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Second last chapter of this one peeps! I know, we’ve been on the go a loooooooong time with these two and I will be both sad and relieved to see them go. For those of you that have stuck with me, I thank you forever, and even more to those who had the courage to review! xo

Sookie.

It did not work, or at least they said it did not. They said ‘it would happen when it was meant to’ after and I think it just was not meant to. The treatment, the injections, the pain, the operation, the risks, all of it was for nothing and all it served to do was send me into a spiral of what I now know was depression. I could not face everything that had happened to me, the much prayed for baby, motherhood, it was the one happy untainted thing I was grasping onto with all my hope, and when that was taken away from me it was like the veil was lifted. Lifted to expose all the feelings I had pushed so far down I thought I would never see them again, only to have them all come spewing up all at once.

We had agreed to give it six months, in the states, to just be there and live. To live, breathe, and dive into life in America, and the treatments of course. Eric found once we were there he loved it and did not really want to leave, and I had to admit I felt the same way, at least for the first few months. The months when there was still the little glimmer of hope, that I would one day wake up and be with child, that I would complete our little family. However, as the weeks turned into months, that then one day turned into a year, and there was still nothing, he and I both knew that it just was not going to happen. I had battled with the depression and sadness after the operation, and it had faded a little then, but after that, it became a cloud that hung over us and we both did whatever we could to block it out. Eric and I became a staple in the New York City social scene, living in the city gave us fantastic advantages, we partied too much, we drank too much and there was some kind of social event just about every night, one that American’s like myself just loved the idea of having a ‘Lord and Lady’ attend. They didn’t know my history, nor would they until someone told them, but no one had. So to our new friends I was a Lord’s wife, a Lord who was sweet, charming and danced you off your feet if you were in such a mood. A husband who loved his wife as she loved him and who had the patience of a saint most of the time.

Pam came to visit when we had been there about six months or so, annoyed that we had left her ‘high and dry’ in England, and she stayed with us for about a month, which in itself offered a reprieve from the constant strain that was then building between Eric and I. I used Pam as a distraction in that time, and we partied constantly, with and without Eric, mostly without. He had sunk some money into a small restaurant, in the hopes of getting me interested in the practical side of things like cooking or baking, but I did not care – not then. His work with the Estate from afar kept him busy most days, as did his consultation role for his family’s business, the days that Pam and I used to sleep off our hang-overs in order to come back to life at night to do it all over again. We lived like vampires, she and I for that month, we just did not live life in the day at all. Claude came then, and he and Pam left together. They had planned a cruise around the world and invited us both to come along, but we were not the same bubbly couple they had seen off from England months before, now there was stress and pain and such strain that it felt like both of us would snap in two at any given moment.

It wasn’t his fault, and looking back it wasn’t really mine either, it was just how it was because of everything I had been through, it was how I subconsciously chose to deal with my pain, as wrong as it was for both of us. For six months after she left, we stayed in contact as we always had, by phone and by letter – she even took over at the Estate for us for a few months, captaining the ship from afar as it were when she grew tired of the London scene. Eric was glad to have someone there, to make sure on that end that things were running as smoothly as his partners swore it was. If anyone could captain a ship, even metaphorically, it was Pam.

Eric and I had made love constantly, after I got the all clear, that I was healed up and ready to go as it were, it is what we did because we wanted to get pregnant. But it became less and less about sex, about the meaning and the emotions behind making love to my husband, and more about getting me pregnant. It was no longer spontaneous or romantic, at times, it was not even enjoyable, and thinking back on it now, I was being stupid and selfish and I was in all honesty using him to meet the end of an obsession I had in my mind. The obsession of beating Bill, of winning at life while he rotted in death. That if, somehow Eric and I had a family, that everything else I was feeling – the pain, the fear, and the flashbacks to what had happened. That somehow, that would all just disappear.

I was an idiot.

