Chapter 39: Chapter 39
A year later …
As I looked out the window, watching him load up the car, the snow was still thick on the ground where we were and I chuckled to myself that I had actually survived my first winter in Sweden. They really weren’t kidding about the minus twenty degree temperatures and the never ending snow storms. It’s beautiful to look at, for like an hour, but then you realize this is it, for months. We’d made the final pact then to live in California during the winter months if we could, and come back to Sweden then when time allowed. Since the novelty of the weather and being that isolated quickly wore off and I missed the California weather more and more every day.
One thing that didn’t wear off though, was Eric and I. In fact, if anything we’d somehow managed to just grow stronger. I moved to Sweden, packed light and shopped a lot when I first got there. We had spent the summer reconnecting as we tripped around the coast and as I got to know my new home a little bit better, and as Eric regaled me with stories from his childhood as we visited various places that he had been to as a boy. It made me feel that much more closer to him now that I knew those little things about him, from before I knew him. He continued to teach his classes three times a week while I sat in a couple of times, though I was apparently too big of a distraction for his students. Eric says it was the whole ‘Oscar winning’ actress thing that made them nervous, but really I saw what he didn’t – that those girls, and a few of the guys, were a little jealous and would rather I not be there. I took it on the chin though, I understood what it was to be cockblocked on a crush and who was I to stand in the way of some innocent fantasy? Instead, I would spend those days in town with Sara and Lena. Lena and I got to know each other pretty well, since I became her stand in babysitter a few days a week in those first few months, I enjoyed it more and more as she got comfortable with me again. I had to reassure her that I wasn’t going to leave Eric again. She didn’t like it when he was sad.
That little confession just about broke my heart.
Sara and David had continued to ‘see’ each other. We introduced her to Skype, and it was like she won the lottery. By the next Christmas she was making plans to move to California full time. We’d spent time researching schools, and getting their visa’s sorted. I’d never seen her so excited and so scared at the same time, if I’m honest.
My initial six months turned into another six months, much to the chagrin of Pamela – who was as always itching to get me back to work. I was bitched out over email and Skype for days when I told her I was staying on. A mistake I realized when I underestimated the winters in Sweden. But, it was now Spring again, and as much as I hated to do it, I had to leave. I had a job, and the script I’d been working on was done and in need of a home. We needed to get the ball moving on it and shop it around. I had a small part lined up in a Tom Hanks movie, which would take a week tops to film, but it was a warming up exercise to get me back in the game again. I liked smaller parts, they allowed me to hop into a character and hop back out before things got messy, as my father would say.
Eric and my father kept in close contact, and we’d spent Christmas in France – with Lena and Sara in tow. And they were both as thick as thieves again in no time, I knew that Eric really looked up to my father, and in return my dad loved him like the son he never had. I liked to think that my dad helped Eric with losing his own father just a little bit – having a father figure to turn to when he wanted. They’d been working on things, various projects that my father was writing or lining up to direct. He began to ask for Eric’s input more and more, and there were times when I’d go to bed alone and wake up and they’d still be talking, as animated as anything about those projects at five am. As for Eric and I? Well, the initial first few weeks were amazing, it was all sex, and talking, and sex, and buying furniture, and having sex on said furniture. Then, the honeymoon period wore off, as it inevitably does, and we were both smacked with the reality that we were a couple, living together. I hadn’t lived with a guy since Alcide, and really before him I was on my own, as I was after for a long time, and Eric hadn’t lived with a girlfriend in any serious capacity … well, ever. So, it took a little getting used to when the quirks stopped being adorable and started being annoying as fuck. He snored, he left the toilet seat up, he left his towels all over the damn bathroom floor. Of course I annoyed him too, I kicked him when he snored, so hard once I left a bruise, I constantly felt the need to move furniture around and that annoyed him too, but in the grander scheme of things they were little problems that we could deal with. It was all part and parcel of being a couple, right? Having problems, and dealing with them. He slowly began to leave the seat down and pick up his towels, the snoring hadn’t stopped though. And I, well I think I might have OCD because while I’ve stopped battering him in his sleep (as he puts it) I can’t seem to find the perfect place for the new arm chair.
