I woke up in the middle of the night to Sookie standing over my bed in a very thin top and some tiny bottom pants.
“Do you need something? A drink?” I whispered. “Is everything okay?”
She didn’t respond, but continued walking into the bathroom, and then back out again, before turning up the covers of my bed and crawling in next to me.
“I like to cuddle,” I whispered. “If you wanted to cuddle, all you needed to do was ask.”
She didn’t reply, but when she scooted her body next to mine, I had the feeling she liked to cuddle too, but was too shy to say anything.
I tried to be very much a gentleman, and kept my hands in the spots that were unlikely to get me smacked, and where I left my arms seemed to be okay, because she drifted back to sleep and I followed quickly afterward.
“Whoa! What the fuck?”
My eyes whipped open, and I found Sookie frantically climbing out of my bed.
“If I touched you where…I didn’t mean to. I was sleeping.” I sat up and tugged the blanket around me. “I didn’t mean–”
Her eyes darted around the room. “I was in your bed.”
“Yes,” I nodded. “You came to my bed–”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Yes, you did,” I corrected, squinting as she flicked a light on. “Some time ago.”
She gasped, and covered her mouth with her hands. “I haven’t done that in years.”
“Cuddled? It’s good for sleeping. Nice.” I smiled brightly. “I liked–”
“Sleepwalk. I used to do it when I was younger, but it’s been–”
“Oh,” I exclaimed. “I thought you were being shy.”
“I didn’t…” She blinked at me. “We didn’t…”
“Just the cuddle,” I said, shaking my head. “You didn’t sleep-sex me–”
“Oh, God, I’m so embarrassed,” she muttered, covering her face with her hands. “I only do that when I’m–”
“Exhausted. You were very tired.” I checked the clock. “And it’s still very early here, so…”
“Right,” she nodded. “I’m just…” she crawled back into her bed, and went that lovely shade of red she went when she was looking at my ass. “I’m embarrassed. I mean, I haven’t even known you for twenty-four hours, and I’m throwing myself at you like some desperate idiot.”
I didn’t want her to feel like that. After all, I hadn’t minded at all. In fact, I found myself disappointed that she hadn’t just wanted to see what it was like, to let our chemistry and feelings do some thinking for a while, instead of logic, which had us sleeping alone. I decided that I’d try and make her feel better. I reached over, and flicked on the lap.
“I would like to share your bed,” I said, as earnestly as possible. “Just for the sharing, though.”
She raised her eyebrows. “You want to–”
“We were already, for many hours, and it was very nice. You’re very…warm. And soft.”
She smiled, a tiny smile. “You’re an opportunist, aren’t you, Erik Nordmon?”
“I have been called worse things,” I replied, sitting up in bed. “No handsey stuff, unless I get a spoken request, and maybe not even then. Maybe not until we have had coffee, and you are very much awake, because I don’t want the confusion. You’re walking around in sleep is not something I’m used to.”
Sookie cleared her throat, and I couldn’t help but spend a few seconds admiring her lovely chest in her vest. I hadn’t anticipated on them being as perfect as they were from the pictures, but they were very nice.
And it was cold, in the room.
“I guess we have to start somewhere,” she murmured. “All right. Come on over.” She pulled up a corner of her blanket, and I slipped inside. We changed positions many times until we got comfortable, and when I finally felt her relax, her head on my arm, I felt like I had done something great.
“Good night, Sookie,” I whispered into her ear. “It’s been very nice meeting you.”
She rolled over towards me. “It has been nice, hasn’t it?”
“Pam, she is very smart, I think.” Her warm breath blew on my lips as she breathed. “Because I think she believes we are a good match for each other.”
Her eyes searched mine, and I couldn’t quite tell what she was looking for, but whatever it was, I think she found it because she smiled sweetly.
“I believe she does.”
With that she sighed, somewhat happily, and closed her eyes. I couldn’t remember the last time I slept so soundly than I did with her by my side.
Eric slept like a pile of dead weight. His eyelashes were pale. His face was all angles. His body was firm. So firm. If I’d drawn a picture of what I was looking for physically, it would have looked alarmingly similar to him, even if I had no idea what I thought I was looking for before I’d seen him.
