Hi guys! Well, this is it, we’re done, Rise by sin has met it’s end. *Dabs tears* My babies have all grown up on me. I hope you like it and I hope you let me know if you do – or even if you don’t. As always your thoughts are more than welcome!Just one big huge thank you to everyone that gave this first time author and her first little story a chance and stuck with me from the start, you’re awesome and don’t forget that.
See you on the flipside.
I woke up feeling like my body was numb but my head was pounding. My memories of the night before were fuzzy at best. From what I remembered there was ice cream and cake, Pam said she hoped Eric made me happy someday and that I did the same, and then she hugged me. It was rather disconcerting, to say the least. Pam didn’t look like she hugged many people but she wouldn’t let go as she apologized for being a ‘complete ass’ when we first met. It was just that she was angry at the whole situation and took it out on me. She then told me Eric threatened to disown her if she spoke to me like that again—that she said, woke her up. And when he explained things to her in more detail she felt disgusted with herself for doubting me. All in all she was sincere. And, covered in cake.
Then there was the spinning, and Eric. Or at least I thought there was Eric. Of course, when I turned around in bed, there was Eric.
Huh, so it wasn’t a dream. The birds were chirping happily in the trees outside, and glancing at my clock, I saw it was just after six a.m. I knew he was awake even though his eyes were closed. So I talked, and then we talked. And that’s when everything changed. We’d agreed to try our best, to do our best where each other was concerned. We both realized we didn’t need each other—not like before in that other life where everything was terrifying and every move you made was scrutinized. No, now we needed each other in a different way. I loved him for both who he was and who he became, and I knew he felt the same for me. He didn’t have to tell me, but he did, and he didn’t just use words. That morning, as we both lay next to each other fully clothed in wrinkled day old outfits—one of us with a massive hangover, the other seriously sleep deprived—we were as happy as we’d ever been. Both of us a mess, but both of us survivors and that’s what we had to focus on.
We kissed that morning for the first time in over three years. It had felt, in some instances, like it had been forever, and in others, as if it had just been yesterday. We knew there were issues haunting us, both separately and together, but we also knew if we could survive all that we had and remained still standing, whatever else the world was going to throw at us, we could take on together. I liked that feeling, one of unity. It was new and intriguing, since for the majority of both our lives we’d been so used to dealing with everything alone.
Eric had decided that while he’d love nothing more than to jump the gun where we were concerned, he knew I deserved better—that we deserved better. And while it was tempting, especially that morning, to just disregard our morals once again and allow ourselves to become slaves to our hormones, we knew it would have been a mistake. Eric was determined to do things ‘right,’ and by right, Eric meant that if I wanted, we’d date. So, I agreed even though he and I had done the entire thing backwards, and Eric asked me out on a second date. It would be our first as free people, our first as Eric and Sookie not under the guise of others to avoid our holy callings being exposed—our first official date as ourselves. Even if we did have a soft spot for his ‘cousin’ and her first American movie on the roof of that old movie theater- our very first date way back when.
The date was, shockingly, not a disaster. He cooked, which shocked me, and he cooked well, which shocked me even further. His smorgasbord of Swedish delights was thoroughly entertaining just as it was delicious. His history lesson on what he remembered as he pointed out the various foods to me was nothing short of hilarious. His lasagna, while a little burnt around the edges, got him major points for effort. And of course, the coffee. The dates always ended on coffee. How he ever slept was beyond me!
“You know…” I said, settling into the nook by his arm to take my place in my favorite spot, “Coffee at this hour, it’s not very advisable. I mean, I’m a teacher, I know these things.”
“Oh? A lot of first graders drinking coffee now a days, huh?”
“Oh yes, they’re all hyper as you like.”
“Honey, I don’t think that’s the coffee. What are their parents like?” he smirked.
“I might have to look into them, just in case. I mean, what if they’re all on those magic brownies!”
“This is true, though Pam hasn’t sent you any questionable baked goods lately has she?”
“No, she hasn’t thankfully,” I mused.
“So, Sook, I want to ask you something…”
“I didn’t hide the coffee, you just ran out,” I reasoned, trying my best to look innocent.
“I know you didn’t hide the coffee. I did.”
“Sookie!” he mocked. The jerk.
“Fine, what did you want to ask me?”
“Will you meet me somewhere, tomorrow?”
“But we’re together now?”
“I know.” He poked me playfully in the side. “But it’s just this thing I wanted to show you, tomorrow, around six?”
“Central Park? Okay, why?”
