- Just my little way of ringing in the New Year for E/S somehow 😉 Enjoy and review if you feel so inclined!
2013 The year of Eric! I thought to myself as I pressed and pushed my way through the crowds, yes, this was the year, the year of me. The year I worked out more, really concentrated on muscle building, the year I maybe actually paid attention in classes and decided finally on what I was there for exactly. The year I stopped the random one night stands… though those were always fun at the start of the night, it was the next morning when things got morally cloudy on me. The music at the club was loud as it always was, and it seemed to bring in three times the usual crowd than it normally did. I was tired already just trying to navigate it all. I was hauling crates from the cellar up to the bar, from the back storage, up the bar, from the side doors, up to the bar, you name it, I carried it. But it didn’t damper my mood, not at all.
No 2013 would be the year of me, the year of grown up transformation. It would be the year of good old fashion honest change. Starting with the one girl in my life that I wanted to be more honest with than what I had been the previous year.
Psychology major, Louisiana native, waitress, girl across the hall – two doors down, Sookie Stackhouse. The girl with the long blonde hair and the laugh that always got carried away and ended in a snort, if she was finding something really funny that is. The girl who made me pancakes to cure my hangover, the girl who doesn’t mind that I drink all her coffee and has made me learn to share too when she comes over and drinks all my grape juice.
That Sookie that just spent sophomore year in one of the most dysfunctional relationships I think I ever witnessed from the outside in, with one of the twat-tastic people I had ever had the displeasure of meeting.
The Sookie doing shots at the bar with four members of the Lacrosse team.
I paid it little mind because what else could I do, I was working the bar that night, as I had been every night since Christmas night. Usually, Christmas break was a dull one on and off campus for the students, I knew that because I was usually there when the majority of them had gone home to their families. Sweden was a very long way away for that, and flights were expensive, oh and my family weren’t exactly what you’d call ‘close’ either, so all in all I just stuck around.
We had all spent Christmas day together, me, her, Tara her best friend and roommate, Amelia and Trey the couple they housed with, Stan and Isabel the couple I housed with and Sam. Sam was my boss, my not-so-older-than-us boss, he was pretty chilled, and recently single too so instead of having him moping around like a fool, we made an effort to include him in our little Boston Christmas.
“Eric that’s great thanks.” He shouted, as I fixed up the new barrels of beer to the taps, next up was replacing the vodka. We really were on a rush tonight. I guess with it being New Year’s Eve, the holiday of Alcohol … after Saint Patrick’s day that is, it shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise.
“Eriiiiiiiiiic!” I heard from left of center, and there she was waving at me. Smile on her face, disgustingly pink drink in hand.
I smiled back with a wave.
I looked to Sam, I mean as chill as he was I wasn’t about to test his patience with ignoring the paying customers to talk with my friends, but he was in a good mood it seemed.
He just rolled his eyes.
“Yeah go. Ten minutes, Northman!”
I nodded, swiping off my black apron from my waist before I hopped over the bar causing an ‘ohh’ from the crowd there.
Hey, ten minutes was ten minutes.
“Hey all!” I said walking into the huddle that she, Tara, Isabel, and Stan had sort of created at the end of the bar.
“Happy New Year, Sweden!” Stan announced as we bro-hugged. Yes, he was big on the bro-hug and taught me the ins and outs of such things when we met at eighteen.
To me a hug was a hug, but he assured me I only thought this way because I was ‘European’. This also made Sookie assume I was gay, when we first met, her reasoning was because I ‘dressed so European’. It didn’t really bother me at first, but since then I left a lot of the pink in my wardrobe and retired my chino usage. My style had evolved in three years anyhow, so it wasn’t such a bad thing in the end.
I hugged the girls too, leaving the best for last and she smelled amazing. She stood there in her black and sparkle dress, with her stupidly pretty hair all curled and shit, and she looked great too, with red lips and dark eyes but a big bright smile that lit up the room. Or maybe that was the twenty-seven disco balls.
