It was a Tuesday, and as usual Sookie got up with me, and she showered first. If we were in the shower together, which was often, but also a hindrance to a day for work, it was fine, if not, she showered first. While she washed and got herself presentable, I made us breakfast. It was a small but noticeable routine that we fell into in my short time at her…our home. On the days when she worked I did the cooking, on the days when she was not in work, she did the cooking. It was a nice balance, and one her Grandmother seemed surprised by, maybe American men just did not like to cook? It was all I could figure. I was told, repeatedly not to feed Sam scraps, but, Sam whined when I ate alone and it made me feel sorry for him…so I may have fed him a few scraps, from time to time. Sookie didn’t need to know that.
“He doesn’t usually beg,” She commented, breezing through the kitchen, kissing me on the cheek as I dished out her eggs. Sookie liked scrambled with a little salt and some pepper, I liked them poached. “Sam. Down,” she said in her Boss voice, before Sam took his paws off the chair.
“He’s usually so polite…Hm. Anyway, this smells amazing, Darling, thank you.” She smiled as we sat at the little breakfast nook with a the south facing windows. It was nice. It was always nice.
“What do you have planned for today?” I asked, knowing her plans, but wanting the conversation anyway. I had been in America just over two weeks, it was a large adjustment and there was a lot to take in, but so far – with her – I loved it.
“We have a wedding on Friday, so we’re sorting out a lot of last minute changes for that, and a rich person’s kid is getting christened, so we’ve got that tomorrow.”
“Busy then.” I nodded.
“Very, but I’d love to maybe meet up for lunch? Somewhere in town? We haven’t really explored town together yet.”
We had planned a weekend in New Orleans in the coming weeks, but thus far it had just been us at home, since Sookie was so busy. I did not mind it though, as I still thought of it as our little honeymoon period. Soon, I knew I wanted to find full time work and make myself more useful than I had been, besides around the house and putting the final touches to our marital bed. I needed other things to keep my mind from losing itself.
“That sounds nice, I can cycle from here, right?”
“You could, or you could drop me off at work and take the car? I know you need your license and all over here, but your own should suffice until we sort that. That, and you’d have to be careful…”
I nodded, it sounded like the best plan.
“Do you have plans today?” She asked.
“I do.” I grinned, “I’m varnishing the bed-frame after breakfast, I plan to take a jog … perhaps take Sam with me this time, now that I know my route, and then meet my lovely wife for Fika…After that I do not know.”
She smiled, then looked to Sam who sat looking up at us both begging with his eyes.
“Jogging? You sure? He’s a pretty small dog, the most he manages is a brisk walk.”
I looked to him, small or not he was a dog, they adjusted just as we humans did.
“I think he will be fine.” I confirmed as I drank my coffee, Sam didn’t look too convinced, and neither did Sookie.
When she left, I took my shower, of course Sam was a little spy dog and liked to sit in the bathroom and wait for me to finish, he didn’t like it when I closed the door on him, or any door come to that. It had made for having sexual times with Sookie a little awkward, with him, just glaring at us.
When I got out of the shower, it was time for Judge Judy, I found I liked her sharp comebacks and her crazy faces, Sam barked when she yelled, but for the most part he was fine snuggled with me on the sofa for the hour or so we spent watching American daytime TV. I also liked their makeover shows, though, the recipients cried too much for my liking, I just wanted to know about the DIY.. and maybe the charities.
“Okay Boy, let’s get your leash…We call it a dog lead, but you know… tomaaaayto tamaaaaaato and all that. Right?”
He just yapped. As always.
And, as always, my wife was correct, about Sam that is. We got around the block and about half way down the jog path when his gleeful, running, happy face turned into something … less. And there was more wheezing than normal, and then he just slipped on his ass, unwilling to move. It was most embarrassing. It was bad enough I was running with a girly dog, and now said girly dog couldn’t run. I felt bad for him however, really bad, he looked beat, and it was possible he looked embarrassed.
I looked around, and went from feeling shame, to feeling sorry for him.
“It’s okay, Sam.” I said, scooping him up, he seemed so happy about that act that he licked my face. “Stop the cute, it does not work on me…” He licked again, happy to be in my arms as we took a slower pace, back home. Okay, so maybe it did work on me, a little. I may have even got him a bone from the butcher on the way home, but Sookie didn’t need to know.
