Chapter 7: Chapter 7
Getting to the restaurant in record time, and without coffee in my system was nothing short of a miracle. I pulled into the lot to find Sophie’s Benz was already situated in my spot.
I hauled myself out of the car, fixing my skirt on the way in.
I was greeted by the solemn faces of Amelia, Tara, and the new girl, Sarah.
“The witch is in the office; she’s fired Tommy.”
“Yep.” Amelia chided in. “Said he was—and I quote—’too ugly to work here’. The poor kid was in silent tears by the time he left.”
I huffed a breath as I made my way to the office. “Sophie.”
“Oh, Sookie! Good, you’re here. How are you darling?” She sauntered over to air kiss both my cheeks.
“Not so good, Sophie. My cousin Hadley died a few days ago. And her husband.”
“Oh dear. Oh that’s not good news at all, is it.” She pouted. “How are you holding up?”
“I’m dealing with it, but as you should have been notified I’m on personal leave for five more days. I cleared it with your father—”
“Oh, let’s not talk about him. I’m so sick of him and his demands.”
“Yes, but Sophie I have personal things I need to be dealing with. I left Tara in charge; was there a specific reason you asked for me this morning?”
She leaned farther back in the leather desk chair, putting her Louboutin adorned feet up on my desk.
“Yes, there was actually. I wanted you to hear it from me firsthand that I’m moving back to Louisiana. Full time.”
Jesus Christ, no.
“What? I mean, why? I mean… What? But you hate it here. You hate this place; it’s why you hired me as manager and left, remember?”
“Yes, I remember. It’s just, well, daddy says I have to start taking an interest in all my investments, and this one being closest to home, I decided to focus on it. It’s really time I learned what it takes to run this place by myself. I really do have wonderful leadership skills you know?”
Unless it was leading us all into a shopping mall. Yeah, I doubt it.
“And that’s great Sophie, but I have to ask, do I still have a job?”
She giggled “Oh little, Sookie, of course you do! Who else am I going to learn from?”
Sweet mercy help me.
“Daddy said that you’d been doing such a great job with this place, and I mean you really have. I’ve seen the profits, and for the climate I have to admit, I’m impressed with all your hard work, Sookie.”
“Well, thank you. Sophie, I feel like I need to be completely honest with you here. When my cousin died, my circumstances changed.”
“How so?” She tapped my pen to her ruby red lips, raising her perfectly waxed brow in my direction.
“I’ve been left guardianship of her daughter.”
“Oh. Oh, I see. You have a … a… child now.” She squinted as if the very thought of a baby sickened her.
“Yes I do. Eric and I are—”
“Not the Northman’s Tavern, Northman, no?”
“One in the same.” I agreed, taking the seat that wasn’t my usual across from my desk.
“Are you two dating?”
“No. It was stipulated in their will that we both get legal custody of Jessica, so we’ll be co-parenting. Which is why I’ll be needing to make a few changes in my schedule.”
“How many changes?”
“A few. Honestly, just making sure I work days not nights, and weekends off.”
“Sookie…” she sounded doubtful.
“No, Sophie. You know I love this place as if it were my own, but I have a bigger responsibility now. One that I can’t just ignore. I’ve trained Tara well, and she’s more than capable of acting as a second pair of hands when I’m preoccupied.”
“I’m sure, but she lacks your sunny demeanour that I adore so much.” She smiled at me.
The thing about Sophie was, she could be as sweet as sugar one minute, and put the itch in bitch the next.
“I can give you nights, but not weekends.”
“Saturdays off then.”
“Sophie, yes or it’s a deal breaker. Saturdays off or you’ll have to find yourself a new manager.”
I held my ground. I knew how to handle her most of the time, but her showing up out of the blue and basically ruining how things were going here—my own little clockwork system—really pissed me off.
She rolled her eyes at me, “God Stackhouse, you drive a hard bargain.”
That I did.
“It’s why your dad hired me.”
“Well that, and you can argue with me like no one else.” She laughed.
She looked over the books, the menu, the staff, and the bookings, asking more than a few mundane and unnecessary questions before she deemed it okay for me to leave. But not before telling me that she was going to look over the roster of the staff for awhile.
I took my leave gracefully, reminding her I still had four days off and that if she needed anything to lose my number and use Tara’s. She requested I not go all ‘soccer mom’ on her and just go home.
Before I did though, I stopped by the kitchen and got three lunches to go. Sure it was after two, but I was starving and food was food. Food by Lafayette was even better.
By the time I got back to the house, it was a little before three. There was no sound from anywhere except the loud obnoxious music coming from the den.
What I saw was unforgettable.
Jessica was standing on Eric’s feet facing the TV; he held her hands up and he was bent over so he could reach was essentially dancing on his feet.
Dancing with his moves to “Single Ladies.” Back and forth, side to side, in time with the music. I had to put my hand over my mouth to stop them from hearing my giggles. I couldn’t help but pull out my Blackberry and press record as Eric sang out of tune telling us how if we liked it, we should have put a ring on it, while Jessica just giggled and bopped along.
It was by far the funniest thing I’d seen in a long while. No one Eric’s size should be doing the Single Ladies dance, no matter how much he wanted us to ‘put your hands up, oh oh, oh.‘
I accidentally let a giggle slip, causing a shocked Eric to whip around facing me.
“SOOKIE! How long have you been standing there?”
Thankfully, I’d managed to hide my phone behind my back before he saw it.
“Not long at all, I just got here. Whatcha doing?”
He was blushing—that or he’d worked up quite a rosy glow from putting a ring on it. He scooped Jessica up into his arms and I noticed she was covered in chocolate.
“She been eating her way out of a chocolate factory?”
He looked at her as she then tried to bite his cheek.
“Yeah, I forgot the wipes. We’ve only been home about twenty minutes.”
“Oh, you went out?”
“Yeah we went shopping. With Auntie Pam.” He rolled his eyes. “But we needed a new stroller and a second car seat, both of which picked up.”
“Shit! Right, I drove off with it in my car.”
“It’s fine, Pam helped. I mean she basically shops for a living. She’s a pro.”
“She also got me this.”
He showed me his manly looking bag.
“It’s a man bag.” I pointed out the rather obvious.
“No, it’s a satchel.”
“Uh huh, and how does that differ from man bag?”
He looked confused, staring at it. “I … I don’t know? But Indiana Jones has one.” He smiled, proudly.
“Ah, I see… and because Indie has one, it’s perfectly okay for you to have one.” I nodded taking Jessica from him. She needed a bath.
“Hey, he’s Harrison Ford. He makes man bags okay.”
I just rolled my eyes. Guys… their logic failed me.
“You ever give a kid a bath before?”
He shook his head ‘no’. “I hate baths. I mean, really when you think about it, it’s kind of gross. Sitting in your own dirt, ugh.”
“What do you think, people go play in mud beforehand? It’s not dirty; it’s nice, it’s relaxing.”
He sighed crossing his arms. “Sure. Oh, how’d you escape the boss?”
It was my turn to sigh as I told him all about her little surprise visit and just how she plans on ruining my perfectly set schedule, as we ran Jessica a bath.
“So, you don’t have free run of the place anymore ?”
“No. I mean, it’s not that I ever really considered it mine, you know? Of course, one day I’d have liked to have bought out Sophie’s share. Her dad isn’t a bad guy and he’s a good businessman. He just has a seriously spoiled daughter who knows nothing about … well, most things.”
I checked the water to make sure it was the right temperature before I threw in some toys and her bath seat—sliding her in—letting her slash up a storm while I tried to rid her of her coating of chocolate.
“Seriously, what was she eating?”
“A cookie. I don’t know how she got pieces of it in her diaper; it wasn’t even that big, or crumby.” He looked confused as we found pieces of it everywhere, including in her ears. Seriously, what the hell?
“Okay, well I called the doctor’s office on the way over. Sam can fit us in at four. That’s good right?”
“Oh, Sam. Great.”
“Eric, why are you being so sarcastic. He’s just her doctor.”
He mumbled something about ‘flirting bastard’ before leaving the room and coming back with a new shirt on, buttoning it up. “Yes fine, he’s her doctor, and that’s great, but does it mean I have to like the guy? No, it doesn’t.”
“Why don’t you like him? You’ve spent like a second in the room with him. I don’t get it.”
“It’s a guy thing.”
“A guy… Okay, that’s ridiculous. He seems lovely, and he’s been nothing but polite and accommodating, and I think we owe him the same courtesy.”
“Fine… I’ll try, but I’m not promising anything.” He scowled, leaning on the door frame.
I finally got the little miss clean. Wrapping her in one of the bigger towels, I took her to her room, closely followed by Eric.
“Okay Jess, what do you want to wear, huh? Dress or jeans? Or… shirt and top?”
She just looked at me.
“One day kid, these questions will make you late for work, trust me.” Eric scoffed.
