Chapter 13: Chapter 13
“I’m making cupcakes.” I announced as I walked through the door. It was six thirty and I was dead on my feet, but I’d spent the day beaming, thinking that maybe we’d be okay after all. I mean, we weren’t totally screwing her up – she wasn’t mute! This was a good thing.
I found Eric and Jessica in the garden with a kid I thought I knew, but I wasn’t too sure… they also had a trampoline. What the heck happened while I was at work?
“Oh hey.” Eric said with a smile standing on the trampoline in his swimming shorts and white tank.
“What’s going on?”
“Oh, well, that…” he pointed to the little boy. “Is Hoyt. He’s Maxine’s kid and she had to go to the store and had no one to watch him—he hates the store… So, anyway, she left him with us.”
“Uh-huh, and the thing you’re standing on?”
“OH!” His smile got bigger, much like a kid at Christmas. “This we picked up today. Pam came over and well, she likes to shop so… while I lost them in some weird shoe place, I went to the sports store—you know like a normal guy—and I found this! I always wanted one of these, they’re awesome. Anyway, I set it up and these two have been having a ball all afternoon. It’s great, want to try?”
“Oh come on! It’s fun.” He bounced once for effect.
“Maybe later. I’m in heels and a pencil skirt, Eric—not exactly bounce friendly.”
“I could think of a few ways to bounce you…”
“There are kids present.”
“Who have no idea what I’m talking about.” He winked. “Okay Hoyt, once more buddy and I need a break.”
“Okaay.” Came his little voice. He was a few months older than Jessica and was already walking and taking apparently. Shit, maybe we weren’t as good as we thought.
I picked up a rolling Jessica and gave her quick kiss and a cuddle, and I got my ‘Hi.’ Pleased with myself I went to get changed.
I was never as glad to see my black yoga pants and my pink crop tee than I was in that moment. Sophie had me on my feet all day—that is when I wasn’t on and off the phone to the “new” suppliers she’d lined up. My feet hurt and my back ached, but I had come home armed with the goodies to make my favorite cupcakes, and that’s what I was going to do.
I’d just finished getting my mix right in the bowl when in came Eric with a kid in each arm. It was a funny sight.
“Okay, they never get tired. It’s not fair.”
“Hi, Hoyt. Are you hungry?”
“No, ma’am. I has before.” His little brown eyes looked up at me. He was just too adorable in his little white t-shirt and baby jeans. Jessica seemed quite attached to him, too. That was good; we’d need her to socialize well with other kids, and soon.
“Oh, okay. How about you, Miss Jessica?” I picked her up and got a smile. “You like cupcakes?”
“Hey, Hoyt. Does your mamma let you have sugar?”
“I has one.”
“One? One… what does that mean?” I looked at Eric, he just shrugged.
“Oh, well I guess a few cupcakes won’t kill you. Why don’t we set something up for you two in the den, huh? We’ll give Eric some quiet time and I’ll be in the kitchen, okay?”
Little Hoyt nodded as I led him and Jessica into the den. I’d set up Toy Story on DVD as well as an array of toys on the floor. I left the baby monitor in there just in case.
“You know…” I said as I walked into the kitchen to find Eric with his fingers in my cake mix. “HEY!”
“Busted… What? It’s too good.”
“It’s not cooked yet!” I slapped his hand away.
“So?” He said dipping his fingers into his mouth. “It’s almost better uncooked.”
“You have better had washed your hands.” I scolded, to which he just rolled his eyes.
“I will if I can have the spoon?” he pleaded with puppy dog eyes.
“You are just a giant man child, aren’t you?
“Mmmhmm.” He nodded sticking his finger through the big mixing spoon and then licking it off his finger. God, he had big hands, didn’t he?
“Didn’t you hear what I said?”
“How was work after we left?”
“Oh, total nightmare. She’s switched suppliers to some random guys from New Orleans for cryin’ out loud and I spent most of the day on hold with them trying to get a shipping order corrected. Honestly, I don’t know how much longer I can stay working there.”
“Yeah. I mean, there is only so much I can do before I strangle her with her Hermes belt.”
He just giggled at me, he was a giant man child and he giggled. Who the hell was this Eric?
“Ohh.” He said as I started beating my buttercream icing mix together.
I raised my brow at him and he mumbled something about really being a mom with that look.
I ignored him as he hopped up onto the island to watch me. It was a little intimidating knowing that his eyes were on me in such a focused way, but I led myself to believe he was just a magpie for sugary things and it was really the mix he was aiming at.
And not my ass.
Of course, I was proved wrong when I turned around to find his eyes trained on my ass, and not my mix. I just ignored it.
“Can I taste it?”
“What did you think I was talking about?” He raised a brow with that evil smirk of his ever present.
He hopped off the island and came up behind me. I just continued to mix—minding my business—not at all distracted by how nice he smelled.
“I think this mix needs something a little Nordic.”
Before I could finish, he lifted the bowl from my hands and stuck his finger in it again.
“Eric. Gimme the bowl.”
“Sookie…” He mocked my tone, holding the bowl up higher than I could reach. Bastard.
“Eric!” I stamped my foot.
“Aww… you’re so adorable when you’re having a bitch fit, Sookie.” He teased in a baby voice.
“Gimme the mix or I’ll kick you in the balls.” I threatened. He took no notice, instead he dipped his fingers in and tapped me on the nose covering me with cupcake mix.
“Oops.” He said with a smile.
I’ll oops him!
“Oh, so that’s how it is, is it? I see…”
I grabbed the smaller bowl of buttercream and my spoon, flicking it at him, with a big dollop landing on his chest.
Score for me.
Instead of being mad, he just laughed and stuck his finger in it.
“Now the kids will have no cupcakes. How cruel, Eric.” I pouted falsely causing him to whack me with more mix. This time it ran down my cheek into my neck and down my arm.
I went to lift the spoon from my buttercream again, only this time he was too fast for me. He went to grab it out of my hands but I backed away finally having to stop when the kitchen sink got in my way.
“Sookie, you don’t want to do that.”
“Oh, but Jedi I do.” I laughed as he tried to take it away from me, but my smaller hands had the better grip this time around.
“Sookie… Give me the bowl.”
“What? You can dish it out but you can’t take it? Where is your sense of fairness, Northman!”
He planted his big stupid giant legs on either side of me, locking me in place while he attempted to wrestle the bowl from my hands. Instead of letting go, I tipped it up and it landed all down his front.
I didn’t even feel a little bit bad. I ran my finger from his neck to his arm and licked away what my finger had collected. I had used the right amount of sugar after all.
“Yum.” I laughed but when I made my move to get out of his grasp, he didn’t budge. I looked up to find his eyes trained on me, in that expert way that always made my toes tingle. There was no sound except that of the kids playing through the monitor sitting on the table. There was pure silence. Not even a breath could be heard—but that might have been because I was holding mine in.
“Since you got to taste, it’s only fair I do to.” He said, all trace of teasing gone from his voice.
I smiled and held up the side of my hand.
“Knock yourself out.”
Instead of taking my hand he shook his head ‘no.’ And without saying a word, he grabbed my face with both his cream covered hands and I swore he was about to kiss me… Honestly, I think I would have let him just by the way he was looking at me. The intensity was just too much. Instead, he tilted my head to the side—exposing my neck and I think my body may have melted against the sink—before he casually leaned in… and licked me. From the base of my neck to the tip of my earlobe, he licked the cream off my body and all I could do was grip the sides of the sink for dear life.
He leaned back again so I could see his eyes—hooded and unfocused. His lips were fighting a grin as he wiped them with one hand, the other still holding onto my face.
He looked at me again—this time pointedly—and said in a voice I’d heard no other time than late mornings, “You taste good, Sookie.”
Now, before you start hearing ‘Let’s Get It On’ humming in the background, remember that I was covered in cake batter and pinned to the kitchen sink by this mountain of man. And no matter how good he smelled, there were two kids in the other room.
“Yoouwhoo. Anyone home?” Came the shrill voice from outside.
She knocked politely on the back door before walking in.
“Hi y’all… oh my. Did the kids make this mess?”
“No.” I answered. “Just the giant kid.” I pointed to Eric and he laughed. Both of us moved a discreet distance from each other.
“Oh, well. Messes are meant to be made I suppose. How was Hoyt?” She asked with a smile towards Eric.
