A New Day
My entry for the Valentine’s Day contest at the Alexander Skarsgard Library Forum. Sookie has a special and unexpected day. Post Book 9. Rated: M – Romance – Chapters: 1 – Words: 1,985 – Published: 1-25-10
This is dedicated to walshgirl for donating to Support Stacie in my name. Thank you so much!
Charlaine Harris owns these characters.
I’ve always hated Valentine’s Day. I never seemed to have a special someone when it rolled around. When I was a kid, I always seemed to be the only one who didn’t get a bunch of little cards from her classmates. Nobody wanted to give Crazy Sookie Stackhouse a Valentine. Jason got dozens.
When I finally did have a boyfriend, well, let’s just say he wasn’t your typical guy. Vampires aren’t exactly the most sentimental men around. Bill was always more interested in his database than romancing me.
So, being alone seemed to just be emphasized a little more than usual on Valentine’s Day, and for my friends in relationships, it seemed to pressure them to define where they were in their romance. Were they a dinner out together couple? Flowers? Jewelry? What if the woman gave a bigger gift than the man? Would it make things awkward? It was just an icky holiday all around as far as I was concerned.
So, I was happy to take the dinner shift at Merlotte’s on Valentine’s Day so the other waitresses could spend the evening pressuring their boyfriends and husbands to do the right thing, whatever that might be. I considered myself dating Eric, of course, but knew that he wouldn’t have a clue about the holiday, which was fine with me.
Not only was I glad to be omitted from the lovers’ plans, but I really needed the extra money that an additional shift in my week might bring. I had missed so much work while I was recovering from the fairy kidnapping and my savings account had dwindled down to almost nothing. I had bills due that I wasn’t sure I would be able to pay and hoped that the men with dates in Merlotte’s would feel a little more generous with their tips than usual in order to impress the women.
I was tying my apron on when Sam cornered me and said he had a little something to give me. He led me to his office and pulled a box of chocolates out of his desk drawer. “Happy Valentine’s Day, cher.”
I just blushed and mumbled an awkward thank you before stashing it with my purse and running back out to start my shift. I noticed that Sam kept watching me and smiling and I really wished he would stop that. I didn’t want that kind of attention from Sam.
The restaurant was very busy and I was right about the tips—they were bigger than usual. Halfway through my shift, I almost fell over when Quinn strolled in and sat at the bar. I went over to say hello and he stood and gave me a big hug. “I know I’m not supposed to be here. I promise I won’t stay and cause any trouble. I just wanted to see you and give you this.” He produced a little velvet box and opened it to reveal a silver (very funny, Quinn) charm bracelet. It had a single charm—a tiny tiger.
“Oh, Quinn, it’s lovely, but I can’t accept it.”
“Of course you can. It’s just a little token of my affection.”
He slipped the box into my apron pocket before kissing me on the cheek and walking out the door. I just stood there with my mouth open until a drunk customer yelled my name to bring him a beer.
The rest of the night seemed to fly by we were so busy. I really didn’t even have the time to think about Sam’s candy or Quinn’s bracelet. As the evening came to an end, I gathered my things and said goodnight to Sam before taking off. I was looking forward to getting home and having a little silence (inside my head as well as outside). Amelia was in New Orleans.
When I pulled around the house, I saw something on the front porch, so once I was inside, I went to open the front door. There on the porch were three giant bouquets of flowers. This was getting ridiculous. I carried the first one in and set it on the kitchen table. It was a dozen white roses and the card said, “Thinking of you, Calvin.” Really? I never would have expected that.
I retrieved the second vase, adding it to the table. It was full of peach and lavender roses. “I hope you enjoy these. I’ll talk to you soon. Alcide.” What? Since when did Alcide send me flowers?
The third bouquet was huge—two dozen red roses. “All my love, Bill.” Okay, now that was amazing.
I was sitting at the table, admiring the three arrangements as well as my little bracelet and munching on one of Sam’s chocolates when there was a knock at the door. Now what? Surely, there would be no more flowers delivered at this late hour.
I peeked out and saw a beaming Pam holding a giant teddy bear. As I opened the door she cheerfully said, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Sookie! This is from Eric.” She presented the giant bear to me proudly.
“Really? Okay, I’m sorry, Pam, but I find that hard to believe. Seriously, where did it come from?”
