With October came the cold, not just an Autumn chill or the fall of the leaves, this was a typical Scottish fall which meant snow.
“But it’s Fall, Amelia…Not Winter!” I complained as we shuffled inside one Friday morning, fresh snow on the ground and slippery ice on just about every surface. In the space of two days, we’d become a winter wonderland of possible accidents.
She just chuckled.
“Fall, you’re such an American. I love it.”
“You know what I don’t love?”
“Rooming with Dawn. My God she’s nosy. I caught her yesterday going through my things, like the little sneak that she is. And she talks in her sleep too.”
Ames rolled her eyes, before we got into the back hall.
“Ellen’s contract is up in a few weeks, then I hear she’s got a job lined up in Edinburgh, someone her uncle knows, then you’ll have your room back… and your privacy. I had to share with her for a few months when I first came here, it was hell too.”
I nodded. Ellen was a sweet girl, very silent most of the time, but from what I could tell she just wanted to do her work and get on with things. She was the opposite of Dawn.
“And it can’t be easy now, with you and Eric.”
My eyes widened.
“Oh Sookie, please.”
“I… I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I whispered and she just chuckled.
“Oh, okay Stackhouse. Whatever you say. Anyway, you’ve been back ages now and you haven’t asked me about Sam.”
I had completely forgotten, I felt like a bad friend.
“He’s asked me to marry him.”
It was my turn to widen my eyes.
“Oh Ames!” I dropped the basket of wood and hugged her.
“That’s amazing! When?”
“A few weeks ago. He just flat out asked me to a dance and then afterward he said he didn’t want to waste my time, which of course had me thinking he was going to just break it off … but no, then he asked me. He’s asked Niall to be relocated here for the Winter, but with His Lordship being ill, we’re still in limbo. I do so hope it can happen.”
So did I. They were a sweet couple, it would have been a shame for it not to, and if anyone deserved a little bit of happiness it was Amelia.
I delivered Eric his lunch that day, catching him in the middle of a phone call as I did so.
“And still nothing? What am I paying you for Bellefleur?”
I assumed it was to do with Bill, so I waited.
“Right, right. No, that’s fine. Yes. Speak to you soon. Goodbye.”
He sighed as he hung up.
“Still no sign. They’ve found John Quinn though, and got some information out of him, apparently Bill told him he was going away on business for a few days, he didn’t say where, but that he’d be back soon and when he was, he’d get in touch with Quinn again.”
“So … we wait?”
“We wait. Andy is keeping an eye down there, and as soon as he spots him with Quinn he’ll let us know, call some men who are less than polite as far as abusive husbands are concerned.”
I tried not to be shocked, but I wasn’t so naive to believe that just asking nicely would get us what we wanted. Not where Bill was concerned. I must have looked a tad forlorn because the next thing I knew Eric’s strong and capable arms were wrapped around me, and I just fell into his embrace. I needed his comfort now more than ever.
“Can we really do this?” I questioned.
“We can, if it’s what you want.”
I remained silent.
“It is what you want, isn’t it Sookie?” He asked, leaning back to look me in the eye.
“I do… I did… I do.”
“Or you did?” He looked hurt.
“No. I do. My darling, I do want for us to become real. Something real and true, where I can proudly walk into a room with you and we can begin a life together in the sunlight, instead of this… skulking around in the shadows, hiding.”
“It’s all I want too.”
“Then I trust, one way or another, we’ll make it there. I hope we will.”
I wanted it to be easy, like Sam and Amelia. No one was batting an eyelid at their love, their plans, I was envious if I was honest.
“There is salmon for lunch.” I announced nodding to his covered tray.
“Um… Could I maybe skip it?”
I raised my brows.
“I mean… could I trouble someone for a cheese sandwich maybe?” He asked awkwardly.
I just smiled.
He smiled then, matching my own I imagined.
“You know me well.”
I moved away from him, parking myself on his desk, opening his tray and helping myself. He just laughed.
“I’m taking Thor out later, if you’d care to -”
“I can’t. Mrs Fortenberry has me cleaning all the copper.” I sighed before I took another forkful of food.
“How has it been being back here?”
“Hell. Compared to Pam’s… in the grand scheme of things… it is what it is.”
“Which is unnecessary.”
He could keep pushing, it wasn’t going to happen.
“I’ll go fetch your real lunch now.”
“No, don’t go…” He reached for my hand before I slid out of his soft grasp.
“I’ll see you later, Sir.” I winked before I made myself scarce with the tray of what amounted to a lot of basically untouched food. Thor was in for a big lunch.
I woke up on Sunday morning to quite a surprise indeed. A dressing gown clad Sookie sneaking into my room and eventually, my bed.
“Am I dreaming?”
“No, it’s real. It’s risky as all hell… but… no.” She whispered, climbing into bed with me, her feet cold, her hands warm and quickly all over me.
“They’re all off to Church, even Lord Niall. He’s gone in the car, the others are walking…”
“A lying harlot who stayed behind to be naughty with her future husband… you know… the usual.”
I grinned from ear to ear as she kissed me, allowing myself for the first time in weeks to relax with her in my arms.
“I told them I was ill. I faked it.”