Soon though even that stopped, soon we didn’t touch each other at all beyond a good morning kiss, and even that stopped at a peck on the cheek as he made his excuses to go work on something and I made my excuses to meet up with new friends. Margery and Stella, two of my ‘party girls’ as Eric would call them, they were trophy wives of much older men, and it in all for the money. They laughed when I told them of my want for children; they themselves had taken great lengths to not get pregnant by their husbands, and so really could not understand my fight. We were not close, like Pam and I or even Amelia and I were, they were my party friends and nothing more, and party we did. Amelia had her baby, a boy named Samuel, after his father and grandfather – not very original – but a sweet gesture on her part. We of course send our best wishes and several packages of presents for the boy to welcome him into the world, even if when we talked I faked my smile through the conversation even though she was on the other end of the ocean and on the telephone. My bitterness was not my friend’s fault, nor was it Eric’s either, but after a while my husband, with the patience of a saint that he had, even his patience with me ran out. Therefore, that is when it happened. One morning after I woke up on our couch in our Manhattan apartment, and saw him standing there, suitcase in hand.

“What’s this?” I asked, hung over and clouded as I squinted at him as he stood there his arms crossed.

“I’m leaving.”

That shocked me to sitting up straight.

“What?”

“Sookie… I can’t… do this.” He gestured to me. “Anymore.”

I stood up then, my hair was probably a mess, I had been wearing it in the new style now, a faux bob pinned and tucked, and now it was definitely un-tucked and ratty, I was sure my makeup was a mess too. A bit like my life in that respect.

“You’re… leaving me?!”

He shook his head before stammering out his response.

“N-no. Not … not you I just need to not be here right now.”

I narrowed my eyes at him.

“Eric I’m really hung-over, and I’m not getting what you’re saying here. You’re leaving me but you’re not leaving me?”

“I’m going back to Scotland this afternoon, Pam called me last night and there are some issues with the Estate and town businesses that I need to be there to take care of, and to be frank I’ve had enough of this mess that we’re calling our lives here.”

“WHAT?! Are you joking? You are just … hopping on a damn boat and leaving? Oh, that is great that is. That’s just great.” I spat stamping my way to our little kitchen, anxiety building up inside like nothing else.

“Sookie… listen to me for a second. We’re not talking, we don’t talk anymore and we avoid it all and I can’t do that anymore, I just can’t.”

“I don’t know –“

“Yes, you do. You do and you know you do. At first… I was okay with this, to go along with whatever you wanted to do, whatever you needed to do to … get over this baby thing.”

“Baby thing… thanks.” I snapped and he just sighed.

“You know what I mean don’t do that, don’t turn this around on me.”

“How can I not, excuse me but my husband is leaving me, excuse me for not being bright and shiny.”

“Sookie, you know I love you. I love you more than I have ever loved anything in my life but I love the Sookie I married, and you’re not her anymore, you’re a stranger who stays out all night and drinks and doesn’t talk to me or walk with me or anything that we used to do.”

He was right, he was completely and utterly right, but I just couldn’t see it. Not then.

“If you loved me you’d stay.” I said trying to push the bitterness out of my voice. Was I trying to manipulate him, I wasn’t sure but I probably was.

“And if you loved yourself you’d see that I do love you, and that it’s because I love you that I’m doing this.” He came to me then, grabbing my arms and rubbing them warm. “I love you, you’re my wife and I would do anything for you, but if I stay here and things are like this? Sookie I don’t know if our sanity would survive it.” He whispered and it made me want to cry, because I knew, once again, he was so fucking right. “I’m going this afternoon after I square work away with Jack, and I’m staying in Scotland for as long as I’m needed there. You … you don’t need me, not here, not anymore.”

“Eric I –“

“We both know it’s true. Nevertheless, I want you to want me again, to need me again, for something other than getting you pregnant, Sookie. I need to know that I am enough for you, that our life as we started was enough for you. That, now, without a child of our own we’d still be enough for you.”

“It is… it –“

Right then, it was not and I would have been lying, the obsession of beating Bill had taken me over, and I didn’t know who I was anymore, so it was unsurprising that my Eric didn’t recognise me anymore either. I cried. I cried when he kissed me so sweetly on the forehead, and I cried as I watched him go.

“One telephone call is all it would take to get me back here, know that. But, for now, I have to go.”

