Oh, this is great. I have to get a group together to go out after work and not piss Sam off in the process. I know Amelia and Holly will have my back, but I have to get some guys involved also. I sequester myself in my office after lunch and take a deep breath before dialing the phone.
“You got Jay. What’s up?”
“Jason, do you even look at your caller ID before answering the phone?”
“Oh! Hey Sis. What’s goin’ on?”
“How many favors do you owe me?” I’ve done far more for my brother than most sisters would. My couch should have a permanent imprint of his body because of the numbers of nights he’s crashed on it.
“Oh, ‘bout twelve. You cashin’ in?”
Sighing, I say, “Yeah. I need you to bring Tray and Alcide to Anchor House after work to hang out.”
“Why not Merlotte’s? Sam gives me drinks on the house.” Of course he does.
“Because I don’t want to go to Merlotte’s tonight. One of my renters asked me to introduce him to some people, so I’m moving my Monday gab-fest with Ames to Anchor House and I want to bring some other people too.”
“A renter, huh? And you don’t want Sam to see… you doublin’ up, Sook?”
I recline in my desk chair and resist sighing again. “You should know better, Jason Stackhouse. After seeing what Momma did to Daddy, how can you even ask me that? Of course not. Sam is just… not a fan. Besides, he has to work.”
“’Kay, sorry. Payday’s a week away… you payin’ for my drinks?”
Grrr. “Fine. Just bring the guys and anyone else you think would like to hang out with us tonight. I might find it in my heart to talk you up to Danielle if you’re nice.” He’s been wanting to “go out with” my co-worker since he met her.
“Well, a’ight then. I guess me and the guys will meetcha at Anchor House after work. Have a Bud waitin’ for me?”
“Fine, Jase. Thanks.”
With Jason and his buddies in, I call Amelia and change the plans, knowing she’s up for anything, especially given the reason. Holly and Danielle agree also, making us a tentative happy group of eight. Now I have to call Sam. This is not going to be pleasant.
“Hey hon. How’s work today?” I ask, my voice as sweet and smooth as molasses.
His voice is growly when he responds. “I didn’t sleep for shit last night. I don’t like being mad at you.”
Fuck. “I don’t like being mad at you either, sweetie. But look, I wanted to let you know that I’m not coming in for dinner tonight. The girls and I are meeting Jason and some of his friends at the lake instead.”
“Why the hell are you guys going to the lake? Jason likes his complimentary drinks too much to willingly go somewhere else without a reason.” I knew it.
Hmm… how can I word this honestly and avoid another fight? “Danielle is going to Anchor House and you know Jason has been panting after her for a couple of years. He’s willing to give up free drinks for a night to have a chance with her, but he wants me to talk him up a little first.” Every single word of that was honest… if missing some significant details.
“Ugh, fine. What time you thinkin’ you’re gonna be getting home?”
Heart pounding with relief, I reply, “Who knows when Jason’s involved. It won’t be too late since we all have to work tomorrow. Do you want me to call when I get in?”
I hear an order being called over the bar and I know he has to get off the phone. “Don’t worry about it, sugar. Just be safe. Love you, I gotta go.”
“You too, hon.”
I get home and I have about an hour to get ready. I am going out with Eric Northman. Shit. I don’t have the slightest idea of what to do with myself. I love Sam, and I would never “double up” as my brother so subtly put it, but really… He’s a damn movie star that I’ve had a crush on for years and he’s showing an interest in me.
I don’t want to look like I put too much work into how I look, but I’m not going to go out in sweats and a shlubby t-shirt either. I grab my favorite jeans from my dresser and shimmy into them, appreciating that they make my ass look fantastic… the reason they are my favorites. From my closet, I grab a red off-the-shoulder blouse and some matching heels. I take my hair out of the braid it’s been in all day and finger comb out the waves before putting on a little mascara and lip gloss. Glancing in the mirror, I sigh. Perfect. Presentable, but not overdoing it.
When I get to Anchor House, I already see Amelia’s Miata and Holly’s Suburban in the parking lot. I was hoping to see Jason’s custom pickup, but the boy has never been on time, much less early for anything, so that was just a pipe dream. I don’t see the Corvette anywhere, so I have a little time to get some control over my nerves.
None of us – me, Holly, and Danielle – are strangers to getting hit on by renters looking for a vacation fling. Danielle even has a ring she will occasionally wear during the busy season to ward off unwanted advances. I can honestly say that I have never been so tempted – ever – to blow off my commitment and cash in on the opportunity “The List” gives me. But I know that a vacation fling, dream man and fuck hot movie star or not, is not worth ruining what I have with Sam.
I meet Ames and Holly in the lobby and have the hostess put together a table for eight in the bar. The dining room is too formal; the bar/lounge is comfortable enough for hanging out and getting to know everyone. Amelia looks so excited she’s almost vibrating and Holly can’t keep the damn smirk off her face as she tells Amelia about Eric asking me out this morning.
At six thirty on the dot, Eric walks in, followed by Danielle. While I wait for Jason and his friends, I introduce Eric and Amelia before placing an order for drinks, remembering to get Jason’s beer so it’s waiting for him. The waitress side-eyes Eric a few times, but seems to think that there’s no way he’s actually who he is and sitting in her section.
In typical Jason Stackhouse fashion, he walks into the lounge fifteen minutes late, his burly construction co-workers trailing behind him. When he gets to the table, he gives me a kiss on the cheek (playing up the “loving brother” persona), making Eric’s eyes narrow slightly. Okey dokey, looks like more introductions are required.
I stand and point around the table, emphasizing to Eric that Jason is my brother when the hamsters in Jason’s head decide to give him a fucking clue at exactly the wrong time while chewing a hole in his already faulty filter. “Fuckin’ hell, Sookie, do you know who this is? Ain’t you been droolin’ over him for years? You sure you ain’t planning on steppin’ out Sam?”
Fuck. My. Life.