Chapter 13: Chapter 13
Before I even opened my eyes they hurt. In fact, everything hurt just about everywhere. I heard the gentle snores from behind me, and felt his hands still holding me next to him. I didn’t want to move. Even though we were on his bedroom floor instead of being up in his nice comfortable bed, I was too at ease. But I knew I had a plane to catch, and if I’m honest, an awkward conversation to avoid. I gently moved his hands away so that I could get up. A quick scan of the room reminded me just how messy things had gotten last night. I found my underwear and my dress, and skipped putting on my heels since I was doing the walk of shame. Thankfully that walk would only be a few hundred feet.
Eric didn’t budge, and since the sun was just starting to come up I did him a favor and closed his shutters to allow him to sleep past sun up. If his body hurt half as much as mine did, he’d need it. I glanced at my phone—it was five thirty. My plane left at eleven and I had to check in way, way before that.
I closed his bedroom door quietly before I made my way down his rather large staircase. There were still people scattered all over the house, sleeping of course, in awkward and interesting positions.
I smiled. It had been a good night, and a most interesting way to wrap a project, I had to admit.
The street was abandoned, thankfully, as I made my way up my own driveway and into the house where I found Pam nursing a hangover and sipping coffee.
“Well, well, well… look who’s the dirty stop out,” she grinned through her bed-head and swollen eyes.
“Why are you up? It’s so early.”
“I have to work today.”
“Ick,” I said throwing my shoes in a closet in the living room.
“So… need I ask whose bed you just crawled out of ?”
“Pam, now is so not the time.”
“Ohh, I think it’s the perfect time. Spill.”
I just looked at her before heading up to find my suitcases. She quickly followed.
“Come on, Sookie, I haven’t gotten laid in weeks. Let me live vicariously.”
“Well, what do you think happened?”
“I think you both finally saw what everyone else has been seeing and gave in to all the delicious sexual chemistry, that’s what I think.”
My smile gave me away.
“And what’s the verdict?”
“The verdict is none of your business. Do me a favor? Book me a cab while I jump in the shower.”
“Right. Don’t want to be boarding a plane stinking of sex, now would we?” She laughed but reached for the phone.
I locked the bathroom door. For as much as I loved Pam, she had her boundary issues and when she wanted to know something, nothing as silly as me being in the shower would keep her from coming in.
The hot water was more than welcome and began to unravel the knots in my body from unexpectedly sleeping on the floor of Eric’s bedroom. Well, that, and the amazing sex.
I was tender just about everywhere I touched, which I attributed to a good night, but I knew I’d bruise. There were already signs of them popping up where his hands had gripped my waist—tiny fingerprint shaped bruises. Either way, he made sure I wouldn’t forget him easily, I’ll give him that.
I got dressed and made sure I had my carry-on luggage packed with all I’d need for my flight to Paris. My mother’s vintage Chanel tote was a favorite of mine, and was just large enough to fit all my necessitates while looking rather smooth, if I do say so myself. I’d noticed Pam drooling over the vintage section of my handbag collection when I moved in. Apparently, decent Chanel from the seventies was almost impossible for her to find. Thankfully, my mother was a designer addict—and a pack rat—so I ended up inheriting most of her things when she decided that a New Age, free-love lifestyle was what she wanted.
I couldn’t wait to see my dad. It had been months—in fact, it had been almost a year—since I’d been home to see him, and I felt ridiculously guilty about that every time we spoke. But, this would be good for me. I needed to recharge and regroup as they say, and what better way to do that than to spend weeks on end in Paris, with my now very laid back father at his country home—seclusion, peace and quiet.
As a teenager it had been hell, but right now? It sounded like heaven.
My cab was honking for me for a good five minutes before Pam and I made our way down the driveway. I still hadn’t mastered the electronic gates from the inside—it was the one thing I promised myself I’d learn when I got back.
“Okay, I left Jessica an email. Everything is covered here till I get back; I’ll call her and you when I land. We’ll discuss everything then.”
“Like needing to get you a PR rep and an agent.” She raised her brow at me, knowing I’d been putting it off.
“Fine. If only you could do it all, my lovely,” I said, hugging her tightly before I yanked my suitcases into the trunk of the car. “Go on in and drink more coffee. You look like shit,” I said, not wanting to say goodbye. She simply rolled her eyes behind her sunglasses and walked back up the driveway. I glanced up to the house, and by accident at Eric’s balcony. He was standing there in his boxers. I waved like an idiot, though only once, and he seemed confused at first. He was too far away for me to really tell, but he waved back anyway. And, that was that. I got into my cab and forced myself to push him and the night before out of my head, even if my body still ached for him.
When I made it to my departure gate at the airport, my phone rang. I’d assumed it was Pam telling me I’d forgotten something, but no, it was Eric.
“You know, it’s awfully rude to just sneak out of someone’s bed like that, without a word. I thought I’d dreamt it. Well, that was until I found the bite marks.”
I blushed, surrounded by people even though they couldn’t hear him.
“Uh, yeah, I forgot about that,” I smiled. “I had a plane to catch so I couldn’t exactly allow myself the luxury of time.”
I heard him hum. “I guess. Last night was … fun.”
“That it was.”
“We should do it again sometime, maybe.” I could hear his grin over the phone.
“Maybe,” I sighed, not really sure this was a conversation we or even I was ready for. “I’m going to be in Paris for a while, maybe a month or more. I’m not really sure.” If it sounded like I was trying to give him the brush off, it was because, well, I was. “And after that I don’t really know what I’m doing.”
“It wasn’t a marriage proposal Sookie, relax.” I heard him smile,
And that’s when it hit me: no it wasn’t a marriage proposal because Alcide had been the one to do that already. Alcide, who I’d spent six years of my life with, thinking that’s what I wanted when in reality that’s not what I wanted at all. I realized, I had no idea what I wanted and it didn’t just stop with Eric Northman and his amazing sex-ercise.
“I know that. I just don’t think it would be a good idea.”
He stalled before answering. I heard it.
“It’s not that I didn’t have fun—believe me, I did, and I’ll be bruised as a result—but, really this isn’t a good idea. You’re dealing with the Sandy insanity and I’m … I don’t even know what I am right now. Us, doing … that, even under the guise of friends with benefits or casual sex… it wouldn’t end well.”
“Who says it would have to end?”
I didn’t respond. I just didn’t know what to say to that.
“I’m boarding now, Eric, so I have to go.”
“So, that’s it?” he said fast, but clearly not what he was expecting from me. His tone of shock evident.
“Yeah, Eric, that’s it. Goodbye.”
My room was dark but I could hear the birds chirping outside the window. I had no idea what time it was, but my body was starving, aching, and spent. I reached out my hand to find her—that hot body of hers, that soft skin that smelled so good—but there was no one there. I was alone.
At first I thought she might have been in the shower or downstairs, but no dice. She was gone.
