Chapter 7: Chapter 7
Food, food was a lot of things. Necessary, nutritious, comforting, and I did love food, it was one of my favourite things, but you know what was fast becoming my most favourite thing? Making out with Sookie.
After that night at her place, where we made out for ages, we continued to make out whenever and whenever we saw each other, there was a little chit chat, some catching up, but mostly there was making out – and it was awesome. I knew that I didn’t want to rush her, I didn’t want to push her for sex and spook her. The girl clearly had intimacy issues, but it was step, and a positive one at that. She and I got to know my couch real well over the next few weeks, when we both had time off at the same time. We’d have dinner, watch a movie, we went dancing once too – with terrible consequences, I had two left feet, it’s a wonder she didn’t laugh at me – but always, we’d end up on her couch or mine kissing and feeling up a storm.
She’d gotten more confident, much more so than that first night. She was a shaking nervous wreck that first night, she was unsure of herself, and possibly even of me. I wanted nothing more than to erase whatever fears she might be harbouring about me, or men in general. I yearned to know what it was that sent this beautiful woman into a shell of fear when it came to sex, but I also knew that I had time and if, eventually, she trusted me – that I’d get to know. In the meantime, I just concentrated on her, and me, and how it felt just making out like teenagers with no pressure for anything more, from either of us. It was almost refreshing in a way, since prior to Sookie, most of my ‘relationships’ as of late had been purely sexual, and the actual getting to know you bit would always play second fiddle to the amazing, but ultimately empty sex.
With her I liked that it was different. And I liked that she wasn’t willing to shove her morals out the window just because she thought I was hot – and she did – think I was hot that is, she’d told me a few times during said make out sessions. That too, was awesome.
“You should go, you’re going to be late,” she said from underneath me on the couch, smiling, her legs still wrapped around me like a little blonde amazing spider monkey. I smiled back even though my lips were buried in her neck, which smelt amazing to me.
“I don’t want to …”
“You’ll be late, and I know for sure that I’ll be late.”
“Then, let’s be late, let’s live dangerously for once.” I kissed her again, quieting any retort she might have had, before she unhooked her legs and pushed me up.
“Work,” she said, kissing me quick on the lips before she walked into my kitchen, pouring herself some juice. “You’re on till the am, right?”
I groaned, yeah, night shift sucked – it never used to, but then I didn’t have her to look forward to.
“Yeah I finish at six am.”
“Ouch,” she said, finishing her juice, “I just have to work seven till midnight tonight, not nearly as bad as you. They really crack the whip huh?”
“Not really I mean, Pam has been pushing me to take my well owed holiday hours for years, and I never have. But, I’m working several really big cases right now, as well as assisting Bill and trying to tackle the mountain of paper work on my desk, it’s just never ending.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, patting my arm.
“Why, it’s not like you went out and killed those guys,” I laughed.
“Yeah… I guess, I’ll see you tomorrow night then sometime?” she said, grabbing her purse, fast, and almost nervously.
“Yeah, of course. I’ll call you when I when I wake up, maybe we could do breakfast?” I smiled again, trying to ease whatever tension I’d just created.
“Sure. Have a good night,” she said, kissing me on the cheek before she high tailed it out the door.
Her sudden mood change was odd, and it was often. It was like, one minute there she was care free and breezy and the next she’s shut up tighter than a clam. I didn’t get it, and it brought me back to the first night at her place. I’d spilled coffee on my shirt, and she offered me a wet cloth to clean myself up – she was laughing I was laughing – through the pain might I add – but things were good. Until I threw the used cloth into her laundry basket, casually mentioned that it smelled like smoke in there, and she clamed up. Nervous and jittering, she stuffed the cloth to the bottom of the basket, reassuring me that they were burning boxes outside and she happened to catch the smoke on her clothes.
It was bullshit, but I wasn’t going to press it. She worked in a restaurant, shit happened, it could have been true. So, I over looked it, and I over looked her weird reactions when I talked about my job, or the cases I was working on. She got that look in her eye, that nervous, almost scared look. But there we were, and I knew no one was perfect, so she was a little skittish, so what? I had my issues, too. Trust, that was my main one, I rarely trusted people and when I did it took a lot for that to happen. I didn’t open up so easily about the harder things in my life, you had to earn my trust, I wanted Sookie to earn my trust, because I had a feeling I’d have to earn hers too.
The evening shift was quiet, surprisingly, for a Friday night, though it picked up later in the night. I guess the cops on the late shift took us as the nearest watering hole when they finished. We had our regular customers, then the cops, their wives, their girlfriends. All of them mostly polite, mostly sweet, of course you got the few jackass guys who thought they were the shit, but I knew how to handle them.
I knew what I was doing and I knew I was insane for doing it. Here I was, working around these guys and girls every day, serving them, talking with them, bantering with them… knowing full well that I could get nailed for what I’d done at any moment. I really must have been crazy. The risks I was taking, not just with them, but with Eric, one of their best and brightest.
I liked Eric, I really did. He made everything somehow seem so good and safe when I was with him. Those first few weeks were a little slice of heaven for me. There was no pushing or any real pressure for us to be more than what we were, I didn’t feel intimidated, or scared with him, and thankfully the Bartlett free zone continued when we would eventually fool around. I knew he wanted to take it further, what man wouldn’t really, it was only natural. I kept telling myself that – it was natural for him to want me in the way that he did, and it was even natural for me to want him too, as much as that realization scared the shit out of me. It scared me since this was such unexplored ground for me, I didn’t do relationships, or even long term friendships, I was just me and I did what I needed to do – other people didn’t factor into my plans. Except, now that wasn’t true. He very much factored into my life, and his role in it was growing by the day.
I was serving up three steaks, all the trimmings, and a few beers to the cops at table six when they looked up, behind me with a smile and a nod.
“Hey, Eric how’s a goin’ man,” bearded guy on the inside of the booth spoke, causing me to whip around. He didn’t say anything, or give me a chance to say anything, he just kissed me. Causing the guys at table six, seven, eleven and fourteen to all whoop and holler. I felt myself blush from head to toe.