“You okay in there?” he asked, wrapping his arms around me from behind and pulling me close.
“Hmm. I was just thinking.”
“Good thinking or bad thinking?” he smirked.
“All kinds of thinking. I want to go back to Cali, but I do love it here… and now the snow is starting to go… I’ll stop complaining.”
“You were so dramatic at times, it was hilarious.”
I recalled arguments we’d had during the winter months, as I was bundled up like a Eskimo and he simply had one rather dapper looking coat. Swedes were born with thicker skin, it was all I could think.
“It’s still not natural for a country to be that cold, you know it as well as I do.”
“Mmm,” he hummed. “But, it did mean lots of nights inside, all snuggled up in front of the big fire in there. I know you liked that.”
I smiled, yeah, it was hot. In more ways than one.
“It did keep the frost bite at bay, I do admit.”
“Yeah, that’s all it did.” I looked at him as he wriggled his brows. “You’re all set,” he said then.
“Come on, Stackhouse. You have a plane to catch.”
“I know, I just don’t want to. I hate flying without you.” I whined.
“Aww,” he teased.
“You’ll miiiiss me.”
“You know what, I take it back. I’ll enjoy this week without you and your annoying face around.”
“Don’t lie, Sookie. You love my annoying face. You love it so much.”
“I’m leaving now,” I said still in a huff, well, a fake huff. But this was us, through and through. We teased and we bantered. We fought and we made up.
It was life.
He just grabbed my hand and spun me back to him, pulling me in for a kiss.
“You have time though… for a proper goodbye.”
“Huh, I thought we covered that this morning… twice,” I laughed.
“Ehhh, I like to be thorough.”
“Oh, yes, I forgot, you, Northman, are nothing if not thorough.”
We made out for a few minutes, but I knew I was really going to miss my flight if we carried on as we were.
“Okay big guy, I have to go now.”
“Don’t! Don’t do that face. We decided remember?”
“Yeah I know, doesn’t mean I’m okay with it though. It’s creepy here now without you.”
There was nothing creepy about the house, at least not now that we’d done it up to our liking and slapped new paint on just about every wall. Though, I will admit, being this far out of town and in winter? It was less fun if he was late from work, but I put on my big girl pants (bought a gun) and dealt with it.
“You’ll survive, and then, a whole six months in California.”
He nodded, his sombre face still in full effect.
“Right, come on, or we’ll make me miss the stupid flight,” I said as I dragged him and my carry on luggage out the door. Chit chat was made as we both sang along to the crackling radio all the way to the airport.
“Ok… So, tell Sara I’ll pick you all up together if you’d like or if she has plans with David -”
“Yeah I think he’s meeting her in New York and they’re going to spend a few days there first.”
She was moving, and it was huge deal for her, but she was happy, and that was the main thing.
“Oh, well, okay then,” I kissed him before I got out of the car. “I’ll see you in a week.”
Without her, the house just wasn’t the same, which is odd when you consider I’d lived there longer without her than I had with her – so far. But she made it different. She made it home. I knew I was packing up, I was making sure everything was secure with the house before I left for the summer. I’d loved teaching in Sweden, but I’d also been offered a job teaching film in LA. I’d taken it for the summer just to see what the differences were, and if I liked it, it would keep me busy while Sookie was working.
Did I miss acting? Of course I did, there were still times when I’d get the itch to fall into a character that I’d read about, or I’d see a film and compare to how I might have done it better. But did I miss it enough to jump back in?
Really not. Which surprised even me.
What I did find was a love for writing. It was something I’d kept to myself for a long time, but I had stories that I’d love to have seen on the big screen one day, and I had, over the past year, somehow found the courage to show them to someone. Earl, specifically. He’d read a few of them, and I felt like I was back in school as I waited for him to grade them in a sense. He’d fallen in love with one in particular, and had sent it off to a producer friend of his without telling me. I’d found out the day Sookie left that they’d wanted to buy the rights if I allowed it.
I was stunned. Because really? That was the last thing I expected.