I’d had my share of one night stands in the past. In those cases, I was always the one to do the walk of shame, or the sneaking-out-walk-of-regret. It stung just a little to think that Sookie did that to me. I looked at the clock and it was a lot earlier than I needed it to be up. I shouldn’t have been awake, but the more I tried to fall back asleep, the harder it was to stop thinking. Her scent was everywhere. On me, on my pillows, on my sheets. A mix of strawberries and oranges. Why she smelled like fruit, I didn’t know, but that’s what it was.
I opened my shutters—though I didn’t recall closing them—and that’s when I saw her at the bottom of her lane, loading her cases into a cab. She was talking with a rather wrecked looking Pam, before she hugged her, accidentally looking right at me.
She waved, so I waved back. As awkward as it felt and probably looked, she smiled softly before getting into her cab.
That was it? No, that didn’t feel right.
I got showered and dressed and attempted to fix the wreck that was my bedroom before venturing downstairs. Drunken crew and cast members were milling in and out of the yard, and someone had the bright idea to start a pot of coffee. I loved them whoever they were.
The coffee gave me the courage and the brain power I needed to dial her number. If she was just taking off for God knows how long, I needed to know where we stood—where I stood, more specifically.
Deciding to go a more playful route with the conversation opener, it went against my desire to just ask her outright why she’d left me in bed … or in my case, on the floor, alone, without a word of goodbye.
I knew she was regretting it, though. I hoped that had more to do with her and her past than it did with our present or our night together. I knew we both had this explosive nature in us just waiting for the fuse to be lit and go boom. For some reason, we were each other’s fuse. And last night certainly had been explosive. My shower had proven enlightening—Sookie was a biter. I’d forgotten that little detail in the haze of orgasms.
After her flat out rejection—because that’s what it was, rejection—I will admit that my ego took a bit of a battering. And the fact that I really liked this woman did nothing to help my mood. I knew she was right. She was just out of a really long and seemingly complicated relationship, and on the heels of finishing her first big solo project, I was trying to… as cliché as it sounds, find myself in the mess of a life that I had somehow fallen into or created over the years. It was probably for the best that she and I hadn’t agreed to be anything more than what we already were to each other. But what that was, I didn’t even know. Ultimately, I was left sexually satisfied, but emotionally confused.
In the weeks after she left, I found myself in the midst of a rather unexpected busy schedule. I’d gotten scripts on a few indie projects that looked amazing and really under the radar as far as the twists and turns they offered the characters in them. I was excited, I was happy with the choice of work, and for that matter that I even had a choice in quality work again. It was rather unusual I had to admit, after years of dud scripts or piss take rolls. This felt real.
I was offered one big one. It was in its own right a blockbuster in the making. And I was offered the co-starring role next to one of the most up and coming actresses of the last five years. It was… cheesy and ridiculous, and everything that I wanted to avoid. But, with my manager, my agent and my PR all pushing for this to ‘catapult’ me back into the public eye, I was beginning to wane under their pressure and apparent sensible arguments. It was, after all, a lot of money. If it was successful, it would mean I could and would get offers from bigger studios, for bigger projects that would stand a far better chance at getting noticed than I had been before. I wanted notoriety, but only from my peers. I wanted their approval as sad as it was to admit. But that’s what it was.
Somewhere hidden inside I knew that was the wrong reasoning to have, but it was a hard thing to shake off since it’s how I operated since I was thirteen. I just thought at almost twenty-seven, that I’d have a little more freedom to go the right way. But, by choosing that ‘certified hit’, I’d once again disappointed myself with making the obvious choice, the fast track choice. One that I knew, even as I stepped foot on that set, was the wrong choice.
Upon touching down in Paris, I opened my Twitter for the first time in weeks. I had, it was safe to say, a slew of new followers for whatever reason. Before, it was just me talking to a few friends, shooting the shit and posting ridiculous photos of ourselves in various and equally ridiculous situations. I had no intention of stopping that just because other people decided they found my rambles of interest. I had a rule: if you didn’t want it online, simply don’t put it there. And I warned others to do the same. Otherwise, relax and enjoy the insanity of it all.
I tweeted one thing, a simple and true, “Bon après-midi, Paris.”
I got six hundred replies.
Everything was asked from “Why are you in Paris?” and “Is Eric in Paris with you?” to “Are you on a lovers getaway in Paris?”
Christ on a cracker! I simply wrote that I couldn’t wait to see my daddy and have some much needed family time. I hoped that would put an end to the Eric questions.
Getting my rental car sorted out took longer than expected, and I found myself at the mercy of the little café that I had frequented as a teenager. It was once in the heart of what was known as a rather dodgy area of central Paris, but with time comes change, and it was now one of the most hip and hipster filled areas I’d stumbled into. I got my latte to go, and decided that I could do the hour drive to my father’s estate on an empty hung-over stomach since there was the promise of a Maria home-cooked meal. Her meals were always perfection, and filled with as many calories as possible. I loved it.
Upon arrival, I was greeted at the front door by Sammy, my dads black lab who was at this stage around a million years old, but still a darling and excited when I arrived home. Next was Maria, flailing in French and English as she embraced me in a very big, very tight hug. And next came my dad.
“Vous avez l’air belle, ma fille.” Telling me I looked beautiful after a flight, a hangover and death-like tiredness was sweet of him, but that was my dad. He was a sweetheart.
“Thanks, dad. You’re a terrible liar. Even in French.”
“It’s good to see you, darling,” he said, embracing me while Maria sprouted some nonsense about me looking too thin and that it had to be fixed right away. I just hope she made some of that homemade pie that I used to love.
I’d been in Paris for a month. I was immersed in my daily routine of emails, twittering, walking Sammy as far around the property as we both could make it, and taking cooking lessons from Maria, when I got the alert from Pam about Eric. I hadn’t heard from Eric since I left—not that I expected to hear from him—nor did I contact him either, but this email simply titled ‘Eric’ garnered my attention, fast.
I clicked on it and it was a paparazzi video from some outdoor concert or something, but that wasn’t the interesting part. Apparently off his trolley drunk, he decided that it would be a good idea to hit a pap square in the face, in front of not only hundreds of people, but other paps armed with cameras.
The other interesting thing was his company. A few people I recognized, Hoyt, Jessica, and of course, Sandy was there. Why I was surprised to see her worm her way back into his life, I have no idea.
I heard that he’d taken a Michael Bay movie as his next project, which, again surprised me when it shouldn’t have. That night, the night we’d spent together, he seemed to really be questioning his choices in what I thought was an effort to right some wrongs in his life. But apparently, those wrongs seemed to suit him just fine since they appeared to be still in place. I shook my head and simply emailed back, “Not my problem, see you in a month.” I hit the little x on the page and went about my day.
I’d met Talbot a week into my stay at my father’s place. He was the manager of the stables that my father owned. We owned them because they came with the grounds. My father loved horses and in moving to Paris to escape the madness of LA, he found his fondness for them, as well as space and nature were all met together in his property. He of course had no clue how to run stables, so he had a staff, all of whom we’d known and loved for years. Talbot, however, was new.
We’d started fooling around shortly after I arrived. I’d made myself an appointment with my old doctor just to make sure Eric and I had been totally safe and off the radar of whatever Sandy might have been carrying. I’d gotten my results and the all clear, thankfully allowing me to chastise myself over a stupid mistake like not using contraception like a fool. I’d never been so foolish before. It seemed Eric Northman just had that effect on me. He pushed my buttons and he turned me into a forgetful, giggling school girl. Never a good mix. Or it was a perfect mix, depending on what angle you took. But it wasn’t what either of us needed at that point, that much I did know.
But with Talbot it had been fun, up front, no strings, casual sex. And it had been amazing. Not as good as with Eric mind you, but he was a nice distraction from my internal conflict over Alcide and my failure there, as well as distracting from thoughts of Eric, if I’m honest. But with Talbot, my hotblooded Spanish horse wrangler, I was always careful and never talkative. We’d burned out within six weeks and I introduced him to Anya, one of the new stable girls, before carrying merrily on my way.
“You’re floundering, Sookie,” Maria said with that stern motherly look she got sometimes.
“I’m just fine, thank you.”
“With that boy, and the Swede that you thin’ we no know about. Please.”
“Oh psh, Maria. You worry too much.”
“I only worry because I care. Your father, he worries too you know, very much.” Her French accent always became thicker when she got emotional, and Maria was always emotional.
“I’m fine, trust me. Look, I’ve even lined up a job. It’s a small job, but it’s working with Johnny.”
Johnny, as in Depp. Weird thing about being my fathers daughter was that these people I admired, most of them I happened to have met or sat down to dinner with on more than one occasion. And Johnny was someone I’d loved as an actor most of my life. He also just happened to live in the next village most of the year, and had become great friends with my father over the years. The project was small, very small but he was directing it. It was a tale of love, lust and gypsy honor between a gypsy man and his wife—their love affair though the ages. I being the wife, Johnny being the husband. It was exciting for me to take on my first real acting job again—this time non-accidentally.
I’d heard the editing for my own project—now renamed as the ever snappy ‘Never Look Back’—was going well. I hated the new name but decided to roll with it. It was what it was. It was now coming into late summer. I knew I’d be done with the Depp project by the start of October, and according to Pam, by then the promotions for HBO would start. They liked my name—or rather my father’s last name—being attached to this. I knew that, and the fact that he’d gotten himself an executive producer credit seemed to help me win them over. All kind of talk of nominations for TV miniseries and movie were being thrown around in conference calls, but Pam knew I had no interest in that. I just wanted people to like it and whatever else came after that would be a bonus.
I had a number of scripts Fed Ex’d to my dads place while I’d been there. Most of them were romantic comedies or slasher flicks, but there were one or two that held great promise. One of them was actually just a storyboard and a outline for HBO. Apparently they liked to keep things in the family on that network and they’d offered me the female lead in a new series they were developing. It looked like a ton of fun—exciting and new—but it also appealed to the little nerdy girl inside me like whoa. It was never far from my hand as I had my dad look it over—never wanting to do anything he thought was too dodgy—and even he loved it. You say the words vampires, witches, hunters, curses and love, teamed with HBO, and you kind of know you’re onto something special. My main motivation was to do what I loved. It was my father’s motto after all, and this, this I loved. This I wanted to do. I knew it was far off in terms of production but it had been offered to me first. It would have been rude not to consider it seriously. And I did, I really did.
It wouldn’t be until I had signed on the dotted line for it however, after a disastrous promotional tour for Never Look Back, that I would find out that my co-star was someone that I was hoping and praying never to see again, after said disaster.
The one and only, Eric.
A/N: Hey guys! Thank you all so much for the previous reviews and adds and whatnot it’s been so amazing so far, so thank you! I means a lot! So, keep up the good work on letting me know what you’re thinking, it’s important! Coming up next chapter will be the promo tour for their project with lots of delish sexual tension. *Bounces* Hope you liked it xoxo
Ps: Excuse my French if it’s wrong, I’m working from memory here *blushes*
Chapter 14: Chapter 14
A/N : Hi guys! New update that I just couldn’t keep to myself till tomorrow!
Somehow in the span of two months things had gone from promising to fucked, and it was all my own doing. After I’d agreed to take on the Bay movie, I threw myself into the work for the required time of five weeks. It was good—working, being busy, having a schedule—it was all great, and it kept me out of trouble apparently. It was after that, that things started to go south again. I was partying too much, drinking far too much and somehow I’d allowed Sandy back into my life. All things that should have raised the red flag of doom, but somehow I ignored it. The only real saving grace was that Sandy and I weren’t involved anymore—not sexually anyway. She and I were attempting to do the “friends” thing. Even though she kind of sucked at being a friend since we were lead into paparazzi shuffles more often than not because of her tipping them off. I didn’t see her often, but I was usually civil to her when I did. What annoyed me the most is that she would just randomly show up with a gaggle of cameras behind her, all of them assuming we were still dating, which we very much were not.
The last straw was the music fest that Hoyt and Jessica wanted to go to. Godric had tickets since he was friends with a few of the guys in various bands that were showcasing that weekend, so a bunch of us packed up and set off for a weekend of fun. And it was fun, for a while at least. Then Hoyt and Jessica had some stupid fight about sex, and him looking at this other girl, and before I knew it Hoyt and I were drowning his sorrows—and mine—at the bar. That’s when she showed up and things somehow started to get very blurry, very fast. I was tired and a little drunk; add that to a day in the desert-like heat that was Los Angeles, and I wasn’t a very happy camper. They’d been harassing us all day for photos, and for the most part it was easy to tune them out. It was when the insults started to fly that I got pissed off. Not just the insults about me—that I could handle. They saw that by mentioning Sandy they were getting no reaction out of me, and it was when they started bad mouthing Sookie that I seemed to have snapped. They called her my ‘whore conveniently living next door for easy access,’ then remarks about her body pushed me over the edge. And even Hoyt—our docile little teddy bear—was close to clocking one of them as well. Thankfully, Godric stepped in when he did because Sandy just laughed like it was all a big joke—which annoyed me even more—as we made our way out of the area. At the time, I didn’t know, nor did I care if charges were being filed. That bastard deserved what he got.
“Eric, what the fuck? We’ve talked about this. With that last paparazzi outburst still being mentioned, the last fucking thing we needed was another one!”
The other being when I almost ran one of them over with my car. They saw the car coming, they knew I was driving and didn’t move out of the way. I failed to see how it was my fault the bastards wouldn’t move.