“What was that for?” I whispered as he pulled away, I was careful not to drop my pitcher of beer.
He just shrugged, waved to the guys, and with the cheesiest of grins he said, “Just ’cause. You have a good night Miss Sanderson.”
Instead of enjoying his sweet and rather romantic gesture, the guilt hit me again since he had no idea who I really was, and whatever it was he was feeling for me, that happiness in his eyes wasn’t real. That happiness that he made me feel, I knew as soon as I saw him turn to leave, as his co-workers looked at me and smiled, nudging and commenting, I knew it could never be real. Not as long as I was hiding my true self from him, and I hated that small but rather serious fact.
I noticed Sam smiling behind the bar as I went to get the rest of the orders, trying my best to will my blush away.
“I didn’t know you two were seeing each other, Sook?” he said, clearly looking for more info.
“Um, yeah, well, no one knew … I guess everyone knows now though,” I smiled. “It’s very new.”
“That’s cool, I mean, Eric, he’s a nice guy, sound, you know?”
“Yeah, thanks, Sam.”
He nodded, “I don’t mean for this to sound rude but, I’m surprised.”
Because I was the odd seriously silent girl that’s only worked here for a couple of months… that and I know he knew there was something off about me. Sam was perceptive, it was almost as if he had animal senses at times.
“Because, he doesn’t date … lately anyway, and you seemed… I don’t know, like you weren’t looking for a relationship either.”
“Who says it’s a relationship? We could be casually fucking,” I sassed.
“You could, but no guy does that… correction, Eric Northman wouldn’t do that in front of his co-workers, for a girl he was just ‘casually fucking,'” he smirked and walked away, leaving me again, with more questions about what the hell I was doing here, than I really had answers for.
The next morning I was cautious to knock on his door, mainly because I’d spent the night before with all my doubts about what exactly I was doing with, and possibly to this man, going around in my head. Since the start everything that made sense to me told me to run, as I’d always done, and yet there was something else this time, whispering away, telling me to give it, give him and being a normal girl a chance. Didn’t I deserve that chance?
I think I did, which is why I knocked on his door at eleven forty-five, not early, but not too late for a breakfast date either. I was greeted by Eric, his hair sticking up like he’d been electrocuted, and in a pair of boxers with Sponge-Bob on them. I didn’t even attempt to conceal my laugh, and he blushed adorably, mumbling something about his mom buying them to him for Christmas, and today was laundry day. I just shook my head and started the coffee as he went to shower. I’d gotten us both bagels and large open breakfast sandwiches, I for one, was starving.
He came out, silently, and wrapped his arms around me as I stood at the sink. I just allowed that feeling to sink in, that good feeling that I always got when he was around. He buried his head in my neck kissing me.
“Good morning,” he mumbled.
“Not such a morning person, huh?” I asked, and he shook his head, now wet, but towelled off.
“Not so much. I got in at six am.”
“I really should have made this a really, really, late lunch, huh?” I turned to him still wrapped in his arms, as I tried to ignore the fact that he was very topless a little bit wet, and wearing nothing but some jogging bottoms that sat very low on his rather slender hips.
“No, I’m glad you’re here, I like you being here.” He said.
“Even if I’m waking you up from a much needed sleep?”
“I can sleep when I’m dead,” he smiled and he just looked so exhausted.
“How about we don’t eat right now, how about we nap.” I suggested.
I swallowed hard, but I had to face my fears. I could be alone in a bed with him, Eric wasn’t Bartlett. Eric wasn’t Bartlett.
“Would that be okay?” I asked, whatever confidence I had, suddenly gone.
He tipped my chin, to look up at him, his eyes dancing with mischief. “Would it be okay to have my beautiful girl, nap with me?”
I smiled, I was his girl. I struggled not to giggle. Instead I nodded.
“It would be more than okay, it would be awesome.” He took my hand, and we walked towards the back of his apartment, where I assumed his bedroom was, I stalled.
“Eric, you know I’m still not -”
“I know…” he said, looking back at me, “I know, napping, sleep, sleep is good. Believe me, right now it’s all I want to do.”
I slipped off my shoes, and took off my sweater, leaving me in my shorts and tank and we both crawled into his very messed, but very large and very comfortable bed. My heart was beating a mile a minute, and he wasn’t even touching me.
Step one has to start somewhere though, right?
His bed smelled like him, his cologne or deodorant, whatever it was that made him smell the way he did. I liked it, it made me feel safe.
“Is snuggling included in this spontaneous nap time?” he whispered, and I just turned to him then, sliding in closer and laying my head on his chest.
“I think snuggling should be mandatory with you, always.”
“I do give very good snuggle,” he laughed. “and please never tell anyone I said those words out loud.”
I could almost hear him blush, but I kept my head in his chest as I circled my hand on his that was laying casually on his perfect looking pecks.
“You do give excellent snuggle. I promise not to tell a soul.”
I was excellent with secrets. This would be just a tiny one to add to the list.
“You should know…” he said.
“You smell, really, really good right now.” He inhaled me, snuggling me closer to him still, the feeling of safety washing over me like cold water on a hot day. I never realized how much I yearned to feel what I felt with him, and all he was doing was comforting me, holding me close to him and trusting me to sleep next to him peacefully. Which I did, it was the best nap I’d had in years.
I woke up again, I had no idea how long we’d been out, but I felt refreshed finally, I’d slept like the dead. Peaceful, calm, surrounded by her soft skin and her amazing girl smell that just made my nose happy, and other parts of me too, if I was being honest.
I checked my phone, two texts from Bill asking me if I wanted to have dinner with him and his mom – no I really didn’t, and another saying that I was probably still sleeping and was an asshole if I wasn’t for not texting back. He was such an old woman sometimes.
Looking at the time, it was almost two pm. We’d been out for hours. I looked to my left and there she was, her hair as messed as mine, but still asleep. She was dreaming, I knew that much. She’d made small noises and her eyes were moving under her lids, I was so curious as to what was going on inside her head. She kept her cards so close to her chest that it was almost frustrating, but again, I looked at it as if I was earning her trust, and by offering to get into bed with me, even just to sleep, I liked to think that that was a step in the right direction. She proved me right when she woke up, a bashful look on her face, but she kissed me, and I kissed her back with just as much want as I could muster. Post napping, I was rested, refreshed and rather horny and it seems she was in a similar state of mind, because we just made out and proceeded to grind into each other until my phone went off, knocking us both out of our trance of extreme sexual frustrations.
