Chapter 25: Chapter 25
A/N: I had this just sitting around in my doc box and I thought, ‘oh, what the hell, I’ll post!’ – Happy reading, and Happy St Patrick’s day, from Ireland xox
I opened my eyes, and it was dark, the room was almost pitch dark, but the window let the lights from the pool give some clarity to my surroundings. I knew Sookie was still next to me, and I didn’t think I’d fall asleep, but somewhere between her warmth and the release I felt when I finally let go of what was building so slowly inside of me, I did.
I felt lighter almost, and I hadn’t even told her what had happened yet. And I’d cried, I felt like a pussy since I hadn’t really cried in years, but it also felt good to know that I could do that and not worry about what she thought of me. She’d come to me and she’d yanked me out of my stream of self pity, and for that I’d always be thankful to her.
She was breathing in and out slowly so I knew she was still asleep, so I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her closer again.
“Eric are you awake?” She whispered and I had to laugh.
“If you wanted to wake me, just nudge me in the ribs.”
“No.” she whispered, “I didn’t want to wake you if you were still asleep… I just… really have to pee.”
I smiled and lessened my grip on her and she scooted out of bed and in the direction of the bathroom, I felt my hangover hit me full force as I woke myself up a little more. The last thing I remembered it was Wednesday, it was now Tuesday, that wasn’t so good. I made a mental note to get rid of whatever boozes was in the house, this shit had to stop. I’d remembered passing out and waking up a number of times, but that was it. Sookie came back a new minutes later, smelling like the soap in the bathroom, she slid into her spot on the guest bed next to me. We just laid there for a few minutes, just her looking at me, and me, looking at her. I knew she was curious so I just came out with it.
She raised her brow.
“About … the baby?” she asked clearly confused.
I sighed before saying it out loud finally.
“Yeah, she wasn’t really pregnant.”
“Oh, my God, Eric… I … what?”
“Yeah, that was my initial reaction, like what the fuck, right? Turns out, she was faking it for some crazy reason that she thought would get us back together, and then she’d fake losing the fake baby…”
“Jesus Christ, she’s…” Her hand went to her mouth in disbelief. I knew that feeling all too well.
“I didn’t believe her at first, but then after a couple of weeks she did seem to get bigger, and she just kept on getting bigger, you know? So I just thought ‘ yeah she’s pregnant’ – I mean you see a bump, you assume, right?”
“How did you -”
I hated her all over again, just forcing myself to recall that day.
“I found the padding that she’d been using to fill the gap, to make her look like she was pregnant.”
“I can’t even believe she would do that, I can’t… I would have killed her.”
“I wanted to. She used it against me, the one thing that I swore I’d never do-”
“Abandon your kid?”
“Yeah. And she used that and I ate it up like an idiot. I don’t know why I trusted her again, I didn’t want to trust her, and I knew deep down that I shouldn’t have. But I did because it was what I thought I wanted, just that chance to do good… and with a kid I had a chance at starting over maybe?
“I can understand that, but to not question her to the point of finding out for sure, at the start?”
“A little bit.” She cringed.
“I know, but like I said, then there was a bump and I guess I ignored my gut feeling that she was still twitchy. I just don’t know how I let her do it to me, again. I really shouldn’t be allowed out in society.” I sighed.
“I wouldn’t go that far, but you were a little too trusting, believe me I’ve learned that lesson the hard way.”
“What do you mean?”
We were still whispering, and I don’t think either of us knew why, we just were, things felt more personal this way, almost like we were sharing secrets.
She turned to face the ceiling too like me, before she let out a big breath.
“While our friendship was on an idiotic hiatus, I did something stupid… extremely stupid”
“As stupid as believing your evil ex in the lie that she was having your baby?”
“Hmmm. It’s up there with you, let me tell you.”
“So, what did you do?”
“I trusted douche model.”
“Douche- CHAD? Ew. Sookie tell me you -”
“I did.” She looked suitably ashamed, I guess it was comforting to know that she was capable of fucking up, too.
“Gross.” I said, hating him instantly and even more than before. “Are you two still?”
“No, God no. He was a … well, kind of a fame-whore to be quite honest, and all the red flags were there, so I stopped returning his calls and I stopped calling him.”
“Yeaah, not so good. Turns out he was a little douche-tastic in other areas too. You see, he taped me while we were… well… while we were … doing the deed.” She said using finger quotes. So Sandy hadn’t just fallen off her rocker completely then.
“Yeah, don’t worry though… I mean, I don’t give a shit that people saw me fucking him, I mean they’ve seen me fake fucking you, right? It’s not all that different, except you knew that I was faking it, he didn’t.”
“Right?” She inhaled a deep breath again before rolling her eyes at whatever she was thinking.
“What did your dad say?”
She sighed again, “He said that he was supportive of whatever I wanted to do, but I could tell he was disappointed, not that I blame him, it’s like ‘ hi dad, your only child is a whore, how about that?’ you know?”
“You’re not a whore, believe me.”
“He made me feel like I was though, and God, Jesus, people have been so mean about it. I mean the paparazzi are treating me like I’m a hooker and asking all kinds sex questions now, and leering at me in a way that they didn’t before, and on the Internet – the things those girls said… I know most of them were on my side for whatever reason, like, they knew I was against my will and leaked and shit, but some of them were just plain evil I swear to God it just…” Her voice broke and I could hear her trying to push back her tears. I just found her hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze and she let a sob out. “I feel so stupid. I just… I didn’t even have hot feelings for him he was just something to do so that I’d stop thinking about-”
She stopped and I saw her bite her lip.
She turned to face me then, her big blue eyes glassy with her un-shed tears, “you.” She said, touching my face ever so gently. “I was using him so I wouldn’t have to deal with my guilt over how I treated you, Eric I’m so sorry that I just fucked off and left you with all that stuff. I just… the idea of seeing you with her…”
“I wasn’t though, with her, I mean, she and I never -”
“I know, but in my head you were fucking her all over the house while picking out baby names.”
“Yeah… it was.” She smiled.
We laid there, for a few minutes more in silence.
“It hurt me you know?”
“Well yes, and I know that it’ll take me a long fucking time to understand all that, but … you… hurt me. Since we’re being honest here.”
She sniffled again, as if trying to stop herself from shedding those tears.
“I know, it was incredibly selfish thing to do, I can’t … I can’t believe I just tucked tail and ran so fast. I’m not usually like that.”
She did seem loyal, and I trusted that, it’s what made her exit from my life that much more painful.
“I mean, I get it, I do. Being involved like that, with something so fucked up? I’d have ran too… I just wish you hadn’t. I really needed you, the friend you, this last few months.”
And that’s when she just didn’t bother holding back her sobs anymore. She just let them fly, she wiped away her tears as she got out of the bed, and I followed.
“I said I was sorry, Eric, and I meant it! I’m not this perfect girl that knows when to not fuck up okay? I was scared and I … I’m sorry. I was a shitty person and I’m sorry okay. But… I mean… I’m here now. And I’m here for you if you need me.” She said between sniffles, and I’d never before seen her look so small (and for a midget it wasn’t hard to see her small) or so young as she did with her top knot and tears.
“Hey… come ‘ere.” I said taking her into a cuddle, and she still sobbed, it broke me.
“I’m sorry.” She said again, muffled as it was into my chest, “I’m sorry you had to deal with that alone.”
Me too, I thought. But decided that I needed … we needed to move on from here.
“Sookie, hey, look at me.”
She did, red nose, red eyes and puffy lips, “Yeah?”
