Chapter 28: Chapter 28
I’d been in the men’s room maybe all of five minutes. I did my thing and washed my hands and then Lafayette slapped me on the back—he’d been prone to slapping me on my ass, but thankfully he’d gone for my back this time.
“Northman, are you ready for the madness that is that show of yours? I can’t believe y’all have an online following already. The first episode hasn’t even gone to air.”
“I think it did though, for them. It leaked last night, or so I heard.”
“Nice. How’s Sook?”
“She’s… Good?” I asked, skeptical. Since he was HER friend would HE not know how she was? “You were just talking to her, Laf.”
“Right, right, I was. I meant, how are you and Sookie?”
I rolled my eyes. “Not you too, dude. Please…”
“Please what? Are you getting it on with my female friend?”
I just laughed, “No, I’m really not.”
“And why the fuck not? She’s hot!”
“I know that. Things between us are just—”
“Do not say complicated! Man, that’s such a pussy ass excuse.”
“Even when things ARE complicated?”
“Yes! Look, she’s an amazing girl, agreed?”
“She’s not going to be single forever. And lately her choices in men have matched your choices in women—that fail must stop, with both of you. If she picks another douche like that model out there I may have to cart her off to the convent myself.”
“She likes you, you like her, I’m not seeing the problem here. Unless you have a wife and six kids stashed away somewhere… You don’t, do you?”
“So then what do you have to lose?”
“Her friendship. I mean say we go for it, and say it goes tits up—what then?”
“And what if it doesn’t? Are you really going to let some fear of losing her keep you from really having her?”
Just at that, Terry walked through the door. Terry was a really nice guy; southern and almost as tall as me, with dirty fair hair that was scruffy and unkempt—just as his character required—he also had matching three day scruff, at all times.
“Hey guys… what’s up?” he asked, looking awkward. We weren’t women, full on conversation didn’t usually happen in the men’s room.
“I’m trying to talk Eric into Sookie’s pants.”
“Wait, why? Aren’t you two already together?” he asked, clearly confused.
“Uh, no. Why?”
“Oh, nothing man, I just… well Arlene assumed and I assumed… the way you two are with each other… it… Hmm.”
“Does everyone think we’re dating?” I asked them and they both answered me in unison.
Then to top the night off, model douche Chad all but staggered into the bathroom. Lafayette pretended to wash his hands and Terry went about his business to pee. Chad saw me, obviously.
“Northman, right? Fine party your network throws, I have to say.”
“I don’t know what you think you’re doing here. Sookie doesn’t want to know you, asshole.”
He smiled, a smile that was anything but sincere.
“Yeah but Sookie already knows me, she knows me real well. In fact, there was a time when dear innocent little Sookie, well, she just couldn’t get enough of … getting to know me. I’m sure everyone has already seen what she’s like when she gets her engines revving, it’s … spectacular, really.”
My blood was boiling, my fingers formed a fist, and I wanted nothing more than to knock his fucking teeth down this throat for what he was saying, but he knew I wouldn’t. Or should I say, he thought I wouldn’t.
“But Eric, I’m sure you already know what she’s like. Sandy tells me you’ve fucked Sookie before,huh? I’m surprised you didn’t go back for second helpings dude because she is…” Instead of a word he made a noise that made me roll my eyes. Lafayette stood next to me then, all six foot three intimidating stance and all.
“I think you should shut your drunk ass mouth, pretty boy.”
“Am I meant to care what you think, asshole? This conversation has nothing to do with you.”
“It has everything to do with me. That’s my friend your dissing and it was my friend that you hurt—asshole.” He got up in his face and pushed him against the wall. Terry was watching from the sink now, a look of fear in his eyes.
“Get your fuckin’ hands off me man,” he said as Laf roughed him up against the wall.
“I will. God knows what I might catch from you, pretty, but know this… you talk about my friend like that again and I’ll have your ass. You hear me?”
“I don’t fuck men, asshole.”
“Yeah? Funny that’s not what I heard, you might not fuck us but you’ve been known to suck us now haven’t you, honey?” His words came out playful but his face, and more to the point, his fists said the opposite. That little bit of info I’d have to store away for later.
“Now do everyone a favor here, and fuck off to whatever scum pond you came from. Your ugly ass karma is no longer welcome here, not that it ever was.” He shoved him against the wall once and moved back. If I didn’t step away, I knew I’d hit the bastard. So I turned my back and went to wash my hands again, just so I could have something to do with them besides making him swallow his teeth.
I felt his fist in my side—a hard and fast blow that almost knocked the air out of me. With that I turned around and he laid one on my cheek. Fair was fair right? So I got a grip on his head and shoved his drunk ass down; he tripped on my feet and went face first into the sink. I heard the smash of his mouth against the porcelain and internally cringed at the sound. Then there was blood—lots of it—on the previously white bathroom tile.
“Man, you really need to watch were you’re going, fallin’ over your drunk ass feet like that. It’s not right,” Terry said to Chad as he moaned in pain, his face covered in blood, two of his teeth in his hand.
“I’m calling the fucking cops!” he yelled.
“For what? Three people saw you fall. You’re drunk and probably high off your ass,” Terry said, as if he was talking to a child. “And if you do call them, give my cousin a message for me, will you? Andy Bellefleur, head of the LAPD, be sure to tell him it’s his turn to cook this Sunday.”
Chad spat blood at Terry and he just laughed. “Morons trippin’ over themselves. I used to be a bartender, saw it all the time there, and now I’m seeing it here. Go home, Chad.”
The side of my head was starting to throb, God knows how he felt laying on the floor like he was.
“Let’s go,” Lafayette said, confident and calm. I on the other hand, wasn’t so calm. By the time we got outside my adrenaline was pumping and both Laf and Terry were assuring me that he wouldn’t squeal. Apparently Terry also saw his type a lot around LA when he was a part time actor. And apparently there was more to Terry than met the eye. It was interesting to say the least. I caught Sookie’s eyes as we left the men’s room. The guys saw that she saw us and made themselves scarce just as she approached me.
“What’s going on?”
“Liar. Your face is all red and you’re shaking…and your suit is fucked up. So unless you got to know Lafayette in there biblically, I suggest you tell me what is going on, because I think we’ve been tag teamed by Team Psycho blondes.
I told her and I made sure to tell her that he hit me first, but that even if he hadn’t, I was doing my damn best to keep my temper in check. I also told her about Terry’s cousin and how this wouldn’t get out even if he did go to the cops. It was a lucky break in my case, in his? Probably not so much.
Karma was a bitch, that’s for sure.
“Jesus Christ, Eric, what the hell?”
“Hey, I was just defending myself!” He held his hands up in lame protest.
“Sure, and if he goes to the cops, what then?”
“Terry has that covered.”
“Oh, Terry.” Of course, Terry with his random magical cousin. This night had turned into a cluster fuck of epic proportions. I was all set on bitching him out, but then I noticed that his cheek was starting to swell—right on the bone. Ouch. “You should get some ice on your cheek before it swells.”
“I should.” He checked his watch. “Hey, we’ve done our thing long enough don’t you think? You think we could get out of here?”
I looked at him then, his eyes were tired but hopeful.
“Yeah, I think we can do that,” I said as we both made our way out back where Pam had told me there would be cars waiting to take people home. For all the complaining about this ‘production,’ they’d laid everything out perfectly it seemed, minus a few problems with door security.
We didn’t say much to each other on the way to the car, but Eric did have the smarts to ask the driver to take the other exit, since we knew there would be photographers waiting in the hopes of a few extra snaps. The car ride was just as quiet, but not that awkward annoying kind of silence. It was nice, it was necessary. We pulled up outside my place and we both thanked and tipped our driver and stood on the path between our two houses.
