Life, Accidental 25-26

Chapter 25: Chapter 25


SPOV:

Getting Eric home was a challenge. After the doctors had given him the all clear and said he was on the road to recovery, he was let out. But he was still pretty smashed up. Crutches were necessary for his messed up ankle, and since he’d broken a small bone in his shoulder, he could realistically only use one crutch. Between that and his constant headaches, he wasn’t all that pleasant to be around the first few days back at home. I knew he was more mad at himself than anyone else. He wasn’t used to laying around, unable to really fend for himself. We’d offered to move one of the guest beds into the den, but since the bathroom was upstairs, he was pretty much confined to the second floor. He hated it, and I can’t really say I blamed him. Eric was an active guy, so being unable to be himself really bothered him. He was asked if he wanted to press charges on Sophie, but he declined. He said they couldn’t really charge her for stupidity, unfortunately, and he did believe her when she said it was an accident. She’d turned up a little more than a week after he’d gotten out of hospital to apologize to both of us, for everything. She’d put the restaurant up for sale since it was either that or the bank took it back. Her dad was furious, to say the least, but I didn’t care. It wasn’t my problem anymore, and neither was she. So when she told us she was returning to Paris, it was the first time in my life I’d ever felt sorry for an entire country before.

He’d been home and adjusting for a almost ten days when she showed up, and when I say she… I mean Eric’s mother.

Olivia Northman Cole arrived on a Saturday morning. I was still in my pyjamas, having spent the morning in bed with Jessica and Eric. I went down to answer the door—my hair was piled on top of my head and Jessica was in bed watching cartoons with Eric. She arrived with flawless hair, what looked like a vintage Chanel suit and very in season black Gucci coat, as well as her six pieces of LV luggage. Her height and her presence made me feel like a very tiny homeless person.

“You must be Sookie,” came her very posh, very English accent. “It’s so nice to finally meet you,” she said as she air kissed both my cheeks. “I came as soon as I got the message on my machine. How is Eric?”

“Um, wasn’t that more than a week ago?”

“Yes…? I had a charity luncheon that I just couldn’t miss… But as soon as that was done I hopped on a plane to be here.”

Oh, well that made sense, right? Charity before your son.

“Right. Well, he’s upstairs,” I told her as I led her up the staircase and into Eric’s room.

“My goodness, Eric what did you do to your hair?” Was the first thing she said to him. Not exactly the best opener.

“Oh, God! Hi, Mom…” He moved to sit at the edge of his bed as she came and hugged him. Jessica looked very confused.

“Hi, Sweetie… This must be Jessica. Hi Jessica, I’m your Nana Livvy.”

Jessica just quirked her brow. My thoughts exactly, Jess.

“How old is she?”

“Nineteen months. Um, I’ll leave you guys to it.”

“No!” Eric said panicked, before he calmed his tone. “No, um… could you maybe take Mom downstairs and I’ll catch up?”

“Eric, the doctor told you to try and stay off your feet.”

“I know, but really I think everyone would be more comfortable… downstairs.”

By everyone, he meant him.

“Fine… Olivia would you like a cup of coffee?”

“I’ll take some tea if you’re making it, lovey.”

Lovey? How British.

“Sure. Jess, you wanna come?”

Nosy little thing that she was, she held up her arms to me, her eyes never leaving “Nana Livvy.”

“What a charming house. It really is beautiful. Your late cousin had wonderful taste, Sookie.”

“Uh, yeah I guess she did. Do you take sugar?”

“Two, and a drop of milk please.”

“Jessica, oh aren’t you a cute little thing indeed,” she said coming over to her high chair to tickle her cheek. Jessica wasn’t a surly baby, and she usually took well to strangers. But she seemed to be sussing out her new Nana.

“Do you have any biscuits?” she asked when I gave her, her tea.

I hadn’t baked in days.

“Biscuits?”

“Yes. For the tea, dear.”

I just looked at her. “You mean cookies?”

“Cookies? Well I’m not so fond of chocolate chipped ones, but I suppose they’d do.”

“No, cookies… they’re not biscuits. They’re called cookies here.”

“If you say so dear. Would Jessica like a biscuit? Would you, sweetie?”

“Cookie,” I corrected and she just laughed again.

“Fine, cookie. Even though technically we speak English, and since we’ve been speaking it before Americans … our definitions are correct.”

“Yeah, well, I speak the American version of English.”