I was pretty sure I could marry him, from what I’d seen so far anyway. Pretty sure it wouldn’t be the worst decision I’d ever made. He seemed like a real gentleman.
Was I really considering marrying someone I’d met twenty-four hours ago? I didn’t know him at all. I wasn’t sure I’d thought this through. Why did someone like him need to do this?
“You’re pretty, in the morning,” he mumbled, propping himself up on one arm and eying me appreciatively. “I…I would like to kiss you.”
“Oh,” I replied, clearing my throat. “I haven’t brush my teeth–”
“And I suppose you must shower immediately after you’re intimate as well, and before too,” he chuckled. “You’re such an American.”
“I can’t have sex with you right now,” she stammered. “It’s…we don’t know…”
“I didn’t ask you to make love to me. I just said I wanted to kiss you.” He chuckled, as his grin spread ear to ear. “I think we will need a bit of time for that.”
I wasn’t sure if he meant it would take a long time or if we needed to get to know each other better.
Once I hit twenty-five and was still a virgin, things got weird. It wasn’t that I didn’t still have the same desires as everyone else, but there was a lot of pressure, and it wasn’t exactly something that you told someone on a first date, or a second date, or even a third date. It always came up though. The responses varied from novelty to fear, to confusion, to thinly veiled disgust. Once you got into your twenties, men had a lot of ideas about virginity, and why one would be one anywhere past eighteen.
“Are you churchy? Saving it for Jesus?”
“I watched this Dateline special about this women who had an overwhelming odor. That’s not…you don’t?”
“That’s a lot of pressure. Um, I gotta go.”
“Is there something wrong with you, down there?”
It was a lot of pressure. Then it hit me. Pam knew, and Pam hadn’t told him.
He didn’t know.
I could have squeed. There was something very freeing about that. I didn’t have to tell him, and he’d be none the wiser. I knew the basic moves besides, and I was fairly certain that I could just go with it, and everything would be good.
“Sookie, are you sleep staring again? You’re okay?” He cocked his head at me.
His hair was very soft, I thought, as I ran my fingers through the pieces around his face. It was longish, like he was overdue for a haircut. He had the beginnings of a mullet in the back. It wouldn’t have been cute on anyone else.
“Why’d you ask?” I whispered, suddenly bold. “If you wanted to kiss me.”
“Because,” he raised his eyebrows. “If we are to make some moves, I don’t want you to be angry at me.”
“You should have just kissed me,” I replied, pulling his face to mine.
His lips were a little rough, and his few day stubble was scratchy, but I felt his kiss everywhere. His hands rested on my cheeks, and slowly trailed downward to my neck, as I pushed against him and deepened the kiss, pleased when he let out a tiny whimper. He tasted nice, clean, and he wasn’t pushing for more right away, which I liked, very much.
People did one night stands all the time. We’d corresponded a lot. Pam had set us up. This wasn’t so awful. I could have brought him home from some bar. I’d thought of doing that a lot before I turned thirty, just to get it over with.
Pam had to know what she was doing, right?
“Your form, it is very nice,” he murmured, his eyes still closed.
“Yours isn’t half bad, either.”
“That is good to know, too. Good morning, again.”
With that I felt myself blush. We’d had quite an eventful morning already and the sun was barely up.
“Good morning to you too. I don’t know about you, but I am starving.” I smiled. “You know anywhere good around here for breakfast foods?”
I tried to diffuse the awkward tension between us by getting up quickly and attempting conversation, I don’t think it worked though, because it left him eyeing me curiously. If he noticed my internal freak out, he didn’t say anything, instead excused himself to use the bathroom as I got myself dressed.
Coffee and bagels were had for breakfast, I found out that Erik liked his strong and with a little cream, and one sugar. He liked cream-cheese and a little salmon on his bagel, and he wasn’t that guy that opened doors for their girls. Which I admit I found a little off putting, but figured I was woman enough to open my own damn door, and tried not to get so hung up on that. We talked of the journey to his home, and who I would meet there, all of which filled me with nervous energy, something he sensed.