“He was perfect, really. He and Jessica get along so well, and he’s a fun little man. They had a blast on the trampoline.”
“You sure he was no trouble? Thanks so much for looking after him. Usually my sister calls around and sees to him, but she’s working today of all days and well it was this, or he scream his lungs out for an hour. So thank you.”
“I’ll go get him for you; they’re watching a DVD in the den.” She nodded and smiled as I took my first deep breath in what seemed like hours while making my way to the den. I found them both stretched out on the floor glued to Woody and Buzz, but the toys that I’d laid out neatly where now all over the place. Well, at least they got along.
“Hey, Hoyt… your mamma is here to take you home. Okay, baby? You can come visit again soon, okay?”
He didn’t look one bit impressed, but he agreed. I scooped Jessica up in my arms, and led him by his little hand to the kitchen.
She thanked us again profusely before she left, grinning rather suspiciously at Eric and I, as well as our mess. But she did offer to reciprocate again anytime, since she reminded us that she used to do it for Hadley and Alcide every week when they had a date.
It tugged at my heart to know she’d never have another date. We thanked her and told her we’d call if we needed anything and for her to do the same.
When she was finally gone Eric, Jessica and I were left looking at the mess we’d made in the kitchen.
“I better clean this up. Can you take her?”
“No, I’ll clean it up. Shit, I made most of the mess.”
That you licked up. LICKED. I got those cursed tingles again just thinking of how his warm tongue felt on my skin.
“It’s fine, really I—”
“Sook, go get cleaned up. I’ll do this, it’s fine.” he shrugged. It seemed that neither of us were going to talk about the licking. I could deal with that. The less awkward, the better.
“What about you? You’re …” I laughed out loud then. We really did look ridiculous completely covered in yellow cake mix and buttercream topping.
“I’ll shower after you.”
Oh sure, just make me envision you in the shower now why don’t you…
“Okay, sure.” I set Jessica in her highchair with a few toys and her pacifier, and she seemed content enough. Thankfully.
He licked me. Who does that—in a kitchen of all places—to someone they aren’t having sex with? I mean, really… it’s not that it was gross or anything. In fact, he was very neat and efficient about ridding my neck of any unwanted cream, but still. He was brave, I’ll give him that. So… maybe I thought about him a little bit more—maybe a lot more while I showered; and maybe I thought about what it would be like if he were maybe in there with me, but … it’s not like I wanted him really, so it was totally and completely innocent.
Yes, I do bullshit myself quite regularly. Thanks for noticing.
I sighed as I washed my hair and ignored the ache between my legs. Sure I was sexually frustrated, but I hadn’t gotten to the point when settling things myself was the last option available to me. That, was a last resort.
I got out of the shower and proceeded to indulge in my nightly moisturizing routine before I gave my hair a quick blast and checked my cell. Two missed calls from Amelia; one from voicemail from Tara reminding me I was twenty-nine in a matter of days, while she cackled in the background; as well as a text from Sam.
Sam. Wasn’t he the one I should have been thinking about, whilst not letting other men lick me? God, I was an idiot at times.
“Pam this is ridiculous! She’s one, she doesn’t need to be measured for freakin’ designer wear! She crawls everywhere. Do you want her doing that in … what is this?”
“Dolce.” she shrugged.
“Eric, how about this? How about you leave Jessica with me and maybe your Amex if you want—but that I won’t push—and you just go… find a guy store to kill some time in. We’ll find you when we’re done. Hmmkay?” She flicked her hand at me, shooing me away.
“She’s fine! She likes me, don’t you Jessica?”
She’d been saying it all morning. And somehow it was still cute as hell to me.
“Okay… fine. Jessica, be a good girl for Auntie Pam, and please for the love of GOD cry before she spends too much, okay?” She just looked at me. I figured soon enough she’d be able to understand me so I just shrugged it off and handed her over to Pam. “Meet me at Starbucks in an hour.”
“Fine, one hour.”
I expected her in two. I made my way through various sections of menswear in different stores. I managed to get a few new shirts—not picked out by Pam, some new jeans and socks. For some reason, I was always losing my socks.
I knew July 1st was less than a week away, and I knew that was Sookie’s birthday. I noticed when we were signing the forms to take Jessica that Sookie’s birthday was two months after hers, so it stuck in my mind. I didn’t know if we were the type of ‘friends’ that did birthday things? Or did she maybe hate her birthdays? I had no idea. But I knew Pam loved birthdays, even ones that had nothing to do with her—she viewed it as an excuse to shop. That, and she said that every woman loves a good gift, no matter who she is or what she says.
So, maybe I’d get her something?
But what says co-parent-girl-I-share-a-house-with- and-raise-a-baby-with-and-maybe-secretly-want-really-badly? You know, without being obvious?
I’d wandered in and out of stores, nothing catching my eye. Then in one rather upscale store a little something pulled me towards it. Somehow it was just her—elegant, but with a strong design and a little hint of the blue in her eyes. The sales girl was flirty of course, but she was also sighing saying that she wished her boyfriend was as thoughtful. I hated to burst her bubble and tell her that I wasn’t Sookie’s boyfriend but her housemate who happened to have a love-hate relationship with the girl, when really I had a secret crush on her. Pam had been right and I kind of hated that she knew me so well. Sookie had been the one that got away, in so many ways, but I’d spent a good two years forgetting about her only to have her thrust into my life in the most permanent of ways.
Passing the other stores, I decided that I’d un-pussy myself as much as possible instead of moping around jewelery stores like a wimp. I walked into the sports store, found some new weights to add to my collection, and then I saw it. On sale and everything—a giant trampoline and net. It looked awesome, and honestly what backyard was complete without one? Jessica would love it! Sookie would… look awesome bouncing on it… not that I cared what she thought. And I, I wanted it. So, weights and possible baby sickness machine was paid for and on it’s way home as I found Pam and Jessica. Jess looked a little tired, and all things considered, so was I.
“How’d it go?” I asked.
“Oh, great. We got new shoes for Auntie Pam, new lingerie for Auntie Pam, new stockings…”
“And the baby?”
“Oh. So many cute dresses, some little baby jeans and some shirts too! Oh and look at this!”
I zoned out after she produced the third bag full of things. I’d asked if we could skip the coffee and go home. Pam reluctantly agreed, though she dropped us off without a complaint.
“Hey, Eric?” She said pulling into the driveway.
“What did you buy in Tiffany?” She said, her eyes sparkling.
“That little blue bag you’re hiding inside the bigger manly bags you have? Please, I have like a taste-dar and I could smell it… So, who is she?”
I tried to hide the fact that I was blushing under my sunglasses. Seriously, what was I twelve? I just shrugged her off.
“No one you know, Pammy.” I kissed her on the cheek and told her I’d see her at work. I was treated to her nine millionth eye-roll before she backed out of the driveway.
“Okay sweetness, I think we both need a nap, don’t you?”
By the time Jessica and I woke up from our rather comfy nap in the den, there was a clattering at the back door, like someone was knocking on the glass with a key.
Maxine and her boy. She was in a total tizzy and in need of a babysitter. I thought, sure, why not? He seemed like a sane enough kid. She was sweet about it and promised to be an hour, tops.
Jessica didn’t make strange with the kid so that helped. The delivery men from the sports store had arrived and set up the trampoline, per my request. Sure, I had to pay them extra for same-day deliver, never mind the set up… but, usually when I wanted something, I got it. Which is what made not getting my way the few and far times between it happened, so annoying. I ordered a pizza and some dips for lunch; it kept the kids quiet and was limited on mess since everything was disposable.
Hoyt was an interesting little man. He wasn’t that much older than Jessica, maybe five months at most, but the difference in their development was obvious. He was strong on his feet, talking a lot more. He knew his mom was shopping for ‘goodies’ and that I was E-wic and I lived here with Sookie and that Jess was our baby now. Our baby, and not Hadley and Alcide’s baby.
Shit, the kid didn’t know how hard that was to hear.
We’d spent a good hour on the trampoline. Jessica was not at all impressed at first, but like most kids, once she saw Hoyt do it she wanted to do it too. It dawned on me that one-upping was a way of life. Whatever you can I do, I can do better. I felt a little guilty that the one-year olds had a better sense of companionship than I did at almost mid-thirties.