“Bill, look it’ll be fine.”
“What was said? I’ve gone over the video and can’t hear anything.”
“Nothing my ass. This is fucking fantastic. Just what you need coming up to a press tour. Jesus.” He rolled his eyes while shuffling some papers on his desk.
“If they ask, I’ll answer. I don’t see the problem here.”
“Oh, really? You’ll answer it flat out? Did they insult Sandy again?”
“No… are you kidding? Why would they insult her when she was the reason they knew we were there in the fucking first place? No, look, I know it was a mistake and it won’t happen again, but I can deal with this.”
“I’ve convinced him not to press charges.” He waved his hand as if it was nothing, I knew from experience that everything came with a price tag.
“At what price?”
“Don’t worry about it?”
“At what price, Bill?” I repeated.
“Just, let them follow you for a week. Just go out, go to lunch, do normal shit, don’t fucking lash out. One week. Then they’ll break off for a while.”
“I fucking hate this. You know that, right?”
“Well, it’s this or a trip to court. Take your pick.”
I just ignored him and read though my schedule. The promo stuff for Never Look Back was due to start soon and some of it had to be outlined. Since it was an HBO production, they followed the line of promotion with all their movies. There had been a lot of buzz about the project as well as Sookie and I as a co-staring team on the Internet; far and wide they were searching since those photos of us leaked from set, and they found a leaked version of the script and had apparently dissected it to pieces. Apparently, that was a good thing. We had a small premiere to attend where most of the press would be there, so I had to be careful planning as far as time was concerned. They wanted Sookie, of course, as a first time director and producer. With the splash she’d been making by dipping her toe back into the acting pool again, it wasn’t a surprise that she was in such big demand for questioning. What was a surprise was that most of our press was scheduled together.
“Wait, what’s this?”
“What does it look like?”
“Sookie and I are doing interviews together?”
He rolled his eyes at me. “The whole buzz on this shit is coming from you and her together. That’s what people want to see. They see… I don’t know, chemistry and sparks, so of course they want the couple that provides that there in person, hopefully sparking up their chemistry for them and their sound bites.”
“I don’t know how sparky we’re going to be, to be honest,” I sighed.
“Why? Did something happen between you two? I mean, other than sucking the face off each other in Africa that is.” He looked at me, and I could see the wheels spinning in his devious little head.
“No, nothing happened. Just a lot of stress when the project ended, that’s all.”
“Oh. Well. That’s not so bad. I mean, it’s a weekend at most since she refused the other production companies’ right to this thing… You know they wanted to make it a big budget summer flick? She didn’t want that though. I don’t understand her….” he sighed then, twirling his chair to look out of his giant window over Hollywood. “She could have made a mint. It’s crazy.”
Except it wasn’t so crazy. That project was her baby and HBO offered her creative control. That was what mattered to her over money and worldwide success. She just wanted to tell her story.
I admired that about her: how she took her own path and simply shrugged off those who questioned her because she was strong enough in her own right to know that her way was what was best for her. I only wished I had someone of her self-awareness.
As I left the meeting, I wasn’t feeling any better about my situation than I had been when I arrived. Why I expected Bill to provide me with some decent answers to my problems, I’ll never know. What I did know was as soon as I left the building, there he was, the asshole from the music fest. Just all up in my business like I owed him something. Asking all kinds of ridiculous questions, before I got to the safety and sanctuary of my car. It continued this way for a whole week, just like Bill said, though I did my best to just keep my head down, my glasses on and go about my business. Every time I did, I felt sick because I knew this was planned. It wasn’t like all the other times that I’d gone out and simply been surprised to see them. This was a set up and it felt so wrong that I spent the next three days after that week just holed up at home.
My house had never been so clean.
I’d finished lap eighty in the pool when I heard them come in—Hoyt and Jessica. They’d been practically living together in my pool house since Sookie had been gone, and I’d actually gotten used to having them around. The company was nice.
“Hey, Eric. Lookin’ fly.” Jessica winked as she walked past the pool and into the pool house. It was our thing. She knew that Hoyt wasn’t overly excited that she seemed to have a little crush on me, but we both knew nothing was ever going to happen between us. Because while she was a sweet girl, she wasn’t my type, and, she was so in love with Hoyt that it bordered on being a little gross. But still, I liked fucking with his head. It was fun to watch him eye us up suspiciously.
I just laughed and got out of the water.
“Why are you packing? Oh shit! You two haven’t been fighting again, have you? Jess, he means well, he’s just… well… Hoyt.”
She smiled. That, I was thankful for.
“No, we’re fine. It’s just Sookie’s home, so I have to work and it’s best if he and I live in our own place when she’s around, since I don’t know my schedule yet, that’s all.”
“Sookie’s back?” I said grabbing my towel from my sun seat.
She looked at me then, narrowing her eyes. “Yes, she’s back. Are you going to go talk to her?”
“Uh… no, I … No. I don’t care that she’s back. I was just wondering, that’s all.”
“Uh-huh. Right, well that’s a lie. And yes, she’s back, and she’s over in the house right now—alone. You know if someone wanted to go over and oh… I don’t know… welcome her back.” Her smile turned into a sarcastic pout as she pretended to think about it. “Jeez, I wonder who could do that?”
“Now isn’t a good time.”
“You’re already half naked and wet. I think now’s a great time.”
When she realized what she said, her eyes went wide, causing me to laugh. That’s when Hoyt came in.
“What’s so funny?”
“Your girlfriend, she just can’t help herself, hitting on me like there’s no tomorrow. Hoyt, you really need to keep an eye on this one,” I grinned. He knew we were always bullshitting him, but it was still fun.
“I’m going to get dressed and go for a jog.”
“No!” I shouted as I made my way into the house again. I wasn’t going to see her. I hadn’t spoken to her in two months—not an email, not a text, nothing. And I tried to call her. But it seems I had outlived my usefulness to her. And if that’s how she wanted it, that’s how it would be.
I was dreading the press line with her on the one and hand, and on the other, I really wanted to see her again. I hated feeling so torn about it because with her I felt like a better person—if even just for a little while. I felt things were possible again. It worried me that when she left, those feelings left with her, too. I had no idea what that meant. But I wanted to find out.
I hated planes. Even first-class didn’t take away my fear of flying. Defying gravity in a tin can with wings? Excuse me for being a little scared. Touching down at LAX, I blessed myself and thanked God—I wasn’t even Catholic—but I wasn’t messing with that shit. No one knew I was coming back. I was due back in a week, but decided to get my stuff in LA in order in plenty of time. Having spent three weeks shooting Johnny’s movie with him in the south of France, with my dad along for the ride, I was ready to get back into things for Never Look Back. My dad promised to make the trip for the premiere and the party afterward. That, and he had some old friends in LA that he hadn’t seen in a long time, so he scheduled a week here. I was pleased since I didn’t get to see him nearly as much as I would like.