I kissed her again.
“I figured I’ve faked a whole identity, a little flu to be with you wouldn’t send me to hell if the rest didn’t.” She smiled, her hands sneaking up my nightshirt causing my body to ache for her instantly, I wanted her touch everywhere.
“I’m very happy about that…”
“The faking identity or …”
“All of it. All of it led you here… so…Happy.” I punctuated with a kiss on each word, my hands going for the strings of her nightgown, loosening it up so I could yank it down easier.
“I think we can do this, make each other happy, can’t we?” I asked as I slid off my undergarments, freeing myself as she moved under the covers of the bedding, maneuvering herself on top of me. I still felt as if I was dreaming, but I knew I wasn’t when her lips met mine again, as her hand grasped between my legs sending a thrill of pleasure through my body. This time I didn’t have to will away my desires where she was concerned, no, now was our time and I intended to spend it wisely. I watched as she carefully unbuttoned my nightshirt and slid down further so I could scoop it off. She in turn scooped off her own, leaving me with an amazing view of her breasts. My mouth went there instantly, as if some kind of magnetism pulled me toward her. The sigh of pleasure she let out only added to my own fire, slowly building as her hand held me tightly, massaging me softly but making me hard.
“You know that you must…”
“Before… I know. I know.” I said not caring for precaution in that moment but knowing if I didn’t adhere to it, we’d both fret afterward. Her own fingers worked inside herself, it was incredibly sexual, and something I did not expect from her of her own accord at least. But she worked herself and me at once and I was blinded by the lust I felt in those moments. She was truly beautiful, so poised and confident like this, and as I pushed inside of her, listening to her cries, I wanted nothing more than the world to see just how stunning she was to me. I watched through hooded eyes, the flush of her neck rising to her cheek as she worked above me, allowing me inside her in such an intimate way, one that I longed for since we left Paris. That feeling, unlike any other, I could only describe is as ‘alive’. I felt alive more with her in these moments than I did in the majority of my time without her. Inside her, watching her move with pleasure with pain, with happiness and ecstasy. It was the best feeling and one I didn’t want to lose, not now, not ever
The flush of red spread to her chest as she slowly picked up the pace, her breath starting to become labored, her mouth agape.I gripped onto her rear tightly, balancing us both out, keeping her up there, but not allowing myself to simply be a spectator.
“I… Eric… I need you. I need this.” She chanted over and over, as she rode harder and harder with each word, I was helpless to stop her in a way, had I even wanted to I wasn’t sure I could. She was a woman on a mission, chasing that thrill, that infinite moment of pleasure, and I wanted to give it to her, I wanted to give it all to her forever. She didn’t slow, not even when I flipped us over, spreading her legs that much wider and quickening my pace. I felt her nails claw into my back as she cried out, I didn’t attempt to contain my own vocal appreciation either, not where she was concerned, not now when we had this tiny window of opportunity. She moved faster, harder, more determined and I felt like my bloody was burning, in the best way possible as I tried so hard not to come inside of her, I wanted to, I desperately wanted to, but, we were taking enough risk already. Instead, I felt her tighten, I watched as her lip went between her teeth and I knew she was so close, I aided the process along with my fingers, and suddenly her breathing stopped for a second, there was a gasp and a moan and I felt her body crumple in my arms. I pulled out as fast as I could before I too lost my ability to control myself, spilling on her stomach as I buried my face in her flushed neck.
“Jesus Christ.” I moaned still reeling, as she just giggled a little, shifting so I could fit beside her.
“I guess that’s one way to pray on a Sunday,” she announced with a wicked glint in her eyes, I loved it.
She laid in my arms for a little while, far too little a while for my liking, before she made a move to leave.
“No…” I protested, pulling her back into the bed. She giggled, escaping my grasp.
“Needs must, Mr Northman. I have to get back to my room before they return lease we get caught.”
“Let them catch us, I don’t give a flying fuck anymore.”
“That’s the sex talking. You’d care very much if seeing us in bed together sent Niall on his final rant of this world straight into the next with a heart attack.”
“Hmph. He’ll never die. He’s here forever to keep us apart.”
She patted my chest, before leaning in to kiss me once again.
“You’re ever so dramatic, Darling. You sure there isn’t some American in your heritage?” She smiled.
“No, just a lot of Swedish.”
“Who knew they had such flair for the dramatics! I’ll see you later.”
“I love you.”
With that, in the middle of fixing herself up, she turned to me with a wink.
“I should bloody hope so.”
And as quickly as she sneaked into my room that morning, she sneaked back out. I still wasn’t so sure I wasn’t dreaming, that was until I was met with the wet patches in the bed.
Definitely a reality, and one I had to face as I got up to strip my bed. I couldn’t let one of the girls do that, and I certainly wouldn’t leave it for Sookie to clean. I shuffled on a clean sheet from my wardrobe and climbed back into bed. Sweet dreams of Sookie were sure to follow.
