That was the only word I could think of to describe my previous three weeks. Just completely exhausting. Having left Louisiana we headed to New Orleans to meet with the rest of the volunteers who would be making the trip with us. That’s where I got my first of many culture shocks. These people were so unlike what I had imagined in my head, I saw little old ladies or nuns or grandmother’s with knitted blankets. In reality I found almost a hundred people from all walks of life. Fr Brigant introduced me to the small group that seemed to be of a similar age to myself.
I found myself reverting to that shy backwards boy that I was when I first arrived at the orphanage. It seems I didn’t do well in large crowds of people I didn’t know, all of them just ‘dying’ to know all about me. For the first of many times that trip I wished Sookie was with me. Not just because I was sure she’d love all these new people and know exactly what to say, she’d also have some choice words for me and my ‘bad manner’s’ when talking to people.
One of the group in particular seemed to attach herself to me like a magnet. Sophie- Ann Leclerq. She was one of the palest girls I had ever set eyes on, her hair was a deep flaming red that I had never seen on a person before styled in the fashions of Elizabeth Taylor.
At first she stared at me for a long time while we packed various boxes with the donated goods we’d eventually be taking with us to distribute.
“You’re Eric right? I knew Fr Brigant said he was bringing a boy from the orphanage but …well I wasn’t expecting you.”
I didn’t say anything I just continued to pack.
“I’m Sophie-Ann by the way, my mother is the one running this trip so I’m sort of like her right hand woman. So if you need anything, anything at all…” she got closer and began to look me up and down,
I felt both awkward and flushed at her actions. “Anything really Eric, you should come to me. Ok?”
I simply nodded. What else was I meant to say to that? I was pretty sure when she said what she said she wasn’t talking about canned goods or blanket supplies.
Making the trip to South Vietnam with everyone and all our supplies took almost two full weeks. It took us another two weeks to get everything set up and by the time I had gotten used to going out on the supply runs, serving at the food shelters, helping at the clothing banks and assisting the Father with his teachings it had already been six weeks since I had time to myself.
Finally sitting down to write to Sookie took more out of me than I’d care to admit. I’d thought of her often on my travels I thought how she’s marvel at the changes in the people and our surroundings, how the weather would have suited her just fine but the heat was unbearable for me. I tried to tell her these things in my letters, I inquired on how she was, what she was doing with her time now, I told her about the group I was with how they came from all over the States all willing to help in any way they could. I knew she’d like that, she always was a sucker for good old Christian charity. For some reason in all of my letters to her from then on in, I always left out one person. The one person that I had, in all honesty been spending most of my time with. Sophie-Anne.
I don’t know why I lied…Was it a lie if I negated her from my life completely in my letters? Oh, of course it was a lie, who was I kidding. I just didn’t know how to tell her. How did I say ‘Well Sookie, there’s this girl who thinks I’m funny and bright and sexy and for some reason she wants to spend time with me. Oh and I think she really wants to have sex with me.’ There was just no way on God’s green earth I could even begin to write those thoughts to her, never mind her reaction I knew that the letters would have to have been passed through the head office before she even got to them. Which means that Sister Geraldine would be reading my words too. I knew this as well as Sookie knew it, it’s why our letters, while a purging of thoughts to each other, were often carefully void of too many emotions. For her sake it kept any emotional leverage that Sookie had, firmly in her own power and now with ole Geraldine.
By the time almost six months had passed I had been promoted in a sense within our little make shift ranks. I’d been doing more of the volunteer work on my own, I’d learned how to drive so that deliveries of supplies and drop off’s to the clothing banks were easier now that I could manage them alone. The heat had won and I had to cut my hair, I just couldn’t adjust like the other’s could. I guess I was Scandinavian in my blood despite what my jumbled accent told others. So the floppy mess of blonde hair went, courtesy of Ms Leclerq and her mother’s buzzing shears.
“It is such a shame to lose all this beautiful hair you know Eric” she told me while accessing it’s length and combing it out for me.
“I know, but Sophie I can’t deal with it any more and it’s gotten too long and no …I just need there to be less of it. So, please?”
The camps we stayed in were just that, camps. Large cream tents that were sectioned off into areas for the charity workers and their families. Our ‘rooms’ were assigned and sectioned off for privacy, it was wonderful. It was the first time in as long as I could remember that I got to sleep alone not being surrounded by the snores not to mention the smells of dozens of other teenage boys. I was seated on stool in the common area, it had some makeshift seats and housed the one and only coffee pot and cups.
