A/N: Chapter 8 time! Between Seastarr08 and myself we’re fully engaged in this baby. It’s hard not to be, given how cute they are, right? This chapter contains a few short POV’s between the both of them, hope that’s okay 😉 As always your reviews, thoughts, questions are more than welcome!
“So your mom knows about me?”
“She knows of you, yes. Of how we are new and you are American woman that I wanted to meet. She did not ask more after that.”
“Oh.” I wasn’t sure what to expect with Erik’s mother and father, luckily I didn’t have to worry about meeting his father at that point, since Erik told me he was on a boat somewhere in the North Sea for a least another month. For now, all I had to face was Greta Nordmon, and according to Erik’s Gran, that wasn’t going to be as easy as it sounded.
Erik’s parent’s place was about a half a mile from their shop, around a few bendy roads and corners, quietly tucked away by a lake and lots of trees. Much like his grandparent’s place, only not as inviting looking on the outside. The garden was mostly dead. I tensed up as we got to the blue front door, and he knocked.
He smiled at me, as he held the baked bread in one hand, and the wine in the other. I had flowers and candy, I figured it would only be the polite thing to do in any situation, and I was raised to have manners, I wasn’t about to forget them on an occasion like this. I made a mental note to get Erik’s Gran something nice from somewhere before I left for home.
It seemed like we were waiting a very long time at the front door, and Erik had knocked several times.
“Does she know we’re-”
“She knows.” He sighed, taking a few steps back and looking up at the bedroom windows.
“MOR! MOR! Det är Erik!” He yelled, and I took the steps back to where he stood, catching a quick glimpse of a white haired woman behind a curtain, before she vanished. A few more minutes passed and his ‘Mor’ still hadn’t appeared to let us in. I was beginning to feel self conscious.
“Maybe we should just leave? If she doesn’t want to see…”
“She is just being VERY RUDE.” Erik yelled again, before knocking on the door once more, this time, it was a wonder the house didn’t shake. A second later, the door cracked open, just long enough for her to say something quickly in Swedish to him, snap the bread out of his hands and slam the door shut again. Whatever she said made him sigh, and lean his head against the front door in despair.
My Gran would never stand for this shit. It was downright rude.
Erik continued to yell something through the door at her, and eventually, the little blue door opened a crack again, but she wasn’t there.
Erik just rolled his eyes. “She is just being difficult. I am sorry.”
“Maybe it’s a bad time?” I tried to make it seem like it wasn’t such a big deal, even if I was feeling very unwanted.
“With her it is always bad times.” He sighed. “We will go in, but leave soon. Okay?”
I nodded, and took his hand when he offered it.
We entered the house and I was immediately greeted with a smell of burning oils as if they were masking something else, and there was a faint sound of Jamaican music coming from somewhere. We walked into the very clean, but very strange kitchen, to find the woman I knew to be Erik’s mother, sitting at the kitchen table. A pout on her almost wrinkle free face. I was almost going to ask how she did that, considering I guessed her age to be at least mid fifties. But I figured it would wait…if she spoke to me at all, which it seemed at first she wouldn’t.
“Mor, this is Sookie. Sookie, this is my very difficult child like mother. Who was very rude to leave both of us standing out of the house.” He said, finishing off with a glare to his mother. She just rolled her eyes before focusing in on me.
“It’s nice to meet you?” I said, extending my hand. She looked at it, then at me before she shook it.
“It is…the same to meet you too, Sookie.” She murmured, and her tone was anything but ‘pleased’.
Before I could say anything else she started speed talking in Swedish again to Erik. And he returned the favor in raising his voice and gesturing in an exasperated manner. Whatever was being said, about me, I gathered wasn’t a compliment. I left the candy and flowers that I’d been holding in one hand, on the table and decided to just slip out of the kitchen. I found myself in the living room, free from their rantings. It was somewhat modern in its decor, with a large cream sofa, spotless, with royal blue cushions to match the royal blue curtains, a cream marble fireplace that held a crackling wood fire, even though it was late summer. It gave the room a nice inviting feel, unlike the woman living in. There were lots photos in a delicately carved glass dark oak cabinet beside the fireplace. I recognized Erik right away. The smiling blond boy with missing teeth, the chubby toddler with his mother, and who I assumed to be his father, and then with people I didn’t recognize, but assumed them to be her parents perhaps. Different eras of his life were up there. From birth, through what seemed to be awkward teen years, to very recently, at what looked like a wedding. Smiling and hugging his mother and Grandmother together. I smiled on seeing it.