“So…” he said, shuffling his feet and looking at me. Suddenly I was fifteen again and on my first date.
“I’m not going to be cheesy here Eric, and ask you if you want to come in for a cup of coffee…”
“Damn.” He rolled his eyes playfully. “I was hoping…”
But I wasn’t fifteen and this wasn’t my first date. This wasn’t a date at all.
“I am going to suggest you come in and let me give you some ice though.”
“Original. I like it.”
I nodded as I punched in the code to my gate and we walked up my driveway and in through the side of the house. Quiet as to be expected since it was empty, I flipped on the kitchen lights and walked through to flip on the lamps in the living room to bring the house to life a little bit.
“There’s icepack bags in the freezer. I’ll get you one,” I said, coming back through to find him leaning against my sink.
“Excuse me, but I have to do this,” I said, yanking off my heels and sighing with the comfort the flat ground allowed me.
“Women.” He shook his head taking the pack out himself and cracking it a little bit before putting it to his cheek with a hiss.
“So tell me what really happened,” I said, putting the kettle on and taking a seat at my island.
He shrugged. “I told you.”
“Yes, but you’re holding out on me. What did he say?”
“He was bad mouthing you, okay? Shit, horrible personal things he had no right saying, and for that alone I had the fucking right to hit him, but I didn’t. I wanted to though, so when he hit me, it was fair game.”
I nodded, he wasn’t wrong.
“Well,” I said, pushing the pack up to where I saw the reddening on his face a little further, “I had an equally as pleasant talk with Sandy. Can I just ask you, how many drugs were you on when you hooked up with her? I mean really, what told you that was a good idea, Eric?”
“I wasn’t on drugs, Sookie, I was just… alone, and really lonely. She was there, and in the beginning she was … sweet and nice, and she seemed to like everything I did. I assumed we had all this shit in common, with parental problems and the same taste in music and things I thought I wanted. It wasn’t until later, much too late, that I saw that was mostly bullshit. But by then…”
He was stuck, emotionally. I knew those kind of women, the kind that Sandy reminded me of—manipulative and sneaky. The main weapon in their arsenal was emotional manipulation mostly used out of their own fear of being cast aside and being alone. It was sad but true, since I’d seen first hand just how she’d manipulated Eric and his emotions with the baby story.
“I am sorry, Eric.”
“I was the idiot, that’s hardly your fault.”
“Yeah maybe not, but I saw with Chad how easy it was to fall in with someone you knew was wrong for you out of some desperation. In your case it was to make the loneliness go away, and in mine…”
I sighed, deciding that honesty was the best policy. “… mine, was to try and get you out of my head.”
The kettle whistled and I went over to finished making the tea, allowing me the freedom from his very intense gaze. The kind of look that makes you shiver for no reason other than you know his entire being is concentrated on you. It was almost unnerving.
I’d just poured the water into the cups with the tea and stirred when I felt him walk up behind me.
“And now?” he asked so low I almost didn’t hear him.
I turned to look at him, and damn I forgot just how much taller he was than me without my heels to bump me up a few inches. But I made sure to give him the eye contact he was giving me, it was only right.
“And now? And now maybe I don’t mind you being in my head.”
“Really?” His eyes went from my eyes, to my lips and back again. I knew where he was going to go, and I can’t say I wanted to fight that urge, not even a little bit.
His eyes went to my lips slowly as he inched his face towards mine, his hand creeping up my neck and into my hair to pull me closer and close the small gap between us as he kissed me. I felt as if it was a thousand years since I’d last felt his lips on mine like this, not that it had been. I’d kissed him recently that was true, but not as Eric. I’d kissed him with lines in my head and with timing and camera angles to consider. I was Charlie, and it wasn’t the same. This, kissing him as himself was the best feeling and one I’d missed so much. We started off soft, and slow, and sweet, almost as if we were getting to know what it felt like to kiss again after so long. But it soon progressed as it always seemed to with Eric and I. Both of his hands were wrapped in my hair providing me with sensations from my scalp right down to my neck, as well as my lips. I settled my hands on his sides—both of us making sure the other didn’t go too far back to stop the kissing. The kissing was of most importance since it led to the tiny moans coming from him and the not so tiny moans coming from me when he ventured to my neck with nips and kisses. Then there was the grinding—it was important too—and equally drew out those feelings that were sparking through my body.
“I saw you lookin at her, Hoyt don’t deny it!”
“I’m not denyin’ it I’m just sayin’ I wasn’t lookin’ how you think I was! I wasn’t like… liking what her boobs were! They were gross! But I had to look!”
“OH PLEASE!” came the noise through the front door, causing Eric and I to break apart as quickly as possible. I pretended to be dipping the tea bags and he pretended to be looking out the window.
Cockblocked by our assistants, perfect.
“Oh hi, Sookie. We weren’t sure if you came back here or not so we were just checking in case you’d left the lights on.” Jessica said slamming her purse down on the table and yanking off her heels. I felt her pain. Hoyt just stood there, nodding to Eric as Eric nodded back. Men, I swear.
“Are you guys okay?” Eric asked and Jessica just sighed and rolled her eyes.
“Well, we were until I found out that Hoyt is just a big old pervert who checks out every girls rack within a mile distance.”
“For the last time, I wasn’t enjoying the view. It’s just one of the guys said that she’d had a botched boob job and I was tryin’ to see just how botched.”
Eric laughed, big mistake because Jessica was fuming.
“Oh, you think it’s funny? I guess you do it too, don’t you?” She accused.
“Hey, I’m innocent here. Hoyt was the one perving on other women.” He grinned.
“Thanks, man. Big help, really…” Hoyt sighed.
“Jess,” I said, “are you sure you’re not overreacting… I mean guys… look. As long as he’s not touching, what’s the big deal?”
Her eyes widened.
“You’re siding with THEM?”
“Well, yeah. I mean, I check out hot guys all the time, what’s the harm?”
“The harm, Sookie, is that that woman has what I will never have.”
“Silicone boobies?” I offered and she just made a ‘tut’ sound.
“Yes! And if that’s the type of woman that Hoyt finds attractive then I’d rather he be honest with me now and go off and find inflatable Barbie!”
“Jess, I wasn’t likin’ it for the last time! I was kind of grossed out to be honest you could see her bones and the outline of the sack! It was … weirdly fascinating though. It’s why I was lookin!”
“Ugh!” she said, storming off through the side of the kitchen and out the double doors that led to the pool house, followed closely by Hoyt.
“Goddamn,” Eric said, shoving his hands in his pockets awkwardly. “She yells a lot for someone that used to be so meek. What the hell has Hoyt done to her?” he asked with a smile.
“Love. Some people it just doesn’t agree with, I guess. They’ll make up, I hope.”
“They’d better. I don’t think I can stand him for two weeks moping like a puppy over her while we’re in New York.”
Right, New York. Work.
“Right, you’re leaving again tomorrow. I forgot about that.” He’d told me in an email that they’d penciled in some talk shows for him and for Fallen while I covered some of the late night shows on the West Coast.
“Yeah. I mean another flight is the last thing I need right now—I’m so beat—but I think it’ll be good to get the word out there about the show and stuff too.”
“Yeah, exactly. It’s fun if you’re in the mood for it.”
He coughed. “About the… kissing.”
I laughed. “It was fun. I think we could use a little fun after the night we had.”
“And… is that… all it was?”
I looked at him again and I could have sworn he looked worried. “No I don’t think that’s all it was, unless that’s all you want it to be?”
“No… I … no. I’d like it to mean… something.” He swallowed loudly and then laughed that I’d caught him. “Shit, I don’t know why this makes me so nervous.”