“Unlike men, who just roll out of bed and throw on the first thing they see and then expect us to swoon.” I gave him a dirty look, even if his crisp white shirt on black jeans was rather attractive.
He slid up beside me to talk to the baby. “And one day Jessica, you’ll understand that a guy cares very little for what you’ve got on, because…” and he looked at me, “We mostly just care about taking it off.”
“You’re a pervert.”
“Hey, I’m just telling it like it is. You women worry so much about how you look and dress which, okay I get, and to a point it’s understandable, but really? We don’t care what label you wear; if it makes you look good—it could be a thousand dollars or it could be twenty. Either way, you’re still naked underneath and that’s free.”
I rolled my eyes. “Jessica, please be a lesbian.”
“Ha, they think the same thing, ask Pam. No wait… don’t ask Pam, she’s obsessed with labels. Ask someone… you know… Normal.”
“Pam isn’t normal?” I laughed.
“She’s as normal as she can be, but I wouldn’t change her.”
“That’s good to know. She doesn’t strike me as the type of person to put up with that bullshit.”
“Pam doesn’t put up with any kind of bullshit, it makes her awesome … and a little scary,” he mumbled.
After getting Jessica dressed and ready, I found the biggest bib I could and draped it around her to get her to eat.
Of course, that was easier said that done. She refused to eat.
“She just had a cookie?” I asked as Eric and I tucked into our late lunches.
“Yeah, and a few sips of juice. She should be hungry.”
But she wouldn’t take the spoon for me, no matter what noises I made or what flying object I imitated.
“Here, let me try.” Eric said taking the spoon from me, and the little madam took it on the first try.
I tried my best not to pout.
Eric beamed, of course. “Huh, I guess she likes me better.”
He must have seen the hurt in my face.
“No, no, no, I was kidding. Sookie, come on. She’s a kid; she doesn’t know any better!”
“But you do!” I all but screeched.
“True, but come on, I was being sarcastic.”
“Well, stop. I already think she doesn’t like me very much, and this just proves it.”
“Just because she was being a fussy eater? Sookie, really?”
“Yes, I know it’s petty, but I’ve had a really bad day. I don’t need this too.”
He looked at me with innocent eyes as he fed Jessica her chicken. “Sorry.”
I could have made a big deal out of the fact that he actually apologized for something, but I let it slide. I was too tired to argue with him.
By the time we were pulling into the parking lot of the doctor’s office, I was a nervous wreck and Jessica was a sleepy mess.
I took her out of her new car seat that took both Eric and I at least ten minutes to figure out how to use. Seriously, why where they so complicated?
We walked into the waiting room mostly full of mother’s with their sick kids, and not surprisingly, they all one after another, gave Eric flirty looks. Had I been his girlfriend or wife, I might have been pissed. As it was, I was just amused. He pretended not to notice, but of course he was smirking to himself.
Dr. Merlotte saw us not long after we arrived, thank God. I, of course, shook his hand and made small talk before we sat down. Eric just shook his hand and went into silent mode.
“Well, Hadley had her checked out over a week before the accident, so I wasn’t expecting to find anything out of the ordinary. That, and if the doctors at the hospital didn’t find anything, I can safely say she’s as healthy as she’s ever been. Aren’t you sweetheart?” He took the light and the stick from her throat gently when he’d finished looking. Which made her cry, of course. “Honestly, Sookie … Eric you both have nothing to worry about.”
I was fussing with trying to get her to calm down, and finish the conversation since Eric had decided that now was the time to become mute.
“I know, Sam but honestly it’s just to put my mind at ease—both our minds at ease—that there are no allergies or anything that we might have been on the verge of setting off. It’s a relief. And I know I must sound so nuts nitpicking. I never thought that I’d be one of those people!” I rambled. I was nervous, but Sam just nodded and smiled like he’d heard it all before.
“Well, it’s what I’m here for. If you have any questions or concerns at all, don’t hesitate to call, really.”
Honestly, I could almost feel Eric roll his eyes. When I failed to placate the baby he took her from me, and wouldn’t you know, she just hushed right up. I swore they were in this together.
“I’ll take Jessica to get settled in the car.” He finally spoke. “Sam.” He nodded before taking his leave.
Sam smiled raising his brows in Eric’s direction. “I see he’s as pleasant and talkative as ever.”
“Yeah, I’m not sure what his deal is to be honest.”
“Jessica seems to like him.” He pointed out.
“She’s one. She also likes to try and eat her feet, so I don’t trust her judgement just yet.”
He laughed. He had such a gentle and easy laugh, it was almost comforting.
“Really Sookie, you need to give yourself a break. You’re doing a great job with her so far, so just try and relax. No one’s perfect.”
“I know, it’s just… I’m …we. Eric and I, we’re all she’s got, you know? It’s a little … a lot frightening.”
“Most first time parents feel the exact same way, but it does get easier. It might not seem like it, but you’ll find your feet soon, I promise. And when you do, you’ll wonder what life was like before she fell into your lap.”
“Life before was a lot less chaotic, I’ll tell you that.”
“Jessica aside, how are you holding up?”
“I’m running on coffee. I think that if I take a second to think what this all means I’ll just lose it, and I can’t do that right now. She needs me.”
“She has Eric too, and as … hostile as he is to me, he seems to have a way with her. You should lean on him, you’ll need each other.”
“True. But Eric and I, well, we have a rather complicated history.”
“No. We didn’t get that far.”
“Really? Because I was sensing some serious sexual tension.” He laughed.
“No. Seething hatred and sexual tension are two very different things.”
“Is it that bad?”
I thought about it, and really, it could have been a lot worse. Then again, we were only a few days into forever.
“I’ll get back to you on that.” I made my way to the door. “Thanks again, Dr. Merlotte.”
“Sam.” He said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“Thank you, Sam.”
It wasn’t that he was that bad, and it wasn’t that he was necessarily a douche—even if he looked like one. It was watching her sway into his office on those heels, in that skirt, with that ass, and be sweet and light and flirty with Dr. Love. I mean, really, he was a kids doctor. Did he make it a habit of flirting with and eye fucking ALL the mothers? Or just the ones living in their cousin’s house with a guy she wasn’t dating, raising a kid that wasn’t hers?
No, I didn’t think so.
Of course, I got an eyeful of some of the mothers in the waiting room, or rather, they got an eyeful of me. I’d always been equal rights on ones sexual freedom. If a girl had sex with a dozen guys, it doesn’t make her a slut any more than it makes a guy who’s had the same number of partners. Sex was sex and I didn’t begrudge anyone anything sexual as long as both, or all parties were agreeable. What was there to lose? These women though, they were like, obsessed, and not in a good way. They looked me up and down to the point where I was getting dizzy, and then there was the whispering. I hated whispering. If you had something to say, just say it.
Thankfully, Doctor Spock saw us before I could get any more uncomfortable.
That’s when the hell began. It started off friendly enough, but then she started to ramble and ask all kinds of questions, I for one, would never have thought of. But it was her bouncing her crossed legs, making her boobs jiggle that got to me, and the hair touching was another flirty sign that I didn’t like. Especially since it wasn’t aimed at me at all. Doctor Who was basically salivating, being all smiley and charming and disgustingly flirtatious with this woman who was just asking for his medical opinion while he yanked Jess around with his light pen and thermometer. She was about as impressed with this mess as I was.
I took my leave and got her settled in the car again, mastering the car seat in under five minutes this time.
I rolled down the windows of the jeep, hopefully letting as much air in as possible. I had hoped the evening setting in would cool the temp a bit, but I was wrong. It was hot as hell.
Speaking of hot as hell, out she walked from the building, tight black pencil skirt working for it’s money, heels that made me want the feel of them digging into me as I fuc—
“Seriously Eric, be more rude next time. I don’t think he’s got message.”
“What? You had all the questions. I was just there to find out anything important, which I’m sure he would have brought up, which, by the way, he didn’t.”
“Yes, but really would it kill you to be pleasant?”
“It might…” I said as we drove off in the direction of home.
Was it home? It didn’t feel like home, not to me. It felt like a guest house, or a hotel; it felt like we were house sitting, waiting for Alcide and Hadley to come home from vacation or something. Nothing in it was my own, except my clothes, and even they were sparse since I’d packed light.
It was all very odd, and something I felt in that moment that I’d ever get used to.
Over the next couple of weeks, Sookie, Jessica and I fell into a weird routine. We got up together; had breakfast; I went for a run then came back to watch the kid while Sookie ran some errands; checked in with Pam a few times a day just in case she burnt my business to the ground; played with the kid till she needed a nap; ignored some calls and texts from my various ‘dates’ over the last six months—I just didn’t have the time, or if I’m honest, the energy to deal with them… Then, I’d pretend not to watch Sookie do her Yoga or Pilates or whatever the hell she was calling her daily stretching in the backyard.