“I’m starving, let’s order some pizza or something?” I smiled. And eventually she did too.
Forty-five minutes later we were sitting in my newly cleaned up kitchen with a large pizza, some sodas and some brownies for after, my hangover slowly subsiding. We ate mostly in silence, having said most of what really needed to have been said throughout the day.
“Hoyt was really worried about you, he was panicking.” She said munching on her slice. “I text him while you were sleeping to let him know you were at least alive.”
“And he didn’t tell you what happened?”
“Nope, see that’s the thing about Hoyt, Eric, he’s loyal.”
I nodded, I got that I really did, and I felt like shit for letting him quit because of her.
“I’m going to have to talk to him aren’t I?”
“Yeah you are, and there should be grovelling. And maybe a gift.”
“Guys don’t get guys gifts.”
“Fine, we’ll shop for it together, but I think he’d like something to show how much you appreciate him.”
“Yeah.” she said chewing away, was it weird that I liked that she felt comfortable enough with me to chew like an idiot? Well, I did.
“When I fuck up with Jessica… well there are levels. Something minor? Trip to Sephora, something major like a bitchfit for no reason? We’re talking the Grove’s higher end stores or a trip to Robertson.”
“Yep.” She smiled. I liked her goofy smile, not many people got to see that.
“So what do I get him?”
She pondered, “I’ll think of something, don’t worry about it.”
When Sookie left, we’d made plans to meet up the following morning and go shopping for Hoyt, since apparently he was still smarting from our last conversation, that I was too out of it drunk to even recall. I had some serious making up to do, he was the one guy in all this mess that had tried his best to stick by me and be honest with me and what did I do? I ignored it.
I had to start being smart about my decisions, and about the people in my life. I had to be less trusting of just anyone out for a good time and I had to start taking myself seriously. I mean, if I didn’t take myself seriously, how the fuck did I expect anyone else to take me seriously? So I started at the top of my list.
Firing my so called ‘Team’.
It was around eight o clock the next morning when I got out of the shower, having slept on my decisions, and made a few others. I’d had a near miss of epic proportions where Sandy was concerned, there was no baby – and that was in itself a sort of miracle. I’d dodged a very big, very insane bullet and I was done feeling sorry for myself. I had to be. I got out of the shower, and gave myself a close shave and even used some skin cream for the first time in months. I had to start caring about myself again, which meant little to no booze, no idiotic drugs for the shit and giggles of it all, and most of all, no more mindless hook ups. They weren’t fun, they looked fun, and sounded fun, but the fact is, sex with strangers is what it is. Disconnected and soulless. And I didn’t need nor did I want that anymore. I wanted … something more, something better.
The phone rang twice before Calvin answered. I was brief.
“Calvin, our contract is up.”
“Excuse me? Eric, come on now you know I knew nothing about what Sandy was up to!”
“Regardless, You haven’t been doing your job and I’m out.”
“No, my contract has been up for two weeks. I just haven’t gotten around to re-signing with you guys, and I’m not going to either. I’m done. You hear me? It’s as simple as that. It’s not working and that’s that.”
He grovelled but I’d reached my quota on his false promising bullshit. The man was like a father figure to me in so many ways. But he wasn’t doing what he was paying him to do, and that was the bottom line. The next on my list was Bill, he was harder to talk down with his bullshit, but I can’t describe the relief I felt when I hung up that phone call, and once I did I did the second thing on my list.
I booked a flight to Stockholm and then I called my father, for the first time in years.
The phone rang and rang, and I almost hung up on it a few times in the time that it took someone to answer.
I coughed just a little bit, before I spoke. “Dad?”
There was a small silence, “Eric? Eric, is that really you?”
“Oh, my goodness, it is you. Eric! How are you! It’s so good to hear your voice, son.”
My voice, I’d lost it I felt in that second and it took me another to remember to breathe. And when I did, we actually talked. He was so pleased to hear from me, so much so that I could hear the emotion in his voice. We talked for well over an hour, about all manner of things, but mostly of how he missed me … and I admitted just how much I missed him, too. It was when I told him that I’d booked a flight to Sweden that his mood improved drastically. He was so excited to see me, and it made me more happy than I thought something so small could.
I was going to fix things, one step at a time.
The last two weeks in May in Los Angeles that year was hell on earth weather wise, the temps were so ridiculously high it felt like everyone was just baking slowly. And it made shopping more of a chore than anything. I was in denim shorts and a white long tank and I still felt as if I had a fur coat on.
“This heat is ridiculous!”
“I know.” he said and I felt bad for him, we’d traipsed through dozens of stores and he was in jeans. Ick.
We walked around for a little while longer, while Eric humm’d and haa’d over various items for Hoyt that I was suggesting. Men, I swear they were worse than women at this kind of thing. We’d finally taken a break for some lunch and some much needed iced drinks when we got down to proper conversation.
“So I did something this morning that I’m actually excited about.” He said.
“You… discovered masturbation is a better idea than fucking skanks?”
“Ha. Ha.” He deadpanned. “You’re right, but no, not that.”
“Well, two things actually, first I fired Bill and Calvin.”
I couldn’t help but be seriously happy about that news, those two douchebags were nothing but trouble.
“That’s great, Eric, really! I mean you can start looking for some actually decent reps, now!”
“Yeah.” He smiled, big and real, I loved that smile. “I can, I mean it’s daunting, but I think I can find some good people this time.”
“Sure, hey I can even ask Pam if she knows who could handle you.”
“Not many can… handle me.” He wriggled his brows and I just kicked him gently under the table.
“And your second thing? Besides being a pervert.”
He laughed, “My second thing was probably the scariest thing I’ve done in a long time.”
“This including Sandy?”
His face hardened a little. Shit, too soon for jokes I guess.
“I’m sorry, I was just being a bitch.”
He sipped his juice and just continued, “I called my dad.”
“Oh my GOD! Eric! That’s so – Wait this story ends good, right? Or do we hate your dad.”
“No, we don’t hate him it does end well.”
“Oh. Well. That’s okay then. Yay!” I encouraged. This was really an amazing first few steps for him.
“Yeah.” There was that smile again, “It was actually pretty amazing, and he wasn’t like I remember him at all, he was totally chilled out… and that’s why I um, I booked a flight to Sweden, for a week next week.”
“Aw, dude, I’m so… proud of you.” I said trying not to sound overly cheesy, but he smiled again, it was a good look on him.
“You know what, I’m kind of proud of me too, for the first time in… a really long time. I feel good about the future, I feel happy about the not knowing instead of freaking out over it, because I think, or at least I hope I’ve been though enough shit that maybe things do get to my way for a little while at least. You know?”
“I know. I do, and for the record I can be your biggest cheerleader if you need one.”
“Does it involve a uniform?”
“Do you have to make everything dirty?
“Images of you bouncing around in a cheer costume? I’d say, yeah, I do.”
“Such a pervert.” I shook my head at him and he just laughed.
“Yeah, but you like me. So by extension, you like my pervy nature as well.” He winked.
“Oh, please. Like you? Psh. So full of it.” I smiled. “I just keep you around to make fun of really, I mean we all need someone to do that right?”
“Oh, of course, and I just keep you around to enjoy the view of those amazing breasts.”
“See? Works out perfectly. I have a verbal punching bag and you have my girls. We’re all happy.”
“Shit.” he said and I noticed that he tensed up, “I really thought they’d moved on.”
“Where are they?”
“Across the street I just saw them pull up. Jesus.”
“Has she gone to the tabloids?”
