A little Christmas treat for you guys, a new chapter of DWD! Thanks so much for all the encouragement this year, it’s been amazing! See you in 2012! 😀
I found Emily on the floor of Sookie’s extremely clean, and white on white bedroom, shockingly she was behaving herself. The cat looked pissed off though.
“Eric, this is Tina, Tina, this is Eric. He’s my big brother and kind of like a dad, but he’s mostly my big brother. Tina is a cat,” she pointed out, with a sweet smile.
“You want to come down and get something to eat? Sookie is making snacks.”
“Say hi to Tina, Eric, don’t be rude!” she said, lifting the skinny cat up in her tiny hands, and it looked even more bored with these shenanigans than it was before.
“Okay, hi Tina.” I said, shaking its paw, to keep Emily happy, “can we go eat now?”
She put the cat back in its place, and took my hand to go downstairs, I made sure she washed her hands before we ate though, and thankfully lunch went by without incident, or without much awkward pausing. Then the girls decided that a trip to the park was in order, and really it was just what the doctor ordered. We managed to get some exercise, tire Emily out a lot, and clear the air a little.
“She is a really great parent, I mean, doing all she did for us and running a business like she did? It can’t have been easy, especially when Granddaddy died,” certain words she’s say and her southern accent came right back, it was cute, “Jason and I tried to help her out as much as we could growing up, I guess we had to grow up faster than most kids because of that….”
She looked at Emily, kicking a tiny pile of leaves, “but it was fun, for the most part…then far too serious in other parts.” She shrugged changing the subject, “want to get some coffee?”
I nodded, “Should I run to Starbucks and –“
“Don’t even!” She slapped me on the arm, as we called Emily back to us; all three of us bundled up for the chilly October Sunday we’d been enjoying.
“Hey, It’s hard you know, slipping in and out of work mode!”
“I guess, but hey, in a few days Gran will be here and gone, and we won’t have to pretend anything anymore, and work will just be…work.”
I exhaled, the situation was sticky whether we wanted to admit it or not.
We stopped for coffee for us and some hot chocolate contraption for Emily. Sookie got various phone calls throughout the day, ignoring most of them, and then one came in that changed her relaxed demeanour.
“What do you mean they got delivered to the office today, its SUNDAY…currier? On a Sunday? Jesus Christ, Andrew, those are four dresses that are worth more than my life, you can’t just let them sit out in front of the damn offices like that….oh, my God…” she ran her hand through her hair, she’d worn it down and slightly curled and it fluffed out of her cream coatdress. “Okay look I’ll… I’ll come down, I’ll be there, and can you just not leave them outside. Yes I know you’re security, and this is a screw up, but I’m asking you do just keep them safe,” she rolled her eyes, pressing the red button on her blackberry.
“Four vintage Dior gowns were delivered to the offices today, for a shoot on Tuesday that we’re doing across town. They were meant to be delivered on Tuesday…across town, but now I have to haul as-“she took note of Emily looking at her and reconsidered her choice of words, “I just have to get over there really quick which is the last thing that I needed right now, with everything going on, I’ve just been beyond stressed out and I –“
“I’ll go, I mean, it’s my job right? My main job?” I stood up, and left some cash on the table – before she could this time, and put Emily’s coat on.
“Yeah…but I mean its Sunday, I’m used to dealing with this shi…stuff,” she said, as Emily took her hand, and then mine quietly looking from me to Sookie and back again.
“It’s fine, if you don’t mind taking Emily back to your place?”
She shook her head, “No, of course not, we’d be okay together, right?”
Emily shook her head vigorously, and I just wrapped her Hello Kitty scarf a little tighter.
“Cool, I’ll drop by, sweet talk Andrew with some coffee and some sugar filled something’s and leave the packages in your office, I’ll be an hour tops.”
And with that we said our goodbye’s and I hightailed it across town, just as the rain started to pour – again. By the time I got back, two hours later, to find Sookie and Emily inside Sookie’s closet – a closet that could house a family of four might I add, I guess I was stressed and pushed to the edge with everything piling on top of me, including the ever growing, ever changing little sister that I wasn’t sure how to deal with at all… I snapped. It was innocent, completely and utterly, but when I saw her there with Sookie, dressed up in Sookie’s clothes, wearing make up and a freakin’ tiara, I lost my shit.