When Sookie stuck her head out the back door and then joined us in the yard, she was working that whole office fashion vibe. Her ass, in a pencil skirt as she called it, was almost too much. I’d offered to bounce her, thoroughly enjoying the blush that ran down her neck. She ignored me of course, but the next time I saw her it was hard to ignore her. She was baking. Like, actually baking, and not just buying things from a store. That had never happened growing up. My mom wasn’t big on domestic goddess impersonations.
I don’t know if it was the smell of vanilla, the idea that she was trying to teach me something, or the fact that it all looked so appealing but when I covered her in the cake mix, the look on her face egged me on even more.
She was pissed—but not so pissed that she wouldn’t fight back—and honestly, Stackhouse seemed like she gave as good as she got. Before I knew it, I was having trouble holding in my laughter. She was covered, her clothes where covered—as were mine—yet, somehow I forgot all about that when I accidentally backed her up against the sink. I’d done it to gain leverage to get the damn bowl away from her. But once I did, and she ran that finger of hers up my shirt and over my neck only to lick it—rather suggestively off her finger might I add—all rational thought went out the window. When I told her I wanted a taste, I wasn’t necessarily talking about the cake. She held up the side of her hand, but that’s not what I wanted. What I wanted, and was inches away from actually doing, was to kiss her senseless, then maybe fuck her over the kitchen table… But, what I did was possibly weirder. I licked her neck. From collarbone to the tip of her earlobe, I licked the mix off her skin! She was holding her breath, and I noticed the tiny shudder that ran through her. Before I could do any damn thing about either of those things, Maxine showed up to cockblock.
Awkward—that’s what I’d call the air when she left. Totally awkward. Neither of us were going to talk about it; I was going to pretend that I wasn’t half hard standing in the kitchen; and I was going to clean up our mess. Jessica was just as confused looking as I felt. But I’d be a man and just ignore it until it went away. Best option for all right now I thought. Of course, it wouldn’t be a buried issue forever… not even a whole week. Because in less than a week, everything would be different, and I don’t just mean Sookie being a year older.
A/N: So, a little fun was needed right? What did we think of their little ahem… ‘mess’ in the kitchen? Next chapter is Sookie’s birthday, just who’ll be the one giving her, her birthday kiss? 😉
Reviews are loved, so keep up the awesome work guys! 😀
Chapter 14: Chapter 14
For almost a week Eric and I danced around our issues. We went to work, came home, did all our normal things and we ate dinner. But no, we avoided the issue of, ‘Hey remember when you licked my neck? What was that about?’
Nope, not a peep.
There were various peeps though. Sam and I had another date. This time we just did a movie and a light dinner followed by some light petting in his car. When I wasn’t worried that Eric was going to walk in, or the baby would be needing me, I was able to relax with Sam. While my feelings for him weren’t red hot, they were developing slowly, I guess. I liked him. I knew he liked me and for now, that was more than enough.
When he walked me to my door the night before my birthday things got kind of awkward.
“I don’t know if this is the right thing to do or not, but I got you something for your birthday tomorrow.”
“How did you-”
“I noticed it on your file info for Jessica. Is that weird?”
“A little, but it’s not so weird that I’d be worried.” I smiled. “Sam, you didn’t have to -”
“I know, but it’s just a little thing.” He produced a box.
Inside said box was this …thing.
“It’s a bee. You know, like a honey bee.”
“Oh, that’s … sweet?”
“Well, I liked it because it made me think of you and how you could maybe …be my honey.”
I cringed so hard I think I broke something internally.
“Oh, Sam, that’s so sweet.”
He smiled. I smiled and as he went in to kiss me good night the front door opened.
“Hi neighbour.” Came Eric’s loud and obnoxious voice.
“Eric, something wrong?”
“No, no.” He said casually “I just heard muttering at the front door. I thought maybe you were drunk again.”
AGAIN? It was one time!
“Eric, that was one time.”
“Yes, and it could have been two. Whatever, you’re not drunk just … awkward, so I’ll leave you two kids to it.” He grinned, enjoying this far too much. “Sam.” he nodded before he slammed the front door.
“Ignore him, he’s just… being Eric.”
“I always do.” He smiled before kissing me sweetly once. “I’m sorry I can’t be around for your birthday, but you’ve got plans right?”
“Yep, me and my girls. It’s a tradition. Men or no, our birthdays belong to the girls. So really I’d just have been turning you down.” I grinned.
“Well, I’m glad. And the present it’s….”
Something I’d never wear.
“So sweet. I’m not good with accepting gifts, I never have been. They make me feel all jittery and weirdly emotional. That’s weird right?”
“No, that’s normal for some people. It shows you appreciate what you get. It’s a good thing. Some people are just spoiled.”
That was true- Sophie-Ann for instance.
“Have a good night, okay? And take a few shots for me. Being on-call sucks.”
“I will. Text me if you need to. I mean, I can’t promise I’ll make sense, but…”
I walked in to find Eric sprawled out on the couch in nothing but his navy basketball shorts a bowl of popcorn in his lap.
“Hey. You know you could try being nicer to him.” I said taking off my shoes, because damn did my feet hurt.
“I could. But I won’t.” He said with a smile. “I’m about to watch a movie, you wanna?”
“What is it?” I asked, to which he replied with two of my Gran’s favourite old movies. The thought of just sitting down, watching movies I knew like the back of my hand seemed oddly comforting. “Sure.”
I’d heard this rattling at the front door. I mean, I knew it was them. I’d seen the lights of his beamer in the driveway as they pulled up. They’d spent ages in the damn car though. What they were doing, I did not want to think about.
I knew I’d successfully annoyed her when she came through the door with the scowl attached. I hadn’t assumed she’d be back. I mean, this was their third date in as many days. I was sure Sammy boy would have attempted to seal the deal with this one. Guess not.
I was both annoyed and relieved at that development.
Well that, or they’d fucked in the car?
Ew, God, the visuals.
Since I was slowly allowing myself to descend into Loser Town, I had movies- old movies- I knew by heart. I wanted something comforting. Of course now that she was here, I just felt like the biggest loser on the planet having an old Hollywood movie night- alone. But she didn’t seem to judge. In fact, she seemed pleased.
“Uh, well, we have a choice of two. We can watch Casablanca, or we could have ‘An Affair to Remember’?” I’d said it before I’d caught on to the double meaning of the end of my sentence.
Thankfully she just giggled at me as she pulled her feet up under herself.
“Let’s have an affair to remember, then.” She winked at me, still giggling.
We sat a decent enough distance apart on the couch, but when Sookie pulled down the fleece throw and threw it over both of our legs, I felt the need to move a little closer. I mean it was only so the blanket wouldn’t stretch out, of course.
“You know, my granddad could quote these old movies.”
“Really?” She beamed. “What’s his name?”
“My granddad? Niall. He’s my mom’s dad.”
“And he liked old movies?”
“Yeah, the ‘classics.’ It’s all I knew as a kid. I can’t argue with him though; American movies helped me with my English.”
“Oh, that’s cute.”
“Cute?” I laughed. “Oh, he’d love you. He’s an old charmer.”
“Where is he now?”
“He moved over with us when we came from Sweden, but he moved to California with my mom when I was seventeen, I didn’t want to go, so … I didn’t.”
“Why not? Hollywood not your thing?” She teased.
Her brow was raised. I knew she’d want to know more. I knew she’d been wanting to know about my family for a while. It’s not like there was this big, huge family secret or anything, it just wasn’t everyone that I let into my whole life, you know?
I rolled my eyes at myself and continued, “The reason why we moved here was because of my Mom. She met this … doctor.”
She nodded smiling, as if she’d finally pieced a puzzle.
“A doctor huh?”
“Yeah, after my dad died…”
“I’m sorry.” She touched my hand and the last thing I wanted was her sympathy.
“It’s not. Losing someone like that it’s hard and you were just a little kid.”
“Anyway, after that she was a mess. She met this American doctor through some of her friends and next thing I know, we’re here. Only not here: Boston, New York, then here. They got married and stuff but he never warmed to me, and I never made the effort to make him.”
I shrugged. “It is what it is.”
“And your mom?”
“They’re still together. Of course now she’s got more Botox than Cher, but yeah. They’re happy.”
“Do you ever see her?”
“She visits a few times a year; brings Niall. Nothing too over the top.”