“Not that I know of, I’m sure they would be a lot more aggressive if she had. I really don’t know what she’s going to do, it’s making me nervous that she just left like she did.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean, it’s like you know the crazy is out there but you can’t see it so you don’t know what she’s planning.”
“I think you need to get a lawyer and some advise on what to do about it, if she does and lies to the tabloids then that’s damaging to you – you just need some more people on your side.”
“Like me, but people that can do stuff for you, like a good manager and a good honest Public Relations person, and -”
“Do those exist?”
“Yeah, I mean, look at Amelia she’s – oh my God, she’s looking for clients, she just started in Pam’s company as a PR rep, she’s been shadowing some of the people as a trial run, but if you requested her I’m sure that would impress the higher ups. She has a really great resume.”
“Sookie, you don’t have to sell it do me, I like Amelia, I do, she’s blunt.”
“You need blunt, sorry, but you do.”
“So do you.”
“Yes,” I sounded it out for effect, “And that’s why I have Pam, and Amy and Ames. All scary ass bitches when they want to be. I have Jessica for my nice normal friend.”
He just laughed. “Shit we still haven’t found him anything.”
“I know, you suck at this shopping thing.”
“Well excuse me if I don’t look at it like a sport.”
“Ah, but it is a sport, you have to prepare and wear the right things and not be afraid to break a sweat.”
“I know, I’m hilarious.” I rolled my eyes at myself, I really wasn’t hilarious. I was kind of lame.
“How about I just give him a paid vacation, for the week I’ll be in Sweden? Send him, and Jess somewhere nice? If you don’t need her that week I mean.”
“I’m sure I could manage… where were you thinking?”
“I don’t know, I royally fucked up so…”
I nodded, “Think about it, it’s expensive so he’ll know what you spent – so he knows you’re not half assing it, but also it’s thoughtful enough that you included Jessica… and it’s a romantic place for them, and they’re a romantic couple still in the honeymoon period… it’s perfect.”
“I guess you’re right. Fine, I’ll call my travel agent and set it up when I get home. Why didn’t I think of that before? It would have saved the heat stroke and nine thousand stores.”
“This is true, you would have but then again you’d have also missed out on a chance to spent time with me, and we all know how you looove that.”
“Sarcasm aside, I really do… love that.” I met his eyes and I saw that he was in fact being sincere and the joking tone that our day had had, was now gone, replaced by something … else.
And I know what you’re thinking, why not just tell him, flat out, what you’re feeling? Well, I wish things were that simple, but they weren’t. It wasn’t what I needed, nor was it what he really needed right at that time. If I told him I loved him, everything changed, and he’d had enough shock changes to last him a life time. So no, I didn’t say anything and I wouldn’t until I thought either one of us was ready. Then, and only then would I let that secret slip, but for now I just loved him, and kept it to myself. Little did I know it at the time, but I would soon find out that I wasn’t the only one in the family that was used to keeping things to themselves. Only this bombshell was more devastating than even I would have imagined.
A/N.2: Thank you thank you thannnk you for all the previous reviews and PM love, it really means the world that you guys are loving this as much as I am right now! And yes, I did the cliffhanger thing again, I could see anyway past it, so for those of you that that annoys, I am kinda sorry! Tell me what you think! xox
Chapter 26: Chapter 26
“So you have everything, passport, tickets, stash of cocaine in your carry on.” Hoyt said, laughing as we pulled up in the airport parking lot, he’d been back ‘working’ for me for a week, and it had been a great week all in all, I couldn’t complain. We’d done a photo shoot with the cast, and then with Sookie – it was a blast really, goofy and carefree, but with the end result working towards the show. It was progress.
What was also progress was my relationships, both working and professional.
I’d apologised to Hoyt and to Jessica (since I was sure she’d bared the brunt of his frustrations with me in his rants that I knew he was sometimes fond of) when I had the tickets for Hawaii, and their hotel booking confirmed. They were over the moon and thankfully I was forgiven rather fast. Sookie and I were, slowly but surely building back our trust, I wanted to trust that she wouldn’t just freak and run the next time shit got back, and I wanted to trust that I wouldn’t do the same either, it was a process, but we were working on it. Something else that was working was Pam, and shockingly, for me. She’d been against the idea in the beginning, but Sookie being Sookie, she went to bat for me – again and convinced her that her company needed me. Eventually she gave me Amelia as my new PR but decided that another manager was called for where I was concerned. It was how I ended up with Claudine Crane. Claudine was an incredibly smart and sometimes terrifying woman, she was about five ten in flats which gave her a good height advantage when dealing with me, we were eye to eye – in more ways than one. When she took the meeting with me, she was blunt and to the point, telling me that I had no real idea what I was doing and ‘fannying about Hollywood with sluts’ wasn’t going to get the job done. I knew that, but it was just refreshing for someone in charge to just say it outright like that the way she did. She’d decided that I needed to clean up my act, and my act she meant ‘image’, and to get the Sandy situation under control. She’d contacted her PR and her manager and her lawyer for a meeting, I didn’t need to be there, nor did Sandy. She just wanted to make sure Sandy wouldn’t go to the tabloids about the ‘fake baby’ and blow it up in my face. I was thankful for Claudine.
“Yes, I have my stuff and don’t joke about drugs around an airport dude I don’t want to be strip searched for fuck sake.”
“Yeah, yeah, anyway, you need a hand inside, or are you good?”
I had one bag and one case, I was good.
“And listen, Eric, thanks for… this week, I mean Jess will love it, I’ll love it, too, so thank you.”
“No problem man.” He was blushing, he and I didn’t do ‘serious’ so well, but it was time for a little bit of seriousness I felt.
“And thank you, you know, for not really giving up on me through that whole thing, and for getting Sookie to kick my ass.”
“She’s good, she cleaned you up faster than I could.”
“Neither of you should have to do that, and you won’t not from now on. I promise.”
“You don’t gotta promise me anything, you know? People have problems.” He shrugged.
“True, but if I learned anything from this mess it was that I create most of mine, and that has to stop.”
“Just, maybe be more picky where women are concerned, okay? And have some holy water by the bed this time.”
“Enjoy Snowy Sweden.” He said.
“Dude, it’s May, you know the snow does melt.”
“Eh, either way, enjoy and have fun, and relax. I know I will.”
I grabbed my shit and headed for my airline queue, first New York for a short stop over, and then I’d be landing at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport, after a too long flight, I hoped I’d sleep through most of it.
“It’s too loose.” I said as the tailor cinched in the waist of the soon to be returned Jason Wu dress.
“Yeah, well If you’d stop losing so much weight.” Amelia interjected from my bed, flipping through one of my magazines.
“I can’t help it, they’ve stuck me on a ‘fitness programme’ and it’s getting me tiny. They want tiny.”
“I thought you told them to kiss your size four ass?”
“I did, turns out they don’t really give a shit what I think as long as I’m thin enough for the shoots and the sample sizes.”
It was the truth, as sad as it was.
“And what are you now? A two?”
I looked in the mirror, no I wasn’t a two.
“Azero.” I mumbled.
“A … Sookie, Jesus Christ.”
“I know, okay, but I’m building muscle slowly and it’ll bring me back to normal, I hate being like this.” I felt bones in places I hadn’t before. I still had some of my boobs but not nearly enough of them, nor was my butt as jiggly any more. I missed my ass, something I thought I’d never say.
“I know it’s bullshit, but it’s business.”
“Careful…” she sing songed at me.
“You’re starting to sound like those girls, you know the ‘I’ll just have water and a lettuce leaf thank you.” girls. Do not let me catch you at that shit. You hear?”