“Why is she wearing all that?”
Sookie smiled getting off the floor, “Oh, we’re playing dress up!” she said, as playful as I’m sure they’d been since I left, “isn’t she pre-“
“Take it off…”
Emily’s smiley face soon took on the expression of confused and then pouty.
“What? Why?” Sookie asked, flicking some glitter off her hands.
“Just…take it off. She can’t…she’s too young to be doing this shit-“
“Eric you said shit!”
“Quiet Emily, take that off right now!”
Both of them looked at me, Sookie was stunned and Emily just plain wasn’t having it, bursting into tears at my side.
I hated myself, I really did, plus I just completely didn’t understand where that had come from. Had I taken extra asshole pills with my coffee this morning?
Emily ran off into ‘her’ room, leaving me face to face with a fucked off Sookie. She folded her arms, her stern face a drastic contrast to her sequin dress and funny makeup that Emily had undoubtedly painted on.
“I don’t know what the fuck your problem is, but that? Was just fucking uncalled for.”
Sookie ordered pizza for all of us and popped in a DVD on her giant screen for Emily, without asking so much as what I wanted to eat; I guess she’d had enough of my bullshit from before. Being frozen out by one tiny woman was usually painful enough, but now I had two, very annoyed very hurt looking females glaring in my direction.
Needless to say, Emily’s bath time also went by in virtual silence, and after that it just got painful.
“Em’ I’m sorry okay?” I said, as I was tucking her in, she’d refused to let me help her with her nightgown either, and when I spoke she turned her head to the other side to ignore me.
“Emily, please look at me…?”
“I’m sorry, okay? I over reacted, and I just freaked out, I worry about you that’s all?”
“I just do. I don’t want…you growing up too fast. Grownups worry about kids, it’s what we do.”
“But I’m six in a few months, and I’m older than four girls in my class…and I can make pancakes now. You told me I had to be a big girl.”
I did tell her that, contradictive parenting 101.
“I know, but I didn’t mean like this.”
“It was only dress up.”
“I know, which is why I’m saying sorry for reacting the way I did, okay Sweetheart? I was…an ass.” She smiled.
“A donkey’s ass.” She said, breaking another smile.
“Yes, a great, big, smelly, ugly, donkey’s ass!” I punctuated by tickling her, “do you forgive me?”
She stopped laughing when I asked that, and pretended to think about it for a second, “Ummmmmmmmmm…”
“Hey come on, when you say sorry and mean it, what do I do?”
She rolled her eyes, “you forgive me and give me a cuddle…”
“So? Do I get a cuddle?”
“Do you promise not to be a donkey’s ass again?”
“I promise I’ll try, how’s that?”
“I guess its okay.”
I kissed her on the cheek and she squeezed me in a cuddle.
“You want a story?”
Getting Emily to sleep wasn’t that hard, she’d had an eventful day, and dropped off by the second story I’d made up for her. Going back to just Sookie and I was beyond awkward since she was still giving me the cold shoulder. Not just the cold shoulder, the cold looks, and the cold silence. She’d turned on a movie by the time I got back down there, she had a glass of wine, and there was popcorn on the table. She was looking through paperwork, work that I knew she’d been stressing about all of the previous week, having Jason take some days away from her at work was meant to de-stress her, but instead it seemed to make her more anxious. We sat and watched the movie for a while, the air filled with awkward silence. I knew I had to break it.
With my mini melt down, I’d swung things back right where we started. We were both standoffish and cautious. She sat on one end of her massive, sunken, comfortable couch, and I on the opposite end. The movie was fine, but the wheels spinning in my head meant I couldn’t concentrate on it like she was. She had her giant glass of wine, and I had my beer, the cat was sitting in the chair sleeping – though everyone once in a while she’d wake up, give us a judging look and curl back to sleep again. Twenty more minutes of watching Thor battle his ‘brother’ and I had to address it, I had to break the silence.
“I’m sorry, about before…”I said, softly. It earned me a look from Sookie, and she just shrugged.
