Chapter 1

Previous

 

I sit at my desk, watching the announcement of the nominees for the upcoming Academy Awards. It’s no surprise to me when I see that Eric Northman has been nominated again. He was nominated for a Golden Globe as well, so the Oscar nod was pretty much a given. He came pretty much from out of nowhere. He starred in some music video and got his big break with a small part on a cable show. The movie he’s been nominated for probably won’t be getting a Best Picture nod, but I’ve seen portions of the movie that Eric is in and he’s pretty good.

 

He’s also ridiculously good looking. He’s tall, well over six feet, and he has an easy charm about him. He’s got gorgeous blue eyes and wheat blond hair. Whenever he leaves the house and gets caught by the paparazzi he always looks relaxed, like he’s been a part of the Hollywood glitz for his entire life despite the fact that he hasn’t been in Hollywood for very long.

 

Eric’s still a bit of a mystery and despite the overwhelming number of demands he’s gotten for interviews, he hasn’t really talked much about his personal life. It’s got everyone buzzing about him, wondering what he’s hiding. Most new faces in these parts are desperate for attention, but not Eric. He hasn’t been spotted hitting up Hollywood hot spots or on the arm of young starlets who are just as desperate for attention and fame.

 

Eric’s definitely not the typical newcomer in this town.

 

“Stackhouse! Get your ass in here!” My editor, Victor, yells from his office.

 

I cringe and force myself out of the chair. For the last three years I’ve been working for one of the local rags, hoping to make a name for myself like pretty much everyone else in this town. When I moved here I wanted to work for People or a magazine like that, hoping to show the more human side to celebrities. Instead, where I ended up working is The Daily Snooper. It’s definitely not my dream job but I have to start somewhere, right?

 

So I make my way to Victor’s office and take a seat across from him. He doesn’t look happy, but then he rarely ever does. He also doesn’t seem to give a single fuck about the no smoking laws since there’s almost always a cigar burning on his desk. The office reeks of cheap Cubans.

 

Victor tosses down a copy of one of our competitors and points to the cover story. “See that, Stackhouse?” he asks, pushing it in my direction.

 

I lean over and my stomach drops into my ass. The headline I was pushing for has already been printed. Fuck me running.

 

“Mr. Madden–” I don’t even know where to start. I feel my cheeks heat up and I get the overwhelming feeling the next words out of his mouth are going to include the phrase, “You’re fired.”

 

“Either you’re feeding information to our competition or you’re shit at reporting,” he tells me. “Which one is it, because I can only see one outcome, Stackhouse.”

 

“Mr. Madden, I don’t know how this happened,” I tell him. “You know I worked on that piece for weeks. I swear I wouldn’t feed The Hound information.”

 

“Which means you’re just shit at the job I pay you to do. I can’t have this kind of thing happening again. Stackhouse, you’re out–”

 

“No! Mr. Madden, wait!” I can’t get fired.

 

I’ve never been fired from anything and that’s not about to start now. I work hard, no matter what menial, bullshit task I’m given to do. I have never once complained, whether it was doing copy editing, fetching coffee or running his errands. I’ve done every single thing he’s ever asked me to do and I’ve done it well.

 

An idea springs to mind and I say, “I just need one more chance, Mr. Madden. I swear, my next story will be an exclusive and it will be something that gets this paper noticed.”

 

He looks at me skeptically for a moment before he asks, “What is it?”

 

“Eric Northman,” I blurt out.

 

This piques his interest.

 

“What about him?”

 

“I’ll get him,” I say confidently. “I’ll get him to talk and I’ll figure out what he’s trying to hide. We all know he must be hiding something. No one this new in Hollywood getting this much attention stays as quiet and out of reach as he has.”

 

Victor stays quiet for a moment before he says, “This is your last shot. If this gets scooped, you’re out.”

 

I nod. “I understand. If I can’t get this one, I’m out.”

 

I honestly have no idea how I’m going to accomplish this. I sincerely doubt that I can just walk right up to his front door, ring the bell and ask for an interview.

 

“I’m giving you a month for this.”

 

I take a deep breath. A month isn’t a lot of time. Fuck.

 

“No problem. I’ll do it,” I say with confidence. I’m just going to have to get creative.

 

“Get out of here,” he grumbles and turns back to his computer.

 

“Thank you, Mr. Madden,” I say politely and quickly bolt from his office.

 

I may have just signed my own death warrant and stayed my execution at the same time. Since I don’t have any time to waste I go to my desk, collect my things and leave the office. I need to think and I can’t do that in a haze of cigar smoke and stale coffee stink.