“Me either!” I giggled, closing off the space between us and standing on my tip toes. I kissed him again, making him smile. “We don’t have to have all the answers right now though, right?”
“Right, we’ve got time. Well, I mean I don’t—not for another two weeks.”
“And when you get back, I’ll be in England. Sucks, huh?”
“You know, I think that’s our problem—shit timing. Over and over…and over…” I sing-songed.
“Ah, but maybe we can break the cycle. We’re going to be in the same place for a whole week when you come over to Stockholm… you’re still coming, right?” He looked nervous that maybe I’d changed my mind.
“Yes, I’m still coming. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
He grinned. “Awesome. I guess I should go…” He shuffled his feet again. It was kind of adorable.
“Yeah, I mean I think you should, because if we …”
“I know, and that’s… not what we want right now, right?”
“Well, I don’t know about that,” I laughed, fingering the button on his shirt. “But it’s not what we need which I think is something we should be paying attention to, this time.”
“I do need you,” he said seriously, causing me to blush.
“I’ll see you in a little under month. If you’re lucky, you can even pick me and dad up from the airport.” I smiled as we walked to my door and he opened it to make his exit.
“Four weeks…” he nodded, mostly to himself.
“Yep, almost four weeks for you to plan how you’re going to make me love Sweden. My last impression wasn’t so great, and it’s lasted a long time.”
“I’ll do my best, Sook.”
“That’s all I’ll ask….”
We bid each other good night and I let the breath go that I didn’t know that I’d been holding.
I checked the time and realized that my dad would be up in his time zone, so I padded upstairs, shedding my gorgeous yet, on loan dress—yes another one on loan, it happens a lot. And besides with these things, you wear it once, heaven forbid if you go to another event wearing the thing again. It was a ridiculous unwritten rule that we all had to adhere to apparently.
I finished shrugging out of the dress and I called my dad.
“Good morning, daughter,” he said happily as he picked up. He loved caller ID.
“How’d the premiere go? Well I hope?”
“Really well. There were a few hiccups but nothing I couldn’t handle.”
“Good, good. I’m very proud, as always. How did Eric do?”
“Just fine. He showed up this time, so that’s a plus.”
He chuckled, “You’re awfully hard on the boy, Sookie.”
“The man can handle it, dad. And besides, I’m not that hard on him…”
“Hmm…” he said cryptically. “Perhaps Sweden will… what’s the phrase…? Chill you out.”
“Dad, please don’t talk like you’re on Jersey Shore.” I rolled my eyes as I yanked on my shorts with one hand and held the phone with the other.
“Fine, maybe it’ll relax you… and Eric.”
I sighed. “Yes, I’m sure it will. Anyways, enough about us….”
“Ohh, us now is it?”
“Sorry, well, I’m fine. I just have a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon, and afterwards Maria and I are going to stay in the city for dinner.”
“Oh, I see, checking for herpes before you get down, huh?”
I laughed. I could just picture his face.
“I’m joking, dad… well… kind of. You seriously should just tap that.”
“I’m hanging up now.”
I continued to cackle through the phone at him, he was far too easy to wind up.
“Okay, okay I’m sorry. I’ll change the subject. Sweden is still a go, yes? I mean this doctors thing isn’t serious, is it?”
He was silent for a second and my heart stopped.
“Oh, of course it’s not. It’s just a check up sweetheart, nothing for you to worry about.”
“I am. I’ll see you in a few weeks love, and we’ll all have a wonderful time. I promise.”
I hoped he was right.
“Okay, I’ll let you off the hook. Call me soon, okay?”
He agreed and we bid our farewells, but something was still nagging at me, despite his reassuring words. I really hoped that I was wrong.
A/N: Yeah I’m about as subtle as a flying brick aren’t I? Oh, well. lol. Hope you enjoyed it as I hope with all my updates and of course I encourage the reviews because I’m a big review whore *cough* 🙂 Happy weekend! xox
Chapter 29: Chapter 29
“Honey, it might help if you talked to him about it. Really, I’m sure he’d understand.”
“I can’t!” she sobbed into one of the big comfortable couch cushions. We’d been sitting in the same position for the previous hour or more as Jessica sobbed her way through a small packet of tissues. Apparently the reason she’d been so highly strung was because she thought she was pregnant, and as such was freaking herself out badly and was unwilling to tell Hoyt. So, everything he’d done had set her on edge. She’d taken her period so we knew she wasn’t, but she had been through a silent roller-coaster all on her own. I felt so bad for her.
“So what? You want him off in New York like he is, thinking you’re insane and irrational and that you broke up with him because he checked out another girl’s breasts? Seriously?”
“If I tell him, he’ll just think I’m an idiot.”
“You are an idiot if you let him keep on thinking this, Jessica. Seriously, call him, video chat him, tell him something was going on with you—he’ll understand. He’s an understanding guy.”
She shook her head again. I mean, I knew for one thing that I was stubborn, but Jesus. Was I this bad?
“Think about it, okay? He’s there now and according to Eric has been, and I quote ‘moping like a little bitch’ ever since they arrived, so maybe… make his misery end?” I said, patting her on the knee as I walked out, upstairs and into my bedroom. I had calls to return and things to do—not that listening to Jessica sob wasn’t thrilling and all—but truth was I had two talk shows to tape that afternoon and a photo shoot the next day. Eric and Hoyt had been in New York for well over a week, almost spilling into the end of their second week there in fact, and I knew he was due back the day after I flew out to England. I had a three day pre-production session planned for my next movie project, the period drama that I was all kinds of excited for. Sure it was a remake of a remake of a book that was a couple of hundred of years old, but I loved what they were planning on doing with it, and the director was one of my favorites of this new wave of English talent hitting the scene. His sense of epic vision really appealed to me in so many ways that I just couldn’t not fight for that role. A half hour on the phone to Pam then a ten minute check-in with Amy and I was free. Jessica was curled up on the couch watching a Friends rerun so I decided to be my own assistant that day and run my errands myself. It was a nice change since Jessica insisted on doing her job so damn well—when she wasn’t an emotional wreck that is. I’d managed to run my errands, pick up my late dry cleaning and some cupcakes from Magnolia (that were fast becoming mine and Jess’s favorite sin food ever), and made my way back to the house. It was a productive day and more importantly it was paparazzi free; always a nice surprise to be honest, because lately they’d taken to just popping around corners and everything.
Eric had been gone two weeks by the time Jessica decided that she’d had enough self-pitying and got up the nerve to call Hoyt. While she was on the line to him, I got a text from Eric: “Thank you Jesus, Buddha, and the sun. I couldn’t take this shit much longer! Is this what I was like? Why do I still have friends?”
I laughed as I texted him back, informing him that he has friends because we pity him and that he’s too special to leave alone, putting caps on the ‘special.’ I got a sarcastic smiley face in return.
I was due in London just as he was returning, leaving the two lovers in a sort of limbo until I no longer needed Jessica to work with me in England. Neither of them was happy by all accounts, but they didn’t complain and still did their jobs, thankfully uninterrupted by tears in the middle of the night—and that was just Hoyt. Both mine and Eric’s talk show endeavors went surprisingly well. With me of course, they wanted to talk about the sex tape but because everything was wrapped up in legal tape as it were, there was still very little I could say on the subject. It didn’t stop me poking fun at the little prick once, though. I’d made it a rule that after Chelsea’s digs, I wasn’t going to talk about it again, so they’d have to come up with something else.