Eh, to me it was her smile.
“I hate that you’re working tonight, you can’t even enjoy yourself.” She said as I pulled back. I just shrugged before Stan handed me a shot.
It was Jaeger; I had to be so careful.
I downed it none the less.
“I am enjoying myself, you guys are all here keeping me…sorta company right?”
“Yes! We are!” Tara exclaimed, she was hyperactive tonight, that’s for sure. I hoped all she was downing were shots; I prayed for the sanity of the evening, all she was downing were shots. A flashback of freshman year and an accidental hit of crack at a dorm party before Spring break came to mind.
“But it’s still a shame,” Tara said, “I mean who you going to kiss at mid-night?”
She asked and everyone groaned.
“What? It’s a very time honoured tradition!”
“Yeah Tars we know, but some of us are single as fuck and that archaic notion really just adds pressure to everything, I thought we were just here to have fun!” Sookie interjected with a swig of her candy coloured new drink.
Sookie was clearly still uncomfortable, after everything she’d been through before Christmas, I didn’t really blame her. Will Compton was an ass to the highest degree, the shit she let him away with before he finally trampled her heart into the ground was unreal. Her news year wishes were to find her backbone, and get better tips. There was something in there about losing ten pounds, but I kind of hoped that was just an add-on, her body was perfect as it was. We talked about the new semester for a second before Isabel dragged me out to dance. I hated dancing, there was just too much of me to co-ordinate at any one time, I wasn’t drunk which also didn’t add to my lack of confidence either. I saw Sookie shaking it with Stan, innocently enough though, and she was having fun and that was the main thing. Her mood through Christmas – her favourite holiday next to Halloween, was downright sullen, this was a nice improvement and I hoped she was being sincere I liked seeing her smile.
I liked it even better when I was the one making her smile. I took Isabel’s hand and let her to them, not so subtly switching partners at all. Isabel winked at me as she moved past to be with Stan, I didn’t know what that was about but just assumed she was drunker than she looked.
Sookie and I danced, moved against each other a little, and with the crowded dance floor brimming it seemed like we were chest to chest and ass to crouch more often than not throughout the song.
I was sad when it end because it also meant the end of my break. She put her hands on my shoulders with a breathless smile.
“My feet are killing me! I don’t know what I wear these shoes!”
“Stilts!” I shouted back and she just laughed. She really was in killer heels, she normally only reached my chest in her flats, in these she was right at my chin level, right at my lips…
I took my eyes away from her shiny red lips long enough to notice her smile was gone and she was looking at me kind of awkwardly.
“You okay, Eric?”
“Me? Yeah I’m… I’m good… I got to get back to work though, save me a dance for later? If your feet can take it by then, huh?”
She smiled and patted me on the chest before I escorted her back to the bar, where I got back to the grind of serving over priced cocktails.
I really wanted to be the one doing the chest touching tonight.
I sighed heavily to myself as I handed out beer after beer, vodka shot after shot, and noticing from the corner of my eye, my friends having a ball.
This is what happens when you don’t speak to your father, he cuts you off for everything but tuition money, and you have to work on alcohol-holiday’s like this one. It sucked, as they said in this country. It sucked ass.
Every so often though, she’d come up the bar and whisper what she wanted and we’d flirt a little, more and more each time.
“You’re a flirt you know that?” She said as I handed her the daiquiri that I spent the last three minutes putting together for her. Fucking strawberry juice everywhere now, it stained less than the blackberry drinks though.
“I am?” I grinned.
“You are, you’re like a pro with all these chicks tonight, I forget that sometimes this is you.”
“Well, it is my job.” It was really, a high percentage of my job was to keep the customers happy, happy and ordering, flirting with college girls kept them happy and more importantly according to Sam, it kept them at the bar. It was a large part of why he hired me, he said. I wasn’t really surprised, I didn’t even know how to pull a pint before I applied there, I guess my height and my ‘nordic-ness’ as he put it, really helped.