 

***

 

After three hours and as many lattes at a Starbucks near the office, I’m not closer to having the first clue as to how to get an interview with Eric Northman. I do some internet research and find out who manages him. Talbot Gellar is Eric’s manager. I know I’ve heard that name before so I do more searching and find that Talbot also manages a few other up and comers in Hollywood.

 

Getting a hold of Talbot himself will most likely be impossible. My call would be passed to some assistant with an attitude that would just throw me in voicemail or flat out deny my requests for an interview. With a little more searching and spending another hour sifting through Tumblr posts I finally hit pay dirt.

 

Eric Northman’s home address.

 

He recently purchased a house in West Hollywood. If I hurry up I might make it there before three. Going straight to him might be a huge mistake but I’m fucked if I don’t.

 

I write down his address, close my laptop and gather up my stuff to leave. The overdose of caffeine in my system right now is probably doing nothing to help my jitters, but I’m just going to have to deal with it and hope he thinks a shaky reporter is charming and cute. At least I’m dressed somewhat nicely.

 

Traffic is a bitch, as it always is. My left foot taps against the floorboard the whole way to his house. When I pull up in front of the little white house, I take a deep breath. This is like a normal neighborhood and not a gated community. Then again, he’s not famous enough yet to own some ridiculous estate. That could all change if he wins his Oscar, though.

 

I slick on a fresh coat of lip gloss and pop an Altoid to get rid of my coffee breath. I grab my laptop bag and my purse, say a quick prayer and then force myself to get out of the car. The only rationale I have for bothering this man at home is that I’m trying to save my own ass. If he says no, I can use this month to start looking for a new job. Hell, maybe The Hound will hire me.

 

I make my way to the door and take another deep breath before ringing the bell.

 

This is crazy. This is crazy. This is crazy.

 

It takes a minute or so before Eric Northman himself answers the door. He looks casual in a pair of worn jeans and a loose white T-shirt. He’s not wearing shoes or socks and he has a cup of coffee in his hand.

 

“Hi,” he smiles as he looks down at my bag. “Oh, did Talbot send you? I keep telling him I don’t need an assistant,” he says shaking his head. “You might as well come in.”

 

I open my mouth to correct him and then realize that I have just been handed a gift on a silver platter. I would be a fucking idiot to correct his mistake. I’ve essentially been a personal assistant to Victor for the last three years. I can do that for Eric as well. Shit! He’s going to want to see a resume! I wonder if I can stall him long enough to type a dummy one up really quick.

 

“Thank you for seeing me,” I say as I step inside the house.

 

It’s a nice place. Light hardwood floors, new furniture with clean lines. Pops of teal against the ivory sofas and chairs. Lots of natural light and glass table tops. He’s got good taste. I’m sure the place was professionally decorated but it’s not over the top. I like it.

 

“I don’t really have a choice, now do I?” he chuckles. “I’m done arguing with Talbot about it. Are you thirsty?”

 

“Oh, uh, no thank you. I’ve already had way too many lattes today for my own good,” I tell him.

 

“Okay. Oh, I’m Eric, by the way,” he says and offers me his hand.

 

“Sookie Stackhouse,” I reply as I take his hand and give it a firm shake. He’s got nice hands. Large, but not too rough. I appreciate the fact that he grips my hand back. Some men try to get all dainty about it like they’re afraid they might hurt me.

 

“Nice to meet you, Sookie. Would you like to set down your things and we can get started?” he asks. “I figure we’ll need to go over my schedule and such.”

 

“Uh, sure.” I set my bags down on the couch. “Do you need to see a resume or something?”

 

“I figure Talbot took care of all of that,” he shrugs. “I’ve never had an assistant before; I don’t really know how this is supposed to go.”

 

“I guess that makes two of us,” I mutter.

 

“Ah, look at us, a couple of virgins,” he winks. Apparently he has bionic ears.

 

“Well, I’ve been an assistant before but not a personal assistant,” I admit.

 

“Looks like you’ll be teaching me the ropes. I’ve been avoiding this for almost a year. So… how do we do this?”

 

Ummm… if he’s relying on me to tell him how to be my boss, we might be fucked.

 

“I guess I manage your calendar and keep track of where you’re supposed to be, fetch your coffee, cleaning, put gas in your car, run your errands in general…” I trail off. That all sounds about right. Why the fuck aren’t there movies about the assistants in Hollywood? That would be some interesting shit and super handy right about now.

 

“Okay… I like my coffee with vanilla creamer, usually this color.” He tips his cup to show me his coffee. “No sugar. No one drives my car, I’ll give you the address to the dry cleaners I use and get you a copy of my schedule… Wait, Talbot didn’t give you my schedule?”