His words played out in my head, over and over again. He was right, of course, he was, I was not the woman he married, but I liked the Sookie he married. She was funny and happy with her lot in life, it was so much more than she ever expected to get – a home, a man who loved her to bits, friends and a lifestyle she would not nor could not have dreamed of before. He was gone three days when it hit me that in order to do what I had to do, my past had to be well and truly left behind me, I had to bury it for good this time and to do that, I knew I had only one place to go.

Home.

EPOV:

I wanted to turn back, with every stupid step I was pulling against my instinct to just go back, hug her, and tell her that, despite my dwindling sanity over our mess, I would stay. But I knew if I did, nothing would change and she would continue on the road to ruin and our marriage would be in tatters in no time at all. So I went, I hated myself for it, but I went, and I telephoned her from the ship twice a day just to hear her voice. She assured me she was fine and once she got over her anger and a rather massive hangover, she realised that we did indeed need a little time apart for us both to realise some home truths. If I stayed I wasn’t sure we’d have made it, at least by giving us both space, there was still a chance we could get back what we somehow lost along the way.

It took me days to get back to Scotland, almost a week of travel, and by the time I got back home, I was exhausted. Too exhausted to argue with Pam, Pam who was bored and looking for said argument, particularly when she discovered I had left my wife in New York City.

“The fuck, Eric? Seriously? What kind of arse move is this?”

“Don’t say arse with your Southern twang, it sounds odd, Pamela.”

She simply threw a cushion at me from where I stood in my living room. My living room that she had moved around entirely and I looked around, confused.

“What? It is nicer this way, you catch the light in the afternoon it is better. Do not distract me Eric. Why the fuck did you walk out on your wife exactly?”

“I didn’t just ‘walk out’ okay, I left because if I didn’t we might not have been a couple much longer. Pam you haven’t seen her in a long time, the Sookie we knew, she got lost somewhere in her grief and I couldn’t find her, I couldn’t keep finding her if she had no interest in finding herself.”

Her face softened then.

“It’s just Bill, that bastard, and all he’s done to her, it took its toll.” She said and I agreed.

“I know that, but she shut me out, whether she knew it or not, she shut me out and I can’t help her if I’m not allowed to. So… I left and with the hope that when she needs me and realises what she has with us that I’ll get a call and we can start again.”

“And if she doesn’t call?”

I wasn’t even considering that as a possibility, it was simply too heart breaking to even think about.

“She’ll call.” I said sternly, not allowing the doubt to creep in no matter how hard it tried. She’d call, she’d come back to me, or want me back, there was simply no other option.

Right?

Sookie:

I left New York a week after Eric left me in it. I had to go back before I could go forward and I knew that then. Therefore, I hopped on a train, and then another, and then another, all the way to Louisiana. Travelling alone was not something I was used to anymore, not without my Eric all the way, and it was something I knew I did not want to get used to either. However, I was now travelling in a lot more comfortable surroundings than before, money helped a lot and anyone who said different was a liar. A complete and utter liar.

By the time I got to my home state, and my hometown, I had been travelling non-stop for days, my last call to Eric was to him on the boat, and I was sure he was angsting at home at the thought of me not answering or not telephoning him back. But, I had to do this without anyone knowing, without anyone trying to stop me, and so when I got to Bon Temps and checked into a sweet little B&B, I took my rest for the night and spent the entire next day exploring. The first place I went was to visit my family at the graveyard.

There they were all lined up in a row, my parents, and my grandparents buried next to each other in a large family plotted grave, one that had not seen flowers in a very long time. I put the two bunches of roses I had purchased at either grave, and sat a while and had a little talk – if they could hear me or not I would never be sure, but I liked to hope they did.