“Promise me?” he asked sincerely.
“Okay. I promise.” I was healthily sceptical to say the least. Eric had been acting strange for days and I was still no wiser as to why.
“No hints?” I asked, allowing my fingers to travel up his chest.
“No.” He assured me I wasn’t going to find out.
His odd behavior had extended to all aspects of his life it seemed. While we saw each other almost everyday—sometimes even finding the time to have lunch together during the week as well as dinner almost every night—he and I still hadn’t taken that final, but inevitable step. I knew why, and I hated it. He wanted to be a ‘gentleman’ and treat me like I deserved to be treated. I knew that after the last time he didn’t want to jinx us by moving too fast or missing important steps in the relationship. Truthfully, I probably should have cared more than I did. Did I want to do things right? Of course I did. But it wasn’t like I was a virgin. That ship had already sailed, so really this whole ‘waiting’ for the right time idea—while noble and romantic—was, I felt, a waste of time. I wanted him and I knew he wanted me. Eric and his hormones were never the best of friends so it was plenty obvious how he was feeling sexually. I just didn’t understand his stalling!
“Not even a little hint?” she said trying not to smile as she kissed my neck.
“No. I’m sealed tight as a drum .”
“Aw, really?” she kissed her way to my ear. And okay, so maybe I wasn’t a ‘drum’ where she was concerned. I always had a tendency to just blurt out my secrets or plans without thinking. It was why I was so jittery around her. Ever since I’d starting planning things, I was scared I’d just blurt it out over dinner, and I didn’t want that. I wanted it, the moment, to be special. To be something we’d both remember forever. It was time we started creating happy memories to outweigh the bad ones; memories that only she would share with me and I with her. That bond, while tragic was still unique and unbreakable.
“Just… just… oh, that’s nice,” I commented as she kissed my ear.
“Mmm.” I coughed to try and get myself to focus, on something other than her warm, wet lips on my earlobe.
I wanted to do things right. Sookie and I, while our dates were wonderful and I loved nothing more than spending time getting to know this liberated Sookie all over again, I felt like we should slow things down before we rushed and did everything backwards. There were confessions of love; there was the sex; then me getting her pregnant without even knowing it. It was all so unfair to her. This time, I wanted to make sure I treated her like she deserved to be treated. We’d made so many mistakes before—mistakes I wouldn’t, nor I’m sure she wouldn’t, change for the world—but now I had the chance to do right by her and I was going to no matter how much she protested that she ‘didn’t care’ what happened.
Sookie scooted a little to her left so she was kneeling on my lap while I sat on the couch as we kissed. God, I loved her kisses. They made everything, every thought, every problem just melt away for those few seconds. We’d done this heavy make out thing more than a few times over the last month, and while I loved every second of it, there were times when it just got to be too much and I wanted nothing more than to abandon my plans and fall into bed—or any surface closest to us—and do what we both wanted so badly to do.
“Mmm?” she asked as she began to unbutton my shirt.
“We…” Instead of saying stop, I did just that, causing her to sit down next to me with a very loud and opinionated huffing noise.
“Okay, Eric… seriously, at this point I’m starting to think it’s me.”
“You know it’s not,” I tried to argue.
“So then, what’s the big deal? It’s not like we haven’t ever had sex with each other.”
“I know, but that was before. And I just… I want to do things right, that’s all.”
“And, sweetheart I get that. I do, and I think it’s very noble and wonderful and gentlemanly of you and all, but… really? I don’t care.”
“Sookie, I want us to go there again, BELIEVE me, but it has to be the right time this time.”
“Eric, you’ve been saying that for a month. Look, if you don’t want to have sex with me just say so! I’m a big girl I can—”
I kissed her again. I didn’t need her thinking like that, it was the furthest thing from the truth.
“I want you. Don’t ever doubt that.”
“So, why when I’m offering it to you… on a very pretty plate might I add, are you saying no?”
It was an argument we’d been having a lot lately. We’d been seeing a lot more of each other, and the more we saw of each other the harder—if you’ll excuse the expression—it was getting for either of us to keep our hands to ourselves. That night I told her I’d hoped she’d understand why I was doing it, or not doing it as the case might have been. But, she got angry and stormed out, warning me not to follow her. I really was damned if I did and damned, in this case, if I didn’t.
I just hoped that if she still agreed to meet me in the park she’d understand why I was waiting.
To say I was angry with him would be an understatement. It was the sixties for crying out loud! Where was his free spirit and free love attitude? I suppose Pam had enough of that in the family that Eric was still Eric. Always wanting to do the right thing, even if he did all the wrong things first.
