I wasn’t exaggerating when I told Eric that I would keep this house for myself if I could. When the owners signed with us at the beginning of the year, I seriously tried to calculate how long I would have to work and how much I would have to make to purchase it. It quickly became obvious that I would never live long enough making what I make to ever pay it off, so it just became my dream house.
It’s so secluded that it takes a while to get there. I make sure to keep the Corvette in my rearview as I have a bad habit of speeding over the backroads that I’ve grown up on. There are so many dead ends and off-shoots around the lake, he could get hopelessly lost, even with the map we provide. I turn down the private road and enter the code for the gate. Finally, the red house looms in front of us.
The “cabin” looks small from the driveway, but it’s actually huge. Eric pulls in to park next to me and looks at the front, seemingly unimpressed. “It looked bigger in the pictures,” he comments quietly and I have to roll my eyes.
“It’s two stories and on a hill. If you were to look from the back, you’d have a better idea of the size. Come on, let me show you around.”
He hands me the keys I’d handed him at the office and open the front door into the foyer. I enter the same code for the gate into the security system and mention to Eric that the code is noted in his paperwork. “Alright, to the left you have the living room and entrances to the decks. Off to the right is the kitchen and dining room. Let me show you the bedrooms and you can decide which you want to stay in so you can drop off your bags.”
The house has two master suites with king beds with a full Jack-and-Jill bathroom between them. Seeing the one with light wood furniture, he puts his suitcases in a corner and looks around. “What else should I know?” he asks.
“Let me show you the downstairs,” I say and lead him to the staircase. The bottom level has another bedroom that I have no doubt will be entirely ignored and a huge game room, which lights up his eyes. “Pool table, Ping-Pong, PlayStation,” I say and turn to my left, “library, office, and wet bar. Over here,” I say, spinning to the right, “is the laundry room, bathroom, and entrance to the deck with the hot tub.” I lead him out to the deck and take a moment to appreciate the scenery with the sunset. “There’s a dock down there if you feel up for a swim, but it’s way too cold right now. There are canoes and a rental place will deliver if you want to go boating in something with a motor.”
We walk back around to the front so he can appreciate the true size of the house. Once we re-enter, I show him the “nifty little binder” that Amelia prepared for all the rentals in the area. “Almost everything you could want is in here, from antiques to wineries and everything in between. There’s numbers for tech support for the satellite and Wi-Fi. Our contact info is in there too, right at the top of the first page, if you need anything at all. After hours, we have an answering service, but one of us is always on call. Can you think of anything else I can do for you?”
He looks dumbfounded at my thoroughness and takes a moment before he speaks. “Uh… no, I can’t think of anything. Do you do this kind of showing for all your renters, because I don’t know how you’d get anything else done in the summer?”
“Of course not,” I answer with a grin. “Just first-timers. We have a lot of repeat business, so it doesn’t take as much time as you’d think. If that’s all you can think of, I think I’m going to head home.”
“Hubby holding dinner for you on account of my flight delay?” he asks with a hint of that smirk he’s famous for.
“No hubby. Just want to watch a little TV with my boyfriend before the work week starts all over again,” I say. For some reason, I want to let Eric know that I do have a boyfriend. I grab my purse and keys before turning to the door. “Remember, if you need anything at all, please let us know. It’s why we’re here.”
“Thanks Sookie,” he says quietly and walks me to my car. He watches me from the front door as I pull away and as soon as I’m back out on the main road, I let my thoughts drift. For being surprised by his appearance, I think I handled myself very smoothly and professionally. But I know that when I get home, Sam’s going to be pissed.
His Bronco isn’t in the driveway when I pull up to my house, so I shrug and head in to make myself some dinner before relaxing in front of the TV. While I wait for water to boil for some tea, I change into pajamas then pour some soup into a pan to heat. I eat and watch the last hour of a movie before True Crime starts, thinking about my day.
Meeting Eric Northman was not something I was expecting. With the exceptions of the Corvette and the comment at the initial impression of the rental house, there wasn’t anything about him that came off as pretentious or cocky. I was surprised by how down-to-earth he seemed because, honestly, most of my thoughts of him were the opposite because they were based on paparazzi pictures and shamefully-purchased gossip rags. I guess we’ll see which is more accurate – the media or face-to-face first impressions – in the next few weeks.
Right as I’m getting ready to fall asleep, my phone rings. Checking the call ID, I sigh. Sam. “Hey sweetie. I was expecting to see you at home when I got here after work.”
“Are you just now getting home?” he demands, sounding furious.
Rolling my eyes, I respond patiently, “No. I’ve been home for hours. I made myself some dinner and watched TV until about ten minutes ago.”
He growls, “Are you kidding me? And you couldn’t call me?”
“You’re not my keeper, Sam! You’re my boyfriend, not my father. I’m not required to let you know where I am every minute of every damn day. Besides, you knew I was helping out a renter, the same thing I do every. single. day. because it’s my job.”
“Did the special attention happen to be because your “rental” just happens to be on that stupid list?” Fuck. How’d he know? He answers my silent question. “Amelia came in squealing like a fangirl with Holly about who was supposed to show up this weekend. I couldn’t help but overhear. So, was he good?”
Oh. No. He. Didn’t. “You listen to me, Sam Merlotte. I don’t cheat and have never given you a single reason to think that I would. If you keep it up, you’re not going to have to worry about it anymore because I’ll be single. Now goodnight,” I say calmly before I hang up on him and turn off my phone.