kissing me on the lips.
I smiled a huge smile and not my crazy smile either. It really did feel good to help Eric out in this way.
“I will have Pam hire Jacob and get him started on his paperwork so that he can get started immediately. It will be nice to have the daytime help again,” he said as he took out his phone and began typing away. When he was finished, he put his phone away and stood, pulling us both to our feet. “Now that our business is finished, why don’t we go do something more entertaining,” he said with a grin.
I could only imagine what he had in mind.
A/N: Surprise! I was able to get another small chapter out pretty quick. I’m instructing at a roping clinic this week, but with time off here and there throughout the day, and my lovely internet card, I was able to get a little work done. I tell you, I’m sure sick of this rain though. It’s been raining every day, I swear for pushing two months now. It is no fun trying to teach kids how to rope in a gumbo filled arena! I’m just hoping and praying that it stays dry tomorrow and the day after so the arena dries out a little.
*sigh* Enough of my problems.
I still haven’t gotten to very much of the action yet, but it will be coming, there’s still just so many little things to get out of the way. But at least Eric and Sookie are making some progress and giving that thing called compromise a try. I’m not very good at it myself, but I hear it can be a good thing! 😉
Anyway, read and review!