“Your…husband? Oh, Sook. Are you on drugs? Did you go to Amsterdam? Is that what this is? Just a really bad trip?”
“Tara,” I warned. “Don’t–”
“You can’t be married. Sookie Stackhouse, you left this town three weeks ago. You can’t come back…married.”
“Well. I am. I met Erik, and there was just this undeniable spark… we… We got married a week ago, and that’s that.”
Her face was a picture. A rather stunned one.
“Why… why didn’t you call?”
Other than his town being a bitch for cell service…
“Because I wanted to just enjoy it. Be…spontaneous. I knew if I called home you’d all try and talk me out of it. I didn’t want that.”
“Who is he?” She whispered, and I moved in closer to tell her the need-to-know details, for now. When she was satisfied he wasn’t some mental hospital escapee, she seemed to relax.
“And you…really are married?”
I held up my left hand, for evidence.
“Jesus Christ, Sook. This is crazy!” She exclaimed. I couldn’t help but grin, wide and happy. It was crazy, but a good crazy, I hoped.
“I know! But God, I am so happy. Like, worryingly happy. He’s great, you’ll see. When you get to know him.”
“So in like three weeks we should all love him enough to wanna put a ring on it?”
She just hugged me. A hug I was more than thankful for. I knew I’d done what felt right, but it was still important that the people in my life supported me. I’d always supported Tara, even with all her crazy boyfriends and sexual experimentation.
“I’ll give him a fair chance, Sook. I promise,” she whispered in my ear. “Did you…”
I nodded, a huge grin creeping across my face. “Yes!”
“You realize you’re spoiled for all other men now, right? I got a peek under the towel.”
I smacked her arm. “Hush.”
“You hush. I’m starting to think you were the smart one, pulling a Goldiecocks routine on us. If he hurts you, I’ll break him. You hear that?” she shouted towards the bedroom. “Break you!”
I just chuckled to myself. The idea of Tara taking on Erik was like a ladybird taking on a raven. I loved her loyalty though, it was fierce and true and it never wavered even when we fought or disagreed.
For the next few days, Erik and I took advantage of every spare second we had together, which in my newly wedded opinion, just wasn’t enough. But, I had a demanding job. Late summer weddings were always popular, and since I’d left Jessica and Tara in the lurch for weeks at peak season, I felt the need to pull my weight more than I had been doing. That meant lots of hours away from my sex-bomb new hubby.
I didn’t like it, not one bit!
Sookie’s grandmother was a warm woman, once she realised you weren’t breaking into her granddaughter’s house, or using her for a green card, or planning on hurting her in any way, shape, or form. Once she knew those things, Adele Stackhouse was as welcoming as Sookie. I thought that it was the much talked about ‘Southern charm’ and all. Whatever it was, it was pleasant. She would call the house when Sookie was at work, just to ‘make sure things were okay’ with me, and that I wasn’t too ‘lonely all on my lonesome’, and then by the second week, she had taken it upon herself to come over to the house, with food to keep me company. Always with food. Delicious food.
They were visits that I welcomed, for when Sookie was at work, I too worked at the house. Rebuilding the things for her return. I had began work on a new kitchen island, replacing that Ikea monstrosity, and I had ideas for a new bed as well. I had hired tools, and sourced my materials well, and inexpensively too, since most of the wood was present in her backyard, since I had taken care of the age old tree that was blocking her sun exposure. The marble, I was still figuring out. But for the time being I had much work to be doing, some of which Adele would stay, and watch. She would bring her sweet tea, and her book to the yard, and then one day, she even brought Tara. I had no idea American women were so interested in my craft. It was nice of them. Americans were as friendly as I’d hoped they be.
Adele was most interested in my wood, Tara too, they liked to see how I shaped it, and molded it into what I was trying to create. They would even, sometimes, come closer for a more detailed look at my wood, and my workings with it.
The weather in Louisiana was balmy, even in September, and humid too. I was not used to such climates, I worked often, without my shirt on, and had it not been for my audience, I might have lost my jeans too, for comfort. As it stood though, I just accepted my discomfort, and they didn’t seem to mind. They provided lots of refreshments too, which was nice. Most days they would spend the afternoon, just observing. About a week into our visits, Tara brought another friend. Lafayette. They all seemed to enjoy my work very much. That was until Sookie appeared at the door, and they all shuffled, with somewhat guilty looks on their faces. Sookie was just smirking, her arms crossed.
“What’s going on here?”
“Oh! Sookie, you’re home.” Adele said, putting down her drink, and standing up, smoothing down her dress as she did so.
“Uh. Huh. I’m home, my home…where you people are without calling?”
