I wanted to kiss her. I did. More than anything, I wanted to show her how I still felt about her. But I couldn’t and I wouldn’t, as long as I was with Claudine. I was a lot of things, but a cheating boyfriend wasn’t one of them. So when we almost kissed, when we both leaned in, in those precious few moments, it almost floored me when she and I pulled away at the same time.
“No. This isn’t right. Not like this,” she said quietly, her eyes still closed.
“You’re right, not like this…” I looked at her then, taking her hand in mine, ” Sookie, how I feel about you—”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“No, it doesn’t. I think we’re too late, Eric. I think, maybe we should just try and move on.”
“But you just said that you loved me.”
“I did, and I meant every word. But that’s the problem, Eric. They’re just words. They don’t mean anything, not really. I realized that when I thought to myself—for my own selfish reasons—I’d be fine with it if you kissed me. Because I want to kiss you. Not caring about the sweet woman who thinks she’s your girlfriend off working somewhere, and here we are willing to hurt her by even thinking about doing this! When did we get like this?”
“But we both stopped. We both knew not to act on our impulses.”
“Right, and that was an action. That action means something; it means we’re not so screwed up we’ve forgotten what’s right and what’s wrong. So me just saying that I love you, means very little and you saying you love me, means even less. It’s how we act that counts!”
“Don’t. Please, don’t be like this.”
“It’s our actions that make us who we are Eric, and we can declare our feelings till we’re blue in the face, but it won’t change anything until we get up and change it. And I don’t think you’re ready to do that.”
“You don’t know that,” I argued. “You don’t know because you won’t let me explain.”
“Words. They’re just words.”
“No, they’re not just words. Jesus, Sook, I love you and I want to be with you!”
She let go of my hand then and with the calmest shrug she simply asked, “So then why aren’t you?” before she just as calmly, walked away, hailed a cab and drove off without so much as a goodbye.
I walked home, knowing I had more than enough on my mind that the walk might have actually done me some good. It was after midnight by the time I got home, having taken the long way to get there. I walked in to find Claudine curled up in front of the TV.
“Oh, hey. I got finished earlier than I thought so I decided to just come by, but you weren’t back yet, so I decided to wait. I hope you don’t mind?”
“No, not at all,” I said sitting next to her.
“You okay? You look a little pale,” she asked, concerned.
I turned to face her, and I don’t know what it was that she saw on my face, but she knew.
“It’s over, isn’t it?” she asked, not seeming all that shocked.
I looked at her closely then, still not seeing any shock or anger, more like calm acceptance.
“I almost kissed Sookie tonight.”
“Aren’t you angry with me?” I asked, but not sure why. I certainly didn’t want her to be angry, I was just unsure as to why she wasn’t.
“No, and honestly, it’s not like I expected you to cheat on me Eric. But let’s face it, you’ve been checked out emotionally since she got here, maybe even before. So, while you didn’t kiss her, you still wanted to.”
“I never would have done it, not while you and I were together.”
“I know,” she nodded. “You’re not built to cheat. But you’re also not built to love more than one woman at a time. And you love her, and she…” she sighed, “She loves you so much. I could see it in her tonight. It was killing her seeing us together but she held her ground and was a sweetheart because … well, I don’t know why. Maybe that’s just how she’s built?”
“You have to know that when you and I started this whole thing, I did want to be with you. I thought and I still think you’re an amazing woman, Claud.”
“I know I am. Not to sound conceited or anything,” she laughed, clearly making fun of herself. “But I am better than someone’s number two in love. I’m not built to be a number two. I need someone who’ll make me their number one. Just like I’m sure if you’d both stop falling all over yourselves, that you will make Sookie yours and she’ll do the same to you.”
“See? Amazing.” I kissed her hands then, feeling whatever calm Claudine was feeling suddenly rubbing off on me.
I walked Claudine home that night, and while she only lived a few blocks from me, it still gave her time to question me about what I was intending to do now. Honestly, there was only one thing to do, and that was to show Sookie that I loved her. If it was action she wanted instead of words, then it would be action that she’d get.
