Hey loves! New Devil Wears Discount for you today! Back from Paris, and it was amazing and beautiful and all the things I expected. I might do a little photo post on here later if you guys wouldn’t mine reading that… We’ll see. For now, more DWD. Tell me what you think! 😉 Thanks to @seastarr08, @Scribeninja, and @whitneymartin!
Had I just agreed to that? Had I really just agreed to let him be the one, the one I played this insane game with? Was I crazy? Was he? I was confused, a little scared, and more than a little anxious by the time I got home that night. I had thought things through, overly so, to the point of insanity. I had a copy of the contract on my laptop, and I’d gone over it and over it and over it – again, to the point of insanity. We could do this, it was only for a few months at the most, and professionalism had to prevail. That was the idea anyway. Whether or not it stayed that way was another question entirely, one I wasn’t in the mood to deal with at that point.
Needless to say I slept very little that night, and since it was the weekend I guess that was a good thing. I got up much like a zombie would the next morning, feeding Tina, feeding myself, and crawling back into bed until noon. I realized I hadn’t done that in a long time, just stayed at home on a Saturday morning, chilling out, sleeping in. Before, I’d have been mapping out my week and edging in more meetings. But no, I was assured that ‘Jason was taking care of it,’ from my Gran who had called the night before too, just to rub salt in the wounds – or to see if I was okay. Either way, it was all the same to me. She might have meant well, but it fucking sucked.
I’d agreed to meet some girlfriends in town for a late lunch and some shopping, and I was glad I did. Catching up with my friends was, again, not something I’d had a lot of time for – they too were just a little shocked when I told them what was going on at work. They all took my side of course, but how could they not? They were my friends after all, not my Grandmother’s.
“So, I don’t know what she really wants from me, besides my personal life on a platter for her to inspect,” I shrugged, sipping on my daiquiri.
Sarah chimed in again with a sigh, “Really Sookie, it’s none of her business. You know you could just sue her for wrongful termination if she fires you.”
I shook my head “I couldn’t do that, she’s-”
“Family?” Pam asked, rolling her eyes. “If she’s family then she should be kissing your ass, not making you jump through hoops.”
“I know, I just don’t know how else to do this other than to give her what she wants,” I said, and Maria just agreed with me.
“What? I know Sookie, and I know her job is her life, and yes it sucks that this is happening… but I guess her Gran is still her boss, like it or not, and she’s asking her to slow down, not speed up. It’s not a bad idea really.”
“No, really Sookie, come on. Dating! Sexing! It’s all good fun, and its fun you haven’t allowed yourself to have in a while – fuck buddies not withstanding.”
“Well… just so you all know, I have been trying. I have been giving the whole septic tank of New York dating, a try.”
“And?” Pam asked.
I shrugged. “There were a few potential good ones… but there is one guy…”
Maria ‘oooh’d’ and Sarah moved closer to me.
“So? What’s he like?” Maria asked, romantic at heart, where as Pam was a little more practical.
“What does he do? He does have a job, right? I mean he’s not another ‘artist’ living out of a dive in Queens, right?”
“That was one guy, and it was college, and he was really good at sex, like seriously, he approached sex like a woman… I overlooked his loserdom for that.”
“But this guy?” Pam continued.
“He’s cute, and very tall, and sweet. And we’re… taking it slow.”
“How slow?” Sarah asked.
“Slow. I like him, and we’re just seeing where it goes, and if it goes anywhere… I’ll be introducing him to Granmommy dearest, and hoping for her approval so I get to keep my ass in my job,” I lied, well, half-lied. I did like Eric, and I was, for all intents and purposes, seeing where it went. They didn’t need to know that it was by contract only, and he was making a good deal of money off of it, and it wasn’t real.
“What does he do?” Pam asked, again. And again, I ignored her, because thankfully my cell phone rang.
Saved by the bell.
“And you’re just going to do this? Just like that? You’re going to lie for her? To everyone? Eric, I don’t like the sound of this,” Amelia said, as she sipped her beer. We’d gone out to Sam’s bar; it was Saturday night, and we all needed to unwind. Thankfully Amelia’s mom was a god send, and the kids liked staying with her, and she with them. It worked out well in times like these. We had somewhat of a social life.
“It’s a work thing, that’s all.”