“As butchered as it is,” she commented.

“And I’m just fine with our cookies.”

She smiled. “You’re a feisty one, aren’t you? I can see why my son is so taken with you.”

“Eric doesn’t talk about you much, but I was under the impression you both didn’t talk often?”

“We don’t,” she said in a clipped tone. “My son has this deluded idea that after his father died I suddenly became the Wicked Witch of Rodeo Drive or something by forcing him to come here, and when I got remarried … it was a strain. So no, we don’t talk often, but he and my father converse quite regularly, via email. So he keeps me abreast of Eric’s life. Vicariously.”

“Oh.”

“I’m sure you’ve seen by now just how pigheaded my son can be when he sets his mind to something.”

“Oh, no, I think he and I are both guilty of that.”

“I see. You two are a couple now, I assume?”

“Why would you assume that?”

“Well, there is a level of comfort I can see, one you only have with someone you’ve been intimate with… and it’s written all over both of you.”

I blushed.

“Mom that’s enough.” I heard from the door as a haggard looking Eric hobbled into the kitchen for the first time since he’d gotten home.

“We’re just talking, Eric. Forgive me for wanting to know a little more about your life.”

“I think you know plenty,” he said as I poured him a cup of coffee before he asked for it. He smiled in thanks.

“So, how are you healing?” she asked him.

“Well enough. The surgery went well. It’s why I’ve got a buzz cut mom; they cut into my brain.”

She gasped.

“Oh, darling…” she looked to me then. “They didn’t tell me on the phone message just how bad it was. I assumed it was a small … what do they call it here, Eric? A fender lender?”

“Fender bender,” he corrected as I hid my smile.

“Right. But Jesus… But, you’re in one piece and that’s what matters.”

“Careful mom, you almost sound like you care.”

She and I both chided him at the same time with a sharp call of his name.

Eric!”

“What?” He looked at me. “Oh, Sookie, don’t let her fool you, she’s only here because she feels guilty and nothing more. Mom, as you can see, I’m fine. Sookie’s fine and so is Jess. You’re not really needed here.”

“Eric, you’re being so rude,” I told him and he just rolled his eyes.

“You don’t know her like I do, Sookie. Trust me, this is a guilt trip. For example, Mom, will you be staying with us?” he asked as if he knew fine well what the answer would be.

“Well, no I … I booked into the Hilton in the city.”

“See?”

“Eric…” I said not fully understanding why he was being this harsh.

“Right. So you came to check up on me, and as you can see, here I am alive and not so well right now. But I’ll be fine. You can go back to L.A.”

His mother shrunk a little in her seat and I felt bad for her. Sure she was a little snobbish, but she did get on a plane and come all the way here to see him. That had to count for something, right? It was the thought, if nothing else.

There was an incredibly awkward silence before she stood up. “Sookie, would you be a dear and call me a taxi please?”

“Uh, sure. Where are you going?”

“The airport.”

Ouch.

“Oh.”

Eric just rolled his eyes, and honestly he was acting like Jessica, who wasn’t even two yet. I wanted to smack him.

She walked out of the kitchen smoothing out the skirt of her dress.

“Eric, what the hell is wrong with you?”

“Don’t, okay. You don’t know her.”

“Do you? I mean, come on, she’s your mother.”

“Exactly.”

“How would you like it if Jessica reacted this way toward me in thirty years, huh? You’d be livid. Look, okay so, I don’t know the whole story here, clearly. But she did come all the way here just to see if you were okay. That has to count, right? And, really, I’d like to get to know her a little bit. Maybe let Jessica get to know her Nana.” I guilt tripped him, of course, but honestly he really was being an ass about this.

“You just had to lay it on like that, huh?” He relented.

“Doesn’t Jess deserve to get to know her?”

“I guess…”

“Good.” I smiled.

“Olivia?” I called out and a few seconds later I heard her heels on the tile before her head peeked around the door.

“Yes?”

“Would you like to stay here, with us for a few days?”

“Sookie, what?” Eric asked and I just ignored him.

Her face brightened as she smiled. Well, as much a smile as she could manage with what I assumed was a shit load of botox.

“Excellent! If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make myself a little more presentable,” I said motioning to my Snoopy pjs. “I’m sure you both have a lot of … catching up to do. Eric,” I raised my brows at him. “Be. Nice…” I whispered to him in passing.

I exhaled a breath as I got to my bedroom before changing into some dark skinny jeans, a long blue sweater, and pulled on my black ankle booties. I brushed out my hair before I tied it back up into a messy ponytail again. Being in the presence of Olivia made want to look as pretty as I could. I wanted to make a good impression, and whether or not Eric cared what she thought, I did. So I applied some light day makeup, just enough to make a difference to my skin, focusing on making my eyes look big and natural. A little clear lip gloss and some perfume and I was good to go. My bed was still made. I hadn’t slept in it since Eric got home. We hadn’t done much more than kiss, but it was comforting to both of us to have the other there. It also seemed silly to be sleeping across the hall when all I wanted was to snuggle up next to him—which I had done, and I loved every second of it. His pain meds had kept him pretty out of it for the first few days, but he was improving everyday and needing less and less meds, too. It was all very promising.

I had next to no idea what Eric’s issues were with his mother, but she didn’t seem like a big, bad ogre to me. Since she was essentially the only family Eric had, I would have liked to develop some kind of relationship with her, be it good or bad.

By the time I got downstairs again, she had shrugged the jacket of her suit off and was holding Jessica out by the pool. Eric had made his way to the living room and he wasn’t looking too hot.

“You okay?” I asked coming to sit next to him, as he slung his good arm around me pulling me next to him.

“This is a bad idea, Sookie.”

“All I’m asking is for you to give her a shot.”

“I’ve given her a shot, over and over again. And every time she messes it up.”

“Like, how?”

“Like marrying a guy she barely knew months after my dad died. Like, moving us to a fucking strange country not even a year after he died. Like, choosing her new husband time and time again over her kid for the sake of making her life easier. Like, leaving her sixteen-year-old son to fend for himself while she moved across the damn country for her husband’s new job, because again, that mattered more than what I needed.”

Well, that sure explained a lot about Eric Northman and his issues with women.

“You told me you wanted to stay here. You seemed mature enough, Eric,” we heard from the hallway. We turned to see Olivia—a very forlorn look on her face—standing with Jessica. Jessica was just fascinated by her earrings. They were huge.

“Mom… I…”

“No. Don’t. It’s good to finally know what you think of me. I asked you to come with me; you refused. You were old enough to …”

“What? Fend for myself? Mom, I was sixteen. Just because I could fend for myself didn’t mean I should have had to!”

“You refused! Because you hated him, and you refused, I thought I was doing you a favor. You both didn’t get along so… I thought it was what was best for everyone.”

“Including you, I’m sure. Why have to deal with the annoying teenager putting a crimp in your lifestyle?”

“That’s not true! I wanted you there with us. I asked you every time I called, but you still refused!”

“Mom… I don’t want to talk about this, not now.”

“Well, tough. We are talking about this.”

Wow, Eric was more like his mother than he realized. It was like watching a train wreck.

“If I was such a horrible mother Eric, why didn’t you tell me what you thought? You seem to have no problem voicing your opinions now.”

“Yeah, well, call it the near death experience wake up call.”

“I see…” She looked embarrassed, and I can’t say I blame her. “Sookie, maybe me staying here isn’t such a good idea after all…”

“Nonsense, Eric is just being… well, for lack of a better term, Eric is being a toddler right now. So you, Jessica and I are going out for lunch.”

“We are?” she asked.

“Yes. We are. Get your coat,” I said, taking Jessica from her to get her dressed as Olivia went to the kitchen again.

“Why are you leaving? Didn’t the doctor say I wasn’t to be left alone? What if I fall?” He almost pouted.

“You’re acting so fucking awful right now, Eric, and until you grow up and realize you can’t talk to your mother that way, we’re leaving. We’re going to lunch and maybe do some shopping, and you are going to sit here and think about what you’ve just said.”

“Stop treating me like Jessica, Sookie. I’m not a child.”

“Then stop fucking acting like one. God. Where is the Eric I know and love? Did they drill all that lovely kindness out of that brain of yours? When he comes back, so will we.” I poked him gently in the chest.

“Sookie—”

“No. Call me when you snap out of this shit fit of yours,” I said, still mad at him. But I didn’t want him to think I was totally against him, so I kissed him on the cheek softy. “I’ll bring you back something pretty,” I laughed.

“This isn’t funny.”

“Damn right it’s not. She’s your mother, and she’s the only damn mother you’re ever gonna have. Think about that.”

EPOV:

Seeing my mother walk into my bedroom that morning was just as big a shock as I could have gotten. She was the last person I ever expected to see. I wasn’t exactly thrilled to see her, given that she and I hadn’t spoken directly in… well, a long time. I was sure Niall was behind her little trip out here from L.A., and I didn’t like it—not one bit. She and I had agreed to disagree about our relationship a very long time ago. It suddenly felt like I was teenager again and my frustrations over our relationship bubbled to the surface almost immediately. Hearing her talk to Sookie, so flippant about how I was pigheaded… Even after all this time, she still took no blame for how fucked up things were between us. It made me see red. Sookie didn’t understand it. How could she? She didn’t really remember her mother, and she’d had a near blissful relationship with her grandmother. I understood why she was so shocked at how I was behaving. Mainly because my mother could turn the victim whenever it suited her. I hated that Sookie had to find out how fucked up things were between my mother and I, and so soon into our relationship, too. This was definitely a six month to a year bombshell. Not a couple of weeks.

Sookie and I had been getting closer. Not as close as I would have liked, though and thanks to my various injuries, sex really was the last thing they advised. But we had taken some steps to becoming more and more intimate. There was no sex, but she and I were sleeping together. Making out was torture since we always got close, but no cigar. Like I said, it would have sucked. I could barely breathe without there being some degree of pain, so the idea of sexing Sookie like I desperately wanted was so far away. And it was killing us both. As much as we ignored that want, it also allowed us to get to know each other all over again. We’d spent nights just talking, and as queer as it sounds, I loved it. Little things like tidbits from her childhood, how she got various tiny scars, why she hated tomatoes but loved ketchup… it was the little things I loved finding out.

But she took my mothers side, and that annoyed me. We were meant to be a team—Jessica, Sookie, and I—and suddenly Hurricane Olivia comes in and fucks that all up. She chastised me like a child, and I knew I was behaving extremely irrationally… but honestly, I was glad they left me alone when they did. It gave me time to think, and I knew on some level, she was right. My mother was the only mother I was going to have. But really, how many chances do you give someone to love you before you just give up? My anger with her was something I’d held onto for a long time. It wasn’t going to disintegrate in seconds just because it was something Sookie didn’t approve of.

They’d been gone a few hours and I was coping a lot better around the house than I imagined, when I got a text from Sookie.

Are you sure Pam isn’t really your sister? Your mother sure shops like her. Lol. Love you, but pull your head out of your fine ass. Sookie xx.”

I smiled and text back. “Head from ass extraction underway. I’d like a chocolate covered pretzel if you’re at the mall, thanks. I’m sorry about before but I’m working on it. Love you, too.”

I called Pam and informed her that my mother was in town. It both thrilled and terrified Pam. Pam and my mother shopped together—they were shopping ninjas. One time they went to New York on a whim and my mother bought her a Chanel bag when we’d just opened the business. From then on she adored my mother on one level, but on the best friend level, she was on my side with her shitty mothering skills. She told me since I was a parent myself now that maybe, just maybe, I should think about what it would feel like if Jessica ever shunned me for my shitty life decisions when she became our age. Basically retelling what Sookie had told me but with a Pamela spin on things. I knew they were both right because the thought broke my heart and since I figured I had enough broken things in my body at the time, it was the one thing I could maybe fix myself.

The very least I could do was try, right?

A/N: More issues than Rolling Stone, that family, huh? What do we think of Olivia & Eric’s relationship? Is there hope? I kinda like her, I can’t lie. Again, thank you all so much for the review love last chapter, but instead of responses I figured you’d all much rather I worked on a new update. I hope I’m right? 😀


Chapter 26: Chapter 26


SPOV:

Eric’s mother was, in a word, exhausting. Not just in the speed with which the conversation jumped from one topic to another, but the woman could shop as an Olympic sport and get all the gold medals. How her feet weren’t killing her in those six inch heels was beyond me.

“He’s right, you know.”

“About what?”

“Me. I was a rubbish mother to him, long before his father died. I was so young when I met James and when we had Eric it was wonderful, but babies don’t come with instructions.”

“Tell me about it,” I smiled.

“I loved him and I loved his father, but Eric was always daddy’s boy, and I was just silly mummy,” she said, sipping her coffee. “I feel like they indulged my personality but never really understood it.”