“I told you, its fine. You’re her parent, I’m not… I over stepped my bounds and I’m sorry about that. It’s done… let’s just watch the movie.” She looked back to the TV again. I didn’t want to let it go though, not until I felt less like an asshole.
“I shouldn’t have over reacted…”
“But ya did…” she answered, aloof, still glued to the TV and not looking in my direction. One thing Sookie was great at, especially at work too, the bitch freeze. In this instance I was frozen out.
“Yeah, I did, and I hate that I did. It was douche bag thing to do, and I ended up upsetting everyone, and that’s really not what I wanted. Sookie, honestly, I’m just having a lot of issues with being a parent, especially lately…and I guess I handled it all wrong. I don’t want you or Em’ mad at me, okay? I just…”
“You just what?” she looked at me then, the ice not as frosty as it had been most of the night, “see you don’t explain this shit to me, Eric. I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent, or a make-shift parent to my kid sister, all I know is there’s a little girl who needs more women in her life… and I just wanted her to feel girly and pretty, and like the other little girls in there with their moms and sisters’ I wanted to make her feel special. And you, you shit all over that my insinuating that I was trying to force her into becoming some shallow little Goddamn Barbie doll.”
“I know, like I said, I’m a bastard for that.”
“Yes, you are. I mean, Jesus, what do you have against me here? I wasn’t doing anything that any other woman doesn’t do with her kids, or her nieces or her cousins… it was a fun harmless activity…and boom…”
“Why though? I want to know why you went off like that. Is it me, do you not want me around Emily because –“
“Christ no, it’s not that at all! She loves you…”
“I don’t know what I’m doing, okay? I don’t know how to be her brother, and a dad to her and a mom to her all at once, okay? I just don’t know how to do it right. I want so badly to raise her like my folks would have wanted, but they’re not here…and God…” I sighed, “I fucking wish so hard that they were, just to tell me what to do… but they aren’t, and I’m winging it, like I’ve been winging it for over two years now. And she’s changing so fast, I can’t keep up. I don’t want her to grow up too fast –“
“And that’s why you freaked out…the make up – which was just clear lip gloss and some glitter shadow by the way…the manicure…it set you off?” She was looking at me now, not full of disdain, but full of concern. I noticed too, we’d gotten closer to each other physically during our conversation. I felt like an idiot, that’s for sure. I just closed my eyes and shook my head, “I’m sorry, again.”
She laughed then, putting down her glass and scooting closer to me.
“Eric, here’s a little secret… no one knows what the fuck their doing when it comes to kids. Look at my brother and his wife, they made twins… neither of them knew shit… about any of it and they still manage to not kill their kids. Granted they named them and for that alone they should be brought up on abuse charges… but still. And my girlfriends who have babies? Winging it from day one. They have nannies, and family, friends that help out. The old saying ‘it takes a village?’ not just talking about the YMCA dance, Eric.”
That made me laugh, and it seemed the air around us relaxed a hell of a lot more than it had been before.
“Look, I’m not one to blow smoke up anyone’s ass, but she’s a great kid. Most of which, I’m guessing it down to you, some of it is genes, I’m sure… but she’s great. She’s sweet, and polite, she’s kind…trust me if you have visions of her turning into a nightmare…don’t. At least… not until she hits puberty, then all bets are off,” she smiled, petting my hand once before she grabbed my empty beer bottle and her empty glass and headed for the kitchen.
I walked in behind her a few seconds later, seeing her pouring another glass of wine.
“My village is pretty great.” I said, leaning against her counter top.
“Yeah, I mean Ames and Trey; they’ve been a God send really. She helped me out of a lot of sticky situations, but literally and figuratively,” I smiled, pushing my glasses up, “Ame’s mom is like an angel in the form of a sixty-four year old…and Sam too… you’re right it does take a lot of people to raise a kid. I have people.”
“Glad you realize that…” she said, handing me another beer, and the look we shared told me that she had something else to say.
“I do…” I all but whispered back.
“And you have me, too. If… you want me,” she said, just as softly, breaking eye contact to look at her bare feet.
Then she looked at me again, and it was like she saw through all my insecurities, all my bullshit and she really believed in what she’d said.
“Yeah, you do.”
Never had three words turned me on more in my life.