“Does she know about Jessica?”
“I… not exactly.”
“What? Look, okay, it’s not like she’d care. Believe me, she was more than happy to get rid of me when they moved. Why would she care if there was kid now?”
“Trust me, she doesn’t.”
“Don’t you think Niall would want to know? I mean, she’s sort of his great granddaughter now.”
Before she could probe me any more, I told her that we should actually watch the movie and we did. Shockingly, she didn’t push for any more answers and for that, I was thankful.
By the time the two doomed lovers were in the same room once more, it was just after 1am and Sookie was passed out on the couch. I was just barely awake and the idea of climbing the stairs seemed like a chore. Why was I doing this again? Pining and allowing myself to wallow in my own self pity, when it would have been so easy to find a girl, take her out, get us bother liquored up and get laid.
But no, I chose this.
As I looked at Sookie’s sleeping self laying on the couch all curled up into a little ball, I realised it wasn’t those girls I wanted.
It was this girl.
But I couldn’t make the move because she wasn’t one of the girls I was used to. We had a house, a kid to consider, and there was the fear. I’d never had to fear fucking up before. In fact, it was to be expected. But with her, there was that definite possibility and it made me stall. It made me not want to rush in to screw it up. My body hated me for it.
“You should go up to bed. You’ll be hurting in the morning.”
“Mmm, comfy.” she pushed herself further onto my shoulder.
She looked so peaceful, and I did hate to wake her. So, that’s how she and I first slept together. Not exactly how I’d imagined it but nothing’s perfect, right? Needless to say, it wasn’t my usual way of getting a girl to sleep with me, but there was a first time for everything. So I simply cuddled up next to her, made sure the blanket covered more of her than me and did my best to drift off to sleep.
I was wakened by the smell of coffee. Looking around, I realised I wasn’t in my room but in the living room under two of the fleece blankets we used when Jessica took her naps on the couch.
Right, an affair to remember. I took a quick peek at my watch; it was just after eight.
The idea of working was just not appealing to me at all. Normally, I loved getting to grips with everything and having fun with all the staff. I actually enjoyed the customers too, but lately everything had become a chore- a monstrous chore- thanks to Sophie.
“Mornin.” I said to the back of Eric, who was up awake and cooking.
“Oh, hey, sleep okay?”
“Uh, yeah. Did we fall asleep… together?”
“Must have.” He shrugged “My back hurts like a bitch today.”
Yeah, my neck was feeling it and I was the right size for the couch. Lord knows how he felt.
I inhaled my coffee as Eric set food in front of me.
“I’m at home a lot during the day. The Food Network is kind of addictive.”
“Thank you. They look awesome, by the way.”
And they tasted even better.
I got the baby up, washed and dressed. She and I were off to a good start. There was no whining and she let me dress her without wriggling. Maybe this birthday would shape up better than the last. It had involved Bill and a horrible attempt at a dinner before drinks with the girls- which he disapproved of, of course. It had ended in a disaster of an argument about me choosing my friends over him. His possessiveness was a little too smothering, even then.
“Okay baby, you be good.”
“I’m working tonight you know that right?”
“Yeah I do. Maxine agreed to take her tonight. I have plans with the girls.”
“Yep. Just a thing.” I didn’t know if we were doing a big deal over birthdays or not, and I didn’t really want to draw attention to mine.
“A thing. Well, that’s cool. Girls night?”
“Yeah, sort of, I think…anyway. Just a dinner and drinks. I’ll probably be home before you are. I’m such a lightweight.”
“Well, have a good time whatever you all get up to.” He smiled.
I knew he’d be working from early evening till very late, or early, however you looked at it. Saturday nights where his busiest night and Pam demanded his presence. I could see why. He oozed charm by the bucketful when he felt like it, and if it was making him money by getting girls drunk while he flirted, it was a win win for him.
There was a rapping at my office door around three thirty. I thought for sure it was just another one of the new wait staff with yet another problem. But no, it was a messenger boy, box in hand.
“Delivery.” The guy said handing me over the rather large box. A box that smelled amazing. There was a note attached to the top.
“Uh, thank you?”
I tore open the envelope before I opened the box.
“I thought you could use something a little Nordic inside you on your special day.
Happy Birthday, Sookie.
I blushed at his double-entendre as I opened the box to see blue, white and yellow cupcakes spelling out ‘Happy Birthday,’ and a few with a tiny Swedish flags sticking out.
Needless to say, I dove into one right there and then, and it was beyond delicious. One was my limit, however, since I did have a body-conscious dress I was aiming to fit into in a matter of hours.
I dialed his cell phone and he picked up on the second ring.
“Hello, birthday girl.”
“You didn’t tell me you knew.”
“Eh, I wanted to surprise you. They did come, right?”
“They did, and might I just say, your little note was mighty suggestive for three in the afternoon.” I laughed.
“Well, it’s a true statement.”
“I mean the little edible flags, of course.”
“Oh, of course.” I smiled “Thank you. It was unexpectedly sweet.”
“Try not to sound too shocked. I am, after all, awesome.” He laughed.
“Fine, Mr. Awesome, how’s Jess?”
“She’s currently working her way though some Jack Daniels. She’s hardcore.”
“She’s napping. Maxine is picking her up in an hour or so.”
Oh, I realised I wouldn’t see her till the next day. It made my heart ache a little.
“Okay, at the risk of sounding overly ‘motherly’ or whatever, just … give her a kiss from me. And don’t forget the rabbit.”
“Okay. Cool. I guess I’ll see you later then, or something?”
“Or something.” I could almost hear the smirk. “Happy birthday, again.”
I blushed, even though I was alone. “And thank you, again.”
Before I finished my shift I walked into the kitchen to say goodbye. Lafayette spotted the box.
“Cupcake?” I offered.
“Swedish cupcakes? What the hell?”
“Eric’s idea of a joke.” I said offhandedly as Lafayette snatched the note on top.
“LAF!” I tried to snatch it back, but he was a good foot taller. It was no use.
“Sookie… Sookie, have you been holding out on me, darling?”
“So your baby daddy is just sending you dirty cupcakes on yo’ birthday for no reason?”
“It was a joke.”
“Yes, now shush. Are you meeting up with us tonight or not?”
“Don’t I always? You want me to come over before and make you a princess?”
I batted my lashes at him. “Don’t I always?”
I kissed him on the cheek, promising to see him holding booze in a few hours. I grabbed my dirty cupcakes and headed home, determined to make this a birthday to remember.
“Da-ric” She threw her monkey at me again. Was that her monkeys name? I had no idea.
“What was that?” I asked her again. It was the second time she’d said it, but I couldn’t make out if it was an attempt at ‘dadda’ or ‘Eric’, maybe it was both? Was I her dadda now? Was that okay?
I’d just finished calling the bakery to confirm they had, in fact, delivered the package. It was a rule of thumb, in my book, that everyone should have cake on their birthday. Even tiny cupcakes would do, and since neither she or I got to taste her baking skills the other night, I felt it was only right. I did owe her, after all.
When I got her call it made me ridiculously happy that I could almost see the blush in her cheeks at my double meaning in the little note I’d attached to her cakes. I really, really enjoyed flirting with Sookie. Almost as much as I enjoyed arguing with her. I loved watching her get all flustered, blushing and trying to sarcastic-speak her way out of every little thing.
Maxine and Hoyt came for Jessica a little after four. She seemed to like Maxine, although she did, of course, fuss since she seemed to still like me more. I was kind of glad she did, to be honest. With all the seemingly unrequited feelings flying around this place it was nice to know at least one woman in the house wanted me there for her.
It left me just enough time to make something to eat, shower and get ready for my shift. We were a barmaid down and I was sure the new order of beer had arrived, which meant I’d be needed in the cellar loading and storing for most of the evening.
Saturday nights were our busiest night, thanks to Pam and her highjinx ideas. We had drink promotions, free entry for the ladies before eleven, a live band most weekends and private parties booked in the VIP area every weekend. It wasn’t that I doubted Pam’s genius, it was just sometimes her cockiness drained me. Of course, she’d say she learned at the feet of her Master, but I didn’t think I was that bad.
Was I ?