The one he’d fallen in love with was my therapy, the document I’d turned to and poured a story into when I first moved to Sweden alone again. I’d lost the love of my life, I’d felt hopeless, and I was lonely. That document was the purging of my thoughts for over a year or more that had somehow formed a story worth telling.
“Will you do it?” Earl asked again, and again I hesitated.
“Earl, come on, you know it’s not something I’ve done before… I wouldn’t know the – ”
“We both know that’s bullshit, Eric. You’ve worked with enough directors, you know the drill better than most of them, and this is your story to tell, I’d think you’d want to tell it right.”
He had a point.
“True, but I just… stepping back into that world…”
“Boy, please. You may have hung up your acting hat but you’re still in that world, and don’t kid yourself into thinking you’re not. You’re both on the Internet all the time still.”
Yeah, the press fascination with both Sookie and I as a couple only seemed to intensify when I stopped playing the game. Who knew?
“So, will you do it?”
“What are they offering?”
He chuckled as he told me the price, and I almost dropped the damn phone.
“And a certain level of creative freedom, of course. It’s a smaller production company but I’ve convinced them that with your name attached as a first time director, and let’s face it the public still adore you… it would bring them a lot of curious movie goers, if nothing else.”
“I love how sure you sound about this. I am just not that sure.”
“It comes with age. You know a good thing when you see it.”
“Shall I tell them yes, then?”
“With one condition.”
“And that would be?”
“I get to be part of the casting process.”
“Oh?” He smiled, “Anyone in mind… for say… the role of, ahem.. Sally?”
“I might do. Do you think she’d do it?”
“I think once she gets over the shock that you’re doing this? Of course she’ll do it, she loves you and she’ll love the story if you ever find your balls long enough to show it to her.”
“It’s … I will. I keep meaning to…”
“You know she’ll support you, and she will love it, because you’re good at this Eric. You can tell a damn good story. I was gripped and believe me I’ve been asked to read a lot of shit over the years. You know I’d have been honest with you.”
Yes, that I knew for certain. I was still scared to show Sookie though, since there was so much of the pain I was going through post-break up, I just didn’t want to dredge up the past like I was going to if she read it. But of course now that things were happening, she’d have to read it if I was going to convince her to go for the part.
“I’m telling them yes, and sending it to Pam first thing in the morning. Want me to keep your name off it, just for laughs?”
“To see what she really thinks?”
“Sure,” he giggled, I kid you not, he actually giggled.
“That’s not a bad idea. Then again, she might fucking hate it and I’ll be crushed.”
He was still laughing. He was such a troll, I loved it.
“Fine, do that, but if it breaks my heart it’s your fault,” I laughed as we said our goodbyes and I finished up putting the shutters on the windows. I’d be sad to leave the farm house. She and I had made some amazing memories in that place over the previous year, but it wasn’t like we’d be gone forever, and the horse farm was still in operation on the land, so there would be an eye kept on the place that’s for sure.
I texted Sara to make sure she was all set, which she was. She’d set up a job a couple of weeks before, starting in Santa Monica where they’d be living full time from then on out. David, who I’d gotten to know more and more as he popped up every now and then for visit, really seemed taken with her. And it was Sookie that was busy playing matchmaker this time, since she thought him to be a solid guy and she loved Sara too, so to her it was meant to be. All I knew was that Sara was smiling again and that’s how it should be, right? She’d wanted to keep the townhouse, because she said it was where her best memories of my dad were, and I had agreed, of course. I just hoped that if she wasn’t okay for money, she’d at least let me know. But she was a proud and independent woman, and I knew she could fend for herself with no trouble at all. I still made it known that I’d be there for her, and of course Lena if they ever really needed anything.
By the time I got into LAX a week later I was just ready to curl up and sleep. But the sun met me at the airport, as did my lover. She was in her shorts and tank and sunglasses, her long blonde hair swept up onto her head, looking every inch a California girl, even though she was much, much more than that.
Not caring who was around, she walked right up and wrapped her arms around me as I picked her up.
