25.

SPOV:

 

I laid there with my head on his chest, the sounds from the old wireless radio humming along across Eric’s bedroom, the hum of his heart and the lull of his breath the only other sounds I could hear.

 

I knew by his breathing that he was asleep. At least one of us could.

 

I laid awake thinking, pondering—driving myself crazy, really.

 

So much had changed in such a short space of time. I’d learned so much; I’d done so much. But there wasn’t really anything I could say. I loved Eric. I’d given him the only thing that was mine to give—my virginity, my body, and my heart all wrapped up in my love. The fear I felt wasn’t like any fear I’d ever experienced before. I knew he’d never intentionally hurt me, but physically, he was an intimidating guy. I’d spoken briefly to Amelia about my plans with Eric. She was, of course, thrilled that I was taking the next step—the next step to stepping out that front door—or so she’d chided me. She’d told me of her first time with Trey and how she too had been completely terrified since she’d heard horror stories from her friends. She did her best to placate me however, assuring me that while it hurts at first, if we both do our thing, then it should pass.

 

She also mentioned the blood.

 

That, I hadn’t been expecting, even though it made sense when you thought about it. But it t scared me too. I hated the sight of blood; it made me queasy. Thankfully though, when Eric entered me, the pinching pain only hurt only for a little while, and the blood wasn’t as frightening or as much as I’d been expecting.

 

I’d sworn Amelia to secrecy, even from Lafayette, since I wasn’t sure if my chicken self would even be able to go through with it at all. All I knew was that I wanted to. I’d thought about it, and it was something I wanted. But wanting and having are two very different things. I’d gone all my life deprived of most normal things a girl should want and have—a family, parents, a home, love.

 

But this love I had; I had Eric’s love and I hoped he knew he had mine. However, what I didn’t know is that what was coming would test us both to our limits—both as people and as people in love with one another. It was the kind of tragic chaos that appeared like the wind nipping under the door. You know it’s there, you know it’s bad outside, and at first you just feel the gentle wisps before it hits you full force.

 

Those wisps where blowing through the door masking the heavy danger of the outside.

 

“You’re over thinking,” he spoke from his sleep, groggy and hoarse.

 

“I’m not.”

 

“You always do.” I could hear him smiling. He tipped my chin to look at him and I did. “What’s going on in that head of yours?”

 

“Panic,” I admitted.

 

“I knew it.” He turned us both so we were facing each other. “Sookie, the way I see it, we have two choices. One, we go—which you know I think is for the best—but you for whatever reason won’t entertain; and two, we stay. We live here and we sneak around until we die.”

 

I hated when he was unnecessarily sarcastic.

 

“Eric.”

 

“Sookie…” he smiled. “I get it. You don’t want to talk about it, and that’s your call, for now. But I won’t let it go forever.” He kissed me on the nose sweetly.

 

“Are you okay?” he asked, his eyes full of concern once more.

 

Truth be told I still felt sore, like an ache that wouldn’t go away.

 

“I still hurting. But I’m sure it’ll be fine soon.”

 

“I’m sorry I hurt you, I didn’t mean—”

 

“Shh, I know you didn’t.” I kissed him softly. I needed him to know that that’s just how it happened and the pain usually subsided—eventually. But, of course, Eric being Eric, he needed to ‘fix’ it.

 

He kissed his way down my body getting to know my curves all over again, only this time he rubbed circles up and down, making quick work of my tension. From my feet to my legs, my thighs right up to my tummy and arms, he made me feel so relaxed massaging each part of me gently.

 

“Better?”

 

“Little bit,” I said with a smile. “You’re sweet.”

 

“I know.” He winked and I playfully slapped his arm. Of course he ignored me, chuckling to himself as he kissed my bellybutton, making me squirm.

 

“I have an idea,” he announced, before he all but bounced off the bed reaching for his underwear.

 

“Eric, where are you going?”

 

He didn’t answer me, instead he just popped out of the room in a flash.

 

What the heck?

 

I waited impatiently for Eric to return, but I waited and waited. I was tired so I must have gotten too sleepy to fight it because the next thing I knew Eric was there again, this time with a large towel and a smile.

 

“Hey, I hate waking you but I wanted to do something to make you feel better.”

 

“Eric, I’m over that, really. I’m just a little bit sore but I’ve felt worse, I promise.”

 

“Still. Come with me? You don’t have to use it if you don’t want.”

 

He held out his hand but when I failed to reach for it he scooped me up—sheets and all—and carried me out the door. “Okay, if you drop me, I’m so going to have to kill you.”

 

“I won’t drop you,” he smiled.

 

He carried me into the bathroom, the one only the priests used. It had a large white bathtub that Eric had filled.

 

“I put some of Niall’s salts in there. He says they ease his muscles when they hurt, so maybe they’ll help you too?”

