I was wiped out; emotionally and physically I was just plain wiped as I laid in bed with my wife in my arms. Her confession to me took me by surprise that’s for sure, but in a way I was shocked my how shocked I was, since I had some kind of inclination at the time that something was different about Sookie the first time we made love. I just think that I pushed the questions to the back of my mind in favour of this beautiful American beauty who wanted to fuck me.
Now though, it all made sense.
Everything from her standoffishness, to her sexual shyness, I hoped that now it was out in the open that she could be free from the mental constraints this label put on her as a woman.
“You know, I like it.” I whispered as we laid there in silence, just enjoying our togetherness.
“The fact that I am the only one to be with you in such ways, it is a nice feel.”
She chuckled, her head still resting on my chest, my arms wrapped around her comfortably.
“It is a nice feel that no other man has got to be with you like this.” I continued. “It makes us more special, even though we were plenty special before. I mean I does not know about you but I have never married a woman I have known for mere weeks before.” I laughed and so did she, she squeezed me tighter too.
“I’m happy you think so, I was so worried you’d think of me as a freak.”
“I never would” I kissed her temple in comfort.
“It was intimidating, knowing that you were this man about town …and I just wasn’t up to snuff.”
It took me a second to get her references, but I was sure I understood at least where she was going with them.
“I would not hide the number from you if you wanted to know it.”
She looked at me then, and I knew by her face she was unsure of hearing it.
“Maybe not the number, how about you tell me the first time you had sex? Then we’ll both know that story.”
“Hm.” I thought back. “Okay. I was sixteen and her name was Betty Larkenson and she was seventeen.”
“Ohh, so she was older huh?”
“Yes and very beautiful, a year ahead of me in school so I thought she was amazing girl who would not really talk to me. I was skinny boy with funny hair and teeth that were too big for my face at the time.”
“Aw, I’m sure you were adorable.”
She petted me like she would Sam. I wondered if I should have found that worrying.
“But it was nice, for me. I am not so sure for her, I didn’t last very long… you know…”
“But it was at her friend’s birthday party, their family had a cabin near the bigger lake and a lot of us went there and got very drunk and had the sex. Not all of us, just she and I. She didn’t speak to me afterward, or ever again actually, it was kind of heart-breaking.”
Sookie pouted looking at me, she looked sad for me.
“Aw, honey, that’s so sad.”
I was right, she was sad for me.
“It was at the time, it did not make any match for my confidence that is for sure. For weeks and weeks I would not even talk to a girl again.”
“What about the second time you had sex?”
“That was much better time to be had, but it was brief in relationship but less so with the actual sexing time. The sexing time had increased and I think she was happy.”
“Who was she?”
“A girl I met in a bar.”
“Oh, God…” She said moving to look at me.
“No, no it is not like that. I was with the other men for the fishing boat season, my first when I was seventeen and we were in this bar that had rooms where we stayed because it was very close to the docks and things were easy that way.”
“And she walked in, unlike any girl in the whole place… not that there was many of them but she was there and she came straight for me and started the talking. She talked and talked and all the other men, much other than me kept watching as we talked. They were smirking and laughing of course, thinking I could not get such a womanly woman… but I did.” I announced proudly, though not so proudly that she would get jealous, it was many years ago she had no reason to be so.
“And we went up to my room and we had the sex, she was very good and safe and very … efficient.”
With that Sookie burst out laughing.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that about anyone where sex was concerned before. Efficient. