Chapter 19: Chapter 19
Two days before Halloween and everything was—for the lack of a better term—up shit creek without a paddle.
Work was a complete nightmare. Sophie was back in town and undoing all my previously worked out damage control. I’d realized that my time working for her, and for The Crown, was coming very close to its end. I could handle a lot of things in my life, but Sophie and her bitch fits was not one of them. For years I’d worked ‘with’ her, but with her usually being three thousand miles away, on the other end of the Internet or the phone. That, I could deal with, no problem. But no more. I was weighing my options and as much as I loved our little team, it was dwindling fast, no thanks to her.
I was working from home that day. Eric was making himself scarce enjoying one of his free days and I can’t say I blame him. Jessica was hard work, no doubt about it. He’d called me from the city. Apparently, he was shopping for his Halloween costume, wanting to forgo Pam getting it again this year since last year he’d ended up head-to-toe in leather as one very disgruntled Village Person…People? Village person people? Well, whatever he was, that’s what he said. Pam had promised she’d dig out the photos for me to see and shame him.
I’d just finished up Jessica’s lunch, and we’d both somehow ended up covered in pieces of her potatoes and vegetables. Of course her chicken was eaten, but the rest ended up on my top.
I wiped up the best I could before the phone rang, letting Jessica crawl around the living room on her play mat while I did so.
“Hello, this is Stepping Stones Playgroup. Is this Hadley Herveaux?”
“Mrs. Herveaux, this is Anita Bleaker. We spoke back in January when you enrolled little Jessica into our program. Well, I’d like to tell you our records indicate that not only is she now of age to join, but we have a space available if you’re still interested?”
I fought back the sneaky tears I felt behind my eyes before I interrupted the very chatty Ms. Bleaker.
“Sorry, this isn’t Hadley. Hadley died a few months ago.”
“Oh. Oh, well, I’m terribly sorry. Oh.” She sounded rightly embarrassed. Though not her fault, her little mistake had dredged up all those memories and feelings in the blink of an eye.
“Who is this?”
“I’m sorry, this is Sookie Stackhouse. I’m her cousin and Jessica’s legal guardian.”
“I see. Well, Mrs. Stackhouse…”
“I’m sorry, Miss. If you’d like to keep Jessica’s place it’s entirely up to you. If you’d like to come down and maybe take a look at the place, get a feel for it. If it helps, your cousin loved the place and was very adamant that her little girl get in.”
That sounded like Hadley. I felt my throat threatening to force my voice to crack on me. As much as I didn’t want to cry, I knew the tears would come.
“I’d like that, thank you. Her … well, her other guardian and I should make an appointment, whenever suits you?”
“That’s wonderful Miss—”
“Sookie, how’s next week?”
I told her next week would be wonderful, that we’d ring to confirm, and just as I hung up the tears began to flow. Phone still in my hand, I slid down the wall letting my tears get the better of me. I shouldn’t be here, Hadley should. She should be the one taking her baby to day care, preschool, watching her grow up and be there for her. Not me.
Those thoughts crept through my head over and over as I struggled to get a hold of myself. Just then Jessica waddled over to me, looking ever so confused and concerned and she flew into my arms with a stumble.
“Mam-mam?” she asked.
And just to be sure, I blinked again.
“What did you say?” I asked holding onto her.
“Mum-mam,” she mixed up the words.
“Mama?” I asked and she said it again this time looking at me, with those curious big eyes of hers.
If I thought I was emotional before, I was ten times worse afterward.
“BABY!” I laughed through my tears, “Did you just call me mama? That’s right baby… I’m your mama,” I admitted to her, and more than that, I admitted to myself.
Hadley and Alcide were gone, Jessica was still here, and she needed her mama. I was her mama, and she seemed to think so too.
“Jessica! You just walked!” I snapped out of my melancholy mood instantly and realized what she’d done. “Oh, honey! We haven’t broken you! You can walk!” I said, snatching her up into the air as she just laughed at me. “Oh my goodness, you are such a good girl! Who’s a good girl!”
As soon as the words left my mouth, Eric walked through the door, bags in hand.
“Oh my God, Eric!” I said excitedly.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“No! Nothing… Jessica is such a big girl!”
“Oh God, did she poo in the bath again?”
“No! She walked! She took actual steps not holding onto anything!”
He smiled, and it got wider as she held her arms out for him to take her.
“You did? You walked! I didn’t break you!”
“I know, right? That’s what I was thinking!” We were both smiling, beaming, really.
“I’m sorry I missed it,” he said, his smile faltering slightly.
“Me too,” I sympathized before I remembered, “Guess what else she did?”
“What?” He smiled back at me as he walked ahead into the kitchen, letting Jessica down to crawl and maybe attempt more steps. I was practically bouncing next to him.
“She called me mama! Well, she called me mam-mum, but I got her point! Eric, she actually likes me!” I said excitedly bouncing.
He just laughed. “Well, Sookie I’m happy for you, really. It’s been a while comin’,” he said hugging me as I hugged him back just as tightly. He looked at me as we slowly pulled apart and I had to fight the urge to give in to the shiver that ran down my spine. And I could have sworn he smelled my hair.
“So!” I pulled myself out of it, “What’s the costume?”
“Nope, not telling you,” he said as he went to the fridge and I attempted to peek in the bag.
“Come on, Eric!”
“No. Though, you can see Jessica’s.”
“You got Jessica a costume?”
“Yeah. She likes to watch it so who knows, she might like to wear it? If she doesn’t, it’s no big deal.”
I pulled out the little black costume. It was Count Von Count from Sesame Street—little black cape, pink ears and little felt stick on teeth that we both knew she wouldn’t allow. Basically, the kid would look like a gay Vulcan.
“She likes him. Plus, I think she’d make a cute baby vampire,” he mused. “What’s your costume?”
“What I don’t get to see yours but you want to see mine?”
“I’d always like to see yours,” he said suggestively.
“No, just a man.”
“An evil man,” I sassed.
He rolled his eyes.
“So, uh, is Sam coming to the party? Oh God, you aren’t doing that matching match-y thing are you? That’s so lame.”
He tried to make it sound casual, I’ll give him that.
“No, he isn’t and no, we’d never do that.”
“Well, like you said, it’s lame.”
“No… why’s he not coming?”
“Oh, right. He has a medical conference in Chicago so… he’s not going to be able to make it.”
“Oh. Didn’t he have a conference on your birthday, too?”
“No, nothing. I was just… it’s just a little odd.”
“It’s not odd, Eric. He is a doctor and he does teach too, you know?”
“Yeah, once every few months when the real lecturer is out,” he mumbled.
“I heard that.”
“Well, I said it loud.”
“Eric…God, I really thought you’d gotten over your imaginary issues with Sam.”
“No, really. It’s fine if you’re happy, then that’s … fine. How are things with you and—”
“Sam, though I still call him Doctor Douche in my head, just so you know.” He grinned.
“I thought you might. Things are good.”
“Still as ‘nice’ as ever, I assume.”
“What’s wrong with nice? You’ve met Bill. Can’t you see why ‘nice’ is a necessity for me right now?”
He nodded, grabbing an apple from the fruit bowl and taking a sizable bite.
“I can see why. I mean, after that bastard, I’m shocked you didn’t like … turn to lesbianism or something.” I smiled, thankful we’d both not heard from Bill since and he was able to joke about it now, having walked on eggshells around me for days. “But, I don’t know, he’s not the only nice guy out there, Sook. Maybe find one you have actual chemistry with. Or you know, actual things in common with, for example.”
“Eric, I swear you and I have this discussion a lot… And for the record, Sam and I do have things in common.”
He quirked an eyebrow at me.
“We…” And I’ll admit it was a slight struggle to think of something. I hated how easily Eric could bait me. “We both like trying new restaurants for fun; we both like the countryside in summertime; we’re big fans of Stephen King novels and we both flip to the back to see how they end first. And we both—”
“Okay, as riveting as this is Sookie, you’re describing things you and a million other people have in common. It’s not really helping your cause.”
“Well, neither is you being nosy and not minding your own business.”
He just rolled his eyes, again.
“You know, one of these days your eyes are going to roll right out of your sockets.”
“Yours too,” he sassed.
Ugh… God, I hated when we got into a bantering match. It really was exhausting.
“Anyway, I have to get Jessica ready.”
“I’m meeting Sam for an early dinner and all she ate at lunch were her tiny pieces of chicken. She’ll need something else soon, so I figured I’d take her with me.”
“Oh? Well, I’m here now, so if you want to just leave her with me. I could make her … us, something. I’m actually pretty hungry.”
“It’s why girls stop to have coffee or eat during our shopping trips. It’s hungry work.”
“Okay, Joan Rivers.”
“Seriously, Eric. A little less E!, okay?”
He looked bashful before hiding behind his ‘searching the fridge’ routine.
I picked Jessica up and sat her on the island where she promptly started grabbing at the grapes in the fruit bowl.
“You sure? I mean, I know it’s early but he’s on call so…”
“Yeah, it’s fine. We have fun don’t we, Jessica? She’s being schooled in the art of ninja warfare and also knife throwing. We really have a blast.”
I glared at him.
“You know I’m kidding,” he said, picking her up as we walked through to the living room. “We start with darts, then knives.”