“Our dog watches us have sex, it’s really creeping me out,” I said to Jessica as we arranged the little posies of carnations for the christening. “Is it weird to talk about this to you?”
“Sookie, I’m just glad you’re having fun. He looks like a lot of fun… and besides, I’ve had sex, I know things… just you know … don’t tell my Mom?”
I shook my head.
“Why would I tell her? You seem…responsible.”
“That’s the word she uses, but in the worst way possible, and it’s like I’m eighteen in three months, you know? I have a job, and school, and I get great grades…but I’m still ‘not responsible’ just because I love a boy.” She sighed.
The phone rang, interrupting our little girl-talk time, and it wasn’t someone I was expecting.
“Is this a bad time, Sookie?”
“Um, no. No not at all. What’s up?”
“The reason why I haven’t been by to talk, or called either. I’m not avoiding you both.”
“What are you then?”
“Stuck in London, my mother has had a fall, and well as the dutiful daughter, what am I to do? So I’m here, playing nursemaid. The joys.” She sighed. “How are things with the newlyweds? Congrats by the way.”
I blushed, yes, even on the phone.
“They’re good, really good actually. He’s great, and seems to be settling in nicely…so far anyway.”
“That’s great, I’m glad to hear it. Really. I want to say that we can pencil in a meeting… get any… misunderstanding out of the way, when I come back, next month.”
I nodded, and we continued to flesh out what we needed to talk about. I wasn’t looking forward to the meeting that’s for sure. Erik and I were still waiting for our marriage license to come from Sweden so we could file his papers for the next step in the visa journey. We both wanted to get the ball moving as I knew he wanted to work and earn his own money and have a part of his life that wasn’t so dependent on me, it didn’t strike me as the co-dependent type anyway, thank God.
By closing we’d arranged our little hearts out, Jess and I. That christening had one kickass flower display if I did say so myself, even if she and I got lost in the dodgy part of downtown delivering the damn thing. When I got home at six I found my husband passed out on the couch, with Sam on his chest.
Yeah, Erik, you really hate the dog.
That Friday morning as I was finishing getting ready for work, and Erik was setting up his makeshift workshop in the yard, I got a call from Isabel.
She was mad.
“How the hell could you just go and get married and not tell me, seriously, Sook!?”
“It wasn’t just that I didn’t tell you, I didn’t tell anyone!”
“Is that meant to make me feel better? I don’t feel better. I talked to Pam too, and she knew.”
I wondered how much Pam told her, though I was sure there was some kind of confidentiality agreement in there somewhere.
“Honey, I didn’t mean to not tell you, but you were in Mexico, I didn’t really want to bother you.”
“It’s not a bother, Sookie. I’m just… really surprised.”
“Most people are. But, you’ll love him, I promise.”
“I still think you’ve lost your mind, I mean she said you just met him, and that it was some kind of whirlwind romance.”
Sounded about right, minus the ‘expected’ part of the reality of the situation.
“It was. Look, I’m free tonight, we’re free tonight, why don’t we go out to dinner – all of us and catch up. You can meet Erik and see how not insane I am, and we can trade holiday stories.” I smiled. She hummed in response. But eventually agreed. I was glad, she was the last of my really close friends that I really cared about knowing my news. Everyone else would find out soon enough.
“So what are your plans for today?” I asked Erik over my cereal, while he was stocking up on his protein with some eggs and juice.
“Your Grandmother called and asked if I would call to see her, something about her step on the porch being broken.”
“I told her not to worry that I could fix it up right nice.” He smiled. “She also said there would be cobbler of some sort, I am most excite to try that.”
I smiled. I had a feeling Erik was a little distracted, not in what he said or did, but in the fact that it had been two days since we had sex, a record in our relationship thus far. I wasn’t worried, but I was noticing. I was just glad he was keeping busy, I had a sense he was starting to feel restless.
“Okay, that sounds good then, I mean as long as you don’t mind? I know she keeps asking us over for dinner and things, but I think we can start doing that when we get you more settled here. I don’t think either of us are ready to be put under that scrutiny every Sunday, not even for her amazing cobbler.”