By the time I got home, I was ready to pass out. Jet-lag and me didn’t mix very well together. Instead of diving into my big bed and entertaining the possibility of never leaving it, I stuck on my bikini and decided that a day floating in my pool was in order. I loved that Los Angeles offered sunbathing temps, even in the middle of October.
I’d made the necessary calls to the studio that had offered me Fallen—the vampire project that was so appealing to the nerd in me. The character I’d been offered was Charlie, this twenty-something woman with a dark past and a violent nature in her present. She was kick-ass and took no bullshit. I liked her right away. Team that with her parents being murdered by vampires, witches on her tail, her thirst for revenge… Well, it all just sounded like too much fun!
Charlie wasn’t a stupid character, but she wasn’t so strong and so smart that she came off as inhuman either. I found her relatable, and that was—as a viewer—the most important thing for a character. You had to be able to relate to them no matter what their setting. And this one had vampires out in the open with their own laws and rules, all the while pretending not to be murderous (some were and some weren’t). Just like the human race, you had your bad eggs and your good. Charlie finds a good egg, or vampire, in her informant—the mysterious and apparently very sexy, Lucas Lott.
I was intrigued and completed my two auditions for the part, I hoped successfully.
For the next month, I did what Pam asked and interviewed with various PR companies in the hopes of finding a rep that I meshed with. She’d already found a talent agent from within her company for me, Amy Ludwig. She was frightening in that ‘don’t mess with me or I’ll have your balls’ kind of way, but she was like Pam in her honesty, and that’s what I wanted most in these people.
The weekend of promotions for Never Look Back somehow managed to sneak up on me. I hadn’t seen or heard from Eric—not since our little night of debauchery, that is. I knew he was fluttering around. I saw the Paps outside his place from time to time, not that they got much of a shot since he’d installed higher gates than he had previously. But I knew from Jessica’s reporting that he was auditioning for roles and meeting with producers and such. He was working on himself and that was an improvement. I didn’t ask, nor did she mention if the girlfriend from hell was still in the picture. I just assumed she was. Since he was getting attention again, I knew her kind, and I knew there was no way she was going to unhinge her claws so easily. Not now, at least. It disappointed me that his choice in … whatever they were was so questionable. But then again, he was a big boy, a very big overgrown boy in fact, and I trusted that he knew what he was doing. And if he didn’t, than he’d realize sooner or later. It wasn’t my place to tell him he looked like a twat-waffle to most people, and mostly because of his behaviour—as odd as it was. I just held my tongue and nodded along when Jessica would bring him up in conversation, which happened a lot. I didn’t blame Hoyt for assuming that she had a thing for Eric. The poor boy was so confused.
A week later, dressed in my most breast accentuating YSL red dress and my black court shoe Loubies, I took a deep breath as I met Pam in the lobby of the Château Marmont.
“They’ve set up a suite for the interviews,. There’s a small press line here so we’ll do this: they each get twelve minutes, we break for lunch at one, back at two and we carry on till four. After that, we’ll refresh your makeup for the photos, and the rest of the cast will be here by then. It’s just a few shots in the garden to go with the articles they’re all writing. It’ll take maybe five or ten minutes, then we’re out of here.”
Pam was stressed. She had a cup of Starbucks in one hand and her BlackBerry in the other, her heels well over the six inch mark. How she balanced, never mind walked, I’d never know.
“Okay,” I said, still nervous.
“You need a shot of whiskey?”
“No?” I said, fluffing my hair for the millionth time and exhaling loudly.
“You sure? You need to own this, Sookie. You’re the boss.”
“I’m the boss?” I said. And she rolled her eyes.
“Once more with feeling, Stackhouse.”
“I’m the boss.” I looked her in the eye and she smiled.
“That’s my girl. Now kick some ass and take some names … and don’t give Eric too hard of a time in there. He looks more nervous than you do,” she said, after basically shoving me through the door.
The suite, I found, was set up like Pam said. Two chairs and a small table in between with a tea pot, a coffee pot and various condiments, as well as two bottles of water in an ice bucket on the floor. Behind us was a simple black screen with “Never Look Back” in thick white lettering. Eric looked up as I walked in. He’d cut his hair and was completely clean shaven. He looked like a teenager when he shaved that close, I noted.
“Hi,” I said, fighting my urge to fidget.
“Hey. Pam is terrifying when you’re not around, I thought you should know,” he admitted bashfully.
“She’s terrifying all the time… So is this us?” I looked around the room; it was lovely.
“Yeah, they said they’ll start sending them in soon.” He motioned for me to take the seat next to him. He was tense, that much was obvious.
“So…” I began, but nothing came out.
“How was Paris?” he asked instead.
“It was great, really great. My dad is doing great and—”
“Jessica said you met someone.”
I was going to kill her.
“Who? Oh, Talbot? No, no, that was just… fooling around. I wasn’t… I’m not into being with someone right now.”
“Fooling around? Kind of like what happened with us? I mean, that’s all it was, right? Just fucking around?” His friendly demeanour changed to something else in that moment.
“Hi, Sookie? Eric? Hi, I’m Mindy Minderson and I’ll be sitting in on the interviews on behalf of the studio. Amy and Bill will join us shortly and after that we’ll begin, okay?”
We both nodded and I poured myself some coffee. It was going to be a long day.
Sixth reporter of the day, and this one was a woman. She was bright, beautiful and full on flirting with Eric, while I might as well have been a vase on the table.
“So, Eric after such a long time away from our screens, what made you want this role as your come back role?” she asked, batting her false eyelashes in his direction. I sipped my water trying to look interested as I heard—again—how he ‘chose’ the role. Which, I knew to be total bullshit, but that was neither here nor there at this point.
“Sookie, you quit acting when you were a little girl, like Eric this served as your come back role into the industry. Was that planned on your part at all?”
I looked at her, and then to Eric, shocked that I was in fact being included in their little love fest.
“Um, no, not at all. I mean, I’d thought about acting again, of course, and I missed it terribly, but it wasn’t until I had to step into Dena’s shoes that I realized just how much I missed it.”
“Did you two help each other find your way back… into acting, I mean?”
“A little. I knew Eric many years ago when we worked together on what was to be my last project for a lifetime almost,” I smiled at the memory, “But, we both grew up and into different people than we were back then. But the love of acting was still there, and I guess I had a level of comfort with him that I might not have had with anyone else.” I shrugged. Not looking at Eric as I said it, he simply butted in, “And she was a complete control freak. Seriously, director from hell.” He grinned at me, sarcastic asshole. “But when she stepped in front of the camera she had this calmness that I think really comes across in Dena’s character. And I think it’s a wonderful discovery, since Ryan is so hyped up and so over the top—her being so Zen—it was a nice contrast. And she helped to calm me down too on set, so that was nice.”