She sighed “Fine but if you turn out to be like Samson and lose your strength then who will lug all those boxes for us?” She finally laughed.
“I don’t know how you women do it. Out here working like this and still managing to look-”
“To look what? Horrible? Dishevelled?”
I blushed I know I did, I blushed even harder when I mumbled my reply “beautiful.”
With that she just laughed again this time it was a surprised laugh. “Why Eric Northman, did you just pay me a compliment? Well, wonders will never cease!”
Sophie-Ann was a force to be reckoned with. She said what she thought and did what she said, she really didn’t answer to anyone, even her mother. She came from an extremely wealthy family in New Orleans, once telling me that before her father died she’d been the Princess of the New Orleans social scene, well on her way to being the Queen of all those around her. I could have believed it too, she had that snobbish air about at times that I could never relate to. She had tried her best to drag me out of my shell for the previous six months and at times I let her. I knew she was attracted to me, she made that obvious when we first met, I was just too scared to do anything about it since my track record with women wasn’t exactly the most successful.
She brushed out my hair as she ran the buzzing razor over my head, leaving me with a tuft of hair on top but mostly military style short. The breeze I felt was instantly welcomed. Then she started to brush off any remaining hairs around my neck with her hands, when she leaned down to blow them off I swear I almost fell off my chair as the sensation went straight to my dick.
Then I felt her lips meet the back of my neck and I could feel myself swell in my pants. Shit this was not good. Anyone could walk in but I really didn’t want her to stop.
“Do you like that?” she asked as she took my earlobe in her mouth. What was there not to like?
“Yes?” I think I squeaked earning a giggle from her.
“Is that a yes? Or a Yes.”
I cleared my throat and reaffirmed with a “Yes.”
“Good.” she all but purred as she walked around to face me and tried to get my breathing under control.
Of course all the breathing in the world was shot to hell when she slid onto my lap.
“Mmm?” she didn’t give me time to answer her before she kissed me, immediately pushing access to my mouth with her tongue. My hands went to her back, I told myself it was so she didn’t fall off the stool and my lap, but I think we all know it was just hold her that little bit closers as she continued to grind herself on my lap. She started in on my neck again before sliding her hand down and reaching for the buckle of my belt.
That’s where reality snapped into focus. Was she really doing this in ONE common area of the whole camp, where anyone including her rather frightening mother could walk in and catch us?
“Sophie-Ann!” I stopped her with what I hoped was my must stern voice. Despite the raging hard-on I was sporting I had to stop this. “We can’t.”
I swear to you, she pouted at me, “But why not. It’ll be fun Eric come on!” She reached again, and again I pulled back.
“Are you insane! Anyone could walk by I mean if we got caught…Sophie have some sense about this.”
With that she huffed and stormed off into the campsite while I…took care of business on my own.
Women, I don’t think I’ll ever understand them.
Sophie-Ann refused to speak to me for the better part of a week. It was then Niall butted in. Father Brigant had taken a shine to me, he’d always been a friendly man at the orphanage and his sermons were the least boring of all the priests who gave them. But here he was even more different, he was more relaxed despite our environment and he said that because he was free of his ‘monkey suit’ as he called it, it allowed him more time to just be himself.
“Eric that’s enough, will you please tell me what is wrong? Is it Sookie? Is there something wrong back home?”
Home, was that place really home?
“It’s nothing, and no she’s fine. She’s actually …well she’s entering into the convent father.”
“She what? Oh son I am sorry-”
“Well…I…Yes. I mean were you and she? I assumed you two to be-”
With that I shook my head “No. I mean I thought for second that there might have been hope for something more. But her faith means more to her that I think I ever could, I almost envy that about her you know?”
“I’ve seen you here Eric. Stepping up with these people, believing what you’re saying helping in doing so. I think you have more faith in the man upstairs that even you realise.”
“So why the scowl? If it has nothing to do with the delightful Ms Stackhouse then…Ah. The fiery redhead? Am I correct?”
I nodded “I don’t know what to do with her.”
“Well boy far be it from me to tell you what to do with a woman!” He raised his eyebrows at me his eyes widening with comical effect.
“FATHER! No! You know what I mean!”
“I know what she means. Eric I’ve seen her, she’s like a mantis and you her prey. Really, the best you can do is be careful you are a good kind soul …she’s a spoiled girl used to getting her way. So you either…and if you say I said this I will deny it to my death…but you can either give her what she wants and be careful about it” he raised one brow carefully at me “OR you can get the hell out of her way. Hell dear boy, hath no fury like a Leclerq woman scorned.”
