As soon as the door was closed, Eric pulled Sookie into his arms, buried his face in her hair and breathed in her scent. Although the entire encounter had taken less than thirty minutes, Eric could tell it had taken its toll on his wife. It was obvious to him now that even though she knew of Hadley’s involvement and accepted it, she still wasn’t prepared to witness it first hand. Eric wished he could have taken Sookie out of there and back home to Bon Temps. He would have liked nothing more than to have been able to take his wife home, but he knew he couldn’t. They couldn’t leave yet. His wife would have to be strong for a few more hours.
“Are you okay, lover?” Eric asked. It was a stupid question, and Eric knew that, but at the moment he was at a loss of what to say. Even though she knew the truth and never doubted him, it couldn’t have been easy for her having to witness her cousin straddling him.
“No,” Sookie admitted, tightening her arms around his waist. “But I will be.”
“You will,” Eric agreed, brushing his lips over the top of her head. Pulling back a little, Eric cupped her face in his hands and tilted her head up so he could stare into her eyes. “This ends tonight. I promise you,” he swore, his tone unbending. “Regardless of what the council decides, Sophie-Anne will never hurt you again. I will not allow it.”
“The only way she could hurt me is by taking you away from me,” Sookie replied, smiling up at him. “And I know you’d never allow that.”
“Never,” Eric growled in agreement before crushing his lips to hers in a breath-stealing kiss. He pulled Sookie tightly against him and fisted his hands in her hair. He felt his cock harden in his pants, and he moaned against her lips and pressed himself more firmly to her.
His desire for her felt like a living, breathing thing. He craved her like nothing he had ever known. Every part of him was screaming at him to lay her down on the bed and make love to her until the sun came up. But time was not on their side. A reluctant groan tore from his lips as he broke the kiss and rested his forehead against hers.
“Lover, as much as I would like to continue this, and believe me, I do,” he ground his hips into her in proof. “I’m afraid we don’t have the time.”
Sookie pouted playfully as she stared up at him, her lips swollen from his kiss. “You’ll have to make it up to me later,” she purred.
“You can count on it,” Eric replied before swooping down and stealing her lips once again. “I hate politics,” he groaned, as he broke the kiss.
“Me too,” Sookie moaned, her lip jutting out. She let out a small laugh as she looked down at herself. “I suppose I should go shower,” she snorted, noticing she was covered in Hadley’s blood. “Care to join me?”
“Don’t tempt me,” Eric growled playfully, pinching her ass before letting her go. He grinned as he watched her disappear into the bathroom. As Sookie showered, Eric called down to room service and requested/demanded they come and change the sheets in the room. He would be damned if he would rest with his wife in the bed that smelt like Hadley. Once that was done, he grabbed his phone from the bedside cabinet and fired off a message to Thalia. He informed her of all that had transpired and advised her to be ready. Eric had been serious when he told Sookie it would all end tonight. Sophie-Anne had finally pushed him too far with her childish behavior. He no longer cared about the trial or the outcome. Sophie-Anne wouldn’t be leaving Rhodes in one piece.
It was ten minutes before the trial was scheduled to begin when Eric and Sookie made that entrance into the large banquet room was housing the trial. They were both dressed in their finest, giving them an almost royal appearance, something more than one person noticed.
Placing his hand on the small of her back, Eric guided Sookie into the room, his eyes taking in all those present, assessing any possible threats. He offered nods of respect to the Kings of Texas and Mississippi as he escorted Sookie to the front of the room. Normally he would have stopped to talk to them, having known both of them for many years, but his only concern at that moment was his wife. Eric was surprised to see so many vampires in attendance. But as he thought about it, he realized he shouldn’t have been. The change in the timetable would have made many of them curious. A vampire pledging had been pushed back and the trial brought forward, and they would all be wondering why. Vampires, in addition to being vicious and devious, were also nosy. They thrived on gossip.
Seeing Mr. Cataliades standing by one of the tables assigned to the lawyers, Eric guided Sookie towards him. “Desmond,” he greeted.
“Eric,” Desmond replied with a nod. His eyes softened and a smile spread across his face as he saw Sookie standing beside her husband. “Hello, my dear. I trust you’re well and unhurt after tonight’s unfortunate incident?”
“Good evening, Desmond,” Sookie said, giving him a small smile. “”I’m fine, thank you.”
“I’m happy to hear that,” Desmond told her sincerely. He had been furious when he heard what Hadley had done. He knew without a shadow of a doubt that Sophie-Anne had been behind it. And he had been extremely tempted to kill the Queen himself. It was only the knowledge that she wouldn’t get away with it that had stopped him. The demon lawyer was incredibly fond of his goddaughter, and he refused to let some childish queen hurt her anymore.
“Are you all set for the trial?” Eric asked, as he flicked his eyes over the papers had set out on the table.
“I am,” Desmond replied with a nod of his head. He was more than ready. He could hardly wait to state his case. He was looking forward to helping take Compton and Sophie-Anne down. “After tonight’s incident, I will more than likely have to call both of you to testify as witnesses,” he warned them. “Are you both prepared for that?”
“We are,” Eric answered, as Sookie nodded in agreement.
“Eric!” Sophie-Anne’s shrill voice cut across the room, making more than one vampire look at her.
Turning to face the Queen, Eric blanked his face as he watched her stomp across the room like a child throwing a tantrum. “Yes?” He asked, showing her no respect.