“Funny,” I deadpanned.
“Sook, go. Have dinner with Doctor Boring, Jessica and I will be fine. We have a date with Elmo soon anyway.”
I ran upstairs and changed into a less messy dress and low heels. It was just a casual dinner. Since we hadn’t see each other in a week, we decided to touch base a little bit. Talking on the phone was great and all, but wasn’t ideal. He’d been super busy at work too, just like I had. His secretary was on maternity leave and the new girl was a mess. Apparently, he’d spent the better part of the week undoing all her mistakes. I felt his pain, considering who I was working with, and I use the term ‘working’ very loosely, since all Sophie tended to do was ruin everyone else’s work.
We greeted each other with a quick peck on the cheek and we got right into conversation. It was obvious he was tired and overworked. That, and there was an illness that spread among the grade school that week that had left almost an entire class of second graders sick and popping into the neighborhood pediatrician. Since the area was so small, it meant it was just Sam. It was a choice between him and the ER, and apparently most parents had chosen him. He was in need of some serious sleep.
“I’m sorry to be missing the party. It sounds like you guys will have a blast though.”
“Yeah, it’s great you know. Just getting together and dressing up, acting a fool. I mean, for Amelia this is pretty much an everyday occurrence but… for the rest of us….” I laughed causing him to laugh too. “I am sorry you’re missing it. I mean, we already missed my birthday and it might have been nice if we could have done this together…”
Stupid Eric planting his stupid thoughts in my stupid head.
“Sookie, I told you it’s been on the cards for weeks. I totally forgot about it being Halloween, and with us being grown ups, I didn’t really think it would be a holiday we’d be fighting over.”
“You think it’s juvenile?”
“A little. I mean, come on, we’re not kids. We’re not in high school anymore. It’s a little … odd.”
“Lots of people party on Halloween. It’s fun.”
“I’m sure it is, and I am sorry I won’t get to see you in your costume.” He smiled. “But really, I can’t cancel.”
“I get it, I do, I just… we’re both so busy. It seems like work is all we do.”
“So quit and come with me? We can make a weekend of it,” he suggested with a grin as we waited on our food.
“I can’t just quit, and besides, I have Jessica to worry about now and can’t just up and leave. Are you really sure you can’t just skip it?”
He sighed and yes, I knew I was pushing it. But it had really irked me a little and I wanted to see why he’d be so unwilling to even want to have fun with me, and to finally meet my friends.
“Sookie, you know I can’t. There are a lot of important people there that help my career, as well as the practice. It’s just too important to skip for some silly party. What’s gotten into you?”
“Nothing,” I reasoned. “It’s just Eric and I were talking before and well, he pointed out—”
“Eric…” he sighed again, this time more weary. “Of course.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It’s just … Sook, I’d like us to have one date, one conversation even, that didn’t involve Eric Northman.”
“He’s a huge part of my life now, Sam. Did you forget he’s like my partner? I can’t just omit him from my life—”
“Partner? Interesting choice of words.” He smirked but it was tinged with bitterness.
“You know what I mean.”
“And YOU know what I mean. He’s my partner in raising Jessica.”
“And that’s what you meant?”
“What else would I mean?” I countered her his shoddily veiled accusation.
“Nothing. It’s nothing.”
“Cut the passive-aggressive bullshit, Sam. Say what you want to say.”
He put down his knife and fork and spoke evenly.
“I just… I’m sick of it. I’m sick of him and his attitude and I’m sick of hearing about him, every day. I’m not dating him, Sookie, I’m dating you. And yeah, I get that he’s a big part of your life, but he’s not a part of mine.”
“I see,” I said clipped.
“Look, don’t get mad at me okay? I’m just being honest.”
“He’s been nicer to you. Well, he’s been trying at least.” I argued, and for Eric, I mean, it really was an improvement.
“Right, and why’s that? So he can impress you, because we both know what he really wants.”
Oh, no he did not just go there.
“And what exactly would that be? Oh wait, I know… Me, right? Or just sex, with me!”
“No! Say it, Sam. Just say it. I’d like to know what you really think of this situation!” I was getting more pissed off at him by the second.
“Fine. I think it’s unhealthy. I think you two are playing this little game of happy family and ultimately it’s going to blow up in your faces.”
“Yes. You two argue constantly; there’s always some problem or something that needs fixing; he’s out every weekend, with God knows who, to then come back to you and the kid; and you’re coming to me and we’re in this relationship but it’s not just you and me. It’s you, me, and Eric. Because it seems he matters more to you—his opinions, his ideas, his dealings with Jessica everyday—it all matters more to you than actually being in the present and spending quality time with me. You’re here in body, Sookie, but you’re mind is elsewhere. Your mind is with him. And… I’m sick of it.”
“You’re sick of it? It’s my life, it’s part of the package, Sam. Jessica, not ‘the kid’—she’s not a goat—is my package now, and you know what? Eric is her dad now and he’s in my life. He’s helping me live this life and I thought you were, too. It took some adjusting, yes, but we’re in this together and I thought you were part of the team. Now you mean that it’s what? Been bothering you for how long? Are you sick of it, Sam, or sick of me, because I’d really like to know? Maybe save us both from wasting anymore time here.”
“Look, don’t be like that. You asked me to tell you what I was thinking and this is what I’m thinking. I’m sorry if you think I mean I’m sick of you because I’m not. Sook, I love where this relationship is at and maybe where we’re going. I don’t want to change that, I just want our relationship to be about US for a change.”
“Are you serious right now?”
“Look Sookie, I don’t want to fight about this, okay?”
“Well, tough, we are fighting about this. You want to be an ‘us’ yet every time I’ve asked you, you don’t want to meet my friends or hang out with us. You don’t want to try and smooth things over with Eric, and you don’t want to attend my ‘juvenile’ Halloween party. It’s a little hypocritical don’t you think?” I was fuming.
“No, I don’t. What I do is work. This is your personal life—changes can be made.”
Oh that was it.
“Right, sure. Change one, we’re done here.”
“Sookie, you’re overreacting.”
“Maybe I am, but how the hell did you expect me to act. You just expect me to change my personal life to suit your work life? I don’t think so, Sam Merlotte.”
“I’m not saying everything has to change. I love little Jessica, you know that. I just meant… less of Eric.”
And wouldn’t you know it, his ring tone went off! I had given him ‘Single Ladies’ as a private joke, which not even Eric knew about, but it made me smile.
Sam just rolled his eyes.
“I have to get this.”
“Of course you do.” He went back to eating.
“Hello?” I asked, turning to the side to avoid Sam’s gaze.
“Hey, listen I can’t find her diapers and a we have a bit of a situation over here… did you move them?”
“Yeah, when I was cleaning. They’re in the fourth drawer of her little dresser—more fit in there; it makes more sense.”
“Oh.” I heard him juggling the phone with what I assumed was Jessica in his other hand. “Cool. Date going well?”
“Not really,” I sighed, knowing Sam wouldn’t have heard his question.
“Something like that. Look is that everything?”
“Uh, yeah, you sound stressed. Is he being a dick? Want me to kick his ass? Please say yes.” I could hear him grinning and I fought a smile.
“Bye, Eric.” I disconnected. “Diaper emergency.”
I sighed. I was beyond frustrated with the entire thing. I really needed to unwind and just forget all my damn problems.
“Sam. I think you and I need to take a few steps back.”
“Sookie, I’m sorry. Look, this was a stupid fight and it’s not even worth the breath arguing about it. I’ll get over it, deal with it, whatever.”
“No. I just, you had valid points, but so did I. And it seems you’re back peddling now, when before, neither of us was willing to change. That’s an issue. I think we need to take some time and think about where things are going.”
“Sookie, don’t be like this, please? We can work it out.”
“Maybe we can but for right now, I need to think and breathe, and I can’t do that here.”
“So that’s it? Just like that, we’re done?”
Was it fair just to give up so quickly because I didn’t like a few of his opinions? I wasn’t sure.
“No. We’re not done, not yet anyway… But if we’re going to be together Sam, we’re going to have to find a place for one other in each other’s lives … and to do that, I think we need a break. Just for a little while, till we’re both on the same page about what we want.”
“I know what I want. I want you.”
But did I want him? I think deep down I knew the answer. I was just scared to dig at it.
“Well for right now, I’m not sure what I want.”
Having gone to Tara’s for a little female bitching, as well as some moral support and a side of party planning, I got home that night to find Jessica still up. It was past ten thirty, and it surprised me since Eric was such a pro at getting her to sleep before nine. I heard him talking to her in the den as I stood by the door.
“Now, just so you know, I’m sure Cinderella was great girl and all, but that whole happily ever after thing? Total myth. I mean, Charming seems like a lovely two dimensional little guy, but you know they barely know each other and they’re off getting married? Promise me you won’t do that; meet some random guy—royal or not—and just shack up in some castle somewhere … Seriously, Prince or not I’ll kick his ass.”
I smiled at a life lesson only Eric could give her. I walked in to find them both sitting side by side on the couch. Both in their underwear and not much else. She was in her diaper and a vest and he was in his boxers and his white tank top. What the hell happened?
“Uh, hi,” I said and they both looked up at me.
“Hi,” Eric said, followed by a very animated, “Hiii,” from Jessica.
“What happened here?”