By the time I’d seen to the invoices, signed off on the pay cheques for the staff, signed off on the food order for the next month, carried in six barrels of beer from the alleyway down to the basement and helped Pam choose a new colour for the remodel of the ladies room… I was beat. But my night was only really beginning since we didn’t get busy until after eleven anyway. By midnight, the bar was packed. We were overrun with orders and I was breaking my back trying to keep up with them and flirting my way through the females … and a few male customers.
It was kind of fun and Pam assured me that a ‘personal touch’ never steered me wrong. Just as long as the personal touching was kept to minimum. I made it a rule never to date, screw around with or fuck my customers. My business and more to the point- my business reputation- was more important to me than that.
“So what does a birthday girl get around here?” came the flirty question from my left.
“Sookie!” I said and she smiled. She was standing there off to the side of the bar, flanked by Amelia and Tara, both dressed to the nines. She ,on the other hand, was dressed to the twenty nines. She was in her sex dress and she definitely noticed that I noticed. Her makeup was just as sexy. Dark eyes, glossed, red tinted lips and her hair was in big loose curls swept around her shoulder. Was it just me or were anyone elses pants tight?
“Hi. What can get you ladies?”
“Something a little Nordic would be nice.” Amelia flirted and Tara just laughed. Sookie still didn’t take her eyes off me.
“Where are you all sitting?”
“Third table by the windows. Your baby mamma likes the view.” Tara pointed.
The view was pretty great. We were high up so the entire city could be seen from the windows in the front.
“How about I bring you over some champagne on the house?”
“And why would you do that?” Sookie asked, still smiling. I assumed she had a few drinks in her already and I didn’t mind one bit.
“Well, it’s not every day my co-parent/baby-mamma has a birthday is it?” I raised a brow at Tara’s term, which cracked her up.
“White boy, please don’t ever say that again. Please?”
“Oooh, Eric!” Amelia piped up before they turned to leave. “Yeah, could we maybe have three daiquiris and a Cosmo for Lafayette too? Pretty please.”
Sookie slapped her arm. “Eric, never mind her. We so didn’t come here for free drinks.”
“No, we came because I made them. She wanted to- OW! Sookie, stop pinching me!” Amelia blabbered.
“It’s more than fine. I’ll have someone bring them right over.” I nodded to a blushing Sookie.
I watched them, and her ass in that dress, walk back to their table.
“Who are you looking at?” Pam appeared by my side. Her black leather dress whoring out her boobs like, wow.
“What? No, it’s her birthday, they’re… she’s having drinks with her friends.”
“Right, and she didn’t come to see you.”
“She said she’s been meaning to check out the bar.” I shrugged her off, taking a few more orders before I made up the round of cocktails myself. I found the champagne I’d been looking for and four flutes and loaded them on the tray before Thalia appeared by my side.
“Want me to take these, boss?”
“No I got it. Can you go check on the order of wings and dip table six ordered? Thanks.”
“Eric Northman, I swears boy, you get mo’ fine each time I see you.” Lafayette was the first to spot me coming to the table. The girls ‘ooh’d’ over giant cocktails placed in front of them, as I unloaded the tray onto the table.
“Thank you.” Sookie said with a smile, sipping her pink drink.
“So, Eric, this place is booming. I came here a few times last year. You guys have amazing bands on Friday.” Tara added and we made small talk about her favourites. Amelia kicked in about it being busy too, and how she’d have this place orders up in no time if she worked here. Sookie was just shaking her head.
“Can you join us for a drink?” She asked.
“No, I wish I could but we’re swamped at the bar tonight. We’re a waitress short. One of the girls had to quit last week because she’s moving to New York with her loser boyfriend.” I rolled my eyes, her romantic notions had left me short.
Amelia was practically bouncing in her chair and Sookie just laughed. I remembered then about Sookie telling me Sophie fired Amelia the previous week.
“Hey, Amelia, you have bar experience right?” I looked between her and Sookie. Sookie clearly knew what I was up to.
“Yes, lots actually, and waitressing, hostessing… is hostessing a word?” She turned to Sookie.
“If you want it to be, sweetie.” she replied in a tone I’d only heard her use on Jessica.
“Do you want a job?” I asked.
“AAAAAAHHHHH! Oh my, God, Eric, I love you! No, really, I love you right now! I was so worried about rent this month, but yoou! You giant, Swedish, sexy man you.” She stood up and wrapped her arms around me, doing a happy dance as she did so. All I could do was laugh, just like the rest of them.
“Okay Ames, let the man go.” Lafayette spoke.
“Sookie, he’s so awesome. You’re so awesome. I love you.”
“Okay, well, that enthusiasm will be appreciated. I promise.” I laughed again.
She was a hoot.
“Sook, he’s awesome. You have to be, like, super nice to him from now on!”
“Come by on Monday and we’ll show you around. I’ve got to get back to work, but enjoy.” I said to the table and got thank you’s from everyone- a very loud one from Amelia.
A little over an hour later I saw that Amelia had met Pam. Sookie was obviously introducing them before she seemed to excuse herself from the pow wow.
I slid out of the other side of the bar, cutting her off on the corner towards the ladies room.
“Hey yourself. Having a good birthday?”
“Yes! Thank you for the champagne, it was very sweet. Your bar is beautiful. I can’t believe I haven’t been here before now.”
“Well, you’re here now right?”
“Amelia has met Pam. I think they’re drooling over some designer shoe, or paint, or something. I lost track.”
“Yeah, I’m letting Pam redecorate a few things here. Why, I have no damn idea.”
She nodded smiling.
“Hey, could I … would you come into my office for a second? I have something I want to give you, but I don’t want to … not out here.”
She raised her brow at me, hand on hip.
“That’s sounds vaguely ominous, Eric.”
“It’s not, I promise.”
We walked into my office and I noticed her looking around at all the photos on the walls and the newspaper clippings about the bar over the years.
“How come your apartment was so bare but in here it’s like Memory Lane?” She asked, taking note of some of the goofier photos on the wall. I saw her zone in on a few with Alcide and Hadley.
“This place was more my home than the apartment. Hell, that couch turns into the most comfortable sofa bed ever.”
“So you lived here.”
I got the small blue bag out of my desk drawer and walked over to her with it.
“This is so stupid, but I… I got you a birthday present.”
Her eyes widened.
“The cupcakes and champagne wasn’t my present?”
I’d gone over kill. Oh God, she was going to think I was a weirdo.
“Um. No? It’s just this.”
“Tiffany’s? Are you kidding me?”
She opened the bag and the tiny box quickly.
“Oh my Goodness.”
“It’s lame, you hate it.” I went to snatch it from her.
“Oh, hell no you don’t.” She turned to stop me. “Eric, it’s so, so beautiful. I… no one’s ever gotten me something like before. It must have been SO expensive. I can’t let you do this. It’s far too much.” Still her words didn’t mean much because she was sliding it out of the box to admire it, her eyes wide and her mouth smiling.
“Can you?” She handed me the long necklace before she turned around. I obliged her, certainly. I’d wanted to see it on her since the second I bought it. I stepped closer to her, catching a whiff of her perfume in the process. Mix that with the smell of her shampoo, and I was on sensory Sookie overload. Looping in the chain so it sat on her neck, she turned to me with a smile even bigger than the one before.
“I love it so much. It’s stunning. But now you have to tell me when your birthday is so I can spoil you for a change.”
“No, no need.”
“Every need, thank you.” She leaned in slowly to kiss me on the cheek and as she moved out again, my brain shut down. It’s the only explanation I had. It just shut right down because instead of being gracious I slid both of my hands in her hair, holding her in place before I swiftly kissed her, backing us both up against the office door.
“Sookie, drink it!”
“Nope, I won’t hear it. It’s your birthday, the kid has a sitter, Eric’s gone to work. You drink that champagne, girl, and you drink it now!”
So I did, and it was yummy.
“Rockin’ dress Stackhouse!” Tara said from the doorway.
“Thanks! I’ve had it for ages but just haven’t had the excuse to wear it.”
“It’s a pity Sam isn’t around tonight. He’s missing you in this.” Amelia commented.
“How are things with him?” Tara asked, taking her glass from the top of the island.
“Good, I think. We’re taking it slow.”
“How slow?” Tara continued.
“Slow.” I widened my eyes so she’d get the point.
“What about Eric?”
“Sookie, the man is … fine. That, and he had you aflutter and glowy all day, and all he did was send you some cupcakes. By the way, you never told me what the deal was with that.”