“It’s been a while, I know… but I’m here. I’m still in one piece…just about.” I began, sitting on the side of the grave frame, built with grey stone the whole way around. The sun was shining and there was the sweetest of breezes in the cherry blossom trees overhead, it was the most peaceful place I had been in a long time. “A lot has changed since I was last here, I killed my first husband, right before he killed me, then my new husband – though he wasn’t at the time – wanted to take the rap for it, but we somehow got away with it because there was a war ending and people were busy, and Eric has money and that talks…” I sighed. “I found love, in the most unexpected of places, I was his maid of all things… yes, Gran, a maid, I was the one scrubbing the floors and making the beds, and I got damn good at it too. Not that they taught us to do any of that in that fancy pants school you insisted on sending me too…” I smiled. “But he’s the love of my life, with his own set of issues which is just as well because between us…phew. It hasn’t been easy, not at all, but then daddy always did say that the things in life with having and holding on to were the hardest  to win, like when he won mamma’s hand… he would tell me that all the time. That her father did not approve… I think you would approve of Eric, Daddy. He is kind, and sweet, and he can dismantle a shotgun in no time, I am sure you’d both have lots to talk about. He reads like no one else I have ever met – even you gran, he has you beat. I think you would be in love with him and his library, both are very impressive.” I smiled as I remembered our first tentative conversations in that room in Scotland. How afraid I was of him, of the way he looked at me and what that meant for me then. It was a delicious kind of fear really. Unlike the fear, I felt with Bill. I went on to explain it all to them, in the hopes they heard me from wherever they were now.

“And because of that… Eric and I… we have been having a lot of trouble getting pregnant. I know gran would disapprove of me speaking of such things in public…” I looked around the abandoned graveyard. “But I think we’re safe enough.” I sighed again, hating this part of our tale. “I don’t know what to do, I know how badly he wants a family, and I do too, more than anything… But I just don’t know how to do it right.”

It was not that he was one of those men that pressured their wives for sons and lots of them, in fact, he was the opposite of all of that, and yet I knew the silent yearning was still there.

“We tried a lot, to the point where we tried too much I think, and then the stress of it took us both over and soon we didn’t even kiss. How crazy is that? I love kissing him, it’s my second favourite thing to do with him…well, third after our walks – which we stopped also and … you know that other thing.”

I could not say the word sex; even to my dead family I was clearly cowardly.

“So he left, not that I blame him, in fact I was kind of happy he took the stand before I did something stupid like… leave him for  good or fall into that black pit that I had been threatening to jump into for a year with my behaviour. God…” I sighed looking up at the cloudless sky. “I want to fix us so badly, but I don’t know how to let go of the notion of being a mother… I just … do not know what to do, and times like these I could really use you all being here. I know for sure you all would know what to tell me to set me right, but life means death and that means you can’t be here, so I hope to figure things out on my own, somehow.”

I took a stroll then that afternoon into the town centre of Bon Temps itself, it had been so long since I had been back, everything now seemed so much smaller, so different. I took a left on hummingbird lane, and found myself outside my old home, my grandmother’s home – the one Bill took it upon himself to sell from beneath me to settle his debts. The home that I had resigned myself to never again seeing the day I left it having thought I had killed Bill. I stood for a long time, just staring up at what was my old bedroom window, the porch, the swing, the door, all bringing back endless memories in an instant. It brought tears to my eyes. I must have garnered the attention of those now living in the house, because a woman in a pink dress came to the door, a confused look on her face.

“Excuse me, miss? Can I help you?”

I snapped out of my daydream state and stammered out an apology.

“N-no, sorry for bothering you I was just… looking.” I went to walk away, but she called out.

“Miss? I’m sorry, but do I know you?”

I turned to look at the woman, who was no more than twenty, soft red hair twirled into a bun on top of her head, freckled scattered across her nose and forehead, she had bright green eyes and an easy smile. No, I did not know her, but she knew my home well.

“No I’m sorry… it’s just that this… well…” I felt silly. “This used to be my home, I was visiting from England and –“

“You’re Susannah, aren’t you?”

That shocked me.

“I am. How did you –“

“Will you come in? My husband isn’t home and I don’t get a lot of visitors, and I have some things that I think belong to you.”

I stepped into the familiar hallway, and attempted to control my emotions. The house was completely different to the naked eye, but I still could find my way around blind if I had to. The owner was Anne, and her husband Charles now lived in my grandmother’s home, having bought it from Bill at a knock down price.

