As per request via the vote, here’s the new War chapter, Eric stylie! Questions, comments, concerns, rants, general chit-chat lol. All welcomed! 😀
When I walked out of the house, or rather stormed out would be a more fitting description, I headed towards the city, which was in itself a mistake. There were raids, and a bomb – a small one, but still a bomb, that had gone off somewhere nearby, there was a lot of people, a lot of panic, and a lot of smoke. Everyone was being taken off the streets, or told to stay inside. And in the mile or so walk around I had seen countless people, all in various states of shock, disarray, but thankfully no one appeared to be hurt. It was a jarring reminder of what was going on; right on the door step. Rather literally, and that behind closed doors may be chaotic, but out in the real world things were and could be, a lot worse.
Sookie had lied, she wasn’t a widow… those conversations were lies. They did not feel like lies though, that’s what hurt most, I had believed her entirely because I wanted to. I wanted to trust and love and see the good and for so long I denied myself that and when I opened up to her, it had taken a lot of guts on part to do so. To now find that it wasn’t as genuine as I thought it to be, it stung. And then the fact that she thought she killed her husband, God how did I even begin to process that piece of information? She thought herself to be a murderess the entire duration of our friendship, but she’s not really, but only discovered this information recently and still ran? My brain was tired, as were my feet, almost two hours of walking around my favourite streets of Paris, trying as I hard as I could to gain some much needed perspective on the situation. She clearly wasn’t the violent type of woman, so evidently she was acting in self defence; there was no other explanation as I recalled her voicing how unpleasant her marriage had been, I felt there was a much deeper story there too. But, of course my rashness gave her no time to explain. I swallowed my pride and turned the street that led to Pam’s townhouse, upon entering the house was quiet, save for the ticking of the grandfather clock in the hallway. I entered the drawing room to find Pam sitting on the couch with a drink, staring into the flames in the fireplace.
“That girl upstairs has been through hell, and it took a hell of a lot of guts for her to put herself out there like that.”
“I don’t want to talk about this with you.”
“Well you aren’t going to talk to her, not with that face and tone.” She snapped.
“Pam, stay out of it.”
“I can’t. I’m in it, because you’re my friend, as is she.”
“A friend, who you just had to fuck, didn’t you.” So I was still getting used to that fact.
“Don’t get fucking smart with me, Eric. You don’t know what went down –“
“Well, apparently, you did.”
She rolled her eyes.
“It wasn’t just about getting her into bed –“
“Wasn’t it? I knew you had a crush on her but I ignored it, because I thought we were through playing games with women, and with Sookie of all people? You knew how I felt about her and you still had to have her, didn’t you.”
She blinked, as if I had slapped her in the face
“You selfish bastard. You really don’t get it do you? No, of course not, because it’s all about you – still. You know what, you don’t fuckin’ deserve her.” She said with a sharp stare before she turned on her heel and marched out of the room and up the stairs, leaving me with her words ringing in my ears. I had tried to piece everything together, but nothing was making sense in my head. Sookie was not like the other women that were London Ladies, trying to land me for my money and my forthcoming bullshit titles. She was the girl that baked for me to cheer me up, and talked books with me, and walked through muddy fields so I could exercise my leg and get fresh air, she was the girl that made me smile and laugh, and feel more alive than I had felt in a good long while. Why was I piling her in with them just because I was in shock? I knew it was shock because nothing could have prepared me for all that came from her mouth that night, and then Pamela’s little bombshell combined, it was all just too much for me to process whilst looking at them both in front of me.
Nothing was going as planned, I had planned to be here weeks before, and I had planned to confess my love for her, hear the same in return from her, take her in my arms and make everything right in both our worlds. None of that happened of course nothing ever went to plan, and as I paced Pam’s drawing room that night in front of the now dying embers of her fireplace, I accepted that perhaps the reality could be better than my fantasy. If I just let it.
But could I accept her lies, and trust her again? Why had she trusted her secrets to Pam, trusted her body, and her soul to Pam first and not to me? I was a man and my ego was bruised, I knew that much too. Pam and I had shared our toys for a very long time and I never so much as blinked twice, but, Sookie was no one’s toy, and the thought of her being toyed with made my blood fucking boil. And that is when my epiphany of sorts occurred. Was I not also treating her like a toy? One I was mad at because Pam got to play with her first?