“Oh, like I said, diaper emergency. I think she’s sick.”
“Oh, God, no.”
“Mmmhm. She doesn’t have a fever or anything, but Sookie … someone that small should not shit that much. I mean, where does it come from?”
I laughed, lifting her up on my lap to sit next to him. She cuddled into my boobs instantly.
“What did you feed her?”
“We just had some spaghetti and salad … mostly she ate the meat and the shells, I ate the salad.”
“Seems fine. What did she drink?”
“She had orange juice in her sippy cup.”
Ah, there we go.
“Yeah, oranges make her explode. I thought I told you about what happened when I gave her juice before we went to the park? Nightmare. There was you know what, everywhere.”
“Oh shi— crap.”
“It was unreal. It was everywhere and then it got on me and it was just … so wrong. So we took a shower. Well, I stood her in the shower and hosed her down. She loves the water but now I think it’s perked her right up. She wouldn’t go to sleep at all.
We spent the next half hour in relative silence. It was calm, it was necessary, and Jessica fell asleep still holding onto the strap of my bra through my top. The calm and serene nature of the night was the calm before the massively horrible storm the next night.
“Jessica, baby please? Come on, just lay down for me and sleep, okay?”
Nothing, she was still crying. It was eleven thirty-eight and I’d been trying since eight o’clock to get her down with no success. She’d been fine most of the day—her nap had been shorter than normal—but other than that, she seemed her happy self. When it came to bedtime, however, it was another story completely. She wouldn’t take her bottle, she wouldn’t lie down, and the newest trick was when she realized she could take off her own diaper.
I had taken to putting on her little pyjama bottoms that snapped into a one piece sleep suit just to keep her from picking at the tabs. I had tried lullabies, pop songs, rock songs and even some rap. Though I was just thankful the house was empty and my rendition of Baby Got Back wasn’t witnessed by anyone other than an un-amused Jessica. Nothing worked, and she’d started her little sob/cry an hour later. It was now two hours later and she was tired, she was cranky and she was still sobbing. I had changed her, burped her and rocked her. Nothing and I mean nothing was working.
I was exhausted, to say the least. Having been up since six for work, Sophie had decided to redecorate my—I mean HER—office and I needed to be there to let the decorators in at seven. Two more staff quit, leaving us short a server which meant between my office work, fixing her messes and doing my regular job, I had to fill in for tables eight, nine and eleven for the dinner rush. I got home just as Eric was heading off to work. I was so thankful he had the sense to make dinner and have Jessica fed for me. I had managed to tidy up the living room and start on some paperwork, while I hoped Jess would tire herself out crawl-walking around the living room with her toys, as I kept an eye out. But no, she was still up and bright-eyed by the time I was ready for my grave. It was almost as if she knew that I was wrecked and decided to whine.
By twelve thirty, my eyelids were slowly drooping as she and I laid on my bed—lights were dimmed, there was silence, it was perfect—only she was still softly crying to herself.
I was all out of ideas and I was slowly losing my mind. You would, too, if you had to listen to a baby cry for two hours without a break and no idea how to make it stop.
“Jessica, please just tell me what to do and I’ll do it? Okay? Please?”
All I got was her little red face, her tear filled eyes and a mumbled “mum-ma,” before the sobbing started again.
A whole manner of things shot through my head that could have been wrong. I thought she was sick—but I’d taken her temperature and it was fine; I’d checked her diaper and she was fine; she was fed; she had her bottle she didn’t want; and she didn’t seem ill. If there was a reason for the crying, I couldn’t find it. Illogical as it was, I swore she had realized I was going to be a terrible mother and just didn’t want me anymore. Yeah, crazy right? Again, I’d been up after a long, extremely busy day, and had a sobbing child for hours on end. I was feeling a little insane.
Then I thought she knew. She knew why I’d be a terrible mother.
It was why Bill had called me ‘broken.’ It was why, for a long time, I had viewed myself as such and made the mistake of telling him that was how I felt. I was going to be a mother, once. But everything got screwed up …
By one a.m. Jessica’s sob had fallen into a full on wail and I was still none the wiser. I’d taken to crying right along with her on the couch in the living room when Eric came in, instantly freaked out to see us both up that late.
“What happened? Sookie?” he asked looking from Jessica to me, before he picked her up and felt her forehead.
“I … failed at life, Eric,” I answered in a small voice, since sheer exhaustion and emotional upheaval had drained me so completely.
“She just won’t stop crying. I have done everything, and I mean every damn thing I know how to do to make it stop and it just won’t stop. I think I’m losing my mind.”
“Okay, okay, just shh. Stop crying okay, Sookie? I can’t deal with crying women, least of all two crying women. Okay, so… just… is she ill?”
“No. No temp, no soggy diaper, no obvious headache or other signs of distress. Believe me Eric, Google and I have been over everything she could be going through and nothing is working. She hates me. She knows what I did, and she hates me.”
“Wh—…What did you do?” he asked taking off his jacket while balancing the baby.
“I killed my baby.”
“What?” he asked, clearly freaked out. I tried to blink away my tiredness and stop my silent sobs as I told him how I got pregnant in high school, but once my boyfriend Quinn found out, he dumped me. Being alone and unable to tell anyone else but Tara, I decided I couldn’t keep the baby. We went to Shreveport to have it termination. I was seventeen, stupid and alone. I didn’t know what else to do. Only, I had a change of heart; I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go through with it and I’d decided I was going to keep the baby on the way to the hospital. But that’s when IT happened. Literally seconds after I’d told Tara killing my baby would be a mistake, that I’d make a good mom no matter how old I was, the truck on the other side of us swerved. Their tires blew out and they hit our car, smashing the windshield, causing us to slam into a wall. There was major damage done—Tara had a broken leg and arm, I had two broken fingers, a screwed up wrist, and my baby was gone. Part of the trauma had made me miscarry, and the doctors told me it would be highly unlikely, to near impossible, that I’d ever conceive another child. I was broken because I’d planned on killing my baby that God knew to take from me because of what a horrible mother I’d make.
I sobbed harder then, fully wallowing in my grief. Eric just held me in one arm as he held Jessica in the other, both of us still crying.
“Okay. Come on, come with me,” he said gently, taking my hand and leading me up the stairs. I was so tired and emotional I would have gone anywhere he led me. We ended up in his bedroom. He turned off all his lights besides the one dim lamp in the corner and told me he was going to try something to get her to calm down. He laid down on his bed and made her lay on his chest, her tiny eyes still looking at me with what I saw as judgment, and he started to hum. Loud deep rumbles from his chest, but he was just humming. Then it fell in tune with a Rolling Stones song that I loved.
It took her a few minutes, but eventually she stopped her whine-sob-cry and started to listen, or feel the vibrations. I wasn’t sure which. But either way she’d stopped crying.
“Jesus Christ,” I muttered. “You’re the baby whisperer.”
I was standing beside his big bed, and I probably looked a mess—my hair scraped back, tears down my face. I was beyond dead tired. Still, he smiled and grabbed my hand, yanking me towards the bed.
“Lay down, Sookie. Sleep.”
“No, I…” I couldn’t even protest. I just crawled in next to him and Jess, who was now silent and looking at me with kinder eyes that were slowly telling me she was drifting off to sleep.
I scooted close to Eric as he wrapped his arm around me, letting my head rest on the small space left on his chest, as he continued to hum.
“I’ll just lay here for a minute,” I promised.
“Take as many minutes as you need,” he whispered in the dim room. His humming not only relaxed Jessica; I was feeling a lot less frazzled myself.
“Thank you, Eric.”
“You’re welcome… oh, and Sookie…?”
“You’re not broken, not by a long shot. And you’re not a bad mother. Not even close. You’re a good person. We just need a little help sometimes, that’s all.”
I was silent because I was close to tears again, only this time for a different reason. Instead, I snuggled closer to him and let him, the words from his humming song, clear my head.
Sometimes you can’t get what you want… but sometimes, you get what you need.
And more than anything that night, I had needed Eric just as much, it seemed, as Jessica did. Little did I know, less than twenty-four hours later he and I would be indulging in a ‘want’ and ‘need’ of a very different nature.
Somehow my Halloween party ended up with a fairy fucking a vampire.
Can you guess who?
A/N: Annnnd we’re back! This chapter accidentally turned out to be all in SPOV, but we’ll be hearing from both of them next chapter. I felt the need to get the angst out of the way as well as clearing up a few things people had been wondering about too, so I hope you liked it! If you did, put a ring on it… I mean hit the review button 😉
Chapter 20: Chapter 20
I was tired, that much was clear to me. Having such a mixed-up schedule thanks to Sophie-Ann messing Sookie’s hours about constantly, meant my hours were messed around too. While things had been a lot calmer between Sookie and me in previous weeks, there was always that underlying tension that we both knew was there but refused to acknowledge. We were ignoring the kiss—as if it never happened—and honestly, it was such bullshit. But I went along with it because talking to her peacefully was better than not talking to her and having weird angry vibes floating around us forever.
I’d still been living under the pretense that I was seeing other people, date night was Saturday night when all it was, was extra work and maybe sleeping at the office – night. Did it make me chicken shit? Of course it did. But, it was all in the pretense that things were fine. Things weren’t fine.
Pam was pissed at me since my mind wasn’t ‘in the game’ anymore. She was picking up my slack at work, leaving me as the paperwork slave stuck in the office most of the time. I loved being on the floor, being part of the atmosphere—meeting the customers, talking, flirting—it’s what I did well and I knew it. Pam knew it too, but apparently, my drowned cat routine was doing no one any favors and making the bar look bad. Or so she said. So, I was relegated to the office for my crimes. Really, there were times when I questioned who was boss here, me or Pam.
When I got home that night to find Sookie a mess on the couch with a sobbing red-faced Jessica beside her, my first thought was that the baby was ill. Turns out she was just being a baby and needing to cry, since neither of us could find anything wrong with her. It led me to be more worried about Sookie, if I was honest. There was nothing worse than that constant whiny cry coming from a baby when you couldn’t do a thing to stop it. I understood her frustrations, but it wasn’t until she told me why she was thinking what she was thinking that I understood her sadness, as well as that fear of never being good enough for Jessica. Suddenly it all made sense, at least a little, though how someone could take that knowledge of what happened to her and use it against her as an insult like Bill had—well, it was despicable. As a last ditch attempt at getting Jessica to sleep, I tried an old trick my dad used to do with me—or so my mother would tell me. Humming. It had worked weeks before when she was cranky and wouldn’t nap, so I tried it again with the same amazing result. She was quiet and Sookie was stunned. Sookie looked so lost and dejected that the idea of any of us sleeping alone that night didn’t sit well with me. It wasn’t about sex, it wasn’t about wanting to kiss her—though those two things were definitely on a ‘want’ list—no, this was simply about comforting her the best way I knew how. So I took her into my arms and into my bed as I continued to hum. Feeling her relax in my arms, as well as seeing that Jessica was drifting off to sleep, were the two biggest accomplishments of my day. They were my girls, whether they knew it or not. They were my family and this was one family I was determined not to screw up.
I had finally caved and called my mother, thankfully and not all that shockingly, I got her voicemail. I told her what was going on and if she wanted, we could talk sometime. I’d called Niall right afterward, and he was a little shocked—and rightly so. Lots of questions were asked, but he seemed to understand the situation, promising as always, to calm my mother down from the rafters if she went off on one of her rants. My mother liked to rant. We blamed it on her English upbringing, and we also blamed my blunt nature on her, too. The woman never ceased to say what she thought, and it got her into more trouble than not.
I’d woken up again around six a.m., finding both girls still sound asleep. I managed to pull myself from a very cozy bed and showered. I had hoped to shower when I got in from work, but other things took over. The shower did very little to wake me up since I was running on five hours sleep, so I just crawled back into bed again. Jessica was between Sookie and I, her hand twisted in Sookie’s hair—she liked to twirl her hair, we couldn’t figure out why either. I must have fallen asleep again because I was woken up with warm breath in my face—Jessica’s breath. I opened my eyes to see nothing but her face, right up against my face.
“Hi, Dada,” she said sweetly, standing on my bed both her hands on both my cheeks, curiously looking into my face.
“Hi,” I said grabbing her to sit her down. I spied Sookie, awake and suppressing a giggle.
“She’s been standing over you for like five minutes. She couldn’t understand why you weren’t talking to her.”
“You feeling better?” I asked Sookie.
“Much. Thank you again for… whatever magic that was with her last night.” I knew how screwed I was when a wrecked Sookie, with her hair sticking out all over the place was still beautiful to me.
“Hopefully she won’t pull that again, but I hold little hope. I’m really sorry I freaked on you, Eric.”
“No, it’s not. I was a mess and I’m sorry you had to hear my stupid sob story… and God only knows you must think you’re living with a complete head case… I just…”
“I don’t. For the record. Sookie, everyone has a past, and it was a horrible thing that happened to you and something you’re obviously still holding onto. But, I don’t think you’re broken. If anything, walking away from that proves to me how strong you are.”
“Even if I can’t have kids?”
“Even if you can’t have kids,” I agreed. “There are a thousand other ways to go about being a mother, Sookie. I mean, look at her.” I motioned to Jessica. “Yes, you didn’t give birth to her but you are now, and will always be, her mom. You’re raising her, just like if you wanted to, you could raise more kids—kids who don’t have parents. You could get a surrogate, you could foster… I mean, just because they told you it might not be possible the old fashioned way doesn’t mean shi—” I stopped myself, remembering our company who was now holding onto the headboard and bouncing on the bed.
“Thank you… I keep saying it, but, I really do mean it. I don’t know what I would have done without you last night,” she said sincerely before she ran her hand down my arm. The gesture was probably meant as a pat, or an acknowledgement of her thanks but all it served to do was give me goosebumps. And thinking that all I wanted to do was kiss her. Bad idea, Northman.
So as I tried to will my morning wood to cease, I simply accepted her thank you and bolted from the bed.
“I’m gonna … go… the …” I pointed out my door.
“The bathroom?” she offered.
“Yes. The … I’ll be right back.”
Smooth, so smooth.
It had been weeks since I’d had any kind of sexual satisfaction so I was like a teenage boy all over again. The littlest, most stupid thing was getting me turned on, it was so not acceptable. I mean, all she did was run her fingers down my arm, for fucks sake. This was getting ridiculous. I wanted her, and I was pretty sure she thought I was hot—hell she told me she thought I was hot—and she kissed me back. She can ignore it all she wants but she wanted me to kiss her in my office as much as I did. That has to count for something right? Then why couldn’t I just stop being a chicken shit and make my move?
Sometimes I wanted to slap myself for being such a damn idiot. There was a hot girl in my bed looking all cosy, and warm and soft and faceable and what was I doing? Whacking off alone.
Five years ago this would never have happened… of course, there wouldn’t have been a baby either, but that’s not the point. My point was, I was done being a douche. Things were going to change, and they were damn well going to change soon.
Waking up next to Eric was odd, but also not entirely uncomfortable. His bed helped this feeling I suspected. So big, so cozy, and it smelled like Eric and fabric softener.
It was comforting.
As was he the night before. When I told him I didn’t know what I would have done without him, I really did mean it.
Jessica was like a new baby. Gone was the whine monster from the night before only to be replaced with giggles and smiles. It was odd, but something I wouldn’t question.
I’d managed a morning run on the treadmill before I got myself showered—after Eric returned from his mysterious trip to the bathroom—and our day began all over again. I had work for a few hours, then the party to prepare for. It was never anything fancy since my apartment was so small and my neighbors were such whiny bitches. This year though, Tara wanted to go all out, and I couldn’t say I blamed her since we had a huge house to work with this time. I trusted her decorating skills not to fail me. I returned home after four to find no one but Tara and Amelia in the living room hanging ‘spider webs’ on the ceiling.
“Oh, hey! Eric let us in. I hope you don’t mind,” Tara said with a smile.
“Of course, I mind. We have a ‘no bitches’ before six rule. Sorry.”
“Bitch,” she said still smiling.
“Tara, you will help me clean this shit up, right?”
“Of course, don’t I always?” She did, I’ll give her that.
“I have some bad news guys.”
“What?” they both asked, stopping what they were doing.
“Sophie’s coming to the party.”
“WHAT?” Tara yelled and Amelia just rolled her eyes.
“I know, I’m sorry but she heard me on the phone ordering the drinks and the catering and she sort of invited herself. I’m sorry. I tried to put her off… but…”
“Well that bitch can just un-invite herself…” Amelia spoke up finally.
“Ames, I can’t do that. She’s hard enough to work with as it is.”
“I wouldn’t know. She fired me.”
Still a sore spot.
“I thought you liked working for Eric?”
“I do,” she admitted. “I really do. I just … she’s still a bitch. I can still hate her, and I miss you guys.”
“We miss you too, but it’s still good at Eric’s, right?”
“Yeah, I mean it’s great. The staff is wonderful and so friendly.” I could have sworn she blushed. “And Eric, he’s a really great boss. Not that you weren’t great, Sookie.” She smiled. “But he’s just very chilled and very Zen about everything and it shows.”
“Where is the Zen master?” I asked.
“He’s getting Jessica ready for trick-or-treating,” Ames commented.
I clapped my hands and she looked at me oddly.
“Oh, good! I didn’t miss it then! I have to get the camera.”
Sue me. It was her first trick-or-treating, I was excited.
“Sookie, you sure have changed.”
“What? It’s a milestone.”
“She’s one. You know she won’t even be able to eat most of the damn candy,” Tara continued.
Yeah, I knew that.
“I think it’s mostly so Eric can get free candy.”
“But we have candy here?” Amelia pointed out.
“Yep, but apparently it’s ‘not the same.’ I don’t know what his deal is.”
“His deal is, it’s fun…” I heard from the staircase. Down came a very dishevelled looking Eric and a little baby vampire Jessica with her pacifier in her mouth—only it wasn’t her regular passy. This one had cartoon vampire teeth on it. He really had thought of everything. Her little cape and ears were too adorable.
“Hi baby!” I said taking her from him for a closer look. “So, not so much gay Vulcan. She actually looks like the Count.”
“What? You doubted my costume picking skills? Have you met Pam?”
Again, Amelia blushed. What the hell…?
“No… well, kind of. I mean, what are you, a homeless guy?”
“No! I’m a …” He turned around in a circle to face us again this time with skinny vampire teeth in. “I’m a vampire. Brad Pitt circa Interview with the Vampire. Not that sparkling, glittering whatever that they have now.” He kind of did look the part. He had makeup on which made him look pale and red rimmed eyes. While his hair wasn’t as long as Brad’s, he had gone for the dishevelled scruffy look, and his clothes matched well with the time period. They too were all scuffed up. He looked good; he looked hot.
“So, Sook, what’s your costume?” Eric asked, for the millionth time that day.
“She’s a fairy!” Amelia shouted from the kitchen coming in with a diet coke.
“Thank you, Ames.” I rolled by eyes. I wasn’t going to tell him till I had it on, but there went that plan.
“What? He’s going to see it. I got it for her since she’s been so busy.”
“I hate it by the way.”
“Blah blah, blah…” Amelia mocked me. “It’s hot and you’ll look hot in it, trust me, Tinks.”
“So, you’re Tinkerbell? How cute.” He teased.
“Shut up, I have food to cook.” I kissed Jessica and gave her back to Eric. “Don’t leave till I get a picture.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” He smirked.
They left after many cheesy photo opportunities were taken, with all of us jumping in for a group shot. Jessica, it seemed, was a ham for the camera.
It had taken the three of us well over a couple of hours to organize everything. Well that, and gossip. Eric had taken Jessica over to see Pam so she could see Jessica’s costume before Maxine agreed to babysit her. She said she and her husband were more dinner party people but hoped we’d have fun. She was really a sweet woman, a little nosy, but sweet.
“Okay, we have hot food, we have sandwiches—if Amelia would stop eating them,” I pointed out. “We have chips and dip, we have so much alcohol it could sink a ship… I think we’re good.”
“And you just walked out?” Ames asked, since we were mid-conversation about Sam.
“Yeah, I mean, I didn’t know what else to say. He agreed we should take some time and reassess everything and see where we’re headed. I just … I thought he understood what part Eric played in this whole thing by now, that’s all.”
“And that part would be?” Tara dragged out.
“And that’s it?”
“Well, who else’s dad would he be?”
“No, Sookie, I mean is that all that’s going on here. You two seem to have gotten real… comfortable with each other lately.”
“We live together. It was bound to happen eventually,” I shrugged.
“What was?” Amelia wriggled her brows.
“Oh my God, you two, seriously. Get your heads out of the gutter please? Nothing like that is going on. If I’ve told you once I’ve told you a thousand times. Eric and I, we’re just … not that way.”
“God, how do you do it, or not do it? He’s all hot and topless just swanning around being all hot. Really, if I were you, I’d have jumped him months ago,” Amelia commented. “And besides, Eric really, really needs to get laid.”
“What? Because once a week with someone new—every week might, I add—isn’t good enough for him?”
“What?” Amelia asked, looking very confused.
“He has a date every week, without fail, and it doesn’t take a genius to guess what he’s up to on those dates, Ames. Really.”
“No, he doesn’t.”
“Yes, he does. He goes out on Saturday nights and comes home Sunday morning. He told me he’s dating.”
“Um, Sookie, are you sure? Because well, I work most Saturday nights… and Eric is always at work. He sleeps in his office.”
What the hell?
Before I could answer, Jessica and Eric came through the door with a big bag full of what I assumed was her candy. Or should I say his?
She was covered in chocolate.
I snapped myself out of the shock of Amelia’s revelation to focus on Jessica.
“So, how’d it go?”
“She made bank. They loved her cause she’s far too adorable. Oh and mountains of free candy—some of which she’s had—but we had actual food at Pam’s. So don’t worry, she’s fed,” he said holding up the bag of candy.
“Well, I’m very happy for you, and your free candy.”
He just smiled like a giant overgrown man-child. A man-child who was lying to me. For months.
Jessica’s costume was a hit, and it seems some of the moms, kind of thought mine was a hit, too. I’d spent most of the time explaining who I was in costume, and who and what Jessica was. They were won over though, and I might have flirted a little bit. I couldn’t understand my free candy obsession anymore than the next person. It just tasted better when it was free- it always had.
Of course, Pam loved Jessica’s outfit. She squeezed herself into a leather Cat Woman costume and mocked mine for making me look like homeless Joe who lives on the interstate.
Guests started arriving after nine, and since we were Jessica-free for the night, we’d all started drinking around eight thirty. The party was in full swing by ten, everyone dancing around the house, or talking in corners—all drinking, snacking and generally happy. I was well on my way to buzzed when Amelia and I got to talking. She was a cool chick, and she seemed to make Pam more … well, less dramatic, which was always welcomed.
“So you still haven’t told her?” I asked Amelia once we were out in the hallway alone.
“No. Look, it’s not just something you bring up, okay? I need the right time.”
“But if you and Pam are still together, and you are, right?”
“And it’s dating? Or…”
“Mostly sex. But we have dinner twice a week, which I guess is dating?”
For Pam, that was dating.
“She’s happy,” I admitted to her, “when she talks about you. She tries to hide it but I know her too well, and she’s happy… you make her happy. I want you to be that happy too, and you won’t be until your friends know the truth.”
She nodded in agreement. “I could say the same thing about you, though. Lying to Sookie like that for all this time?”
“Date night? She thinks you’re out screwing around every week when in reality, you’re working your ass off in the bar. What the hell, Eric?”
“Look, she can think what she likes about me and she thinks I’m a whore, so why not let her just … think it?”
“You know why… Because, Pam told me what happened on her birthday. I’m pissed Sookie didn’t tell me… but I get it. I’m guessing things changed?”
“No, things just got awkward for awhile. She’s still with Sam so what does it matter? I’ve tried showing her I’m not this horrible guy and it doesn’t work. She still wants him.”
“What do you mean?”
“They’re sort of on the outs. Well, I mean they’re on a ‘break’ right now. Apparently, he doesn’t get her life and she’s mad, and I think she’s going to dump him so…”
“Something tells me you shouldn’t be telling me this?”
“Maybe not, but I thought you should know. It might sway any decisions you might have been wanting to make…”
“Don’t leave it too long now, ya hear?” she winked at me before making her way back to Pam, both of them still pretending to be the best of ‘friends’.
Just as Amelia walked away, Sophie-Ann came sauntering up. She dressed as a queen for the occasion—her air of snobbery befitting her costume.
“Eric Northman, it’s been a long time.”
“Hi yourself. Now, I knew Sookie was playing house, but I had no idea she was playing house with you. Color me shocked. I never saw you as the paternal type.”
“Well, people change.”
“That they do.” She looked me up and down. “Where is the little rugrat?”
“Jessica,” I corrected her, “Is with her babysitter for the night.”
“Oh… so, you’re off duty, then?
“Something like that.” I drained the last of my beer.
“Care to give me a tour of this amazing house then, Eric?” she asked as subtle as a brick with her arm on my bicep.
“Not right now, Sophie. There’s a party going on.”
“So? This is Sookie’s little shindig, no one will miss us…”
“You sure?” She pouted, and I looked behind her to find Sookie standing at the other end of the hall. The costume was amazing. She clearly wouldn’t have chosen it herself. It was far too short for even Sookie to consider. But it was beautiful. Her dress was a dark shimmering green cut out in a pixie style with skinny straps that matched the color of her shoes—a silver tone—with a lighter green mesh over the top. She’d worn pixie ears and her hair up to show them off. As comical as it all was, she looked sexy as hell.
“Uh, Eric?” she asked unsure of what was going on. I knew by the look on her face she was shocked to see Sophie and I so… close. Even though I hated her with every fiber of my being, Sophie and I did know each other, briefly. I’d met her at a party Pam had thrown a few years before. I hadn’t known her last name then, or even until Pam pointed out to me recently who the other Sophie was. I was stunned, and felt instant sympathy for Sookie since I knew she really WAS a bitch.
“I need your help in the kitchen for a second. Sorry for interrupting.”
“No, not at all.”
Sophie and Sookie merely exchanged looks while we walked into the kitchen.
“It’s stuck.” She pointed to the bottles of wine stacked in the fridge and they’d gotten stuck together rather well. I lifted the top shelf slightly, sliding one bottle out, freeing up the rest of them for easy access.
“Thanks. You can go back to flirting with my boss now,” she snipped, turning to open the bottle of wine.
“Sophie. I’m sure she’s waiting on you, so you can just go.”
“You know Sookie, for such a smart girl, you can be a real idiot sometimes.”
She furrowed her brows at me leading me to continue.
“Really, you see me talking to her and you assume I’m flirting? You think so little of me?”
“No, I know you.”
“Like shit you do.”
“Oh, that’s right I don’t know you at all, do I? Like I didn’t know you knew her even though you listened to me bitch about her FOR MONTHS and never said anything; or like how I thought I knew you were out dating, being a guy around town with all those women when, in fact, you were lying to me and going to the office to work… Why would you do that, Eric? I mean, not only is it chicken shit but it’s just too ridiculous for words!”
I was so glad we were alone in the kitchen at this point.
“For the same reason you didn’t tell me you and Sam were on a break.”
She was fuming, but I didn’t give a shit.
“Sookie! Wine, hello?” Tara called through the door. Sookie merely brushed past me with one opened bottle in her hand and another unopened in the other. I guess the fight was on hold.