“What?” I all but yelled down the phone, as she laughed, putting her hand over her mouth.
“Son of a bitch are you getting laid? Ignoring my messages for pussy is that how it goes,” he ranted.
“Number one, I always ignore your phone messages, you annoy me too much.”
Sookie laughed, hiding her face in the pillow.
“And two, no I’m not, not that it’s any of your business, I’m just… having a meeting… with a friend. A very good, friend.”
Sookie was still giggling, and I loved that sound since I was the one making it happen.
“Yeah right dude, same friend,” I could almost hear him do the finger quotes, “That the station was buzzing about today? Eric Northman, bad ass and scary, kissing a girl in a romantic gesture straight out of a fucking John Hughes movie.”
“Bill, shut the fuck up.”
“You shut the fuck up.”
I rolled my eyes. It’s just how we communicated.
“Look are you coming to dinner or aren’t you, my mother loves you – you know that. For some unfuckingGodly reason she does.”
I sighed, his mother was really elderly and suffering with mild (for now) Alzheimer’s she was living in a nursing home, not far from Bill, they’d once lived in a small town about three towns west. The weird but wonderful Bon Temps.
“Look bring the chick, if you must, I’m bringing a date, we can make it a thing,” he said, and I looked at Sookie, were we really at the double dating with douche, stage?
“I’ll ask her and see, I’ll let you know.”
“Fine, eight o’ clock, the usual.”
The usual was this little restaurant down town, amazing Italian food, and his mom, when she remembered, loved Italian food.
“Bill wants us to come to dinner tonight, with his mother.”
“Yeah, I mean it’s weird, she’s all old and stuff, and I feel bad because apparently she thinks Bill and I are friends…” I rolled my eyes but she just laughed.
“You are his friend, don’t lie.”
“Anyway she likes me…”
I kissed her then, but broke it up before it got to where we were. I had to finish my question.
“You totally don’t have to, I’d really understand if you’d rather not…”
“No, it sounds… well, not fun… but you’ll be there, and I get to know Bill a little bit better…”
“Yeah, Sookie, those aren’t great things,” I smiled, but she just swatted at me with a roll of her baby blues.
“Hush you, I like being with you, and you didn’t seem to think that was such a bad idea this morning.”
“Ah, but you see this is different this is us, you and me, and you most importantly in my bed, next to me, where Bill isn’t.”
“So Bill is the factor here.”
“Ugh,” I sighed. “He’s just going to spend the night hitting on you and making me want to hit him. It won’t be pleasant.”
“I can deal with Bill, don’t you worry about that,” she said with sudden confidence that, if I’m truthful, really turned me on.
“Is that right.”
“Most definitely. In my line of work,” she said, softly, “I deal with all kinds of assholes, you wouldn’t believe. But I deal with it the best way I know how, get in and get out.”
“Even if he’s making gross comments that make me want to punch him in the balls?”
“Especially then, don’t worry about Bill, he’s a pussy cat compared to what I’m used to.”
She kissed me again, and I wanted to forget the look in her eye when she spoke, that far off look of a girl who’d seen too much too soon, something told me that her experience with the douche bags of this world had nothing to do with her job as a waitress… and it broke my heart and peaked my curiosity all at once.
She was hiding something, intentionally or not, and I was damned if I wasn’t going to get to the bottom of it.
A/N:I’m baaack! My muses kind of died on me there for a little bit, but I hope we’re all back on track now! Hope you’re still having fun with this, and as always you know I love hearing your thoughts on it! Big thanks to Scribeninja for betaing this baby, and my twitter girls for this cheerleading, it’s all so amazing xoox
Chapter 8: Chapter 8
I wasn’t exactly doing cartwheels about spending a dinner with Bill if I was honest, but I had this really hard time being apart from Eric. That in itself shocked me, I was so beyond used to being alone, and liking it that way, that when I thought about going home that night and eating alone for the millionth time, something in me rebelled, rebelled enough to say yes to Eric’s obnoxious partner and his elderly mother. I put on the pretty purple sun dress I’d bought a few days before, knee length with cap sleeves. I was feminine, but not over exposed, I felt comfortable. I curled my hair and sprayed it in place, and I finished off my makeup just as Eric knocked at the door.
He was in a navy suit and a grey tie, and I had to admit, I think I swooned a little bit.
And the shocks just keep on coming, Sook.
“You look beautiful,” he said, kissing me quick on the lips as he came in.
“You too,” I blushed, and I think he might have as well. I guess it is unusual for someone to call a guy beautiful, to their face at least. I didn’t care, I wanted to be as honest with him as I possibly could be.
Which, wasn’t much, so I took it where I got it.
“I’m ready, I just can’t find my – oh, there it is.” I grabbed my phone and put it in my purse, and we were off.
“You know I could turn around, we could fake some emergency and just stay in and order Chinese food,” he said as we drove to the centre of the city, where Bill, Bill’s date, and his mother were to meet us.
“We could, but that would be rude, and besides, we’re almost there.”
“Yeah but Sookie … it’s Bill. I see him enough as is.”
I just smiled and looked out the window, I wasn’t thrilled but in truth we really were almost there, what was one dinner, right? No harm in it?
Oh, how fucking wrong I was.
We walked into the restaurant, and it was busy. Eric saw Bill, and we just walked right on up to the table. I wasn’t at all prepared for who I saw there. Putting two and two, rapidly together I swear that I felt my heart speed up and stop all at once. Bill, was William Compton. As in Mr. and Mrs. Compton from across the graveyard, the Compton’s that lived next to my Grandmother and her family for centuries. Jesus fucking Christ, what were the odds?