The personality I’d gotten a tiny glimpse of that day was one of mass contradictions. She was a lady, but she also had this wickedly dirty sense of humor. She had a kindness—the same kindness Eric had—that you could almost see behind the eyes. She was incredibly articulate, or perhaps it was just the posh English accent fooling me.

“I was scared of ending up alone and miserable after James died. It’s why when I met Andrew it was like the light at the end of a very dark tunnel… In an ideal world I would have known how to be a better mother and a wife, but I didn’t. Eric had always been very self-aware and self-reliant. Much like his father… By the time we were to move to Los Angeles, he seemed so grown up already, and I just assumed that he didn’t need me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“For what, dear? It’s not your fault,” she smiled.

“I know, I just… you’re obviously upset about how this all turned out, just as much as he is. It’s not something anyone should feel.”

She sighed. “Sometimes it felt like he was my parent, you know? That’s when I knew I’d failed completely. If he hates me for our past, I’m not really sure how I can make him stop hating me. He’s entitled to after everything, I suppose.”

I felt stuck and horrible. I really shouldn’t have rushed judgment of Eric’s behavior toward his mother. Just because I never really had a chance to have a mother didn’t mean all relationships had to be this ideal I had in my head.

I decided to try and steer the subject elsewhere.

“He’s a wonderful father.”

“I don’t doubt that. He swore after the … what did he called it…? The ‘cluster-fuck’ of a relationship he and I had that if he was ever to have kids, they’d come first. Though I don’t think he factored in just how difficult relationships can be, especially when you have children. How are you two coping?”

Were we really coping? The relationship was still extremely new.

“Well, technically, we’ve only been together officially for a little over a week. Before that, we were just focusing on not killing each other or losing the baby at the supermarket, or something.”

She laughed, “She’s a curious little thing, isn’t she?” nodding to a sleeping Jessica in her stroller.

“She is. Hadley was the same. She needed to know things, or see inside things she shouldn’t. Even when we were kids, she was always getting into some kind of trouble.”

“My father tells me Jessica’s father was Eric’s best friend? I can’t imagine what you two must have gone through those first few weeks. I had no idea…”

Cringe.

She had no idea because Eric didn’t call her to tell her.

Olivia seemed to share Pam’s philosophy for life. If you shopped, life was better. She proved this by buying an extraordinary amount of toys for Jessica—even when I objected. She told me it might be her one shot to get to spoil Jessica, depending on whether or not Eric would allow her to be around Jess.

That thought made me sad and I hoped it wouldn’t come to him ‘banning’ her from Jessica’s life. Both of us had very little in the way of actual family. The last thing we should have been doing was shutting them out.

It made me think of Jason again. He and I had our differences. He loved the bottle and a party more than his family and after Gran passed, it only got worse. I hadn’t shut him out, but in not reaching out to him, it was almost as if I had. I felt that twinge of guilt again—bothering me like it did when it snuck up on me.

By the time we got back to the house it was after five, and already turning dark. I showed Olivia to the guest room at the back of the house. It was the biggest room after the master bedroom, but too far away from Jessica’s room for either Eric or I to consider using it at the time we moved in. She seemed happy enough and told me she was going to lie down for a little while.

I left Jessica playing happily on her bedroom floor with her array of new toys before I tiptoed gently into Eric’s room to find him sleeping half in, half out of his covers on his bed. I crawled in next to him and snuggled as close as I could as gently as I could. He took a deep breath before he kissed the top of my head.

“You’re back.”

“I am.”

“She here?”

“Yeah, she’s laying down for a while.”

“Oh. You survived then?” he said, using his good arm to pull me closer to him.

“I did. I also heard a few things today that I hope you give her the chance to tell you—things that I think might help you both.”

“Sookie, look, I know you mean well, but—”

“I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“Butting in, reacting the way I did before. You were right. I couldn’t understand your relationship because I never had a mom to disappoint me, or to get mad at. Well, I got mad plenty, but I was a little kid, so it doesn’t really count. Having Gran, it’s not the same as having your own mother raise you. So you’re right, I have no idea what it’s like to have a parent disappoint you like she has disappointed you growing up… I don’t want you doing anything here that you don’t want to do to. So you want her to leave? She’ll leave. You don’t want her around Jessica? Then, that’s up to you. She’s your mom, at the end of the day, but could tell you what I think?”

“Don’t you always?”

I smiled.