“This may sound silly, Susannah, but I recognise your face you see? There are paintings in the loft, we never threw them out because they seemed cherished at one time, and I think I’m just a sentimental woman at heart.” Anne said as we climbed the steps to the old loft, and sure enough among their things was some of mine, some of my family’s things.

I shed tears then, just another set of items I swore I would never set eyes on.

Paintings of me as a little girl, with my parents, and one when I turned eighteen with my grandmother, both of us standing proud and tall and so unaware what the next few years would throw at us  both.

“You can have them if you’d like, we have no use for them and I’m sure you’d like to have your things back?”

“Thank you, Anne; you have no idea how much this means to me.”

She patted me on the shoulder and suggested some tea; she would have her maid box up my things and send them to my hotel, I was eternally grateful to this stranger all so suddenly.

By the end of the afternoon I had heard Anne’s life story, and it was a welcome break from my own head and own tale of woe, I felt better than I had in years as I left her home in a cab, with my things wrapped up. I had a piece of home now, something to prove my family was real and not just in my head, it meant the world to me and really gave me a pep in my step as I got back to my little hotel.

I had not been in touch with Eric since New York, nor had I really told him my plans – to trail half way across the country alone on my little mission. But at the time I left I was still mad at him for leaving, even if I fully knew why he did what he did. My anger had faded and it was time to call, I was sure he would now be the one mad at me, but there wasn’t much he could do in Scotland.

“Eric?”

“Sookie! Jesus Christ I was so worried about you!”
“You were worried about Jesus Christ?”

He huffed air, clearly not impressed with my comedy skills.

“Sorry, sorry.” I said. “I’m… I’m in Louisiana, which is why I haven’t been in touch for a few days…or week.”

He sighed again.

“I think you’re trying to kill me.” He said softly, clearly relived that I was okay.

“Well, I do have a habit of doing that to my husbands…” I joked, poorly even if it made him chuckle.

“Are you alright?” He asked.

“I am. I really am. I needed to just…” I looked around the empty lobby, still aware I was in public though. “I just needed to put some things to bed. Say some goodbyes to home, properly. I think it will help me to move on.”

I could almost hear him thinking on the other end of the line.

“Are you okay? The Estate still standing?”

“I am okay, only okay though… I miss you too much to be anything else.”

That made me happy.

“I’m glad you realise what a fool you were just leaving.”

“Believe me I realised that as soon as I closed the front door, but I think we –“

“We did need the space, I don’t hate you for leaving … I mean I did for about an hour… but then you know… the common sense I’ve been lacking this past year somehow found its way back to me… I get it I do.”

“I’m glad. So very glad.”

“Doesn’t mean I’m still not pissed at how you chose to teach me this lesson though, gentler ways are encouraged.” I sassed making him laugh.

“I am sorry for that but I just …”

“Didn’t know what else to do. I understand.” I sighed hating how far I had let myself fall in the past year, I had succumbed to self-pity and that just wasn’t me, even at my lowest and poorest I never let myself wallow. I guess maybe I needed to wallow to come out the other end.

I hoped this was the light at the end of that tunnel.

“Eric, I think…I needed some time here, and after that I hope we can move on… however that goes I don’t know yet but I’m not going to try and push anything anymore, I think we just need to be… for a while just be and live and go with the flow as Pam says.”

“God you know we’re in trouble when Pam is sounding like the voice of reason.” I heard him smile on the other end and my heart ached for him, I missed him in that second more than ever.

“I have to go now, Eric but we’ll talk soon, yes?”

“Of course, I’m here… now I know you’re save I can relax… when I didn’t hear from you I started to think the worst… that…”
“Don’t… I’m okay….we’re going to be okay, right?”

“Right.”

“I love you.” I said quietly.

“And I so love you, I miss you…”

When we hung up I decided to go to the hotel bar, I wasn’t going to have alcohol as that would only fuel my bad mood, in fact I was cutting myself off completely from drink. This was to be my fresh start, and I was determined to embrace it. Instead, I asked for a hot tea, like a square, but it was my new nightcap. The bar man that took my order smiled at me, and pointed me to a table, as I waited I went to the ladies room, on the way out I bumped into an old friend, literally.

