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Hey peeps! Chapter 19 is done and dusted for you. A little warning, I wrote this on a load of antibiotics and painkillers, so just… be gentle? lol! I’m feeling somewhat human again, so that’s promising! Thanks so much for all the well wishes on here and on FF, it was very sweet! Enjoy x

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EPOV:

The next morning I woke up with my arms wrapped around Sookie, the warmth of the bed, and the warmth of her was all too inviting, but the curious eyes of the sister from the door way was the encouragement for me to move.

“Hey…” I said to her and she tiptoed into the room and got on the bed gently, it was ten past seven, we should have been up. I guess I’d slept a little too well that night.

“Come on, let’s let Sookie sleep in a little while, okay?”

She nodded and hopped off the bed as I went to the bathroom. A lot had happened in the few days that we’d stayed here. Everybody had been through the emotional ringer, a lot was said and left unsaid, and now things were just meant to go back to how they were before? I wasn’t even sure that was possible, I didn’t want to go back. I wanted to go forward, I just wasn’t sure entirely how to do that.

I knew I had to take some time off work, I needed that space, and I was sure Sookie needed it too, after everything it was clear to me that her mind was a busy and kind of fucked up place – space would do her good. I showered quickly and pulled on my clothes getting downstairs to find Adele in the kitchen cooking and Emily sitting on the counter buttering some toast, but mostly making a mess.

“Morning Adele,” I said as I made my way into the kitchen.

“Oh, good morning, Eric. Emily was just helping me with breakfast. I miss having the opportunity to cook for more than one or two people these days.” Whatever she was cooking smelled amazing.

“Smells good, what is it?”

“Good old Southern cooking. Too many women in cities these days, they make reservations not meals.” She smiled shaking her head, “I love cooking. I find it almost therapeutic.”

“Really? I don’t. I mean, I’m still learning –“

“And burning things…” Emily spoke up popping a piece of toast in front of me. I just shook my head at her lifting her down to a seat.

“You’ll get the hang of it eventually; we all have to start somewhere.”

I hoped that was true, or else Emily was going to become seriously malnourished on only fast food and boxed dinners.

“Sookie still asleep?” she asked and I nodded pouring Emily some juice and myself some coffee, setting out Sookie’s cup for her too.

“Yeah, she doesn’t have to be in the office until ten, so I figured I’d let her sleep a while longer.”

“You’re a thoughtful man, Eric. I’ve always thought that about you, since we first met. I admit I wasn’t entirely sure you and Sookie would fit, as a couple I mean. Personally or professionally, it seemed like too many differences. But now I see that you’re more alike than I first thought.”

I had no idea how she meant that, but I decided not to interrupt.

“She needs someone like you in her life, someone who cares for her. Someone for her to care for… And, I admit my decisions of late have been…perhaps questionable? But I’ve only ever wanted what’s best for her.”

“And you think her assistant, is that thing?” I said poking fun at that pile of bullshit that I knew people in the office were still talking about.

She sighed, “I don’t know, you could be her assistant, you could be her mailman, you could be her doctor. At this point I’ve seen that with Sookie the expected never happens, it’s both frustrating and sort of wonderful when things can be so predicable in life. She’s never one of those things. I expected her to go into design, to marry an artist, to have… what Jason calls ‘lots of hipster babies’, and she surprises me by going cooperate and turning my somewhat small nationwide business into a world wide billion dollar brand.”

“So what you’re saying, Adele, is that you don’t understand your Granddaughter?”

She smiled, “No, wonderful isn’t it?”

“I don’t follow?”

“Well, I know Jason inside out; I know what makes him tick, what makes him happy, and what he wants out of life. I know what gets to Claudine, her brother, and even her husband. I know my family outside in, inside out, but Sookie she’s the mystery. And, ironically, she’s the one I was closest too when the kids were growing up.”

“So, if you don’t understand her, why push what you don’t understand? Pushing her into something she might not want?”

She looked at me then, carefully, “I just found her to be floundering, I’ve told her time and time again I wanted her to make changes so she wasn’t so…isolated. She deserved better than coming home to this massive and very, very, empty place every night. Don’t you agree?”