“Ah, you know me so well.” I kissed him on the cheek. “I just think that whatever you decide, that the anger you’ve been holding in all this time, it’s time to maybe let that go. Or try to at least.”

“Is this therapy talking?”

“A little. Doctor Ellis is great. She doesn’t feel like a shrink at all. She feels like a friend.”

“Who you’re paying a shit load of money to listen to your problems.”

“Yes. That’s true,” I laughed. “But, unlike my biased friends who love me in life, she actually tells me the honest truth about what’s going on up here,” I tapped my head, “and in here,” I tapped my heart. “And how sometimes one gets confused with the other and we drive ourselves nuts.”

“But I’ve gotten so good at hating her, I’m not really sure how else to feel.”

“Okay, that’s… a little… scary. But, understandable I guess. I don’t know, Eric. I’m not saying you fix this in a matter of hours, or days or weeks. I’m saying, take the step to want to make things … better than they were, or are.”

He sighed again before looking down at me. “It’s like my brain knows you’re making sense, and wants to do it, but the rest of me just doesn’t know how.”

“And that’s okay. For now, how about we just try and get through dinner?”

“Do we have to?”

“If you’re a very good boy, there might be a surprise in it for you … after.”

He pouted at me. “You’re treating me like Jessica again.”

I snaked my hand up his shirt, raking my nails up and down his chest. “Trust me, sweetie I’d never treat Jessica like this.”

And he got my meaning.

“Oh. Oooh…” he said with a shy smile. “If you insist.”

“I just might,” I said kissing him, letting myself go completely into the kiss, just as Jessica stumbled into the bedroom like a tiny drunk person.

“Dadda! See?” she said dragging her new plush toys in behind her. One was a tiny horse, the other was a unicorn, and a princess. I had no idea the theme of these toys but they were soft and brightly colored. She loved them so far.

I lifted her up onto the bed between us so she could show us her new toys.

“Dis pwetty, see?” she said, petting the princesses long brown wool hair. She was kind of wonky looking if you asked me, but to a toddler, she was stunning.

“Do you like Nanna Livvy?” he asked her. Now if she knew what he was asking really though, was another story.

“She pwetty,” she said still looking at her toys. We didn’t know if she meant them or Olivia. It didn’t seem to matter.

“I’m not cooking. I know it’s probably not the best impression to make on …your mother, but I can’t. I’m too tired. So, we can just order some dinners from that new Italian restaurant in town… Amelia and Pam ate there the other night and swore by it. She eats Italian, right?” I almost said ‘future in-laws’ but way to jump that gun, Sookie. You’ve been dating a week!

“Waiters, store staff, Italian people in general, sure,” he scoffed. “I don’t know, Sookie. You’ve spent more time with her today than I have in two years so… you’d know better than I would right now.”

I sighed, not really sure what else I could say at that point. “How are you feeling anyway?”

“Fine, I guess. My head still hurts but I don’t know if that’s the giant drill through my skull or the mother in the other room. The meds are helping, I just… I don’t like them. They make me woozy. It feels wrong, out of control.”

“Yeah, they suck… but hopefully you can wean off them soon and the sick feeling will go away. In the meantime, we eat. What do you want?”

EPOV:

After Sookie, Jess and my mother left, it struck me as odd to be home alone—or home at all really. I’d let the apartment that I’d found go. I’d moved what little things I had moved out, back in again. And Sookie and I were dealing with our feelings, slowly but surely. I knew things had to change where my mother was concerned. She had tried over the years to include me I guess, but being the angry teen into my twenties and then my thirties that I was, I shunned her invites for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays. I knew she wanted to kiss ass, but I wasn’t having it. I hated people who kissed ass just so they could sweep everything under the rug and pretend like nothing happened. So, I’d decline, and then get a sharply worded email from Niall asking me why I’d upset my mother. It was a vicious cycle I couldn’t break. Yes, on the one hand I wanted things to be better, I always had. What kid doesn’t want to have a good, solid relationship with his mother, really? But on the other, did I really want to deal with all her melodramatic Hollywood lifestyle Beverly Hills bullshit? No, I didn’t. I knew Sookie was acting from a place of concern, but really, she had no idea what life was like with her as kid. It felt like I was her parent, not the other way around sometimes. Even with her husband, stick up his ass Andrew, she still relied heavily on me for emotional support… unfair as it was. I looked at it as my job to take care of her. When my dad died, I was all she had. So, I guess it stung me to know that when she found Andrew it was like she forgot about my dad and by extension, me. That’s when I started to resent her, and him, and this whole mess of a life he was dragging us into. It’s not that he’s bad guy, because he’s not. But to a teenager with a attitude? He was pretty much the devil.