I left that night in a rage. Honestly, I just didn’t understand the holdup, and it was beginning to wear thin. Amelia assured me, as a liberated woman, I should have no issue ‘demanding my needs be met by my man.’ Personally, I think she’d been spending too much time with Pam and her scary friends who had adopted the new feminine mystique as their personal bible.
Working in the same building with Amelia definitely had its perks. I adored the middle school and my little first graders who were just the most amazing little people so curious and innately kind. Of course they were a handful, but it was a welcome one. The other teachers were welcoming too, since they all seemed to like Amelia well enough, I was accepted without much thought. Though, when they’d pry into my past I’d quickly but sweetly—I hoped—change the subject. There were very few people that knew what my life was like before. Eric being the one person who would know it all, always. It was one of the many things that united us—our mutual pain. While that sounds morbid I’m sure, it wasn’t really, not anymore. I was sure there’d always be the odd nightmare of a forgotten memory or buried thought. We’d always have each other to hold on to. Or at least, I hoped we would.
I had agreed to meet him in the City, in the park at what had become our favorite talking point. The Bow bridge at six p.m.
I made him wait a little while though, since I was still mad and all. I walked up at six fifteen to find him in the middle of the bridge, hands clasped in front of him, gazing into the water.
“Thinking about jumping in?” I said as an opener which got me a smile.
“Depends. You still mad at me?”
“You can’t swim. You dive in, you die.” I pointed out.
“It’ll probably go up to my ankles, Sookie.” He laughed.
“You’re not that tall, Northman.” I rolled my eyes, handing him the paper bag that contained his donut.
“Thank you,” he kissed me on the cheek tucking into his jam center.
“So, I came. I’m here.” The sun was just setting and everything was bathed in that hue of dark orange you only got on a September evening.
“You did and I’m glad. So this tells me you’re maybe not as mad at me as I thought?”
“Not mad anymore but I was last night.”
“I am sorry, Sook. I don’t mean to upset you like this but there is a reason why I’ve been so …”
“Standoffish? Distant? Scared?”
“Touché,” he smiled, “But yes. I’m not doing it just to drive you crazy, I want us to be a proper couple. I always have… which is why I wanted you to meet me here.”
“Why here?” I looked around at the almost empty area of the park, as beautiful as it was. I was still curious as to why here, of all places?
“I think it’s about time we started creating happy memories, and I wanted this to be one of them—I hope.” He took an unusually large breath.
“Eric, what are you talking about? Have you had that Brazilian coffee again? We’ve talked about how that makes you jittery.”
“No, I’m just nervous.”
“Nervous why?” And as I asked, he got down on one knee slipping a navy velvet box from his back pocket.
Oh, my God.
“Okay, just let me get this out, okay?”
I didn’t know where to look or what to do. Thankfully he took my hands in his and it calmed me down.
“Sookie, I love you. I should start with the most obvious and that is, I love you. I’ve loved you in one way or another since I was nine-years-old.” I felt the sting of tears hit me suddenly as his voice began to break. “Ever since you talked to me in art class and showed me how to color inside the lines like you could. Ever since you talked to that shy little boy who was really scared of just about everything. You became my best friend, you became my family then. That one thing we both lacked and desired more than anything else in the world, you were it then, and you’re it now. Only now, I’d like to make you my family officially. We’ve been through so much, so much more than anyone else will ever know or understand. So much pain and fear and unhappiness has touched our lives for so long, but in all that despair you were always the little bright spark that made my day with a smile or a laugh, and later—a kiss or a touch. And for so long, so many things, including ourselves got in the way.” He paused to clear his throat gently. “But now, there’s nothing in our way; we’re free of all that at last. I wanted more than anything when we first fell in love to do right by us both, but it wasn’t to be then. I hope it’s our time Sookie. In fact, I know it’s our time now. I want to see the world through your eyes, sweetheart. I want to show you all that you want to see and I want to be right there by your side when you see it. I want to make memories and babies with you—if we can and if we can’t then we can find babies that need homes just like we needed a home.” He was letting his tears fall ever so discreetly at this point, while I had fallen into what I suspected was one ugly looking cry. “I want more than anything on this earth, to be your husband, Sookie Stackhouse. If you’ll be my wife?”
He wiped away his tears, though happy tears on both our parts. Eric hated to let anyone see him cry.
“Of course I’ll let you be my husband.” I winked before I went down on my knees to hug him.