“REALLY? That’s all it is? The hot blonde with the nice rack wants you to fake date her, and it’s ‘work’?”
“Yes. There will be contracts and everything, it’s very above board, I promise. And, you said it made good business sense, before, and that’s all it is.”
“And what do you get out of it? If she gets her freaky lie, and you have to play house or whatever, what do you get out of it?” Sam asked.
“I get the satisfaction of doing a good deed for someone.”
“Or doing THE deed,” Trey interjected.
“Not at all. It’s not like that.”
“But you’d want it to be like that?” Amelia asked.
“Lying,” she smiled.
“Dude, come on, you haven’t gotten any in a lonnnng time…” Sam said. I just glared. “Ames says she’s hot, and coming from Ames, you know it’s a good deal… so nothing at all?”
“All right, so she’s hot and there was a little something there… but this is totally separate. And there might be money involved.”
“Ew, oh my God, ew!” Amelia all but shrieked.
“What?!” I asked.
“Eric, you’re basically her hooker, ew… that’s so gr-”
“I am not her hooker! There will be no sex! It’s not like that at all!”
“That’s even worse, you’re a hooker who isn’t even getting laid.”
“How am I a hooker? It’s a job, I’m getting paid for it. Sam you do a job, you get paid, as do you Trey? How are they any different? Or does that make us all hookers?”
“Well, for one, I don’t have to fake love someone I’m working with, thankfully,” Sam said, smugly.
“It’s not a big deal, and I just wish you guys could be a little bit more supportive of this, that’s all,” I shrugged, maybe a little pressed that they were ganging up on me like that.
“I’m sorry, Eric,” Ames patted my hand across the table. “We’re just concerned, that’s all. We’ve seen how hard shit has been for you these last few years, and we don’t want to see you get hurt…or taken advantage of. That’s all.”
“I’m the one that suggested it, alright? She thought we were nuts and maybe we are, but I’d like to help her, and it is all above board.”
“And you’re being paid?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, twenty five grand, for my troubles.”
That stopped them in their tracks.
“So, can we please stop worrying about me? I’m getting the easy part of this deal; she’s the one that has to deal with her family.”
“Well, if you’re sure?” Ames asked, still looking like a concerned mamma bird.
“I am, for sure.”
I wasn’t, but I also didn’t really love the idea of getting in to it with them. I liked Sookie, so much so that I’d go as far as to say I had a crush on Sookie, but I also liked my job. I liked getting paid, and having a secure day to day, pay to pay income, that and I really did want to help her. I just held on to my own reasoning and hoped for the best. And it seemed that Sookie was doing the same.
I was summoned into her office on the Tuesday morning to find two other men inside already waiting as I got there with the coffee.
“Sorry, I didn’t know there was a meeting or I would have brought more…”
“No, Eric, this is my lawyer, and yours.”
“Mr. Andrews will be acting on my behalf, and Mr. Burnham will be acting on your behalf, for the contracts. Please, sit.” She was nervous, and twitchy. She looked like she hadn’t really slept, and yet still for any other woman that would mean she’d look like a truck ran over her, but not Sookie, she still looked hot. It wasn’t fair.
“Okay … sure.”
“The reason they’re here, I mean, you know why they’re here, I wanted everything to be as above board as possible. I’m not using you. I’m employing you, simple as that. And this means we get everything done and dusted, and out of the way so that we can just get on with things.”
I nodded as the other of the two men, Mr Andrews, went over the content of the contracts with both of us. How it worked, what was expected, and when and how much I’d get paid. I felt as uncomfortable as Sookie looked, both of us pale and sweaty by the time it came to sign.
“Gentlemen, can I have a moment with Mr. Northman? You can wait in the hallway. Ask Sophie, the redhead at the front desk, to get you a coffee if you’d like.”
They left, leaving us to only each other.
“Eric, I wanted to give you a shot to back out here. You don’t have to do this for me, really. I mean, I can just go and find another option or figure something else out… I want you to just be sure, okay? If you’re not I want you to… I don’t know, speak now, or for three months hold your piece,” she half smiled, awkwardly. It was kinda adorable.
“I want to do this. I told you, it’s fine.”