“He knows her! All this time and he’s known who she was, like they’re friends.”
“I doubt they’re friends, Sook,” Amelia said passing me my glass.
“Eric doesn’t have too many friends that are complete psycho bitches, that’s why.”
“I just can’t believe he lied to me about his imaginary dates, too. I mean, how fucked up is that? I thought we were friends. Friends don’t lie to their friends.”
“Um, Sookie, in the spirit of friends not lying… I have something I need to tell you.”
Amelia and I had escaped to my bedroom for a much needed vent fest. We’d stolen some wine and some chips too. I kicked off my shoes and sat up on my bed next to her.
“Sure, what is it?”
“Sookie, I’m bi-sexual.”
I laughed, because really, Amelia was slutty for guys, not girls.
“Oh honey, I think that’s the wine talking.”
“No, Sookie. I’m being serious here. I am.”
She looked it too.
“I… wow. When… I mean… how… I mean… ?”
“I kind of always thought I was, but… it wasn’t until I met this woman I realized it was for real. That I was… That I am.”
Stunned was a kind way to put it.
“Well, that’s… I mean, are you happy?”
She smiled and I could see it in her eyes, too.
“Yeah, I am. Really happy. I mean it’s new, but I really like her.”
“Her who? Who is she? Do I get to meet her?”
“You already have. It’s Pam.”
I may have spat my wine.
“PAM?” I shouted and just as she poked her head around the door.
“You hollered? There you two are…” she said walking in her heels too high to even balance in but somehow she managed it. Her black leather cat suit clinging to her svelte figure as she sat down.
“I told her, Pam.”
“Oh, thank Christ, it’s about time. I thought we’d have to be friends forever,” she grinned. “You know, like how you and Eric are ‘friends.’ Seriously, will you two just fuck each other and get it over with? I am sick of watching him be a lovesick puppy, Stackhouse.”
“He’s not a—”
“He is. Or he’s a horny puppy. Either way, put him out of his fuckin’ misery.”
“His misery is all his own fault,” I protested. “He lied to me. Twice. About two really important things and that’s just not fair. I thought we were making progress.”
“He’s a guy, Sookie, and he has his pride. You picked the doctor that can’t make you cum over him. It hurt him. So, yeah, he lied. Give him a break will you?”
“Who told you Sam can’t make me… do that?”
She looked to Amelia.
“What? Tara told me and I needed someone to tell!”
I just rolled my eyes.
“Bitches.” I sassed them both before I took my wine and I left.
Sometimes I really hated parties.
By the time everyone left, I was drunk, then sobered up again. The house was an absolute mess but I had roped Tara, Ames and even Pam offered to come over and clean up.
Eric was throwing some paper cups in the trash.
“Leave it. We’ll take care of it in the morning,” I said throwing my wine in the sink and my glass in the water.
“Fine. We need to talk. Now.”
“No, we really don’t. I’m going to bed,” I said taking off my pixie ears and letting down my hair.
“No. We’re doing this now. You getting all pissed off that I was talking to Sophie, then pretending not to give a shit when you clearly do. What’s up with that, huh? If you don’t care like you say you don’t, why would it bother you?”
He’d grabbed my upper arm to stop me from leaving, letting go once he said what he wanted to say. I just walked out into the hallway.
“Sookie, answer me, dammit!.”
“I don’t know why!” I yelled back “It just does. Okay?”
“Same reason why me being with Sam makes you jealous, I guess.”
“I’m not jea—”
“Oh really?” I was feeling bold, or maybe it was the wine. I didn’t know. All I knew was I wanted the truth, some real reaction out of him. “So you don’t get pissed off thinking of us together? Thinking of how I kiss him and not you; how I fuck him and not you? How I let him touch me, and not you?”
“Shut up,” he said in a low dark tone that had it come from anyone else, might have scared me.
“No. Tell me it doesn’t piss you off to know he’s with me when you’re not…that he’s—”
I couldn’t finish because he’d pushed me against the wall by my waist.
“I said, shut up.” He said it slowly, deliberately.
Before I could say another word, he kissed me, and not too shockingly—I let him.
“Are you drunk?” he asked, parting from my lips after what seemed like decades. His voice was still tinged with that amazingly sexy lower octave.
“If you’re drunk, we’re not doin’ this. I don’t do that.”
“You work in a bar. You mean to tell me you’ve never banged a drunk girl?” I said, trying to hold back the moans as his lips made their way back to my neck.
“Long time ago…” was all he got out before he kissed me again, and again came the lightheadedness.
He backed me up against the wall at the foot of the staircase, his hands going straight into my hair and damn, that felt good.
We tried to make our way up the stairs lips still on lips, but that just wasn’t going to work. We kept missing steps and landing on our asses.
“I’m going to bruise so bad tomorrow,” I giggled into his neck before he lifted me up like I weighed nothing. My legs flanking either side of hips, he carried us both up to the top of the staircase. That was new.
I learned very fast that Eric’s height and size was extremely attractive to a somewhat vertically challenged person such as myself, though I’d never fully taken into consideration what it would be like to be taken by such size and height… Except that one time in the shower when I was … well, that’s neither here nor there.
“Your room or mine?” I asked.
“Both have beds. I don’t really give a shit.”
Of course he didn’t, I thought as I steered us towards my bedroom.
“Are we really doin’ this?” I asked as we made our way—one item of clothing less per step—towards my bed.
“Looks like it.” He smiled, his eyes twinkling as he yanked my dress up over my head throwing it behind him as he slid both hands behind my back and unhooked my bra—first try… I tried not to think how many times and on how many women he’d done that to before, though, seeing this new side to him, so assertive and demanding? I’m woman enough to admit, it was turning me the fuck on.
Oh God! Eric and I were going to see each other naked… I was going to see Eric naked. Oh shit, he was going to see me naked!
Thank God I remembered to wax…
Yes, my mind was racing, and yes it was all pointless shit, because I thought if I focused too much on how he was looking at me and how turned on I was, I might combust. And he’d barely touched me.
I pushed off my opened bra, leaving me in only my underwear, which thankfully were not my Spanx or my laundry day underwear. He pushed me back onto my bed but not before grabbing my foot and spreading it so my legs parted before his lips met my ankle, moving up to my calf, and then to my inner thigh.
His scruff rubbing against my sensitive skin was making me more than a little anxious for him to stop teasing, when I got the feeling he’d just begun. He pulled off his shirt and his vest before going back to working his way up my body with his wet, warm, soft, scruff covered mouth.
When he got to my bellybutton I started to squirm. I tickled easily and he seemed delighted to know this.
“No… don’t tickle, okay? I don’t want to play anymore, Eric.”
Then he stopped, slid up my body and met me face-to-face. With a dangerously sexy look in his eyes he asked, “Then what do you want?”
Truth was, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but I knew what I needed there and then. And that was him, inside of me. I made this more than obvious when, instead of speaking my desires, I simply took action. Popping the button on his distressed pants and freeing him to slip them off, I then grabbed his shoulders—his very toned and lick-able shoulders—and pushed him back on the bed.
For a few minutes we just sat there, me straddling him, him holding me close to his chest, running his fingers up and down my naked back, just kissing. Fantastic kissing before Eric decided he and I weren’t close enough and grabbed my hips, helping me grind on him.
The noises he was making, as well as the fact that I seemed to make his eyes roll to the back of his head—for a better reason than usual this time—was exhilarating, not to mention sexy.
Just as I was about to protest that I wanted more than just simple teasing, he seemed to think the same thing. He moved and flipped me onto my back, landing us in the middle of my bed.
“We need—” I attempted to say something, but he was flicking his tongue out as he kissed my jaw line and it was very distracting.
I was breathless.
“God, I love hearing my name from you like that,” he admitted.
I was so wet that my underwear was starting to make me uncomfortable. Enough foreplay was enough. I needed him. All of him.
I pushed him back as I turned toward my bedside table. I’m sure I looked a sight with my ass in the air as I dug around in the bottom drawer until I found the little unopened box and pulled out what we needed.
“You really do have an amazing ass, Sookie,” Eric said with a cheeky grin.
“Well, you spend enough time looking at it….”
“Like you don’t look at mine.”
“We going to do this now? Or are you going to shut up and fuck me like I know you want to?”
Yeah, maybe those tequila shots hadn’t quite worn off yet.
Suddenly the playfulness was gone, as was his underwear. And can I just say thank you, Sweden?
Next thing I knew, he’d grabbed me and positioned us both at the head of the bed, sliding expertly between my thighs. Feeling his hard dick rub against my own scantily covered sex made it difficult to suppress the moans. Both of us tried to ignore that awkward moment when the guy you want to have sex with rolls away from you to slap a little piece of rubber on his dick. Though in Eric’s case, maybe ‘little’ wasn’t the best choice of words.
I knew something was up when he stalled.
“What’s wrong?” I asked and he looked hesitant. “Eric?”
“It…” He furrowed his brows, “It won’t fit. It’s too small.”
And I knew he meant the condom.
That, had never happened before. He huffed in frustration before grabbing the box from my opened drawer.
He sighed. “Yeah, those won’t fit.”
“What? Don’t be ridiculous. It’s rubber, it stretches!” I said with more force than necessary. I was more than a little too turned on to care about the stupid condoms and their stupidity! As I grabbed the box from him reading, “It says ‘average’ size for—”
I found myself on my back again, him on top of me—smirking.