“I hear, calm down. I eat! Carbs and everything.”
“A little lean chicken and lots of water.”
It was boring as hell.
“But I’ve had pizza this week, and I’m eating lots of fruit.”
“You’re justifying it… unbelievable, next you’ll be telling me you don’t feel well after dinner and seeing it in reverse.”
“Hey. I do not have a damn eating disorder, those things are serious. I have a regime and it’s one that’s working so I can work.”
“And when it stops working?”
“Then, so do I? Dude, I don’t know okay? I don’t like being this thin, but it is what it is and it’s not like I’m weak and frail okay? I kick box and I workout my body is stronger than it’s ever been, there’s just less of it. For now.”
“For now.. Hmm. Okay.”
It was still such bullshit, we were too fat, we were too thin, society was fucked and we were all just stuck in the middle of it paying the price and never quite achieving perfection.
I knew that I didn’t want perfection, I was a realist, I knew that perfection didn’t exist, I just wish that the casting directors and the media would get that message too.
The reason for the expensive dress and the alterations of said dress, I had the American Premiere of the indie movie I shot with Johnny that night, being a man of intolerance where the press was concerned I was happy to note that he was in a great mood and as my ‘date’ we’d go, do our thing, and sell the movie, hopefully. Because he was who he was, there was a big buzz for his directorial debut, and because my father was who he was, people were interested in me too, it all added up according to Pam, and these little public appearances would all help when Fallen came time to air too, according her ‘everything’ I did helped be ‘build a fan base’, personally I thought that was also bullshit, and that my acting should built any and all fans – but apparently just like being a size four, in this I was also ‘wrong’. The joys, right?
Crowds still freaked me out, and believe me there were crowds at this thing, all fans and all for Johnny. And a few took pity on me too it seemed, though more than a few told me they loved Never Look Back and couldn’t wait for Fallen and thought my Twitter was hilarious. I sometimes forgot that people in my blackberry were real, oops.
I signed, I posed, and we enjoyed it, it was actually fun – Johnny was a veteran at all this shit, and he walked through it all like the pro he was, even if he had a swig or two of wine in him at the time. While it was awesome, it was also missing that key thing that I’d come to recognise crowds and signings with – Eric.
I missed him, he’d been gone three whole days and I … missed him. I was such a sap. I’d heard from him when he first arrived in Sweden, I was more than pleased that he’d finally found his balls enough to call his father, since it seemed they were both at a stand-off of epic proportions and if it kept up neither of them would have heard from the other forever. Not a good idea. Something else I had discovered from my father was that he was in fact as of recently getting in touch with Eric’s father – over what he called ‘that internet’, yes my father actors, writer and director extortionate was an internet ‘noob’ and he enjoyed the singing on ‘the you tube’ very much. I really did wonder how he spent his days. But yes, his contact with Eric’s father was new, and apparently after the whole Sandy debacle my dad felt the need to interfere. He was, like me, just as thrilled to hear that Eric was making that connection again – or at the very least attempting to. From my father’s mouth, Eric’s father William was a decent hard working man, he just didn’t understand nor did he seem to want to tolerate the whole Hollywood scene. He was happy enough living and working where he was, it had been Eric’s mother that had pushed for a fancier way of life, and used Eric to get it. The realisation that Eric had been used as a pawn one way or another most of his life, really saddened me. No kid should have to go through that, and no adult really either, but to have to go through it over and over again? I wondered how he trusted people at all?
After the première we’d all ended up at the ‘W’ hotel for drinks, and of course the paparazzi followed. The next morning there were rumours flying that we’d checked in to make another sex tape – hilarious, right? Not so much, really. I’d done my best to ignore the rumours, and it did seem that the media was mostly on my side when it came to how I was set up – but of course you’ll get the odd and rather loud few that like to wax on and on about how I ‘deserved’ it to knock me off my ‘high horse’ – I was on a high horse? That was new.
It was funny to see the perception that people had of you suddenly, they thought they knew you, they thought they liked you, and more so lately, they thought they hated me.
Interesting to say the least.
The next few days had consisted of events. Events that came from nowhere to being on my calendar suddenly. All part of Pam’s ‘plan’ to make me more visible, apparently. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of whoring myself out in such a way, but they were fun at the time, and there was charities involved and that was a major plus for me, too often it seemed that this town took itself too seriously and forgot the rest of the world that wasn’t as lucky, or as rolling in the dough, the fashion for charity was fun I’d admit, and I was even becoming less and less scared by the zillion flash bulbs on the red carpets. Amy was with me at all times though, that helped, since if anyone asked a question that I wasn’t too thrilled about asking, she’d simply set in and be her badass self. It was relief to have that kind of back up, it made me wonder how Eric coped for so long without it… and then I remembered, he didn’t cope at all. He floundered. I hoped that now he had people that seemed to actually give a fuck about their clients that that wouldn’t be the case.
When I landed at the airport, over looking the city that I’d once called home, I felt oddly emotional, I had missed it, all of it, more than even I had allowed myself to realise, it looked to be a beautifully bright day, and I was more than looking forward to getting to know the city again, and had things gone wrong with my dad I might just be spending more time outside than I had planned.
I didn’t think that it would go wrong though, or at least I hoped it wouldn’t. I knew my dad had a small farm house in the countryside that he had once lived in full time, but after he had met and married his new wife, they had moved to a town house in the centre of Stockholm, it made travelling from the airport that much easier. I brushed up on my Swedish talking to the taxi driver, and it was like riding a bike, it was all still in there it seemed, who I was and who I used to me, maybe I was still that guy… I’d just forgotten how to be him, peacefully.
I’d called my dad from the airport, telling him that I’d got in earlier than usual, and that I’d find the house via the taxi he was insistent that he pick me up, but I didn’t mind at all, since it gave me more time to prepare myself. It wasn’t that I was scared but I was nervous. Phone conversations were one thing, staying the week and really getting into it was quite another.
When I pulled up outside the burnt orange brick house I knew I had the right one, there was a balcony wrapping all the way around the third floor, and since it was the last house on the end of the street it got the luxury of only having one side adjoined to another building, I liked that.
When I knocked on the door I took a deep breath in the hopes that this would go well, and when I saw my fathers smiling face on the other side of the door, I knew things would be okay.
When he greeted me it was with glassy eyes and a smile, he was alone in the house since his wife was food shopping with the baby, who admittedly I was dying to meet. We walked inside and he showed me around, it was a three story house, compact in width but in depth it had plenty of space. Light and airy and very Swedish, I’d forgotten about that aspect of my culture, minimalism at it finest, clean lines and freshness just oozed from the house, but it was also clearly a lived in home. There were pictures of my dad and Sara all over, his new wife I’d have to say was in her early thirties at a guess, I wasn’t so sure how I felt about my father being married to a woman closer to my age than his, but he seemed happy so far and that’s all anyone can really ask for, right? Their house also housed pictures of me, from when I was a kid with my parents and with my dad, and some as I got older. I liked that I had a place in their lives here even if it was just a little one in frames. I was brushing up on my Swedish as well as we spoke alone, it was refreshing and almost took me back to when I was a kid.
“I think Lena will like you, she’s a pleasant baby, makes strange with a few people but mostly at Sara’s mother, she doesn’t like her and probably with good reason, she’s an old goat.”
“This coming from the spring chicken in the corner?” I laughed.
“Ah yes, well, it is a little strange I suppose.”
Not really, in Sweden it was almost the norm, way older men with way younger women, usually wife number two or three as I recalled.
“What’s she like?” I asked, curious about the smiling brunette in the pictures.