“Sookie do not worry. My family, they will find you very acceptable. My father is a little… uh, what is the phrase…scratchy around the sides?”
“Rough around the edges?”
“Yes! But, my mother is kind and he is too, in his way. My grandmother on the second hand…”
“Is she… scary?”
He laughed at that, a big, genuine hearty laugh that I found myself instantly attracted to. I wouldn’t mind hearing that again.“No, no. She is a small woman, but her height is to fool you. She is as strong as an ox and as stubborn as one also. She is a wise woman, however. She gives a lot of…advice where it is not sometimes asked for.”
“So she’s your typical, protective Gran, then?”
He smiled. “Yes, you could say she is.”
“Well, I look forward to meeting her, and your parents. A strange women though…Won’t they find it, odd, you bringing me there?”
“Why would they? Together we had not came to anything, why would they begrudge me a fresh starting again, with someone as beautiful as you?”
I was surprised when Eric told me how many of the townswomen he had ‘seen’, and just how many of them remained his good friends. I was also surprised to learn that we’d be seeing most of them if we socialized to prepare me for question, or answers to questions I didn’t ask. I shouldn’t have been that surprised since I more than anyone knew how small towns worked. I just figured it would be a little more different here.
Thirty-three metres above the ground, Erik and I took in the city around us. I was thankful I wore my jacket, as up that high, even on a day in summer, it was still a little windy.
“It’s a beautiful city. The water looks so peaceful” I commented as we looked out in front of us.
“Yes. I almost sometime, feel more comfort on the water than on the land.”
“That makes sense, you spend a lot of time out there.”
“Half a year sometimes, sometimes more, sometimes less. Depends on the catch.”
“You like it?”
He shrugged. “I like it as much as anything I do. But, it does become… tiring I think? After a time. Close spaces, lots of men with not so active cleaning habits.”
I laughed at that, but felt sorry for him instantly. The idea of being stranded on a stinking fishing boat was bad enough, team that with the crew of big burly men stinking up the place as well? It wasn’t pleasant.
“You poor thing.” I said, touching his arm. I had been holding onto him ever since we got up there. It wasn’t that I had a fear of heights, but the idea of a gust of wind coming along and pushing me off wasn’t a fun one. “Is that why you work with your father half the year, as a break?”
“Some. The fishing seasons change. Mostly, I just like to make things. With the business, small as it is, it allows that. Unique, beautiful things at my hand. And I find it peaceful. Not so much up here though, up here is not so peaceful. What if we fell off?”
One thing I realized, my fisherman slash carpenter, was in fact afraid of heights.
“For someone so tall you’d think you’d be used to the altitude changes,” I teased, bumping him slightly as we made our exit. There was a restaurant in the building I wanted to try, for the novelty of the name, if nothing else.
Erik and I, had a very large expensive lunch at Erik’s that I insisted on paying for. Many puns were made as we did so. I even got a shot of him with the menu hiding half his face on purpose. I wondered if there was any eateries called Sookie’s where we could do the same.
It was just after two pm when we collected our things from the hotel, and made our way out of Stockholm. Bathroom breaks were had and much candy and caffeine was purchased before the eight hour trek began. I definitely couldn’t say that I had no opportunity to get to know Eric in the day and half I had spent with him, and being stuck with him, anyone for eight hours in a car would prove a test. I wondered if we’d pass.
He kissed me again once we got on the road to his village, at a stoplight, a shy smile on his face. Driving on the other side of the road was very odd.
“What was that for?” I asked, feeling myself blush.
“You look nice today, in the blue dress. Tell me something about you that not many people know.”
My eyes widened, did I really go there so soon with the one thing that almost no-one knew about me? I decided no, I wanted to keep this journey as light as possible, so I went with something easy.
“When I was a kid, I talked kinda funny, until I was about seven. It was sort of a lisp, but thankfully it just faded away. I had a real problem with my ‘S’ words.”
He smiled. So I continued.
“Like ‘say’ ‘same’ ‘Mississippi’, that was a bitch to get right. Jason knows, and Gran knows, but no one else that knows me now, knows. Same question to you.”
He grinned, focusing on the road ahead of him as he thought.