I loved London—the vibe of the city, the people, even the pissing rain in the middle of June. It was all a welcome break from that ever present falseness of Los Angeles. I’d done three talk shows and a morning show to promote Fallen while I was there, as well as six other print interviews and two photo shoots, on top of the pre-production meetings. By the end of the week and with my flight to Sweden secured, I was beyond tired and I missed Eric more than I ever thought I would.
We’d spent the previous weeks apart but together through our various technologies. He’d tease me for my dependence on my devices, but he was soon realizing that they were amazing and helpful in keeping us connected while thousands of miles apart. Skype was his favorite thing ever it seems. However, Jessica was less than amused when she answered one of his impromptu calls and got an eyeful of naked Eric. Yes, he Skyped naked, trying to get a rise out of me as it were, since I knew he was naked but really couldn’t see anything … he’d made the mistake of standing when she answered. She blushed for like a half hour; it was hilarious.
I was more than excited about seeing him again, since that night at my place before he left proved to me that we still had that spark between us, one that could easily turn into a burning flame if we’d just let it do it’s thing. But it was letting it ignite that was the problem. I knew I’d become guarded in the time that I’d known him, and I knew he too had his defences up after the cluster fuck that was the Sandy Brown situation, but I hoped that we’d gotten to know and—more importantly—trust each other enough that we’d at least make an attempt at … something. I was willing, I just wondered if he was, too.
“Call her,” I said, throwing his phone at him before I threw my own on the table.
“No! She’s the one that broke up WITH ME. I’m not calling her.” He folded his arms in defiance. I looked to Amelia for help but she just rolled her eyes and kept poking at her iPad. Amelia was a woman of little patience for most things, and whining was one of those things.
“Hoyt, I can’t deal with your bitch-face anymore, and the moping, and the sadness. Call the girl, tell her you love her and that you’re an idiot and just… fix it.”
And that’s how our conversations went for almost two weeks. Sure, we’d talk about work and the weather, and the city and stuff, but mostly it came down to the women in our lives. He was pouting over his apparent lost love, and I … well, I was on a high from finding mine. That night in Sookie’s house, after the premiere, it awakened something in me that I hadn’t felt in a long time. Obvious attractions aside, I felt alive again in a way that I hadn’t remembered feeling in a long time. For the first time in as long as I could remember, I was excited. Not just so I could have sex with her, but so I could see her, talk to her, see her face. I’d never admit it out loud of course, but I really was happy that I knew she’d be with me for a week. I had my mission of course, to change her opinion of Sweden, though I felt Sookie at almost twenty-five would appreciate it’s beauty more than a tired eleven-year-old.
Amelia was off duty, as was Hoyt when I flew out from New York leaving them to fly back to LA. I was tired, but the excitement that I felt in knowing that I’d see her again took over from that. I knew I was due a day before her, but it gave me enough time to get myself prepared and more importantly to spend time with my dad, Sara and Lena. I was surprised when I arrived to find only Lena and Sara at the house. My father was apparently out in the country at the farm checking things over before the weekend festivities. I arrived to a wonderfully organic home cooked meal and smiles from my baby sister, who I was shocked to discover almost seemed like she remembered me.
“Well, your father and I are huge fans, Eric.” Sara laughed, “And he’s been telling her stories about you since she was born, and showing her your photos. So, really it’s only natural that she makes the connection. It’s interesting to see that happening with her now—she’s growing so fast.”
She was; she was already so much bigger than the last time I’d been home.
“So tell me about your Sookie, Eric,” Sara asked, a whimsical look on her face as we sat drinking our tea on the roof. It was a beautiful summer day and the town below was buzzing with activities. Couples young and old walking along, tourists and their cameras, men with babies, women with babies, all taking advantage of the bright sunny weather.
“She’s not ‘my’ Sookie …” I thought and then I corrected myself, “well, I mean I hope that she will be.”
She smiled, her eyebrows raising in time with her grin. “I knew it! The way her father talks about you and the way you talk about her, I knew this ‘just friends’ thing was nonsense. Have you two been… dating?”
“No. Not… what you’d call dating.”
“So, just sex then?” she asked with a straight face. I’d forgotten just how comfortable everyone was with their sexuality here. I’d been in America too long it seems because I fought back a blush which was ridiculous because I was a grown man, and I had already had this conversation with my father.
“No… well… once. Or twice. But that was before the friends thing came into play.”
“Ah, so you’re both doing things backwards, then? Well, no harm in that as long as you end up where you’re meant to in the end.”
I smiled. I hoped that she was right and that we would end up somewhere in the vicinity of each other in the end, whatever our ‘end’ may be. It was getting us both there that was the tricky part.
“Sleeping arrangements?” I asked. “Need any help setting things up?”
“No, no, Lena can come in with us. We have her crib all set up and the couch in her room pulls out into a bed. I’m assuming that’s where you’re going? If you can’t fit, we have a seven foot air mattress that you can use, and Earl and his lady will be in the guest room.”
I wasn’t aware that Earl and Maria were an item, but since they were rooming together, they must be, right?
“Oh, cool. I think Sookie should have the pullout bed and I can have the air bed. I don’t mind.”
She nodded. “Sorted then. Now, shall we walk to the shops? I need to pick up milk and eggs for breakfast.”
I agreed and we got Lena ready and off we went. It was odd since she was basically my age and we had things in common—music, movies, cultural references and such—but still this was my father’s wife? She was my stepmother. It was taking some getting used to, that’s for sure.
Sookie’s dad and Maria actually arrived from the airport and everything before she did, and before I was due to pick them up. They arrived with a hustle and bustle surrounding them—with gifts from France and lots of wine. It was sure to be an interesting Midsommar.
“Oh Sara, Maria and I are not what you would call … together in the sense of sharing our bed at this point,” her father whispered discreetly, but I heard him since I was feeding Lena her cookie. “So would there be—”
“Ah, say no more. She can have the pull-out bed in the nursery, or you can have it? You can work it out between you.”
“Erm, sorry, but there is one more? Where’s Sookie going to sleep?” I said, poking my nose around the door to find her dad smiling.
“Well, I was told the air mattress was rather large, yes? I’m sure you can find room on there for her.”
Sara smiled but tried to hide it. Something was going on here, and I felt very out of the loop.
“You know she might not be so comfortable with that,” I said coming inside with the baby.
“It’s just sleep, Eric, and I know my daughter—as soon as her head hits a pillow she’s out for the night.”
I didn’t believe him. He was screwing with me and I was sure of it. But I nodded along anyways.
“Fine. I’m going to pick her up from the airport, and one of you can tell her that she doesn’t have a real bed to sleep in for a week and see how that goes over.”
I grumbled to myself that they should have just let us book a hotel like everyone wanted to. Instead, everyone was now going to be squished and uncomfortable.
I got to the airport just in time for rush hour traffic to die down and thankfully pulled up at the pick-up point just as she was exiting the double doors, pulling one suitcase behind her and carrying her extremely large purse. So large in fact, that I wagered to myself that she could fit Lena in there if she tried. She smiled when she saw me, taking off her sunglasses and allowing her smile to grow into a big ole grin. I got out of the car to help her with her luggage, but I made sure to embrace her in a hug that I’d waited three weeks for, first. I may have held on just a little big longer, and a little big tighter than necessary, though she didn’t seem to mind since she squeezed back just as hard.
“I’ve missed you,” she said as I finally put her back on solid ground again. I guess I’d scooped her up in my enthusiasm.
“I’m a missable kind of guy, you know?” That earned me a punch in the arm as I put her cases in the trunk. “For the record, I’ve missed you, too.”
“Have not. You’re only saying that because I said it.” She faked a pout before she smiled again.
“Maybe. Doesn’t stop it being true though.” I smiled as she got into the front seat of my father’s Volvo—yes, he was Swedish and he drove a Volvo—insert all jokes here.