“I guess it is your job huh.” She smiled. “You do it very well, because red head in the green is really crushing on you tonight.” She nodded to her left, sure enough, there was a girl with flame red hair and a green dress, and she waved with a seductive smile. It almost made me blush.
“You’re noticing a lot tonight.”
“I am. I’m clearly not drunk enough yet.” She laughed taking a sip of her drink.
“Well, it’s early, and you know Tara will be starting on the shots soon, so that might help… things.” I smiled knowing that Sookie really wouldn’t like that. She liked to party, but the girl could not hold her drink. She wasn’t as wild as Tara either, where Tara would end up at several random parties on any given night, Sookie was known to sneak away and be in bed by two. I smiled again as she rolled her eyes.
“When do you get another break?” She asked, with something that looked like hope in her eyes.
I checked my watch; it was just before eleven, I was working until closing which was around three.
“I guess after midnight.”
“Oh…” she said looking down at her drink, stirring it with the black straw.
I had hoped it meant ‘Hey Eric be on a break at midnight so I can kiss you and indulge in Tara’s stupid tradition, but also with the kissing and the you.’
But, that probably wasn’t it at all.
“Yo, Eric? Can you help me here?” I heard Sam call, and sure enough, the bar was swarmed.
When I looked back, Sookie was making her way through the crowd.
Three-barrel changes, two up chucks in the Men’s bathroom cleaned up, seven smashed glasses, and about a million drinks later, I was allowed a break. Cosmic law in place meant Sookie or Tara or anyone that I even recognised was nowhere to be seen. I gave up and went to the back office for my sandwich.
I was mid-way through my chicken and ham with mustard when the office door opened, it wasn’t Sam or any of the wait staff like I expected. Instead, it was Sookie.
“I’m sneaking back here, it feels so bad!” She giggled. “Well, not really. I asked Sam where you were, he told me your moping ass was back here.”
“I’m not moping, I’m eating. See?” I held up my half-eaten sandwich. She nodded, walking toward me and taking a seat in front of me.
“You just look kind of sad.”
“Yeah, I didn’t put enough mustard on this, it’s a little depressing.” I smiled, making her smile.
“Come on, I want to buy you a drink, you’ve been sneaking us freebies all night, I want to return the favour.”
I took one final bite out of my sandwich and stood up.
“Okay, sounds good.”
“It might cheer you up a little, but really I’m the one that should be moping around this New Year! I’m the one that’s painfully bad at everything!”
I rolled my eyes as we were out of the office to the loud mess that was the club.
“Sookie you’re great at everything.”
It was then her turn to roll her eyes.
“Okay, so maybe not everything… your secret sauce spaghetti is pretty bad.”
“But then that cheesecake thing you make? Amazing. So it all balances out.” I smirked she still looked burned. It wasn’t my fault, her cooking really was hit or miss.
“Yeah, well, your… your… Coffee is awful.”
I nodded. Her argument was weak, she never really wanted to insult anyone, and she was a sweet southern girl whether or not she wanted to admit to it.
“Which is why I steal yours.”
She huffed, but then smiled.
“I hate you.” She said still smiling as we got to the bar.
“Yeah, yeah. Hate you too. I’ll have a beer, you?”
She pondered for a second.
“Vodka tonic please.”
“I rarely give both, you’re lucky I hate you.”
She grinned again. This was our thing, was it flirting, was it banter, or was it just nonsense? Who knew? All I did know is that my day felt better with a little back and forth with her.
I got maybe three more minutes of her alone, before everyone else showed up, ten minutes later the girls were dragging everyone off to dance and I still had a bar to tend. By quarter to twelve a shift happened in the bar, the people that had spent the last hour flirting were starting to pair off, the ones that were left flirt free were double fisting on the drinks, and the coupled couples were already practicing their New Year’s Eve kiss.
I hated them.
“Eric, can you slip out back and bring in the crates there? It’s just extra mixers, we’re running low.” Sam asked and since it was just me, and two women tending bar now, he couldn’t very well ask them, those things were heavy even for me.