“My cousin’s wedding in Malmo.” he said as I saw him leaning against the doorframe, watching me. I put the photo back down again, care not to knock any of the others over.
“Is she okay?”
“She will be. She cooked us dinner, I think she just…panicked.”
I could understand that.
A few moments later we were seated in their dining room, in awkward silence as we began tucking into our baked salmon and potatoes with all the trimmings. I was taking healthy gulps of wine in the hopes it would make things feel better.
She looked at me, eyeing me up, I imagined, and then ate. And repeated the process a few times before my forward American self had enough.
“You have a lovely home, Mrs. Nordmon.” I commented mid-chew.
She looked to Erik.
Then to me.
“Did your boys do the kitchen for you? It’s lovely too, I noticed.”
I had recognised what looked to be Erik or his Grandfather’s signature handiwork on the dark wood in the kitchen.
“They did. Few years ago now. I like it dark.”
Like her moods, I imagined.
“Mor would to like… to say something, Sookie.” Erik eyebrowed her into speaking again. She too took a large gulp of the wine.
“I am…Sorry. About before. I just… it is not…what I want.”
“I only tell truths! I do not like this idea of American women taking you away from here! I say it! I say it for it is my right!”
He sipped his beer with another sigh, setting down his fork.
“Stealing my son! No. I do not accept!” She said, also putting down her fork. I expected there to be more yelling that I didn’t understand, but there wasn’t. Instead Erik simply stood up quietly, grabbing his jacket from the back of the chair, and I took that as my sign to get up too.
“Erik, no… I am… Sorry,” she said still seated and he just shook his head.
I knew they were speaking English for my benefit.
“You are not. You have embarrassed me tonight. You have made Sookie feel unwelcome! You who used to be known for her warmth, Mor. No, this I do not accept. So we leave.”
Awkward? I think so.
An hour later we were sitting on the bed of his truck, fleece blankets underneath us, and our second dinner in our laps. He had driven from his mother’s house in a silent rage, neither of us saying much of anything, until we’d driven all the way out of the town, and half way into the next. We stopped at a local takeaway for food, and lots of it. I learned that when upset, Erik liked to eat, and indulge in a vanilla milkshake too. We got our stuff, and had our little makeshift picnic on the back of his truck, down by the water’s edge in the little town unknown to me. It was just us, the water and the stars. I was starting to have good memories with those things and the added ingredient of Erik.
“How can you be Swedish and NOT like Ikea? Isn’t that some sort of crime against your people or something?” We were on the subject of national treasures. I was pretty convinced Ikea was one.
“Well you are American and you do not like George Bush. Same thing.”
“Oh, it is so not the same thing. For one thing, Georgey boy doesn’t give me finely crafted easily assembled furniture for a great price.”
“It is not fine crafted. It is shit.” He said taking a bite of his burger and I
just gasped. My love for Ikea knew no bounds. It furnished most houses I’d lived in since I moved out of Gran’s house.
“That is just…wrong.” I said, dipping one of my fries into his ketchup.
“No, what is wrong is them. All is mass produced. All looks the same. All the same things. There is no individual…ness to it.” He squinted, knowing he was wrong but not caring. It was cute.
“Individuality.” I helped and he nodded.
“There is none of it. All mass produced, everyone’s living rooms look the same.”
I guess he kinda had a point, but still. My Ikea-Pottery barn’d heart was broken. I figured he’d really have a fit when he saw my house. It was wrong that I was looking forward to it a little.
“What we make? That has the label of finely crafted because it is. By hands too. Not machine. Well, not machines most of the time.” He smiled. “Bigger project, we use the machine, but still. I am right. Ikea is shit.”
I sighed, he was stuck on his point. I had to give him that.
“Next you’ll be telling me you hate ABBA or something.” I smirked, dipping another fry into his ketchup.
“No, ABBA is okay, but only when lots of alcohol is around.” He smiled.
“Ah, you’re a secret karaoke fiend aren’t you?”
“If you promise not to tell anyone…” He leaned over to whisper, even though it was only us both, and no one else for miles. “I only like them when I am drunk but they are good to sing. In showers, in bars. Lots of melody. I can keep my Swedishness now?” He asked, a cute smile on his face.
“I guess so…Though we might have to dig deeper into your hate on poor IKEA.”