I was an idiot.
I debated for a few moments if my words could wait until morning, and then decided that I had to at least try and make things right with Sookie, my mother’s advice ringing in my ears.
‘Never go to bed on an argument’ I heard as clear as a bell, it was always something I tried to remember, but it seemed never more fitting than in that moment of indecision.
I knocked on her door and to my delight ask told me to come in. She was still awake, in bed with a book, leaning on her side for the best light.
“What is it, Eric? It is late you know.”
“I know… I just…” I took a deep breath, suddenly very aware of my height.
“You just what? Came to judge me some more?”
“No. I came to apologize, for the way I stormed out before. It was –“
“It was called for, if I had been in your shoes and had to absorb all you heard in such a short period of time, I would have panicked too. I don’t blame you for leaving.”
“You should, it was rash and I was taking it all so personally. I do that a lot; take things personally when I shouldn’t.”
She nodded, putting her book to the side and focusing on me now as I stood in her doorway, awkward as could be.
“You can come in and sit, if you’d like, I’m comfortable so I’m not getting up.”
“Nor should you, I am the one disturbing you. I just, I hope you’ll forgive my initial reaction.” I said taking a seat at her desk.
“I forgave it when it happened, we all needed a little space, and I know I sure did.”
We were both silent for a few moments, the air no longer tense but still so much left unsaid. So, I began again.
“What… should I call you now? Sookie or Susannah? What of your husband? Where does that leave… things… between us?”
“I had thought for a long time that a name was important, but it turns out, I like Sookie just fine, if it’s all the same with you. Susannah is who I was, that girl, that green, silly girl, that’s not who I am anymore, even if I wanted to go back, I know now I could not.”
I nodded, it made sense. She had become a new person, almost literally.
“I had earned my family name however, and the repuation that came with it, one that I am not so keen to give up so easily.” She sighed breaking eye contact with me for a spot on the floor. “As for my husband? Well, according to John Quinn, he’s still looking for me. When I saw him in London, besides almost fainting in shock, I gathered that he was searching for me. London made the most logical sense if someone had tipped him off.” She shrugged. “As for where it leaves things with us, I just don’t know.
“John Quinn knows him?”
“Fell in with him apparently, he made it sound like whatever Bill is at, it’s not exactly above board, not that it shocks me that a man like him, or Quinn for that matter would be in some dodgy business together, but either way, he knows I’m here, so chances are –“
“Your husband knows you’re here too.” That was another dreaded fact of the situation.
“Please don’t call him that anymore, he’s not my husband, at least not as far as I’m concerned and calling him such things gives him higher rank in my life than he will ever have again.” This time she scooted up, curling her feet underneath herself, still wrapped in her blankets, all I could see was the top half of her white cotton bed wear.
“I see. What are you going to do about him now then?”
“I really do no know what there is to be done; I do not want him in my life. I want nothing to do with him at all, but I know that my reality and my fantasy are two very different things, and that eventually, I suppose I will have to deal with him. It was the one thing being with Pam made me realize. Doing something so unlike me.”
“My life was still my life, and living with this lie, living with the fear of him finding me hanging over my head? It was more trouble than its worth, it was a waste of time. I hated lying to you, I left because I couldn’t do that anymore, and I did not want to deceive you any further than I had already done. I am not that kind of woman, Eric, I did not take pleasure in my lies, and they were simply there to do what no one did for me, which was to protect me. No one was there to save me from Bill the first time, no one but myself, and I got away from him once on my own, and it stands to reason I could do it again. But, if you can’t accept what I have told you and take my truth as it is intended now, then whatever we have or had –“
“No, let me say this just to have it said, please?”
I nodded even though the idea of her entertaining the fact that I would no longer feel for her because of her confessions broke my heart a little.
“Eric I have felt nothing but guilt for every lie I have told, but those lies protected me and got me away and made me into the woman I am, the woman I think I was meant to be. Not in my profession maybe, but in myself. I am stronger now than I have ever been, and it’s because I had to run, lie, and protect myself that I was able to grow, to hold onto my truth and share it only with those who earned it.”