 

I stepped to the ground slowly; his height somewhere I was afraid to fall from.

 

“You’re really too amazing, you know that?”

 

The water was nice and hot too, not the lukewarm baths we were usually allowed in the nuns quarters.

 

I dropped the sheet, and I resisted the urge to cover up my body once more. What was the point now? Eric had seen and memorized every inch of me, just as I had done him.

 

I tendered my toes in first, followed by the rest of me.

 

It was heavenly.

 

“Thank you, sweetheart.” I smiled as he sat next to me, his feet folded underneath him. “Don’t sit on the cold floor, you’ll get a chill.”

 

“I’m fine.” He smiled and kissed me once, holding my hand as he sat back down in silence.

 

I felt bad for him sitting on that cold tile while I snuggled in the amazingly hot bath, that he was right about—it did take my pains away.

 

“Join me?”

 

His eyes bugged out of his head, I swear.

 

“Like… in there? With you?”

 

I blushed.

 

“Well, yeah? If you want.”

 

Deer in the headlights was one way to describe him.

 

“If you don’t…?”

 

He didn’t answer, instead he stood up and stripped his boxers off, shedding the sheet too.

 

“How… where…?” he said, awkwardly trying to find space in the tub.

 

I sat forward so that he could slide in behind me, his legs falling to either side of mine. It took some awkward maneuvering, but somehow we managed it.

 

“This is nice,” he sighed.

 

I brought both of his arms around my body, not thinking it was possible, but wanting him closer to me.

 

There was a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I knew it wasn’t from the cramps. I did my best to push it aside however, when I felt Eric shift underneath me, I took a deep breath and laid his hands on me again. Not being able to see his face somehow made it more exciting. All I could see were his hands, and all I could feel was his reaction to it under the water. Eric gave everything away in his eyes. Every emotion he’d be concealing from the world was visible through the pretty blue windows to his soul.

 

I didn’t want to think about tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. Selfishly, I wanted time to stand still and for there to be no repercussions to our actions.

 

Eric’s hands traveled between my legs. Being ever so gentle, he probed at my entrance again. It was uncomfortable for only a second this time around, the hot water helping to ease the discomfort wonderfully. He found the spot that had me writhing in seconds, gripping onto the bathtub as he wound my body up like a toy train chugging furiously around the track.

 

I felt like I was falling off that same track as his hands quickened their pace. Wanting to return the favor, and attempting to be as unselfish as possible, I reached behind me and did my best to allow him the same pleasure that he was so attentively giving me.

 

Feeling his breath on my neck as he let loose one small whimper of pleasure after another, I knew I needed more. I needed to feel him inside me again. I didn’t care how much it might hurt; the fear washed over me that even though we were as close as two people could get, I felt him—us—slipping away.

 

I pulled myself up and away from him, turning to face him finally.

 

“Sookie, I want you,” he whispered, his breathing labored.

 

I just smiled as I showed him that he and I were, for once, on the same page.

 

Having him enter me this time hurt a lot less. Again, I thanked the tub full of hot water as we both held onto the other for dear life while riding out our pleasure with each other. His breathing and mine, echoed louder and louder in the dank, empty bathroom.

 

I felt my toes curling as he tightened his grip on my thigh and my shoulder. His lips left a trail of kisses down my collarbone to my breasts, as I did my best to keep my balance.

 

“Sookie, I’m… I’m…” I felt him try to stall me, to stop.

 

“Don’t you dare!” I laughed into his neck. No, I was too far gone for that, and he knew, he knew when he gripped my behind and pulled me down even further onto his body, putting himself deeper inside me than even the first time. I felt full in every sense as I felt my body let itself go around his, holding onto his hair and head, keeping him close. As he worked his way though his own orgasm, both of us could do little else than breathe.

 

EPOV:

 

Allowing myself to touch Sookie like I had wanted to for so long, was overwhelming more than anything else. For such a long time I’d thought about what it would be like if she and I were ever to take that step and allow ourselves the privilege of each other. Her body was as beautiful as the rest of her, and even though I knew she was self-conscious and shy, she hid it well when she let me touch and kiss and worship her as I always wanted. I was nervous as hell. I didn’t want to hurt her, but I knew that the first time for a girl was a lot different than the first time for a guy. It was painful for one, which made sense. I mean, there you are, untouched and tight and there’s this thing … God, I shuddered just thinking of how painful it might have been for her.

 

So yeah, I knew I would do my best to be as careful with her as possible to avoid causing her any discomfort. Of course, it was the last thing I wanted, so I tried my best to distract her as much as possible. As much as I wanted to sink into her tight hot body and lose myself, I knew I couldn’t. It wouldn’t have been right.