“Can I get up now? My knees are killing me.” He laughed as he kissed me with excitement.
I realized I’d spent the entire time he was talking looking into his eyes, and when I finally looked at the ring as he slid it on my finger, I gasped at how completely beautiful and simple it was. A white gold band with a beautifully cut diamond in the center. It was stunning and something that wasn’t so showy that I’d feel odd wearing it. I loved it instantly.
I kissed him again, and again and again; both of us laughing for no particular reason other than we could.
Eric and I were getting married!
To say I was a nervous wreck would have been an understatement. What if she’d said no? I had hoped that despite our little spat, she’d forgive me enough to see the bigger picture of what I wanted for us. When I got the courage to produce the ring and was on my knees, I knew then that I’d made the right decision on that rainy Tuesday when I passed the jewelers. That ring all but spoke to me. At that point Sookie and I had been on one ‘date’ but I knew it’s what I wanted for us, what I had hoped she’d want too. I took a guess at her ring size, hoping that if I was too far off in my estimation they’d re-size it. It was a simple band and diamond—clear and beautiful—and I knew it was the one.
I’d had the ring since then, and really, it had affected my relationship with Sookie since I’d bought it. Knowing it was just sitting in my dresser drawer waiting for her honestly drove me nuts. I’d wanted to propose so many times. To let her know, to show her with this one huge action what I meant when I said I would love her for life.
I hadn’t prepared what I’d say. I figured I’d let my heart say what it wanted to say. And if that was a swift ‘marry me’ then so be it.
Sadly, I had paced in Pam’s apartment for an hour before I walked down to the park that day. I’d worked myself up so much she offered to give me a sedative. But I didn’t take it, and I said what I said because it was the truth, first and foremost, and because it was something that needed to be said. As much as Sookie was action over words, I still liked my words. And it seems she did too when she agreed with mascara running down her face, and tears streaming, to marry me. It made me happier than I ever thought I could be.
Our friends and family were as expected, more than thrilled. Amelia was sobbing, Trey was laughing, Lafayette declared himself maid of honor; even Jason threatened to break my face over the telephone if I hurt her… it was all very expected.
Pam’s reaction was not expected. I had once assumed Pam was born without tear ducts, but when we gathered them all in Sookie’s place the next night to tell them, she out of everyone, surprised me.
After her declaration of, ‘Finally!’ it wasn’t me she hugged, it was Sookie. And they stayed that way for more than a minute as they talked some silent girl code that I wasn’t privy to. Then she hugged me, and there were tears, actual tears behind her smile.
Slowly things from my apartment, magically made their way to Sookie’s place. First, I had a drawer, then a key, then her small fridge was replaced by my larger one, my lamps suddenly appeared on her tables. Sookie wanted to get married as soon as possible, and my thoughts were the same. Every night we left each other was a night of restless sleep when we both knew we wanted to be together more than ever. Now knowing why I was hesitant to jump in—so to speak—before made both of us that much more anxious.
We decided that we wanted small, intimate, and fuss free for our ceremony. Despite the loud protests from both Amelia and Pam that she should have a big expensive white wedding—one Pam was willing to foot the bill for—Sookie declined. She said that wasn’t her, and she wanted a more down to earth ceremony.
She was against the idea of getting married in a church, and everyone understood why. She had had trouble even looking at churches sometimes, and no one wanted to force something like that on her. I knew Sookie still held her faith close to her heart. It was a little tarnished and battered, but she still had it. And a blessing in the eyes of God was something I knew deep down she’d want though she shrugged in apathy when asked.
The most surprising thing about that month, was a letter I received in the mail, postmarked Italy.
It was sent to Pam’s address, but marked for me.
It was from Niall.
He wrote of how he had a lot of time for reflection and prayer since we’d last seen each other, and while he thanked me for thinking of his reputation on that fateful day when he and I saw each other last, that it was one of his biggest regrets in life. After having discovered all that had gone on, he realized he had truly been blind to many things. And one of them was the love Sookie and I had for each other. He apologized for being the reason we parted that day, and that if he could take it back, he would. That, and he wanted to see me.
I wasn’t so sure of that. At the time I was doing what was best for him and his reputation, when what I should have done was protected my Sookie. But everyone deserved a second chance if they worked hard enough for it. Sookie and I were proof of that. He’d told me he was planning on coming back to the States for a short while the month after and I realized that two birds could be killed with one stone.