“So are you saying that I should slee-”
“No such thing my boy…But if you were to give her …what she’s being extremely unsubtle about wanting. Just. Be. Careful. You have a heart Eric, I’d hate to see that get crushed by someone like her.”
I began to walk away. I really did hate when Brigant got all cryptic on me, I never knew what was up or down when he began talking in riddles.
“Oh and Eric? Give Sookie my best will you, when you write to her again. Tell her I wish her good luck and hope that it all goes the way she wants it. If she’s sure she wants it.”
See what I mean?
A few days later I was cornered yet again by Sophie, this time wearing a pout and big puppy dog eyes.
“Eric I’m sorry for how I acted before, I know that I’m spoiled ok? I’m trying not to be …but it’s just being in this place. I hate it and I’m here because of her and well I just want my life back you know?”
“I guess…and I’m sorry I snapped at you I really am I just…I don’t know Sophie maybe this isn’t the smartest idea right now.”
“Look, what’s wrong with it? We’re both adults right?”
In age but at that point I certainly didn’t feel like one.
“We’re adults Eric we can choose to do whatever we want now right? And I want you. I know you don’t have …experience with this sort of thing, but that’s okay…Because I do promise you’ll like it.”
Weak willed and curious I let her take the lead she so desperately wanted. I let her slide my knees apart so she stood taller than me where I sat on my bed, I let her unbutton her shirt unzip her skirt, step out of her shoes and stocking leaving her in nothing but her undergarments.
“Kiss me.” she demanded straddling my lap once more. The feel of her soft skin against me was roused me either more. I kissed her with again this time sliding to her neck as and I slid back onto the bed leaving her on top of me looking down. She undid the buttons of my shirt and we struggled to get it off, then she moved down my body stepping off before her hands went for my belt, popping the buttons of my jeans as I kicked off my shoes. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to do, I mean I wasn’t a complete idiot. You grow up in a room with fifth teen other teenage boys and you hear things. I knew the basics of what went were how and to. But she had no interest in letting me explore her, she just stripped off the remainder of her clothing as she got on her knees. She slid my underwear down my thighs before she kissed them working her way up the inside until I felt the heat of her breath on my cock. I closed my eyes as tight as I could and tried my best to keep things in check. I didn’t need to come before she even touched me.
“Eric you’ve been holding out on me.” She giggled before taking me in her mouth lapping up and down with her tongue sucking fiercely as she reached the bottom and worked her way back up to the top again.
“W-What?” I asked her not opening my eyes for fear it was a fantasy. Though had it been a fantasy the red head would have been blonde and those dark brown eyes would have had a cerulean hue and that sourly upper class accent would have been a sweet unassuming drawl.
She just smiled “I often wondered if you were as large all over as you appeared…I was right.” she went back down on me again this time it felt like her throat got bigger I don’t know how she did it but I felt my tip brush the back of her throat. Clenching the side of my bed I tried to recite the Hail Mary in Latin backwards to stave off cumming inside her mouth that very second.
“Sophie you have to stop. If you don’t I’m not going to last lo- ”
“No relax, let go Eric just…let go.” After that things got extremely blurry. I remember her climbing on top of me again, the tight feel of her insides as they clenched against me I remember thinking that it felt amazing but I couldn’t form any words. I wanted to know if she was ok, if I was hurting her, if this was still ok. But she never really gave me the time, she was taking what she wanted from me and not looking back. When she started to cling harder to me I noticed her breath was hitched before she shook with her orgasm taking her over. When she clamped down on my it spilled all the self control I’d tried to build over causing me to come inside her before I could have even thought of pulling out. To both my and it seems her surprise she wasn’t upset. She just sighed and laughed collapsing on top of me with a giggle.
“You know what they say…Practice makes perfect!”
And practice we did.
By the summer of 1957 I was embracing my first year of my training with both hands. I’d been embraced by the kinder section of the convent, most of the sisters had taken great care in showing me the ropes of how their day to day chores worked out. It wasn’t unlike the chores we were assigned in the orphanage, hardly shocking since both building were connected to each other so completely. But there was more prayer involved and a lot of alone time for what they called ‘reflection’ in between chores and cooking I got to go out into the community twice a month to assist with the various charity work that was done on behalf of the church. To describe these women wasn’t easy, since physically to me they all resemble each other in their uniformed habits and veils, their personalities helped them to stand out and be as individual as was allowed in a place like this.