“What are you doing here?” Sophie-Anne asked, shooting him a dirty look as she reached him.
“Waiting for the trial to begin,” Eric answered plainly. “The same as everyone else.”
“As a subject of Louisiana you had no right to come here on your own,” Sophie-Anne spat. “You should have waited for your queen and arrived with her party like a loyal subject. And you certainly didn’t have the right to bring my telepath without my permission. You’re getting too big for your boots. I think it’s time you remembered your place, Sheriff. I will not put up with your disrespect any longer.”
Sophie-Anne had been beside herself when she heard the trial had been brought forward. Not that she cared about the legal issues of Rhodes; they held no importance to her. But she hadn’t liked them bringing the trial forward, as her wedding had been put back. Tonight was supposed to have been her night. And what was worse, she hadn’t heard from Hadley. From the looks of things, their latest plan hadn’t succeeded, but Sophie-Anne wasn’t sure if that was because Hadley had failed or if she hadn’t had the chance to even try. Given how calm both Eric and Sookie looked, how at ease they were with each other, Sophie-Anne believed Hadley hadn’t had the chance to try yet. If she had, she was sure Eric would still be fucking her now, leaving his little wife crying all alone. No one had ever been able to resist her Hadley. Given the chance, she was positive Eric would have jumped at the opportunity to fuck her. Hadley was far more experienced than the telepath. Hadley could easily please him better.
Maybe I should offer him a trade. Sophie-Anne pondered. I’ll give him Hadley in exchange for Sookie. It would be a good deal. Hadley is getting a little too clingy. Eric might like that.
But first she would have to remind him of his place. She was the Queen, and he was only her Sheriff.
“Now, I will require the telepath’s services tonight,” she continued, once again announcing Sookie’s abilities to everyone present without thinking. “Andre will provide security for her, and you’re not needed. Girl, come here now.”
“No,” Sookie replied before Eric had a chance. She was fed up at the way Sophie-Anne was interfering with her life and treating her. She knew she should’ve probably still played nice, but she was done. Hadley’s actions had been the last straw. They had basically conspired to rape her husband just to come between them and claim her for themselves. So she would be damned if she would even feign respect for someone who didn’t deserve it. They could send pathetic vampires to procure her or gift Eric with a woman who they hoped he would fuck, and she would deal with that. She would play their silly little games, but the moment they tried to sexually assault her husband the rules changed. The gloves would come off and she would fight dirty. “As I already told you, my name is not girl. It’s Sookie. But you can call me Mrs. Northman.”
Whispers spread through the room as Sookie announced that in addition to being a telepath, she was also Eric’s wife, but she didn’t care. The news was bound to come out during the trial so there was no point hiding it. Soon the entire supernatural world would know it, know about her.
Anger flashed in Sophie-Anne’s eyes as she glared at Sookie. She couldn’t believe that Sookie had disrespected in front of everyone. It looked like in addition to Eric needing to learn his place, so did his wife. And Sophie-Anne would be happy to remind them both.
“Sheriff, control your pet,” Sophie-Anne snarled, as she straightened her shoulders and attempted to stare them down. “This is the last time I will remind you. I will not tolerate her disrespect, or yours. Now, as your Queen I demand you give me my telepath”.
“As my wife said, no,” Eric replied, towering over the small queen. “And I will remind you, I will not tolerate anyone disrespecting my wife. My wife is a lady, and she will be treated as such.”
“You…” Sophie-Anne spluttered, embarrassment rising up in her as she noticed the audience they were gathering. “I’m your queen,” she spat. “I’m ordering you to stand aside. The telepath is mine; she’s an asset of Louisiana, and I demand her services as is my right.” Reaching forward, Sophie-Anne grabbed Sookie by the wrist and attempted to pull her to her. But before she could, she felt Eric’s hand grip hers and pry her fingers off Sookie.
“Never touch my wife,” Eric growled, anger clearing in his voice. The second Sophie-Anne had touched Sookie he had seen red. No one ever touched his wife. He wouldn’t allow it.
Sophie-Anne let out a whimper as she felt Eric tighten his hand on her wrist. She could hear the bones cracking as he increased the pressure, and she let out a mewl of discomfort. Looking up into his eyes, Sophie-Anne felt a shred of fear spear through her at the anger reflected in them. “Let me go,” she squeaked, her voice holding none of its usual bravado as she saw Desmond pull Sookie to the side and out of the way.
“Unhand your queen,” Andre demanded, pulling the blade he always wore from his sheath and preparing to attack Eric. Andre was furious that Eric dared put his hands on his queen. He swore he would have his head for this.
Before he had a chance to act, Andre felt a hand wrap around his throat from behind and he was lifted into the air, the blade falling from his fingers.
Sophie-Anne’s eyes widened as she saw Thalia appear behind Andre and easily subdue him. “Berts,” she whimpered, calling for her other two children. But a quick look to her left told her they would be of no use either as they were surrounded by vampires, some she recognized from Eric’s area, others from her own.
Sookie smiled as she saw her vampires, Eric’s vampires, move into place and neutralize the Queen’s children. Despite her apprehension she had to admit she was very proud of their vampires; their loyalty was plain to see.
“Enough!” A loud voice boomed over the room, drawing everyone’s attention. “Viking, release the Louisiana Queen.”