“Well, so far this trip is better than my last. The sun is shining for one thing. I wasn’t sure Swedes ever saw the sun.”
By the time we’d pulled up at Eric’s father’s home, the sun was setting and the breeze was picking up a little cooler than it had been when I first arrived. The land of Ikea, Volvo’s, and Abba was actually pretty beautiful, even on the short drive into the city. The house looked to be about three stories high and sat on the end of a quiet street that had an alley which led into the center of Stockholm. Eric told me it was a beautiful walk on a calm day and about a mile to the center of the town itself. I was curious as to what this city had to offer me and I hoped this week would allow me to explore that.
“Anyone home?” Eric called out as we both lugged my bags up the steps and into the main hallway. It was bright and white with accents of blue—very minimalist, very… Swedish.
“Oh this must be Sookie!” the woman appearing from seemingly nowhere announced but before I could get a good look at her I was enveloped in a hug and received a kiss on either cheek. A broken English/Swedish accent followed the air kisses and she told me how welcome I was and how much prettier I was in person and how thin I was. She was a little excited it seemed.
“It’s so nice to meet you—”
“Ah! Is this little Sookie?” came a deep and boisterous voice from where I assumed the kitchen was. Out walked a man who was the spitting image of Eric in many ways—adding thirty odd years and about twenty pounds that is. He was holding a toddler who had bright white hair and Eric’s eyes. She was adorable.
“I’m William, please… call me William,” he joked. “No Bill, no Wills, none of that nonsense,” he laughed as he hugged me with one arm, careful of the baby in the other.
“And that rug rat is Lena,” Eric offered, taking his sister and my heart—and possibly my ovaries—melted right there on the spot.
“Hi Lena. Hi,” I said to her and she looked at me curiously. I’d give her time. The last thing I wanted to do was freak the baby out by being too over the top.
“You know it’s so nice to finally meet you, Sookie. Your father and my son have told me a lot about you,” he said smiling, and I instantly worried what that ‘lot’ could be.
“Please, don’t believe a word either of them says, William. They both exaggerate far too much for my tastes.” I laughed as we made our way through to their kitchen were I discovered they were in the middle of cooking dinner.
“Your father and his Maria have gone for a stroll,” Sara said, stirring whatever was in her pot.
“Interesting… he hates to stroll,” I mumbled to a grinning Eric.
“Ah yeah, but he’s strolling past the liquor store for some stock,” his father commented and suddenly it all made that much more sense.
I’d offered to help with dinner, though my cooking skills were … limited shall we say. It was still nice to have manners. I was shot down in favor of letting the ‘boys handle dinner’ as Sara and I took the baby onto their patio accompanied by a glass of wine for each of us.
High on the second floor, it gave a nice view of the other buildings surrounding us, and a peek at the town below. People were hanging lanterns and twinkle lights in various places, and Sara informed me all about the festivals going on and how there would be little stalls filled with goodies and food and drink through out the weekend to celebrate. It sounded like a lot of good old fashioned fun, and I couldn’t wait. My dad and Maria finally came back, both armed with yet more bags of alcohol. Necessary pleasantries were exchanged and I noted that he looked paler than the last time I’d seen him, and forced myself to push the worry down. If something was wrong with my dad, he’d be honest with me… I was sure.
By the time one a.m. rolled around, I was more than ready for bed. After a great first night filled with laughs and embarrassing stories from both my side of the family and Eric’s, along with some amazing wine and good food, I was in my happy place and ready for sleep. We had an activity filled weekend ahead of us. My happy place was soon dented when Eric led me down to the basement level of the house. It was a converted living room, bright and airy despite having only one small window. They’d pulled every decorating trick in the book to make it seem bigger. It held two couches and a giant flat screen TV, but what it didn’t house however, was a bed.
“Eric, this is great and all, but I really just want to sleep.”
“Ah, that’s the problem…”
“No sleeping?” I said, turning my tired head sideways as he disappeared into a large closet to come out with a big blue air mattress—already pumped up. That’s when I noticed the folded bedding on the couch.
“Am I sleeping on an air mattress?”
“We are sleeping on an air mattress,” he corrected me as he proceeded to set it down, and spread the sheet on it.
“They really are setting us up, aren’t they?” I sighed as he smiled in return.
“Please, like the forty-five minute conversation from your dad about how you’ve failed to ‘pick the one’ all the while listing traits that I have as what he wants for you? That… wasn’t subtle enough, huh?”
“Or the fact that your dad kept commenting on what a nice, cute, sane girl I was and how anyone would be so lucky to have me?” I asked, helping him make his… our bed.
“Our parents are trolling us, Sookie.”
That they were.
“Everything alright down here?” came the voice from the stairs. We hadn’t even heard him come down. Eric’s dad stood with a half finished glass of wine in hand and a smug grin on his face.
“Yep, everything’s fine, William,” I said as I fluffed the sheet some more before tucking it in and throwing down some pillows. Eric had the giant quilt unfolded and spread on the bed by the time I’d lined up the pillows. We made a mean bed together.
“The air bed is very comfortable. I’ve used it on many occasions when I’ve been in the ‘dog house’ with Sara before we got the guest room sorted. I’m sure you two will have fun… a fine sleep on it.”
Yep, definitely trolling us.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine. Thanks for these,” I said, holding up another pillow. I was scared to sit on the air mattress though. What if it burst? “Will it hold the both of us?”
“Oh, Sweetheart, I’m sure it will.” He nodded before bidding us both good night and a very suggestive ‘sweet dreams.’
“You know, if they weren’t so obvious about it, it might be worrying. As it is, it’s just fucking hilarious,” Eric said. I laughed with my hand over my mouth even though I knew they wouldn’t hear us—two floors up it would be impossible. But still they were ninja, so I was taking no chances.
“It’s just so silly, isn’t it? I mean, they think that by forcing it on us that it’ll somehow make us… whatever it is they think we should be,” I said, taking my bag with all of my necessities into the tiny ensuite bathroom on the end of the other room adjoining the makeshift living room. I brushed my teeth and stepped into my sleep shorts, kept my tank top on and slid off my bra before I exited again where I found Eric in his boxers, and only his boxers. In the dim light of the room it made everything instantly seem more intimate somehow, and as we dodged each other so he could go in and do his thing, it suddenly made the two large adjoining rooms seem that much smaller.
I walked over to the now very comfortable looking airbed and gave it the once over before carefully crawling on board. It seemed steady enough so I got settled under the covers and scooted further down on the makeshift bed and got myself cozy by the time Eric returned smelling of soap and his deodorant. Well, at least he was respectful of my sense of smell. Not that he really ever smelled bad, but you know what I mean…
“Is it safe?” he asked, eyeing it up as I had done.
“Seems to be so far, but this is it minus a six five dude, so… let’s see? Don’t bounce!” I warned as he got on his knees first and then onto the bed. The shift caused it to squeak, causing me to giggle. Yes, I was twelve, because on his end every time he moved or breathed it squeaked.
He sighed in frustration.
“Of course I get the wonky end.”
“Of course. You know I don’t know why he didn’t just let us book a hotel or something in town. It would be a lot … easier.” I shifted uneasily.
“True, it would, but you know he’d have an excuse, and that would put an end to them poking around in our love lives.” He turned to me then, pulling the bedding around himself, but looking directly at me.
“You know, I don’t really think they have to meddle with us. Not really,” I said, facing him then too. “I mean, whatever we are, it’s fine, right? I mean, I know we haven’t really talked about it, seriously or anything… but it’s something, right?”
He smiled. “I’d like to think so.”
