SPOV:For almost three weeks I nursed my self inflicted broken heart while doing my very best to be the most obedient, servant of God that I had ever been. The guilt was killing me, and every time one of the Sister’s would bring up Niall and his condition the twinge in my heart would hit again. Eric and I hadn’t spoken and that in itself was a cross to bare. I missed him so much even though I knew it was my doing that we were so distant even if he was just in the next room.
All of this was my fault.
I had gone to him that night, I had wanted he and I to cross that line. I had wanted it all and yet I wasn’t willing to acknowledge the consequences of any of it. Well I thought I was at the time, but this? This I hadn’t been expecting.
A week after the accident, and it had been deemed an accident by the police and Bill, Niall of course said that there was something ‘a miss’ since I knew what that was I knew Niall was waiting for his moment. He knew something, we just didn’t know exactly what that was.
Niall knew a lot of things I realised, and when I was charged with being his night nurse when he was returned for bed rest to the convent – complete with wires and a fairly large oxygen tank as well as injections that the doctor would come and give him daily to help strengthen up his lungs again.
He was barely speaking, having taken a turn for the worst a few days in, they deemed him well enough though to be let out – and of course on money orders from Bill, we simply couldn’t afford the hospital bills. I had a feeling though that if he were in Niall’s position, the money might just magically appear.
The first night Geraldine told me that I was to keep watch over Niall, my stomach turned so fast I threw up on my way across the path to the priest’s quarters. I walked into Niall’s cell, and as expected Eric was by his bedside, reading to him, which of course he stopped abruptly as I entered.
“You don’t have to stop on my account.”He didn’t even look at me, instead he closed his book and told Niall that he’d see him in the morning.
Niall couldn’t speak with his mask on, but his eyes told me that he was not only shocked, but curious as to what the heck had just happened.
I grabbed the book from the chair that Eric had been sitting on.
“You want me to keep reading or maybe turn your radio on?”He pointed to the radio.
“I agree, my reading voice would knock anyone to sleep and it’s early yet.” I smiled and I saw him smile – albeit weakly behind his oxygen mask.
I’d checked his bandages and that his tank was at the consistency that it was meant to be at before Niall pointed the book again.
“Where did Eric leave off? Oh. I see.”
The night and the night after when I arrived it would be the same awkward dance, Eric and I refusing to acknowledge the other, while Niall struggled to point it out to us.
By the third night he’d garnered the strength to take off his mask.
“What happened?” He asked me weakly.
“Nothing.””Don’t lie to a dying man child.””You’re not dying so you just hush up on that talk do you hear?” I chastised him as best I could, making sure his drip was secured.
“We just aren’t talking for reasons he and I aren’t willing to deal with yet, that’s all.””He sounds heartbroken, even when he reads his voice lets him down. Did you break his heart Sookie?”I look at him then, sharply. What did he know, did he know what we’d done? And if so, what the hell were we going to do now that he knew?
“What did he tell you?””Nothing, but then again he doesn’t have to tell me, you know as well as I do Eric’s emotions live in his eyes, and his eyes are dying. He loves you Sookie.”My heart stopped.
“What?””You’re his best friend in the whole world, he depends on you more than you realise.”Oh, good pure platonic love. The kind a priest and a nun were meant to have.
“I know that. And I love him too just as much if not more.””Then why are you two fighting?””Because… we had a disagreement over something personal.””Well dear girl, I suggest you fix it. He’s been reading me depressing heartbreak novels for well over three weeks now, I’m not sure how much more I can take.”