Eyelash girl laughed, even though what he was saying wasn’t that funny.
He was nice. Too nice. Super charming even in front of them and their microphones and cameras. But as soon as they left, his icy wall went right back up. By lunch time I’d had about enough and as soon as we were allowed to de-mic I walked out and found Pam.
I just sighed.
“I need food. Something carb-tastic please.”
We went through to the bar and were led to a table for four.
“Who’s joining us?”
Before she had time to answer, Eric and who I assumed was Bill, walked up to our table.
“Pamela, good to see you again,” Bill said, before he sat down. Eric merely stayed silent.
“Bill, wish I could say the same but we’d know that was a big fib,” Pam replied ignoring him to look over her menu again. “Sookie, Bill Compton. Bill, Sookie Stackhouse.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Bill,” I said, extending my hand. I didn’t want to be as rude as the rest of them, even if this Bill looked like a slimy little toad.
“Sookie, it’s a pleasure to meet you, finally. I’ve heard a lot about you,” he said, leering before he glanced at Eric. It made me question exactly what he’d heard about me, and in what detail. I suddenly felt a little ill. It wasn’t that I was ashamed of what Eric and I had done, nor would I have any trouble talking about it—to friends. But the idea that he may have been bragging about us, about me, to this creep? Didn’t sit well with me at all.
“What exactly have you heard about me, Bill?”
“Oh, well you know…” he wriggled his brows and it pissed me off.
“No, I don’t,” I looked to Eric. “Something about me that you’ve been sharing with the class, Eric?”
“Oh, whatever! Look your Ice Queen act is getting old, okay? So whatever fucking problem you have with me, I suggest you tell me, or else we’re going to spend the rest of this weekend utterly miserable! Which I know is sort of your default setting these days, Eric, but it’s not fucking mine, so I’d appreciate it if you got your head out of your ass and got over yourself.”
Pam stifled her giggle, while Bill just looked on—shocked. Eric on the other hand, just looked more pissed off than ever.
“I’m plenty over myself, thanks,” he snapped back.
“Is that right? Funny that overblown ego of yours is smothering everyone in that little interview room, in case you hadn’t noticed.”
“Oh, please, because you have an issue with other women flirting with me, don’t make it my fault. I can’t help it if they want me.”
I laughed. “Want you? See what I mean, ego tripping to the gates of hell and it’s annoying as fuck.”
He just rolled his eyes at me.
“Oh right so, basically because you’re the big director and the actress now we’re just all meant to bend to your will and do what you say, right? Well sorry, sweetheart, but we’re not on set anymore and you’re not the boss of me.”
“Yeah? Well, someone needs to boss you around because you’re behaving like a toddler that needs his mommy. It’s pathetic!”
“Um, guys…” Bill said, looking up, at our waitress who just looked scared.
“I… can come… back,” she stuttered.
“No, it’s fine. I’ll have the grilled steak and the spinach salad, please. And a glass of red wine.”
I needed a drink. If anything, I needed something to take the edge off before I reached across the table and throttled Eric Northman to death. We continued to glare at each other over our lunch, as no one but Bill spoke. He tried to make flirty conversation with me, but I just wasn’t in the mood for more bullshit, so he resorted to talking on his phone—loudly.
I couldn’t finish my lunch, hell, I’d hardly touched it. I was just too damn angry at him. I downed my wine and simply left some money on the table, plus a large tip for the poor terrified waitress that I felt bad for snapping at.
As Pam and I made our way to the elevators, she laughed. “I thought old Billy goat was going to shit himself when you and Eric started going at it like that.”
I just smiled. “Goat?”
“Yeah, he had a goatee a few years ago, so we nicknamed him Billy Goat. I hate him.”
Because that wasn’t obvious or anything.
“What the fuck is going on with you and Eric?”
“Oh lies. Jesus, I thought you were going to take his head off in there.”
“It’s just…” I whispered as we got to our room. “When he and I…”
“Fucked like bunnies, yes…?”
I ignored her. “When he and I hooked up, there was no talk, no agreement, so one assumes that it was a one night thing, right? I mean, I haven’t had a lot of one night stands in my life, but that’s what it looked like from where I was standing… I’m not looking for another relationship right now Pam. He knows I just finished something major in my personal life AND he may or may not have a totally bat-shit crazy girlfriend running around town thinking she’s the shit! I just… No. It’s too much insanity.”
“Which is why you’re so mad at him?”
“No. I’m mad because of the way he looked at me in that room when he found out that I’d been with someone else in Paris, and that our night together wasn’t some big romance novel bullshit or something. I don’t know! I don’t know why he’s so mad, but I’m mad that he’s mad and now I’m just fucking mad.”
The rest of the day went painfully slow, and the next day wasn’t much better. It was lines of people and cameras and lights and microphones, all asking the same questions over and over again as Eric and I faked nice to make everyone believe that my blood wasn’t boiling every time I looked in his general smug direction.
So how, I asked myself, did Eric and I go from not speaking a word to each other unless there was a camera around, to waking up in bed together the next morning sexed and sore?
That is something I’d like to know, too.
Chapter 15: Chapter 15
I was terrified. I’d drank too much coffee on my way to the hotel and I was feeling the jittery effects of it as I sat down in the hotel suite. As people filed in and out, leaving more coffee, and tea, and water… suddenly, I had to pee.
I tried to reassure myself that I could do it, that being interviewed by all these different journalists—most of whom had panned me in the past—would be a walk in the park. That, and I got to see Sookie again.
I was happy about that. Well, I was happy about that till about five minutes after she sauntered into the room. She looked as nervous as I felt, and I wanted us both to reassure the other that things would be fine. Instead, I had to go and bring up the guy—the guy that Jessica accidentally mentioned to me in a passing conversation when I asked her how Sookie was getting on in Paris.
Turns out she was getting on just fine, and getting off, too.
It shouldn’t have pissed me off. Hell, I had no right to be pissed off. It was a one night stand, just giving in to whatever the hell kind of fucked up chemistry we had together. I knew this. I knew all of this, and yet somehow the idea of her and another guy, it drove me nuts. And the fact that I knew I had no right to feel the way I did, made it even worse. The interviews went fine. Both of us knew how to smile and be friendly and jovial and what not in front of the cameras, and we both had enough personality in us to entertain and charm them into loving us together. But honestly, I was seething inside.
And I hated myself for it.
The lunch was a disaster from start to finish and she’d clearly had enough with my sulking because when Sookie decided you were going to get a verbal lashing, she damn well followed through. I was stunned, but also sort of amused. Clearly, I’d gotten under her skin. She wouldn’t have had such a near violent reaction had she not cared. And that, meant something to me. I’d felt more alive in the ten minutes she and I spent arguing in each others faces—albeit in hushed tones—than I had in the months since I’d last seen her, and that too meant something to me.