“Is it though? Isn’t it just a little pathetic of me, having to literally pay someone to pretend to love me? I mean, how is that not sad and extremely depressing?” She rolled her eyes, mostly at herself I imagined, or the situation. I’d be eye rolling too if I didn’t know how desperate she was to keep her job. I also wanted to tell her that she wouldn’t have to pay me, and even if she wanted, we wouldn’t even have to fake it… but I couldn’t.
“As you’ve said countless times, its just business. We’re making a deal. You make deals every day. That’s all this is, another deal.”
That seemed to steel her resolve again, and she nodded.
“You’re right. I mean, of course this is what this is. I just… I don’t know why I’m freaking out here.”
“It’s also personal though, for you. I get it.”
“You don’t think I’m pathetic?”
“Do you really care what I think?”
She didn’t usually, and I was just pointing that out.
She didn’t blink for a second, but then she dropped whatever panic she was experiencing and the bitchface came back, as well as the Ice Bitch ‘tude. I really hadn’t missed that.
“Fine, in that case can we just sign the papers and get it over with? I have a lot of things to be doing today.”
We both signed on the dotted line, and in a matter of months I’d have a healthier bank balance, a better working title, and the ability to relax a little more – at least in theory. Sookie and I didn’t really talk for the rest of the day, other than about work things. She spent most of the day on the phone anyway, and I was tasked with sorting out the filing system for 2001 for whatever random reason. It was probably just a way for her to get me out of the way. I had a feeling that she was feeling rather sorry for herself, if she was asking me if I thought it was pathetic – what we were doing – what she was doing – then it meant that’s where her thoughts were going. She thought it was sad, pathetic, and probably below her. And maybe she was right, but as it stood since she wouldn’t give the old fashioned way a try, then this was her only option, as crazy as it was.
By the end of the day, I made sure to stay back. I knew she’d stay late – she was Sookie after all – and with her brother running things on a Friday and a Monday, it was with no doubt that I knew she would be cleaning up his messes for most of her working days, staying late was probably what she had to do to get it back to rights.
I tapped on her door at six, she looked shocked to see me since she was sitting way back in her seat, her shoeless feet on her desk.
“What are you still doing here? I’m not paying you overtime you know.”
Still with the bitchass tone, awesome.
“I just wanted to talk to you.”
“The thing…” I closed her office door, I was pretty sure we were alone, but you never could be too careful. Those offices had ears, that’s for sure.
“You regretting it already?”
“I… no… I just wanted to make sure you were okay, that’s all,” I shrugged.
I pushed my glasses up on my nose a little as I sat down. “Are you? Earlier, I mean that panic attack of sorts, it didn’t sound so fine.”
“It was what it was, just a moment of doubt, but I’m doing this for my job just as you’re doing this for yours. No big deal,” she shrugged.
“Right… I guess.”
“Unless you doubt it, in which case, Eric, I’d rather you tell me now.”
Her voice took on that slightly panicked tone again.
“Sookie, chill. It’s fine, I promise.”
“Okay, good. Thanks again … for agreeing to it. It saved me a lot of hassle trying to fit one of those assholes into my life, and as insane as this is, I hope it’s just until my birthday, and that’s not too far away. And chances are we won’t even have to fake anything. I never see my family, Gran is always in the Hamptons or in Louisiana, so we’re fine. It’ll be my birthday, and that’s it. No biggie.”
She was so wrong. Because you see, as luck would have it, once her Grandmother got wind that Sookie was dating someone, she was on our ass like white on rice. With hilariously awkward results, might I add.
Two weeks passed quickly, as time tends to do when you have a lot of shit to do, and a lot on your mind, but by the end of the second week since we’d signed the contracts neither Eric nor I had found reason to bring it up. It was business as usual. Meetings, showings, photo shoots to book, models to choose, clothes to pull, and all of it on me. Jason doing his ‘share’ really was only more trouble than it was worth, because it did leave me with twice as much work to do, and three times the amount of ass to kiss to fix his fuck ups. I was stressed, I was frustrated, and I really just wanted to fix everything, to get everything back to the way it was. And then, she called. She’d been informed that I was ‘seeing someone,’ and from her tone, it was more than obvious it was Jason that told her. I’d told him knowing he’d tell her, it was the whole point of it. Jason couldn’t not gossip, he was worse than a woman in that respect. So, when she called I wasn’t overly shocked, but what I was shocked by was her request.