“You think she still does not approve?”
I shook my head.
“No, she likes you, I swear you’d know if she didn’t.” I laughed, because it was true, Erik’s mom and my Gran had that blunt-as-a-hammer thing in common.
“You know how to get there right?”
He nodded finishing off his juice.
“She gave me the directions, go as far as the piggly wiggly, turn right, then left, then down a hummingbird lane.”
A hummingbird, I smiled.
“I navigated boats at sea, Sookie. I can navigate a bike on a road, or in a tiny yellow car.”
He thought the size of my car was hilarious still, he assumed all American’s drove Hummers. I hated to break it to him that Cribs just wasn’t real life.
“Well, that’s good. I’m glad you won’t be alone today, Jess and I are delivering to a wedding in an hour.” I checked my phone, “ I need to get moving.” I added finishing up my cereal, before I got up to wash out my dish.
“Who is married?”
“Just this young couple, Jan and Tim, over at the St. Mary’s Church. It’ll be a nice wedding overall I think.”
“And we are to be a guest at one soon too, yes?”
“Yeah, did you pack a suit? When we left? I can’t remember if you did or not.”
“I packed our wedding suit.”
I mused, maybe that would be too formal.
“Hm. I guess you could do that, maybe the pants and a shirt though, the jacket makes it too… groomy.”
“Groomy? Is that a real word or a Sookie word?” He smiled. We’d had this conversation a few times, usually in bed as we discussed our day, when I would put my own spin on a word, he’d always know and ask that question. I of course would just roll my eyes at his teasing.
“It’s a ‘Sookie word’ but it’s totally a word… Somewhere.” I threw my cell and my lip balm into my purse, found my keys on the counter.
“Do you want the car today?”
“No, I enjoy the fresh air, I will cycle.”
He had been using Jason’s bike to get around since he got here, I felt bad in a way, but he never complained.
I left for work that morning feeling fine, but ultimately feeling like something was wrong, I had no idea what, but something wasn’t sitting right with me, I wondered if Erik felt the same.
I had got to Adele’s in one piece, texting Sookie as I did so, knowing she would worry I took a wrong turn… which I did, but I found my way back fast enough. I was met with a warm smile from Adele, some homemade lemonade and a rather old looking tool box. I assumed it belonged to Sookie’s late grandfather and it was sweet of Adele to keep such a thing around, as neat and clean as she kept it.
As I finished the step, and straightened out the gutters, and fixed the squeak in the screen door, she invited me in, the smell of baked goods luring me in even without her invite.
“Are you okay, Erik?” She asked across the table from me, her own portion of cobbler and milk much smaller than mine sitting in front of her.
“I am okay, are you okay?”
“Oh, I’m just fine. You seem … not so yourself today though.”
“Am I not myself?”
“No, you seem quiet. I don’t think I’m used to you silent is all.”
I think she was right, I had been somewhat in my own head for a few days. It had all started when I talked with my Grandfather.
“I think it is just many things. For a time I could not get a hold of my family back in Sweden, they have phone… problems.”
“The phone people cut them off?” She asked.
“No, the town is very north, very um… the word it is like here but there… secluded?”
She nodded, so I carried on.
“The government have not yet come back to fix the problems a storm cost a few years ago, so it is harder to reach them on the telephone. I have tried with Skype, because while the phones are hard to receive, the online works well… which Sookie says makes no sense.”
“I thought the two were connected.”
“Mmm, it is odd. I finally got a conversation out of my grandfather however.”
“And are they well?”
“They say they are, he says they are, but then he always says happy things even when things are unhappy. He sounded tired, sad.”
“I don’t think he’s the only one that sounds tired and sad, Erik.”
I looked at her, this wise old woman with a friendly face and kind eyes and apparent epic baking skills, and I found myself smiling a sad smile. She was right.
“You miss them, don’t you?”
“I do, very much. I miss my life there… that is not to say I do not like it here. I do, very much… and I very much love Sookie.” I clarified. “I just do not have many… any friends here, not really yet, and that I miss most I feel.”
She looked sympathetic before she spoke.
“That’s understandable you know, you made a really big move very fast. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed. What does Sookie say?”