“Oh, we called.” Tara said taking a sip of her drink as I came closer to the door where Sookie stood to greet her, greet her as I always did, with a kiss. She blushed a little this time, I knew it was because of our company.
“Hello.” I said to her when I pulled away, not caring who was watching us.
“Hi,” she said, blushing and smiling. “What’s everyone doing here?”
“They came… to keep me company,” I said, smiling at Gran, as I’d been instructed to call her, and Tara. “And Lafayette went out to get some more beer.”
“I bet he did,” she grumbled. “Oh well. At least they bring beer, I guess.” She looked at my work, a proud smile creeping into her sweet face. “Looking good.” She nodded in the direction of what would soon be the bed we would lay in and make love in, and in time, we’d make a family in too.
“It will have to meet your approval of course. But my Ikea loving wife I think will not be so hard to please.”
She rolled her eyes, slapping me on the arm as I walked back to the tools.
“Yeah, yeah. Your irrational hate on that company is really disturbing!” She giggled. “Guys, wanna come inside while Erik finishes up? I brought dinner…there should be enough for everyone.” With that she winked at me, as Adele and Tara gathered up their drinks and went inside. I was starving.
Sookie was whispering, but with the kitchen windows open, I could hear every word. It was most amusing.
“Are you guys perving on Erik?” She asked, and I heard Tara scoff.
“What? No! We’re just being nice, welcoming Americans. If your hot husband wants to get all hot and sweaty and half naked while making things out of big chunks of wood… then so be it!” Tara said and Sookie just laughed.
I liked her laugh, even when I could not see it in her eyes.
“Sookie I am a grandmother, your grandmother. I do not…perv at your husband, thank you very much.”
“Uh-huh which is why you were sitting out there fanning yourself with your sweet tea almost dribbling.”
“I’m old, these things happen.” Adele giggled girlishly. “Someone has to keep him company while you’re at work.”
I finally finished putting away the tools and covering the wood for the night, a couple more days and I would be able to start joining it together to form the bed frame. We’d need to order in a new mattress.
When I entered the house, the two large glass doors from the living room to the kitchen were closed, all three ladies just talking up a storm, I was glad since it gave me time to wash up and put on some fresh clothes. I knew they enjoyed looking at me as I was, but it was hardly mannerly to eat dinner half naked – at least with company.
Later that night when the guests had left, it was just us. Well, us and Sam, Sam the yappy dog who did not like me yet and who followed me to the bathroom to stare at me while I went. I was most uncomfortable around him, but Sookie loved it, so I could not change his ways, she spoiled him too. When it was just he and I during the daytime, he kept his distance and I kept mine, I worked out doors a lot so he was there too, mostly staring. He liked to stare.
“I think you need a cellphone.” Sookie said to me as she leaned over, painting her tiny toenails a vivid shade of pink on top of our bed.
“I think that’s a good idea. I had one, a few years ago.”
“What happened to it?” She asked from her seat as I finished off my shave.
“There was a large storm, cables and everything got mangled broken, that is why we can’t get the signals now you see. And it fell into the water.” I admitted my carelessness. “My phone. It fell into the water when I was at sea once. I just did not get another one afterward.”
“We’ll get you another, and maybe a cover to protect it. Not that that’ll do much good if it falls into the sea, but, still. I just think it’ll be better if you wanna leave the house when I’m not here and stuff. I know you don’t like being cooped up.”
I nodded even though she could not see.
“I jog, it’s allowed me to get to know the neighborhood a little. We should do that together sometime.”
“Yes. You know, running at a middling speed for some time?” I said drying my hair quickly with the towel and stepping out of the tiny bathroom adjoined to our bedroom. She was blowing on her toes. I picked her feet up and did it for her, making her giggle.
“You’re silly.” She admitted, tucking her feet under the blankets as I made my way to my side of the bed, preparing to get in.
“And you shaved,” she noticed as I got comfortable beside her. “Hello face.” She cooed as she kissed my cheek and chin sweetly. “It’s nice.”
“Only nice?” I faked being taken aback.
“What can I say, the mountain man look looked good on you, particularly when you were nude. But that could have just been with all the naked…” She laughed. “But this is cute too, you look so young.” She added, petting my now very naked face. “I like it. No more beard burn…for now at least. You seemed pretty attached… What made you shave it all off?”
I sighed. Not really sure I wanted to admit my weakness.
“It is the heat. So much heat here. Clammy and hot and warm and not cool.”
“All the hotness was bothering me, when I work outside it is all so breezeless too. I do not understand how you can find this acceptable.”
She giggled, petting my face again, moving in for a proper kiss.