We wouldn’t spend the night together. We were so close to making it official that I knew his meaning behind it, even if the waiting was killing us both. Nights spent in front of the TV turned from snuggling, to making out like teenagers before one or both of us knew to stop. My poor giant bed was feeling rather neglected to say the least.
We’d agreed on a short engagement, and six weeks wasn’t long at all. And despite the pressure from my friends, a big society wedding just wasn’t what Eric and I were all about. We’d chosen Shakespeare’s Garden in Central Park. November third came fast, as did the snow right along with it. The garden, once in bloom, was now snow white—quite literally. We didn’t care about the cold, though Pam was rather annoyed that she just knew her shoes would get ruined and if they did, she’d sue someone. We could do little more than roll our eyes and ignore her. I had better things on my mind.
“He’ll show up right?” I asked Amelia, as she fastened the buttons on the back of my dress.
“He’ll show, trust me. You need to calm down.”
I took several deep breaths as she giggled.
“This reminds me of Eric, that day you showed up at my apartment. He asked me the same question over and over. So worried his Sookie wouldn’t show up. It seems like a lifetime ago doesn’t it?”
“In some ways, it was a whole other lifetime,” I said, looking in the full-length mirror at my dress. White. Pure white. While slightly hypocritical considering I wasn’t a virgin, I figured since the only man I’d slept with was the man I was marrying, that it was something the wedding gods would just have to live with.
I’d forgone the traditional route of the big fluffy wedding dress opting for a shorter more causal version. I figured that since nothing, absolutely nothing about our relationship thus far had been in any sense traditional, that the wedding should be the same. Amelia assured me they’d found a minister willing to perform the ceremony, though the niggling thought that it would have been nice to have been blessed by a Catholic priest. I had that on my wish list for my wedding but it wasn’t a deal breaker.
Eric and I had gone down to City Hall, gotten our marriage license and all the necessary papers that we’d sign on the day, making us officially husband and wife.
It was a scary prospect as I’d never been a wife before. What if I sucked at it? Of course Eric just laughed and said that he’d never been a husband before and if we both suck we’ll just work on it a little harder.
Jason and Crystal along with a boisterous toddler Corbett made the drive to New York for that weekend. Jason was giving me away. Corbett was our ring bearer, looking like a mini Jason in his tiny little tux. As I stood in Pam’s over-the-top apartment, my friends in her kitchen laughing and joking… and more than likely drinking, I felt happy—really happy. And more than that, I felt right. After a lifetime of feeling wrong, it was a new and welcomed feeling.
“Okay guys…” I stepped out of the room to gasps from Jason and Trey. Ames was wiping more tears and Pam was holding my flowers, clutching her necklace. “What is my slip showin’?”
“Sook, you look beautiful,” Jason said, looking more proud than I’d ever recalled.
“Thanks, Jase. We about ready to get this show on the road?” I asked with a smile.
The snow was falling from the heavens, everyone was freezing, but I didn’t feel the cold. As silly as it sounds, I was too happy to freeze.
We made it to the park where we saw, lit by hundreds of tiny white lights, an arch in the garden. Beside that area was the seating in place for our limited number of guests and family. There was a red trail of carpet leading to the makeshift altar. I saw two tuxedo covered figures standing by the front seats that I knew to be Eric and Lafayette. Pam had organized for her classically trained friend Paul, with this amazing cello, to play our ceremony music. I didn’t think music was necessary but I was glad to be proved wrong, as the sweet sounds of his playing rang out creating a wonderland of beauty that I hadn’t expected.
“Oh no!” Amelia gasped.
“We forgot! Old, new, borrowed, blue! It’s bad luck!”
“Ames, don’t you think Eric and I have had all the bad luck we’re going to have?” I laughed, not really buying into that tradition.
“Do you want to risk it?”
I guess I didn’t. But what option did we have?
“Okay, old?” I asked and Jason nudged me taking something from his tux pocket. It was a long string of pearls.
“Jason, what’s this?”
“It was mom’s. I found them with a box of old stuff that I had sent over when we moved from Bartlett’s farm, I’m sure she would have wanted you to have them.”
I wouldn’t cry, I wouldn’t cry… I’d ruin my makeup and I’d never hear the end of it, for one.
It was beautiful, and so simply her—or at least what I remembered of her.
“I wasn’t sure if you were doing that tradition since everything else is so non-traditional. But, I had it just in case you wanted it.”
Of course I did. I accepted it with thanks and let him slip it around my neck.
“New? I have my dress, we’re good!” I said.
Borrowed came in the form of Amelia’s earrings.