 

When she started to bleed, I’ll admit I did panic. I’d heard it happened sometimes; I just didn’t like to see it happen to her. I knew I was hurting her, no matter how gentle I tried to be. I wanted to stop—the last thing I wanted was her hurt and bleeding because of me. She insisted like a trooper that she’d be fine, but still I was as slow as I could possibly be. However, when I was fully inside her, it took all my strength not to just let myself go and make love to her hard and fast like my body was urging me to do.

 

No. I took my time and enjoyed it as much as I could. I knew I wouldn’t last very long as it was. I was horny; I was scared and nervous; and it was Sookie for crying out loud. Sookie and her body that had never been touched or even seen by another man before—that realization was turning me on more than it should have. She was so soft and warm and just beyond anything that I could have imagined. And believe me, I had a pretty active imagination.

 

My bright idea to ease her discomfort came to me after I realized that’s what helped me most after I got stabbed. Not that this was the same thing, but the gesture was there all the same. Seeing her naked was something I didn’t think I’d ever get tired of. The curve of her spine, the shape of her hips, her tiny bellybutton. I’d memorized it all, just in case this was the last time we’d get to be together.

 

Why think that? Well, good things didn’t often happen in our lives. This was a good thing, so needless to say I was holding onto it as tight as my memory would allow.

 

When she asked me to join her, it was unexpected but completely welcome. Awkward at first, but being so close to her and doing something so personal together—so intimate—it was the best damn bath I’d ever taken. We stayed there until our fingers pruned up like old people, but it was the most comforting thing I knew both of us needed.

 

I hated to see her leave that morning, but she did. She carefully redressed and made her way back to her cell.

 

I knew neither of us would have slept a wink, but that didn’t matter. All that mattered was both of us knew how loved they were by the other, and for that moment, that was all that mattered.

 

Entering the kitchen that morning I was anxious to see her again, but almost too anxious to even think about breakfast.

 

“Sookie,” I nodded.

 

“Eric.” She smiled sweetly, turning to hide her blushing cheeks.

 

“Morning, Father. Coffee?”

 

“Thanks, Aggie I’d love some.”

 

“Someone switched it to decaf, but we’ve switched it back now.”

 

“Oh, really?” I sounded out, glaring at Sookie. “Why would someone do that?”

 

With that Sookie piped up. “Well, maybe the person thinks everyone could be doing with a little more sleep, and six cups of coffee a day on full caffeine isn’t exactly helpful in that area…”

 

Just as I was about to subtly tell her that her jig was up, Sister Geraldine came rushing into the kitchen.

 

“Father, I must speak with you, alone. At once!” she huffed.

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

“Alone.” She walked out of the kitchen. I left my coffee cup and shrugged at both Sisters looking to me for answers.

 

Safely tucked away in her office, Geraldine finally relented her silence and spoke.

 

“It’s Niall.”

 

“Is he okay?”

 

“No, there has been an accident. Last night he and Bi—, Father Compton were on their way back here. Apparently there was some sort of distraction or something on the road and they ended up in a crash.”

 

“Jesus, who told you this?”

 

“The hospital rang the office this morning. He’s banged up pretty badly; Bill has a broken wrist, but beyond that he’s fine.”

 

Fuck Bill, I didn’t care about him.

 

“Fine, well, I’ll go now and see him. Things at church can wait until I get back.”

 

“If you’re sure.”

 

“I am. Niall is more important. What the hell were they doing driving back so late anyway?”

 

She looked shifty. Well, shiftier than usual, anyway.

 

“Bill decided that they should come home, and Niall agreed. They were needed here more than there.”

 

That was a dig at me. How silly of me, momentarily forgetting what a bitch she was.

 

“Of course.”

 

I got to the hospital just as the doctors were finishing their rounds finding Niall in a ward with a lot of men his age. He was on an end bed, nearest the window. The nurse explained to me his condition—he’d broken his arm and fractured a tiny bone in his shoulder, as well as other cuts and bruises—she assured me that it ultimately looked worse than it was. However, since he’d been left in the cold all night on that side road, he’d developed pneumonia. They were watching his condition carefully because one wrong move for him and he was done. He was just too old to handle something so serious. The thought broke my heart.

 

“Eric, my boy.” He smiled at me, his face pale; his hands even paler as he slipped the oxygen mask off to talk.

 

“You should keep that on. You need it.”

 

“Nonsense. I’m fine. They keep fussing for nothing. It’s just a few bumps and cuts. I’ll be fine,” he croaked.

 

“Have they told you anything else?”

 

“Just what I assume you know…” He raised his brow to me and I nodded. “How are you, Eric? You look well. Healthy. Glowing almost,” he smiled meekly.

 

God, could he tell? I hoped he couldn’t tell.

 

“I’m fine. I’m worried about you though. How did the accident even happen? Why the hell were you both travelling back so late?”

 

“Bill.”

 

“Bill what?”

 

“Caused the accident,” he said. All traces of laughter gone now.

