Here's another bit from Club Dead, early in the story, when Eric, Sookie and Chow go talk to Sookie about Bill's disappearance.

One more scene from Club Dead... )

"Don't you do it," Eric said. He sounded definite. I tried to concentrate on his voice, and I looked at him.

I nodded to indicate I was doing my best.

He moved over to my side of the table, turned the chair Pam had occupied until it faced me and was very close. He sat and leaned over to me, his big white hand covering both of mine, still folded neatly in my lap. If he closed his hand, he could crush all my fingers. I'd never work as a waitress again.

"I don't enjoy seeing you scared of me," he said, his face too close to mine. I could smell his cologne—Ulysse, I thought. "I have always been very fond of you."

He'd always wanted to have sex with me.

"Plus, I want to fuck you." He grinned, but at this moment it didn't do a thing to me. "When we kiss … it's very exciting." We had kissed in the line of duty, so to speak, and not as recreation. But it had been exciting. How not? He was gorgeous, and he'd had several hundred years to work on his smooching technique.

Eric got closer and closer. I wasn't sure if he was going to bite me or kiss me. His fangs had run out. He was angry, or horny, or hungry, or all three. New vampires tended to lisp while they talked until they got used to their fangs; you couldn't even tell, with Eric. He'd had centuries of perfecting that technique, too.

"Somehow, that torture plan didn't make me feel very sexy," I told him.

"It did something for Chow, though," Eric whispered in my ear.

I wasn't shaking, but I should have been. "Could you cut to the chase here?" I asked. "Are you gonna torture me, or not? Are you my friend, or my enemy? Are you gonna find Bill, or let him rot?"

Eric laughed. It was short and unfunny, but it was better than him getting closer, at least at the moment. "Sookie, you are too much," he said, but not as though he found that particularly endearing. "I'm not going to torture you. For one thing, I would hate to ruin that beautiful skin; one day, I will see all of it."

I just hoped it was still on my body when that happened.

"You won't always be so afraid of me," he said, as if he were absolutely certain of the future. "And you won't always be as devoted to Bill as you are now. There is something I must tell you."

Here came the Big Bad. His cool fingers twined with mine, and without wanting to, I held his hand hard. I couldn't think of a word to say, at least a word that was safe. My eyes fixed on his.

"Bill was summoned to Mississippi," Eric told me, "by a vampire—a female—he'd known many years ago. I don't know if you've realized that vampires almost never mate with other vampires, for any longer than a rare one-night affair. We don't do this because it gives us power over each other forever, the mating and sharing of blood. This vampire …"

"Her name," I said.

"Lorena," he said reluctantly. Or maybe he wanted to tell me all along, and the reluctance was just for show. Who the heck knows, with a vampire.

He waited to see if I would speak, but I did not.

"She was in Mississippi. I am not sure if she regularly lives there, or if she went there to ensnare Bill. She had been living in Seattle for years, I know, because she and Bill lived there together for many years."

I had wondered why he'd picked Seattle as his fictitious destination. He hadn't just plucked it out of the air.

"But whatever her intention in asking him to meet her there … what excuse she gave him for not coming here … maybe he was just being careful of you …"

Oh, poor Eric... We're just early in Book 3, and he's already trying to make Sookie feel better about herself, reassuring her that Bill might have nobler reasons for walking out on her for Lorena. What a vamp. :)

I wanted to die at that moment. I took a deep breath and looked down at our joined hands. I was too humiliated to look in Eric's eyes.

"He was—he became—instantly enthralled with her, all over again. After a few nights, he called Pam to say that he was coming home early without telling you, so he could arrange your future care before he saw you again."

"Future care?" I sounded like a crow.

"Bill wanted to make a financial arrangement for you."

The shock of it made me blanch. "Pension me off," I said numbly. No matter how well he had meant, Bill could not have offered me any greater offense. When he'd been in my life, it had never occurred to him to ask me how my finances were faring—though he could hardly wait to help his newly discovered descendants, the Bellefleurs.

But when he was going to be out of my life, and felt guilty for leaving pitiful, pitiable me—then he started worrying.

"He wanted …" Eric began, then stopped and looked closely at my face. "Well, leave that for now. I would not have told you any of this, if Pam hadn't interfered. I would have sent you off in ignorance, because then it wouldn't have been words from my mouth that hurt you so badly. And I would not have had to plead with you, as I'm going to plead."

I made myself listen. I gripped Eric's hand as if it were a lifeline.

(I'm leaving out the brief part where Eric talks about sending Alcide to Sookie, and their mission in Mississippi

"Another puzzle is why she happened to be there at all," Eric said. "I think I would have known if she'd been a regular member of the Mississippi group. But I'll be thinking about that in my spare time." From his grim face, Eric had already put in considerable brain time on that question. "If this plan doesn't work within about three days, Sookie, we may have to kidnap one of the Mississippi vampires in return. This would almost certainly lead to a war, and a war—even with Mississippi—would be costly in lives and money. And in the end, they would kill Bill anyway."

Okay, the weight of the world was resting on my shoulders. Thanks, Eric. I needed more responsibility and pressure.

"But know this: If they have Bill—if he is still alive—we will get him back. And you will be together again, if that's what you want."

Big if.

"To answer your question: I am your friend, and that will last as long as I can be your friend without jeopardizing my own life. Or the future of my area."

Well, that laid it on the line. I appreciated his honesty. "As long as it's convenient for you, you mean," I said calmly, which was both unfair and inaccurate. However, I thought it was odd that my characterization of his attitude actually seemed to bother him. "Let me ask you something, Eric."

He raised his eyebrows to tell me he was waiting. His hands traveled up and down my arms, absently, as if he wasn't thinking of what he was doing. The movement reminded me of a man warming his hands at a fire.

Brief note: did Bill locate Lorena while working on his vamp database? OK... waaaaay too tired to think now. :)
The crowd around me consisted of vampires. One of them was Eric. I could not decipher his face.

"The tall blond will help me," I told Tara, my voice barely a rasp. I pointed a finger at Eric. I didn't look at him for fear I'd read rejection in his eyes. If Eric wouldn't help me, I suspected I would lie here and die on this polished wood floor in a vampire bar in Jackson, Mississippi.

My brother, Jason, would be so pissed off.

I just noticed that Sookie cannot "decipher" Eric's face more than once in this book. I think Eric had already fallen for her, head-over-heels, and she's totally clueless about it (or in the denial, or both)... Hence her inability to read his face. :-)

A little further along in the chapter... )


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