“Haven’t you learned, Sookie?” he asked in that lower octave sexy voice. Some people had bedroom eyes, I realized Eric had bedroom voice. Equally if not more sexy.
He kissed me hard, long and slow.
“I am anything, but average.”
I just rolled my eyes, even if I was seeing that he wasn’t just being a cocky shit. He might just be that good.
He got off the bed, stark naked and not a hint of shame at it. I felt myself blush, even though I was laying there with only thin white panties covering what was left of my dwindling modesty.
He made it to the door before I heard him mutter a low ‘fuck it,’ before he stalked back to the bed where he went for my arm, pulling me over his shoulder in one swift hike.
I screamed in protest but he just ignored me, laughing. Between the dips, the chips and the alcohol I wasn’t feeling the best to be thrown up so high.
“What are you doing?” I demanded.
“My room has what we need and I didn’t like the idea of leaving you on that big old bed all by yourself,” he teased, his hand caressing my ass as we made our way into his bedroom across the hall.
I almost asked if he was afraid I’d chicken out, only I didn’t have time. He threw me down on the big, soft bed with a small bounce, before he rooted around his top drawer and found what he was looking for.
“Now, where were we?” he asked and I had a momentary guilt trip.
Whether it was the was mass of alcohol dimming my guilt switch, or the fact that Eric was standing over me naked, hard and with a very naughty look in his eye, the guilt was soon forgotten.
I was so nervous I was shaking just a little. If he noticed he didn’t call attention to it. Instead, he focused his attention on sliding us up the bed till my head hit the pillow, then his lips were on my neck again. I felt his fingers slip into my panties and inside me—and holy shit I was lot more sensitive than I thought. He mumbled something into my neck before he pushed a little deeper inside me with his second finger and needless to say, he had me in the palm of his hand—literally. His free hand worked on sliding my underwear down my thighs, and off my legs completely.
Never one to be selfish, I blindly trailed my hand down his stomach, grasping what I wanted. He gasped with eyes closed and it told me perhaps I wasn’t the only overly sensitive one in the room. We both wound each other up, fighting for dominance and control over who pushed who further over the edge with our hands. By the time we were both a red-faced panting mess, I was more than ready for him to fuck me like I knew he wanted. And when we finally got there, feeling him stretch me for the first time was overwhelming. I was so close to losing it and feeling him fill that void so completely without even moving, I felt the tiny signs of my orgasm creeping up on me. It would have been so embarrassing to come right then, though thankfully I didn’t. Then he moved—once, twice, slow, quick, quick, slow. The teasing was driving me crazy.
“Just what?” he asked, going even slower than before.
“Just do it. Stop being an ass and do it.”
“Do what?” he whispered above me forcing me to open my eyes and look at him before I grasped onto his headboard for leverage. “Do what, Sookie?”
I decided to be as blunt as I possibly could.
“Stop being a cocky son of bitch and just fuck me, Northman!”
He smiled, a cocky smile, one I both loved and hated at that moment, before he whispered, “As you wish,” raising his brows at me.
Hiking my legs up, laying one on his shoulder—holy shit this was new—I felt him slip deeper; deeper than even I thought possible. The overwhelming feeling of being so full overtook me before he started to buck his hips hard and fast, and without much mercy. I just grasped onto that banging headboard for dear life. I felt my orgasm hit me but he didn’t stop. If anything, he went harder and I lost all power over my legs and my screams. His name was beginning to sound like a prayer being chanted as he kissed and sucked and fucked me though his mattress.
Why the hell had we waited so long to do this?
A/N: Good morning, how are feeling about this chapter? How I pumped out 18 pages in a day, I’ll never know… but somehow you go them. What did we think? *wriggles eyebrows*
Big thank you to my beta vikinglover_elle for betaing this monster so quickly lol.
Chapter 21: Chapter 21
My ears were ringing, all I knew was, there was Sookie, there was me, and there was the damn headboard that kept slamming against the wall. I didn’t care though, and it seemed she didn’t either – she was totally lost in her pleasure. Her eyes were shut tight and she was chanting my name, Jesus and God over and over. It was exhilarating, to say the least, since I could feel her muscles going crazy with what I was doing to her It took every ounce of self control not to just lose it the second I slipped inside her. But as felt her clench around me for what I thought was the third orgasm- I’d managed to shockingly hold out long enough to give her – I lost myself. We were a sweaty mess of limbs and kisses by the time we both fell onto our respective pillows. I could feel my heart in my ears and her heavy breathing next to me.
“Holy shit…” I managed, ever the articulate.
“I think my heart is going to explode.” She panted and I just rolled over to her again, slipping my hand over her heart. It was beating extremely fast and she was covered in a delectable sheen of sex sweat that- call me caveman if you like- but I was proud to have put there.
“I’ll be right back.” I said, kissing her quickly on the cheek before I walked into the bathroom to clean up. Safety was always important, but it was messy as hell.
I got back to my room to find her tangled in my sheet, looking sexy as anything.
“Hi,” I said with a smile as I climbed back in.
She smiled back, “I can’t believe we just did that…”
“I can…” I kissed again, this time lazily, slowly and making sure I didn’t pull away until I knew I had her breathless again.
I was more than ready for round two as I got reacquainted with those rather amazing breasts of hers, as well as allowing my fingers to do a little exploring of their own. She was still extremely sensitive and it felt incredible.
She reached for my face, making me look at her, taking me away from her body.
“Again?” She asked in a sleepy voice.
“We lost out on a little foreplay before…” I reasoned.
She laughed “What do you call the last six months?”
I flipped us over, bringing her on top of me where we just laid, continuing the lazy kisses as I slipped both my hands into her hair, she moaned slightly. I latched onto her breasts and massaged until she started to shift her hips, her nipples pebbling under my finger and thumb. She started to grind her lower half against me. It would have been so easy to bury myself inside her again, unprotected, but I knew that’s not what either of us wanted, nor were we ready for.
Instead she reached over to my bedside table, and found what she was looking for.
“May I?” She asked too sweetly since her eyes were filled with mischief.
I just nodded.
Instead of simply rolling it on and letting us get down to business, she rolled it to the tip and then all I felt was her hot mouth roll it the rest of the way before my eyes rolled back in my head.
But she didn’t stop there. No, she took me in her mouth and started to give me one very unexpected blowjob. I knew she was getting off on my reactions to her mouth on me, but it’s not like it was something I could control. I’d gotten to know myself real well these last few months, alone and sexless, and having glorious, naked Sookie go to town on me was like I’d won the lottery.
As much as I never wanted her to stop what she was doing, I knew if she kept it up, I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I wanted too, and I wanted to be inside her again more than anything. This time she took the reins, gently at first, then harder and faster until she gripped for the headboard- my poor abused headboard- to give her the leverage she needed to keep up her good work. I’d decided this angle was my favourite angle for Sookie. It worked so well for her- what with her being naked and straddling me and all.
Determined to make her come before I did, I worked my thumb inside her just right, causing her hips to pop faster and her breathing to get louder. I knew she was close, so I pinched that little ball of nerves and within seconds, she was moaning into my neck as she came, allowing my to surrender my control over myself as well. We were a mess to say the least. I smoothed some of her hair from her face as she collapsed beside me, light-headed and spent. I stripped the condom, tied it and aimed for my wastepaper basket before I curled myself around her as she faced the window away from me.
“So tired,” she mumbled, her breath slowing down as she pulled my arms around her waist, bring me closer as we spooned. As tired as I was, I savoured the moment for what it was; just laying there peaceful and exhausted. Why I did it, I’ll never know. Maybe because I felt it, in that moment, or maybe I’d’ felt it in the many moments before… but when I said it, I didn’t think she’d actually hear it. It was barely a whisper, not even a breath, but I said it, and it changed everything.
“I love you…” I said to the darkness, knowing it was meant for her at some point, but not knowing she pretended to sleep more convincingly than I realised.
I woke up aching just about everywhere. My head was pounding, my skin hurt, there was this dull pain between my thighs. I felt fucked, which I guess I was. Thoroughly so. It had been a long time- to say the least- since the last time that had actually happened. Between that and the hangover I just knew I’d have, I was questioning everything I did the night before.
I also woke up, I realised, wrapped in the arms of my housemate. I was facing away from him, but he was definitely wrapped around me. His large hands and arms around my waist, his face nuzzled into my neck.
And that’s when I remembered. No, not the amazing, mind-boggling orgasms, or the intense sex that gave us both those mind-boggling orgasms. No, I remembered his words. Three words to be exact. Three words that had me on edge from the moment I woke up.
I felt him shift beside me before his grip tightened, pulling me closer to him and then I felt his lips on my neck…and God, that felt good.
“G’morning…” came his husky greeting.
“Morning.” I said, still not making a move to face him, not entirely sure if was even able to.
“So I was thinking, we still have a few more hours before Jessica gets here… I vote we stay here and um, recreate, last night.” I could hear the smile in his sleepy voice. I wanted to match it but I couldn’t. Something was holding me back.
“Well, as delightful as that sounds, the house is a complete mess. We can’t just leave it like that.”
I turned to face him finally, and he looked sleepy but happy, his hair was sticking up in the back and all mussed at the front. Why was he so adorable? And why did I feel this bad?