“You’re so adorable. We’ll get you some fans tomorrow too, we should go to Walmart and pick them up, with the phone.”
I liked the sound of that. In all my American movies, Walmart was mentioned from time to time. From what I knew it was a overly large store with all the things any one person could need in their lifetime. I wanted to see it for myself.
The next morning Sookie and I found ourselves outside the extremely large store. I was excited. Sookie said I had to have been the only person she knew to ever be so excited about a Wal-Mart.
“Oh! Peanut butter cups? Little cups of peanut butter? I like the sound of that! Oh, Swedish fish?” I asked, examining the bag of candy, and noting that they didn’t look so Swedish. There were lots of foods I had heard of over the years that were only available in America, like it was a privilege to only be sold there. Most of it was candy, and now, most of it was in our cart. I may have gotten a little carried away. Ding dongs, Twinkies, Twizzlers, you name it, I had to try it, much to my wife’s amusement.
“Okay, while I go find us some real food and not just sugar, why don’t you go back and sort the cell problem, and by the time you get back I’ll be done?” She asked as we headed to the frozen food aisle.
“Okay, back in a bit.” I promised, kissing her on the cheek as I passed. Only, I wasn’t ‘back in a bit’, the problem was Wal-Mart was huge, and filled to the brim with lots of distracting things. I got lost somewhere between the candy aisles and the electronic section. There were so many things that caught my eye, and the DVD playing on the array of screens was one I hadn’t seen before.
“Hey.” The kid to my left said as we both watched The Avengers avenge. He had candy.
“You’re tall. You play football or somethin’?” He was a curious boy with sandy brown hair and brown eyes.
“I play some football, but not American.”
“You’re not American either, are you?”
“No. I am from Sweden.”
“Huh. Is that in like, Europe?”
“Yes it is.”
“Seems far away.”
“Are you on vacation? We only go to my Gramma’s in Texas, it’s so boring there. She doesn’t have wifi.”
“It is far, but I am hoping to stay…here. I married an American woman.”
“My Uncle Todd married a woman from New York, they don’t like her very much.”
“My mom says she’s real ‘uppity’ for someone from ‘the gutter’. I’m not sure what uppity means, but I guess it’s not good.”
“I don’t think my in-laws think of me as that. At least I hope not. I have not met her brother yet however…that could be worrying.” I said as I took a seat next to him on the couch that was for sale.
“Candy?” He offered and I took some, then we watched a little more of the movie.
“Who is your favourite Avenger?” He asked me.
“Thor.” I answered.
“I mean, Thor comes a close second. But for me it’s IronMan.”
“Yes, but IronMan is not real.”
He scoffed at me.
“Oh, yeah? And I guess Thor was, huh?”
I shook my head and launched into what became a rather long explanation on who and what Thor was to my ancestors. In the end, Todd and I looked up to see two confused women staring at us from behind their shopping carts.
“Hi Mom.” He said.
Todd looked to me an approving smile creeping into his face. “Is that your new wife?”
“Todd, leaving, now.” His mother said, a disapproving tone clear.
He just shrugged and held up his hand, I high fived him happily.
“See you around, Erik.”
And with that he got up to leave with his annoyed looking mother.
Sookie was just smiling as she took his seat next to me.
“So, you made a friend, huh?”
“I guess I did.” I said pulling her closer, “I forgot the phone.”
She sighed giving me a peck on the cheek, and getting up, dragging me with her.
“Let’s go do that then.”
“I’d rather stay here…on the couch with you.”
“We have a home to do that in.”
“And many other things…” I suggested, making her laugh.
“Yes, many, many other things. Move your ass, the ice cream is melting.”
My wife, while timid in some aspects of life. Like with sex for example, was a force to be reckoned with when it came to good timekeeping, well, that, and her ice cream.
I liked it very much, and hoped to soon bring her out of her Sookie shaped shell when it came to sex.
I’d told Jason to call. Practically begged him, in the hopes of avoiding another run in with Erik like Gran and Tara had had. Unfortunately for me, he was off doing very important shit for weeks at a time and unable to respond to his phone.
My brother was a jackass. I kind of gave up. He’d show when he showed.
It was a Saturday morning when he eventually showed, at the most inopportune time, of course.
“We should always make love in the morning,” Erik mumbled, dragging me on top of him. “I am already ready.”
“You’re always ready,” I giggled, wiping the sleep out of my eyes in the hopes that I wouldn’t look so terrible. Erik never seemed to give a shit about if I’d brushed my teeth, or washed my face. It kind of went both ways. He was always pretty damn handsome though.