With that he let out a big, hearty laugh. One I instantly liked the sound of.
“Never. I will bring you over to the side of the dark.”
I giggled. I wondered what his dark side would be like. I gathered it would include many hours on just how shit the IKEA materials were, and how he could do ten times better.
“Well, that’s good. I expect full PowerPoint presentations and lots of sources, Erik.”
“Will you come with me, day after tomorrow? I have a delivery to make for my Grandfather. It is a few towns over, but the views are nice. I think you would like. We could stay, if you find it agreeable. We will stay the night.”
While the idea of spending the day in a delivery truck wasn’t the most appealing idea ever, the notion of spending the night with Erik in a bed, a bed and a room where we could do as we pleased? Well that was almost too good an opportunity to pass up.
“I’d like that,” I said, with a smile, as I reached for his soda. “Mine’s gone.”
“I can share, although I am an only child, so maybe not as well as some.” He bagged up the garbage and tossed it in the cab of the truck, before pulling me down onto the blanket and kissing me like he meant it.
I thought about telling him, then and there that this was pretty special to me, how I was feeling, what we were doing, and even though it was sort of arranged, it felt real, but I didn’t. I kissed him back instead, and let myself be pulled into his embrace. He was so warm, and firm and strong that I had a hard time letting my mind wander as it always had when I was with other people. He was intoxicating, in a way.
We made out for what seemed like hours, or maybe days, before moving onto the grand finale. As soon as I felt him begin to orgasm, I had a powerful one of my own simultaneously. I cried out, before realizing that once again, we were in public. He seemingly wasn’t concerned with that, and let out a cry of his own.
“Does that happen a lot…” I blinked, realizing that I sounded entirely inexperienced. “To you? Together, when you’re with-“”
Erik shook his head. “Sookie, I think what we have, it’s very special,” he whispered. “And I don’t say this because we just had some fun. It’s like a chemical…” He looked up for the right words, and then to me.
“Chemistry.” I said with a grin.
“Yes. It’s good togetherness science, with you and me.” He nuzzled his face in my neck. “I want to get to know you in every way, more every day.”
“Me too,” I nodded, kissing him. “It’s silly, but I wish your mom liked me. Is that ridiculous? Is there anything I can do?”
He stretched out, naked as a jaybird and linked his hands behind his head. “She will not like any woman, even if she knows it’s right. It doesn’t matter if you were a girl I’d known my whole life, or…you. She is very…caring of me. She doesn’t want to see me get hurt, or not be her little boy, even though I am not.”
“I guess most mothers are like that,” I said with a sigh. “But she’s really not going to like me if I take you back to Louisiana with me.”
“She will adjust. And visit. And we will be forced to put up with her terrible manners there.” He gave me a half grin. “I am not worried, so you should not be worried.”
I wanted not to worry. The idea of having a mother-in-law, and possibly a father-in-law – if he was anything like his wife, hate me? It was stressful. I was a people pleaser at heart, and I hated having anyone mad at me. Even Sam. The idea of this tension between us, didn’t sit well with me. But, I would try and take Erik’s words and let them sink in. He wasn’t worried, so it shouldn’t worry me.
The good news was, she did live across the ocean.
That night we went back to his Grandmother’s home, the lights were all out, indicating that they were already in bed. So, we slipped into the house, and into his room as quietly as possible. Both of us stripping down to our underwear, and into bed together. I really trusted him, I realised. And I wasn’t sure if trusting him came so fast because I wanted to make this work, or if it was just because of who he was and what he made me feel. Either way, I wasn’t going to question the calm that came over me when he was near me, or how my heart skipped a little when we’d kiss. I wasn’t going to chalk it up to the amazing sex, or the cuteness, or the kissing. I wanted to chalk it up to us, and I hoped my perception was being true to me, and not just clouded by all the orgasms I’d been catching up on. One I realised that sex with Erik was nothing to be scared of, I was able to force myself to relax a lot more, enjoy him a lot more, and by the looks, feels, and sounds of his reactions to me, he enjoyed himself quite a bit too.
It made me smile.