“I can be your something blue,” Pam spoke up.
“Sookie, you’re great and all but I’m fucking freezing my ass off in this silk dress. So, if you could go marry my cousin so we can go to the plaza where it’s warm and they have the only thing on ice that should be on ice waiting for us? Please?”
“What’s waiting for us on ice?”
“Lot’s of champagne,” she winked.
The wedding march started up, Jason took my arm and we did it. We made it to the other end in one piece. He and Eric shook hands in a very manly display of affection that I couldn’t help but giggle at. Eric looked so grownup and dapper in his tux, his hair longer now but appropriately styled. I caught his sigh of relief as he took my hand.
“Didn’t think I’d run out on you did I?” I whispered.
“Not for a second.” He winked.
That’s when the minister spoke. Only it wasn’t a minister. It was Father Brigant.
I turned to look at him. He was beaming with happiness as he spoke to us and our guests. I looked to Eric who just smiled before whispering, “I knew a blessing was important to you… and if I’m honest, me too. He offered. Are you okay with it?”
“You forgive him?” I asked unsure.
Eric nodded. Eric had loved Niall like a father, and over the years his actions in favor of Niall that day had worn on him. I never blamed Niall for what happened between us; he simply didn’t understand. I hoped that by offering to do what he was doing now, that maybe he finally got it.
I nodded and smiled to Niall who had an unmistakable tear in his eye. He held up his rosary that he then wrapped around our joined hands, only they were familiar too.
Rose red rosary—those were mine.
Niall gave us a blessing and before we knew it, we’d recited our vows. While promising to love and honor each other, we both left off the obeying part of it. He and I weren’t really ones for obeying much, never mind each other. Instead, we promised to trust each other the best we knew how, through the good and especially the bad, for we knew that’s when one needed love the most.
Niall smiled as we exchanged our wedding rings, the tears still glistening in his eyes.
“It’s my pleasure and privilege to announce you both by the power vested in me—though unused for a time—” he laughed, “Eric and Sookie are husband and wife… Eric you may finally, kiss your bride.” He smiled and we kissed to the sounds of our audience clapping behind us, as well as one Jason Stackhouse wolf whistling. I’d chide him for that later. For now, I was too busy enjoying my husband.
Three hours, a dinner and too much champagne later, we were all well on our way to happy as we danced and twirled our way around the dance floor. Even Niall gave it a go, which was a sight in itself.
“Mrs. Northman would you like to dance with me?” I heard Eric sneak up behind me.
“Hmm. I don’t know…”
He raised a brow at me in question. God, he looked good in a tux.
“Fine, I’ll just see if anyone else wants to dance, maybe Lafayette,” he joked.
“Oh, that would be a sight to see. Would he let you lead, though?”
“I’d make him let me!” he said as he grabbed my hand and twirled me around and onto the dance floor once more.
“Did I mention how beautiful you look tonight?”
“Only a few dozen times, but it’s fine, I like it. A girl could get used to it, really.”
He kissed me then and we didn’t even care that we were in public or that more than likely the whole hotel was looking at us. Until of course, there was a cough from behind us.
“Mr. Northman, Mrs. Northman… what is with walking in on you two kissing?” came Niall’s amused voice.
“Eric, would you mind if I cut in?” he asked, looking at me and not Eric. Eric simply kissed me on the cheek promising to get me back.
“You make a beautiful bride, Sookie,” Niall said softly.
“You have this glow about you, one that I see now was missing for so long. I’m glad to see you happy, child.”
“Thank you, again.”
“I believe these belong to you,” he said, dropping my beads into my hand.
“How did you even find these?” Since I’d left the convent with nothing, I’d given up ever seeing them again.
“Agnes found them. She posted them to me, asking that should I ever find you again to make sure they ended up back with their owner. They are truly remarkable beads. I guess Eric has good taste in many things.” He smiled.
We danced a chorus or two in silence before he spoke again.
“Sookie, your forgiveness means a lot to this old man, but I can fully understand if you can’t.”
Clearly this was something that had weighted heavily on his mind, I could see that much.
“Niall… You were doing what you thought was best, unlike them. I don’t need to forgive you, there was nothing really to forgive. And besides, that was another life. I don’t want that one spoiling this one.”
“So… I forgive you for whatever it is you think you need forgiveness for, Niall. But really, I’m thankful you were here today, and of all the priests, retired or otherwise, I can’t think of anyone more fitting to give us his blessing than the one father figure in Eric’s life. I know how much this meant to him, to have you here, and approving of us, finally.”