That made me happy. “Good, I’m glad.”
With that, he leaned over and kissed me softly, once and when he realized I wasn’t going to stop him he leaned in a little further, causing me to giggle again at the squeaking rubber underneath us.
“I’m going to be cock-blocked by this thing, aren’t I?”
I shook my head ‘no’ before I scooted over so I could kiss him again. We very easily could have fallen into a heavy and much needed make out session, but we didn’t. And it wasn’t me that stopped us this time either, it was Eric.
“I’ve been dying to kiss you like that since you got off that plane,” he whispered.
“So, then why didn’t you?”
He shrugged. “I wasn’t sure you’d want me to. Or that I should.”
“I always want you to…” I admitted, softly running my fingers down his arm.
“Keep that up and I’ll have to rethink my gentlemanly ways.”
“You? A gentleman?” I laughed, and he just poked me in the arm.
“I’m sorry. I mean, of course you, a gentleman.” I changed my tone but I still laughed. His face was a picture, even in the almost dark room.
“Goodnight, Sookie,” he said sweetly but I was still shocked.
“Really? Seriously? You’re stopping the kissing… to sleep?”
“Yep,” he said, looking ever so proud of himself. “See, I have grown.” He chuckled to himself as he laid on his back. I was still sure he was kidding.
“Okay then…” I sing-songed at him. “Me and these lips are going to sleep.”
“I’d hope so, at his hour. Besides we have plenty of time for … kissing things this week,” he snarked and I kicked him.
“Well, maybe I won’t want to kiss you this week, ever think of that?”
He scoffed as if to say, ‘as if.’ So he was still cocky as ever. Good to know some things don’t change.
“Goodnight, Eric,” I said faking my pout a little but he just smiled to himself. I was sure our parents weren’t the only ones doing the trolling as far as our relationship goes.
“Goodnight, Sookie.” I still heard his cocky grin in his voice. This was going to be an interesting week.
A/N: Thinky thoughts? Any and all are always welcome! xox
Chapter 30: Chapter 30
Hard and awkward, that’s how I’d describe my night on that fucking air bed with Sookie. Hard in more ways than one, being that close to her and feeling her next to me all night – knowing full well that if my dumb-ass self hadn’t been so intent on ‘taking the high road’ for once, that I’d have maybe gotten laid – at the very least a little hands in the pants action, but no, I had to stop it.
But, I managed to hold it together, mostly. Sookie liked to cuddle in her sleep, I don’t know if it was accidental or she just assumed I was this big breathing pillow, but the girl liked to get close. Not that I was complaining of course, but when I couldn’t really move – because of the squeak-tastic bed, and then with the hot girl clinging to me, smelling so good like she does and feeling so soft like she is, well, it was a difficult night sleep that’s for sure. When I woke up she was gone, and the smell of breakfast led me up the two floors to the kitchen where I found her dad, and my dad cooking breakfast, looking extremely hung-over.
“You old men can’t hold your drink anymore, huh?” I commented, though in truth I felt like shit myself.
Pouring myself some coffee, I took a seat at the table next to her dad.
“You okay, Earl?” He looked more tired than his usual perky self.
“I’m fine, just as you say, can’t hold my drink. We are old now, William and I.”
“Ah, nonsense.” He chipped, “You are only as young as the woman you feel.” He laughed heartily. And I tried not to smile.
“Gross, thanks dad but I don’t want to think about you feeling up Sara, thanks.” I faked my disgusted look, I didn’t mind, but at the same time – I didn’t want details… Or to think about it at all, actually.
“Why not? She is my wife these things are only natural, son.”
“William, I think Eric has already had the birds and the bees talk at this stage.” Earl chuckled over his coffee, and I nodded along.
“Well, I’m beginning to think not!”
“Huh?” I said, or mumbled, I’m not sure which.
“Eric, really, what is keeping you with Sookie?” My dad asked, I swear I felt myself blush, I mean we were sitting there with HER father after all.
“Uh, dad…” I looked between him and Earl and the both of them just had expectant looks on their faces.
“Oh, Eric don’t be bashful, I’ve already seen you both simulate sex, a few times actually.”
Stupid fucking HBO.
“So, it’s no stretch to see that you’re both completely smitten by the other, and frankly we’re tired of you both pussing about.” My dad said, with his broken and incorrect English, and a grin, while Earl interjected and corrected him.
“It’s pussyfooting, William.” He said, and I struggled to hold back my laugh.
“We’re not… doing that.” I couldn’t say it without losing the grip I had on my straight face, “Sookie and I are fine as we are-”
“Lying,” my dad sing-songed.
“I am not!”
“Eric, things between us may have been strained in recent years, that much is true, but you are still my son and I know when you’re lying, your eyes give you away every time, even when you were a boy. Now, we can see that you and Sookie have a ‘thing’ so what we’d like to know is if we’re getting grand-babies out of it?”
“Basically.” Earl chimed in sipping his coffee again and taking an elegant bite of his toast. Jesus Christ I was being tag teamed by the elderly.
I sighed, “It’s too early for this, seriously. And besides, where IS Sookie?”
“Aw, he’s all concerned about his girlfriend.” My dad teased, before reverting back to his normal voice, “What? I didn’t get your teen years to do this, what can I say… and she’s gone for a walk with Sara and the baby, said she needed some air.”
“Oh…”I was disappointed to say the least but at the very least it gave me some time to get my head on straight and plan the rest of the night.
“So for tonight we were thinking we’d have the day to explore, of course if you kids want to go off and do…” he waved his hand, “Whatever it is you’re doing that’s fine, we can meet up for a early dinner at ‘Gondolen’-” I knew of that restaurant and I was fairly certain how to find it, apparently it offered amazing views of the city, “around six, I think I booked it for. And after that, well we can explore the festivals beginnings and drink and have fun! It shall be great.” he said his accent coming in stronger when he was loud than when he spoke quietly in English, for Earls benefit as well as my rusty ears.
An hour later I was showered, fed and dressed when I heard the familiar laugh of a certain woman coming from the living room, Sookie was on the couch ‘dancing’ with Lena. It didn’t take long for the kid to warm up to her it seemed.
“She likes you.” I said as I walked in to find Lena standing on her lap being jiggled to some silly sing along kids show in Swedish, both of them were laughing.
“We’ll, I’m a very likable kind of girl.” she said, sitting the baby down, “Sara’s getting changed and then we can go. I really want to see the city today, it’s such a beautiful day.”
“Yeah we can break off from them at some point if you want, not that I’m not dying to spend time with them.” I laughed and sat next to her, “But I’d like it to just be us too, at least for a little while?”
I saw a tinge of a blush creeping into her neck, interesting.
“Yeah that sounds good.”
We set off, exploring the town, we even took the ferry around so that Maria and her camera could get some shots, she and Earl seemed very much in love, even if neither of them would admit it, Sookie noticed it too, always rolling her eyes with an ‘about time’ comment on it, but she was happy all the same. I could tell she too had a lot of love for Maria, she was a good woman, quiet when she wanted to be but could also talk your ear off when the mood struck her. She seemed to disapprove of the way our dads were ‘pressuring’ me, but I assured her that they were just full of it and to not worry. She promised she’d set them both right. I believed her, this was after all the woman that birthed Amelia, I held no doubts that when she wanted something, she got it.
We lost the oldies, as Sookie had affectionately started calling them, much to Sara’s fake chagrin, around four when she and I broke off to go explore the old town, I hadn’t been there since I was a kid. It was nice in so many ways, firstly to just reconnect with my past in an unexpected way, and in another, just to see Sookie’s reaction and hear her questions about the place.