It was five minutes to midnight, and the DJ was already talking about how everyone was going to ring in the New Year, how next year was going to be the ‘best year ever’, and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.
Nothing would change, not if we ourselves didn’t change it. I knew that much as much as I knew anything really. I stacked the crates, and then stacked the empties, and it dawned on me.
If I wanted to change how Sookie saw me, then, why shouldn’t I change it? I knew I was afraid of ruining everything we currently were, but I also knew I wasn’t entirely happy this way either. I would never really know unless I tried, right?
The worst she could say is ‘no’, right?
The worst that could happen is that one of my best friends may never speak to me again and I would end up without her entirely.
I wasn’t going to second guess myself. I was sort of cute bordering on handsome sometimes, I had the whole foreign thing going for me, I was tall, girls liked tall. Girls liked me, I had my fair share of them in life, I wasn’t a total write-off! And we flirted all the time, surely that had to mean something.
On the other hand, what if she was just being nice to me, and I have viewed it as flirting because that’s what I want it to be.
Jesus Christ at times like these I really hated my inner feminist. It was screaming at me to not do what I was thinking of doing. Was I just going to march up there, assert my male privilege, kiss her, and invade her space and life just because it is what I wanted?
But then again, what if it is what she wanted and she was just waiting for me to make the first move. Sookie was a traditionalist after all.
Two minutes to midnight and I decided to hell with it, if it was meant to be it was going to be and if it wasn’t she would awkwardly push me away and I would blush and neither of us would ever speak of it again.
I really hoped it was the former rather than the latter though.
One minute to midnight and I couldn’t find her. I was looking around, the dance floor, the queue for the Ladies, the seating… no blonde Sookie to be seen.
I was stood there, in somewhat of a panic mode if I was being honest. What if she was with someone else, one of those douche Lacrosse players, what if …
What if she started dating one of them next, Christ, Will Compton was enough.
What if I’d missed my shot? Again.
Ugh, I could kick myself. How hard was it to say that you liked a girl, Northman?
“Eric?” I heard from behind me, and I was grabbed by the arm and spun around to face her. She looked flushed and her hair wasn’t as perfect as she had it before.
“I’ve been looking everywhere for you, Eric.”
I was suddenly dumbfounded and mute.
“You see I was wondering… well I was thinking that at midnight… I was thinking…” She said and I knew finally I wasn’t on my own in this unsure mess. I just hoped she was going with this where I thought she was going. Because if she wasn’t my grabbing her and kissing her was going to be as awkward as anything.
“3, 2, 1!”
Except it wasn’t.
“HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!”
It was soft, and warm and sweet and Sookie. We were surrounded by drunk people, glitter and balloons – the balloons that took me two hours that day to get into those stupid nets, and yet none of that mattered.
I pulled back and so did she. Her eyes were still closed but there was a small smile on her sweet-pinked lips.
Neither of us said anything but we both exhaled, as if we’d been holding our breath for longer than we really were. Then she smiled.
“Well that went better than I expected.” She said.
“You expected it to go bad?”
I was internally doing handstands that she had ‘thought about it’ at all.
“N-no… I just thought that maybe you wouldn’t want to kiss me.” She blushed and I felt like a huge idiot.
“I thought you wouldn’t want to kiss me either…” I admitted running a hand through my hair, she was still holding the other one; I wasn’t moving that one from its place in her hand.
“No, I do… I did… I do.” She stammered and it was very un-Sookie of her, it was adorable. Instead of allowing myself to say something stupid again, I did something else. I moved in to kiss her again.
This time we were both obviously feeling a lot more confident in our actions, my hands went to hips, hers to my chest and we got as close as we could with our clothes on. Our kisses getting a little deeper, a little bolder as the seconds ticked by and I just couldn’t wait to see where this would go, not just tonight but the night after, and even the night after that.
2013 already beats 2012’s ass!