“Good. I’m glad. Thank you,” he said sincerely kissing me on the cheek before my husband stepped in.
“Have a nice talk?” he asked, looking suddenly shy.
“Something like that. How long have you and he been in contact?”
“About a month. I was going to tell you, but then I figured it might be a nice surprise if he was just here.”
“As long as it’s what you’re okay with… I mean, I know what he meant to you.”
“Second chances, right?” He smiled and I agreed.
“So…” he whispered, “I have something to show you. Care to sneak away with me for a little bit?”
It was the honeymoon suite, and it was all ours courtesy of Eric.
“When I heard that Pam had booked our reception here, it seemed like the most obvious choice,” he said as he opened the door. I went to walk in, only to have him hold me back.
“There is one tradition I’d like us to give in to. May I?” he asked and I let him pick me up and carry me over the threshold.
“You’re a dork, Northman.”
“Ha, you’re stuck with me now!” he said playfully, as he plopped me down on the very big, rose petal covered bed.
“Oh my God, who murdered the roses?” I exclaimed happily.
We laid next to each other fully clothed just taking in the beauty of the room, the view of a snow covered city, and the gentle reminder that we were happy.
“I loved my wedding. It was a perfect day.”
“It was, it really was. And here’s to many more perfect days,” he said smiling before he kissed me. It was not chaste like our wedding kiss, or careful like our kisses in front of company, but hot and passionate like only he could kiss, his hands instantly going into my hair.
“As beautiful as this dress is…” he commented before he found the zip at the side and undid the buttons at my neck, “There’s that body of yours underneath…”
“And we’ve waited long enough, husband.”
“I agree, wife.”
I made short work of his tux. As hot as he looked in it, I made a note to allow Pam to push us into her fancy events more often if it meant I got to see him in a tux again, and strip him out of it. My beautiful dress was quickly forgotten and my white silk slip just as quickly slipped off as it did on. It was everything we needed it to be at that moment. Both of us seemingly not able to touch each other enough or get close enough or taste each other just right. There was a hunger in both of us that night that I don’t think either of us had ever experienced before. His lips worshipped my skin like it was the first and last time he’d ever get to see me, and I his. Eric had certainly grown into his body since the last time we’d been together. Before he was skinny but toned, whereas now there were muscles everywhere—defined abs and huge arms—that I’d always loved, making up for one very touchable husband.
Watching her dance and laugh on that dance floor with my cousin and her bother was something I’d not forget. The sheer happiness in her eyes told me that we’d be okay. No matter what happened to us in the years coming, if we had each other to hold onto, we’d be good. I told myself to remember that moment, for ten, twenty, thirty years down the line when we’d argue and piss each other off like we would inevitably do—that was life and it would be boringly unrealistic to think that she and I would live a fairytale happily ever after… Ever after didn’t exist, we knew that. But we could make our lives as happily ever now. And that now, we’d work hard to make it last as long as possible. I knew we’d do our very best to live our lives as best we could, and I for one, wanted to make sure that Sookie would be as happy thirty years from now with me as she was the day she married me.
Watching her body be revealed to me as one layer of clothing after another was stripped away, on that rose petal covered bed in a hotel on a snowy November night in New York, I had a hard time believing she was my wife. What had I ever done to deserve someone so wonderful?
Her body was as warm and as soft as I remembered it, as we both struggled for the upper hand. She easily won, and I was simply along for the ride—so to speak. Straddling my hips before she ground herself into me with all her body weight, I struggled to remember what I was meant to do. Sookie had that affect on me it seemed. Watching her face as she allowed me to enter her again after so long was a thing of beauty—flushed and unsure but still so determined to feel. Our kisses seemed never ending as I moved inside of her causing us both to moan at the sensations both old and new. The passion in her was evident, her movements beyond anything I’d remembered. My breath was labored causing me to pant ever so slightly, the cold night long forgotten as we both worked to heat each other up in ways we had never attempted before. She kissed and sucked up along my chest to my neck like she knew I loved, latching onto my earlobe for a second. I could feel her warm breath panting just as I was. I was so close to losing it then and there before she grabbed onto me, wrapping both arms around my neck almost in a hug, allowing me to kiss her shoulder and up her neck as she popped her hips, bouncing us slightly as we let our feelings take us over. The feel of her hot tight self enveloping me so completely left me undone, before she reached for my hand to tease her. It only took a few more seconds before I heard her gasping, her hips snapping faster than before and walls tightening around me.