Sister Geraldine was a tall thin woman; she’d been ‘old’ ever since we were kids, when in reality she was probably in her late fifties when I in my late teens. Along with being tall for a woman, she sported a constant scowl on her face perpetuated with hard eyes that where a
dull shade of grey. I never recall seeing her without her veil but always assumed her hair to be as grey as the rest of her.
Sister Mary-Francis was short and stocky but not without a certain kindness she had soft features and large bushy eyebrows that over the years threatened to grow together, but never did. While kind she was also extremely astute and aware of all those around her. She may not have voiced her options the way Geraldine did you just knew what she thought of you with a look.
Sister Margaret was my favourite of all the nuns, she no was taller me but she was jolly and
round she was the assigned cook of the convent and it was a job she enjoyed immensely. She always had a smile on her face and a red tinge to her cheeks – I suspected too much time in the tomato patch where are Eric was convinced it was a little too much sneaking at the cooking sherry.
The other sisters that completed the order stayed mostly to themselves, or in their teaching or at church, I guess as a so called newbie I was more of a hassle to them than I was part of the family so to speak. It didn’t bother me as it probably should have, I had become accustomed to being alone most of the time so when it came for me to branch out and attend my teaching classes I was more than extremely nervous.
“I can’t do this.” I said into the mirror in my cell. My cell being my room, finally after ten years of sharing with a dozen or more other girls I finally got a room to myself. A room with a lock and a key and window. It was simple and sparsely decorated, as was our vow of poverty we had a simple dresser, a small bed with a pillow and some blankets and our crucifix.
“All ready Sookie?” I heard the voice come around the door with a smile. I saw Sister Margaret. “Well don’t you just look lovely.”
I didn’t feel lovely. I felt ill. “Sister maybe this was a bad idea. I’m not really sure I can do this.”
Her eyebrows disappeared into her veil. “Dear girl, this is nonsense and you know it. Now, get your bag you have your writing pad yes?”
“Pencils, all that?”
I nodded again. I smoothed out my skirt and rechecked my tights. Good, no ladder, that was something at least. I was dressed in my ‘casual’ street clothes. Clothes that of course consisted of donations from the public, as always. I’d managed to pull something vaguely flattering …I hoped. It was simple and modest navy dress, cotton and comfortable high neck high back and ¾ length sleeves. I was covered head to toe just like in my habit, and yet I felt naked. I was conscious of my hair, no one had really seen it in almost two years. The veil covered it always. In my neglect of it’s upkeep it had gotten extremely long. I did my best with the styling but I had no idea if how I was wearing it was even appropriate never mind what was considered fashionable.
“Maybe I could just keep assisting with the little ones I mean I don’t really-”
“Sookie! No, you want to do this. It’s an hour, twice a week. In a class of all women, taught by women. I see no issue with this. Now go, learn and come back and teach us old dogs some new tricks eh?”
I nodded yet again. Resigned to my fate my legs shook so unused to the heels I was wearing so unsure of myself I made my way out of the convent, down the small street to the bus stop where I was to catch the 401 at 2pm to the school where my classes would be held every week. Allowing an orphaned nun to become a teacher too.
Walking into the brightly painted building, I felt fear so much so that my legs were starting to go numb and taking one step in front of the other was becoming a challenge. I found the assigned room and hauled myself as well as my notepads and pencils with me. As I walked into the large lecture room there was a clattering of noise from all the women in the class. No one stopped talking or looked up or even noticed me at all. So I just slid into the first seat that I saw, three rows back I found an empty row. I busied myself with my books keeping my head now as much as possible.
As the class began I felt myself beginning to relax. I knew that I wasn’t a stupid girl academically speaking so the various outlines and teachings weren’t lost on me nor were they imitating me like I thought they might.
“Hey!” I heard the whisper to my left as the girl scooted closer. She was from the looks of things a little taller than me but my opposite in every other way. She had bobbed hair with thick bangs that set off her deep chestnut eyes. Her jaw was sharp that led to a slender neck that was framed by a single string of white pearls.
“Hey.” she said again and I smiled. “Can I …borrow a pencil? Mine broke!” She whispered to me as I handed her one of my spares.
“Thanks. I’m Amelia by the way, what’s your name?”
“Sookie, Sookie Stackhouse, its nice to meet you Amelia.”
I didn’t know it at the time but this girl would be instrumental in the rest of my life, and that first day in class without even knowing it I’d met my new best friend.