“It was just this stupid joke. We were fooling around the other day with some cake mix and things got a little out of hand is all. I guess he was… I don’t know, thinking about that, or whatever.”
“What you mean out of hand?” Lafayette asked, appearing with my hot rollers.
“N-nothing. Just …it’s not a big deal. We just had a mini food fight.”
“And that’s it?” Tara pressed.
“Lying! Look at you, you’re blushing.” Laf chimed in.
“Hesortoflickedmixoffmyneck. So the red shoes or the black?”
“He LICKED YOU?” Tara’s eyes bugged.
“It was just fooling around.” I protested.
“Sure, I mean I know when I bake I like to just lick it off my housemate. Perfectly acceptable.” Lafayette glared at me, not believing a word.
“Are we getting me hot, or not? Red shoes or black?”
He tapped the black ones before starting on my hair.
“Amelia!” Tara called out, “I think we need more booze.”
We made it to dinner on time. Lafayette surprised me with a spa day for my birthday gift. It was amazing and I knew he’d pulled some strings, but it was definitely appreciated. I’d enjoy the relaxation of it all. Amelia decided she was going adopt a dolphin for the year for me. His name was Angus. It was kind of awesome. Tara being Tara, she got me a box full of toys. And when I say ‘toys’ I don’t just mean the kind for Jessica.
By the time dinner was over we were all more than three sheets to the wind. We ended up in a dive bar for an hour before Amelia had the bright idea of ‘visiting Eric.’ I, of course, didn’t want to. He was a busy guy. He didn’t need us loitering around his bar, but her mind was made up. She informed me in her best drunken, motherly voice that it was a ‘damn shame’ I’d lived with Eric for weeks now and never seen his place of business. She’d been there before and said nothing but good things. I had to admit, I was curious.
Piling into a cab, Lafayette demanded to know more about the ‘licking incident,’ and I ignored him. Then they all told me that I needed to get licked, and often. I’m pretty sure the cab driver thought we were all perverts.
Seeing his bar, it was truly beautiful. It was up on the top floor of one of the nicest buildings in Louisiana and it had the best views I could remember seeing of the city. There was stain glass just about everywhere. The views and amazing mood lighting made the place look like a million dollars.
It was packed to the brim with people but we finally found an empty table, and then we found him. In watching him work behind the bar I saw he was confident, fast, strong and sexy as hell. I was pretty sure my drunk was wearing off but I’d still allow myself to look. His dark wash jeans clung just right and his black button up was unbuttoned just enough to make me want to lick his clavicle.
What was it with us and licking?
Several free drinks and one snapped heel later, I left Amelia pouting over her broken shoe while talking up a storm with Pam. I’d introduced them and it seemed like they knew each other for years, the way they connected. It was nice. Amelia needed more friends outside of our little group. It was then that I ran into Eric, and I mean ran into as I rounded the corner. I didn’t know if it was the setting, the fact that every woman- single or not- was looking at him like he was lunch on a diet day, or the fact that he was looking at me like he really was trying to see if I could wear underwear under a dress this tight….whatever it was, I followed him into his office without much cause for concern.
The necklace was stunning. I’d never seen, much less been given, something so beautiful before. I often salivated over the Tiffany window display, but knowing their prices it was a luxury I seldom indulged. But to have something so beautiful and I hadn’t even picked it out was wonderful. If I had the funds to buy it myself, Eric’s present was exactly what I would have picked.
I had intended to kiss him on the cheek- just the cheek- as a thank you gesture since my words felt so empty inside my mouth, but things slowed to a halt as I did so. I noticed his sharp intake of breath as I got closer to him and the fact that his eyes seemed to almost darken in colour. So when he kissed me, I had no fight in me to really protest.
I had wanted to kiss him- I knew that much- and not just a sweet thank you kiss either. I’d more than once thought of what it might be like, particularly over the previous week. Just how good a kisser was he, anyway? And when his lips touched mine, a million things ran through my head. I needed to stop. So me being me, I did what I do best- I pulled away.
He wasn’t having any of that bullshit, though. He simply grabbed my face, threading his fingers in my hair and backed us up against his office door, forcing the kiss deeper than before.
I gave in without much of a fight, mainly because it felt like I couldn’t fight. I felt too much like goo to fight back. Feeling him push up against me felt heavenly. His hands were still threaded in my hair and gripping my scalp as he tilted my head while his mouth moved on mine. He sucked my lips one by one into his mouth. First the top, then the bottom, gently and quickly tasting me and allowing me to taste him. Then I felt his tongue and I’m ashamed to say I instantly allowed him in. I might have let a moan or two escape in the process.
His height over me was intoxicating. I felt his warm breath on my face as he broke us apart to do nothing but smirk at me. It was then that I attempted to put up a fight. I shouldn’t have been kissing him. I shouldn’t have been kissing anyone. But instead of listening to me, he held my hips in place, his fingers running along the fabric of my dress as he held me against the door. I could have walked out of his grasp, quite easily, but I didn’t. Instead I let him kiss me again, and this time I felt my knees go a little weak as he ground himself into me.
“Eric…we have to-”
“Shh. Just shut up and enjoy this okay?”
I gave up and wrapped my arms around his neck, allowing him to lift me up against the door so our heights were more evenly matched. Good God it was like I could get pregnant from just kissing him, it was that good.
He went for my neck and I definitely let a moan loose, as he just spoke a breathy ‘Oh, Jesus’ into my neck. I could feel him. He was hard- even through his jeans that much was obvious- and I swore if he had touched me where I needed it most right then, it wouldn’t have taken much to bring me over the edge.
I heard my cell phone buzzing inside my purse. That snapped me out of it. I pushed him back and he went willingly. Both of us standing there a mess, our breathing out of control.
“I didn’t mean to do that.” He confessed, his face looking as flushed as mine felt.
“Me either. I don’t … I don’t’ know what came over me. I …”
I ignored the bulge in his pants, and the fact that his lips were so swollen and red I just wanted to kiss him all over again. Instead, before I time to even think, Pam walked in.
“Well, well, well. This place stinks like sex.” She smiled at me, then looked at Eric.
“Sookie, your friends are getting worried. They think you’re trapped in the ladies room or something. Of course you’re just…here.” she raised her perfectly waxed brow at me.
“We were just talking…” I attempted to bullshit.
“Right, sweetie, you might want to save that for someone who doesn’t see your lipstick smeared all over your face.”
My hand went to my mouth automatically. Shit.
“Is that Tiffany’s?” She eyed my necklace.
“Yeah, it is.”
Then it was her turn to glare at Eric. He just pretended to shuffle some papers on his desk.
“Well, isn’t that interesting?” She looked me up and down again. “I’ll give you two a minute. Then the cavalry might come looking for you.”
I think he and I would be needing more than a minute to figure this mess out, don’t you?
A/N: *Waits nervously* Hi, sooo what did we think?
P.s Much big thankies to the writing machiiiine that is Makesmyheadspin for being a swift beta on this one 😀 x
Chapter 15: Chapter 15
I kissed her, and I’ll admit not much thought went into it in the moment. All I knew was she smelled amazing, and I really wanted to know what she tasted like.
As it goes, she tasted like strawberries from her Daiquiris and vanilla from what I assumed was her lip-gloss. Between that and her heat, I was addicted right on the spot. She fought me, but it wouldn’t be like Sookie if she didn’t protest. If she really wanted me to let her go, she would have made it more than clear. Instead, she pushed once before her arms wrapped around my neck all on their own. She pulled me in for a deeper kiss, allowing me to push myself completely up against her. Her body was encased so tightly in that dress that it was like skin-on-skin contact when my hands landed on her hips. She moaned as our kiss got even more intense—I’d never gotten so hard from just a kiss before—having told her to kindly shut up, I ground into her a little harder up against the office door. The moan I received in return shot through me like a bolt of lightning.
But then it was over far too soon, and we were both standing there breathless and swollen—and I don’t just mean her lips.
Pam walking into my office—without knocking as fucking usual—pissed me off. For one, it meant that diving in for that second kiss was out of the question, and since it was more than obvious that we’d been making out, I knew I was going to catch serious shit from her about this. All of that and she saw the fucking necklace. Being the designer whore she was, she knew where it was from right away, and since it didn’t take a genius to add two and two together I knew she’d be ripping me for that as well.