It came time for bed, and honestly I was more nervous about simply sleeping next to him than I had been for any sexual encounter in my entire life. Eric checked on Emily more than once, I knew he was as apprehensive as I was, and that in it self was really comforting. I washed up and put on my more modest pyjamas, covering me up in blue silk. I walked into my room and found Eric sitting on one side of my bed, wearing a long pair of black lounge pants and that alone. I put my bracelets on my dresser, and went to the left side of the bed. Neither of us said anything, and then suddenly, a few seconds after we’d both gotten under the covers, Eric started laughing. And laughing, and laughing.
“What the hell are you laughing at?” I asked, finally.
“This whole situation, both of us on pins and needles and all we’re doing is sleeping next to each other, you’d think we were teenagers, behaving like this…” he chuckled, making me smile too, it was really ridiculous, wasn’t it?
“Seriously…” he smiled, turning to me, laying on his side, “we have to get comfortable with each other, Sookie, or she’ll know something isn’t right. We’re meant to be head over heels and all that stuff.”
“I know, it’s silly,” I admitted, given what we’d been through during the day still playing on my mind though.
“It is. So I say we fix that…”
That made me freeze, and he noticed.
“Calm down, I’m not suggesting anything like…that.” His eyes twinkled, and his smile got wider. The jackass knew exactly what he was doing.
“Then what, exactly.”
“Tell me stuff…?” he asked, cutely.
“What kind of stuff?” I shifted so I was on my elbow too, looking at him.
“The kind of stuff a boyfriend would be…expected to know.”
Oh, suddenly I felt self-conscious again.
“Well, you already know where I buy my underwear, and how I like my coffee…what else is there to know?” I smiled.
“Smartass… Real stuff, what if she asks?”
“But if she does….”
It was my turn to roll my eyes; I guess we were having this conversation then.
“Okay fine, fire away…”
He thought for a second, looking magically mischievous while doing so, and then he asked…
“How many guys have you had sex with?”
I slapped him on the arm, “she will NOT be asking for that.”
“Yeah but if she does…?”
I glared at him and he just laughed.
“Are you too shy to admit it?” he teased.
“How many have you had sex with?” I asked to avoid the question even more.
“Men?” he snorted, “happy to say none, man sex virgin.”
I punched him again.
“Okay, women.” I clarified.
“Not including fooling around to oral. Full on sex… twelve.”
“Were you expecting more or less?” He smiled.
“I don’t really know what I was expecting….”
“Well, I answered…”
Rolling my eyes I answered “I’ve had sex with…ahem…fifteen guys.”
His eyes widened.
“What? Why the wide eyes?” was he judging me, did I care that he was? Should I have cared that he was? I didn’t know how to react.
“No, no wide eyes that’s just…you know.. Higher than mine…”
“Well, I went through a phase in college, a really slutty, band groupie phase…” I blushed.
“It’s not a lot… okay it’s a lot, but I’ve known people who are a lot higher in numbers than we are…”
I smiled, “backtracking…”
“No! I mean, I can’t really talk, I had my own ‘phase’.”
“No, not so much the groupie, as the group.”
I squinted, “ huh?”
“Well, I was part of a semester abroad. A group of us math nerds went to Oxford…we had accents and access to getting girls higher math grades. So, you know they’d kind of offered to … if we tutored them.”
I gaped, “Oh, my god!”
“Well, I was nineteen and a skinny geek! I wasn’t going to say no when hot British girls who thought I had a really cute accent and a nice ‘bum’ offered to fuck me!”
“No, I’m not shocked at that, shit I’d be worried if you DID refuse…no… basically you have a life time pattern of getting into shady ass deals with …attractive women! Doesn’t that worry you?”
“That I’m a sucker for a pretty face?” he smirked, laying down on his back and looking up at the ceiling, “No, maybe it should but I don’t regret anything I’ve said yes to…”
“Not yet at least…”
“So, a groupie huh… that I didn’t expect.”
I rolled my eyes, “Yeah, I had a thing for musicians and then for Artists, and I once found me an artistically gifted painter who was also a guitar player… I was in heaven.” I smiled, “of course he was a total bum and we hardly had anything in common to make a conversation, but he was hot and I guess I didn’t care for much else then.”