When I finally got home, my feet were officially killing me. I hated high heels. It was the one thing about the outside world I utterly despised. As soon as I’d changed for bed, I got on the phone to Amelia. She’d made me promise to call her with any news worthy updates as she called them, and I really did need someone to talk to. Of course, she convinced me I’d done the right thing in calling out all our issues right then and there. And if Eric did want what he said he wanted, then it was his turn to come and get it.
She’d also invited me out with her and her new friends the next night, and while I was feeling less than sociable, I figured it was probably better than sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. So I agreed. The next night, after feeling sorry for myself and cleaning the invisible mess of my apartment to kill time, I walked the few blocks to Amelia’s place. This time, I wore flats and a sundress. I wasn’t in the mood to try and impress people, and if they couldn’t deal with this tiny person and what Lafayette deemed ‘country’ fashion, then that was just their issue.
Just as Amelia opens the door, I see her ‘friends’ had already arrived—in cocktail dresses and high heels. Of course.
I was introduced to Candice, Cameron and Carrie—three sisters from the witch class church that Ames was attending—though to look at them, all you’d see was uppity society girls. I was seated making small talk with the three Cs, when someone knocked on the door.
“I’ll get it,” I called to Amelia who was busy in the kitchen. It just so happens my night of not wanting to impress had come to an end when I saw who was on the other side of the door.
“Sookie? What are you—”
“I could ask you the same thing.”
“Pamela, hi!” I heard Amelia say behind me.
“Oh my, God. Eric’s Pam is your Pamela?”
Amelia looked confused.
“Do you two talk at all?”
“Not usually,” Pam smirked. “This would mark our first social outing, well, without the husband, of course.”
“What are you talking about, Sookie?”
“As in Eric Northman’s cousin, Pam aka Pamela,” Pam answered for me, causing Ames to gasp.
“I knew I recognized you! In the photos, in the paper with him a few years ago!”
“Yes, that’s me.”
“Well, this is odd, isn’t it? Small world,” Ames commented with a smile.
“Suffocating,” I remarked before leaving them to whatever it was they would be doing.
Talking with the three Cs was interesting. They were from Long Island. Their father was the head of some corporation and they all had trust funds the size of small countries. Or at least that’s what Amelia hinted at. She was a trust fund baby herself, and they just couldn’t understand why she was living in Brooklyn of all places with the money that she had. Of course, she explained to them the money was her father’s, and because he disapproved of her husband she wasn’t touching it. They, again didn’t understand it but they smiled anyway. Trey was a good guy; more than a good guy if he was willing to let his wife have a girlfriend. I mean, I’m sure he enjoyed it, and in fact Amelia assured me that he does—but it’s still got to be a tad strange, right? I know that if I were married I wouldn’t be wanting anyone else butting into my marriage. Male or female.
Of course that got me thinking about Eric and Claudine, and what exactly they’d be doing right about now, and how she would have felt if she’d known Eric and I almost kissed? If it had been me and he’d been off kissing or almost kissing some ex, I’d have been angry beyond angry. But maybe that’s just because Eric was it for me. I’d gone on those dates in Bon Temps, as few and far between as they were, with Jason’s friends when he’d try and set me up, but I didn’t want them. I wanted him. I only want him. And while Ames thinks that’s odd, that I’m not even willing to ‘try out’ some other strange guys just so that I can say I have, it’s not odd to me. I’d been raised all my life to think the one person you give yourself to, is the person you’re going to spend your life with. Those life teachings don’t just disappear overnight, or in three years either. I believed in those teachings. Eric wasn’t one for the whole God thing, especially growing up, and the rules were always different for men. We may pretend now that they’re not—that we’re on our way to equality—but really, we never will be. Controversial though it might be, it was my opinion. Women were superior to men at a lot of things, just as men were superior to women at a lot of things. Sometimes we’d even up the score and balance the scales, but ultimately we’re not equal in all things.