I wasn’t being a pervert about it, but really, when there was a hot ass woman in tight stretchy pants and a sports bra stretching herself all over the yard, it was hard – ahem – not to take notice.
A few people stopped by the house every now and then, mostly to introduce themselves, or be nosy, or both.
They brought food, as seems to be the custom, so neither I nor Jessica was complaining about the copious amounts of pie and homemade ice-cream that kept appearing in the fridge. Of course, it kept reminding me that I’d need to bring my gym equipment over sooner rather than later if I kept up these eating habits. Normally when it was just me, I lived on microwaved food, pop tarts and beer. Now it was three square meals a day; it was a shock the system.
Mid-morning, after her usual hour of bending around to some fruity music on her iPod, Sookie came in from the yard, a healthy sheen of sweat and a smile on her face as she bounced in search of some water.
“God, it’s so hot outside. It’s insane for this time of year. Usually we don’t get the heat waves till June.”
“Global warming.” I offered finishing off my apple and dumping it in the trash.
“Huh, I guess. I never thought about it really. I mean, I know at the restaurant we do the whole changing the bulbs, recycling everything, but I can’t say I keep it up at home. I might have to do something about that.”
Just as she was about to muse on something else, her cell phone rang—Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” ringing out—and since she’d been hinting at and teasing me about putting rings on things and having a man on her hips for over a week, it was clear she lied when she said she wasn’t standing in the doorway all that long.
Now what can I say, I work in a bar where popular music is played. The kid, she likes it, and I’m man enough to admit that if it stops her crying, I’d dance with her to anything she wanted.
As long as Sookie wasn’t watching again, that shit was just asking for trouble.
Her face lit up when she answered her phone. I almost choked on air when I heard that it was Sam. Seriously, he’s taking to calling her now? Does this guy ever work?
“Hi. No, yeah I know. Well, no things have been quiet—some neighbours stopped by with their condolences and of course, a whole array of food again. Yeah, I know. No, no it was nice of them, even if all the ladies wanted to do was flirt with Eric.” She smiled at me before she turned around again. She was playing with her hair; she was flirting and he couldn’t even see it.
Not that I cared, she could flirt and make doe eyes at whoever she wanted—and so could I.
Question was, why wasn’t I?
I mean, I’d ignored calls for various hot and willing women so I could sit in, nursing a one-year old and watching old movies with Sookie? Really?
“This Friday? Like, four days from now? Oh, uh. No I’d love to, but I usually cover nights with Jessica since I’m back to work and all now. Eric has her during the day …”
She looked at me again, probably hinting that maybe I’d step in and cover for her so she could more than likely date Doctor Spock.
Erm, no. I pretended to read the paper.
“Uh, Sam can I maybe get back to you? Yeah of course, it does sound nice. Of course, I’ll call you soon… Okay. Bye.”
By the time she hung up, she was all blushing and bashful.
“So, you’re dating the Doctor now?” I said without looking up from my paper.
“If you must know, he asked me out on a date, but I told him I wasn’t sure.”
She knew I’d heard the conversation, right?
“I mean, he wants us to go to dinner; maybe a movie or something.”
“And the big doe eyes and hopeful smile is to convince me to say ‘Hey Sook, how about I take over and give you that night off so you can have free time—to date Doctor Douche.”
“Eric. He’s not a douche. He’s actually really nice.”
“Nice? That’s so hot.” I rolled my eyes.
“Not every girl wants to date an asshole, and not every girl is attracted to the ‘bad boy’ no matter how many notches you have in that bedpost of yours.”
“You’re right, some girls want the boring, tiny, dull—probably as dull in bed as he is in conversation—guy. I can totally see the appeal in that.”
She rolled her eyes at me.
“So will you?”
“Will I what?”
“You’re really going to make me ask?”
I grinned at her. Yes, yes I was.
“Fine. Eric, would you do me this one favor so I can have the possibility of pleasant adult conversation and a good meal with the nice man?”
“While he tries to feel you up under the table…”
I smiled, she was too easy to rile up. Besides, Dr. Boring would be too dull to even try and feel her up in public. Mores the pity, Sookie needed to be felt up, everywhere, all the time.
“Fine yes, I’ll take the shift.”
“Thank you. See, you can be sweet when you put your mind to it.” She hopped out of her chair and over to me. My agreement earned me a kiss on the cheek before she all but bounced into the other room, her cell glued to her ear.
Man, I hated that guy.
A/N: Hey peeps! Sorry for the slight delay, work, life, and the flu have gotten in the way. So it’s why I’ve been slower than usual! Plus I’d been working on my other story, Rise by Sin which is angsty goodness so check it out if you haven’t already! : D
Thank you again for all the reviews, alerts and pms they’re too awesome, and it really makes me beam to know you guys are enjoying this as much as I am! x
Chapter 8: Chapter 8
Hey guys! Still with me so far? Thank you so much for all the adds, and messages and reviews, I was flu ridden for a few days there, and they were awful so all the thoughts on the story cheered me right up so *Big smooches* to all of you! 😀 Enjoy! X
Sam and I had kept in contact, usually by text but sometimes by calling. a few times after our appointment at his clinic. Since I didn’t really know many people in Hadley’s part of town, it was nice to have a friendly face in the crowd. The neighbours had dropped by, some to say hello, some to flirt with Eric, some to flirt with me – much to the dismay of their wives of course. But the majority of them came to nosy. I was getting used to the neighbors dropping by, for one reason or the other. It was the thing to do; people had died tragically and they wanted to know who we were and what we were doing in their home. Most of them had attended the wake and funeral, but considering neither Eric nor I really took the time to introduce ourselves they took it upon themselves to do it for us.
There was Mrs Fortenberry; she was in her early forties with a little boy, a few months older than Jessica. His name was Hoyt. I heard he was a ‘surprise’; so much so, that her husband of almost eighteen years up and left her when she found out she was pregnant. But she was seeing the mail man now and his name was Mike.
Then there was Dawn Green. She was one of the ‘flirt with Eric’ contingent of the neighborhood. Essentially, she was a trophy wife for Aston Green, an ex-football player that was never at home. A few of the older residents would stop and say hello every now and then when either I or Eric would take the baby out for a walk – or in Eric’s case, when he ran. How he managed to run and keep her occupied was beyond me, but it worked. Usually if he left it for later, he’d take her and tell me she’d be out like a light in less than ten minutes. I wasn’t going to test or question his theory.
Eric and I sort of fell into this little routine of meals together, naps apart, and workout when she slept. It seemed to work, kind of. But when I went back to work—dealing with Sophie on a near daily basis was enough to test anyone’s patience—if I was honest, it was coming back home that was causing me the most grief. Jessica made it very clear which co-parent she preferred. Nap time she was great with me; bedtime, so completely another story.
She cried, she sobbed, she gave me those big blue eyes that were rimmed red and said ‘well you’re not the big cuddly Swedish man, and I don’t like this one bit.’ And there wasn’t a thing I could do, because Eric had started going into the bar bit by bit so the nights where mine with her, till he finished at four a.m.
It seemed that Eric didn’t require a lot of sleep to function—maybe five, six hours and he was up. I knew this because the maniac that he was, fell out of bed every morning and did one hundred sit-ups. How do I know this you ask? The walls were thin, and he counted out loud. It was kind of annoying.
Sam and I were another story. Our conversations were innocent at first, and then it quickly turned to flirting. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. It had been a good long while since I’d really put effort into flirting with a guy and doing it via text somehow seemed easier. He’d hinted at asking me out, and I’d hinted at saying yes.
I’d wanted to put Bill and that whole disaster of a relationship behind me. Sam was his opposite—he was sweet and attentive, and not afraid of using the number keys to type—whereas Bill was a complete technophobe. I knew Eric didn’t like him. His ‘guy thing’ excuse didn’t wash with me, but I didn’t want his opinion of Sam to color my opinion. So, when Sam asked me out, I got excited. When Eric finally relented and agreed to mind the baby, I was guilt free and confirming our date as soon as I dialled his number. We agreed on something simple—a movie, some dinner, and good conversation.
Lord knows I was in need of some of that. Between Sophie and her demand, Jessica and her baby talk, and Eric with his sarcasm and innuendo, I was looking forward to a good old-fashioned, civilized conversation.
Having gone to my apartment the day before with Amelia and Tara in tow, we managed to pack up my life there in just under four hours. If you don’t count the two hours spent drinking wine and eating pizza, that is.
“How long have you lived here?” Tara asked wrapping my photo frames in newspaper to box.
“Six years next march. So like, five years?”
“Quinn hated this place.” I mused.
“I hated Quinn.” Tara scoffed.
“I know. You told me often enough.”
“Girl, he was a twat and once a twat…”
“Always a twat. Yes, Tara, you have me schooled.”
“What about Bill?” Amelia asked bursting the bubble wrap instead of actually using it.
“He… didn’t spend that much time here. I would always have to go to his place.”
“Have you seen him since the funeral?”