“I’m sorry.” I said running into the tall black man in a kitchen uniform.

“No Ma’…Sookie?”

“Lafayette?!” I said excited on seeing an old face again, I did not care if the women passing me looked at us funny, I didn’t care at all. I hugged my old friend so relieved to see him again.

“Oh my Goodness what are you doing here?” I asked him as we broke apart with a laugh.

“My mamma kicked the bucket, wanted to be buried here… so I sunk my savings and brought us bother here, so here I be.” He hugged me again. “What are you doing here? Where is that fine husband of yours?” He looked out to the bar expecting to see Eric.

“That’s a longer story… when do you finish up?”

“In twenty, you stayin’ here?”

“I am room 245.” I nodded with a smile. “If you have time come see me when you’re through?”

“Why Miss Sookie you is the first white woman to ask me to her room since I got here. You saucy minx.”

I just rolled my eyes.

“Nice to see things haven’t changed. Talk to you soon.”

 I decided to skip my tea then, Lafayette being all the tonic anyone could need.

EPOV:

I had spent two weeks in meetings, almost daily, with the famers and the townsfolk, and everyone and anyone that had any real connection to the Estate and now me, and that I was responsible for keeping their livelihoods alive. I wanted to move forward, move with the times, purchase machines and hire more labourers, expand the export from the town so we could work on improving the income that came from it. However, I was met with brick walls almost everywhere I looked. People didn’t like change, I knew that more than most, but this could and would benefit them over time, and the majority of the older farmers were, well, not getting any younger, and were set in their ways. Trying to get through to them in a way they understood was not easy, but I knew for their wealth and mine, things had to change and us with it, otherwise the world would move on and leave us all behind. Sookie and I had mapped out a plan when we first move to America, that we would use all modern advancements to our advantage, and that it would help the farmers and their families make three or four times their crop, and help to rear their animals on a yearly basis. To help with milking and breeding and ultimately the slaughter and sell, but the plan like most things always seemed easier on paper than in reality. My reality was work, I had threw myself into it when I got back as a way of distracting myself from the fact that my wife hadn’t been in touch in over a week. Moreover, Pam had left because my ‘sour face and mood was killing her’, and so I was alone – except for the staff – most of whom barely spoke to me as per ‘the rules’. It was ridiculous, but it was what it was, and I was alone. When Sookie finally did get in touch it was much to my relief, and surprise to find she was in her home town. I was happy that she had been facing some of her long buried demons, but there was still no real talk of her coming home, and she had not asked me to return either. After her call it was another few days before I would hear from her again, this time she sounded a lot happier, a lot lighter and a hell of a lot like the Sookie I used to know. It gave me hope where before I had none. But, that had been almost a week before, and now there was nothing still. My anxiety levels were getting close to killing me, and the distraction of work was now no longer enough to keep my thoughts from wandering to that place. The place where I asked myself repeatedly, if leaving New York was the smartest move on my end.  I knew we needed it but now that Sookie was alone, and as always more than capable of taking care of herself, what if she decided she no longer needed me in her life, no longer loved me as she once did. After all, I was the husband that left her in her time of emotional need.

The Friday at the end of May, I decided to try to take my mind off everything and take one of the horses out for some exercise and Thor too. We spent the day hunting but not killing, mostly because I saw little point in the kill, and it still seemed cruel to me. To kill to live, sure, but to kill for sport was a whole other matter. Clearly, this is one area of being a Lord in which I was sure to fail; they all lived for this rubbish. We had been out there hours and I was done, as was Thor just as the sun was starting to set on our day out,  I was sure we were all starving too, and I had hoped Mrs Fortenberry had something ready for dinner, not that  I dared ask her before they were ready, they took their schedule very seriously. I hopped off the horse giving her a good rub down for her good behaviour before I slapped her on the ass and she went running back toward the stables. She was taught well. Thor on the other hand had gotten bored a half hour before and left, I now imagined he was back in his favourite spot by the fire. I looked up from the ground then that is when I saw her, just standing in the middle of the field, by ‘our’ tree, and I thought that for a split second she was a figment of my imagination. That perhaps I had fallen off the horse and knocked myself unconscious. But no, then she moved and she smiled, and I soon found myself drawn to her as she was moving toward me, I took big strides, my riding boots covered in mud, my heavy steps sinking further into the grass as I moved to her.