“Kind, and sweet in a way that I’d forgotten women could be. We met at her offices when I was looking into getting the farm insured, she runs and owns her own insurance firm in the city, does quite well. She likes to laugh, and it brought me back to myself again that she’s even look twice at someone my age.” My father was in his late fifties, I didn’t see how he was so old but I guess going out with a woman twenty years your junior might make one feel their age just that little bit more.
“She’s curious about you, and us, Eric.” He said cautiously and it made me wonder if she wasn’t the only one curious about us.
“I know, I am as well.” I said with a smile. “Dad I want to be honest here, it’s my new thing, honesty I’m trying it out…”
“I hated you, for a long time, and without any real reasons, only one – that you gave up on me.”
“Eric…” He said looking more sad that I remembered.
“No. I thought for so long that because you hated what I did, that that meant you hated me too, and I closed myself off to people, I stopped connecting with them like I used to, I stopped all of that because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone again. And by being cut off I realized that if I did disappoint them, I wouldn’t care because I wouldn’t care what they thought of me. But I care what you think of me, dad. And I want to know why you just stopped the way you did?”
We were sat at his kitchen table, drinking our coffee and eating what tasted like home made scones, and he sighed looking away from me in that moment.
“I… didn’t think you needed me. That’s all I know, you were so grown up so young and you seemed to have it all worked out, Eric. Your mother was the driving force behind getting you into movies, I never cared for all that, not because I disapproved of you or it, I think you have a tremendous talent and I’m nothing, Eric, nothing if not proud of you. I just, didn’t understand my place in all that noise. And when your mother and divorced she somehow convinced me you were better off without my ‘old interfering opinions’ as she called them, even though she’s as old and as opinionated as I am.” He smiled a little then, “I hated it. But I thought that that’s what you wanted. You wanted to be free of me. So I left it alone. I felt that if I didn’t push you or pull you that you might come to me on your own.”
“And when I didn’t?”
He shrugged. “It reinforced the thought that you didn’t need me. I see now, just how wrong that was, and I am so sorry, son.”
After many more confessions of inadequacy as both father and son, he and I managed to somehow understand our past, not completely, I don’t know if it’s possible to ever fully understand a person, or their actions and non actions, but that day and that conversation allowed us to shed some light at least on that tiny bit of ourselves that we’d both misjudged completely. I met his wife, who it seemed was more mature than her years and complimented my father’s introverted personality with an outgoing but not in your face personality all her own. She was, eccentric, and hilarious in a way that I could why he loved her. She was ballsy but still very much approachable, and I liked her, and them, as a couple very much. As for Lena, baby Lena, she was interesting in her own way. She looked like Sara, but she had my dad, and in turn, my eyes. Hers were just as big, just as blue but held so much curiosity that it made me wonder if I’d lost that look in myself. The first few days it was understandable that she was weary of me, though she seemed to recognise me too, my father assured me that it was from the many photographs and the many stories he’d told her about me, I didn’t really buy that a one year old could remember, but anything was possible I suppose. After my forth day there, she’d taken to me like a duck to water, she didn’t seem to want to leave my arms, it was a comforting notion that this innocent little thing trusted me like she did, it made me want to be there, to see her grow up. I wondered how we could all be closer, with me living so far from them and vice versa. We’d spent my last three days sightseeing, my father, Lena and I as Sara went off to work her nine to five job, and my father checked in on the farm once or twice. He’d told me he was a lot less hands on these days since he’d hired a ‘bloody good manager’ allowing him to be a stay at home father like he’d wanted, it was obviously a good move for him, he seemed content.
“And what will it be, son, to make you just as content?” He asked when I told him my thoughts.
“I don’t know. Honestly.”
“Acting world domination? Superstardom? Money?”
“If I have enough money to live that should be enough, right?”
“You remember that value then?”
“I’m not extravagant… well maybe when it comes to some things, but not all things. And the things I am extravagant about I could just as easily live without.” I mused. “And I do love my work, but sometimes I question if that’s all there is.”
“Just acting, just losing myself for a period of time to a character – sometimes it’s to my determent. Sometimes it’s harder for me to remember, where I am and where he would begin and end.”
“Or over dramatic.” I laughed, “I’m not sure dad, we’ll see.”
“And of Sookie?”
“What about Sookie?”
“Well.” His smile was coy, he knew something.
“You know Earl and I have been in touch. We’ve much in common he and I.”
“I heard that, what have you heard?”
“Nothing, much.” He sighed before taking a sip of his tea, as we sat in the café I’d come to make my second home while in Stockholm, since it was just a stone through from the house, and served the best coffee I’d remembered tasting. “You’ve told me a lot about her on your trip and I feel like I know her already through her father’s tales of her – and you – both. I was just curious if maybe there was more to this friendship than either Earl or I know of? I’ve seen her photo, she’s a beautiful woman.”
“She is.” I smiled.
“I also heard of her recent scandal. A sex tape? Did the Americans crucify her for it?”
“She didn’t know she was being filmed.”
“How awful for her. I mean if you’re going to film sex, at least be an active participant. Did she sue?”
Ew, the visuals as to why he would say such a thing.
“She did, and of course there was uproar from all ends, but Sookie isn’t prudish about her body, it was more her trust that he fucked with rather than her body, you know?”
“She doesn’t strike me as the kind that needs defending often.”
“She’s not. She’s a fighter, sometimes she lets that slip though and you see just how vulnerable she can be, but she’s a strong woman, even if she sometimes forgets it.”
“And of you and her?”
I rolled my eyes. “We’re friends, Dad.”
“Ah, friends. Of course.”
“That smug smiled, what does that mean!”
“Nothing son, nothing at all. It’s just, I don’t talk about my friends the way you talk about Sookie, in fact I don’t know anyone who does… it’s just interesting that’s all.”
“Yes. Very.” He smiled again and it seemed that he believed what he wanted, regardless of what I said. Apparently he knew better. Interesting indeed.
I’d been in bed maybe all of twenty minutes, being boring and watching the late night talk shows with my facemask on and my hair lathered in deep conditioner, when my phone rang.
I hated and loved that my heart skipped several beats when I saw his name on my caller ID, I ignored both feelings and answered.
“God natt, Eric.” I smiled when I answered even though he couldn’t see it.
“You speak Swedish?”
“I wish, no, Google tells me things, it was probably wrong.” I admitted.
“You’re fine with that I think. I’m re-learning almost myself. I’d let it get rusty over the years.”
“Well yeah, you’ve been yankified, clearly shunning your Scandinavian roots for our wild western ways.”
“Coming from the girl that grew up in… Paris.”
“Oh shush, anyway, how goes it? We still like your dad right?”
“Yes, we still like my dad.” I could hear him smiling, “And we like his new wife too, she’s kind of cool.”
“And the baby?”
“Adorable. Terrifying, but adorable all at the same time. A eighteen month old is a lot of work, but she likes me.”
“Well of course, she’s female. Don’t they all? Even the tiny ones?”
“And I thought you said she was one?”
“I … forgot.”
“Such a dude.” I rolled my eyes. “You’ll be back for the premiere though, right?”
“I missed one of ours together, I won’t miss this one.”
“Good, I’m glad. You’ll enjoy it I think, apparently you have fans online who like, adore you and stuff.” I poked fun.
“Ah, are you head of the fan club?” He grinned, I could hear that cheeky grin, It made me smiled despite the idiotic topic at hand.
“Oh, me? Totally. I mean I have a tattoo and everything, that’s how big of a fan girl I am.”