“Sure we can, no one cares, Jessica doesn’t care what the house looks like.” he said, kissing my neck again.
“We should get up.” I tried to pull away, but he didn’t let go right away.
“Hello? You two hung-over assholes better be awake!” I heard from outside the room. It was Pam.
“Shit!” I said trying to find my clothes, then I remembered were across the hall.
“Sookie, why are you freaking out? It’s not like we did anything wrong.” He reasoned, just laying there as I tried to slip on his shirt.
“Where are yo– Ohh.” came the obnoxious quip from Pam as she walked right into Eric’s bedroom, finding us both in bed. I was in the middle of buttoning up a plaid shirt I found on his chair.
“My, my, my. I was wondering why it smelled like sex up here.”
Amelia walked in after her to walk right back out again.
“Get out, Pam.” Eric said firmly.
“Why? You aren’t enjoying this awkwardness? I sure am.” She stated with a wicked grin.
“Touchy.” She quirked her brow before turning on her heels, “Nice breasts, Sookie.”
“Oh God.” I cringed into his pillow, but he just laughed.
“You know she’s kidding. She doesn’t give a shit, really.”
“But… now they know.”
“So? Eric, this is personal and honestly, it wasn’t something I was ready to share with the whole class just yet. Not when I’m still wrapping my head around it.” I said as I shuffled the sheets to get out of the bed and finish buttoning up the shirt until I could get something else to wear.
“Wrapping your head around it? Sookie, no offence or anything, but what’s there to wrap around? We had sex. It’s been a long time coming, and it was great. And, might I add, we’re good together. I see no reason for freaking out here.” I said as he slipped on his boxers and a tank. “Unless there’s something else?”
“No, it’s just things are complicated enough as it is, and now … with this, it… just makes it more so.”
He nodded, his happy mood quick to disintegrate. I knew I was the cause and I hated myself for it.
“So what you’re saying is, last night was a once off? That because shit is so ‘complicated’ that us being together like that would be too ‘difficult’. Is that what you’re saying?”
“Please don’t get mad at me, okay, I just… well don’t you think maybe this isn’t the best idea in the world? I mean, really, what happens six days, weeks, hours from now if we decide it’s a mistake? Everything is ruined, Jessica is in the middle of this and we have to look out for her first.”
“Don’t use Jessica as your excuse, Sookie. You’re scared.”
“Well of course I’m scared, but my point still stands. This has to be nipped in the bud now. We can’t be doing this.” I walked out of his bedroom and into my own. He followed me.
“So then why do it at all? You could have said no. In fact, if I recall, I gave you ample opportunities to say no. It’s not that hard.”
“I know that.”
“And? You still did it, three times, might I add.”
“Seriously, you’re mad?”
“Yes, I am mad, I’m …” he licked his lips, his face tinged with anger and maybe something else. I couldn’t let myself think about what else he was feeling. This had to stop where it was before it got worse. If putting the fact that Jessica needed two parents without break-up baggage first, made me the bitch, then so be it.
My cell phone had been buzzing since I’d walked into the room. It was laying on my bed. The more I ignored it, the more it buzzed.
Eric looked at the name on the phone, which only seemed to piss him off even more.
“Sam? Seriously?” He looked from the phone to me.
“Well, I didn’t know he was calling me, did I? I was in there with you.”
“I thought you realised he wasn’t right? So much for being on a break, huh?”
The phone continued to buzz. Before I reached over to knock it off.
“Don’t what? You sleep with me, but he still thinks he has a shot… you and I… it felt right and you know it. Hell, you can’t deny that much.”
“Eric it was…”
Amazing, wonderful, mind blowing? Any of those words could have fit rather nicely.
“Look, you know it was great, right? But come on, you and me? It wouldn’t work. It couldn’t, not in the long run, and that’s where Jessica comes in. This isn’t just about us, or sex, or whatever feeling led us there. If we go down that road, and we keep falling into bed together because it’s easy and feels good and all of that, what happen when one or both of us gets bored, gets sick of each other, or want someone else?”
He motioned to say something but then stopped himself.
“Do you love him? Is that what this is about?”
There was that word again.
“This isn’t about Sam; this is about you and me.”
“Then why does he still think it’s okay to be calling you, Sookie? Does Mr PHD not understand the meaning of the word ‘break’?”
“Stop making this about him.”
“But it IS about him, at least partly. You know he’s no good for you! You both have nothing in common. Jesus, he can’t even please you in bed, for fuck sake.” he snapped.
It didn’t matter who told him, but when he said it, it still stung.
“That’s none of-”
“No, you know what, fine. You want him, fine. Go back to him. Hell, this tells me maybe you two deserve each other.”
“You’re angry right now so I think we just should go downstairs before one or both of us says something we shouldn’t.”
“No. I think we should say whatever we have to say now. When I kissed you that night Sookie, I meant it, and you didn’t -”
“No, you didn’t. You thought you did, but you didn’t. But I did, and what happened? We freak out… or not we – you, you freak out. And we end up not talking and everything is awkward. We finally make some progress… and then last night happened. After everything and after we’ve gotten closer, you’re still freaking out. Why? I meant everything I did last night -”
“And everything you said?”
His face changed with the recognition of what I was talking about. Just then Amelia poked her head around my door.
“Sorry again, guys, but Pam’s pissed that we’re the only ones cleaning.”
“I’ll be right down.” I told her, walking past Eric and our conversation to take the quickest shower of my life.
By the time I’d gotten down stairs again, Eric was gone. Judging by the faces being made by both Amelia and Pam, there had been words exchanged before he went. I just ignored both of them, popping the coffee to brew before making a start on the kitchen.
Worst morning ever.
By two pm, Jessica was back and as hyper as ever. Pam and Amelia helped like they promised and after the first hour of silence, Pam broke it only to tell me they were leaving. They were mad at me, Eric was mad at me, I was mad at me. He still hadn’t come back by the time I’d made dinner. Having gone over and over what I might have said to him if he did, I still didn’t have a proper answer. He was right; I was scared of what he and I meant. I was even more scared of what it meant if it ended. I’d lost my family as a kid and it sucked, but I had my Gran. Without her love and caring environment, it would have been so much harder. But then I might as well have lost my brother when I lost my Gran. I never saw or heard from him and he didn’t seem to want to hear from me. I’d lost two families. The one we’d worked on creating for Jessica wasn’t one I was going to lose just by being an idiot who couldn’t control her hormones.
He said he loved me. But realistically, how could he? I was a mess, anyone could see that, and really it was more than likely post-orgasmic babbling. I mean with how we were, I almost said it to him. Factoring in how long it had been since a man was able to make my body react like that? And even the last time it had happened, it felt nothing like how it felt with Eric. Definitely not with Bill, and certainly not with Sam. I knew Sam and I were over. If I was honest, I’d known it a while ago, but he’d become a good friend to me. Losing that was something I wasn’t ready for before. So when the phone rang again after eight, and it was Sam, I answered.
“Hey yourself. I know this whole break thing is still on but, I just wanted you to know I’m sorry for whatever it was that upset you before. I didn’t mean to.”
“Sam, I know. And it’s sweet of you to keep apologising but really, like I said before, there’s no need.”
“I miss you.” He said sweetly, and honestly it’s not like I could say the same.
“See what I mean? Sweet.” I smiled “How’s the conference?”
“Boring. Necessary, but boring. I’m back tomorrow, maybe we could get lunch, talk properly…”
“Sam-” I turned around to find Eric standing in the doorway to the kitchen and he was even more surly than the last time I’d seen him. “Uh, Sam can I call you back?”
“No, not … no just let me call you back, okay?”
“Okay, sure…” he sounded doubtful but I didn’t care as I hung up the phone and looked at Eric.
“Mmhm.” He crossed his arms and I noticed he’d changed his clothes. He was wearing his dark jeans and a green t-shirt.
“We’d you go?” I asked hoping to strike up a conversation at least.
“I know that, I asked where?”
“None of your business.”
Oh, so this was how it was going to be?
“Yeah, well that’s me, Mr. Mature. Look, I just came back to grab a few things. I won’t be staying.”
My heart, quite rightly, sank.
“I’m moving out.”
“I’ll still be around for Jessica, and we’ll still have our schedules. I just won’t be staying here.”
It was then that I noticed his sports bag by the kitchen door.
“Where will you go?” I asked quietly and he just shrugged.
“Pam’s, for now until I find a place suitable. If CPS had an issue with that we’ll work it out, I’m sure.”
“So, you’re just moving out, just like that?”
He looked at me then, and his once warm eyes were suddenly so cold it almost made me shiver.
“Why wouldn’t I? It’s not like there’s anything keeping me here, is there?”
Before I had the chance to speak again, he turned, grabbed his bag and walked. A few seconds later I heard the front door shut tight.
In trying to keep our makeshift family together, I’d only served to break it apart. Where the hell did we go from here?
A/N: SURPRISE ANGST. It’s like surprise rape but even less fun, isn’t it? Sorry, bad joke. But *inhale* *exhale* It’s all going to be okay… I think. Thank you all so much for the review love on the last two chapters, if I didn’t get back to you, I apologize. Real life and this muse decided to kick my ass. But I thank you for the love all the same!