“Once, when I was just a tiny boy, I had a pretend friend named Joo, and he was a cowboy and he had a horse and we would play all the time together. I was only six I think, but still I was sure he was true, and maybe a ghost. I never told anyone that. You think me silly now?” He asked, looking to me for confirmation of his silly.
Gran would adore him. “No, not at all. It’s actually really cute. You and Joo. It’s sweet.”
“Good, I am glad then. Your turn,” he said, pulling on a pair of sunglasses.
“Okay… Hm…Let’s see.” I sized him up deliberately, comically as I thought of my second question.
“If you had a superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it?”
He giggled, honestly, giggled. It was adorable.
“To fly. I think. I would enjoy that very much. To be able to just go, see all the places in a beat of a heart. See it all, and then come home. I think would be exciting. And to be able to take others with me, to show them all the places too. I would like that very much.” He grinned. “You?”
“It’s kinda hard, I’d love to be able to be invisible when I wanted or, maybe read minds? That would be kinda cool. Just knowing what everyone is thinking without having to ask.”
“True, but if it was all the time, it would get tiresome, no?”
“I guess you’re right… Hmm. I think I’ll go with invisibility, but selective!” I laughed.“I’m nosy, being able to sneak places without being seen would be cool.”
The majority of our questions continued to be silly ones, like our favourite curse words, how old we were when we got our first kiss, when the Santa myth was busted, what our favorite candy bar was. But, there were some of them that shed light on him, and I was sure the same stood for him where I was concerned too. Like he when he asked me if I’d ever been in love, and my answer was, yes, that I had been, but that it wasn’t – at least I didn’t think – reciprocated at the time. His answer to that was interesting.
“I was, once. I think every woman I am with, I think I will love her, that that feeling will come. That love. But it does not, always. But what I think of as relationship love? I had once, her name was Lea, and she was when I was twenty until we were… twenty four almost.”
He smiled, looking from the road, to me then shrugged his answer, clearly not ready to go there yet. I of all people knew how that felt, so I moved on.
“Fine then, next question. Three weaknesses you know you have.” I asked, taking a sip out of my McDonald’s cup, we had stopped for drive thru about fifteen minutes before, he said it was the last signs of food for a while, and we were still about three hours out.
He thought about my question for a second, and then chuckled.
“Ice cream on a hot brownie. Beautiful, funny women, and American TV.” I playfully rolled my eyes, and he knew I was aiming for something deeper, but those would do for now. He too, was clearly trying to keep things light. “You?”
“Erm.” I thought about it. “My gran’s cooking, cheesy romance novels, and online shopping.”
He laughed. “Ah. That explains how you found me then.”
My eyes widened, I knew he was joking, but still. I didn’t expect him to go there. I went with it though, keeping in mind his line about funny women.
“Yeah, about that. What are the returns policies in Sweden anyway?”
“See, you are funny. I knew you would be,” he chuckled. “What is your favourite position?”
I almost choked on my lingonberry soda. “What?”
“In bed.” He kept his eyes on the road and his face serious. “It’s very important for compatibility.”
I knew the colour drained from my face. “Oh. Um, I…”
His face cracked, and he chuckled. “I like to tease you. You are easy.”
That wasn’t true, exactly. “Maybe you’ll find out, someday,” I replied, trying to play it cool. “If you’re lucky.”
“I think that would make me very lucky indeed. What’s your favourite movie?”
We continued on like that for a couple of hours. I learned that Eric wanted to expand his horizons and adapt to the world at large a little better than he was currently able to. I learned he really was a pro at movie trivia, and loved cheesy TV shows. I learned that he loved animals, and that he was neither a ‘cat’ or ‘dog’ person, but a human person. A human person that made me laugh with his wit, language barrier or no. He had pets growing up too, so me having a dog wasn’t going to be an issue, I thought.
We liked a lot of the same films, some of the same music, and one of his secret talents was painting. Something I wanted to see for myself. He told me of his work with his father allowed him to be creative, but that his family were rather smothering in every other aspect of his life. Something else he was more than eager to change.