We’d spent the two days in relative silence. When we weren’t answering the same questions over and over and over again, that’s what we did—we just stayed silent. She was polite and charming, and I felt that I came up to scratch when called upon to flirt with a reporter and charm them into a giggling mess. All in all, the nervousness dissipated. Much like riding a bicycle, it’s not something you simply forget.
By the end of the second day, the constant questioning was wearing on me—on both of us—and I noticed that Sookie was getting as over-caffeinated as I was. In fact, it made her down right giddy. That’s when the tension finally broke. She looked at me and giggled, for seemingly no reason whatsoever, and I laughed back. Both of us were so tired and extremely hyped up on several cups of very strong coffee and had that time warp feeling of Groundhog Day. By the time we got done with various photo calls and a cast regroup, it was almost seven.
“I’m sorry I was a bitch to you yesterday. I just… you frustrate me,” she said, leaning into my chair out of the earshot of our PR goons and the studio woman.
“Yeah well, same with you. I just…” I fought a sigh from deep inside. ” I don’t know what it is about you… I usually don’t give a shit what people think of me.”
She glanced at my outfit and smiled. “Yeah, that much is obvious.”
“Bitch.” I smiled. And she just rolled her eyes.
“Whore.” She retaliated with a bigger grin as she swapped her giant heels for a pair of much more ‘Sookie’ looking flats.
“Ah, God that feels good,” she sighed, wriggling her toes.
“I don’t get you women wearing shoes that almost kill you, and for what?”
“Well, they make our legs look longer and sexier, and I don’t know, being around giants like you all day doesn’t exactly help me feel any less like a munchkin.”
“Aww…” I faked my sympathy. “It’s not your fault you’re so vertically challenged.”
“Mmm, just like it’s not your fault you were dropped on your head as a baby… we all have our crosses to bear.” She grinned.
“I’m starving,” I commented as we made our way to her hotel room. Our respective management thought that one room for interviews wasn’t enough and that we would, of course, need our own hotel room to ‘get ready’ in, even though we both lived less than twenty minutes away by car. Sometimes I didn’t understand the unnecessary expense.
“Yeah, me too. I guess we could eat here.”
“Well, yes? Unless you’re afraid to be seen with a woman that actually eats at a meal.”
“Funny,” I deadpanned. Always with the jokes, that Sookie. “I just… after the last couple of days…” I said, shedding my suit jacket and leaving it over one of the chairs.
She nodded. “It’s been rough, and I’m sorry. Let me buy you dinner as an apology? I’ll even buy you a brownie and some ice cream if you’re really good,” she sassed me as she sauntered down the hallway in front of me.
Three hours, a dinner, and six drinks later, we ended back in that hotel room together.
The dinner had started off a little stilted. We noticed more than a few famous faces dining around us, and while Eric got his Al Pacino fanboy under control we were finally able to settle into some decent conversation. He told me about his dad, his dad’s new wife and their little girl, how he hadn’t met her yet, and it didn’t really count just seeing pictures of her on the Internet. He wanted to, though; he hoped that he would get to be a constant presence in her life one day. He seemed to lack that family dynamic that, as screwed up as mine was with la fam, I at the very least had them to turn to should I need it. It seemed that from his perspective, that wasn’t the case. It made me sad for him. In any life, family is important, but my dad showed me that in this business it was particularly important to cling to the things and people that told you the truth and kept you grounded. Too many people lost their heads believing in the ‘yes’ men and believing their own hype. It was a damn shame, since most of those people just happened to have an insane talent that was being over shadowed by their self-destruction.
I didn’t feel it was my place to push the idea of him seeing his family again, though I did encourage it strongly, and he seemed—if even for a while—to agree. I knew by the way he spoke about his father that he had a deep respect for him, and I could relate to that completely. I just wished for Eric’s sake that he had that role in his life where he could turn to his family for comfort, advice or a swift kick up the ass when necessary. I hoped he’d heed my advise and make it happen like he seemed to want it to.
Somehow we moved on from family to past relationships. Since I’d only ever had two serious relationships in my life, my conversation was a rather short one. I’d been with Quinn for a year when I was sixteen. And when that ended I met Alcide, and I’d been with him a long time. It didn’t leave room for many horror stories. Eric, on the other hand, he had a plethora of horrors to share. He seemed to have really shit taste in women by all accounts, and I didn’t care how beautiful they were, most of them (by his own admission) turned out to be completely bat-shit crazy. When I accused him of being the one to drive them to the cuckoo’s nest, he simply shrugged with an unsure smile on his lips before finishing his whiskey.
Three drinks each—that’s all it took to get us flirting. Not that it would have even taken that much, if I’m honest with myself. We both sort of knew where it was going by the second course at dinner. It’s just that neither of us seemed to want to be the one to suggest it. Neither of us had to suggest it, though. I was simply going to my room, and he was simply following to retrieve his jacket. It was Burberry. I approved of his jacket choice, which was of course an excuse and we both knew it, because before I’d managed to close the hotel room door his lips were on mine, the jacket long forgotten in a heap on the floor—a heap that got bigger by the second with all of our discarded clothes.
He cupped my breasts and then followed up replacing his hands with his lips. I arched my back as if on reflexive response, bringing me even closer to his naked chest, as I allowed my hands to run down his spine—the feel of his skin an anomaly of soft and firm just like everywhere else on his person. The boot camp training really had served him well. He was ripped; muscled in areas of his body that surprised me.
Snapped out of my thoughts by the feel of his teeth on my breast, I shivered, and he grinned at my involuntary response using one hand to steady me, while the other went for the waistband of my jeans. Popping the button and undoing the zip, with one swift push I was laying back on the bed before he reached for the legs of my jeans and yanked them off, too. I knew in the back of my mind that this was a cluster-fuck of an idea. I knew that we had too much tension between us as it was, and that we should have sat down and rationally worked out just what our feelings for one another were. But sex was hardly ever rational, and sex like this—so needy and desperate in its nature—was certainly not even in the realm of logical, let alone rational. It was impulsive and animalistic, giving in to what came down to our most basic desires, and I, for one, saw nothing wrong with that. His tongue swirled and sucked one breast, turning me into a quivering mess while he began to knead and explore the other. I bucked against him as the sensation got to be too much but he just smiled and said nothing. Instead, I decided to take a hands-on approach, literally, as I reached forward and grabbed the buckle to his belt, undoing it as slowly as I could. I enjoyed the knowledge that he was watching me so closely, anticipating my next move, just as much as I was anticipating his.
The noise of appreciation that he made when I freed him from his jeans was almost comical. He shoved them off as quickly as he’d done with mine, and pushed me further up the bed until my head hit the plush pillow.
“You know this is probably a really bad idea.” I smiled and he just shook his head before kissing me.
“Do we care?” he asked, his lips aiming for my neck again, which was in itself rather distracting.