“Where is it? Somewhere naughty?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know…” I muted the TV and shifted over in bed.
“Are you in bed?”
“I am, where are you?”
“Just getting up, I have to pack soon so I should get a move on.”
“The reason that I called though, I need to ask you something?”
“Yeah, my dad he’s throwing this MidSommar thing at the end of next month, and uh, well he wants me to invite you, and your dad too, to come over and celebrate it.”
“And Midsommar is… like a festival, right?”
“Something like that, there are parades and parties for that weekend, it’s a pretty big deal from what I remember as a kid. It’s fun, and I’d really like it if you came, too.”
“Careful Eric or I’ll start to think you like me.”
“You know I like you…”
“Not just my boobs?”
“Well I am rather fond of the girls, I really am. But the rest of you is pretty cool too.”
“I’ll keep that in mind, and yes.”
“Yes. I’d love to come, I haven’t been in Sweden since our movie and I was eleven, it was less fun at eleven.”
“I’m sure we could have plenty of fun now though….”
“That’s true, I if you know how to show a girl a good time, all sorts of things could happen.”
“Yeah… Yeah they really could, couldn’t they?” I heard him smile again.
“So tell your dad I’m in, and I’m sure my dad would love it too, he’s always up for a party or three. And we should bring Maria too.”
“Oh, of course. Of course. I love Maria she’s great, and I think she’d like my dad and Sara too. It would be nice if your dad got with her properly wouldn’t it?”
“Preaching to the choir, Northman, I want them married off if I had my way.”
“I thought you didn’t like marriage.”
“For me. Not for other people. Other people are meant to be married.”
“And you’re not?”
“Nah. I don’t think I’d make a very good wife. I don’t iron, I barely cook. He’d be rumbled and starving that wouldn’t be attractive.”
“I think you make an awesome wife… to someone who can cook and iron for you.”
“Smart plan, if you find me one of those, send them on. I’ll be waiting.”
“So, you’re for Sweden then?”
“I am. I’m excited! A country full of guys that look just like you, It could do things to a girl all that tall and blond hotness.”
“Oh, am I not enough for you then, Sook?” His tone was playful but that question meant a lot of things.
“You know, I think you’re plenty, Eric… so please can you get your ass on a place so that we can graciously walk that red carpet tomorrow night and talk about vampires and pretend that we know what we’re talking about for the nice journalists.”
“Nice?” He scoffed.
“Some, mostly bitches though. But you won’t be late this time? Or you know, absent?”
“Good. Now, it’s late and I’m going to sleep. Some of us need more beauty sleep than others.”
I heard him sigh on the other end of the phone, moving around as he was.
“Good night, Sookie.”
“Good morning, Eric.”
Premiere, press, party, how hard could that be… Easy breezy and drama free, right?
A/N: A/N: Next chapter – Premiere and trip to Sweden, should be… interesting lol. I would say reviews are loved so I could hear what you think so far, but some lovely, yet entitled, people in fandom have recently decided that their opinions on fanfic and the writers here are most important and everything writers do is an attempt to famewhore for reviews or whatever – it was rather long to be honest my eyes glazed over. God forbid I’d just like to hear what you thought of my work, no that would be the wrong thing to ask. So, all I ask is that if you enjoyed it that’s great. If that makes me a review whore? Then I guess I’m a big whore! 😉
Chapter 27: Chapter 27
It seemed to come out of nowhere, the premiere date for Fallen, but it did arrive, and sooner than I’d thought. I’d spent that week busier than ever. I’d signed on to two new projects, both with amazing directors that I’d been a fan of since I was little—one was a period drama set in London, and the other a crime thriller set in Boston. I was excited; what more could a girl ask for than working with Oscar nominated actors and directors for six months of the year? According to Pam, I was making all the right moves. I wasn’t aware there were ‘right moves’ to make necessarily, I’d just read scripts that had been sent with the dozens of other scripts I’d found on my own. I’d okayed the ones that I felt most passionate about when I read them and set about getting a meeting. The auditioning process was a little harder though. I either got it or one of the other girls in the seemingly endless line did. Of course it stung when I was passed over in favor of someone else, but as with all things in this business, it was to be expected—that sort of rejection. I wasn’t really sure how I dealt with it, I just sort of did. Though it could be like most things, I keep it inside till it eats at me, then it either explodes or it dies out. I wasn’t sure where this feeling laid to be honest. I didn’t want to think about it too much though. I didn’t want to dwell on either my successes or my epic failures, it was the one thing that always stuck with me from my mothers limited advice to me in life: “Don’t get too cocky, but don’t let the world bring you down either.”
Balance was key and balance was hard. I had hoped that I would live a good life with good people and have a good time, but sometimes that wasn’t always possible. Shit happened, and people got hurt in the process, the path to hell … and all that jazz. I had hoped for now though that I was in that happy place. My karma was looking good on all fronts since it seemed that there was buzz—mostly positive—about my work, and my friendships were in bloom. Tara was loving us working together, though it didn’t happen as often as I would have liked. For the most part, I worked with a lot of day players—Terry, Eric and then Tara. Lafayette had started seeing someone so he was as happy as a pig in mud and his happy mood was contagious. And then there was Eric and me. Whatever it was that we had going for us, it seemed to be the beginnings of something. What that something would ultimately lead to, I had no idea. But I had agreed to go to Sweden with him—of course, not as a couple but with my father to visit his family. I was curious to say the least, I really was. Not only to get a grown up perspective on the country that I hated as an eleven-year-old for it’s bitter cold and uncomfortable costumes, but to also see Eric in his natural environment, and just to get away from Los Angeles for a little while. I loved southern California—don’t get me wrong—but just a little further away from this town was were the beauty lied. It lied in the scene not being Hollywood. After the sex tape ‘scandal’ that had yet to die down, even just a little bit, the paparazzi were on my case a hell of a lot more. They’d become more aggressive in their search for money shots of various things and in general, a reaction out of me. Some were still polite but most had realized that I was bankable online for some unknown reason, and that they’d sell, though how me going to the drug store, or the supermarket was of interest to anyone? I was still ignorant to the reasoning.
I’d gotten a text from Eric a few hours before I was due to get ready. According to him, Amelia and Claudine had invaded his house and were in the process of ‘sorting out’ his wardrobe. He was traumatized and wanted to come hide in my place. I told him no, with a smiley face, and asked what would I do with him while I took a shower.
I don’t think I need to reiterate his responses to that quip.
I was ready to go in really uncomfortable Louboutin shoes and a fitted but comfortable McQueen. Pam was fluttering about with her headset on, yelling at some poor unsuspecting event organizer. Tara was texting me, telling me just how ‘fucking excited’ she was, that it was her first big premiere and it really was what she was viewing as her ‘big break.’ I was so thrilled for her, and her date Lafayette, of course. Some of the guys from Never Look Back were invited, but that was mostly a network courtesy than anything else since we knew the lead actors from most of their other big shows were also invited to show up for the red carpet and get free press for their own shows in the process. It was very much an ‘I’ll scratch your back… you scratch mine’ in Hollywood, and sometimes it went a step too far and instead of the scratching there was stabbing. Primped, prodded and padded, I was good to go. I left with a very nervous Jessica—as she too was dressed up to come with us—and a very irritated Pam who was still yelling through her headset. Amy was waiting for me at the press line like a good PR relations woman should do.