The next morning after a very fast shower, and change of clothes. I kissed a sleeping Sookie goodbye and made my way to the workshop. My grandmother was at the neighbours place, dropping off some bread and soup for Mr. Messenger. He’d been our neighbour for years and ever since his wife died, she always made sure to drop by and check on him. And to cook something. She lived to cook. It was why I was greeted with a fully cooked breakfast for both myself and Sookie under the grill. I had just about enough time for some toast and a few sausages before I bolted out the door. We had a massive delivery that day, one that had been in the works for months. I couldn’t miss it. It was also why I asked Sookie to come along with me. I figured we could make a day of it, after all furniture was left behind. That, and I dreaded to think what would happen if she was left alone with my mother nearby. I didn’t want her upsetting Sookie anymore than she already had with her crazy clinging nonsense.
Having loaded the van, and sent my Grandfather home to rest, though he insisted on staying longer, I closed up and went on my way to collect Sookie. I found her ready and waiting on the doorstep, sunning herself slightly with her face to the sky, one of her smaller bags by her side.
“There you are.” She smiled as I got out of the truck to go to her. “I made us sandwiches and snacks for the journey, since I wasn’t sure how far away this place is, or if it’s near any convenience stores.”
“That was sweetness of you.”
She stood on her tiptoes to kiss me, and I was more than happy to oblige.
We set out on our trip, with Sookie vying for control of the radio and taking photos of everything we passed that grabbed her attention. We talked about her family, how her parents had died when she was kid, and how from then on in, her Grandparents raised her and her brother Jason. Until her Grandfather died five years before, now it was just her Grandmother, one of the reasons Sookie moved back home, to be nearer her, to check in every now and then, as she got older. It made me feel guilt, for wanting to leave my family, but I had to begin my life anew for myself at some point, and it had never felt more right than with Sookie. I felt the guilt, of course, but as much as I loved my family. I wanted to start one of my own someday. That would never happen at the rate I was going alone. All the women, and none of them enough to make me feel what I wanted to feel. Special.
I thought that Sookie would be the one to change that. In fact when she was around, I already felt special to her. I was not entirely sure why as of yet, but there was an underlying feeling I could not shake. I wasn’t sure I wanted to shake it off either. I liked feeling like I was someone special, and to her more than anyone.
Having unloaded the truck into what looked like a very swank stately home, which with their staff took all of twenty minutes, we were on the road again to the middle of the little town, whose name I couldn’t even pronounce. We got to our little B&B at three, and dumped our bags and set off in the search for food. We were both famished. My snacks and tiny sandwiches only going so far with a bulging six four fisherman slash carpenter by my side. We both could finally relax when we found this tiny little bar. It was completely ancient, and adorable, and they did all day dinners – Or so Erik told me from the sign outside. We were seated in the small ‘pub’ by an open fire and a flatscreen TV. So much for outwardly appearances, that’s for sure. We started off with a drink, a much needed one for Erik, all his heavy lifting, he said, allowed him to earn it. I’m sure he used that excuse with many others over the years. We spent our evening taking cheesetastic couples photos, and just generally enjoying the freedom of no prying grandparents or crazy mothers.
The room we were staying in was extremely small, but it had what we needed, a bathroom, and a bed. A very old, very squeaky iron bed-frame that all but screamed every time one of us so much as breathed heavy. The sex we had that night was inundated with giggles, from both of us, and probably a lot of complaints from the occupants of the rooms on either side. We didn’t care though, not one little bit. This ex-virgin was taking the bull by the horns and running with it. Or the man by the penis as was this situation. It was astoundingly liberating.
We had our day in the town, just enjoying the seaside and the surprisingly bright, sunny weather that I joked Sookie brought with her from Louisiana. I was on a mission to find her the perfect ring. As we went shopping and passed various stores and explored some, I excused myself as she was looking at dresses to pop quickly across the street to a little antique jewellers that I had spotted. I thought I might find something suitable in there.
And I did.
It was a sapphire ring, blue as the sea, and the more I looked at it, the more it worked for what I wanted to say to her. I wanted us to trust each other, like she had by going on the boat with me. I bought it, hoped it was the right size, and started planning what I was going to say.
When we got back to my home, I was sure I knew of the things in the proper order that I wanted to say. I knew it was fast, it was probably crazy even. But I felt something with her that I had not with any woman, I longed to know why that was. And what better way to do that, than to have adventures together, always.
When we were finally alone, I produced the ring in the little velvet box, and got down on my knee. She knew right away, of course she did. Her hand went to her mouth in shock, and she was already blushing up a storm.