My first instinct was to cut and run, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t because Eric had a hold of my hand, being a sweet hearted man as he led me to my seat. Introductions were made, Bill, his date Judy, and his mother Maude. She loved Eric, that much was obvious from the outset, and if I wasn’t so busy having an internal freak out I might have found it touching and adorable how sweet she was with him. Then attention turned to me, and I tried to calm myself, even if my knees were shaking. It was ironic, I could slice a man’s throat open, from one end to the other without batting a eyelash, but put me in front of my past and I was a quivering mess. I tried to remember that I would have been at least ten the last time she saw me. I was almost twenty-six now, there was no way in hell she would know who I was… right?
“Oh what a beautiful girl, Eric is this your lady friend?” she asked, her accent still as I remembered it, snooty and inquiring.
“She is, Maude, this is Sookie.”
I cringed. I knew she knew me as Susannah Stackhouse, I just prayed that if she and my Gran ever crossed paths that my family nickname had stayed out of the conversations.
“Sookie, what an unusual name these days. You know it’s an old southern name, Sookie. Yes, but for what I just… well I can’t quite recall.”
“It’s no matter, I’m just plain Sookie,” I said, sipping my water, as Bill took over the conversation.
“Sookie, so how long have you and Eric been seeing each other.”
I could almost hear Eric roll his eyes.
“Not long, it’s all very new.”
“Ah, young love, that I do remember. That wonderful feeling of seeing your beau, getting all dressed up and pretty for him, and for yourself too, those first stolen moments…” Maude sighed, and Bill shifted awkwardly in his seat. Judy, well, she was quiet, really quiet. In fact I think it was the second course before she even said anything and that was to excuse herself to use the ladies. I used the same excuse to get out of the firing line of questions for a second too, to accompany her.
“So, Judy, how’d you meet Bill?”
“Oh, he’s paying me to be here.”
“Oh you’re a -”
“Hooker, yep, pretty much.”
“I was going to say escort, but hooker works too I guess,” I shrugged as we both went about fixing her makeup.
“You aren’t shocked?” she asked.
“That Bill would hire a hooker? No. That you are a hooker? No.”
“Most people are…” she trailed off, and I noticed then just how young she looked.
“I’m not most people, Judy,” I smiled, lending her my comb as we primped some more.
“If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you?”
I looked at her, raising my brow. She blushed.
Oh, hell no.
“Judy did Bill make you have -”
“No! No, I mean, he said it would just be dinner… I’m pretty new, and the agency, well they set us up with really nice guys, mostly for dates to things that they can’t or didn’t get a date for. Bill is one of my first guys.”
“Why’d you get into it?”
She looked down and I knew then her tale wasn’t exactly a happy one.
“It’s a long story.”
“You really want to know?” She seemed surprised, and I knew that feeling, people very rarely really wanted to know, I mean, they thought they did, but in reality they didn’t give a shit.
I gave a shit.
She told me about her parents and how shit her childhood had been, her dad was a drunk, her mom took too many sleeping pills to help her cope with the dad being a drunk, and so the circle went around and around until her mom popped too many pills when she was just thirteen, leaving her with the drunk of a dad. The drunk of a dad who then thought it would be a-ok to fuck his teenage daughter, nightly for two years until she got pregnant and he kicked her out. After losing her baby, and living on the streets she found God, but in finding this God it led her to a guy, and the guy led her to her pimp and her pimp was the agency that Bill assumed was actually a legit escort agency.
For real though, how the fuck was Bill on the police force?
“Judy, is your father alive?” I asked, that familiar itch making it’s way to me again. No one had the right to do what he did, no one. And I told her as much, I also told her that she wasn’t going home with Bill, she was going home with me, and we’d work on getting her out of the shit she was in. We’d been in the bathroom a long time, but I didn’t give a damn what they thought was wrong. I wanted to help this girl and I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to follow through with it.
All the way through.
They’d been gone ages, Maude chalked it up to girl talk and makeup, but I was starting to wonder if Sookie had done a runner on me, again. It wasn’t exactly out of the realm of possibility given our recent history an all. But we waited, and Maude had dessert, while Bill and I had coffee. They finally reappeared, Judy, the exceptionally quiet date that Bill had brought looked as if she’d been crying.
What the fuck was going on?
“Oh, everything’s fine, or it will be,” she whispered to me as she took her seat again, and Judy took hers next to her, seeming even more withdrawn than before, though I saw her whisper something to Bill.
“Oh my!” Maude spoke up suddenly, “I know who it is!”
“Who what is, mother?” Bill asked.
“Who it is she reminds me of!” she said, happy and excited, pointing at a suddenly very flushed looking Sookie.
“Mmm! Michelle Stackhouse, that was her name, lovely young girl used to live across the lane from our old home in Bon Temps, oh you remember Bill?”
“No, mom I can’t say I do.”
“Oh she would have been older than you, much older, though she did have a daughter I think at some point, she died though tragically in a car accident with her young husband… I don’t know if their daughter died with them or not… my memory you see Sookie, it’s not what it used to be.”
“I understand,” Sookie said, sitting up poker straight, still her eyes focused on Maude, there was something off though. She looked calm, but almost too calm. She certainly didn’t look relaxed.
“Stackhouse… Oh Bill, my nurse Arlene, you know Arlene, right Bill?”
“Yes, mother I know her.”
“Yes, well, she’s from the town, lives there with her small kiddies and her useless husband, anyway, she said the old Stackhouse farm was burnt down not so long ago, they said it was done on purpose! Can you believe that!”
“Someone burnt down the farmhouse? Was there anyone inside?” Judy asked, and Maude shook her head.
“Oh no dear, they’ve been out of there for years. Judge Bartlett Stackhouse, it was his family, you know him, right boys?”
Oh, those Stackhouse’s. Yeah I knew the judge, he was a tough old son of a bitch who never gave gentle rulings, ever, even for the smaller cases. He was county judge, and a pain in my ass. Most cases somehow ended up on his docket, and I hated the guy. Of course I had to keep him sweet, politics and the annoying web they weaved an all that, but there was something so cold and off about the man, I could just never warm to him.
“Yeah we know him,” Bill and I said in unison, making her smile. Sookie however seemed almost in a trance.
“Sook, you okay?” I whispered, and she nodded without looking at me.