“I want to always be inside you,” he murmured in my ear, making me blush. “I think it is the best.”
“The best what?”
“Just the best, Lover.” He nuzzled my ear with his lips in a way that made me shiver. “And it is Saturday, and I have you all to myself for as long as I want. It is a very good day.”
We’d both just managed to get our engines running, so to speak, and the incessant hammer commenced on the front door, waking Sam and causing him to bark loudly.
“Ugh, ignore it.” Erik groaned, only the knocking got louder.
“Can’t. It’s Jason, I know that polite knock anyway, if we don’t answer he’ll just come in.”
“This is why normal people lock our doors, Sookie.”
My brother, the former football stud gone wrong, gone right.
My brother, the cop.
“Sook! It’s good to see you.” He said grabbing me for a Jason sized hug as I tried to hold my robe in place. He stepped back, and I sighed.
Of course he came in full police uniform. Of course.
“So, uh, what’s this I hear about you gettin’ married? To some foreigner to boot?”
I cleared my throat. “Uh, yeah. Erik. He’s…” I looked up to see him doing his pants up as he sized Jason up. “He’s right here. Erik, this is Jason, my brother.”
Jason extended his hand, and then I knew he had a flash of where Erik’s hands could have been and he pulled it back, a look of horror on his face. My brother had quite the imagination.
“It’s…ugh, good to meet you man,” he said, giving a little wave instead.
Erik gave him a nod, before sliding his hand into mine. I knew where his hands had been and it didn’t bother me. “You too. You are the brother I am to assume?”
“Yeah, Jason.” He smiled at me. “You’re a tall fella, ain’t ya?”
Erik chuckled. “I suppose I am. And you are a police officer?”
“I suppose I am,” Jason nodded, smiling. “Hey, Sook, you got any breakfast?”
Before I knew what was happening, I’d been robbed of my mid-morning orgasm and was making bacon and eggs for the two most important men in my life as they happily chatted away like old friends about television, and fishing, and food.
“…You know, I was starting to think Sook wasn’t ever gonna get married. She’s never been good with men–”
“Jason!” I snapped, throwing his bacon down in front of him. “Fuck off.”
“What?” he replied, looking up at me with his big blue eyes that seemed to make panties drop all over the state. “You weren’t, but hey, I think you did good here.”
Erik chuckled. “I think my wife just needed to wait for the right person to cross her path. She is very good to me.”
“Oh gross,” Jason said, shaking his head. “Dude, I don’t need to think about that.”
Erik frowned, confused. “She makes the meals for me sometimes, and there is her house, and her business, and she is very funny–”
“Jason, get your mind out of the gutter,” I said, shaking my head. “Erik was trying to pay me a compliment.”
“Oh…I get it,” he said, nodding. “Listen, man, you got a sister?”
The homoerotic subtext continued on for most of the afternoon, as Jason fell in love with my husband, for reasons that were different than mine. By the time he left, it was after lunch and I’d made them both grilled cheese sandwiches, and they’d made plans to go fishing a few days later.
“He is…I like him,” Erik said, smiling brightly after he left. “Maybe a friend for me.”
I sighed at the thought of my husband wolfing around with my brother. “Maybe…sometimes.”
He frowned at me. “You do not approve?”
I curled up on his lap and shrugged. “I just don’t want him getting you in trouble…with me.”
“What do you mean, Sookie?” He looked at me, troubled at the thought of upsetting me, which was very sweet. “How will I be in trouble?”
I’d heard enough stories from Erik’s exes to know that, not so long ago, he wasn’t so different from my brother, but I was also smart enough to know that that wasn’t the Erik I knew.
“Jason’s a dog…” I looked at his face, and dog didn’t register. “He really likes women. Too many women, too often, and I…” I felt my eyes well up. “I don’t want that. For you to decide you want that if you’re around him too much.”
“So you are jealous of women I haven’t even met yet, that I might never meet.” Erik raised his eyebrows, and I knew he was somewhere between amused and irritated. “Wife, have I given you reason to worry so far?”
I shook my head.
“Then you should not worry,” he said simply. “Just like I do not worry about you going to work with many handsome customers, and meeting people at Walmart.”
I smiled. “People at Walmart?”
He shrugged. “Many people go to Walmart. But I know you will come home to me, just as I will come home to you. I would like to go fishing with him though, and maybe have a friend so I’m not so needy on you for companionship.”
I smiled up at him. “Okay. Then that’s good. Jason, he’s just…”
“A dog. But not as yappy as your dog.” Erik kissed my forehead. “Now, where were we?”
“Six hours ago?” I smiled at him. “Why don’t you remind me?”
And he did. More than once.