The next morning after a night of not a lot of sleep, I woke up around nine to find Sam on the bed staring me down.
Right, he probably had to pee.
I tiptoed out of our room to let him out the backdoor and found Erik still asleep. How he felt comfortable enough to lie on the too-small-for-him couch, I’d never know. But he did it, and he looked dead to the world.
I still felt guilty, and I really had no genuine relationship experience with things like this. Usually with the others, once the fighting started, I bailed. I bailed because the arguments were about sex, or the lack thereof, or something around the sex barrier that I had put up. This? This was something else entirely and I had no clue what to do.
So I left.
Nothing overly dramatic mind you, just got dressed quietly and took Sam with me to get coffee, I had text Isabel but she was probably still asleep, and so I texted the one person I knew who got up at ass crack of dawn every day.
Tara. After all she was the only person aside from Erik that could shed a little light on us at the time, and I wasn’t ready to face him yet.
“Maybe we did this too fast? I mean, maybe we’re idiots who got married after three weeks of knowing each other, and now it’s starting to crumble around us.” I said sipping my coffee on Tara’s sofa, where I’d ended up.
“Because you guys had a fight?? Sook, if we all thought that, we’d all be alone forever, hell, JB and I would be done a million times. Couples fight…and I’m sorry I was the cause of it.”
“You weren’t the cause of it, he was… I was, but he was, with his Nordic man ways and all the flirting.”
“He was really smashed though, and for the most part the girls did look more interested in him than vice versa.”
“Are you backpedalling because I told him you saw him?”
“No, Sook. I’m your friend, you know if I saw him at shit like that I’d tell you, ignorance is no woman’s friend.”
“I don’t know what to do.”
“You need to talk to him; my guess is he feels like shit, and not just because of the hangover.”
“He’s tried to call me, six times since I got here.”
“See? He probably wants to grovel.”
When I grew silent she came over to sit next to me.
“I know this is new to you, but you aren’t just dating him you’re married, so he’s still going to be there when you get home. Why not just face it head on and let it pass.”
“Will it pass though? What if this is who he is? What if I married a guy who likes to get smashed all the time and flirt with everyone ALL the time? Do I sit back and let it happen?”
She shook her head.
“Talk to him. And if when you’ve talked you can’t get past it, then maybe start rethinking… but talk to him first.”
I swallowed my pride and left Tara’s place, stopping off at the bakery on the way home for some sugary goodness and coffee, when I got in I found a dishevelled looking Erik cooking some eggs, Sam at his feet.
Neither of us spoke until I got into the kitchen.
“You left.” He stated stirring the eggs in the frying pan, adding his pepper. He was making scrambled, and I knew he knew I liked them and he didn’t. So he was making them for me.
“I did, I uh, needed to clear my head. I guess.”
Both our tones were subdued to say the least, both of us looking how Sam looked when we stepped on him.
He just nodded.
“I bought coffee from the bakery around the block, and donuts, if you want some.” I added taking a seat at the table as he switched off the pan and joined me.
“Sookie, the things that were said last night…”
“No, let me say the things before you say more things… I just want to have them said out loud, okay?”
“Things have been fast between us, we both know this. Things happened faster than they would if I lived here first or you lived in Sweden and we had met in a normal way. It is… a lot. A lot of change, a lot of expectations from both sides. I move here, leaving behind everything I know… my family, my friends, my home, my jobs… and I want to do it because I want to be with you, my Sookie, my new wife who I imagine making new family, new friends, and new home with. But … I miss the old too. As much as I want to be here with you, I miss it there too.”
“I never expected you to not -”
“I know, but I did not expect to as much. In truth… I am lonely.”
It felt like a punch to the gut if I was being honest.
“It is not that you are not a good wife or a wonderful friend to me also, because you are all those things. I just am a person who likes people, I like to socialize and be friendly… with Jason last night, which was all I was guilty of doing. Whatever Tara saw, it was not cheating on us or you… I have never cheated on a woman. I have been with many, but all after the other, you know? To cheat is stupid, if you do not want to be with someone you do not be with them that is what I think.”