“I’m fine,” she said. But she didn’t look fine.
“Eric, Judy and I have to go, I’m so sorry.”
“Sookie, you don’t know Judy…”
“Yes I do, I know her well enough and she has a small problem that I’m going to help with, so we have to leave, now, I’ll call you okay?”
Okay, what the fuck was going on?
Bill stood up as Judy stood up, he looked so confused, and ultimately I can’t say I blamed him.
“What’s wrong? Is someone ill?” Maude spoke up, and Sookie answered her, rather brashly.
“No, no one is ill your son’s girlfriend is a hooker who needs my help,” she glanced at me and I was stunned. She was a what now? What the fuck was Bill doing with a hooker?
“Bill, is this true?”
“Mother, she’s an escort.”
“So, she’s a hooker, oh I am so sorry dear,” She said to Judy, who shrugged in response. To Judy, she was what she was, but that was going to change.
“I’ll call you, okay…” she said as they began for the door.
“No, how about you explain to me now what the hell is going on, Sookie.”
“I can’t explain, not here, but I will… later.”
“Sookie this is twice now you -”
“I’m not ditching you,” she whispered to me, Judy was waiting by a lamppost, attempting to hail a cab. Sookie put her hand on my face, making me look at her directly.
“I’m not ditching you, okay? But this is really important for me to do this for her, and I can’t if I stay here. She needs someone to help her.”
“I’m a cop, don’t you think that -”
“Not that kind of help, she just needs… a friend.”
“What about what we need?” I asked.
“Our needs … are still there, I know, and I promise you I’ll explain everything later.”
“So there will be a later -” before I could finish, she kissed me, long, deep, and passionate, ’til I felt my toes tingle.
“Of course there will be a later. I’ll call you, okay?” she said as she walked to the waiting cab. Both her and Judy took off, and I was left speechless.
My mind was spinning. Bill’s mother, the hooker, the fact that Eric knew and apparently saw my uncle regularly. Jesus. I didn’t know what to do with that piece of information at all, were they friends? Did he like my uncle? How well did he know him? God, it made me feel so sick. I would worry about that later though, for now I had Judy to take care of. And after one rather ninja mission that saw me breaking into her boyfriends apartment, using her key might I add, to steal a passport for her, we managed to get back to my place. The adrenaline pumping for both of us as we tried to relax and figure out the next move.
“And he still lives near there?” I asked her, and she answered me, that yes, her dad still lived in the trailer out by the old coal mines, the roads that no one hardly ever used anymore. She told me that she’d lost her baby when he’d beat her badly before throwing her out. My heart bled for her, just like his heart should bleed for what he did to her, and it would. It would if I could help it.
I gave her money, I gave her eight hundred dollars that I had in a nest egg. She refused at first, but I made sure she took it, and we booked her a one way ticket to Canada with a portion of that money, she had an aunt there, one she’d been dying to see for years. Her mother’s sister, that she was never allowed contact with because of her father and his wishes.
I texted Eric, making sure to remind him again that this had nothing to do with him, and everything to do with me, and that I would make it up to him. I hated to think that he thought that any of my weird behaviour was somehow his fault, because it really wasn’t. What it was, was a combination of things. My internal heart failure when Maude mentioned my mother’s name, the farm, the fire, and my uncle. She knew my family, she knew me, in fact I’d remembered when I’d played hopscotch on her path a time or two when I was really little, she had a son – who I now knew to be Bill, but he had been shipped off to a boarding school at a very young age. I guess that explained his social skills… or lack thereof. Hell, I practically grew up in a mental home, and I had better social skills than Bill, and I killed people. There really was no excuse for bad manners.
Judy slept on my couch after we’d gotten in touch with her aunt finally, who was more than thrilled to have her come to her. She cried, I cried, the aunt on the other end of the phone cried, but with a new lease on life, and with the money and some old clothes, I dropped her off at the airport that next morning. We waited until her flight was ready to board, and in tears she thanked me over and over for what I’d done for her. I was giving her a fresh start, a new life, a chance to right some wrongs. I was able to help that girl, and I made some of the horrific shit she’d gone through, less, if only for a little while. I told her she was welcome and that I did what I could, and still she thanked me again. I watched as she took off, she had a shot at a new life, even if her old one would never fully leave her memory. I’d helped her and I felt amazing because of it. I also had her father’s full name and a roundabout area as to where I could find him and right some wrongs on his end too. On the way back I was calculating how to find him and how to do it quietly. I could never ask around, that always raised too many questions.
The Internet however had become an amazing tool at my disposal. I knew I could find it, it would just be a matter of the right timing. How I’d do it, and keep it quiet if he did indeed live in a trailer park, there would no doubt be neighbours, and tin cans weren’t exactly sound proof.
Hmm. This one, I felt, would take time. I had to be careful. Not that I wasn’t always ninja careful, I was. This is what I did. I planned it all out to the last detail. Of course real life was unplanned and sometimes things got messy, but more often than not since I was who I was – the small, unassuming, somewhat attractive woman, they were too stupid or too arrogant to see it coming.
What I was too arrogant to see coming, as I walked up the hallway to my apartment, mentally going over the arsenal of weapons I had in a suitcase under the floorboards in my bedroom, was Eric. Standing at my door, ready to knock. A less than happy look on his face.
“You ready to talk?” He asked in lieu of his usual greeting, and I knew he was pissed at me.
I nodded, letting us both into the hallway.
“Sure, come in and I’ll explain.”
“Everything? Because, that was some fucked up shit you pulled last night. Bill’s mother was freaking out and Sookie, she’s fucking old. Old ladies freaking out usually leads to heart issues or something, I mean, shit, what the fuck?”
Yep, pissed off, confused, annoyed, hotter than hell in his black Henley, that fitted him a little too well.
Since when did I allow myself to fall off track with thoughts like that? Instead of explaining things, like a grown up, I just wanted to kiss that scowl right off his stubbled face. I wanted him to smile, I didn’t like that I’d caused him to be angry, he didn’t suit angry. It didn’t sit right on his face. He suited happy much more.