“Fucking morons, they couldn’t run water never mind an event. This is the last time we use them for anything!” she ranted. Thankfully, Jessica was driving or I suspected we’d have driven over a damn cliff with her gesturing. “Right, Eric is arriving first, you were meant to, but there was a fuck up with the time table, or what the fuck ever and we have everyone else arriving now—all the other HBO people, giving interviews telling everyone how awesome the show is—”
“Oh, have they seen it?” Jessica asked excitedly.
Pam just rolled her eyes. One day I fully expected them to roll right out of her head.
“No, cheeto they haven’t. It’s a line, it’s feeding the press the bull they need to hear to get us talked about. They’ll see it with everyone else—if they choose to stay that is. Some will, most won’t. Don’t take it personally, Sook.”
“I won’t,” I said, fidgeting with the radio.
“Where are we on the sex tape questions?” Pam asked, checking her BlackBerry.
“Um, are we allowed to address them?”
“Directly or not, it’s your thing. I’d prefer indirectly and coy though, it keeps us on the fence for the judge should this suit ever hurry the fuck up.”
Yes, Pam liked to say fuck.
“Right, well. I can just say that it was a private thing and that I had hoped that I could have both a private and professional life just like millions of other Americans, but apparently some people think I shouldn’t be allowed that?”
Pam smiled. No really, a genuine smile.
“Oh Stackhouse, I’ve taught you so well!” She faked touching her heart. Pam could be cold but underneath it all she was good people. And her heart may have been icy but it was a heart of gold, and she had taught me well—just a little bit I had to admit. I did like Pam’s style of management when it came to my image. She was pushy where necessary but ultimately it was my deal to decide what I wanted. She’d steer me right if I was so very wrong of course, but we had the same ideals on most things she and I, and for that I was seriously glad. Especially after what I’d seen go down with Eric and how the wrong team can really fuck you up. Wardrobe raid aside, I was really hoping that he’d found a decent match in Ames and this Claudine woman. I really did.
When I arrived, there were posters everywhere—ones of me and Eric alone; a few of us photo shopped together, and a few with just FALLEN in epically depressing lettering on the billboards outside the theatre. There was traffic and we seemed to be behind it all. It was a nightmare and all I could think was how glad I was that Jessica had my flats in my purse. Pretty shoes were pretty but Christ they weren’t kind to the soles.
“Sookie! Sookie! Over here, over here Sookie!”
“Ms Stackhouse over here.”
Names, nicknames, last names, all mine and all being called from various directions all at once. I took several deep breaths and had to remind myself to breathe again and again as my nerves crept back up on me. Flashbulbs were going off everywhere so much so that after a few minutes of giving everyone my eye-line shot I was pretty sure I couldn’t see straight. I was walking along the carpet answering some reporters—some that I knew, some that I didn’t from local to world wide networks. We’d managed to get pretty amazing coverage on this little shindig of ours, that’s for sure. The studio wasn’t taking any chances, though. This was an adult show on an adult network with a very universal and popular theme. According to them, we were gold, but I was still hoping to find an audience base that got the show and what it was at it’s core. And from the rumblings online, I think we were well on our way.
After ten minutes of questions, I felt his hand on my back and the flashbulbs quadrupled in speed.
Click, snap, click.
Eric, looking rather dashing in an extremely well fitted Tom Ford—clean shaven and fresh—and if I wasn’t mistaken… was he wearing concealer?
“Hey you,” he said into my ear. When he was sure no one could see his lips he said, “Nice ass in that dress.”
“Nice ass in that suit,” I said back as we both posed for photos together—his smile a mile wide and mine not too far behind his. “This. Is. Insane…” he whispered again.
“But you deal with insanity so well, Eric.”
“Shut up and smile, co-star.” He laughed and we both did our thing. We fulfilled our obligations of posing with each other, posing alone, and then with the cast. I lost track of him when I ran into Tara who was just so damn excited it was hilarious.
“Sookie, I just saw Tom Hanks and he said my name! Tom fucking Hanks knows my name! I can’t even…!”
“That’s so amazing, honey. How are you feeling?” I asked and it was clear, she was having a ball.
“I’m shaking, that was so scary! I don’t know how you get used to it.”
“I hope we don’t get used to it, though. I mean, being scared and nervous is the good part, right?”
“Reminds us we’re alive, and so fucking lucky it’s unreal.” She finished for me. ” God, I really think this is a good thing we’ve got here, Sook, I really do.”
“I do too!” I glanced at Eric, charming the pants … and seemingly the bra off a female reporter who was just blushing up a storm. “I really do.”
I hated cameras. The flash made my eyes look weird and according to Godric sometimes very ‘rapey.’ I had no idea what rape eyes were, but apparently, I had them. The premiere was no different in that respect. Too many flashes, too many silly questions, but for the first time in a long time I realize that it was so much more fun with the right people behind you. Claudine was a hell of a manager, I’d give her that. She’d booked me two gigs and a meeting with Spielberg a month later to talk about a role he had in the works. The other two gigs were right up my alley, independent and under funded, but fucking amazing. What she wasn’t so great at though, was taking no for an answer, as in ‘no, please stop throwing out my clothes.’ Apparently having items for more than a year was a crime to these women and Amelia was more than thrilled that she got her own personal Ken doll in the coming days when I’d be suited and booted—to my liking—but also, and they were very specific about this, to their liking too. And in season, whatever that meant.
I spotted Sookie about twenty minutes after I arrived, looking banging in a backless badass number that according to Amelia was a McQueen. I asked her if that was the same as McDonald’s … and she just glared at me.
The after party was at a hotel not too far from where the screening was. I’d opted to walk and get some air, thankfully not followed by the flashbulbs. By the time I got into the extremely large ballroom that was decorated in the shows theme with equally as shady lighting and a buffet of food, the party was in full swing.
“So you know, I think it’s pretty much illegal for you to go out in public dressed like that.”
“Is that right?” she said turning to me, a sweet but coy look on her face.
“Yeah, I mean these pants are tight enough, and I was feeling you in that dress…”
“You wish you were feelin’ me in this dress.” She winked, “and besides I think Amelia has you beat. I swear she was having an orgasm over this thing when I met her in the bathroom just now,” she giggled. I wanted to say the night was still young and that if she wanted I would be more than willing to feel whatever she wanted, in or out of that dress.
“What is it with her and clothes, Sookie? She’s a clothes Nazi!”
“She is, a little bit.”
“She threw out all my flip flops.” I almost pouted, they were comfortable.
“And my old jeans and my boots! I mean, does she want me naked! Is that her ploy?”
Sookie just laughed, handing me a drink—gross punch of some kind.
“I think it might be, but she’s more a tall dark and handsome kind of girl. Helps if you’re Italian too, I think.”
I rolled my eyes. “Fine but can you convince her to stop chucking out my stuff? I like my clothes.”
“I like your clothes too. Nice suit, by the way.”
“It was one of the ‘acceptable things’ in my closet.”
She smirked. “Aw poor baby.”
“You’re teasing me.”
“Lil bit.” She sipped her drink. “Good flight?”
“Great flight. I slept the whole way, it was heaven.”
“Always fun. I talked to my dad and he’s so excited about Sweden. He then proceeded to Google your traditions for this festival just so we’re not, and I quote ‘ the ignorant foreigners.’ He takes these things very seriously.”
It was then my turn to laugh. Her dad was just a little bit epic.
“You know, I’m sure those two will have a lot to talk about.”
“That they will.” Her eyes widened as she turned around. “Fucking fuck.”
“Eric, what the fuck is Sandy doing here?”
“Um, Sookie, better question, what the fuck is Sandy doing here with Chad?”
Her eyes widened again.
“Oh hell fucking no.”