“No. He’s called a couple of times and left annoying voicemails, but I’ve ignored them.”
“He wants to get back together?”
“Pretty much. He kept telling me that he’d overlook my little ‘problem’ if it meant us being together again, and he was sorry for my loss, and Jessica really wasn’t my responsibility.”
“Asshole!” They said in unison.
“Yep.” I sealed one box and laid it by the door.
“What about the other not-so-asshole?” Ames asked smiling.
“Well you two have made it almost a month now, no one’s been injured or killed, that’s a good sign, right?”
I shrugged. “He’s alright.”
“Okay, so he’s not the devil I once saw him to be. He’s amazing with Jessica. I mean, it’s unfair how good he is with her. She just adores him, and he makes it all look so easy. I hate that about him.” I laughed. “No, I mean, he’s been really solid with her. I can’t fault him there.”
“And with you?” Tara quirked her brow.
“What’s with the brow action? He’s been his usual charming self with me, I don’t know?”
“Seriously? Nothing?” She looked at Amelia.
They looked at me.
“Girl, you’ve seen him, right?”
“Ugh… not this again.”
“Look, I don’t get what’s not epic here. He’s single, you’re single, you live in the same house … he has lick-able abs, you need to get laid… Really, need I paint the full picture here?” Tara preached.
“Uh, forgetting one thing.”
“We hate each other? There is absolutely no attraction there whatsoever. And besides, even if there was—WHICH there ISN’T—but even if there was, it would be a horrible, horrible idea. We’re co-parents, and that’s it. We both have our lives and just … Jessica is our only common interest.”
Well that and old Hollywood movies, strawberry ice-cream, and chilli. But that was it.
“Seriously, you’re not attracted to him, at all? Even when he’s all like ovary exploding cuteness with Jess?” Amelia asked.
“Look, giant semi-attractive men being all sweet with cute babies is … well, it’s genetically ingrained in us to find that shit cute. That doesn’t mean I want to jump his bones.”
“You should jump his bones, it might calm you both down.”
“What! You know I’m right. Either way, you need to get laid. You’re too hot to be this … Celibate.”
“Well, for your information, I have a date. Friday. With a doctor.”
They both stared at me. I just smugly carried on packing.
“Details! Now, bitch.”
I rolled my eyes. “He’s Jessica’s doctor; we met last month and we kind of hit it off. I mean, he’s great, I think? I don’t really know all that much about him. Well, other than Eric hates him.”
“Why does Eric hate him?” Tara demanded to know, hand on hip as usual.
“Because Eric is judgemental and prissy.” I shrugged, I still didn’t get the hate. He didn’t even know the guy!
“So, the date?” Amelia asked changing the subject ever so slightly for me.
“Dinner and a movie, maybe. Who knows? I’m excited though. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a first date.”
“First dates are fun.” Tara mused.
“Is Eric seeing anyone?” Amelia asked, finally using the bubble wrap to actually wrap.
“You’re both awfully concerned about Eric.”
“No, I’m just nosy.” She smiled.
“He doesn’t ‘date’ … I mean, I don’t think. I’m sure he’s getting laid on the regular though. He’s not too picky, I don’t think.”
“Did he tell you that?”
“Well, no … But I mean, I just… it’s… Can we just stop talking about Eric please?”
“Do you guys talk at all? I mean do you know anything about the guy?”
Tara always did like to push a topic.
“I know enough.”
“Tara what is this the Eric hour?”
“You’ve been living with the guy for a month and you can’t tell us anything personal about him. Are his parents alive? Does he have siblings? Has he ever been in a long term relationship…?”
Huh, weirdly I knew none of these things.
“You know I ran into him the other day.” Amelia said.
“At Whole Foods. He was there with Jessica, looking confused in the baby food section. It was too cute. He totally talks to her like an adult.”
“Yeah, Eric doesn’t do ‘baby talk’.”
“Did… I mean, did you guys talk?”
“Briefly. We made small chit-chat. He asked me how I was, I coo’d over Jessica for a bit—she was covered in yogurt that he’d let her open while sitting in the cart—she’d ruined her dress… He asked if I’d seen you at work and how you were really coping with the boss being back.”
That piqued my interest. “And what did you say?”
“I was honest. I said it was stressing you out, but you were dealing. No biggie.”
Great, now he probably thought I was incompetent.
“Hmph.” Tara huffed.
“Just, seems to me that the asshole cares more about your well-being that you do his. That’s not very friendly, Sookie.”
“What? Tara, I care.”
She rolled her eyes.
“I do! It’s just we’re not like that. There are no big, stupid, deep conversations. I mean, we talk but it mostly involves Jessica or the house or work or it evolves into sarcasm and one of us stomps off.”
Usually me, and I think they knew that.
“You fail, Stackhouse.” Tara sassed.
“Shut up and pack, whore.” I smiled.
Rooting through the three racks I’d just finished lining up, I yanked yet another dress.
“This one?” I held up the dress from the walk-in closet, to which Eric said “eh.”
“Eh bad, right?”
“Eh, is eh, Sookie. It’s green and kind of fluffy. That is not a date dress.”
I rolled my eyes.
“But, it’s new!”
“But, it’s horrible. No.” He imitated me.
It was the third dress I’d shown him and he’d vetoed it on me. Really, he disliked Sam so you’d think he’d approve the f-ugly clothes to spite him, but no. I asked Eric for a ‘guys’ opinion, and he was shockingly, giving it willingly, with Jessica bouncing around on my bed. He sat on the end shouting his opinions at me.
“What about this?” I said coming out with my black, backless dress on.
He looked, then told me to turn. Of course he was checking out my ass, but since I was nervous and needed an opinion I’d just have to deal with it.
“It’s hot, but … I don’t know.”
“Dude… Jesus, hurry up. He’ll be here in like ten minutes!”
“Any other options?”
After an hour of this, I was convinced he was just fucking with me and enjoying the pain of making me change clothes, and drag the crap that I’d just unpacked out of the wardrobe again.
I tried on the first of my last two options. It was red, fitted and short, though it was a shift dress. It was silk and I thought it was sexy. For good measure, I slipped on my towering black heels.
The look on his face was priceless. It was almost like he didn’t know where to look first, but he did and he started with my legs, and very slowly worked his way up. I swear I didn’t get a shiver when his eyes reached mine. I really, really didn’t.
He closed his mouth and coughed a little. “It uh…It’s …”
He stood up suddenly and walked over to me, making my bedroom seem so much smaller suddenly. He walked around me in a slow circle. I could feel his eyes on me.
“Hmm, he doesn’t deserve this dress.” He said quietly in a voice that could make a girls toes curl.
I still didn’t look him in the eye though. “Why’s that?”
“This dress says things that Doctor Douche just isn’t ready for.”
He circled me again.
He smirked. “Like, I’m wearing this to make myself feel hot, to look hot, to make you as the guy, feel hot… and to imagine what it would be like to slide this dress up to your hips, while kissing your neck and finding out for sure if you can conceal underwear in a dress that fitted.”
It was my turn to clear my throat a little. “Really, you get all that from a dress?”
His eyes finally met mine, and I swear what I saw in them made me want to cross my legs tight for fear of what I might do.
“I get all that from you, in that dress.”
Just as he leaned away from me, the doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it.” He said scooping Jessica up and throwing her over his shoulder, earning a giggle from her.
He smiled at me from the door. “Aren’t I always?”
I was so screwed.
“You’re selling the apartment?” Pam slammed the paper down on my desk.
“Well, yes trying to. The market is in the shits though. If I don’t get a bite then I’ll rent it out or something.”
“So, this is the real deal then. You and Sookie and the kid?”
“Well… Yeah. Pam did you think I was just playing?”
She flopped down on the chair in front of my desk. “No, I just… Shit honestly, I never expected you to last more than a week.”
“Thanks, Pam. Your vote of confidence is just awesome.”
“Oh please, you went out of your way to make sure none of the bitches you were fucking got knocked up. Excuse me for not thinking that father of the year was on the agenda for you.”
I guess she did have a point.
I just shrugged. There was no point getting into a verbal slinging match with her; it was late and I was tired.
“So, I’ve packed up my stuff and I’m having it shipped over to the house tomorrow. Sookie, she got her stuff the other day. For a chick who lived alone, she had a LOT of boxes.”
“Welcome to the world of women. Domestically we are a whole other breed.”
“How is little country bumpkin? She still think I’m a hooker?” She chuckled.
“No, she was pretty mortified about that. She’s … you know…Sookie.”
“You know that I don’t know her, right?”
“Yeah, but …It…Well, what do you want to know?”
“Is she single?” She asked hopefully.
“I get that, asshole. I’m just asking.”
“Yes, I believe she is.”
“And you and she—” She wriggled her brows at me.
“Pam, we’ve been over this.”
“That was like a month ago, let’s go over it again.”
“Pam, I have work to do, I’m dead tired. Can you go annoy someone else?”