And I earned it.
That thought almost made me smile.
We looked at each other silently then, almost as if she was challenging me to question her. I wouldn’t.
“Okay.” I said, standing up to leave.
“Okay?” She said, clearly confused.
“Yes.” I said softly, taking a step closer to her, allowing me to stand next to her bed now. “Okay.”
“That’s it? You’re okay with it?”
I nodded, looking her straight in the eyes and meaning it.
She looked puzzled, not that I blamed her, my mood had done quite the turn around. But as always once I took time to digest my surroundings and the facts, things usually came out differently. I had a right hook to the panic button, and I was really working on stopping that, tonight being a prime example.
“Sookie, everyone has a past as I have told you before, and as much as we may want to know all about the people we care for, you can never truly know everything about a person. No matter how hard you try, and that person must have something for themselves. What you choose to share with me, and vice versa, as you say, has to be earned and I know that now. I accept that now. And I accept that the waters of your past are murkier than others, but I do not sail on clear waters myself.”
She nodded a more understanding look in her lovely eyes just then. I leaned over her and I heard her inhale sharply, she wasn’t expecting me to do so. So I did not kiss her where I wanted, instead I aimed for her cheek, planting a good night kiss there and stepping back.
“Good night, Sookie.”
“I… Yes. Good night, Eric.” She said, flustered with a sweet blush flushing her cheeks. I simply turned to leave but before I got out the door, she moved.
I turned to look at her but before I could her hands were on my face, pulling me down towards her smaller frame, pulling me in for a kiss I had waited months for.
Her warm, sweet lips, her hands on my face and neck pulling me close as if she could not get me close enough. My own hands instantly found their way into her hair, down her soft cotton covered back, resting on her waist as we kissed, falling deeper and giving into that need there and then against her door frame. I hoisted her up a little so she was flush leaning against my chest, leaning further still against my body as we continued to explore each other’s mouths as if we were the last two people to ever kiss the last kiss.
She pulled back and her fingers went to her lips, touching them as if they burned.
“That was… inappropriate, I’m sorry.”
I almost wanted to laugh, because she could not have been more wrong.
“It was entirely appropriate, feel free to do that any time you’d like.” I said, still a tad breathless.
She smiled and I felt the need to just confess all I felt in that moment, for better or worse. I needed to get it out, and since it was the night for big confessions, I went for one of my own.
“Sookie, these feelings I have had and still have for you and that I think… hope that you reciprocate, they mean so much. After Sophie, I thought that part of me had died, that I would never be able to feel this way again. And then you came along, like a candle in the dark, and allowed me to hope for the first time. To look forward to your conversation, to the days spent together, and to our time together. Those feelings are very real for me and I won’t let them die without at least fully allowing myself to explore them, your letter, it gave me hope – hope that you felt the same way. Is there… a chance that we can embrace that sliver of hope as one, in time?”
Her eyes shone unshed tears and emotion there in abundance as she nodded, but then focused on her feet with a smile, almost in a shy manner. I found it incredibly endearing.
“I am glad you came here. I am glad, even though it was difficult, that you know the big things now. I know it will take time to… let it all sink in and I understand that. I understand if you need time.”
“I do, but I can have that time, and spend it with you, too, right?”
She smiled again, making me do the ‘inappropriate’ and grabbed her chin gently and inch her towards me for another knee weakening kiss.
“Yes, I believe you can.” She said as we pulled apart and I forced one leg in front of another to step away from her that night.
“Good. I look forward to the morning now; I look forward to our time.”
Her smile grew wider and I knew she felt the same way too.
“Until tomorrow then?”
And with that I left and slept as soundly, knowing that I had time, and plans and hope. Those were things I never really knew I longed for until that night, but I did, and this time I was not about to mess things up by crawling into my shell and allowing the world to simply spin around me, I was going to actively live, for the first time in a long time.
Thanks to her.
Ps. There won’t be a poll this chapter guys, as I have already started chapter 16, striking while the iron is hot an all that jazz! xox