“I do, but I also agree that Sookie’s a grown woman capable of understanding her own mind, and I have to say, I hated how you went about this whole thing, Adele.”

Her eyes widened, and she put down her coffee cup.

“What do you mean?”

I looked to Emily who was happily munching on her breakfast that Adele told her was made up of Southern style biscuit, some cheese grits, and some egg and bacon. Smelled wonderful, but being honest, it was probably a heart attack on a plate.

“Em’, can you go upstairs and grab your backpack for me? I need to check it before we go.”

“I’m ‘ating –“she said wit ha mouthful full of food, I just raised my brow at her and it made her slide off the stool.

“I hated it because it spun her, and I never expected a Grandmother to put a granddaughter through that. Her job is at stake if she can’t sort out her love life? If someone did that to me, I’d be so fired. Because I suck at dating, I suck at social interaction ninety percent of the time, and I just in general buck the trend when someone tries to force me into something. I’m surprised she even asked me out, but I’m glad she did. And I’m glad I did, and I don’t regret this, but I do regret why it happened when it did.”

“Because of me…”

“Yes. It happened, but not how I’d have liked to, naturally.” It wasn’t a full lie, what we had wasn’t natural, but there was definitely the potential there. And there had been long before Adele had stuck her nose in.

“And that’s why she’s so angry with me.”

“That and she assumes if she fucks up, you’re giving her job to Queen Claudine, and her boyfriend stealing, knocked up with bastard children ways.” I did not just say that.

I heard laughing from the doorway, and I found Sookie standing there, her hair in a neat ponytail, dressed in a navy shift dress and round toe flats.

“Sookie –“

“Yes, the topic of the hour has risen.” She said walking into the kitchen, pouring herself a cup of coffee, eyeing both her Gran and I.

“So, please carry on. You both seem to be deep in conversation about me, don’t let the fact that I’m here stop you.”

“Sookie we were just discussing –“

“My life, yep I know. You know, I never thought I was so damn fascinating, but everyone has an opinion it seems. And they just can’t help but talk it out.”

“Sookie maybe Eric is right, perhaps I was harsh.”

“Ya think?” She says looking at her Grandmother and then back to me, “but no, you know what its fine how it is because it has opened my eyes to so many things. So no, you go on and keep to the schedule of Thanksgiving, and I… Well, I have work to do, I have three meetings for the next issue today and Pam is back from her buying mission in Italy, so I have to figure out the samples for the new season, so I don’t really have time to care about your realizations Gran. Sorry.” With that she put the cup down, and walked calmly out of the kitchen and up the stairs. She appeared Zen, but I knew she was smarting inside.

Adele closed her eyes and sighed, “I don’t know what to do… I just … don’t.”

“Don’t do anything. I think at this point Sookie has a lot of thinking to do…” I said looking in the direction she left in, “I think we all do.” And we did, for once I was going to think things through before I acted again. I wanted a shot with her, I had done from day one, but I wasn’t going to be stupid about it again, not now, not when she had a million other things distracting her. I’d waited a long time to find someone that made me nervous, that gave me butterflies, that made me laugh and frustrated me more than anyone else. I realized I’d found it in her, and I wanted to explore that more than anything, but I needed her to want that too – for real this time. I didn’t want to be rejected, I didn’t want to put myself out there again and get shot down. I couldn’t do that not to me or to Emily, so I was overly cautious? Possibly, but again, I knew she had bigger issues on her mind than a guy right now, even if that guy was me.

I could wait.

I would wait.

Until she realized that one of the things she needed in her life, was me.

SPOV:

I listened to them talk, and was struck by how concerned he sounded. Not just for me, but for me and my Gran’s relationship because of everything that happened. It was very sweet of him, unnecessary, but sweet. And Gran her uncertainty, it was something she hardly showed me these days, attempting to be so steadfast in her choices, she hid her doubts. I was glad to know she’d had a lot over what she’d demanded of me. I hated to interrupt them, but when Eric commented to honestly on the Claudine situation, my laugh gave me away, ruining the eavesdropping. Before I went back upstairs to finish getting ready, I resisted the urge to kiss Eric, for a number of reasons but mostly because I was just glad that we’d sorted out our tensions, and were hopefully on a more even keel now. I didn’t know if we were sorted completely, but I sensed an ease from him that I hadn’t in the days before. I hoped this fresh start meant good things, and I’d go out of my way to make sure at least on my end, good things happened. I bumped into Emily coming down the stairs, trailing her bag and one shoe.