“Guess not,” I agreed, pulling him against me again, feeling his erection rub against my thigh. Bad idea or not, I think we both needed this. He tilted my chin, forcing me to look at him as he slipped so effortlessly inside of me, my body reacting immediately to the force and the stretching that was happening. He sighed softly, contently, as we went slow at first, both of us getting used to the new-ish sensations that we were providing the other. It was everything that good sex should be—fun, frisky, and completely toe-curling. Gone was the hard and fast need for each other like last time, the fight for dominance replaced by the sudden calm of exploration that built up like a freight train gathering speed on its track. His soft moans into my skin, into my neck, mirrored mine as we both licked, sucked and fucked each other into orgasmic bliss—twice.
I snuggled into the comforter allowing myself to cool down, allowing my heart a chance to rest. He slid me over to his side of the bed a little further.
“Are you a snuggle fiend?” I asked.
“I don’t know, not usually.”
“Aww, but I’m special, right?” I mocked, turning to face him so that we were looking at each other.
“If I said you were, would that freak you out?”
“Then, no… you’re not special.” He smiled. I didn’t know what to think of his little post-orgasmic slip up, but I decided not to over think it.
“You just think that because of what I can do with my mouth,” I laughed, and thankfully, so did he.
“If that’s the way you want it to be, that’s fine. We can laugh it off, and forget what it feels like being like this, here and now.”
“It’s called an orgasm, Eric. It gives the happy.”
“It’s not just that, and I think you feel whatever it is that I’m feeling too… but you won’t admit it.”
“Is this really the time for this? You’re wrecking my buzz.”
“I’m sorry, but I wanted to say it now because chances are if we sleep here, one of us will wake up alone tomorrow.”
“I …” I sighed, “We’re just drawn to each other, mostly sexually it seems… the same could be said for any number of people, and, yes, it feels good, but that just means we work well together in bed.” I justified in my own way.
“It’s not just in bed, Sook. We work well together in more ways than one, and you know it. You have this way of frustrating and inspiring me all at once. No one else has ever been able to do that, and to hold my interest the way you do… You’re a unique find, Stackhouse, so forgive me for being a little unwilling to let that go so soon.”
While flattering in the best way possible, it was still just… not something I thought I had the heart to explore. As much as I might have wanted to entertain the idea, the timing just wasn’t right. The last thing I wanted was to fall into something comfortable with Eric, only to shatter us both—like I did with Alcide—somewhere down the road, all because I didn’t know what I really wanted or needed from either a man or myself in my next relationship. Or if a relationship was what I wanted, at all.
“It’s not what I want right now, Eric. Hell, it’s not what either of us needs right now either. I was with the same guy for most of my adult dating life until recently. I thought I was going to marry that man, Eric. And it turns out that everything I thought I knew and thought I wanted… I didn’t want at all. But I went along with it because I loved him. I don’t want to make that mistake again, and I’m not willing to look for anything other than fun for a little while. And the way you’re talking …”
“It’s a little too much. I get it, I do. I’m just… putting it out there, that’s all. Just so I can say that I did, should you ever change your mind.” He smiled a genuine smile. It was soft and a little goofy, much like I assumed Eric could be when he let his guard down.
I took his hand in mine, as we both playfully pushed and pulled, before finally making him look at me.
“I’m not asking for anything, and I’m not expecting anything. It is what it is. And this…” he laughed, “was what it was. And if we never see each other again, that’s fine. But I hope that that won’t happen.”
“Hollywood’s a small town…” I mused.
“Too small at times.” He rolled his eyes and I knew who he meant, but I felt wrong bringing that up, considering we’d just fucked our way through the night and were now laying naked in bed together.
“I should go,” he said, seemingly distant again despite his proximity.
“You don’t have to. It’s not like I’m kicking us out of here or anything.”
“No I know, I just… should go.” He looked at me then, and for a split second I could have sworn I saw a flash of sadness in his eyes.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m always okay.” He grinned, and for the first time ever, I saw through it. I saw it’s falsity staring me in the face. I should have made him stay. I should have found out how he was feeling. I should have made sure he was okay.
But I didn’t.
He left, that air of awkwardness following him as he kissed me on the cheek and told me that we’d ‘probably see each other around’. As he did, it was like my insides were pulling towards him—to make him stay, to understand why that sadness was in his eyes, to make it go away. But my brain was telling me, “No, let him leave. It’s too much right now. He’ll be fine without you.” Torn between the two, I ultimately did what I usually did—I rationalized my way out of my feelings for him, whatever they were beginning to be, as I let him walk away…
And that was only the beginning of the mistakes I would make when it came to Eric Northman.
Falling into bed with Sookie again was a bad choice. Not because it wasn’t something that I wanted and she was wanted, but it’s repercussions outweighed the simple act of unattached sex that I had become so familiar with in the course of my adult life. With her—without even trying—I was attached. The only problem?
It wasn’t a rejection as I once thought. It was simply bad timing because I knew she and I had the chemistry to sustain something other than a few rounds in the sack from time to time, and I knew she knew that, too. I knew I wasn’t seeing the last of her, since if nothing else we were neighbors, and in a few weeks we’d have the premiere to attend together. Even as part of that larger group, I’d still see her again. With that in mind, I felt that spiraling feeling sneak up on me again, it was almost as if as soon as things started to go well I felt the need to find something in it that was wrong. I’d looked over my various job offers, as well as a few pieces I was being called in to test for. Then there was that one script that I had already auditioned for, a number of times. It was for HBO, my relationship with them strengthened with Never Look Back being so buzzed, that they’d sent this part for me, specifically. Lucas Lott was a vampire, a very old vampire. Cocky exterior hiding a self-loathing lonely interior, finds a new reason for his un-dead life in a intriguing but standoffish girl. It was something I could relate to, even if it was set in the future, and about … you know, vampires. I knew I needed a change, and soon. I was spiralling . So, I got the call that they wanted to cast me with meetings in two weeks if I was interested. I was. So I met, I signed on the dotted line and I shook hands with the executive and promised to show up to the meetings in two weeks. Straight after that, all the while ignoring the six missed calls from Sandy, I packed a bag and headed to the airport. I didn’t tell anyone where I was going, because truth was, I had no clue. I got to the front desk and I had a choice.
Did I choose home? Did I choose Sweden? Or did I choose the possible path to self-destruction in the guise of Las Vegas? To drown my fears in my own self loathing, instead of doing ‘the right thing’ and going back to where it all started?
I thought about it; I thought about what it would be like to see my father again. To talk with him, to tell him and show him the failure that I’d become. And as much as I missed him and longed for his reassurance that everything was fine and I wasn’t as big a failure that I thought… the idea of disappointing him was too overwhelming to contemplate. I wasn’t ready for that, for him to look at me that way. I knew I’d have to face reality eventually, but that split second I wanted to turn my back on it, just for a little while longer.
Vegas would do, for now.