By the time we arrived in his town, it was dark, but there was still plenty of activity on the way though. There were a couple of bars and a cafe, and a few convenience stores too, I noticed. Erik waved and beeped the horn to most people, all who greeted him with a wave if we passed them.
“You’re well liked then, huh?” I smiled as we got out of the car in front of a red panelled house, with white window shutters and trees flanking either side. There were two more houses down a small road, that I could see in the distance, but for the most part his part of the town was somewhat isolated. There was a large body of water behind the house too, at least from what I could tell in the dark. I swallowed the panicked feeling of ‘oh my god what if he brought me here to kill me’ as we got inside and relaxed when he took my bags from me to turn on the lights in the hallway. The house was unusually decorated for a man in his early thirties, there was a lot of kitch, more suited to an older woman. Maybe he just liked kitch. I thought.
“Are you hungry? There is always too much food. Far too much.”
I wasn’t really hungry at all, but I figured I would be later, and I would be too tired to eat.
“Sure, what you got?” I said as we entered the kitchen. It was large, and went from one side of the house to the other, lots of creams and whites, with a dark wood floor and dark marble countertop. It was lovely, modern, and very clean, which I liked a lot. I wondered how much of it he had built.
“Some fish, beef, chicken and potatoes…” he looked through a lot of containers and sniffed them accordingly. “I do not recommend the pasta.”
“How about we just have bread and cheese?” He offered after surveying the fridge once again. “What would you drink? There is tea, milk, some odd looking green…stuff…” He turned his nose up at the options, making a funny face.
“Tea would be nice, thank you.” I said taking a seat at the large kitchen table. It was beautiful, and I wondered if this was a piece completed by Eric and his dad. There was so much intricate detail on the legs of both the table and chairs, the table top itself was glass.
“Do you want me to help?” I asked as he pulled out various cheeses and some bread.
“No I’ve got it. If you want to explore the house, you are free to. Make yourself at my home.” He smiled and I figured I may as well satisfy my curiosity, and put my things away somewhere.
Were we just going to share a bed now? I wandered around the small upstairs trying to decide which room was his. Both had large beds. Both looked lived in. One room was extremely tidy, there were large windows in both rooms, and not really that screamed ‘serial killer’, which was a plus in my book. I figured his bedroom was the one with the laundry in a pile, a neat pile, but still a pile, by the door and the large TV and impressively large selection of American DVDs. Did I bunk with him, or take the spare? I wasn’t sure of the protocol in a situation like this.
I was attracted to him, and there was an undeniable chemistry there for sure, but I was never one to just jump in head first. I wanted to be though. I longed to be more spontaneous, but somehow, something held me back. Maybe here, with him, was where I just gave in and did what I thought about doing.
Or maybe not.
“Sookie?” I called, heading upstairs to find her, hopeful that she wouldn’t wander into my grandparents room and find anything awkward. I tried to stay out of there. They collected many strange things.
I found her looking at a few old pictures that my grandmother had placed on a table in the hall.
“This is you,” she said, kneeling down to look at one of me as a boy with my father on the water. “You were very cute. So blond.”
“I have some food for us downstairs. Just some little things; cheese, bread, in a sandwich. Then maybe we will go to bed?”
She blinked at me. “Are…we…which room am I…”
“I can sleep on the couch,” I replied, even though I didn’t want to. It was not good for sleeping, I’d learned after dying there after some drinking nights when I was younger. I also wanted to press my body against hers, and maybe have some fun, if she wanted to. “If that is what–”
“Oh, I think you don’t need to…you could sleep in your bed, and I…”
“You could sleep there too?” I beamed at her. “It’s nice to share a bed, and the costs are low.”
She was like a baby deer in the eyes, scared of the world. “What?”
“The heating. It is inexpensive. We will share heat with each other.”
She blinked some more, and cleared her throat. I wondered if she was allergic to something in the house. My grandmother’s cat, perhaps.
“Let’s go get that food?” she said quietly. “I…I could eat.”
“The driving is exhausting,” I said with a grin. “There are many photos of me naked. I’m happy they’re not on display.”
She turned very red, and then started to laugh delightfully. “Oh, from when you were little!”
I chuckled. “Of course. I doubt my grandmother would display such pictures of me now.”