“Hey!” I said, lifting her up to the couch to put her shoe back on.

“Hi… we have to go home today don’t we?” She asked, not at all amused by it either.

“Yeah I think that’s the deal… but you know you can come over again, right?”

“I can?” That seemed to brighten her up.

“Sure, I mean I’m really busy –“

“With work, Eric says you work real hard…”

“I do, and yeah busy with work for a while now, so we might not see each other for a little while, but I promise we’ll still see each other.”

“And my costume…”

“Of course, I have it all set up and I measured you, remember? So I just have to put it together for you, and you’ll be the prettiest fairy, ever!”

“Do I get wings?”

I knew we had some at work from a shoot about six months ago, they could be altered.

“Of course, every fairy needs her wings, right?”

“RIGHT!” she said, excited as she took off in the direction of the kitchen only to turn back a second later and came back to where I was sitting, to hug me.

It was the sweetest damn thing ever, and I may have melted.

She didn’t say anything before she went and ran in the direction of the kitchen again. Such a cute kid.

Eric and I had an awkward exchange of looks before he left to take Emily to school, leaving me with Gran as I grabbed a few things from my home office.

“The car is picking me up in a few minutes, Sookie.”

“Oh, that’s good then, you won’t have long to wait at the airport, flight leaves soon, right?”

“Yes, I’m going to Dallas to visit a few friends for a week or so, and then home. I was thinking of having Thanksgiving at the Colorado house this year, it’s bigger, and if Eric and Emily are coming with you, we’ll need the extra room. And it is nice this time of year…the kids enjoy it.”

“I haven’t asked him yet, and I haven’t really decided if I want to go or not yet myself.”

She looked sad, I hated that I also hated her uppity attitude, but there were just certain things I couldn’t help. I did wonder though, when exactly it was that she and I stopped being so close and turned into two people who didn’t know each other at all.

“Well, I’d like it very much, if you could come. I would say this has been fun, but we both know that would be a lie…and I’d really like the opportunity to make things up to you.”

And she had her magical decision to make too, what she didn’t know was that I had a lot of my own to make too.

I looked at her and I just didn’t want to fight anymore, not with her, not with Eric, and certainly not with myself.

“Sure, Gran. Sure.”

“You mean it?” she smiled, taking my hands.

“I’ll go, I can’t promise that Eric won’t already have his plans made for this year –“

“He’s so very fond of you, I can’t imagine he’d want to be anywhere else but with you.”

I wondered if that was actually true. For a second I’d pretend it was.

“We’ll see. No promises.”

“No, no promises, but even just having you come will be special enough. I am sorry for how things are you know I don’t want them to be this way between us.”

“Neither do I… it’s the last thing I want, but things are the way they are until someone steps in and changes something. We both have a lot to think about before then.”

She nodded and we talked a little more, a little about Jason, the kids, and her friends before the town car came to pick her up and we said our awkward goodbyes. I always missed her, but right then I was ever so glad to have my place to myself. And by the looks of my snoring cat, she was too.

I got a text from Eric shortly after Gran left, asking for some time off work and if it was okay by me, he’d sort it with HR. He more than deserved the break, and I assured him as much. In truth I needed the space, from him for our whole weird vibe of whatever-the-fuck-we-were-or-weren’t. I needed time to assess some things that I’d been putting off for a long ass time. The first thing I did was call Pam, knowing she was back and knowing I needed my friend in the worst way. We decided to do lunch, a very long and late lunch was needed and possibly in liquid form.