Four glasses of wine and a small dinner of grilled chicken and vegetables later, I, the three Cs and Pam were well on our way to being drunk. Amelia wasn’t much better, though she was a lot more giddy than she would usually be on wine.
Pam and I got to talking, and soon we realized we were alone. The three Cs had left, drunk and happy, as Pam and I accidentally sorted out our differences.
“But you used to be so nice when we were kids, and you’d send me presents! What happened to that Pam? And why does she hate me now?”
Yes, I was rambling at warp speed. The joys, I discovered, of wine.
Amelia came and began to clean up; there were brownies on the table left untouched.
“I don’t hate you. God, you are so dramatic. I just… didn’t like what you did to my cousin that’s all. But that was before.”
“Before he … he explained things to me.”
“Did he tell you everything?”
“No, just what I needed to know. That it wasn’t your choice and … about the baby, which by the way, I am terribly sorry that happened to you. He didn’t go into details, but he didn’t have to.” Pam took a brownie and started to munch. “The diet can be put off for one night,” she smiled to herself as she devoured it. “I always get so hungry when I drink wine, I don’t know why that is?” she mused. “But yes, Sookie, he cleared things up for me and I don’t know, he was pretty mad at me for being such a bitch to you when we first met. He rambled on and on about how I might have been blood but you were his family long before I was ever there. And I understand that, you two have your own tale of woe to weave.” She laughed. “Weaving woe, that makes no sense.”
I took a brownie, too. They were delicious and really they needed milk, not wine.
On Pam’s second and my third brownie, Amelia reappeared.
“No, no no! Tell me you two didn’t eat the brownies?”
“Why, where they bad?” I asked licking the chocolate off my fingers.
“No. Candice brought them, it’s why no one ate them!”
“They’re magic brownies!” she exclaimed causing both Pam and I to burst out laughing.
“No they’re not. They’re boring brownies… I see no magic!” I said.
“No, Sook—funny brownies.”
I looked at Pam, who looked at me, who looked at Ames again.
“Well, they’re not particularly funny either,” I said, as both Pam and I laughed again.
“Great! Just great. You’re both high!”
“No… No we’re not!” Pam said. “Why are you moving?”
“Oh, Jesus.” Amelia rolled her eyes. “Well, if you’re both high then I may as well be too. I can’t listen to you both like this.”
“High? Are we going flying?” Pam asked. “I do so love to fly!”
Thirty minutes later—or at least I think it was thirty minutes later—all three of us had decided we were hungry, and once the wallpaper stopped moving, we were going to get real food. Pam had declared the chicken wasn’t fried enough and that the vegetables … well, they were vegetables. She wanted something sweet. It was declared when I mentioned that I had ice cream in my freezer and cake in the larder, that we would take a road trip to Sookie’s house. Not so much of road trip as a walk, really.
Pam linked onto one of my arms as Ames linked onto the other, and the three of us may have taken off down the street singing out loud, ‘Follow the yellow brick road,’ though all of us are and will, deny it forever.
“Aww thanks, Pam. You too, also, Pam?”
“You’re a lesbian. Les-bian that’s fun to say.” I smiled.
“Oh, God…” Amelia laughed, digging the two tubs of strawberry ice cream from the freezer.
“Boring choice of ice cream, pretty girl,” Pam commented adding a splat to her cake.
“I like it.”
“It’s good though,” Amelia commented.
We ate silently for a few minutes just enjoying the overwhelming hilarity that was ice cream and sponge cake.
“Eric looes you.”
“LOVES. He loves you, is what I meant to say. I’ve never been in love. I can’t feel my nose…”
“I love him, too. And before him, I’d never been in love either. And … can you ever feel your nose?”
“Huh. Good point. I want to be in love,” she said.
“Do you love me?” Amelia asked looking at her spoon, and we weren’t really sure if she was talking to Pam or her reflection.
“I love having sex with you,” she told her.
“Ew…” I said. “I don’t want to think about you having sex, okay?”