EPOV:I was done with her, I hated her truly for possibly the first time ever. There she was breaking my heart into a million tiny pieces all over again and there I was standing and taking it. I knew something like this was going to happen. I just knew. The night before had been too perfect, something had to come along and smash it’s perfection like she was smashing my heart. They say you ache in your chest when your heart breaks, but really I felt it all over my body. It felt so much worse than being stabbed by a knife, and I wasn’t even exaggerating. I wanted to go to sleep for a year, but I couldn’t because there was Niall and Bill and that whole mess not to mention Geraldine and of course Selah. Selah who knew about Sookie and I but of course now that Sookie was hard set on finishing whatever we were just starting did it really matter a damn what she knew? We could and probably would deny to the grave if she did bring anything up. I’d worry about that another time. As for feeling sorry for myself, that too had to go on the back burner. Niall was left in our care because Bill and his tight ass purse strings wouldn’t allow funding for his hospital bills to provide for a longer stay. So the Sisters’ and I were on high alert broken into shifts we’d all do our share to hopefully get Niall well again. With almost daily visits from the Doctor, his meds and the right amount of TLC Niall was slowly but surely coming around. Sookie being his night nurse was another arrow to the heart she was in the cell next to mine almost every night. I could hear her sweet voice through the walls for hours as she’d read to Niall in the hopes of entertaining both of them as she did her duty before I’d hear her try as she might as quiet as she could make her way back to the nuns quarters. I hated knowing that she was in the next room, because all it did was force back those memories of her here, in this room with me. And all the things we did together, the fact that it took me over a week to rid the sheets off the bed we’d slept in together – they smelled like her on her side of the bed, and even though she was certain that what she and I was wrong now I knew she didn’t then and I was reluctant to get rid of the last piece of her that I was able to hold on to.
Of course eventually I had to, it was just plain gross and the last thing I wanted was anyone else asking weird and possibly awkward questions.
I went about my Priestly duties as much and as normally as I could, even though my heart had checked out of the job, my brain still needed something to do. Confessions was particularly hard time for me, really who was I to sit in judgement of others after everything I’d done to piss God off. Giving someone penance – coming from me- the hypocritical irony was not lost I can assure you.
“Eric?” I heard the voice say.
“Yes?””Oh, hey, it’s Amelia. Man, these boxes are tiny, how the hell does your ass fit in here?””Amelia?” I whispered harshly. “What are you doing here?””Oh, well I need to talk to you.” “Ever heard of a telephone?””Psh would you have really talked to me, or just made some lame excuse to hang up on me?”Well, she had a point.
“What are you doing IN here, you aren’t even Catholic.””Yeah, yeah, I know you guys are way too strict stiff upper lip nonsense for me, but look we need to talk so we can do this here or someone else it’s up to you.”
I pinched my nose between my fingers, she really was relentless.
“Fine. I’m almost done here, can I meet you at the coffee house a few blocks over?””Bella’s Coffeehouse?”
That was the one.
“Okay?””Sure. Also hey Eric?””Yes?””Sookie told me what you guys did in here, kind of kinky don’t you think?” She smirked.
“Goodbye Amelia.””Bye, Father.” she sassed before I heard the door on her end close and after a few minutes I got my next member of the parish who was actually looking for forgiveness and not just an opportunity to sass me.
Twenty minutes later I slid into the booth across from her, she had the foresight of having a pot of coffee and some sugar covered treats waiting, that eased my mood a little.
“Okay, so what do you want?””You’re so pleasant. God, I’d say you need to get laid but then we’d both know that was a big fib.” She glared at me.
“So you know then.””Of course I know she’s my friend and you’re the love of her very sad life of course she’d tell me. Of course she told me her wack a doodle theory as well. What the hell is up with that?””It’s what she believes.””Okay look I’ll let her away with her you know, “virgin” birth and one and only Christ and blah blah there’s a guy in the sky who’s the master of pulling our puppet strings or whatever, but this? Because you two finally, finally decided to jump each other, and almost a state away someone you happened to know happens to get into an accident, she thinks God’s coming to smite you both?”