“And then I got amazing access to some of their couture, Sookie I swear I may have peed a little… and I just can’t tell you how nice they were, I mean the showcase for Paris is going to be amazing, and I managed to make some pretty good contacts for maybe an interview or even a full on article for one of the upcoming issues of the magazine –“

“That’s so great, Pam, see I told you the solo trip would be fine. You can more than hold your own.”

“I was nervous though, I mean I’m usually just involved in the design, and at home running the magazine, this is a whole other thing.”

“Well you said you wanted to be more involved over all, the brand covers a lot of ground. The clothing line, the cosmetics of course, and the magazine. I like that you’re expanding, I do.”

She nodded and smiled.

“That’s not why I asked to have lunch though, I was sure you’d a great job, and your emails on the job were painfully detailed…”I laughed.

“Oh, so why then?”

“I’ve been…lying to you.”

“Oh honey I know you’re no size 0 that ship sailed a long- “

“No… about Eric. We have been seeing each other, but not in the way you thought. It’s been under contract.”

She blinked.

And blinked.

And then finally closed her mouth.

“Contract from whom?”

“Me…”

“For?”

And so I explained the situation, my panic, and my stupid, stupid idea. And how Eric had been weary but I’d convinced him, and in the making off this holy show how I just might have fallen a tiny bit in love with him, too. I’ve never seen Pam down a daiquiri as fast in my life.

“Are you ill? Have you lost your mind? Sookie, the fuck?”

“I know…”

“Do you know? You bribed him? The assistant?! Girl, please, you know you could have just made him do it, for free…and judging by how he watches that ass when you walk in front of him, he’d have done it! Twenty five grand?!”

“He says he never wanted the money, and I believe him, but I mean I couldn’t not pay him, this was a huge deal and I would have written the same contract up for any of the other guys…”

“And now you’re all attached and in love with him because why? Because he’s cute and tall and has a kid and your stupid hetero clock is ticking and playing tricks on you… that you’re in love with your very nerdy assistant…oh my God.” She ranted and I really don’t think she stopped for a breath.

“Pam –“

“No, Sookie this is just too much stupid to take in right now. I can’t believe you lied to me first of all, I mean seriously, you know why you lied too which makes it worse…”

Because I knew she’d try and talk me out of it, that’s why.

“I was desperate, okay? And in panic mode, and I don’t know I just was willing to do anything to make sure that she was convinced… and I did it.”

“Did you ‘do him’ is the more important question?”

I looked shifty, I just couldn’t help it.

“Oh, gross,” she said sipping her drink.

“No I didn’t ‘do’ him, but we got close to ‘it’ a couple of times and let’s just say the lines are crossed and I can’t go back. But I just don’t know how to go forward.”

“But he’s the guy that works for you… I just…it’s kind of… skanky, and totally something Jason would do.”

“Is doing…” I corrected, “With Sophie, ugh, see this is why I didn’t want to do this with a guy I knew. Now I know him, and I really like what I know, Pam. He’s a good man.”

She rolled her eyes, “Well, Honey, if you like him, give it a shot. I mean, I’m grossed out by this and the whole ‘dipping your nip in the company ink’ thing is also questionable let’s be real…but if you like him and he likes you, then I guess I can’t say that it’s such a… bad idea.”

“Isn’t it ‘nib?’”

“Well, you don’t have a nib, but you have a nip, two of them in fact. Can we move on?”

I laughed, trust me to focus on the unimportant part of the sentence.

“Why not? I was sure you’d talk me out of this, maybe I was hoping you would.”

She shook her head, “You like almost no one, that and it’s been so hard for me to get you to open up to the idea of any new guys for ages, right? Well, if you’ve managed to find one on your own, then, go with it. See where it goes, and if it goes no where, at least you gave it a shot.”

I narrowed my brows at her.

“Sookie, don’t do that you’re against Botox and if you keep doing that you’re going to need it sooner than you think.”

“Pam… I’m just shocked is all. I was expecting you to… I don’t know, talk me way out of this, tell me it was stupid, something!”

“Well, maybe I still think those things, but I also think that the guys you’ve fallen in with in the past have been total assholes, and Eric… he’s a lot of things. Shitty dresser, uncoordinated at just about everything, but, he’s not an asshole and he respects you. You could, and have, done worse.” She shrugged.