Neither of us said anything we just grabbed for the other in a way that meant we needed this before we needed any words. She got me by the collar of my coat, and I got her by her waist, each of us pulling the other closer until we kissed and what a kiss that was.

I was instantaneously anxious and excited as her lips lingered over mine, soft and so timid before giving in and providing indulgent, sweet kisses in between suckling my lip before adding an edge with a harmless bite. We remained frozen in place, our hands still on each other but almost unwilling to move, our mouths exploring each other as if it were the first time all over again. I loved her, I missed her, and I didn’t want to go through this ‘break’ ever again. I told her so, then. Repeatedly, as we kissed and moved under the shade of our tree, using the bark as our leverage where I covered her body with mine against the wood, revelling in what warmth I could feel from her. I cradled her face softly, as she shockingly began working my belt. When I pulled back and looked her in the eye, that mischievous glint that I also never realised I missed so much was back, and one that told me we were doing this and that was that.

I was never going to argue this. I had gone so long without her touch, even when we were together, we had not been ‘together’ in a long time, a lifetime for us really. So this new development was more than welcomed, she could have me anyway she wanted me, and from the look in her eye and the way she was kissing me, it seemed the feeling was mutual.

I fisted my hand in her hair, pulling it out of its pin so it fell around her shoulders, her hat she was wearing now long forgotten on the ground. Next went her coat, then mine, then her blouse, then my shirt. She giggled then, standing there in the brisk summer breeze with her bra on show and not caring who saw us… not that anyone would, and even if they did, I didn’t care. She made short work of my riding trousers, yanking them and my underwear down to my knees in one sharp pull.

The kisses deepened, floating between soft and sweet to aggressive and full of unresolved craving. Craving each other.

“I’ve missed you… so –“I didn’t get a chance to finish before her lips were on mine again, before she yanked me even closer still until I used one leg to separate both of hers apart. Allowing me to hike up her dress to her waist and do to her underwear there what she did to mine, get it out of the way in one swoop. I fit perfectly against her then, our height differences suddenly non-existent, as my fingers slipped inside of her and I watched her writhe.

God I missed that too.

She let out several moans, all music to my ears after so long apart, so long since we had been intimate in anyway, to suddenly have her like this again, I felt like all my Christmas’s had come at once. She growled against my ear as I pushed deeper and deeper with my fingers, her hot breath on my ear sending shivers down my spine. She let me continue for a few moments more, before she took charge as she often did, hiked her skirt further, and pushed herself against the bark of the tree for balance before she wrapped her legs around my waist.

“Now… Eric I need you … Now.” She whispered soft, but still assertive.

Her fingers touched lightly down my naked chest; I pulled the straps of her brassiere down softly, exposing her ample breasts, as my chest touched hers I felt a shiver run through her as we made eye contact before I pushed myself inside of her for the first time in what felt like a small lifetime apart. She moaned against my ear once more, as I hummed with pleasure against hers, and we stood there in the empty field and we fucked as if it were the end of the world, because for a time without her it felt like just that. She cried out as she got close, and I did my best to hold my own, to not blow it too early, and get her there first. I was nothing after all, if not a Gentleman. Even if I felt that sheen of sweat on my brow, even if it felt like my legs were about to buckle from underneath me, we still rode out our needs on each other and nothing was going to stop us until we were done. I felt her grasp at my neck, her nails digging in until it hurt, her legs clasped tighter and I swore I could hear her heartbeat – through it was probably my owns through my ears, as I felt her come. Tight and fast around me, allowing me to let go too and spill into her, hot and messy but with sheer abandon. She unhooked her legs and slid down my body with a girlish giggle, both of us then unable to stand, slid the ground together where we laid for a few seconds in spent silence.