I smiled, “Well, when you put it like that…””It’s bat shit, but she’s my friend and I love her, so I accept her… quirks. What I don’t accept is you and she ending like this, or at all. I thought once she finally saw the light were you were concerned you two could leave and make a real life for yourselves.””Believe me, I’ve tried to tell her that. But she won’t budge.””She thinks you hate her now. I met with her yesterday and that’s what she thinks now.”
I sighed.”I thought I did, but come on, it’s Sookie – I’ve tried to hate her, I thought if I hated her I’d stop loving her. But that was a big bust too. Because I can’t not love her and I’m sick of pretending not to.”
“So how about we do something about that then?” Amelia added with a twinkle in her eye and a smile on her face.
Just what the hell was she up to?
SPOV: I looked around Merlotte’s. So much had changed in the few weeks since I’d been in there. Nothing on the surface of course, all of it within me.
“So you did it then.””How can you-” I asked her.
“It’s a woman’s instinct, that and you look like you haven’t slept in a week and something else tells me it’s not because that lovely Viking has been keeping you warm at night.”
“Not exactly.””What happened?””Well, we did it, and it was … as painful as you said. But only for a little while. But Amelia he was so sweet and so patience with me and it was -” No I wouldn’t allow myself to cry, not again, and certainly not in public.
“And then?” She patted my hands as they sat on the table.
“Niall got into an accident, a pretty bad one too, one he’d never have gotten into if Eric and I hadn’t …. well if we just hadn’t of done anything. And it was a sign Ames, a huge sign that what we were doing was wrong and damned.
“Look I know you don’t believe it, but then again I’m not exactly of the mind set that some stones can cure you either but Ame’s I’m telling you it’s what happened, I asked God for a sign any sign on what he thought of my thoughts or would-be actions. The sign came as Eric and I were … together. If that’s not enough for me to rethink this whole thing then I don’t know what is!””I believe that’s what you believe and I won’t judge you for it. But what does Eric think of this?””He thinks it’s nuts. He wants us to leave.””And you don’t?””I didn’t think I did. Then I did, now I’m just not sure what the hell I’m meant to be doing never mind what I’m meant to be thinking! What does it have to be this hard? I broke my vows Ames, he broke his too, this is why Niall had his accident – we damned ourselves to hell because of how we felt!”I let my head fall into my hands in frustration. It really wasn’t as cut and dry as it might have seemed to an outsider. Being in that place, having only that place as your home for your entire life, it effects you in a way a normal person could never understand, even Amelia.
“All I know now Ames, is that he hates me, I’ve broken his heart for the millionth time it feels like and I know that he hates me, I can see it in his eyes. And that worse of all is what’s killing me. I never ever wanted to hurt him.””So then try and find a way to fix it, sweetie, because it won’t fix itself.
After a long lunch and my errand run to cover up for it I was back in the convent arms with the essentials. Washing powder that I left in the basement, dish soap, starch, all the things we’d need for the coming weeks in the form of cleaning supplies. The food run was done on a different day. I filled my time in between my classes and my kids, with the chores – the never ending sets of chores that this old building seemed to need daily in order to keep it running. What it would do without us Sister’s holding it up, I wouldn’t like to imagine.
Two days after seeing Amelia knowing I’d agreed to call to her apartment that Tuesday, she’d asked for my opinion on wedding dress designs, as she and Trey had finally decided that being married was what they wanted – three years after living in sin. But then again this was Amelia, she wasn’t one to do something simply because it was the thing to be done. She was doing it because it was what she and Trey wanted. I envied that about her. While my knowledge on fashion was limited to say the least it was still something I wished to help her with, so I agreed. I ran into Eric, quite literally.
“Hi.””Hello.” He said in that stoic closed off voice that he rarely ever used towards me. It caused my heart to ache just a little bit more.
There was awkward silence before I attempted to make small talk. It was a stupid idea, and probably just a reflex to the situation.