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I mean he’s a slippery weasel, Eric. He’s hiding something, something big. And he now knows that I know he’s up to something. We were arguing in the car—he made us leave in a bit of a hurry, too. Said he had to get back and that if I wasn’t going to come, he’d take the car and leave me stranded. That his ‘work’ at the church mattered more than taking care of some sick old fool. So, reluctantly, I agreed. Stan had a nursemaid assisting anyway, so we were of little use other than comfort.” He sighed, clearly missing his old friend. “But on the way back we got to talking about him—his childhood and his family. He was very tight on details, and when I pried he simply lost his temper—argued over how I then shouldn’t have been driving, and attempted to grab the wheel.”

 

“That’s insane!”

 

“Yes, rather,” he coughed.

 

“So, you didn’t find out what he and Geraldine were talking about then?”

 

“No. Sadly I didn’t. He’s locked tighter than a treasure chest I’m afraid. But I’m back now and I’ll have you to help me, right?”

 

“Of course. Anything you need, you know that.”

 

He nodded.

 

“Good boy. Now tell me of all that’s been happening since I’ve been away?” he wheezed.

 

SPOV:

 

Leaving Eric that night had been incredibly bittersweet. I wanted nothing more than to just wrap myself in his arms and never let go. Of course, I knew that wasn’t a possibility, so I kissed him one last time and made my way back to my room. The walk back had never been longer in my eyes. I’d thought of everything that had happened over the course of that one night—it had been incredible.

 

But, the next day was dawning and I was completely dead on my feet.

 

Thankfully, Agnes was doing the early morning breakfast shift in the kitchen and all I needed do was lead prayer and then do the laundry. By the time Eric entered the kitchen at ten, I was on pins and needles just dying to see him again.

 

Of course, as soon as I did, I blushed. I could feel it in my neck. It was just that seeing him—in his street clothes—walk into the kitchen reminded me of every little thing he did to and with me, without those clothes on.

 

Then, Geraldine came in with a rather anxious look on her face; I knew something was wrong when she needed to speak with Eric alone. What it was, I never even considered and by the time Eric was filling me in on the details of the crash, as well as Niall’s condition, I was a wreck. I was panicking and I had the overwhelming urge to vomit.

 

“This is all our fault.”

 

“Sookie, that’s just silly. It’s got nothing to do with us,” he said, taking my hand in his and kissing it sweetly.

 

“Eric it is. Think about it!”

 

“Were we driving? No. Are we a crazy Bill? No…”

 

“If you and I hadn’t have been together in the church, none of this would have happened, don’t you see?”

 

He clearly didn’t.

 

“Sookie, it’s a horrible accident. Key word being, accident.”

 

“But, if we hadn’t have been fooling around, we wouldn’t have been in the church and if we hadn’t have been in the church that day, we’d never have overheard them talking and you’d never have told Niall and then Niall wouldn’t have insisted on taking Bill with him—he would have taken you—and you wouldn’t have been acting like a crazed madman on the roads!” By the time I’d finished my rant I was breathless. “Eric, this IS all our fault and now we’re being punished.”

 

“Stop that, right now,” he chastised.

 

“No. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that they left early? Why of all times Bill lost his temper? What were we doing last night, Eric? What were we doing that was breaking so many rules and causing so many sins in the eyes of God. We’re being damned, Eric.”

 

“Sookie, this is ridiculous! We’re not being damned! Look, yes Bill is odd and possibly out of his mind but that has nothing to do with us, Sookie. Nothing!”

 

I couldn’t help the tears that fell. I wanted to believe so badly that he was right. But I had asked God for a sign, had I not? A sign on what he might have thought was the right path for me to choose. Because I saw no sign before I went ahead and ruined myself and Eric in the process, I broke the laws of God, and now our dear friend was going to die because of it. This was the sign.

 

I took the deepest breath I could take before I said it.

 

“Eric… Please.”

 

He knew, he knew by the look in my eyes what I was about to say.

 

“Don’t do this, Sook. You know I’m right. This has nothing to do with us, I promise.”

 

I shook my head.

 

“I can’t, Eric. I can’t continue this with you when all I’m thinking is that it’s against God’s will for us to do this. And it is. We knew that before but we ignored it because of how we felt, and if we had just stuck to what we had faith in, Niall wouldn’t be lying on his death bed!”

 

He tried to stop me, but I had to walk away from him. Looking at him with his big soft pleading eyes made me just want to melt into his arms all over again. But I couldn’t. This was against God’s will and that’s why he was punishing us, and punishing us with the threatening death of our only dear friend! Eric was like a son to Niall. I just didn’t understand how he wasn’t taking this as seriously as I was. No. I had to repent for my sins and not just my sins, Eric’s too. And I’d start by praying harder than I’d ever prayed no matter how hard my heart was breaking.

 

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