“First things first, does Bill use prostitutes often?” I asked him, and he rolled his eyes.
“I asked him about it, he said it was his first time, that his mother was pressuring him to settle down and if he pretended for the dinner a few times a month with the same girl that maybe she’d relax about it… He said he thought it was just for dinner, and he wasn’t going to have sex with her.”
“You believe him?”
He cocked his brow, no, he didn’t.
“I want to, but honestly I don’t know. I don’t think he’s done it a lot, he’s desperate but he’s not like that, once before if anything… But, I did read him the riot act, almost literally, he pissed me the fuck off with that shit, I mean it’s not right and he knows that, and I have warned him that if I catch him at this or anything like it again – partner or not I’m going to report him to Pam.” he shook his head, clearly trying to deal with it in his own way, “he’s not a bad guy Sookie, he’s just a little … Bill.” He said, shrugging. “He means well he just doesn’t always DO well.”
“Have you ever used a pros-”
“What? Jesus, no. What the fuck? Do I look like I need to pay for sex?” he said, and it was the first time that Eric acknowledged the fact that he was attractive, usually he played it down. This was new.
“No, you don’t, but then again does anyone look like they need to do the things they do? Looks can be deceiving Eric.”
“Yeah, no shit. Like the quiet girl at dinner actually being a call girl.”
Or the girl sitting next to you being a serial killer.
“Where is she?” he asked, and I explained in detail, both her story and what I did for her. When he realized that it wasn’t some half cocked insanity, he seemed to relax.
“Her boyfriend is, apparently, a real piece of work. And the ‘agency’ is a sex ring. Her boyfriend will most likely be going after her last client,” I explained. “So, maybe give Bill a heads up and look into it?”
“How many others?” He said, clearly concerned.
“Sixteen girls, and I mean girls. Not women.”
“Fuck, that’s just sick. We closed down three sex rings last year, I thought we’d got ’em but I guess not.”
“That’s good though, it’s good work that you do.” I agreed with what I said, did it matter that what I did, probably went against everything he stood for? Not in that moment, doing good was doing good.
“So, I know you’re angry, but I wasn’t just being a flake. I heard her story and I felt I needed to do something to help her, and fast. I’m sorry if that -”
“Don’t apologize for something like this Sookie, helping someone better themselves… it’s not something to be sorry for. Helping her fix her life, even just a little bit, that’s… amazing.” He said, running his hand through his hair, both of us standing there in defense mode, as if we were both ready for a fight.
I inhaled a long, necessary breath to calm myself down.
“Was that our first fight?” I asked, sure but unsure of the protocol for a thing like that.
“I think it might have been, yeah,” he smiled and the world made sense again. “You know this means we get to make up now…”
“Oh, really?” I smiled, letting him wrap his arms around my waist and pull me closer. “And what, uh, would this making up entail?”
He wriggled his brows at me playfully.
“Wanna make out?” he asked, and really, he didn’t have to ask me twice as we fell into our favourite spot on the couch.
Make out now, plot murder, later… much later.
A/N: 😀 And the plot thickens! Loved your thoughts on the last chapter guys, some of you were right on the money and some… a little off. I do love your guesses as to where this thing is going, it’s too much fun! So thank you! And thanks to Scribeninja and my twitter girls once again, they are nothing if not priceless!
Chapter 9: Chapter 9
“And, yes it looks like a suicide or accidental death, but Pam I’m telling you, there is something else to this.”
“Eric, we’ve been over this, the COD was ruled, accidental death. He was a drunken drug addicted bum who left his gas burning and fell asleep.” She said, looking over her glasses at me, her tone telling me she’d had about enough of my harping on about this. I’d been called out on a case, not exactly a suspected homicide, but it was what I did, so she assumed I was seeing things that just weren’t there. I wasn’t so convinced. It was too… off.
“I think there was something off about that crime scene Pam, it was too clean.”
“Yes, because it was a tragic accident, or not so tragic, however you look at it. No homicide, let it go. You have other cases to work on, don’t you?”
“Then go, and please give Bill something to do, since I put him on desk two weeks ago, he’s been a pain in my ass, it’s never ending, so distract him, please?”
I relented and went back to my office, to find Bill there, and pouting.
“Pam hates me.” He said as I flipped his feet off my desk.
“She doesn’t hate you… why does she hate you?” I asked, flipping over the files I’d been ignoring all morning.”
“Fucking desk for a month man, it’s been hell and it’s only been two weeks! Why did you have to tell her? I didn’t know the girl was under age okay?”
I’d told Pam in a non-official capacity, mainly because Pam had a way of getting all my secrets out of me.
“But you knew she was a hooker, Jesus Christ, man!”
“It was the first time… the only time. I swear to you.”
“You fucking better, or I will kick your ass. You know, of all people, we’ve seen what those women go through. It’s not right.”
“I know.” He looked bashful, at least.
“Look man, do me a favour, there’s this case, Pam keeps pawning me off, but I got called in when I was working the split shift, it wasn’t a straight up homicide but they all seem to think it was an accidental death.”
“And you don’t think so?”
“No. I don’t.”
I explain the situation to him and told him to do a little digging, if anything he’d be happy to have something to do other than basic paperwork. My phone buzzed and instantly made me smile. It was Sookie, confirming our dinner date. We’d been doing whatever the hell it was we were doing, officially for just over two months now, and no, we still hadn’t crossed the sex line, or hell, even the oral sex line. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I was frustrated beyond belief. She was a beautiful sexy woman and an amazing kisser, I’d have been a fool not to want to take it further. We were getting there though. Our ‘naps’ had become more and more frequent on our days off together, we’d lazily make out before and after, cooking was key, and eating was the other. I knew she was becoming more comfortable with me, and for that alone I was really pleased. Whatever I was doing, it was working.
“You okay?” I said as I unlocked the door to my place as we both made our way in, fully stuffed from an amazing Mexican dinner.
“More than okay, I had a really good time tonight, Eric.”
“That’s usually a good thing, why the face? Or is that the margaritas talking?” I joked and she nudged me.
“It might be them, but it’s mostly me. I really like you, and I’m really thankful for you.”