“And I want to be with you… I hoped you knew that.”
“I do… I did.”
“I talk, and laugh and dance stupid dances, but with the drinking I maybe stayed longer than I meant to stay… it was fun and they were fun.”
“And I’m not fun?”
“I did not say that. I say that Jason and I were having the fun, I had no expectations with those women we were conversing with, if they had… well that is their problem not mine.”
“They clearly had, from what I heard, they were all over you.”
“And? Just because they wanted to maybe go home with me, does that mean they get to?”
I shook my head.
“No… Because at home I have a wife, a wife I love and cherish and who I am now also a little scared of when she yells.” He grinned, that boyish twinkle back in his eyes.
“Yeah, I scared myself.”
“Little bit.” He whispered before he put his hands on mine. “I am sorry I did not call, that was a mistake of mine to make, next time you come with us?”
“No.” I shook my head. “No you should have friends and a part of life that I’m not there for, otherwise we’d drive each other nuts…” I opened my bag of baked goodies, offering him the jam one, he liked the jam.
“But I do not want you to think -”
“I have trust issues, Erik… they’re my issues though, not yours.”
“I am your husband; do we not take issues together? Why do you not trust me?”
“I do…I -”
“What you said last night did not seem so trusting, Sookie.”
And he was right, I was a mess.
“If you want the truth, I guess I don’t fully trust anyone. I mean I could sit here and tell you it was because I always believed my parents would be there and I loved them, and then one day they just weren’t there anymore and it stunned me. I could say a lot of things that led to me being this way, like friends betraying me, boyfriends cheating on me… I don’t know why I am the way I am, maybe it’s all those things. But I haven’t been entirely honest with you and I think that more than anything has just been eating away at me.”
He was silent, half his doughnut eaten, but focused entirely on me.
“I don’t really know how to be in a relationship because I’ve never really been in one, at least a real one, for a real amount of time.” I exhaled gathering my nerve. “The truth is, you’re the only person I’ve actually been with…”
I giggled, more from nerves than anything.
“This… year then?” He looked more and more confused.
“Try at all.”
“At … but that…” He looked at me quizzically for a second. “Sookie were you a virgin with me?”
I felt my blush rise from my neck and I just couldn’t stop it.
“It wasn’t painfully obvious?” I asked sipping my coffee, he just shrugged.
“It is not as if there was a sign anywhere to tell me, you seemed fairly confident and responsive… a little timid but I just thought you were cold in the truck.” He smiled warmly and I instantly felt some invisible weight lift off my shoulders. “I’m sorry you felt that you could not have told me then… it must have been nervous wrecking for you. I suspected something, maybe that it had been a long time, or that having our location be so public… but not really this. You are so beautiful it just isn’t the first thing I would think.”
“I got that a lot, growing up. If I dated a guy and didn’t do it … the older I got the worse it got. They never assumed I was until I either told them or, you know, wouldn’t fuck them.”
“How did it get worse?”
“I waited too long and then it sort of becomes, I don’t know, socially unacceptable to be a virgin at my age. Most people lose it in their teens… and because I didn’t instead of being the ‘good girl’, I became the freaky girl who had sex issues.” I sighed. I really wanted to cry, but then I felt so stupid crying over something that didn’t change who I was at all. Not really. Would I have been less kind or understanding if I’d had sex at a young age? Less driven? Less paranoid?
Well, maybe less paranoid.
“I don’t think that of you, at all.”
“You sure? I kinda think it of me.”
With that he moved from his seat to his knees at my feet.
“Look at me.”
“I do not think you a freak for anything other than flat pack furnishing.” He smiled. “And tiny yappy dogs and her tiny yellow car.”
I smiled then.