“Let go, Sookie. It’s okay, I’m here… let go.” As she did, she opened her eyes and looked right in mine. It was the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen. The love, the lust, the pure animalistic twinkle in her blue eyes pushed me over the edge I’d been teetering on as I spilled into her, drowning my moans in the soft skin of her neck.
We sat like that for a few minutes, her on top of me, me buried inside of her as we both tried to catch our breath.
“Damn,” she said with a smile.
“Damn is right,” I agreed, unable to really breathe much less say more words.
“That was… Damn,” she said exhaling, as she slid to my side leaving me feeling incomplete without her there suddenly.
“Amelia says sex gets boring when you get married. I think…” she struggled for breath, “We need to prove her wrong.”
“Yes, let’s. Let’s prove her wrong—a lot.”
I’d booked the honeymoon suite for two nights, and of those two days, we left the room for all of thirty minutes. Since it was Pam and her nose interrupting us, we couldn’t really hate her for it. She told us that there would be a delivery waiting at Sookie’s place—our place—when we got home. She didn’t say what, and at the time Sookie and I didn’t really care. We just went back to our room and christened every flat surface we could find.
Sated and happy, we checked out of the hotel and made our way back to our home—a new and very excitable term that Sookie couldn’t stop herself from saying every five minutes.
“Well, think about it. It wasn’t really my home before, it was just … my place. Now I think it feels like home,” she said sweetly, as she let me carry her over the threshold again for luck. We simply sat on the couch in front of the TV as she continued, “And even though your place was bigger and in a better area, you’re still stuck on Brooklyn?” She laughed.
“What? I love this place. And … that bed needs a lot more attention that it’s been getting.”
She laughed again.
“And we’re closer to work, and further away from Pam. Its’ a win, win.”
“As much as I love her, you’re right. There need to be … limits.”
“That there does. And this does that.”
“Smart,” she said, suddenly standing up and walking to the back of the apartment.
“Where are you going?” I called as I saw her round the corner.
“Oh, I’m going to pay my bed some attention,” she said. Poking her head around the separating wall, looking ever so innocent, she uttered, “Want to come?” all but batting her lashes at me.
She’d never have to ask me twice.
We got to the bed to find an envelope.
“If that’s from Amelia asking us to put our laundry away when we’re done I will laugh,” she said as I opened it to find a small note.
“A small gift from each of us.” In Pam’s script.
“What is it?”
It was plane tickets. To Europe. One to Italy from Niall, and an invite to use his tiny villa there. One from Pam to Paris, with a request that we bring her back some shoes. And one to Sweden from Amelia and Trey asking that we make some good memories to bring back with us.
“Oh, my goodness! Eric, this is insane!”
I nodded. I had no idea what they’d been up to.
“It is considering…” I pulled out the other envelope from the drawer. I’d booked us two weeks in Venice for our honeymoon and once I showed it to Sookie we both just burst out laughing.
“I guess the Northman’s are touring Europe then?”
“I guess so!” I agreed throwing the pieces of paper aside to pull her into her bed. It was about time that thing got used properly.
For three days, Eric and I never left our apartment. Not only that, but we really only left the bedroom for food and bathroom needs. I was in love with both my husband and my bed. They’d both been very good to me that week. We made sure to call our friends and thank them profusely for their wedding presents, unnecessary though they were, they were welcomed with open arms all the same.
We were Europe bound it seemed, and Eric was excited like a kid on Christmas about us seeing Sweden—for him a homecoming and for me, a glimpse into his past. Paris, Rome and Venice were on the agenda too, and I would have been lying if I’d said I wasn’t just as excited as he was. We both took leave from work and would spend eight glorious weeks discovering Europe.
I had a fear, like most people, of the unknown. And flying was new to me. Planes where huge and defying the laws gravity every day. Eric reassured me that it wasn’t a big deal, but I still felt unsure. But then I’d realized that most of the things I’d felt unsure about in the past had led me to where I was. I was unsure of my feelings for Eric and his for me; I was unsure of my place in God’s eyes. I was unsure of where I was meant to be and what purpose I was meant to serve. All of those doubts I faced, and they’d led me down a difficult path, but one that had a forever moving destination, one of sheer contentment. And that’s what I was, with my best friend, my love and my husband all wrapped up into one by my side, all wrapped up next to me. I realized flying would be a breeze, just one more bump on the path of life. And was that not the whole of it anyway? Walk your path, bumps and all because you’d never know where you might end up.
A/N: *Bites nails*