Did Sookie get deep when she got tipsy?
“I don’t think anyone has ever described me in that way before…” I admitted, “that they were thankful for me. So, thank you?” I kissed her forehead as we made our way into the living room.
“Well, it’s true. You’ve been so patient with me, it’s really amazing. Most guys would have gotten bored with my issues by now.”
“Well you should know by now… I’m not most guys.”
“No, you’re really not.” she smiled, “But I keep feeling like I’m …”
She shrugged, “letting you down? I mean I know that you want us to go there, and I do too! I just.. Can’t seem to get over myself to get us there.” she sighed, clearly frustrated.
“You know I’ll wait, for whatever it takes for you to feel okay with us being together like that…”
“What happened to you, Sook? I mean was there a guy that made you this way, right? Made you scared and unsure? If there is, I’m a cop, I know people…. I could deal with him for you.” I joked, but her eyes filled up. Shit, good going Northman.
“I was kidding… unless he needs it? Who did this to you, Sookie?”
Well I figured I’d already upset her, may as well go the whole way and ask what I’d been wanting to know.
“There was a man, and the things…” more tears fell and I saw her trying to compose herself, “It was a long time ago, and just a really… bad experience you know? I don’t want to talk about it, Eric. I don’t want it to touch us.”
She looked up at me, eyes wet and pleading and the pain in them broke my heart.
“But you’re… okay now, right?”
“I am, I’m trying to be, at least. I don’t know… maybe I never will be okay, I just hope that I will be.”
I didn’t understand, I didn’t even know if I ever would even if I knew her whole story.
“I want to help you be okay. Does that make sense?” I said, rather inarticulately. She was crying silent tears now, really not how I had imagined this date ending.
“I do, and it’s so very sweet of you.”
“My ex girlfriend aborted our baby before I broke up with her.” I blurted out, I wasn’t exactly sure why but maybe sharing and caring an all that might have helped her open up too? I had no clue.
“Jesus.” she said, harshly, looking at me with concerned eyes. “Why would anyone do that… and to you of all people. Jesus.”
I shrugged, that was something I’d spent two years trying to figure out.
“She wanted her career and babies didn’t go with her big plans… I guess.”
“Who is she, fucking Victoria Secret?”
“Was that an actual woman?”
She raised her brows at me, before she bust out laughing.
“Eric this isn’t funny! This is serious!”
“I know it’s serious.” I said, taking her and pulling us both down into the couch, my arm around her, “I just don’t want us getting so heavy that you start crying again. I don’t do well with crying women.”
“I think you’re better than you think you are.” she said, wiping the remainder of her tears off her face.
“Where did she go?”
“Sophie? Milan, she’s a fashion writer for some big magazine out there or something I don’t really know.”
“I can’t believe someone would do that. I mean the baby it’s an innocent life…”
“The time she did it, it wouldn’t really have been a baby yet, it was just a bunch of cells… but the outcome would have been the same I guess. I try not to think about her. She made me hate women for a while.”
“I can totally understand that.” she whispered and we both went quiet.
She sighed to herself after a few minutes of both of us just zoned out in front of the TV.
“I should go.”
I really didn’t want her to go.
“Or you could stay.”
She shook her head, “No, I should go…”
I relented and let her go, kissing her for a long time before she left in the hopes that it would reassure her somehow that I meant what I’d said, all that I’d said.
I tidied up my apartment, I threw old food out of the fridge, and I called a buddy of mine about a basketball game the next day – and in doing all of that I kept thinking about that guy. The guy that screwed her up so badly, that left her with that little pocket of fear that she still held onto even though it was obvious that she desperately wanted to let it go. An ex boyfriend? An old lover? An old love? I wondered, but again it seemed deeper than that, I just needed to dig a little more and maybe then I’d find the answer.
Did I really want to know though?
That I wasn’t so sure about.
I walked out of his apartment and into my own, why? I really had no idea. He wasn’t getting too close to the truth, because in that instance I either told him the whole truth or a told him a whole lie, and I felt like if I’d stayed for more of where we were headed I would have ended up telling him the whole truth. And if I did that, it might have set me free in the soulful sense but it would very much bang me right up in jail in the literal sense, especially when I ended the sentence with ‘and I’ve been training, killing men for years to prepare me to face my perverted bastard of an uncle, state judge and all around respected member of society, Bartlett Stackhouse.’
Yeah, somehow I imagined that Eric might not be so forgiving about those parts of my story.
I paced, and I paced, I didn’t want to tell him, partly because of the truth and partly because I didn’t want that touching us, like I’d told him. He and I had nothing to do with my past, it was clean and pure and I loved it. I loved how safe me made me feel, without even trying. And I loved…
I’d never loved anything about any man before. Or any one, for that matter.
Did I love him?
Was this what love was?
Shocked I sat, a break from my pacing, as I played back things in my head. My most recent act of vigilantism for one. Judy’s father, Judy who I knew from her passport was really Megan, and only sixteen. Then to Eric, and I, and how everything I had with him was the complete opposite of that other part of my life, of my past. And I scared myself in that moment because that little whispered back that yes, I think it was love that I was feeling. I’d felt nothing but fear and anger for such a long time, the feeling was, rightly, foreign to me.
I splashed some water on my face, doing my best to pick myself up and put myself back together – again – only this time it wasn’t from a bad thing, it was from the sheer shock of something SO good. I’d spent a good hour mulling it over and over before my feet went before my brain and I found myself at Eric’s front door, in my sleep shorts and a light t-shirt, secretly praying that old Mrs Andrews from the other side of me didn’t pop her nosy little head out and see what was going on. He answered the door, his apartment dark, his boxers low on his hips again.
I really needed to buy him things that fit. I thought, but shook those thoughts from my head as I walked inside.
Sleepily he asked me, “Is something wrong? Are you -”
I just kissed him, long, slow and hard, pushing him back against his hall closet. I put his hands on my waist when I noticed that he was hesitant to touch me, and he eventually let them travel up my sides and over my stomach. His breathing was as shallow as mine, and he was sweating, cold.
At least I wasn’t the only scared one in the room.