“Oh, Sookie, I am ever so pleased you decided to take my advice. I mean really, it’s good for you darling, being out there. You’re too beautiful to be single and lonely.”
“I think it’s great. Who is he? Jason was a little lax on details.”
That was because I gave him none.
“Well, it’s kind of … odd. I wasn’t really expecting anything to happen… but it did, and I’m glad it did. He’s a good guy, and he’s very sweet and really attentive-” In that he was an epic assistant, and attended to me that way, oh, and maybe we’d made out a couple of times, something like that.
I could hear her smiling on the other end of the phone. “Oh Dear, that’s just wonderful, who is it? Do I know him? Is it that handsome Remy Savoy? Jason told me you’d been seen with him a time or two, but then I heard he got married… Oh Sookie, he’s not married, is he?”
“Gran, it’s not him, and he and I were never really together, so I wish Jason would just mind his own business, and believe me, he has enough business to mind!”
“Well then who, Sweetie?”
“My… boyfriend…” I glanced out my window at said ‘boyfriend.’ He was on the headset redirecting calls, as well as typing up a storm.
“Eric … your assistant?”
I swallowed. I cringed. I embraced and became a stereotype.
“Yes. He’s … we’ve become close.”
She was silent.
“I see…” she said, eventually.
“He’s wonderful, actually. And he’s a parent.”
“He has a child? Oh, Sookie … this is just-” her tone took a sharper turn, clearly that wasn’t so welcome either.
“No, she’s not his child, she’s his little sister, but both his parents are dead. So, he’s her guardian, and he’s amazing with her, he’s got a good spirit, and I like him. And besides, isn’t this what you wanted? Me, dating? Well, I’m dating.”
“I’m sorry about his parents. As you and I know, that’s not an easy thing to go though.”
“No, it’s not,” I agreed. “She’s a wonderful little girl, and he’s doing an incredible job with her, all things considered.”
“Hmm,” she said.
I didn’t know what that meant, so I kept on talking.
“Her name is Emily, and she’s five, and she’s just, oh, Gran she’s just this adorable little blonde thing, so full of life, she’s amazing…”
I heard her smile again. “I’m glad … and I look forward to meeting her.”
“Yes she is she’s – wait, what?”
“I’ll be in town on Monday. I’ll be there until Wednesday, and I’d like to stay with you, if that’s okay. I’m not fond of my apartment in the city anymore, and hotels are just so lonely. I’d like us to spend some time together, since my last visit was so short.”
“Oh…um, Gran … that’s not really … I mean I’d love to but-”
Panic, panic, panic.
“But what? Jason is in town, is he not? He can cover on the days we decide to take an early lunch or what not, and I’m just dying to meet this Emily. She makes you smile; I can hear it in your voice, as does Eric. I mean I’m not surprised, when I met him I just assumed you two were fooling around.”
“Well, what? Clearly you saw him, and talked to him. He is quite charming, for an assistant. Usually they’re incompetent.”
And there was the rub. She didn’t approve of his profession. Gran always was a bit of a snob when it came to that. I blamed her spending so much time in the damn Hamptons. I guess Eric was right, and in some ways I was a giant snob too. Gee, I wonder where I’d got that from? I decided I’d work on that.
“Gran, really, wouldn’t you be more comfortable in a hotel, you know it’s-”
“Do you not want me to come and stay? It’s only for a few days…”
“It’s not that it’s just-”
He’s my fake boyfriend and I was hoping to keep his innocent little sister out of this. No such luck.
“Fine then, I arrive at noon on Monday, I’ve got my own transport from the airport. I look forward to seeing lots of this Eric. I assume he’s been … how do you put it these days … sleeping over?”
My eyes went wide. She wasn’t serious.
“Oh, well, you know it’s early days so really-”
“Now Sookie, I might be an old woman, but I’m not so old that I don’t remember what it was like when one first falls into a relationship – especially with someone as handsome as Eric.”
“Oh … Well, I guess, I mean-”
“And you have more than enough room, unless you’ve moved and not told me.”
“No, I haven’t moved.”
“Great then, maybe we can all do dinner on the Monday night, Jason and Crystal too perhaps.”
I was sure my blood pressure was sky high, this wasn’t healthy. My place had three bedrooms, which clearly meant if Eric was sleeping over he was sleeping over with me.