“I have not really had conversations on this topic with her there.”
“I do not want for her to think that I do not want to be here. I just … need to give all things some time.”
“You want to know what I think?”
“I think you both did a very brave thing, new relationships are scary under normal circumstances, add in all the pressure you’ve both just jumped into as well? Meeting and marrying in mere weeks?”
“It is crazy, I know.” I smiled.
“It is, and I think you both need to just embrace the crazy.”
“How to do you mean?”
“I mean, nothing about how you both started was conventional. It stems to reason that the growth of your relationship wouldn’t be conventional either. Just, as you say, give it time, but also talk it through. I was married for fifty two years, Erik, and that’s the one thing we relied on. Talking to each other, even when we were so mad we could spit.”
I didn’t understand her last reference, but I understood her message.
“And, I think you both need to get out of the house a little more. Before you, Sookie became a real home bird, and in truth there weren’t many men before you – at least not that I was introduced to. She needs to come out of her shell more, and I think you’re just the man to crack it open for her. I assumed you were just the man to do many things for her, when you met.” She smiled. “You are a social butterfly to Sookie’s homebird.”
“Can birds and butterflies live together?”
“You both have wings don’t you? I don’t think it will be so hard.”
I left Adele’s with a renewed sense of being, and a lot of wrapped pie that she boxed and the bagged for me to take home. I got home to a yapping Sam, and a ringing phone.
“Yes, this is Erik.”
“Hi man, it’s Jason.”
“Hello Jason, how are you?”
“I’m okay, listen I’m just callin’ to ask if you’re free tomorrow. I’m off work for the weekend and was thinking I needed to find my sea legs again.”
“Where did you lose them?” I joked and he laughed.
“That’s funny man, no really, I haven’t taken my dad’s boat out in a long time now, I used to do it every weekend. I was thinkin’ if you wanted, me and the guys would go out, shoot some flies, and have a few beers.”
I smiled. Social interaction!
“I would like that. When?”
“I could pick you up around ten?”
“That is acceptable, thank you.”
“Uh, sure man, that’s good, great. You sure you don’t need to run it by Sook?”
“No, I don’t think so, she is working most of the day anyways, I would just be home alone.”
“Like the kid, huh?”
“Like the kid, only less bald intruders, more dog.”
He laughed again before saying again that he would get me in the morning time. It was a little sad how excited I was to have some man conversation. I took Sam out to do his business, fixed myself a sandwich and put the finishing touches to our new bed, there was a mattress place in town, so we could choose that together. By the time I left it in the garage to dry, I heard Sookie’s car pull into the driveway.
“You’re home early,” I said drying my hands on my work towel that I had claimed instead of dirtying all her pretty ones. “Was work not so busy?”
She dropped her keys on the table by the door, and stuck her phone on the charger that stayed there. I noticed that my wife was a creature of habit, and having lived alone for so long there were times that I think she forgot she was married.
“Nah, we were good, but I just wanted to see you.” She all but cooed as she made her way to me, wrapping her arms around my neck and kissing me sweetly. “I guess I missed you.”
She kissed me again, I did love her kisses, and her cherry lip balm.
“Mmm. Jess can cover until four anyway, she’s been asking for extra hours. What you been doin’?” She asked all cute and what not.
“I got back from Adele’s, made a sandwich, and finished our bed frame, it should be ready to show you tomorrow.”
“That’s amazing, so amazing. I still can’t believe the work that you’ve put into this for us, it’s very sweet.”
“Apparently I am sweet then.”
“You have your moments. How’s Gran?”
“She’s well, we had cobbler and milk, and she told me that we have her approval.”
“Is that so?” She asked, her arms still around me, thankfully Sam was in the yard, or he’d have interrupted by now.
“Yep, she said in her not so many of her words, but she said things that were positive, and she was thankful to me for fixing her broken things.”
“Well I’m glad,” she commented, taking my hand and moving us both back towards our room, this was most interesting. “I was thinking we could Huggle.”
I smiled at the throw back to our morning conversation, it made me happy to know that she was thinking of me throughout her day.
“I think a little huggle time is just what we need.” I agreed, but then she let go of my hand, and started to unzip her jacket, painfully slowly, she had my undivided interest right away.