 

“Uh, no,” I say. Shit, shit, shit. He’s going to figure out that I am a total fraud and then probably have me arrested.

 

“He can be absentminded sometimes,” Eric says, saving my ass once again. “I’ll get it for you. Come on.” Eric sets down his coffee and starts to walk through the house. “I have a key for you, but if you don’t mind I’d like to wait until I know you better before I give it to you.” We end up in what looks like his office.

 

“That’s completely understandable. I wouldn’t want to give my house key to a stranger either and your place is way nicer than mine.” Seriously, this coffee is going to get my fired before I get hired.

 

“Eh,” he shrugs. “As long as it feels like home.”

 

“Yeah, it’s alright.” My roommate can be a pain in my ass but it helps pay the rent.

 

He sits down in a plush looking chair and pulls up his laptop. He types a few things before a printer starts behind me.

 

“That’s for you. My schedule for the next month. I’ll get your number from Talb–”

 

“Are you okay?” I ask curiously, trying not to panic that he’s already figured out I’m a big fat liar.

 

“Yeah, may I see your ID? I wasn’t even thinking when I let you in.”

 

“Oh, yeah, of course. Let me just go get it.” I hustle from the room with my heart still beating a million times a minute. Eric’s still staring at the computer when I get back to his office with my purse in my hand. I pull my wallet from the bag and slip my license from it. I wonder if he even realizes he was nominated for an Oscar this morning. If he knows, he’s definitely not making a big deal out of it. I hold my license out to him. “Here you go.”

 

He takes it from me to scrutinize it for a minute.

 

“Thanks,” he says as hands it back. “You would think I’d be more careful. My mind is all over the place today.”

 

“It’s no problem.” I debate over whether or not to congratulate him on the nomination. It’s a pretty bad ass achievement, but I don’t want to come off looking like some crazy fan girl, stalker type. Then again, it was part of the morning news and it’s been all over the internet all day. If I don’t say anything, that looks weird too. “I’d probably be scatter brained too if I was nominated for an Oscar.” There. That wasn’t creepy, right?

 

Eric gives me that Eric Northman smirk he’s famous for. “I’m still in shock, to be honest. I don’t think I deserve it.”

 

“I’m not a movie critic and I haven’t seen the entire film, but the parts that I did see looked pretty good. Don’t sell yourself too short. Not everyone can be Justin Bieber,” I joke.

 

“Oh, you’re a Bieliber, huh?” he jokes back.

 

“You know it. Almost shaved my head when that false report came out that he had cancer. I did not spend the day laughing at other girls on Twitter that actually went through with it.”

 

Except I did and I don’t regret a second of it.

 

“That would’ve been a shame.”

 

“Yes it would.” I can hardly keep a straight face through all of this.

 

“Sookie Stackhouse, what do you have planned today?” he asks.

 

“Absolutely nothing,” I reply honestly.

 

“Would you like to have lunch with me so I can get to know the girl that’s supposed to run my life?”

 

“Sure, I can do that,” I nod. I still have the jitters but the buzz seems to be wearing off.

 

“Okay. Are you a pizza eater? You’re not a vegetarian are you?” he asks.

 

“No, definitely not a vegetarian. Pizza is good. I didn’t get this size ten ass from eating salads all day.”

 

Seriously. I need to shut up.

 

“I don’t see anything wrong with a size ten ass. I wish I could gain weight,” he chuckles.

 

“Let me make you a few southern meals. It’ll fatten you right up,” I retort.

 

“I’ll hold you to that Miss Stackhouse,” he says with that little smirk he makes.

 

I take my license back and put it in my wallet where it belongs. I don’t know how long I can keep up this charade, but hopefully long enough to get information I can use to write my article and keep my job.

 

Next

17 thoughts on “Chapter 1

  1. What VictoryinTrouble said! He’s such a trusting and nice guy!! And, I am already on the fuck me countdown. “Fuck me running”. Love it. 🙂

    Happy New Year Missy and Meg!

    Like

  2. Wow, let’s hope she grows a conscience once she gets to know him and doesn’t actually submit the story. I love this already! 🙂

    Like

  3. Oh, Sookie this is not going to go well 😉 I’d quit the job for the creepy guy and continue to be Eric Northman’s pa. That would be way better than working for that crap tabloid.

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  4. Hmm… that look from when he was on the computer, and then turned back to her… I think he already knows. This could be great fun!

    Like

  5. Hmmm… I’m thinking Eric froze when he saw a message from Talbot.
    Geepers, I’m guessing he hasn’t sprung her yet, so that he can do his own sluithing. Lol. What a way to start. A whole bunch of lies.

    I’m going with the general consensus. Keep the PA job. Ditch victor.

    Like

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