Sookie was as white as a sheet once Pam left, taking to the mirror on the side way to attempt to fix her makeup, I didn’t say anything, and neither did she. She just looked at me through the mirror with a very anxious look on her face.
“It was just a kiss right?” She said quietly. “I mean, we just… We just got caught up in the moment right? It didn’t really mean…” There was fear in her eyes, something I wasn’t used to seeing. And she was silently panicking, that much was obvious.
I could tell where she was going with this. I’d used the line myself a time or two ‘It was just sex, right? It didn’t mean anything serious, right?’ Far be it from me to disappoint her.
“No, of course not. It was just … a kiss.”
“And it didn’t mean…?”
“It was just a kiss, Sookie. Like you said, a stupid caught of guard… slightly drunken, kiss.” I laughed to hopefully dissolve the tension.
She nodded, letting out a large breath.
“Good. I mean not, good, but … you know? Like, it’s good.” She stammered. Reapplying her lipstick, before her fingers ran down the necklace and she smiled.
“I really do love this. You’ve got amazing taste.”
“Pam’s trained me well, I guess?”
“Well, I’ll be sure to thank her too. Will I see you at home?”
“Yeah. I’m sure you will.”
She nodded with a small smile, grabbing her purse that had fallen behind my office door in our rush to fuck up whatever small progress we’d manage to make.
So, I hid in my office for the remainder of the night. I couldn’t face her; I could face her friends; and most of all, I couldn’t face Pam. I really wasn’t in the mood for a lecture or teasing, since really, Sookie had done enough teasing to last me the rest of the year. So instead of manning up, I sat nursing a serious case of blue balls while downing the last quarter of Jack from the bottle that lived under my desk.
I’d called a cab around two a.m. I figured Sookie would be home and long asleep by the time I got there, or at the very least, I hoped she would be.
Pam of course, couldn’t resist getting a jibe in before I took my leave.
“You know, we will talk about this. It’s serious, Eric.”
“You don’t just buy Tiffany for any girl, Eric. I know you. And this? This is scary out of the norm behavior for you.”
“Leaving.” I waved, grabbing my jacket.
“Aren’t you going to ask how my night went while you were hiding away in your office?”
“Fine. How’d tonight go, Pam?”
“Terrific! By the way, Sookie’s little friend? Amelia?”
“She is not.”
“Uh, yes, yes she is, and she’s a huge fan of my boobs. I’m so glad you’ve hired her.”
“She’s not gay! Sookie’s always saying how she’s dating this guy and that guy…”
She just eyebrowed me.
“Fine, if you say so. I’m off. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
I got through the front door to be greeted with the sound of Lady Gaga coming from the kitchen as well as the laughter of more than a few people.
I poked my head in just to see, and was met with Lafayette’s loud booming voice.
“Northman! Just in time. Come play with us.”
He, Amelia, Sookie, and Tara were seated around the kitchen table. Shot glasses in front of them and various bottles of liquor sat in a semi-circle on the table.
“We’re playing drinking games!” Amelia piped up. “Boss.”
I noticed how guilty and fidgety Sookie looked, ignoring the fact that she looked sexy as hell with her heels off and her feet up on the empty chair next to her.
“No, guys look… He’s tired and he probably—”
“I’ll play.” I said, shaking off my jacket and pulling out the chair next to Sookie—her feet then flopping to the floor.
“Yay! Okay, well we were in the middle of I Never. We’re going to move onto Truth or Dare—Spin the Bottle soon though. I love that one.” Amelia rambled on.
I wasn’t paying much attention to her though, because my focus was solely on Sookie and how she was sitting in her seat—as if she was afraid any part of her would touch any part of me.
“Eric, why don’t you go?” Tara added, handing me a empty shot glass that I poured a little Jack Daniels into.
“Okay, I have never… Worn women’s underwear.”
I didn’t take a drink, but of course all the ladies had to, and not so shockingly, so did Lafayette.
“What? They’re silky… I like.” He justified.
Sookie was up next, though she was decidedly less chipper since I sat down.
“Uh, okay, I have never… had sex with a woman.”
I took a shot, and shockingly Lafayette took a shot.
“What? I did it once. That’s how I knew y’all were just not for me.” Then he pointedly looked at me. “They be missing a thing I really like.”
Tara burst out laughing at his fail of a drunken flirt. I just smiled. I’d been feeling pretty buzzed myself, two glasses of jack before I left the office and the shot were mixing together nicely.
After everyone had another turn at I Never, Ames announced that it was boring and Truth or Dare was much more fun.
She started when the empty bottle of wine pointed at Tara—her truth was how many guys she’d slept with. For the record it was a modest three. We ignored the drinking rules and continued to drink anyway as the bottle got spun.
Then Tara spun, and it landed on Sookie. Her truth was at what age she first gave head.
She was fifteen.
She looked suitably embarrassed when Lafayette ribbed her for being a ‘little young’ but she soon moved on.
Her spin landed on me, and for the first time since I sat down, she turned to look straight at me.
“Truth or Dare?”
“How many women have you been with?”
Lafayette laughed and Tara sat forward in her seat a smidge.
“Be more specific.”
“Well, do you want slept with as in, spent the entire night with? Sex as in just intercourse, sex as in just oral once? Oral for her? Or just oral for me? Sex as in all of the above? ”
I could see her breathing was speeding up; her chest was moving at a rapid pace and she was blushing. But not in that cute sweet way. Her eyes told me she was pissed.
“You know, I don’t know, Eric. It’s your call.” She looked annoyed and took a shot.
“Fine. Spent the entire night? Eight. Intercourse only… nine. Just oral, four. All of the above in one night, six; and blow job? Five. Does that answer your question?”
She just quirked an eyebrow at me, clearly pissed that I went into so much detail in front of her friends, the blush in her cheeks getting deeper.
I heard a “damn,” from Tara and “ohh,” from Amelia. Laf was just smirking.
Sookie took another shot.
I gave the bottle a quick spin and it landed on Sookie.
I grinned an evil grin as I focused in on her.
“Truth or Dare, Sookie?”
“Truth I guess. I’m too tired to dare.”
She smirked. “But Eric, you’re going to have to be more specific.” She sassed before she answered.
“Spent the whole night with, six. Intercourse only, six; oral on me, six; all of the above in one night, six; and blow job?”
I swear I felt my toes curl as she shot daggers at me. I’d imagine angry sex with her would be a treat.
“Six. And for the record, it was the same six guys, because when I have sex I like the full service. I don’t half ass it like some people.”
“Ouch.” Came Lafayette’s reply. I simply smiled at her drunken sarcasm, and her imitation of my voice—which by the way sounded nothing like me. I am not high-pitched.
A few more spins and Sookie excused herself to change. I was sad to see sex dress go away.
“So Eric, your gift to Sookie was beautiful. It looks so expensive.”
“Uhh, thanks Tara. It was just a thing I saw that reminded me of her, that’s all.”
“Mmm, but Tiffany’s? That’s interesting.”
Why was that interesting? Pam said that too.
“It’s just a store.”
“Oh, men.” Amelia cracked up.
“Okay, who’s spinning?”
Tara gave the bottle a whirl just as Sookie came into view in her pink checker Disney shorts and a white tank top that with the back lighting from the hallway, showed me that she wasn’t wearing a bra.
Her scowl killed my would be sex fantasy of ripping her out of those shorts and fucking her over the staircase.
Tara spun, and it landed on me.
“Truth or dare, Eric?”
“Okay, I dare you to kiss someone in this room for fifteen seconds.”
They all, and I mean all looked at Sookie.
She just shifted from one foot to another awkwardly.
“And if I don’t agree?”
“You chug the jar of green congealed shit in the fridge, naked, on one of the neighbours lawns.”
That jar had been in there before Sookie and I moved in. No fucking way.
Tara gave a ‘woo’ and Lafayette told me to lay one on him, which I ignored. Tonight was a night of first kisses, but I didn’t want to kiss a guy. It had never interested me, no matter how glittery his eyelashes where.
“Amelia, would you mind if kissed you, to please your friends?” I asked in the sweetest fake tone I could muster, letting her know that this wasn’t that big of a deal.