“Sookie… what…” he panted but I kept on kissing him, as we pushed and rubbed up against each other in the hallway.
“Can we do this? Can we? Without thinking it through or talking it to death, can we just be normal, and spend the night together like a normal couple would?” I asked, my voice not as brave as I’d have liked.
“Only if you’re completely, absolutely -”
He nodded silently, taking my hand in his and guiding me through his pitch black apartment, how he did it without bumping into something, I’d never know.
His room was lit only by the streetlights outside, nothing else allowed me to see him in front of me, or me in front of him and I think I liked it that way, though I could still see his face clearly and that’s what counted. I needed to remember, Eric wasn’t Bartlett. He never was and he never would be. I was safe with Eric, protected and cared for. Whether or not he cared for me as I did for him, I wasn’t sure, but that was another conversation for another time. In the moment I just kissed him, enjoying the feel of him beside me, as we took our time with each other. Undressing slowly, carefully, as if he was afraid to break me, or scare me. His hands, his whole being, for such a tall, large man he was as gentle with me as if he was handling something so precious and valuable. If he loved me or not, I didn’t know, all I knew was he made me feel loved intentional or not. I felt his lips on my skin, my neck, my collarbone, my breasts, I felt him breathing slowly, and every so often he’d look up at me, with his honest blue eyes as if to make sure I was still on board.
I took him in my hand, enjoying the feel of him there, enjoying the change in his breathing, enjoying how he looked at me with such mixed emotions.
“Is this okay?” I said as I worked him with both my hands, over and over, he bit his lip and sighed before he answered me in a voice as broken as my own.
“It’s more than okay…” Kissing me, and distracting me from my task momentarily, I sat up on my knees. Pushing all thoughts of the last time I did this to a man, out of my head as much as possible.
I looked into his eyes again, all the pleasure there was still mixed with concern.
“You don’t have to,” he breathed, “If you don’t want to. I mean it.”
But Eric wasn’t Bartlett, and I loved him for everything he really was. Even if he’d never love me for everything I really was. That didn’t matter to me in that moment. Instead I focused on him, and how he tasted, and how it felt to have him where I had him, so completely at my mercy, but unlike any other man I’d ever had at my mercy. Eric’s was a much more pleasurable place to be.
Pushing me down onto his pillows he situated himself between my legs. Kissing my thighs, kissing my ankles, then kissing my tummy and back up to my lips again.
“You are so beautiful…” He mumbled before going for my neck again. I think he had a neck fetish, or maybe It was just his favourite place since it’s as far as he got when we made out? I didn’t know, but he didn’t last long there before the rest of my body received the same lip service. I was shaking, but not with fear, with want. With desire for him, for everything he and I were going to do to each other that night. I felt a mix of a million things, but shockingly or not so shockingly, not one of them was fear.
He brought me to a much needed orgasm with his mouth once I stopped distracting him by pulling on his hair, my heart was beating so fast I was sure it was about ready to jump right out of my chest. I put my hand to his, and his was the same, it made me feel right that we were at least on the same page. My skin felt hot and tight, my face was burning hot as I tried to recover gracefully, but was there any such thing? I’d spent the long moments before calling the man God for goodness sakes as he made my insides go boom – there was no graceful or civilized way to go from there. Eric somehow managed to do it skilfully though, as he reached into his side drawer and pulled out our protection. My heart sped up again and I swore he could hear it.
“If you want to stop, I promise you we -”
“I don’t… I trust you.”
When I said that, he smiled, big, goofy and wide before he kissed me again.
“There is no hot way to put on a condom, excuse me.” he said, bashful his cheeks pink. Though what he had to be bashful about I didn’t know, Eric was very, very well in proportion with the rest of his body and yet his sudden modesty was almost an even bigger turn on than his sexual confidence.
“If we need it I have lube.” He said and I burst out laughing, sex really wasn’t polite, was it? I mean, he was trying to be but really, it wasn’t.
“I’m sorry I didn’t meant to laugh.” I was glad I did though, his shoulders seemed to lose the tensed up look and he was smiling again, nudging me in the ribs.
“Are you laughing at me… Sookie?” He asked in fake anger.
“Me, never, never.” he tickled me again. And I wriggled away.
“If I knee you in the balls this is all over.” I shouted and he stopped, pinning me to the bed.
“I wouldn’t want this to be over, love.” he said and I swear I swooned.
“Am I your love?”
“Since I love you, I’d assume that that’s a given.” he said softly, almost timidly.
I pulled myself up, so that I was right by his ear.
“I love you too, you know? I’m a weirdo, but I need to know that you know that much. I’d never have gone this far with anyone… if it hadn’t been you.” I admitted and willed my tears away. I willed away the pain, and the fact that he loved me, he didn’t know all of me but what he did know, he loved and for now, or for forever that would be more than enough. It was more than I’d ever had before.
As we made love that night, made love, had sex, fucked, whatever you wanted to call it… There was still no fear, there was a little bit of pain… okay a lot of pain to start with, but it had been years since I’d been with a man, and the tryst with Alcide was nothing like that night with Eric. Kind and patient to the very last moan and thrust, it felt like his concern was for me and my feelings when all I wanted for him to feel as good as he was making me feel. We were a hoarse, sweaty tired, satisfied, rather mess when we finally settled down. The warm wash cloth we’d used on each other sat by his alarm clock, telling us that we’d both be calling in sick the next day as the sun began to peek over the horizon.
I felt his heartbeat even out under my ear as we laid together. He smirked.
“What?” I asked.
“This isn’t at all how I imagined this happening…” he said, softly.
“Oh? And how did you imagine it?”
“A lot more dates, a lot more wondering about you… that I’d have to make the first move. That sort of thing.” He sighed, content before he spoke again, “You’re a surprising woman you know that? Just when I think I have you all figured out, you go and you turn the tables on me.”
“Surprising, huh?” I asked feeling his fingers twirl in my hair.
“Extremely surprising.” he said smiling.
Yeah, he really had no idea just how right he was in that moment.
The biggest surprise for him was one that I never wanted him to experience, but as time went on it was inevitable. He was going to find out. It was just a question of when?