I looked across the room again and there they were—my nightmare and hers in cahoots together—both skinny blond and soulless standing across the room sipping on their drinks. Then Chad caught my eye and clearly motioned to her that he’d found us. A sly smile spread across her calculating face. In the lighting, it looked almost evil. They both made their way towards us, just as the cameras from E! were circling the crowd. Oh, this couldn’t end well.
I saw her, only I didn’t think it was her. I mean, LA is full of blonde women—some very thin and some very drunk. She could have been any number of people, but I looked again and yes, it was her. Sandy Brown. But not only that, no… It wasn’t enough of a bombshell that the bitch had the utter nerve to show up at Eric’s premiere party, but she’d brought a guest. None other than my living nightmare in model form, Chad.
They approached us, but thankfully the cameras intervened with some offhand questions along with Pam, Amelia and the ever pleasant Amy, appearing as if on cue. They asked about the show, vampires, and how we felt in general about being part of what was sure to become such a cult show. We answered, smiled and Eric held onto me, pulling me to his side right after we excused ourselves and got out to the patio deck for some air.
“What the fuck is she doing here?” Eric asked Ames and she seemed like a deer caught in the headlights. It was easy to forget that with such confidence Amelia was still a newbie in this game after all.
Amy stepped in though and was more than able to answer.
“She got the invite through Bill. He’d managed to wrangle her in and a plus one to the after party. I’d told him over my dead body and we’d arranged that she wouldn’t be here, particularly when we found out who she’s now ‘dating’.” She looked at me, “But the little bitch is clinging to her name right now. Bill’s assured me that he’s trying to rein her in, but it doesn’t look like it’s working.”
“Bill’s word isn’t worth shit, trust me on that,” Eric commented, his hand going through his hair, that carefree smile and stance now clearly gone. “I just want her gone. I wanted this one night to go right and there she is, again. Like a bad penny. So can you all just please do your job and make her get the fuck out?”
They nodded, and left us standing there on the patio.
“This so wasn’t how tonight was meant to go,” he said, sounding resigned and tired suddenly. I wanted nothing more than to just kiss him then and there, if for no other reason than to distract him from his pain… and you know… to kiss him.
“I know, but we can hope that they take the very large hint and fuck off, and if they don’t… well I’ve got a really good poker face, and so do you. We’ll be fine.”
“Sook, did you…? Oh.” Lafayette appeared, glass of beer in hand. “Did you’s see who just dragged they skank asses into this fancy hotel?”
“We did. Why do you think we’re hiding out here?” I said laughing.
“Honey girl, why should you two fine as fuck bitches be hiding? Psycho and Douche just passed me in the hall, they’re both so drunk it’s not even funny. She… is off yelling at some poor bartender that her vodka and lemon wasn’t ‘lemony’ enough for goodness sakes, and he looks like he can barely stand. People are talking.”
“Of course they’re talking! She’s been put into a social wilderness by her people in case she decides to spill her ‘fake baby’ story.” I glanced apolitically at Eric while I continued, “and he, well we all know what he did, the perverted little bastard.”
“Little?” Lafayette looked at me, raised eyebrow in place.
“Very.” I confirmed and Eric just burst out laughing.
“What’s so funny?” I asked him.
“This, all of this. He’s right,” he nodded at Laf. “Why the fuck are WE hiding? We’ve done nothing wrong, Sookie. And it’s our night, and fuck them if they think they can show up here and fuck with our heads like this. We’re better than that, right?”
“I like to think so.”
“Good, well then, let’s go out there and give them the best fuck you that we can… without actually having to say it, or draw attention to the situation.”
“And how, Thor, do we do that?” Lafayette asked.
“By having one hell of a good time. I know she for one won’t be able to stand it.”
So, we went, with a mission, and that mission was to mingle with everyone BUT them, and we actually succeeded, to a point. My feet were killing me and my smile was fake, but I was having a good time watching them both from the corner of my eye fuming silently in the cheap seats. Mean? Yes, but really they brought it on themselves by even coming here. What they hoped to achieve beyond a few unflattering column inches in the next tabloid was beyond me. I said to a point because there came a point when Chad left her side that she decided to be brave and approach me. Believe me when I tell you it took all my willpower not to call her out on her bullshit.
“Sookie.” She nodded, meek and mild as anything. I had my guards well and truly up however.
“Sandy,” I said, nodding just the same and going back to looking around the room.
“You look… thin,” she said, looking me up and down. In that moment, I decided my size four ass was coming back. I was considered thin, by her? Yeah, not really a compliment.
“And as always you look… um… thin.”
“Thank you,” she beamed. “I’ve been very stressed out lately so that’s helping my diet really well you know? Like, really.”
“I’m sure it is.”
That’s when I glared at her, because really? Was this bitch serious?
“He’s … frankly none of your business.” I smiled. I knew people were watching from afar, and if they could lip read I was fucked, but I had my poker face on.
“I care about him—”
“Don’t. Okay? Just don’t. Stop the lying for once, okay?”
“I’m not lying, I love him!”
“Bitch, please. You flipped his life upside down by telling those lies, and the worst thing? You’re not even a little bit sorry are you?”
“I did what I did—”
“You did what you did because you’re selfish. And possibly in need of professional medical help. I want you, and I want Chad out of here. Eric doesn’t want you here, I don’t want Chad here. Understood?”
“We have just as much right—”
“No, you don’t. You lost the right to anything concerning Eric the second you decided to lie to him for your own personal gain, which if I recall correctly, was almost as soon as you met him.” I sighed, doing my best not to lose my temper with her, not in public and not tonight. ” Don’t you feel sorry? Just a little bit? It’s the thing that I can’t understand about you, Sandy. You show no remorse, you just take what you can get and when you’ve got what you think is all you’re going to get, you switch the game up and move on. But you left a wreck in your wake and you don’t even see it.”
“I didn’t mean to hurt him. I just wanted him to be … with me.”
“But he didn’t want that because the you he was with wasn’t even really you, was it?”
“You just want me to feel bad so I won’t tell everyone here how he was fucking around on me with you, and that you think you’re this little princess but really you’re just a big whore.”
“Sandy, go home,” I said sipping my drink. “Really, before I get security to toss your ass.”
“You think you’re so much better than me, don’t you ?” she asked, and for a second I thought I saw something that resembled coherency in her eyes. But in that split second, it was gone.
“No, I don’t. No one is perfect. I know that better than anyone, but I also know the difference in right or wrong, and what you did to Eric? Was so many kinds of wrong; it disgusts me. You played him Sandy, you played his heart and his weakness and that just makes you fucking crazy, and cruel, and I pity you if that’s your interpretation of love.”
“Oh, because you’re such an authority on love? Or on Eric for that matter? Bitch you left him high and dry after your little affair in France. Don’t think I don’t know that.”
“I left him because of you, you twit. I was under the impression you were pregnant. Silly me, I wasn’t fully aware at the time just how fucking bat shit you were—so bat shit that you’d make up a phantom baby just to try and manipulate the love of a good man. It’s sick. You’re sick.”
“Yeah, well, you’re a bitch.”
I just laughed at her, because really, what else was there left to do.
“I may be a bitch, but at least I know how to love him right.”
“He’ll never love you, not like he loved me.”
See? Laughable, really.
“We’ll see about that, Sandy.” I said, tipping my glass in her direction as I saw Eric walk out of the men’s room to my right with Terry and Lafayette behind him. From the looks of things, something was wrong. Something was very wrong.
A/N: *Batslashes* What do we think? I can’t believe I churned this out in an hour and half last night! Love to know what you all think, as always loves. xox