I knew I wasn’t that kid anymore, and Sookie was about right the anger I was holding on to. It was causing more harm than good. A lot more harm. We’d lost Alcide and Hadley in a heartbeat. So many things we’d never get to say to them again, or do with them. So many things they’d never get to do. Their life snuffed out in a second, mine could have been, too. Had Sophie been going any faster, had I been closer to the wall, I would have ended up just as dead, just as fast. What then? A lot of things went unsaid. I didn’t tell my mother I loved her, or that I was angry with her for a very long time, but as someone who’s been on his own for a time… to then be thrust into a family. The idea of losing that now seems nightmarish to me… did she feel that way when my dad died? Did she feel lost? Is that why she took to Andrew so quickly? Had I died, had I been left a vegetable, I’d never get the answers to those questions.

But I could now. Or I could eventually. Maybe not right now. Right now I was just trying to be civil to the woman. Knowing it was the first thing my dad ever taught me, and probably the first thing I’d forgotten as a grown man at times. Respect. And it wasn’t the point that I wasn’t her number one fan, the best son, had the best mother or could say I knew her all that well—the point was, she had given me a shot at life. I had to respect that as a man. I had to own up to my own mistakes like I hoped she’d own up to hers one day. I could be the bigger person here; I could be a grown up.

I would be.

Sookie had ordered enough food to feed a small army, though I was starving so I was the last to complain. Jessica sat next to me in her booster chair at the table for a change. She was getting a little big for her highchair now, so we’d have to find another way of making sure she strapped in to eat. She was a big mess within minutes. A toddler and Italian food, not the greatest of mixes. Mom and Sookie seemed to get on well—commenting on the ingredients, how it was made, where it was that this new place was situated—small talk about their shopping. Anything and everything except what they were waiting for me to talk about.

“How’s the bar, Eric? Last I heard you were doing very well,” mom said.

Sookie looked at me, and I could almost feel her willing me to cooperate with my mom.

“Yeah, it’s good. I mean, we’re good. Pam, she’s a great manager and most of the time we’re really busy and we’re up for the best bar in Louisiana competition again this year.”

“They won two years in a row,” Sookie commented, and I didn’t know she knew that. “What? You were my competition remember?” she smiled, before forking her food into her mouth again.

Right, how could I forget?

“Oh! Well, that’s wonderful! Just wonderful, congratulations,” she said with a smile that looked almost genuine.

“Uh, thanks,” I said.

“I just… well, I just can’t believe you’re a father,” she said smiling at Jessica. “I know she’s not your daughter … the old fashioned way… but I can see she loves you just as if she were.”

“Yeah, well, biological or not, she’s my kid. Our kid. And I plan to do my best for her.”

“Unlike me, right?” she said sipping her wine.

“Mom, look… It’s not like I think you didn’t try… it’s just sometimes you… it’s like you didn’t try hard enough.”

“It’s too late, isn’t it?” she asked looking straight at me.

“For what?”

“For you to forgive me.”

I just closed my eyes and took a breath.

“I don’t know. I just … don’t know.”

She nodded.

“I… I know I have no right to ask, but I’d very much like to know Jessica. I understand if it’s not something that you want, but I’m asking.”

“Mom—”

“I messed everything up with us, Eric. I know that. I was a shitty mother.”

The word shitty and my mother’s posh accent just didn’t mesh.

“But I don’t have to be a shitty grandmother, and I’m sorry for using that word around the baby.”

She looked to Sookie who just shrugged, “Believe me, she’s heard worse.”

I fought the urge to chuckle. I mean, it was true.

“I’m not going to stop you seeing Jess, okay? She has a Nana and she should know who she is.”

There were tears in her eyes, but she smiled.

“Thank you, son.”

I looked to Sookie who made a slight “meep” noise before she got up from the table to go to the fridge.

“Are you okay?” I asked her.

“I’m fine!” she said with an obvious frog in her throat. I had to laugh at my mother’s concerned expression. “This is the girl that cries at Kleenex commercials,” I pointed out to her and Sookie just ran her hand through my fuzzy buzzed hair.

“Not the time for mocking, Eric.”

“Totally the time for mocking.”