“And maybe the housewife and singing reality shows.”
“Hey you said you liked those!”
“Dude, you watch Judge Judy and The VIEW, you can’t judge me here.”
He didn’t like Elizabeth, which I found funny since our state had like hundreds of her. Opinion wise anyway.
He smiled again his eyebrow quirking at my choice of words, before leaning up to kiss me. I let myself go in the moment, and just let the feelings wash over me. Before I knew what was happening, Erik had scooped me up, over his shoulder fireman style and we were headed toward our room. He laid me as gracefully as he could on the bed, but instead of pouncing on me like I thought he would, he got into the bed beside me and wrapped us up in the comforter.
We silently looked at each other for a few seconds, just sort of figuring things out, I think.
“I thought for sure you’d think there was something wrong with me…” I added, to which he said nothing except brushing my hair behind my ear.
“What a silly notion…”
“My friends used to kind of tease me about it,” I sighed, “I mean not really in a mean way, or at least I don’t think they meant it to be mean, but it sorta was.”
“But now I’m clearly not anymore, being married to you an all, they tease me about that too, and it’s weird.”
Maybe my friends were just bitches.
“You know what I think of as weird?”
“Tara. She and me and her man, we talked last night for a tiny bit of time and she seemed to see that I was with Jason more than the drunken girls… I just don’t know why she needed to tell you last night, when I could have just told you today.”
Hmm, I didn’t want to think that Tara was shit stirring, but I was overly emotional and that’s where my brain went. I hoped I was wrong.
“That is weird. I mean, I get that she was probably just looking out for me…”
“Maybe it was that, I hope it was that and not girlish jealously…”
“Why would she be jealous?”
“Maybe she is not. I just recall her saying something about how you and her were meant to plan her wedding first, and that that didn’t happen now… or something. I was drunk but she did seem kind of pissed, but that kind of fake laughing pissed that makes her seem not so angry, you know?”
I knew the kind, and I knew it was in Tara’s nature to be somewhat passive aggressive, I just hoped she was being a concerned friend and not an asshole about this now. We were still going to plan her wedding, of course. I just figured it was a little soon, since she wasn’t aiming to get married until late next spring, and she wanted something small.
“Let us not talk about her anymore. Let’s talk about you.” He said with a slight smile, brushing my cheek with his thumb.
“Do we have to?” I sighed, a little over dramatically for sure.
“I think we do. You did not tell me something that was obviously very of import to you, and I do understand why you did that, but afterward… even when we married… I just don’t understand.”
I didn’t understand it either, and it was in my head.
“I wish I had some logical explanation for it, I do. But as it stands I just don’t know what held me back.”
Other than myself of course and my years stupid and unnecessary of self-doubt.
“I know that it now must have been intimidation to you, when I said that I had been with those women… and the rest…” He sighed to himself but more than anything I found it funny how guilty he felt about something neither of us could really help now.
“But that was before… I don’t really judge you for how many women you’ve slept with, just like I’m glad you don’t judge me.”
“Of course not I would have no issue with you sleeping with women.” He grinned making his joke and making me laugh.
“Oh is that so?”
“Of course, I am a Swede Sookie we are very wide minded people.”
Open minded. I smiled again.
“You’re funny.” I petted down his hair that was sticking up against the pillow.
“That is good. I am glad I can make you see the funny in sometimes difficult situations; I am just sorry that it weighs so long on you when there was no need. I just want to say that I am clean from the inside. For fishing, at sea… we had to go to the doctor every few months before we shipped out. If men got ill at sea, there was not much to be done, so we had to always get all the things checked before we left. I am clean. I once only caught crabs…” He smiled again but it made me kind of worry, “but that was in a net… on a boat.” He joked again and I had to laugh at the lameness of his joke because he looked so damn adorable and proud for coming up with it.
When I didn’t speak, he continued.
“They were yummy.”
I kissed him then, the sheer relief of having it out there just allowing myself to relax for the first time in weeks.