I got off the phone and went out to his desk, trying my best to calm my shit down. When we got back to my office, I shut the door, and shut the shields.
“What’s wrong? Why are you all red?” he asked, sitting on the edge of my desk.
“I … well, change of plans. You know how I thought we’d not see nor hear from my family until basically Thanksgiving?”
“Yeah your birthday is that week, right?”
“Right, but well, Gran has thrown a spanner in the works.”
“She’s decided she’s coming to stay for a few days, and basically is assuming since we’re dating … right, I told her, we’re dating, it’s dating, we’re all kinds of dating. Anyway, she’s assuming because of that, like a normal person, that I sleep with my boyfriend and that you sleep over.”
“Oh…” His eyes went wide as he realized. “OH.”
“Yeah … and I told her about Emily, you know, so she’d know more about you, figuring she’d leave it at that, but really, she didn’t and now she’s coming and wants to get to know you guys. Eric I really had hoped to keep Emily out of this, she has nothing to do with this!”
Yes, I was in panic mode.
He came close to me, and rubbed his hands down my bare arms, in a comforting gesture, as he tried to calm me down.
“Hey, hey come on, don’t worry about it, okay? We’ll work something out…”
“I don’t wanna lie to your baby sister, that’s wrong… I mean my Gran is one thing – one terrible thing, but it’s for a reason and really she asked for this, but Emily… I don’t-”
“Me either, but maybe we don’t lie. Maybe we just tell her … selective truths.”
“Like, we’re friends and we’re friends who have to have a sleep over because … that’s what friends do. And maybe we tell her that we’re special friends. I’m sure your Grandmother isn’t going to be giving a five year old the third degree about my … our … sex life. There are ways around the guilt, trust me; I’m still dealing with the whole Santa dilemma.”
I noticed his hands were still on my arms, caressing them in a way, it was comforting but it was also kinda hot.
“Good luck with that.”
“Thanks. So what do we do about her?”
“I’ll worry about Em’, you worry about Adele.”
“Right, I guess … I mean, would you … would it be weird … I mean, of course it’s weird, but the whole ‘sleep over’ scenario, I mean would it be … okay?”
He shrugged. “It’s on a weeknight, or nights … I have to get Em’ to pre-school in the mornings … in Brooklyn, so it would mean being late for work,” he nudged.
“I think I can clear it with your boss that you’d be let off the hook on those days.”
He smiled, I really liked his smile, and how his new glasses still impressed me when he did – I could see his eyes now that they fit right.
“Then sure, I know Emily will love it. She couldn’t stop talking about your place and how pretty it was, and how shiny and white. But with her around it might not stay that way.”
“It’s only for a while, a few days at most. I’m sorry, I really didn’t think she’d bother doing this.”
“Eh, I guess it gives us practice, right? For your birthday thing…”
How was he so calm? Why couldn’t I be calm? I did yoga for fuck sake, I should channel my inner whatever and CALM, but I couldn’t. I never was a very good liar.
“There will be a party, there always is whether I want one or not, it’s their tradition. It’s annoying, and over the top, and completely unnecessary, but it is what it is. And I guess you’re right, this is kind of like practice.”
“It’ll be fine,” he said.
“I wish I had your optimism.”
“Or stupidity, it really depends on how you look at it. Look, we’ll do this, and she’ll be none the wiser and go home thinking we’re all awesome… we hope.”
“Eric… I…” we both looked at each other then, and for a split second it was like everything was okay, like it would be fine because he said so. I felt … safe.
“I don’t know how to thank you for this. I mean, really it’s above and-”
“Hey, come on now, don’t go getting all soppy on me. I won’t be able to handle the whiplash in moods if you do,” he joked, or maybe he was serious, my moods were pretty erratic.
“I know, I just…”
“Sookie, it’s fine, we’ll play house, and she’ll buy the house we’re playing and go home happy and have lots of time to consider her choices.”
With a playful jerk of his eyebrows he left the office and me, a lot calmer than I was before. I really appreciated that he wasn’t looking for me to lead the show. He knew what he wanted, and didn’t want to do. That helped me hugely because I really had no clue where any of this was going.
To add to my ever increasing pile of fuck my life, just when things were starting to calm down, just when I was starting to think I had everything under control, and on the up, Remy Savoy walked into my building, and back into my life.