“Well, that was certainly a welcome home one could get used to.” She giggled against me, fixing her skirt and buttoning her blouse, as I yanked up my trousers but left everything else. Too tired to care, too blissed out to care, in the arms of my wife after that, nothing else mattered.

I stoked her leg, as I just hummed in agreement, as we laid there, in the dirt.

“Eric did we just have sex in a field?”

That made me giggle, seems her senses were coming back to her as mine where when we realised we were laying in the mud.

“Hmm, seems like we are… Oops?”

“Oops indeed, can you just imagine Mrs Fortenberry’s face when she sees us walk in and tread mud on ‘her’ floor like this?” She laughed again, this time rolling over to pick herself up. She held out her hand to me, a sweet look on her face before I grasped on and pulled her back down on top of me.

“Not yet, five more minutes.”

Nooo.” She wined. “Cold dirt doesn’t have the same allure after the orgasm, let’s go get cleaned up… so we can get all kinds of dirty again.” She wriggled her brows at me playfully. “Metaphorically speaking this time though, because…” she looked at her hands, and her, well, everything. “Ew.”

We sneaked back in to our own house, up our own stairs and into our room without being seen, it was not an easy feat considering Sookie was giggling the entire time like a terrible cat burglar. We washed together, we washed each other, being rather prim about the whole thing, but sneaking a sly feel here and there, followed by a much-needed laugh. By the time we both fell into bed beside the other, it was safe to say we were done for the evening.

“I’m so glad you came home, you should have telephoned. I would have gone to London to pick you up… the idea of you travelling all alone… I really hate myself for leaving, Sookie.”

She shook her head.

“It’s more than fine; I needed the time, Eric. It’s given me a lot of much needed perspective.”

“Oh?”

“Yes, I feel like I have a new outlook… and well… Who has to say I travelled alone? I am told I am an attractive woman… I might not go long without company, particularly on a ship.”

The idea of some man hitting on my wife instantly made me stiffen with rage.

“Easy there cowboy, the man that was entertaining me had no interest in getting into my panties… unless it was to try ‘em on.” She smiled. I was confused. “Oh, and he’s also here now too…”

“Sookie…?”

She grinned.

“I bumped into an old friend at home…”

“And that old friend is now in our house?” I was getting annoyed at her coyness.  “Sookie?”

“Lafayette! He…. got stuck in the states for various reasons,” she flipped her hand back and forth as she explained. “I’ll explain that later, but basically he didn’t want to be there, and so…well… we always need people on the land or here in the house, right? And he’s good people, he’s an amazing cook and very clean and neat… much neater than Diane!”

So now, Lafayette was working in the house. How nice of them to ask me.

“Besides, he’s a friend, and he was in need and if you can help a friend in need who can you help, eh?”

She had a point there.

“I just almost wish I still worked in the kitchen, if only to see the look on Mrs Fortenberry’s face when he walked in.” She giggled. “She thinks she’s the cat’s pyjamas, but really she’s rather prejudiced. She believes the Irish like being lorded over by the English for example and their fight for freedom is simply a ‘misunderstanding’.” Sookie sighed again, rolling to her side to face me again. Running her finger down my neck, chest and resting her hand on my hip as I faced her too.

“Are you mad at me for this?”

“I’m surprised… this evening has been one very … very big surprise. You know I hate surprises.”

“I know, I just didn’t want to have another uncomfortable conversation with an operator listening in. I wanted to be… home.” She looked around the room for a second before looking back at me. “I never thought I would consider this home, you know? Nevertheless, going back to what I thought was my real home only served to teach me that I was wrong. Home really is where the heart is, and you sir, have my heart.”

That made me smile wider than I thought possible.

“I’m glad that’s still true, I don’t think anyone else has ever had mine the way you do, Sookie.”

“Good to know, because if we’re going to adopt children, I’m going to be needing a man that can handle the pressure, and I know you can. We’ve seen each other at our lowest points in life, Eric. I want the rest of our lives to be on the way up, you game?”

Again, she surprised me, she had never stopped surprising me from the minute I met her, something I never thought possible anymore, but she achieved it repeatedly. This time was no different.

I was definitely game!

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