“Nope, I enjoy annoying you too much. Do you like her?”
“What are you, twelve?”
“Well do you?”
“She’s… opinionated, bossy, and high strung.” I thought for a second. “But she’s not as icy as I once thought. She has her moments where the fun chick buried under all her twitchy angst gets out, and she, I like.”
“And the twitchy angst ridden Sookie?”
“Needs to chill, but she’s fine. She’s trusting my judgement a little more. But she’s a stickler for the ‘schedule’—there are colored post-it notes on the refrigerator, Pam.”
“Sounds to me like she could use a little distracting.”
She looked at me as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, which meant sex.
“I thought you said you liked a challenge?”
“I do, usually. But she’s … it’s different. If we hooked up, it would just complicate things even more, and things are pretty damn complicated already.”
“So you don’t want her?”
“I never said that.”
“The Eric Northman I know, usually never lets anything get in his way.”
“What? She’s hot, and if she played for my team I’d be all over those amazing boobs of hers. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed?”
“I have eyes don’t I?”
“So, accept the challenge and go for it.”
I just gave her my best look of dismissal—she finally took the hint and turned on her high heels and left my office.
Truth was, yes, I was attracted to Sookie. What straight guy with a good set of working eyes wouldn’t be? She was beautiful. And yes, I had many times thought of what sex with her would be like. She was, after all, the one the game hadn’t worked on. Well, besides Pam but that was through no fault of mine. I mean, it wasn’t my fault I wasn’t born with the necessary equipment to entice her.
But Sookie was different.
I wasn’t exactly sure how different, or even why, but she was. So, when she asked with those big pleading blue eyes if I’d give her a guys opinion on her date attire, I wanted to say no. I mean shit, if this was for Sam? What the hell did I care what she wore? She could wear a sack and he’d still be salivating, the little creep.
But I indulged her because she was nervous. I knew she was nervous because she kept tucking and un-tucking her hair behind her ears. She’d done that the day we picked up Jessica, and during the funeral as she read the words she’d written for her cousin and Alcide, and she was doing it again at warp speed.
“Fine.” I huffed, grabbing Jessica out of her playpen before Sookie sang a chorus of “thank you’s” at me while doing what I’d discovered was her ‘Happy Dance’—yes, she had an actual happy dance. Though to be honest, she just looked kind of special hopping up and down, clapping her hands like an idiot. But she was smiling, so that was a plus.
She rooted through some boxes, some bags, and of course her wardrobe while I changed Jessica into her sleep suit. It had feet and it was made of fleece; it was kind of awesomely comfortable looking.
“La. Lala Bah.” she sang to herself as she crawled around. She was always mumbling something that couldn’t be described as real words to herself.
“Do you think maybe she should be talking by now?” I shouted to Sookie who was ass deep in clothes inside her walk-in closet.
“I don’t know, maybe? I don’t really know when kids start fully talking. Maybe we should be practicing with her more?” Came her muffled reply.
“Maybe.” I grabbed her off the pillows on the very neatly made bed. I noticed how the whole room smelled like Sookie, sweet and fresh.
“Hey Jessica, can you say ERIC? Er-rick?” she just stuck her fist in her mouth.
I tried again.
Sookie came out with one option after another, and I have to admit that it was a little fun to watch her get all flustered.
She came out in a green thing that was just scary, a blue thing with ruffles, a pink number that made her look like Barbie gone wrong, and then a black number. The black I liked—it was fit for her body and showed off her legs. But I enjoyed screwing with her too much to approve it right away, and that’s when the red dress appeared.
And my God did it have an impact. It was then her turn to screw with me. That dress was sex. It was the only way to describe it. She’d pulled on these sky scraping heels that made her legs look unbelievable, and of course made me wonder how they’d feel wrapped around me while I worked on finding out just what was under that sex dress.
I saw that my words had an effect on her—since I could have sworn I saw her fight back a shiver—and to be honest, I was fighting a few urges myself.
Just as I was about to say ‘screw the rules, screw the awkward afterwards’ and taste her neck, Doctor Cock-block rang the doorbell.
I took the baby and made my way to the door, to find him standing there like a chump, in a suit, with flowers.
He really was a walking cliché, it was embarrassing.
“Jessica.” He smiled, while she just clung to my neck again. She’d be getting an extra cookie.
“So, is Sookie ready?”
“No, she’s being a girl and fussing about her outfit. You can wait in the living room.”
I pointed him in the right direction.
He shuffled in awkwardly behind me, and just as I put Jessica back in her playpen he sat down.
Neither of us said a word, and he struck me as the kind of guy that didn’t like awkward silences, or any silence, as he looked around while tapping his foot on the floor.
“So, what’s the plans for tonight?” I asked if only to get him to stop the damn tapping.
“Uh, dinner I guess, then maybe a movie, or movie then dinner. I’ll let Sookie decide what she wants to do. The place is pretty flexible with their reservations.”
“Oooh…” I hissed “Don’t order the fish, or the chicken…OR the steak.”
“I heard through my manager that his manager was uh, cutting some corners? And the food suppliers weren’t calling as often as they should have been, if you get me.”
“Yeah. Shame to. Mostly everywhere else is fully booked at this time of night.” I tried to sound like I cared, but any tool that books Andre’s for a date with a woman needs to be slapped. Not only was their décor warped and trapped in the eighties, but their food too.
“So you and Sookie finding your feet with Jessica then?”
“Oh.” He tapped on the arm of the chair, obviously struggling on what to say next.
Thankfully Sookie put him out of his misery by appearing in the doorway.
“Oh. Hi.” He stood up and grabbed his … rather cheap looking boutique of flowers, and made his way over to her.
God, it was all so awkward. This is why I hated dating.
Sookie and Doctor Love made awkward small talk before she said that she’d be ready in just a second and if he wanted to go to the car, she’d be right out.
He smiled, she smiled. It was all very nauseating. And like a good little bitch, he did as she asked.
“Okay. Do I look okay?” She asked me, losing her cool demeanour instantly. She was back to panic mode. Shit, did all women do this?
“I see you went with the black dress. I guess he’s not getting the sex dress tonight then?”
She rolled her eyes.
“You might be used to shagging up a storm on the first date, but I am a lady, and ladies do not do that.”
“Trust me, they don’t.”
“You’re right. Real ladies stiff a guy for nearly a thousand dollars worth of plonk.”
“You really need to get over that, Northman.”
She was walking to the door to leave, when I realised I hadn’t answered her question.
“You look beautiful.”
I saw the pink tint her cheeks, and it was intoxicating. I wanted to make her blush again; I wanted to see her smile like that again.
“Thanks, Eric. Have a good night, and if there are any problems, call me okay?”
I just nodded as she joined Doctor Douche for their ‘date’. Did I mention that I hated that guy?
Jessica and I parked on the couch, while I texted Ginger back, finally. I gave her some lame excuse about being busy and wondered if she’d want to meet up for a drink the next night I was working.
She agreed, of course. Ginger was a lot of things, none of them smart, and she wasn’t actually ‘ginger’ either. She was blonde, which always made me question her name. Either way, she was excellent at distracting me from my boredom for a time, and I needed that. If Sookie was dating, then why the hell shouldn’t I?
I was explaining the rules of basketball to a very bored and sleepy Jessica who was dozing off on my chest, when the door bell rang. It was just after nine-thirty.
I laid her down in her playpen on her blanket, freeing me to open the door.
“Hi, I hope this isn’t a bad time?”
Oh shit, I guess this was surprise visit time.
A/n 2 : Dun dun dunn. The social worker is baaack! I’m a very visual person, so before I can write a scene in a place I have to ‘see’ it first. And if you guys have any interest in this nonsense I can put the links in the profile if you’re interested? Yay, nay? Let me know! x
Chapter 9: Chapter 9
Hey babes! Here’s chapter nine! Thank you so much for the love in the reviews it’s so beyond awesome I can’t even tell you! Keep it up I love it! :DSo, uh, how do we feel about drunk! Sookie? *giggles*
“Was Eric rude?” I asked getting into the car.
“Is Eric ever anything else?” He smirked.
“I’m so sorry. I really don’t know what his problem is.”
“I’m his problem. I’m moving in on his territory and he doesn’t like it.”
“Territory? How… caveman of you both.” I raised my brow.
“No, I don’t mean you’re the—I mean it’s …”
“A guy thing?” I used Eric’s words.
“Yes, exactly. It’s a guy thing.”
“But I’m not Eric’s, I’m my own.”
“We know that and still… he’s protective over you. That’s all.”
I rolled my eyes. “Oh please, protective? Hardly. He and I … it’s so messed up. We hardly ever get along, we’re constantly arguing and driving each other nuts. I definitely don’t think Eric would care who or what I dated as long as it didn’t disturb his work schedule.”
“Doesn’t seem that way to me.” He shrugged.