“Would you ever move back here? It’s so beautiful, and I’ve only see a tiny part of it.” She asked as we picked up some coffee and continued to stroll to the shopping district.
“I have thought about it, mostly in the last few years, when things weren’t going so well…” I admitted, “just giving it all up and moving back here and starting over.”
“Really? Just like that?”
“No, not just like that. But before…” before her, “I was miserable and it was all my own doing, and I never thought I had the option to just…stop and be someone else.”
“And now you think you have that option?”
“I think… I’ve learned that you don’t always have to be who people want you to be. I’ve learned that I’m not defined by my job, I’m defined by my happiness. And for a long time, making those movies, and the moves I was making in my personal life weren’t making me happy either. I didn’t think I’d ever feel content.”
“And how do you feel now?”
I smiled, “I feel pretty damn good right about now. I think my present company helps with that.”
She blushed again, and instead of fighting the urge I had, I embraced it, as I embraced her, and kissed her, right there in the middle of the empty cobbled street. She didn’t fight it, in fact quite the opposite, she dropped her paper cup half full of coffee and wrapped her arms around my neck, deepening our kiss even further.
It felt like it lasted forever, and not long enough all at once, before we were forced apart by a small group of teenagers whistling at us as they walked by and rode by one their bikes.
She blushed again this time hiding her head in my chest for a second.
“Says us, who are acting like them.” I added and she agreed.
“I like kissing you, what can I say?” She admitted, making me smile wide.
“You can say that as often as you like, that’s what you can say.”
“How about instead of saying it, I actually do it? Less talk, more action?” She wriggled her brows at me with a grin.
“What kind of action are we talking about here?”
She just shrugged and walked backwards away from me that coy smile still on her face.
“There are all kinds of actions, Eric, let’s just wait and see.”
I was between awake and asleep, I knew I was in bed but I didn’t want to fully wake up, my body was still tired… but my nose itched, so I absentmindedly scratched it, waking myself up further. The urge to pee was also niggling at me pushing me into awake. When I opened my eyes I realised the room was still in a blanket of darkness, that pre-sunrise light just floating in through the tiny window but not quite enough to give full light, the glow from the bathroom light floated in though allowing me a glimpse at my surroundings. I’d edged towards Eric in my sleep, I wasn’t sure if I’d done it on purpose or not, but I found myself cuddled into his chest with his arm around me, friends didn’t sleep like that, did they? I didn’t think so. His slight snore with every third breath would come and go and come and go, until the urge to pee pulled at me too much and I had to force myself out of his incredibly comfortable and warm embrace.
I found Sara in the kitchen when I tiptoed up the stairs, she was sitting with her morning coffee and the paper. It was just after six am.
“You’re up early.”
“Creature of habit, I’m afraid, I’m so used to it for work that my inner clock just keeps me up, coffee?”
The house was so quiet that it was almost unnerving considering just how full of life it had been the day and night before. We talked, about Eric and his father, and how for years he was distraught over losing the relationship with his son, but felt he had no place to demand otherwise when Eric was grown, and just how happy she’d seen him since they had reconciled. I was happy for him and I was happy for Eric, they both needed it and it was obvious they missed each other, Sara commented that her husband seemed like he had a new lease on life since Eric came back into their lives. I was proud.
We’d decided to skip out around ten, just to get the baby some air and enjoy the morning while things were still somewhat less hectic than the night was promised to be, Midsummer festivals were a big thing in Europe, and Sweden was no exception. There were market stalls, beer gardens, parties, street parties, all kinds of joyful activities planned to honour the summer, Sara told me of old traditions and new traditions that mixed together in their culture, all in all I couldn’t wait to relax and take it all in. I’d gotten through a forty five minute phone call from Pam, telling me that someone with a camera phone got photos of me arriving in Sweden, to of course Eric’s welcoming arms, there was a frenzy and that apparently because of it the show’s popularity had jumped even higher.
Sometimes I didn’t understand people.
Exploring was fun, though I was glad when Eric and I got some time alone. I was determined to find out what was going on with us before the weekend was out, I mean I knew we had till the middle of the week here, but the weekend would be telling, I felt, in more ways than one. For one, I knew I was more honest with a bottle of wine in me, the dangerous thing was that I was also about twenty times more horny with said bottle of wine too, the results were often disastrous. I didn’t want it to be a drunken confession though, I had feelings for him, beyond a one night stand and beyond the friendship that we’d built over the last eleven months. I needed an answer to the internal question that was on a constant loop in my mind, and had been for the last few months.
Did Eric Northman love me back?
I knew he liked me, and I knew he was attracted to me, sleeping next to the man in nothing but boxers kind of gives that bit away, and I knew that our sexual chemistry was – thankfully- still there and still as exciting as it was when he first touched me, but I felt more than that for him and I was … worried that his woes with his other women may have put him off the idea or the notion of falling in love again. What if he didn’t want that? Where would that leave us? We had a lot on the line, not only had he become one of my most cherished friends, but we had our work.
Wasn’t this why I’d sworn off dating actors? Why was he my exception?
I didn’t know why, but he was, and so, when he kissed me in that small back street of Stockholm I didn’t hesitate to kiss him back. It was the best move I’d made in weeks, and it felt amazing all over again.
Dinner was wonderful, the restaurant was not only beautiful on the inside but it gave it’s customers panoramic views of the city, I loved it, it all felt so whimsical. Of course everyone laughed at me when I said it, and William noted that minus twenty five degrees in winter wasn’t so much whimsical as it was a general pain in the ass. I could only imagine.
As night began to fall the city seemed to come to life, stalls were still going strong, bars were filling up and everyone – even as closed off as Swedes can sometimes seem- appeared to be in a good mood. The streets were filled with traditional music, lights and people, it did still feel as whimsical to me as it had felt before, I loved and noted a look of peace on Eric’s face that I hadn’t remembered seeing before, it made me smile.
“You know the old tradition was that the young unmarried people of the villages would take the flowers they’d collected throughout the day, and sleep with them under their pillow on the eve of the Midsommar.” Eric explained as he picked a small bunch of flowers from the vendor selling them, a red rose, a white rose and a selection of tulips, paid for them and offered them to me. I didn’t even try to fight back my blush.
“Thank you, they’re lovely.” I smelled them, and they really were.
“And if they did that, apparently who they would dream of that night, would be the person they were meant to be with forever.” He grinned, kissing the side of my head as he wrapped his arm around me, “It’s an old wives tale, but still. It’s a fun tradition.”
It seemed to be all good fun, the music, the dancing, the drinking, the young ladies with the strange array of candles on their head… all of it enjoyable, but more so because of the man by my side.
We’d been stopped various times in the day for autographs, from fans of the show – surprising both of us since we were sure it hadn’t even gotten a European premiere date at that point. We were told it was down to the online leaking and they hoped we ‘didn’t mind’ they were illegally downloading it. It made me laugh because it was amazing how our show, having just been on the air a few weeks, was garnering fans so fast. Of course we didn’t care how they saw it, as long as they did, let the studios worry about the money, I’d always just wanted people to like my work, and if they got it for free – more power to them.
We’d noticed a few camera phones being used in our direction, and when I told Eric about the airport leak, he wasn’t too happy, but I’d managed to make him see that there was no use in fighting it, people knew who we were now, and wasn’t that what he’d wanted before, to be known? I was just glad most people were starting to recognise us for our work and not only for our personal lives. That was the main thing.
We took a seat, down by the edge of the water to rest our-tired and slightly tipsy-selves where the boats and the larger ferries were docked, nothing but the faint sound of the music from above us and the lapping water below filled the air for a few minutes.
“Thank you.” He said, breaking the silence.