“Sookie, I had wanted to say these things last night, but I felt the need to present the ring, as it is traditional to do so. I feel we have the spark, the little tiny thing that I cannot explain very well at all, but that I feel in my heart, and even in my head when I look at you. I feel things in other places too, but that talk is no place for a proposal…” I shook my head, knowing the phrasing was wrong, but not really caring enough to stop. I was excited.
“I didn’t know we’d do this so soon. I mean, I knew it would be soon, but… boy… it’s just a little overwhelming.” She said, smiling. She did not seem surprised at all. I thought she would be very surprised. Then she began to ramble.
“I guess it is part of the deal, I just… I don’t know if you’ve ever asked anyone else to do this, but no one has ever asked me to do this, and I figure it’s a pretty big deal, even if it’s expected.”
I was extremely confused. Expected? I had just planned this a day ago. Was she some kind of mind reading American? Or a Medium, like that blonde lady on that show that saw the future, although all she saw was mostly deaths, I didn’t recall if she saw events like this.
“Sookie, I am a little confuse. I… did not know you expected this?”
She stopped looking at the ring, instead choosing to focus on my face.
“Well, isn’t that kinda what this is about? I mean, finding me a husband and all that. Finding you a wife?”
With that I got off my knee, and stood tall.
Her smile faded as she saw my face change too. She took her hand from mine, as if something had burned her.
“Oh… this isn’t part of the deal, is it. Not for you?”
“I don’t understand, what deal?”
“The… Erik, what is it exactly you think Pam does?” She asked, curiously.
“Pamela? She is online finder of dating…” I knew that was wrong, so I began again, rearranging my translation, “She finds men and women online dates. Makes matches.”
“Well, yes, she does. But it’s not a match to date. It’s a match to marry. That’s the nature of her business, or at least ninety percent of it. I thought you knew, I thought that that’s why we were matched, because you were tired of looking for a wife on your own, and I was tired of looking for anyone on my own…”
I could tell that she read the look on my face as one that didn’t understand this at all. But, as realisation slowly dawned on me, I suddenly became very angry, though who my anger was aimed at, I wasn’t sure.
I snapped close the small velvet box, leaving it with a hard bang on the table next to me, before I turned and walked out of the room. I walked out of the house, and she did not follow me. I was glad she was smart enough to allow me the space. I was not sure my anger would dissipate in that moment, but I knew I wasn’t just angry with her. I was more angry with myself for being the fool – again – more than anything else. The other women, I deducted, they must have known too, known that I was this bait for husband fishing. I felt humiliated that I was too stupid to realise that I was being used by all of them, possibly even my Sookie.
I think that was the one that stung most of all. Here I was, thinking that my question of marriage was romantic and spontaneous and reminiscent of something my Grandfather had done many years before his happy and long life with my Grandmother. Instead it was part of a plan by these American women to get themselves husbands. I didn’t understand why Pamela hadn’t been forthcoming with me. But, I intended to find out.
I had spent most of the morning walking around town, trying to piece together what I was going to say to Sookie, what I was going to do with the information I had now. I knew one thing for sure, first I had to speak to Pam. So, I made my way to the phone box closest to my home, only there I found I wasn’t alone. Sookie had beat me to it.
“No, Pam this is just not all right! I mean, Jesus, the poor guy! The poor fucking guy! You didn’t have to see his face, Pam. I did! His poor face with the sadness! No! I will not calm down. This is just awful. Do you know how awful I feel, that he didn’t know shit about your plans! MY plans! Plans he thinks were made behind his back! I thought you told me that he knew, that this was all above board and right!” I heard her yell from just down the small deserted road. I decided to let her finish, she seemed to be on a roll.
“You told me! You said he knew all about this and that it was his idea too! Do you know how stupid I feel right now? He thinks it’s just online dating, that I’ve come here for a few weeks of fun or something and that’s it! Oh, God… and to think I…” She stopped, it seemed she was listening to whatever it was Pam was saying on the other end. I saw her face from the side, she was all red and she held her lips between her teeth as she did when we made love.
“I can’t face him, not after this. It’s so humiliating! For both of us!”
With that, I decided to take over, I knocked on the door of the box, making her jump.
When she turned to face me, her redness faded to ghost white.
I did not say anything, instead I took the receiver of the phone, and hung up without so much as a goodbye to Pam on the other end.
“Sookie, walk with me? I think we have much to discuss.”
And we did, and we would, and from there on out I needed to know all of the plans. Even the small ones. I did not want to feel like that small, insignificant man, ever again.