“My Gran will not be asking those questions.”
“What will she ask me then?”
“About you, mostly, where you went to school, what you studied. You might have to leave out the whole – you tutored for pussy thing though.”
He laughed again and I realised that we’d totally relaxed with each other in that moment. I guess embarrassing confessions did that.
“I guess she’ll want to know why I’m ‘just’ an assistant?”
I shrugged, “it’s not like it’s something I haven’t wondered myself…”
“You’re really smart, Eric. Like, your references were from world class professors…I googled!”
He smiled, blushing a little. I like that he was one of the few guys who were smart but didn’t feel the need to rub it in anyone’s face.
“So then why’d you really drop out of that research job, was it just because of Emily?”
He shrugged, “Partly her, partly me. I wanted to in New York, I wanted to be around more, and I was looking for something new. There were a few iffy jobs, I won’t lie. My retail experience for example…” he smiled, “I spent my university life, my teen years – with numbers, not people.”
“Was it hell?”
“Total hell, I worked in a pet store for a year, Emily is never allowed a pet,” he laughed again, shaking his head, “maybe a dog, a small dumb one. No birds.”
“I’m scared of birds.” I admitted.
“I don’t blame you, flying rats, flying evil rats. Once one attacked me, and like dug its claws into my head! …then it shit in places that I don’t wanna talk about… just …no.”
The image of him with a bird on his head, shitting on him made me laugh and the more I tried to stop the laugh, the harder it got.
“Oh my God I can’t breathe…” I rolled over, and back, giggling.
“You look good when you laugh, you should laugh more,” I rolled towards him again, finally calming down, the funny image of him in my head replaced with the look on his face as he watched me. Neither of us said anything for a few seconds, and then he spoke, flooring me.
“What’s the policy on touching?”
“Like, we’re a couple; we’ve…been intimate, right?”
I didn’t answer, “So, we’re comfortable with each other, with the touching.”
“What kinda touching we talkin’ about here?” I jerked my eyebrows, “I mean are we talking third base at the dinner table or –“
“No, I mean when I’m with a woman,” that didn’t make my heart beat faster or anything, not at all, “I’m tactile, and …attentive,” he said, his eyes flashing to my lips.
Mind in the gutter; mind all down in the gutter.
“Is that right?”
“Yeah, how are you with guys?”
“Honestly, I’m sort of afraid of PDA…A little…a lot.” I shrugged.
“I don’t know, I just don’t like the idea of people judging me like that, and kissing and groping, they’re intimate personal things that I don’t think the world needs to see…”
He nodded, “I respect that, but Sookie, she needs to see it, this isn’t real…right?”
“So, I can’t think of a better way of securing in her mind that we’re together and you’re balancing your life better by giving a guy a shot, than by giving this guy a shot and going for it.”
“What you’re saying is shit or get off the pot.”
He laughed, “Yes, eloquent as always, Boss.”
“You can take the girl out of Louisiana, an all that.”
“I’d like to see Louisiana Sookie come out to play more…”
“Anything else you’d like?”
He bit his lip, and God help me I wanted to replace his teeth with mine. So many lines were crossed; in fact I was pretty sure the line was now so crossed I was expecting Jesus to show up on it.
“There are a few things I’d like, but I’m not so sure it’s so right wanting them…”
I waited for him to tell me, instead he just shook his head and looked to the ceiling again.
“Come on, tell me!” I poked him in the arm.
“I want to make out with you. There, I said it.”
I just rolled my eyes.
“I mean I’m not talking about blowing me in a bathroom or something, and I know, I know it’s not meant to be on the table, but ever since the first time we did …that… it’s been on my mind.”
“Blowing you in a bathroom? What is going on in that head of yours?!” I laughed, he shrugged smiling, “hey I can’t help it, full time case of foot in mouth, what can I say.”
“Or dick in mouth, as you’d clearly like it to be,” I giggled.
He got quiet, and honestly I don’t know if it was just to break the tension, or just to see how he’d react, but I softly reached over, turned his face to me, and kissed him sweetly once on the lips, and I didn’t move back until he opened his eyes.
“You sure?” he choked out, and I just shrugged moving back in for another kiss.
It was going to be an interesting night, that’s for sure.