“Oh… okay?”

“Right, so, anything else?”

With that we fell into normal conversation covering just about every other aspect of our lives, I missed my bestie.

EPOV:

Having shifted the last of the boxes out of the elevator and into the new place, I breathed a sigh of relief.

“That it?” Sam yelled from inside the apartment, currently up a ladder, paint brush in hand. Trey was unpacking the kitchen, and Ames was cleaning out and helping Emily with her new room. It had taken me well over a week to get everything packed, get the new place half painted, and get things moving. I couldn’t have taken time off at a better time. The bigger, better apartment came up for rent a few weeks before and since I’d put in a good word, I was first on the offer list. I snapped it up right away. I liked our building, it was full of good people – for the most part, and most of them had kids and jobs, and generally just wanted to live their lives and mind their own business. That, and Emily had Taylor close by, and I didn’t like the idea of pulling her away from her best friend, not when she’d lost so much in life already.

So, the new place was perfect in

“Yep, that’s the last of the boxes. Guy’s thanks so much for doing this. I know it’s not the most fun way to spend a Friday afternoon.”

“Hey, its fine Eric, Holly is looking after the bar. And I needed the break, she keeps on me about this expansion, becoming a chain, and I just can’t dodge her anymore.”

“And I have nothing better to do since the construction we were working for went bust last week, so hey, really you’re doing us a favour…and you said there would be pizza and beers.” Trey spoke up from where he was; now back to painting the mouldings.

“There will be, I just have to go into town and collect the new couch…Sam?”

“Reason I brought the van, will we go now?” Sam said putting down the brush.

“Yeah, just let me go check on Em’, and I’ll be right down.”

“Cool.”

I walked into Emily’s new room and she was standing on her freshly made bed. Her room was the first I did, mostly because she was annoying when she started to get antsy and she was antsy when her ‘things’ weren’t the ‘right way’. I made a note to get her tested for possible OCD.

“Isn’t it pretty?!” she asked as she and Ames hung the last of her framed pictures. The room was painted a shade of baby pink, with lots of white accents, and this time a lime green check armchair sat in the corner. Her Princess bed was in place, so I guess all was right in her world.

“It looks great, did you thank Ames?”

“Yep!”

Ames smiled and straightened out the bed when Emily hopped off.

“I’m going with Sam to get pizza, what’s everyone having?”

“Cheeeeese, ham, and peproni.”

“Pepperoni,” I corrected, “Ames?”

“Oh anything’s fine, but if you’re getting, get one with no anchovies.”

“Chovies are gross…” Emily nodded in agreement, and I couldn’t disagree, they were gross.

“Okay, anything else?”

“Can I have the brownies? And fizzy juice?”

“We’ll see.” I said rolling my eyes, I didn’t know why I asked; she always had a list ready and waiting.

Deciding against IKEA this time as much as I loved it for most things this time I had to skip it. I needed a more comfortable couch even though thankfully I’d no longer be actually sleeping on it. It filled me with giddy joy the day before to go bed shopping, and while I had savings put by for everything Em’ and I would need in a new place for a new start, I’d put a little extra in for a bed. I really wanted to just drive over to Sookie’s place and steal hers, but in lieu of that I simple bought myself its clone. I couldn’t wait to just dive in and sleep late, it was the simple things, I tell you.

“So Eric you’re good with numbers right? With money?”

“Sometimes, why?” I asked Sam as we rode back in his van having almost killed ourselves moving the furniture in, and then waiting in line at the pizza place, we were starving and in serious need of a beer.

“I mean it’s your thing, right?”

“Yeah, I’m a math nerd to the highest degree… or PHD if you’d rather.” I smiled.

“I noticed, man normal guys keep porn under the bed or in boxes … you have tons of math equations, that’s just weird…” he said full of sarcasm and a grin.

“Why?” I said, ignoring him.

“The expansion thing that Holly keeps asking about, she went to this guy in the city, a numbers guy, and he did her up this business plan… and from what I’m seeing, financially we could actually do it. But, I don’t know, I guess I’m scared to take the risk and invest in another place, you know? I’m no good with numbers, and honestly the only time Holly is good with money is when she’s spending it on shoes.”