“Trust me, it’s nothing like that at all. We’re barely friends and honestly if this hadn’t happened, I doubt I’d ever have seen him again in my life. He and I are just complete opposites.” I laughed, then realized I’d spent the first ten minutes of my first date in almost two years, talking about another guy.
Good move Sookie.
“I’m sorry. Enough about him, how are you? How is work?”
We small talked our way to the restaurant and I cringed when I saw where he’d chosen.
Andre’s didn’t have the best reputation among bars and restaurants in the area. In fact, in the last year his business had gone to hell.
I smiled though, gritted my teeth and wondered if I could get away with ordering just salad and water.
The restaurant was a disaster. It wasn’t ready number one, it was practically empty number two and there was a weird smell coming from the kitchen.
I ordered a large glass of wine. I had a feeling I’d need it if I was going to eat here. Sam ordered a beer.
“So, you work in the restaurant business right?” He asked.
“I do. Well, I manage The Crown.”
He smiled. “I like it there; the food is amazing, and it’s a beautiful place.”
“Thanks, we do our best.”
Unlike Andre’s. I gulped my wine.
By the time the appetizer arrived, I was midway through my second giant glass of wine. I needed to slow down. But Sam liked to talk so I let him, and well, I sipped and sipped a little too much.
He’d told me all about his family—how his parents lived in Texas now, but he was born and raised here and loved it. He went to medical school at Johns Hopkins, but he always wanted to own his own practice back home.
I can’t say I blamed him. I loved to travel, and I loved the idea of living elsewhere, but home was home no matter what. He was sweet and funny in a very understated way. He had a dry humor that I found attractive. He had these beautiful eyes that sold his kindness right away; his salt and pepper hair making him seem a lot older than his late thirties.
I picked at my appetizer, as did he before he burst out laughing.
“Sookie, I’m so sorry. I had no idea this place was so … well … shitty.” He frowned at his food.
“Yeah, it’s pretty awful. I wanted to say something but I didn’t want to hurt your feelings, since you went to the trouble of …”
“You want to get out of here?”
I sighed, thankful that I might not die of food poisoning after all.
“Yes please!” I finished off my wine, and much to my surprise I found myself a little wonky. Damn those giant glasses. One glass equals two normal sized ones, so essentially I’ve had a bottle of wine.
“I’m so sorry this turned out to be such a disaster, Sookie.”
“Oh, don’t worry about it. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a first date, and I’d like to not have died on it.” I giggled. “Besides, I’m still starving, so let’s hit my place.”
I gave him the directions to the restaurant, making my way in the side entrance and into the kitchen. I wobbled in on my high heels.
“Lafayette!” I called as Sam and I entered the kitchen.
“Sookie, look at you all fancied up. What’s the occasion?” He asked, spatula in hand.
“Date. Laf, this is Sam. Sam, this is Lafayette.” Lafayette’s eyebrows knitted together in confusion. What he was so confused about, I’d never know.
“Sam. So, you’re the new guy then?”
Sam smiled. “Well, I certainly hope so. The date has been a bit of a disaster though, so this one might not want to call me tomorrow.”
“Oh psh, what’s life without a little unplanned grossness.” I giggled.
“Sookie Stackhouse, are you drunk?” Lafayette asked as I poured myself a glass of the house red.
“Me? No, of course not! Sam, would you like a glass of wine?”
“I shouldn’t I’m driving.”
“Oh.” I said in between sips. “Lafayette, honey could you feed Sam and me?”
“Sure thang. What you lookin’ for?”
“Whatever you’ve got. I don’t mind!”
“Try his steak, it’s awesome.”
“And you, Miss Sookie?”
“Erm, I’ll have chicken and stuffing with the potatoes please.”
“Like you have to ask.”
I took Sam to the table in the kitchen where I proceeded to snack on the sliced cherries for the cakes.
“So, you’ve worked here awhile?”
“Well, just over four years now I guess. I used to live in Bon Temps with my Gran, so I used to come and go from there.”
“That’s quite a drive.”
“Yeah, I didn’t mind it but my Gran knew all the driving was killing me, so she insisted I get a place closer to work—which I did. But, I still called to check on her every few days, and brought her to stay with me. She loved it in town.”
“Is she no longer with us?”
I shook my head no.
“She died about a year and a half ago.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
I smiled trying not to remember how it felt to find her on the kitchen floor, the heart attack that took her from me, and how it felt to bury her.
“So Sam, have you ever been married?”
He blushed. “Oh no, I’ve never been lucky enough, but I hope to, one day. I’d love to have a family too.”
“Oh Sookie, this is going so badly. Here I am on a first date talking about kids and marriage. Way to scare a woman off.”
“Hey, I was the one that brought it up.”
“No, I’m such a klutz I swear. With work I don’t really get a chance to date all that much. I mean, I was seeing my ex for almost four years but after her I just sort of … gave up? If that makes sense.”
I sipped my wine.
“Of course it does. It’s not easy being with someone for so long and having it go tits up.”
Did I just say tits? Oh God, Sookie stop drinking.
I heard my cell buzzing from inside my purse.
Shit, was Jessica okay?
“Sookie? Hi, it’s Eric.”
“Yeah the phone told me, it’s very smart.” I giggled.
“Listen, you have to come home.”
“Why? Oh God, is Jessica sick?”
Sam’s face changed; he looked concerned.
“No, she’s fine… but the social worker woman is here. She’s making a surprise check-up on us and I figured you’d want to be here.”
“Oh God, of course, we’ll be right there.”
“Sam we have to go. Lafayette, cancel those dinners honey.”
Lafayette looked up from what he was doing with a not too happy look on his face.
“Why? What’s up?” Sam asked.
“Emergency. I’ll explain later.”
Sam and I hightailed it to Hadley’s place and I tried to pull myself together on the way there.
“Sam, I’m so sorry about this. It’s just one thing after another tonight it seems.”
He laughed. “Yeah, the universe really isn’t in our favor tonight, huh? Maybe we could try it again some time though?”
“I’d like that. Really. No Andre’s though.” I fake scowled.
It didn’t feel like the right moment to kiss him, no matter how doe eyed he looked at me. I had a social worker to deal with.
I got out of the car on wobbly legs. The air hit me hard and I felt light-headed. I tried to get the key in the door, but it somehow kept moving.
One second I was trying to get the key in the lock, the next I was face-to-face with Eric.
I walked into the hall quietly and properly, or so I thought.
“Are … Are you drunk?” He whispered.
Maybe I was a little bit.
“No! I am not, thank you very much.” I slapped him on the chest. Man that was hard.
“You are SO, so tall.”
He rolled his eyes at me, ushering me by the arm into the living room.
“Sookie you’re drunk and there is a social worker in the kitchen. She’s in charge, remember? She decides if we’re good enough parents for Jessica.”
“Oh my God, Eric. There is a social worker here who decides if we keep Jessica! And I’m drunk! Oh, God.”
“Okay lightweight, go upstairs, change and splash some … a lot of water on your face. I have a bottle of water by my nightstand. Go get it and drink it. Then come back down. She’s almost ready to leave, everything seems to be fine and to her standard, but she really wanted to see you. And she cannot see you tanked.”
“Okay. I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine, just go do that and come back, okay?”
I nodded and wobbled my way up the stairs.
“Hi, I hope this isn’t a bad time?”
She smiled. She had various folders and sheets of paper in her arms.
“Oh, sure, no yeah no… it’s fine. Come in please.”
I panicked. What the hell was she doing here? Why wasn’t Sookie here? Oh my God.
“Come in please, uh would you like a cup of coffee, tea?”
“Thanks, tea would be lovely. I know this is a surprise but it was explained that the visits could happen at any time, right?”
“Oh sure, I just wasn’t expecting you, so I guess that’s the surprise.”
“Yep, that would be it.”
We walked into the kitchen where she put her folders down on the island as I filled the kettle with water.
“So, where is little Jessica?” She asked pulling out her pen.
“She’s asleep; she’s in her playpen actually, we were watching TV before you called so I just put her in there. I mean, she doesn’t usually sleep in there, she has a crib and it has blankets and everything.” I rambled. Shit I was so scared.
“No really, I mean, she naps there sometimes but it’s comfy and spongy with baby things … it’s totally safe.”
She smiled. “Eric, chill out okay? It’s fine.”
“I’m sorry. I guess I’m just nervous.”
“Have you something to be nervous about?” She raised her brows at me.
“No, but you have to admit you and that badge kind of intimidate.”
She smiled, all intimations melting away. “I know, usually it’s necessary. Some of the homes I visit… Well, they’re not great.”
“Do you want a tour of the house? Just to make sure?”
“I know the neighbourhood, this is a stunning house, but yes there are a few things I’ll need to see. Jessica’s room for example. I can see the kitchen isn’t child proofed though, is that something you’ll be working on?” She encouraged.
“Oh, yes, sure. I … she can’t walk yet so we haven’t really thought about that.”