“Everything. This past year, it’s been a wild ride in more ways than one, and it’s … the good parts anyway, they all included you. So thank you. And thank you for coming here, I’m glad I got to experience this with you.” He seemed sad almost, and I didn’t want to question why, but I did take his hand and cuddle into his side again.
“The good parts might have included me, but they happened because of you, you have to remember that too…but regardless, I’m flattered and thank you.” I giggled, “it’s so beautiful here. I might never want to go back to LA.”
He chuckled, “You think we could persuade them to move Fallen over here? Like, Charlie goes on an adventure around the Scandinavian countries and settles in Sweden with Lucas?”
I laughed, “I think they might have a small issue with that. Sadly.”
I inhaled a big breath and I just said it, “Eric?”
“Yeah?” He looked to me then, still holding me into his side as we sat.
“What is this?”
“Well, it’s a dock, it -”
“No… With us. I hate to be a typical girl here and ask, but… it’s driving me nuts.”
“Yes, that.” I matched his calm tone as he looked out onto the water again.
“Sookie, I …” he exhaled, “I know we have a lot riding on us being friends, and staying friends, our lives are so tangled… but I wouldn’t have it any other way, I love having you in my life, I love that I can trust you to always be honest with me when everyone else is bullshitting me and telling me what they think I want to hear, I love that you don’t take my shit, or if you do, you throw it right back at me and then some. I love that… I love that you helped me see that there is a different way to live this life and a better way at that.” We weren’t looking at each other, and for that I was glad since my eyes were welling up and I was doing my best not to shed the silly tears and let him talk.
“I think what I’m trying to say… is that I love you, and as much as I love our friendship… I have other feelings for you that go beyond that, and I don’t know if you feel -” I cut him off right then and there, mostly because I didn’t want him to doubt for one second that what I felt for him was in the same lane as what he felt for me. I snaked my hand around his neck and motioned to kiss him, “I love you too. I’ve been wanting to tell you…”
“So why didn’t you?” He asked breaking the kiss once and I shrugged.
“I was scared in case you didn’t love me back.” I admitted, sheepishly to his surprise, he just rolled his eyes playfully and kissed me again. Camera phones could kiss my ass if they happened to find us, I wasn’t censoring myself in this moment for anyone that happened to see us, this was one of those moments you didn’t ever want to forget, because of just how good you felt at the time. And I felt pretty damn good.
Stumbling and giggling, that’s what was heard in the silent house as Sookie and I decided to cut back early, clearly more than three sheets to the wind from all her wine and all my beer, we’d gotten close to indecent exposure on that windy dock to the point where I was sure if we continued we’d be arrested. Swedes were liberated sexually, but there were still some laws. Instead, we joined our parents for drinks under one of the beer tents that was set up just where a local traditional band were playing. We didn’t tell them the advances we’d made in our new found relationship – not that we were hiding it – but it just seemed like it was something to keep to ourselves, at least for the time being. However, as we arrived hand in hand I noticed Maria nudge Earl, and then Earl whisper to my father and then my father nudging Sara, they really weren’t subtle people. But still Sookie and I said nothing, instead she’d rub my leg with her leg and I’d accidentally place my hand on her knee, until we’d drank enough to make us giddy. I decided to let the folks enjoy the music and since Sara’s mother had the baby for the night she’d been enjoying herself too, it seemed a waste to drag them back just because we wanted to leave … and besides, having the house to ourselves might not have been a bad idea.
“Okay you love birrrds be good, and if you can’t be good, be safe.” Maria winked, causing both Sookie and I to laugh, she too was certainly more honest after some wine it seemed.
As Sookie and I – but mostly Sookie, stumbled through the door she kicked off her sandals and shrugged her jacket off, leaving her in the baby blue chequered sun dress she’d been sporting all day. Instantly I had her up against the wall of the hallway before we edged ever closer to the first living room – our lips barely parting until we got to the couch where she saddled across my lap right away, her hands raking through my hair causing that beautiful shiver to run down my spine as we kissed.
We made out on the couch like teenagers, and it honestly felt amazing. Drunk Sookie, I’d come to realize was also horny Sookie, and with lower inhibitions than normal, the girl was wild. The grinding and the soft moans were almost driving me crazy when I suggested we move it somewhere where the parental units were less likely to walk in and catch an eyeful. She agreed with a giggle and we made our way down to the basement living room. She stepped out of her dress, leaving her in just her underwear, white with little poppies on them, yes I’d stared that intently that I recognised the flowers – and I was also a nerd.
“I’m not sure this air mattress was designed for the things I want to do to you.” She whispered as I got rid of the last of my clothes, crawling in next to her just as gently. I wasn’t so sure it was either, but her words gave me butterflies and my promising hard on was well on it’s way to full formation when she ran her hands up my thighs and out to my hips before grabbing hold of the waist of my boxers, all the while she had a very sultry look in her eye that I wasn’t sure she was aware of. I’ll admit to missing her curves, but this was still Sookie, just thinner, and really her body was beautiful just as I imagined it would be whatever size she’d choose to be. Her warmth and her softness just calling to me as she allowed me to slip off her bra and watch her shimmy out of her panties, kissing me then breaking it to undress, then kissing me again. I was so ready for this.
We’d been fooling around for a few minutes, when I’d had enough of her teasing me, grinding on my lap like she was, and I flipped us over. Big mistake, for the second that I ‘flipped’ I heard the bang. And it wasn’t the kind of bang that I’d been wanting. It was a loud noise and slowly but surely the airbed began to shrink, and shrink, losing air with Sookie and I going down with it. She couldn’t stop giggling, and honestly, nor could I. It was a hilarious sight to see slightly drunk as we were.
“We broke the bed your dad is going to be maaaad.” She said in between giggles. When we finally stopped laughing and were fully on the living room floor now, in our airless air bed Sookie was still laughing on and off.
“Don’t move, I’m going to find the pump.”
“Nooo.” she said clinging to me, “don’t go… stay.”
“But we’re on the floor.”
“I don’t care…Stay?” She gave me the puppy dog eyes and really how could I resist her.
“I’ll stay, but I have to go for a second, I forgot to leave the key under the welcome mat for dad, they don’t have a spare with them.”
She nodded, “Okay. Don’t be long.”
I grabbed the key out of my jeans pocket and sprinted naked up the stairs in the hopes that they wouldn’t be at the door when I got there, I didn’t feel like explaining it right then and there. Or at all really. It was our thing, no matter how invested they were in it, it really had nothing to do with them.
I slipped the key under the mat and made sure the lights were left on so they’d see where they were going. I gathered up Sookie’s shoes and bag that she’d dropped in the hallway and made my way back to her, fully prepared if necessary to fuck her on that floor, but it wasn’t to be.
When I got back down I noticed she was on her stomach, not waiting for me like I’d hoped but passed out asleep, with a slight snore instead.
So not how this night was meant to go.
I resigned myself and my dick to a sex free night, grabbed the blankets from the couch and did my best to tuck Sookie and I both in, on the airless air bed. After I got over my disappointment over a now very snore happy Sookie, I laughed. Something massive happened to us that night, we’d taken that step… the one that it seems we were both terrified to take. We admitted how we felt, and I realized just how amazing it was to know that she and I shared not only a love for each other as friends, but this was us, and she loved me like I loved her. I couldn’t wait to start whatever the hell it was that we were just starting, all I knew was that it was going to be a crazy ride.
A/N: So, thirty chapters in and we have had two chapters in a row with little to no angst? Do you all know how hard that is for me? Hehe For I am an angsthor! I hope you liked it, sound of on reviews down below if you’d like! Thank you all again for all of the wonderful support on this story, it’s really fantastic! xox