“Because! It’s private between two… or in your case, three people. It’s personal!”
After much debate over how they were going to get home, Pam realized she didn’t know how she would. After Amelia and I stopped laughing, she decided we needed to call Eric.
“No! No, we can’t call him!”
“Why not? He knows where I live!” Pam argued, opening my address book that sat beside the phone. “What’s he under lover boy? Sexy Priest or just plain Eric?”
“Just Eric, thank you very much.”
“I think it should be lover boy, considering how you two where at it like rabbits IN A CONVENT,” she giggled. “Seriously though, is it because there’s no rules now that you’re both just not all that bothered?”
“Pam!” I chided, as she tried to dial the number—failing twice before it started to ring.
“Hi, Eric you busy? What? Of course I know what time it is.” She put her hand over the receiver and whispered, “I have no idea.”
“Okay look, I need you to come pick me up. No, nothing wrong. I’m at Sookie’s, so come get me, okay?” With that, she issued no other requirements before she hung up the phone.
“He’ll be here soon.”
I laid down on the floor; the wallpaper was moving again. Those brownies really were magical.
I’d taken a cab—a very expensive cab—at two a.m. from Manhattan to Brooklyn to find my cousin, who had for whatever reason ended up at Sookie’s place, and drunk off her ass. Which, wasn’t like Pam at all. She could hold her alcohol and didn’t usually drink so much that she’d be stuck somewhere. And the last place I ever thought she’d be stuck would be Sookie’s apartment!
Upon being let in, I half expected to find them at each other’s throats, but what I found was something else entirely. They were hugging.
What the heck?
“Eric, you made it!” Pam said with a smile. “Well, the wallpaper finally stopped moving so Sookie’s all good now. We can go.”
“No, not me and you, ME and Ames. We can go. I don’t want to go home now.”
“What? Pam, I was in bed asleep and you call me and I’m here. Stop screwing around, okay?”
“See, dear cousin, that’s what I’m saying. Ames and I haven’t even started screwing around yet, but we’d like to.”
“What did I tell you? Your sex life is none of my business,” I said.
“Ugh, Catholics.” She rolled her eyes at me. “Look, you can go home now. Thank you for coming, I love you, you’re very nice and tall and all that, but I’m not going home.”
“Fine. I’ll just call a cab and—”
“They stop service from here at one,” Sookie spoke up. “Lafayette learned that the hard way.” She looked beautiful, as always. She was sitting curled up on her couch, her hair all messed up and the strap of her sundress falling off her shoulder.
“Hi,” she said with shy smile. “I’m sorry she made you come all the way out here.”
“No, it’s—” Just as I was about to speak again the front door of Sookie’s apartment closed. They’d left. Oh, Pam would hear my temper tomorrow. How could she have tricked me like that? I was exhausted and in no mood for her games. I didn’t even realize till after they’d left…
“Wait a minute, Amelia is Pam’s Ames? How did I not know that?”
“Same way we didn’t know that Pam was Amelia’s Pamela.”
“He’s apparently fine with it.”
“Sookie, were you guys high tonight?”
“Well, I accidentally ate one of the magic brownies and then we went down the yellow brick road.”
“Uhh huh. Okay. I think you’re still a little out of it, Sook.”
“No, before… wow Eric, it was so intense. The wallpaper was moving and the plants were dancing!”
“Christ, what did they give you?”
“Brownies!” she exclaimed.
I nodded along, looking at the mess of her place. There was ice cream melted and cake everywhere.
“I’m so sleepy, I can fall asleep right here,” she said looking at her couch just before she fell onto it, shoes still on.
“Ohhkay, no. You’re getting into bed.”
“Oh! That’s right! I have a bed, a big one! You’ve been in it!”
Seriously, what was in those brownies?
I took her hand and attempted to lead her into her dark bedroom.
“Sookie, where’s the light?” She didn’t answer me as we walked into the pitch black darkness of her room.
“Sookie, we’re going to fall. Where’s your light?”