There were iPhone and blackberry cameras almost everywhere when I put her down again. This time she didn’t seem to care, and oddly, neither did I. Nothing was a secret as far as us being a couple was concerned any more, so let them look, let them talk. Nothing could touch us now. Not rumours, not press, and certainly not paparazzi. I simply didn’t care. And it was the best non feeling in the world.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you!” she said as we parked out on the deck, I was enjoying my view of the ocean again for the first time in over a year. “I got this amazing script from Pam a couple of days ago. She said it’s some unknown director but that Paul and Rita really want to produce it, so they wanted me to take a look, apparently the director wants me to read for it or something…” she rambled, and I had to fight to keep my face straight.
“Oh, that sounds promising?”
“Yeah! Oh, God, Eric you’d love it. It’s this heartbreaking love story, there are so many twists and turns my head almost hurt reading it, but in, like, the best way. Oh, and there’s this one totally crazy, bitchy girl… she’s kind of hilarious, but she reminds me of someone and I can’t just put my finger on it.”
I burst out laughing, and she looked at me like I was crazy.
“Sorry, carry on. I just… it sounds good.”
“It is, and I like the character they want me to read for. She’s a bit of a self assured bitch at first, but life fucks her around… and she comes out of it a much better, more rounded person… I like it I just need to know more. This director for instance. The only name on it was L. L.” Her face screwed up in thought, “Do we know an L, L?”
“God, I hope it’s not… the only other LL I knew was… Well, Lucas Lott, and how he’d sign his texts and letters to Charlie, remember?”
I did, and so did her dad, see? Total troll, in the best way possible.
She slid in the recliner beside me, putting her drink on the table, “I’d like to meet him or her though, I’m going to get Pam to get me more info before I say yes, maybe LL is a total creeper. I’ve had enough of creeper directors.”
Time to come clean then.
“Sook, LL isn’t’ a creeper. He’s… well… he’s me.”
She looked at me confused, as was expected.
“Did I put too much vodka in that cocktail?” she asked, sniffing my glass.
“No. It… I wrote the script. I sent it to your dad and he sent it to the production guys who want to do it. And they want me to direct it…” I exhaled, “I said yes. I said yes because I want to make it right, and if anyone taught me that nurturing a project from conception to birth was important, it was you.”
Realization hit her full force.
“It’s our story.” She had tears in her eyes in that moment and I can’t say I bothered to hold back what I was feeling either. “Oh, my God.” she said as it sunk in.
“With more than a few tweaks and a lot of artistic licence. Yeah, it is. Do you really -”
She kissed me then, long and hard and with all that emotion bubbling inside her.
“You like it then?”
She nodded, wiping her tears and taking a long gulp of her cocktail.
“I… can’t believe you wrote that!” She smiled, then she scowled and hit me. “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you wrote that! What the hell, dude?”
“It… was personal… like really personal -”
“Excuse me? I can have your dick in my mouth, but I can’t read your script?” she sassed, and okay she had a point.
“I wrote it when you broke up with me, and yeah, for a long time I was scared to show it to you, because it’s like showing someone a piece of your insides, and my insides were fucked when we ended… I just didn’t want to drag all that back up, not when things were so good between us.”
She seemed to accept that, and sat back down again.
“Yeah, okay that makes sense, but still! Don’t be afraid to show me things like this again okay? I really did love it, and I’m not just saying that because I love you and, like, have to love it.”
“I know that. It was your dad’s idea to keep my name off to see what you really thought.”
“Sneaky fuckers.” She rolled her eyes, then smiled coming back to sit between my legs and resting her head on my chest as we both resumed our view watching.
“Lil’ bit. So listen, I know you said you loved it and all, but I have a really important question I need answering…”
“Mmm?” she said, sipping her drink again, and I thought back to our second first meeting and her words to me that I echoed as I pulled her close.
“Will you be my leading lady, Sookie Stackhouse?”
A/N: And that’s all folks! *tear* I really do hope you enjoyed it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. It’s been so much fun dipping into that world and taking the utter piss out of it and *ahem* certain people at certain points. Thank you all so SO much for reading and even more so for taking the time to review, I know a lot of people don’t like to review and that’s fine, but to those of you who did, Seriously *muah*
Also a big big thank you to my Twitter peeps for all their help and support with this, it means the world! 😉