“Thank you for understanding,” I murmured to his cheek, allowing him to pull me into a cuddle.
“Thank you for finally telling me. I am glad to know.”
He looked almost as relieved as I felt, and in that moment I felt braver for it. So brave in fact that I was the one to hit on my husband, as it were. Usually it was him, all him, when it came to initiating sex, I always felt too scared unless there was alcohol involved, but now I wanted to change that. I didn’t want to be that scared little virgin anymore, because, in truth, I wasn’t and it was about time I stopped letting it define me.
I kissed him, pushing him back onto his side of the bed, before I moved myself on top of him, both of us still fully clothed. We began to make out, and in a sense makeup with the weight of our conversation finally off us it allowed us to be that little bit more honest – I hoped.
I clenched my thighs, taking his face in my hands as we kissed, allowing myself to be the dominant one, for the first time. His warm palm clasped around the side of my neck, pulling my mouth down to his over and over again. Nipping at my bottom lip that mischievous grin of his that I was beginning to know so well, he yanked my sweater over my head before pulling me back for another kiss, it was heated and desperate but in the best possible way. I flipped open the button on his jeans, moving slightly so he could pull them down just enough, taking his underwear with him too for good measure. Since I was wearing a dress, things were a lot easier on my end, slipping out of my underwear came easier, and pulling the dress over my head was done in a jiffy too. It was discarded on the floor with my sweater, and Erik’s clothes.
I was nervous of course despite the many times he and I had made love, it was the first with all my information out there, so to speak, and it was the first time I felt truly free with him. That in itself was odd since the first few times we’d even been together it had been outside in full view of nature and possibly some stealthy Swedish peeping Toms. This was different, and it felt different for me, and I hoped for him too.
We managed to keep eye contact when we weren’t kissing, his hands were all over my body, yanking my bra down so it pooled at my waist, taking full advantage of his view and his access as he fondled and kissed my breasts lovingly. He was hard, deliciously so, and we were both sort of denying the inevitable by dragging out the foreplay when it was obvious where we both wanted to be in that moment. I was more than ready for him, as we grinded and teased each other to the point of utter frustration, I couldn’t take it anymore. So instead, I took him in hand – massaging him with a tender but firm grip.
“Sook… God yes, please, yes.” He almost chanted with his eyes shut, his body jerking upward with my touch. It felt good, it felt powerful. It felt even more amazing with him inside me. Watching his face change, his colour pinken up, and feeling him try to keep things on track by grasping for my hips.
“Is this what you want, Erik?” I asked making him look at me again, he smirked but then I started to move my hips slowly, making him feel every little movement.
“Ja… Ja… Tack.”
I smiled I knew I was doing well when he forgot to translate. I knew basic Swedish at this point, at least basic-my-husband-with-a-hard-on Swedish. This was good.
“Are you sure?”
His eyes rolled back as I upped my speed a little, and then slowed right back down. It was killing me, so I had a fair idea how he was feeling. My body was just tingling with anticipation, it felt tangible.
“För Guds kärlek min fru…”
Something about love, something about God… I figured I was on the right track.
Instead of dragging it out any longer though, my rather in patient husband flipped us over, pulling my legs to his shoulders and then he looked me in the eye as he entered my body again, filling me in such a way that I only wanted more. We began slowly before his lips kissed my thighs, and then he moved down to my neck where he kissed me and licked me before moving back to my mouth. We fucked slowly, but with an intensity that wasn’t there before, it surprised me. I loved it.
I loved that I felt on edge the entire time, not just with orgasm but on edge completely, I never knew what he was going to do, I knew he would be gentle with me until I asked for it otherwise, but other than that it was a blank page. All I knew for sure was that it felt amazing, and I felt connected to him on a deeper level that afternoon than I had in all the weeks I had been with him.
Maybe what they say is true.
Maybe the truth does set you free.