My morning went from wonderful to woeful in about an hour. I returned to my room before the others returned, I even had time to wash up and fix myself a little too, which after my morning with Eric was more than necessary. I looked at myself in the mirror beside the sink, unsure of what Susannah Compton would have thought of my choices now, of my actions this morning and of my life in general now. I wondered what my Grandmother would have thought if she were still alive, or my parents for that matter. I was sure they wouldn’t have approved of my actions but the reasons behind them were something not even they could deny. I had needed to escape Bill, and where that led me, not even I had any say.
When the others returned I had told them I was feeling better, because, again, after my morning with Eric, it was hard not to smile from ear to ear. I wanted to make myself useful, so I agreed to pop into town, since the snow had stopped and I wanted to clear my head anyway, and I promised to bring back all that was needed for the coming week as far as our ration was concerned. Thankfully Amelia agreed to come with me, making the load to carry back that much lighter, and the company wasn’t so bad either.
“So Miss Pam is just going to get married? I didn’t think that was her path, at all.” She said as we rounded the corner to the smaller road into the town center.
“Neither did I, but there you have it. He’s charming, I think they could make it work.” I would divulge all of Pam’s secrets, it wasn’t my business after all so it certainly wasn’t Amelia’s.
“Do you think you’ll be invited? Since you played cupid an all?”
I smiled, I hoped I would be, it would be a sight to see after all.
“Oh Sookie, it’s so obvious. Especially now. You should have seen his face that morning I tried to do the fire and it wasn’t you, it was like someone died.”
With that she put her hand over her mouth.
“Not that I mean that you… or he… or that you’re in any way like Sophie…”
“Ames, relax. I understand. And honestly, it’s sort of a relief that someone knows and isn’t fully disapproving. We might be crazy… but I’d like to think we know what we’re doing.”
“You love him?” She asked as we reached the market.
“I do.” I smiled and walked ahead of her into the store. I might have wanted to gossip like a schoolgirl, but I knew better than to do it whilst holding no cards. After things were official with Eric and I, then I could squeal it from the rooftops if I so desired. Until then, I had to keep a lid on it.
“Okay do you want to go to McCluskey’s for the flour, I can get the fish.”
She nodded and we parted ways, she taking the cobbled path up the busy street, and I taking the side street to the fishmonger that we did business with weekly.
Just as I was walking up the steps to enter the establishment, I heard someone call my name. My real name.
My heart just about stopped as I turned to face the man in the overcoat and hat, as his face came to view, I finally saw him for who he was.
I looked around, sure that no one had heard him, as I approached where he stood.
“Hello, Susannah. It’s so good to finally see you again.”
I was stunned to say the least. Eric had been looking all over London for him, and yet here he was.
“What… Why …Why are you here?”
“I was hoping to see you, hoping that we could… talk.”
“Talk? Talk? After everything… you want to talk?” I whispered harshly.
“Please? Just… a few minutes of your time, I can see that you’re busy.” He added, nodding to the basket in my hands.
“Tell me what you want, Bill.”
He sighed as we walked further from the store, down the little empty street.
“I wanted to find you, for so long that was all I wanted. Now I have, honestly I’m not sure how to deal with these feelings.”
“I don’t care much for your feelings, not anymore.”
Cold, perhaps, but I needed to be. I couldn’t let him see me emotional.
“Susannah, I’ll cut to the chase then, shall I?”
“I wish you would.”
“I want us to give it another try. I want to … make right my wrongs.”
I could do very little, I could only laugh.
“You cannot be serious?”
“I am. Very serious.”
When I continued to laugh it continued to annoy him.
“Susannah, I don’t think you understand how serious this is. You are my wife and as my wife you must-”
That made me very serious, very fast.
“I am NOT your wife. And I certainly must NOT do what you say. Not anymore.”
This angered him, and his sweet, kind, gentle smile faded and in its place was a angry scowl. Now that I was more familiar with.
“You think I don’t know what kind of scam you’ve got going here? Sookie?” He said my new name with such disdain it was almost hard to believe. I said nothing and he got closer to my face. “You think I haven’t done my homework here? The big lie you’re telling to everyone, to the Lord…To the Gentleman I saw you with, batting your eyelashes at him like some common whore.”
That earned him a slap, hard, across his annoying looking face.
“How dare you-”
“How dare I what? Tell them the truth? Your little story would be blown, what then? Where do you go?”
“You know nothing.”
“I know what John Quinn tells me, and that’s a lot. I know how you’re here under an assumed name, living a lie, posing as some Lord’s skivvy. I mean really, your Grandmother would be ashamed.”
“She’d also be ashamed to know that the man I married, that that was all a lie too, wouldn’t she. I think she’d be just fine knowing I was doing what I must to survive – away from you.”
I pulled away from him but he grasped my arm, yanking me closer to him.
“This … isn’t over. Susannah.” He whispered threateningly to my ear. I yanked away, before I hurried onto the main section of town, thankfully there were people. And then, there was Amelia.
“You look white as a ghost…”
“Oh I just…”
“And… uh, where’s the fish?”
I caught my breath as we walked, before I answered her.
“Oh they didn’t have what we needed fresh, new order in tomorrow, I’ll go back.”
She looked at me then, curiously, but if she suspected anything, she didn’t say. I knew one thing for sure though, Bill was right, this wasn’t over. Not by a long shot.
A/N: Well? 😉