“Shakespeare. Some rise by sin, and others by virtue fall.” she quoted from memory.
“How come you can recite Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure but you can’t remember where your light switch is?”
She laughed as she fell with a bump onto her bed.
“Do you think that’s us though?”
“We sinned, but we’re still here.”
“It’s not like we didn’t suffer for the sins, you in particular.” I said pulling off her shoe.
“True. I like to think He’s forgiven us. If we’re still here, and we’re happy, that must mean something, right?”
“I think it means everything.”
She sighed happily at that, kicking off her other shoe.
“I hope so.”
“I hope so, too.”
I put the blankets over her as she drifted off to sleep almost immediately. I rolled up my sleeves and got to work on the mess in her kitchen. There was melted ice cream and cake just about everywhere. As I cleaned the mess, I did nothing but think. Why was Pam here? Why were they hugging? Did Pam realize how unreasonable she was being towards Sookie? Though I had been harsh with her, I had to. The idea that she would hate Sookie for how I was when I first got here—it just wasn’t fair to Sookie and I hoped she knew that while she was my blood, Sookie was my family when I had no one else in the world.
I shed my shoes and laid down on the empty part of her bed. She sighed in her sleep and turned to face me—eyes still closed—off in whatever drunken snooze she’d taken.
I woke up a few hours later to the sound of birds chirping.
“I like that you can hear the birds from here. It’s peaceful.”
“Isn’t it too busy here for birds?”
“No, there’s a kids park behind here, tons of trees. So around five a.m. you can hear them sometimes. I like it.”
She shifted so her head was on my chest, and I welcomed the cuddle.
“I thought I dreamt you were here.”
“Nope. Really here. Pam called…”
“Right. Pam. You know she isn’t as bad as I first thought.”
“So I saw. You two worked through your issues, then?”
“Sort of, I think so. From what I remember, we’re okay now. She admitted to being overly bitchy because… well, she didn’t fully understand us before. She says she’s not sure she ever will.”
“I’m part of us and I barely understand us, so can we expect her to understand it?”
She went silent as did I for a few minutes.
“I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck,” she moaned.
“Hangovers aren’t so fun are they?”
“No… ugh. And the mess… oh God, I guess I should get up and take care of it.”
“Already done. I did it before I came in here.”
She moved her head to look at me then. “Thank you. You didn’t have—”
“I wanted to. It gave me some time to think.”
“Sookie, I meant what I said you know. That I loved you, and that I wanted to be with you.”
“Eric, I …”
“No. Let me finish. I had all these plans, you know? I was going to show you what you meant to me, since you said it’s actions that mean something. There were big fancy dates I wanted to take you on, there might have been some poetry in there, too—puppies and rainbows.”
“That doesn’t sound like us at all.”
“And I realized, it’s not. But maybe it should be? I want to make you feel special… safe, loved.”
“And poetry is going to do that?” She smiled, sarcasm evident in her sleepy voice.
“Well, maybe some really good poetry? I don’t know, but I’d like to try. If you’d let me?”
“Being someone you could love, being someone you could depend on, someone who deserves you… Sookie, I failed you once I don’t want to fail you again.”
“Sookie, you know that it’s you, it’s always been you. Even she could see that.”
“Is she okay?”
“Oddly, yes. I think she knew from the start that I wasn’t really … well, that my heart belonged to someone else. She’s a wonderful woman, but… she’s not you. She could never be you. And you’re it for me, Stackhouse.”
I heard her take a deep breath before she lifted her head from my chest, threading her fingers through my hair and looking at me, really looking at me.
“That’s funny, because you’re it for me too, Northman.”
“So what do you say, do we give this thing a go, then?”
“I think we do. It’s about time, right?” She giggled before finally kissing me.
That morning was probably one of the best mornings of my life. That kiss was the kiss of life for both of us and we really, truly meant it. We’d finally got our shot, and neither of us was willing to mess it up.
Sookie was mine just like I was hers.