“I know you’ve been a bit… distracted this last few days, and that’s okay, but I want you to know that I’m here if you need to talk … about anything.” She whispered, getting down to her jeans, and unzipping them too, just as slowly, her tank came next, and then her shoes were slipped off, leaving her in just her underwear. She hopped into bed, patting beside her for me to join her. I didn’t have to be asked twice. Or even once, really. I stripped off quickly, not making as much a show of it for Sookie as perhaps I should have, but she laughed at my speed before I hopped in beside her.
We kissed, slowly and softly and then we actually huggled and for the first time since I was a boy, I found I actually appreciated the close-ness. It’s not to say I didn’t before, with Sookie or the other women I had been to bed with, it was just at that moment in my life, laying there with a woman crazy enough to take a huge chance on me, hold me as I held her, I felt loved.
“Isabel called this morning, she found out and not from me. She wasn’t so happy about that.” She sighed as her head rested on my chest. “I asked her to come out to dinner with us tonight, I hope you don’t mind.”
“I’d like to meet her, you talked about her in Sweden.”
“That’s her. She’s great, she’s just protective I guess.”
“All your people protect you, it is nice. It is… a little … uh… intensive?”
“Intense.” She corrected and I realised, my tenses and correct wording still needed a little more practice. “Yeah you’re right, it is at times. I guess it’s just ‘cause it was just me on my own for so long, they kind of felt the need to protect me, even though I can protect myself just fine.”
“I have no doubts of that.” I smiled, raking my fingers through her long blonde hair, it was always so soft and smelled today of apples.
We were both content, warm and snuggled when I moved to kiss her neck. Working my way up one side, and down the other, revelling in her soft skin under my touch and my taste. Today she smelled like cherry, and some kind of flower, I wasn’t sure if it was from her soap or her choice in perfume, either way, I loved that too. I loved her and told her as much as I made my way down her body, feeling her fingers rake my hair, the soft moans leave her mouth as I worked my fingers and my tongue inside her. She was my wife, sometimes I still had to remind myself of that, she wasn’t just some girl, or my girlfriend, she was my wife. I knew no matter how homesick I felt, this was an amazing opportunity for me, to figure out real love – even if it started in a rather unorthodox way. Life was not predictable, why should love be, I thought. I loved Sookie’s body, she was soft and smooth but she had very toned legs an amazing ass and perfect breasts – in my humble opinion of course. I could tell, though, at times she was not so confident in herself, she did not see the sexual woman that I saw before me. I wanted to help her though, to see herself as that woman who turned me on so fully, I wanted her to love her body as I did because it was as beautiful as the rest of her. She picked up my likes quickly, even in Sweden after our first time together, she picked up how I liked to be kissed, and touched, and she gave an amazing blow job for a woman so unsure of her sexual prowess.
As we fucked slowly, she held her breasts, tweaking her nipples just so, moaning with her eyes closed almost silently, void of any sound, except for that little escape that she couldn’t control. I loved it too, I wanted to hear more of it, for her to feel so comfortable with me, with us in our most primal state, that she didn’t control herself all. It was my mission. I wrapped her legs around me, hooking them up my hips, leaving me more room to move and more space to go deeper inside her, her breath hitched over and over. My name would emerge from her lips, and hers from mine as we contorted on her too-small-bed, wrecking how carefully she had made the bed that morning, wrecking it in the most delicious way possible. Her eyes closed tight and she bit into her bottom lip – a sign I myself also picked up on quickly, it was her tell, when I had completely lost her to the chase of her pleasure, this is what she did. I came every time, but for a woman even if we give her our best moves, that’s not always a guarantee, I wanted to at least attempt to guarantee it. I fucked her slowly, even though every urge in my body told me to speed up, chase my own orgasm, do it hard and fast and care less about her needs. I couldn’t, the look on her face when she came was always… an accomplishment for me.
After, neither of us could really move, even if we had wanted to. We just laid there, next to each other in a sort of mangled, happy, sleepy mess. Her hair was everywhere, her mascara running a little at the side of her eyes, but she looked so adorable with a goofy Sookie smile on her face. As homesick as I was, as much as I missed my family and my old life, the Sookie smiles would make this worth it. I knew it.