“I can’t Sookie. I can’t stand here and act like everything’s okay when it’s not.””Eric please, we can at least try to be civil to each other!””Why?””Because… you’re my friend.””Am I? Am I really Sookie? Because if my friend loved me as much as I loved her neither of us would be feeling like this! Not now, not ever!””Eric I never meant to hurt you.” I tried to touch his face, but he flinched. It felt like he’d punched me in the gut.
“But you did, Sookie and you are every time I see you.”
Before I could respond he grabbed me by the arm, the look of sheer terror and confusion in his eyes as he backed me into the office.
“Let me go! I’ve told you that this is it this is the way it has to be! Why can’t you understand that, Eric?” I tried to tell him in a harsh whisper for fear of being heard.
“I do understand it, I understand that you’re scared, Jesus, I am too – you think I don’t know what we’re risking here?” His eyes softened then, as did his grip on me “Sookie” he gripped my chin gently “Look at me Sookie? Please?”
Through tears so thick that I could barely make out his features in front of me, I looked up at him “I can’t Eric…I can’t”
“I love you Sookie.”
At that confession I felt a shocking jolt through my spine. It’s not that I ever thought that he didn’t love me, but to hear him say those words out loud and with such conviction, I was a little stunned.
“I love you and I want to be free to love you without feeling this shame. The shame is eating at me and I know it’s eating at you too …but Sookie… loving someone isn’t wrong and I’m tired of feeling like I’m damned because of it”
“We are damned. Eric we broke-”
“I know what we did, and Sookie I don’t regret it, not for one second. Being with you was something that was so beautiful and right I don’t get how you don’t see that”
“I don’t see it Eric because of my vows –”
“VOWS you haven’t taken yet, vows you aren’t bound by YET…”
While he had a valid point, there was still too much to deal with in the aftermath of what we did.
“I swore my life to God Eric and so did you, or did you forget? Just because we haven’t taken the final vow yet doesn’t mean that we’re any less devoted. I can’t just abandon my beliefs just because –”
“Because of me? Is that it? You don’t want to give up this life for me.”
“NO! Eric, please don’t be this way. You swore to me, you swore we’d made a mistake that we can never make again no matter what we felt or what we thought we felt! You promised me you do whatever I needed and this is what I need. We need to forget.”
“I thought I could, I thought I could just ignore what we did. Ignore it like I’ve been ignoring it since I was sixteen years old but it’s too hard now. I want to be able to turn it off like you can but I can’t. And for that I’m sorry.”
He kissed me then, hard and fast and I didn’t stop him for a second a second longer than I should have let it go on.
“Sookie, you and I were never a mistake I never promised you that I’d forget you, not now, not ever.
I was left breathless, weak at the knees and more confused than ever when he walked out of that office.
EPOV:”She’s not coming.”
“She’ll come, would you relax.”I paced her living room again, “What if she comes and then she sees that I’m here and realises what we’re doing and then refuses to speak to me, and leaves! Then we’re screwed!””No, you’re screwed, and oh my GOD, why are you talking so fast?””I am?””Yes.””I had three cups of coffee.””Oh.” She took away my mug, and I missed it instantly.
“She’s not coming.” I repeated, and just as I did there was a timid knock on the door of Amelia’s apartment.
It was now or never.
“Okay go hide.” Amelia said.
“What are we, five?””If she sees you here right away she’s going to know something up, I have to warm her up to it, now shoo!”
Reluctantly I did as I was told walking into her bathroom and closing the door just as she opened the front door. If Sookie asked to pee, the jig was up.
Amelia had suggested that Sookie and I needed to talk and I agreed, but that we needed to talk somewhere away from the church and all the reminders of her guilt. One way or another I was leaving the church, I’d decided on that much, more than anything I wanted her to be with me, but if it truly was her choice and I wasn’t what she wanted – I’d never force myself or my ideals on her – never. So if she chose them, then I would let her go, no matter how much it broke me to do so.
Amelia however was much more optimistic than I was, she saw that Sookie loved me still and for all our sakes I hoped our little witch-y friend was right.
It was now or never.