“True, but babies have a way of getting into everything. So things like socket guards, fridge locks, drawer locks, they’re all necessary, sooner than you might think.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” I promised and she took note.
I made her the tea and she asked me some pretty simple questions. How was Jessica eating, sleeping, how was her temperament, what she liked, what she didn’t like, and I was surprised I was actually pretty knowledgeable on all subjects.
“She’s a little fussy for Sookie sometimes. I don’t really know why that is. Sookie, she’s been great. Just don’t tell her I said that.” I smiled.
“How are you two getting along now? When we first me there seemed to have been some tension between the two of you.”
Ah, yes that.
“Oh, well, you know it’s not exactly been easy. But we are trying. We’ve butted heads more time that I can count, but really when it comes down to Jessica we actually agree on how we do things.”
“I see.” She noted. “And is Sookie around?”
“No she’s gone out. I mean, usually she’s here, she’s always here at night, since nights are her time.”
“And you do the days?”
“Yep, since I don’t have to work until at least six p.m. and Sookie gets home around five, it makes more sense since she can work day hours and there’s always someone home with Jessica.”
She nodded. “That’s really great, that you are both taking the bonding seriously. This is a very crucial time, and it’s important that Jessica be around the both of you as much as possible. She’s probably not feeling very stable right now.”
“None of us are.” I joked.
“True, but you said she’s taken to you well?”
“Weirdly well. I think really she just likes the view that my height can give her.”
Well that and the cookies.
“She’s great with her during the day. I know she’s had some problems at night, with sleeping and what not. The kid likes my chest; it’s her favourite nap spot.”
Her eyes widened as if she just realized what she said.
I had to laugh.
“Sorry. I uh … Sorry.”
“It’s fine. I would say the same but me complimenting you on your chest wouldn’t sound as cute.”
She burst out laughing. “Right. Inappropriate.”
She blushed and I found it incredibly cute. I guess my flirting powers were still working, I just hadn’t had a chance to activate them in awhile.
A month with no sexual contact whatsoever? That was a long ass time for me.
Not that I was thinking of our social worker in a sexual way because that would have been wrong. No matter if she was cute and sweet or not. She had the power to fuck us up and if I fucked her, chances are she’d retaliate. Not good. Sookie would kick my ass.
Speaking of Sookie. I tried my best to text her under the island, so that Meg wouldn’t see. But that didn’t work.
“Would you excuse me? I’m just going to put Jessica up in her room so she stays asleep. I’ll be right back.” She nodded and kept writing on her forms. I scooped the baby up as gently as I could, and she continued to snore. Yes, snore. I had no idea babies snored. It was funny, she sounded like a little car engine.
After I had her safely in her crib I took my chance to call Sookie. Not really caring that I was knocking off her date with Doctor Love. This was far more serious.
She answered the phone and she was a little hyper. She’d either had coffee or something, but it seemed too early for dinner to have ended. She promised she’d be on her way, so I decided to relax. If anyone could say all the right things to people who made the decisions on kids, it was Sookie. She was so straight laced. I, on the other hand, could handle business people, drunks, and Pam when she had PMS. But the idea of trying to make a good impression on the woman who held the power over that little baby? I’ll be honest. It scared the shit out of me.
No. Sookie could fix it.
Except Sookie couldn’t fix it, because Sookie stumbled into the hallway, drunk.
She insisted she wasn’t but I owned a bar. I’d seen my share of drunk women pretending to be sober before. And she… was… drunk.
I sent her upstairs to freshen up when her big blue eyes and her very shocked drunk self realized that she was, in fact, drunk. I had a feeling that drunk! Sookie was a fun Sookie, however, now was so not the time to find that out. I needed stick-up-her-ass Sookie to give me the proper things to say that meant Jessica got to stay in her home with us. Instead, I got hyper-silly Sookie.
Not good right now.
Eric was tall. I mean, I knew this; I’d seen him before, but suddenly he seemed even taller. I was freaking out as he told me and then I realized that I was in fact, drunk. Those damn glasses were so deceptive! Giant glassware was now my enemy! I took the stairs slowly, cursing whoever built the damn house because, really, were so many steps necessary?
I made it into the bathroom, and did as I was told. I splashed some water on my face, sprayed some perfume, and washed my hands. Then I went into Eric’s room and devoured the liter bottle of water sitting by his big comfy looking bed. Eric was weirdly neat for a guy. I mean, his apartment was in kind of a tizzy when we stopped by that one time, but in living with him, I saw that he was actually very neat. Much neater than I was, and he was considerate, he even put the toilet seat down and everything.
He also didn’t get mad at me in my drunken state, which I have to admit, had things been reversed I’d have been seriously pissed. He just seemed to have much more patience than I did. Maybe that’s why Jessica liked him better than she liked me? Or maybe I just wasn’t cut out to be anyone’s mother—fake stand-in mom or not.
I hated thinking like that, but with my problem that Bill kindly kept bringing up, and the fact that Jessica seemed to revolt against me as soon as the sun went down, I was feeling a little useless. I heard Eric and Megan shuffling through the halls towards what I assumed was Jessica’s bedroom. I stayed out of sight until I heard them laughing on their way down stairs again. As I tried to push those negative thoughts out of my head as I tiptoed back to my room before I slipped into the first items of clothes I could find—shorts and a t-shirt, adding flip flops for no reason other than to have shoes on—before I made my way to the kitchen.
When I got there I was greeted by the sound of a woman laughing. And then I saw it—Eric was leaning over the table smiling at the mystery laugher, a big genuine smile that I had rarely seen, and she was lapping it up, giggling.
“Oh, Sookie. Hi! Nice to see you again.” She stood up.
“Yep that’s right. How are you feeling? Eric tells me you aren’t feeling quite yourself tonight.”
I looked at him and from behind her back he just nodded at me. I guess in a way he was right, I wasn’t feeling myself tonight.
“Uhh no I uh, well…”
“What’s she’s trying to say, Meg is that she’s feeling really flu bound. That’s why she was seeing her doctor friend tonight, right Sook? He gave you the flu meds; it’s why you’re a little uneasy on your feet right now?”
I might have swayed from side-to-side. Or that just might have been the kitchen.
“Yep!” I smiled. “I was seeing a doctor. And then there were meds and that’s why I am how I am ’cause you know I’m not usually like this. I’m sure Eric’s told you all about me.”
“He has actually.” She smiled and nodded, friendly despite her clipboard of death.
“None of it’s true.” I stated trying to take a seat on the high stool in front of a standing and bug eyed Eric.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, I’m not really always a total bitch or at least I try not to be. I mean, I know I give him a hard time sometimes but that’s just because I’m scared, you know? And he’s the only one here for me to take it out on and sometimes it’s just all a little too much. And he loves Jess, you know? I mean, he pretends that he’s Mr. Cool and doesn’t give a shit about anyone, but he does—he totally does—and it’s a little bit adorable. In fact, I’m pretty sure she likes him better than she likes me. I mean, it’s really that the view is better from where she is with him, cause you know he’s so, SO tall. He’s tall isn’t he? Like, freakishly so.” I mused after my long rant.
“Uh Sook.” Eric tried to interject.
“No Eric, really it’s fine. She needs to know. I do try my best you know, but sometimes I’m convinced that like … I don’t know. It’s all very overwhelming and we’re doing our best, and we love that little girl even if we don’t love each other, and we’d never do anything to hurt her, I swear.”
Meg was clearly uncomfortable, shifting in her seat.
Eric spoke up.
“It’s the meds, usually she’s not so…”
“Blunt?” She finished for him.
“Yah.” I added sipping the water that Eric handed me. “Normally the rude blunt one is Eric, but that’s mostly to guys, who are—as I was told tonight—moving in on his territory.” I giggled. “It’s funny. It’s like he’s a lion or something. Isn’t that funny?” I snorted.
I almost swayed off the chair but Eric caught me just before she looked up from her papers.
“So Sookie, how … uh, other than the overwhelming feeling, what are your thoughts on motherhood so far?”
“I’m not really her mom, Hadley was her mom, I’m just a substitute. But I love her, and I hope one day she’ll understand all this and know that I love her and she might love me back.”
Eric looked at me, with what I assumed was concern written all over his pretty face.
He really was just so pretty. I wanted to pet him. Heh.
“I see. But you like having Jessica with you, right?”
“Of course, I mean, it’s scary and I’m freaking out like eighty percent of the time, but I—we—do our best and that’s all anyone can ask for, right?”
“And how are you and Eric getting along?”
I rolled my eyes. “Depends on the day, I guess. We’re like an old married couple.” I giggled.
“How so?” She asked me.
“Well…” I laughed at them both as Eric all but held me up on the chair. “We argue about the most stupid things, we share a house but barely see each other, we sleep in separate rooms, and have sex with other people.” I laughed out loud maybe a little too hard. Eric smirked and Meg giggled.