I smirked; yeah Holly wasn’t the safest person to give money too.

“You want me to take a look at your books? The business plan? See if it’s legit?”

“Would you? I’d feel safer if it was someone I knew, you know?”

“Yeah, man, no problem at all.” I nodded, more than happy to help. I’d met Sam at his bar about six years before; I was student and in need of a rather epic sorrow drowning after a particularly misguided short lived relationship with a girl that was way out of my league. I’d told him my sob story, and as the new owner of the bar, he was in the mood to listen and offer advice. We’d been friends ever since.

“I have the rest of the week off, I can swing by and take a look on Monday if you want?”

“That would be amazing. Thanks Eric.”

“No worries. What kind of expansion is she thinking about?”

“Taking it near the college campuses, maybe expanding to a juice bar during the day with themed specials? She’s full of ideas, just not a lot of sense.”

I smiled.

“I’ll take a look; we’ll figure you something out.”

He nodded again in thanks as we pulled up outside the building.

On the way in I swore I saw Sookie’s town car drive away, but then again there were a lot of cars similar running around, and I dismissed it. Getting back inside to eat, and finally relax in my new home.

Three hours, seven pizzas and countless beers among us we had a new apartment and an impromptu housewarming party to go with it. Walls were fresh, floors were clean, and the new sofa had its first spill. It felt good, I felt good – relaxed for the first time in a long time. Emily and Taylor were tucked up in her new room having fallen asleep after hours of play and a viewing of Happy Feet – twice.

“Here’s to Eric, his new place, and finally having a room of his own. Maybe this means he’ll actually get some, and stop being a whiney little bitch.” Trey said in his toast, to which Ames hit him in the arm and I just smirked.

“Bitch? Little? Dude I’ve got four inches on you, in more ways than one if what Amelia tells us is true…” I said to the shock of everyone in the room who simply ‘ooooh’d’ us both as we smirked at each other.

“Fuck you, man.”

“Aw, love you too.” I said messing his hair before making my way to the kitchen to get more ice for the bucket that’s when I heard the door.

I opened it to find Sookie.

“Hey?” I said, surprised.

“Hey, hi… uh… hi…”

“Hi…?”

“I came by to give you Emily’s costume for tomorrow night, I wasn’t sure … I asked the woman next door to you…she said you moved up here now?”

“Yeah, this week, bigger place, better…”

“Oh, that’s great…” she smiled and everything was just that little bit extra awkward.

“Yeah, you wanna come in?” I said opening the door a little, noting that Ames and Holly were now getting closer to see what was going on. She looked amazing, not that that was anything new, but it had been over a week since I’d seen her, and it wasn’t wrong that I noticed she cut her hair a little, was it?

“Oh, no… I can’t stay, I just wanted to drop it off in case I didn’t get time tomorrow, um, so… here…” she said handing me a large black garment bag, “her wings are in there too, and I customed some white Mary-Jane’s from the wardrobe at work, I hope they’re her size…”

“Thanks, really I mean you didn’t have to do this. But I know she’ll be thrilled, you know she thinks the sun shines out of you anyway, but this just tops it off…” I smiled and I think she blushed, I could have sworn she blushed. At that Ames and Holly poked around the door.

“Hey Eric, who’s this?” Holly asked and Amelia just smiled and said ‘hey’.

“Holly, this is Sookie… Sookie is my … boss. Friend… boss and friend?” Now Sookie wasn’t the only one full of awkward.

“Oh how nice! Won’t you come in? There’s a little impromptu party going on you’d be more than welcome, I’m sure.” Holly said looking between Sookie and me. In that moment I saw something in Sookie panic, as she stepped back from the door.

“No, that’s very nice of you…all. But I really have to go. Eric, let me know if she likes it okay?”

“Uh, sure, you sure you can’t stay for one drink?”

But she was already moving down the hallway, “No, but thanks anyway!”

“She’s weird.” Holly said to Amelia who just smiled at me.