“I’m sorry, okay? You two just got very, Lifetime movie on me, that’s all.”

I pulled her close for a second planting a kiss on her head before letting her go.

“Sookie’s special.”

“She is,” my mother agreed.

“I think he’s mocking me again, Olivia.”

I looked innocent, though I might have been mocking just a touch.

“Mocking his girlfriend, one who, might I add, has been taking care of his convalescing self for more than a week now. Taking care of his every need.” She laid on the last part, real thick, with a quirk of her brow. “I mean honestly, what would he do if I stopped taking care of those, needs?”

She slid her toe up my non-screwed up leg, and I got her drift.

“I would never mock you, never, not like that, and certainly not when you’ve been doing such a good job.”

Mom was feeding Jessica something from her dish and she just laughed.

I won’t lie, after dinner all I wanted was for Jessica to magically go to bed on her own and for my mom to be deaf and in Alaska. Because all I kept thinking was ‘Sookie’s going to do things to me. Nice things. Naked things.’ And I wanted the naked things more than I wanted stupid chit chat about remodeling the damn living room. We said goodnight to my mother after laying a zonked out Jessica with her bottle in her crib. Sookie watched as I hobbled into what I was calling ‘our’ room. By the time I’d been able to hop myself up onto my bed and leave my crutch by the side of it, she was standing there in nothing but a long white tank top and white cotton panties.

Jesus, how could something so simple be so hot?

“Oh, hi.”

“Hi,” she smirked crawling up the bed, careful to avoid my leg as she straddled me. Oh this was going to be interesting. We kissed, hard and fast for a second, her hands massaging my scalp as we did.

“Are you sure you’re up for this?” she asked kissing me again. “And I don’t just mean that as a pun because I can feel just HOW up for this you are… I mean, everything else is okay, right?”

“Seriously, Sookie you’re half naked on top me and asking me with those sexy eyes to lay back and enjoy and you’re expecting me to have thoughts right now? Other than, oh my God, she’s on top of me and I’m gonna get laid? Really?”

She laughed close to my face, before her lips started in on my earlobe again. Man, that felt nice.

“Just making sure. I like you alive.”

“I’m feeling more alive now than I have in days…”

“Shocking.” She smirked, biting my lip softly before she began grinding into me.

Holy shit that was hot. We both stayed like that just making out and groping and trying really hard not to moan how amazingly fuck hot it felt.

“If we do this, we have got to be super silent. This needs to be like ninja sex, okay?”

“Yeah… Yeah.” Seriously she could have said I’d have to do it hanging upside down and I’d have agreed right then.

“I mean it.”

“You’re the loud one.”

“I am not!”

“You are, too!” I fake pouted before I yanked off her tank, to expose those beautiful breasts of hers. After a few more minutes or hours or days of however long it was of making out and driving each other nuts—silently might I add—she stood up on the bed and took off her panties, one leg at a time, and I honestly felt like it was Christmas.

So perfect. So wet and so… mine.

We were a panting mess just from kissing. The silent sex might not happen like I wanted. We didn’t talk before she slid down my boxers and I was seeing stars as she let me inside her again. Once was not enough. Once would have never been enough.

She got reacquainted with my headboard, again using it as leverage to help buck herself up and down on top of me. Stupid injuries meant my arms were tired, my head was killing me, but everything else felt far too fucking amazing to stop. My lips got to know her over and over—neck, lips, jaw line, neck, lips, chest, breast… everywhere and anywhere I could taste, I did.

She pushed her body backwards, leaning on her hands, again careful not to touch my legs and bucked harder still. I could see her biting her lip so hard I was shocked there wasn’t blood. Her face contorted into the most blissful expressions before she pulled herself up to bury her face in my neck before she fucked me harder and even faster than before. She was close, and honestly, so was I. Between using my good arm to hold her to me—my other was useless—I couldn’t bring her over her edge with my fingers as well as my dick like I had so wanted to. She seemed to sense this and her impending orgasm, as well as mine, so she did it herself. The visual of her riding me like that, so careful but so carefree all at once, and to touch herself in front me like that? I was a goner, in more ways than one. Coming before she did was embarrassing for me, though she was blissfully unaware, as she carefully lay down next to me.

“I don’t think we can do silent sex,” she said with a giggle, as I recalled her moaning my name into my neck, but not far enough in to muffle the sound.

Oh yeah, we were definitely busted.

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