“So you two haven’t started … anything…”
“God no, are you kidding?” I yelled. “He and I … no, we would not mesh well at all. No we’re… just not like that. Right, Eric?”
He hesitated, and both Meg and I totally noticed.
“Uh, yeah… no that’s, that’s right. It would be… a disaster.”
“Good.” Meg said.
“Why is that good?” Eric asked.
“Well, as I said when we all first met, this situation is so… unique. It’s rare, two single people with a … how should I put it? Uh, personality clash, being signed over a baby girl. It’s complicated as it is, and adding casual sex would only complicate it even more.”
“So, us dating or sexing up anyone else, that’s totally fine by CPS?” I furrowed my brows, and Eric held onto me again to stop me from swaying off the chair.
“No, we’re not condoning that you just throw out the rules and have random strangers roaming your home. That would in no way be a safe environment for a child—but you’re both adults, both of sound mind and good heart from what I can tell—and I’m sure you’ll know when lines are being crossed.”
We both nodded. Well, I might have swayed.
“Right, well… I’ve seen all I need to see for now. Thank you so much both of you for being so open and honest about everything, it’s appreciated. And thanks for the tea, Eric.” She smiled at him. Oh… someone was smitten.
Megan and Eric sittin’ in a tree.
I moved to get up to show Megan out when Eric put his hand on my shoulder.
“I can show Meg out, Sookie, it’s fine.”
“Noo, I don’t want to be rude.” I shrugged his hand off and hopped off the stool—kind of forgetting how high up I was—landing with a bang on the kitchen floor.
“I’M GOOD! I’M OKAY.” I stood up. “See.”
They looked at each other and Eric shrugged.
Eric and I both walked Meg to the door with a promise to call her if we needed anything or felt overwhelmed, and that she’d be coming out again unannounced. Awesome, right? Now I was walking on eggshells.
When he closed the door he looked at me, shaking his head.
“How much have you had to drink, Sookie? You weren’t even gone that long.”
“It’s not my fault that they have giant glasses now, okay? More wine fits in there so more wine fits in me!”
“You’re so drunk, though I don’t think she realized it was drink drunk and not like, sick-meds-drunk. You want coffee?”
“Noope. I want wine.” I smiled.
“You can’t have wine.”
“Why not?” I pouted, following him into the kitchen.
“Because you have Jessica tomorrow, and because I’m moving my shit from my apartment and won’t be around and because … I don’t know, you’re going to wake up with a hangover and that’s never fun.”
Right, he was getting the last of his things picked up.
“But I want wine. I can have it if I want because you’re not the boss of me!” I pouted and yes I realize, sounded like a brat.
He poured me a small glass—a small normal size glass—of white wine that was in the fridge from the wake.
“Nooo.” I whined. “Aren’t you going to have one too?”
“Just one…” I held up one finger as if to make my point.
He relented and poured himself a glass, taking a seat opposite me at the kitchen island. We both sipped in silence for a few minutes. He just looked at me, in a way that I never remembered being looked at before. It was almost as if he saw through my whole being.
“Thank you.” I said.
“For that. For not selling me out as a drunken fool to Megan.”
He shook his head. “Why would I do that? You’re entitled to a little fun, just like everyone else. Just because she shows up on your date night doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.”
“But I drank too much. I’m a lightweight.”
“I see that.” He laughed.
“Wine is nice, it’s not my fault.”
“But still, I owe you for that. I mean, had you walked in drunk I can’t say I’d have been as calm.”
“Ah but that’s because you’re highly strung.”
“I am not!”
“Yeah you are, you totally are. With the lists and the schedule and Doctor Boring. It’s all very organized.”
He leaned over to me, a little too close for comfort. God, he smelled good.
“Just that… nice girls are meant to grow up, date and marry nice guys and nice guy doctors are even better right? But that’s not what you really want.”
“And you know what I want, do you?”
“Maybe I do.” He smirked.
“And what would that be?” Was it me or was the kitchen spinning?
“You want someone who excites you, someone who quickens your pulse, someone who you can’t stop thinking about when your not with them, someone who makes you feel safe, happy. But someone who can bring out the fun Sookie I know is buried in there somewhere. And something tells me that is not Doctor Boring.”
“How do you know she’s in here?” I rolled my eyes at his last comment, choosing to ignore it.
“Well, scared Sookie wasn’t the one flashing truckers, or getting that tattoo you think I can’t see…” I blushed. “… or tee-peeing your math teacher’s house after he failed you.”
I gasped. “Who told you that?”
He grinned “Amelia.”
“That whore.” I was so annoyed at her. “And by the way you can’t see my tattoo, so kindly shush.”
“Sure, it is in a rather concealed place, but Stackhouse, those bikinis you wear don’t exactly leave much to the imagination.”
“You been using your imagination then?” I hopped off the chair, this time without landing on my face, to leave my glass in the sink.
He just smirked.
“Oh, I bet you have. Too bad, Eric because your imagination is the only time you’ll see that tattoo. Sorry.”
He slipped off the stool and walked towards me, backing me into the sink.
“Is that right?”
God, I hated when he looked at me like that; that look, that stupid sexy look that made me want to jump him and hold on for dear life.
“Yep.” I croaked as he got closer.
“You sure. You won’t even give me … a little hint?” He looked at my lips as he licked his own, and God help me it felt like the air was sucked out of the room. Stupid quickening pulse, stupid tingles.
“Not even a peek?”
I scoffed. “Trust that is one place a ‘peek’ won’t be happening. Ever.”
“Okay fine.” He snapped out of his sexy stare vibe and was back to being the other Eric I knew and loathed… kind of.
“Fine?” I calmed my breathing without catching his attention.
“Yep, fine. Listen are you around on Sunday night?”
“Yeah, I finish work at six.” Usually I worked all weekend, before Jessica, but since I got Saturdays off, I got Sunday nights off too. It was sweet.
“Cool, I have a date so…”
“Mmm hmm. You know one of those things you tried to go on tonight. One of those.” He looked cocky. God, he was annoying. And seriously when would the kitchen stop moving?
“That’s fine. Fine, just fine.”
“So it’s fine then?” He laughed at me.
“Yep. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to bed.” I took off, sadly in the direction of the den.
“Sookie? Bedrooms are the other way.” He yelled to me.
“Thank you I know that I was just … just…” I walked out to the sound of his giggling at me.
Light was evil, sound was evil, those damn giant glasses of wine were evil. Eric was evil too. He jinxed me with his hangover talk, and what do you know? I felt like hell ran over—twice. Thankfully, I had my Saturday off and wanted nothing more than to sleep.
Of course, that couldn’t happen. Not where Eric and Jessica were concerned. They were watching some stupid singing kids show in his room, loudly, while Eric decided to sing along—out of tune, and again, fucking loudly.
I wandered into his room to find her on one of his chairs, and him on the other. He had a big bowl of mushed Rice Crispies that he was feeding her in between singing songs.
“What is this?” I pointed and looked for the remote.
“Barney. I don’t know. It’s annoying as hell but she likes it, and she laughs when I sing.”
“That’s because you sing badly.”
“Excuse me, Carrie Underwood. Or should that be Amy Winehouse … Did you see what I did there?”
I glared at him, turning down the volume.
I caught sight of myself in the mirror, oh Christ. Bed hair was of epic proportions.
“Fine, I’m going to take a shower.”
“Aunt Sookie is a wino. Can you say wino?” He coo’d at the baby.
He just laughed at me.
I showered off my hangover and thankfully Eric had made some kind of breakfast. I microwaved the bacon and sausage and made a messy sandwich with ketchup.
“That’s gross.” He commented walking Jessica into the kitchen on his feet. It was too cute a sight, no matter how horrible I felt.
“Nomp.” I said with a mouthful. “It’s awesome.”
“You want to take a drive into town with Jessica and me?” He asked letting her crawl on the floor before grabbing a water from the fridge.
“Well, we could get some groceries, and then I have to get a new shirt for my date tomorrow night, so I might stop by my place and get the last of my things.”
“You’ve been to the grocery story twice in the last week. What did you buy, air?”
He blushed. “I… well, I wasn’t sure what to get.”
That would explain the nutella and excessive amounts of biscuits, no meat, and lots of microwave meals.
“Right, sure okay.”
“Cool, and you’re still okay with Sunday?”
“Yep. Nights are my thing so it doesn’t matter anyway. Will … uh will you and your date be coming back here?” I tried to add as casually as I could while I poured my coffee.
“Maybe, probably. That’s … okay, isn’t it?”
I looked at him and faked a smile as best I could. “Sure of course, why wouldn’t it be?”
“Okay, well, cool. I’ll meet you in the car in ten, roomie.” He smiled.
Roommate, right because that’s all we could ever be.
A/N2: Me again, how did we like that? Let me know! 😀 I’ll have the link up on what this little world looks like in the profile shortly! Thank you for reading honey buns!