“She’s not weird; she has a crush on Eric, that’s all.”

I didn’t even really register the two of them taking as I watched her get to the end of the hallway and into the elevator.

“Eric?” Amelia said waving a hand over my face.

“What?”

“Let’s see the dress, then?”

Oh, right.

I unzipped the bag to find an envelop taped onto the hanger, with my name on it.

I opened it to find a cheque also with my name on it, and twenty five grand addressed to me.

Both girls’ eyes went wide, and I didn’t have time to think, I just handed Holly the bag and sprinted down the hallway, ignoring the elevator in favour of the stairs. Her car was still parked out front when I got there. I wasted no time, and jumped in.

“Eric? What the hell!?” she said, startled.

“I…um…”I tried to catch my breath, “I thought we talked about this. I don’t want the money. I never really did this for the money, Sookie.”

She just rolled her eyes and uncrossed her legs, “I know, but a deal is a deal, Eric. I want you to take it. Just, take it.”

“No. I told you –“

“Dude, seriously, stop. I need you to just agree with me on this and get out of the car so I can go!”

“No, not until you take it back.”

We both sat looking at each other, well, glaring would be a better word really.

“Neither of us are gonna give in, are we?” she asked and I nodded ‘no’. She sighed looking out her window, and then looking back at me.

“You’ve got to make things difficult for me, huh?”

“They wouldn’t be if you’d just look at this as a friend doing you a favour and leave it at that.”

“But there was a contract!”

“Fuck the contract,” I said and she looked at me, unable to contain her smirk.

“Can’t do that, imagine the paper cuts…” I just smiled, enjoying the fact that I could smell her perfume from where I sat. I never know what it was, but I always knew I loved it.

“You should come inside, meet my friends, give Em’ the dress yourself. You worked really hard on it and I know she’d love to see you?”

Ok so she was asleep, but hey, if it got her inside…

“I shouldn’t I mean I’d be just dropping in like that, It would be rude.”

“I’m inviting you, I mean technically I didn’t invite anyone upstairs tonight, they all kinda just showed up to help and now won’t leave.”

“I don’t really know, Eric, it’ll be awkward.”

I just furrowed my brows at her, “I remember you walking into parties at fashion week and ruling the room, this is just a fraction of that.”

“Yeah but I was in work mode, work me is a bitch in case you failed to notice. Bitches get stuff done.”

“Okay, so, take Tina Fey’s advice again and maybe get stuff done, but be less bitchy about it. Amelia is dying to hang out with ‘the’ Sookie Stackhouse, and Sam’s girl is really sweet, they won’t bite if you don’t, I promise.”

“Oh she’s Sam’s girlfriend? Oh… I thought…” she shook her head, “never mind…”

She looked thoughtful about what I asked and a little embarrassed by what I assumed she was assuming about who Holly was, but in the end I could see she decided against it. She wasn’t ready.

“Maybe another time?” She suggested gently.

“If you insist, I’m pretty sure Terry is two more beers away from breaking into song, it’s always a hilarious treat. You’re missing out.”

I smiled.

“Definitely another time, then?”

“Sure. In fact, I’m taking Em’ trick or treating tomorrow night at six after her little school party, you should come.”

“Oh… um… really?”

“Yeah, I mean there’s free candy, what else do you need?”

She smiled big and real, I loved that smile.

“Do I get to dress up?”

“Well, it’s kind of a requirement for this sort of thing.”

“Really, so… what do you dress up as?”

“You’ll just have to show up, and find out for yourself won’t you?”

She pursed her lips holding back a smirk, “are you flirting with me?”

“I don’t know is it working?”

She just rolled her eyes, “I’ll see you at six, Eric.”

I guess it did.

“Good, cool, see you at six…” I said before I made my way out of the car.

Well this Halloween was certainly shaping up to be a whole lot less scary that last year, that’s for sure. I watched her car pull out of its parking spot and drive away, and it wasn’t until I got into the elevator that I realized I had one hell of a grin on my face. Not only had I my brand new room, with my brand new giant bed to look forward too, I had Sookie – in a costume to look forward to, too. So far, already the best Halloween ever!

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