Amelia was facing me, so her back was to Sookie. She looked back at Sookie as if for some kind of permission or silent girl code and then looked back at me. Sookie stood arms crossed and with a general look of annoyance on her face.
“Uh sure, I guess. I mean, if I were you, I wouldn’t be the one I would have chosen but… wait, does that make sense?”
IT kind of did to me. So I made my move, laughing along with her at the ridiculousness of it all.
“Just so you know, I don’t make it a habit of making out with my staff… Just … one or two.” I admitted, though I’m pretty sure they all took it as a joke.
I kissed her, as ridiculous as it all was, but I didn’t close my eyes. In fact, I didn’t even look at Amelia. As Tara counted down the fifteen seconds painfully slowly, Amelia and I kissed—properly with tongue and everything—but my eyes and my focus was all on the woman standing behind us.
My eyes never left Sookie’s. I saw a number of things in her face that night. Shock, annoyance, pain and frustration, all aimed at me.
But why? She wanted to brush off our amazing, and I mean amazing, kiss as if it was nothing. She wants Sam—the good, solid one. She thinks I’m a whore and an asshole, even though all I’ve tried to do is be someone that both she and Jessica could rely on and need. I do all that and more. I love being here; I never thought I would, but I do. My feelings for Sookie, while not as obviously cheesy as Sam’s, I felt them, and to me they were very real.
But how could I tell her?
I saw that fear in her eyes when we kissed. It was the same fucking fear I felt. If we did this, it would be amazing for a few hours—the sex I could tell would be mind blowing, if only because we’d piss each other off enough to fuck the other through the mattress. But, what then?
If we broke up, if we really ended up hating each other, there was a little girl to consider. And I guess, right now she was more important to us than the other was. So, I’d bury my feelings for now. In fact, I’d be burying them balls deep in the next date I could line up.
If she didn’t want me, there were plenty of other women who did.
I was panicking. I’d kissed Eric, and not just in-my-dreams kissed him. Like, real kissing with curling toes and quickened hearts.
I wasn’t meant to kiss him! He was Jessica’s “daddy” now, and I was her “mom” and we were her parents. That’s it! That’s all we were meant to be. We’d become closer, yes that’s true. But the attraction, it wasn’t one either of us should have been acting on.
If we fucked this up, Child Protective Services would be on our ass for being … I don’t know, whores, in charge of a baby.
Pam and her timing couldn’t have been better. Had we lasted much longer, she’d have found us—I was sure—in a much more compromising position. Instead, I gave him the out that I was sure a guy in his position was looking for. He was attracted to me, that much was obvious, but this was Eric. Eric liked to date around; I wouldn’t say whore around, but he did like to date. A lot. I would have just been a notch. And afterward the awkwardness would tear us apart.
No, it was better if we left it as just a moment of weakness. Thankfully, and as I expected he would, he agreed with me, that it was just a stupid fluke. I was emotional and a little buzzed, and he was … well… I assumed, horny.
That’s all it was.
That’s all it could ever be.
I made my excuses to him; I had fixed myself as best as I could but when I came face to face with my friends, it was painfully obvious that I was flustered as all hell.
“What did you get up to?”
“Nothing. Nothing. Eric and I were just talking.” I answered Tara.
“Yep. Oh and he gave me my birthday present.”
“Oh, I’ll bet he did. Was it big?” Lafayette teased.
“Excuse you. It was this actually.” I lifted up my necklace to show them and they were all suitably impressed with Eric’s taste just as I had been.
We’d taken a cab home to my place, and they made no signs of wanting to leave. They broke out the tequila and the drinking games began. I knew I’d be feeling like shit in a few hours for all the drinking I’d done, but I took my shots like a pro. If anything, it would attempt to remove the taste of Northman from my system.
Watching him kiss Amelia, knowing that it was for my soul benefit, was so obvious. The smirking, the eye contact. I thought that maybe he was making it known that he could do this, and that maybe our toe curling kiss wasn’t that special after all? I don’t know what his intentions where; all I knew is that it hurt like hell to see it happen. As soon as they stopped and Tara was laughing, Lafayette looked straight at me. Ames and Eric just started to rip the other one on their shitty kissing techniques. I simply excused myself and went upstairs.
I didn’t care if they stayed over. I was tired and drunk and now just a feeling a little bit sorry for myself.
Lafayette came in not ten minutes later. “Hey, Ames is passed out on one couch, Tara on the other. I’m just going to crash in one of the spare rooms, that cool?”
“Of course.” I smiled “Want to crash in here with me? I could use the company.”
He slipped off his shoes and shirt and crawled in beside me.
“So Sookie, what’s the deal with you and Viking?”
“Not now La, please?”
“But there is a deal?”
“No. I thought maybe… but no, there’s just Jessica. That’s all.”
I tried my best not to cry. I wouldn’t not over something so stupid.
He sighed, but dropped it.
The night of my birthday was something I thought I’d never forget. I’d set out with the intention of making it memorable, but of course succeeded in making it memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Eric and I had a job to do, and that was raising that little girl. And that’s what we did. After that night, it seemed he and I both decided that a more businesslike approach was needed to our parenting skills.
There was a schedule, and it was never ignored. In fact, we worked it out so well that for a whole month he and I didn’t even have to talk to each other. We’d hired Maxine as her part-time babysitter on the days that both he and I had to be gone at the same time. His business was booming according to Ames, who just adored working for him and Pam. The Crown on the other hand was sinking and it didn’t matter what I did because Sophie just went and undid it. I’d reached the end of my rope with her.
Before I knew it, it was the end of September. The summer of upheaval had ended and we’d made it safely to another season. Jessica was thriving; she’d gone from one or two words such as her little “hi” to “juice,” and of course her favourite, “no.” For almost a whole week everything was answered with a hearty “no.” It took us both asking her double negatives to get her to agree to something. “So you don’t, don’t want a bath?”
But she had gone from those little words to full sentences and it was an awesome thing to witness. “I goes now,” and her favorite for when I’d leave for work in the morning, “bye, bye nows.”
She had yet to address me, even as Sookie. She just wouldn’t say it. I was still just ‘uhh.’ Do you know how emotionally draining it was for your little girl to pass you over, in favor of “spoon” and “cookie?” I mean hell, Cookie and Sookie were practically the same word, and yet—nothing. Eric, on the other hand, had several names. First, he was Da-ric, then he was Wic, and then she just settled on Dadda. I knew it affected him. The first few times I’d seen her say it to him, he’d freeze. I knew how hard it must have been for him. We both questioned what she should call us—technically we were her parents now—but in both our minds, that title still belonged to Alcide.
She wasn’t walking. In fact, she seemed pretty set against getting on her feet. I mean, why should she? Eric liked to carry her just about everywhere they went, and she was more than attached to his view of the world from way up there. She’d tried a few times, but each time she’d stand, she’d fall back on her little butt again, and laugh to herself before crawling off. Like the talking thing, I decided that worrying about it was pointless. She’d walk when she was damn well ready.
Eric decided that he’d start dating again, and by ‘dating’ I mean going out on a Friday night and coming back Saturday morning to do his walk of shame. Except for Eric, there was no shame. While his usual joie de vivre was missing, he didn’t let it stop him.
Sam and I, we continued to see each other and even took the relationship to that next crucial level. The dates were always sweet and thoughtful. Even silly things like going to the park with the baby and a picnic he seemed to enjoy. Being with him, it was simple and so easy and just so chilled out. There was no drama or tension, no arguments or fights.
It was the exact opposite to what I was used to, living with Eric. I needed him in my life and even though Sam and I were a mismatch in so many ways, I really wanted to make things work between us. I tried my hardest to love him as much as I liked him, and yet something was missing. Everything was chugging along, admittedly not as smoothly where Eric was concerned, but Jessica and work where my main focus, and Sam came after that. He knew where he stood and he was fine with it, because I also knew how much he loved his job and exactly what it demanded of him. It wasn’t until Bill showed up at my doorstep one rainy Friday that it clicked within me why I was clinging to my relationship with Sam so tightly.
*Shuffles nervously* Okay all I ask is for you to breaaaaaaathe, and please don’t hate Sookie. I have a plan I promise. Say it with me, plot development. 😀 If you don’t hate me that much, hit the review button like a sweetie! Big thank you to vikinglover_elle for her beta’ing skills and making this baby all pretty 😀