Her smile faded and her shoulders sagged. “Well, if you must know, it was my idea. Abby said that polyester foam-filled mammals were a customary and thoughtful gift on this day. I knew that Eric would be unaware of the tradition, and wanted to please you on his behalf.”
“Well, that’s very sweet of you, Pam, and I do appreciate it.” I took the bear from her. “Won’t you come in?”
“No thanks. I’ve got dinner waiting in the car. I just wanted to drop this off.”
She gave me an awkward air kiss and bounded down the front steps to her car. I didn’t look to see who was sitting in it—too much information.
I sat the bear in a chair at the table with all my other Valentine’s gifts and thought of how different this year was. I had never had so much attention on Valentine’s Day before, and while it was certainly sweet that so many people had thought of me, I couldn’t help but fall into the trap of wondering why the one man whose attention I wanted hadn’t done anything. Silly, I know, but what can I say? I was tired and feeling sorry for myself.
I shook it off and jumped in the shower, scrubbing off the grease and letting the hot water massage my aching shoulders. I put on my nightgown and climbed into bed and before I knew it, I was fast asleep.
I was aware of Eric’s presence in my bed before I became fully awake and smiled to myself. I loved it when he surprised me like this. I reached up and wrapped my arms around his neck and nuzzled into his bare chest. “I didn’t think you were coming tonight.”
He began kissing my hair and massaging my back before removing my gown. “I understand that tonight is a special night and wanted to be with you. The bar was quite busy because of the holiday and I gave Pam the night off, or I would have come sooner, lover.”
“That’s okay. I had to work too. Besides, I hate Valentine’s Day.”
Eric’s kisses found my face, my neck, my breast. “I see you have accumulated quite a lot of gifts in your kitchen.” His hands were teasing and taunting all my special spots.
Just before he kissed my lips, he whispered, “I brought you this.” And in one swift motion, he pushed my legs open and filled me as his tongue found mine.
I groaned in both alarm and pleasure and grabbed his hair to kiss him deeper. He was on me and pushing in, one hand gripping my hip for leverage. As swiftly as he had entered me, he withdrew and held perfectly still, his mouth hovering just above mine. “Do you not want your gift?”
I opened my eyes and saw the twinkle in his, clear blue even in the dim light of the night. “I want it.”
He smiled triumphantly as he filled me again in one powerful stroke. This time, we both moaned. He began rocking me with a steady and confident rhythm. He always seemed to know just what I wanted and when I wanted it. I gripped his arms as he rose up so he could watch me. I touched myself to speed things up, eager to find my peak. He watched my hand with great interest until I started to come and then he transferred his gaze to my eyes. I kept them open like I knew he liked and as I felt him nearing his own end, I pressed his head down to my breast so he could bite.
It was the same dance we’d danced many nights, but I never tired of it. Afterwards, he held me and told me he loved me. I fell asleep thinking that maybe I didn’t mind Valentine’s Day so much anymore.
I woke the next morning feeling the stiffness from a long night at work and an enthusiastic night with Eric. I took care of my human needs and went into the kitchen to make some coffee. The aroma of the roses filled the room and I admired them before turning to the counter to start the coffee. And that’s when I noticed the easel with the painting on it. It was a beautiful oil painting of me and Eric. I was looking straight ahead, leaning my head into his chest. His head was turned a little towards mine, but his gaze was directed beyond me. It was amazing and beautiful and I wondered for a moment who had painted it until I spotted the tiny signature in the bottom corner: Northman. I gasped, having no idea that he could paint so well.
I turned back to the table and found the card with my name on it in his heavy script. It was a plain red card with no printed words inside—only Eric’s note. It had been torn open and then closed again. There were two parts to the note written with different pens.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
I know you said tonight that you hate Valentine’s Day, but I hope you will accept this gift. I realized that we have no photographs of the two of us together, so I thought that this might please you instead. I also paid your car insurance for the year in case you thought that this was too sentimental a present. …E.
I put the card back into its envelope and set it on the table among my loot. I sat in a chair and thought of all the Valentine’s Days that were lonely and painful and then thought of how sweet all my friends had been on this one. Then I studied the painting again, picturing Eric working on it to surprise me and felt an emotional tear slide down my cheek as I said out loud just to myself, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Sookie.” Yes, this one was definitely different. This one felt like a new day.