As we made our way through the dimly lit house, she didn’t speak, nor did I. Not until we got to the kitchen table where I’d set her tea and grilled cheese, as well as some for myself.
“Sookie, may I… ask you something?”
“Of course.” She nodded as she tucked into her overly stuffed toasted sandwich.
“What are your thoughts? On… me?” I got out, eventually. She was a hard woman to read this Sookie Stackhouse. This American woman with a funny name and a wonderful smile, with her great breasts and perfect ass. I wondered what she thought of me, of here, of the whole situation and I hoped she would be honest with me, as I hoped she had been up until that point too.
She sighed. I didn’t think that was very good, but it was okay.
“It’s strange. You know? The method in which I’m even here. It’s all so foreign to me, in more ways than just the country and the language.” She took a deep breath and a sip of her tea before she continued. “But, I got myself here, I took the steps and they led me to you. And so far, you seem lovely, and normal and not a cyber dating wife bait Swedish serial killer…Right?”
I nodded. The only thing I killed were fish, and maybe the bugs.
“I think it’s just been a lot to take in, in such a short space of time. I’m sure this is strange for you too. I mean, I know you said you did this before, but…”
“I have but I am no expertise, every experience is brand new because the person is brand new. You are unlike any of the others.”
She shook her head, smiling but shaking her head as if she disagreed with me.
“Can I ask, how many ‘others’ there were, from Pam, I mean?”
It made sense to me that she would be curious about my past dealings with Pamela, I was curious to know hers too in time, even if it were fairly obvious I was her only one.
“I know you said the connection wasn’t there, but, what were they like?” She whispered, why, I had no idea. We were the only two people in the house. It was like she thought others would hear us.
I leaned back in my chair and thought about the other women. “First was Hillary, she was more older than I and had been married for many years, before her husband passed.”
“How much older?” She questioned, a funny look on her face.
Her eyes widened.
“Did you…and she… I mean not that it’s any of my business but…”
“Did we have the sex?” I laughed at her so-innocent approach to such a seemingly simple question as she blushed.
“Like I said, it’s not my -”
“No. She and I spent a wonderful few days together, but she was making the wrong choices out of loneliness. I saw that. So, we became friendly but not intimate. Sometimes we email still. The second one was Gia and she was from California, we did have the sex. In fact that is about all we did. We didn’t really talk, she began impatience with me getting things not so perfect in English. You don’t do that. I like that.”
She nodded, a small smile fixed to her face.
“The last woman was Gabrielle, with her I thought, yes maybe? She was good looking and had very nice body. But it was not so good after a few weeks, she wanted things to be her ways, what I wanted was not for consideration. I didn’t like that, at all. It felt… wrong, and not how balance was meant, you know?”
She was interested in what I had to say, and thankfully she really wasn’t like the others at all, she was very understanding as far as I could see. She didn’t roll her eyes when I got English expressions wrong, or look bored trying to decode me. I wanted to improve my English so much, and even being around her, I felt more confident in using it.
“With you, it feels like you are… old friend from far away, being gone for a long time, but have then come back to me.”
She blushed, and a very real smile came on her face. “I get what you mean, it does feel… a little like that for me. Nerves aside, most of the time I have felt comfortable around you, which I don’t with new people so easily.” She stated, and as her hands sat on the table, I placed my own over them and held both her hands in mine. She didn’t pull away, so I assumed she welcomed the touch.
“That is good. I want you to feel comfort. I want you feel relax, and safe, and happy.”
She grinned. “I think I will, in time, maybe.”
“We have lots of that. Tomorrow is another day of adventure between us. It will be good.”
I hoped that it would be good, I really did. I wanted to show her the town and the beaches, the wonderful landscape of the sea I spent so much time at, I wanted to show her my world in the hopes that she would want to be a part of it. I just wasn’t so sure how to go about it. With the others, and with all the other women I had bedded, that was the answer. Sex. It was usually the first thing on the menu of getting to know me, and they got to know me in that regard very well. It was always after that they seemed to lose interest, making me feel…cheap and disregarded like rubbish in the bin that was no longer useful.
It seemed with Sookie things would be very different.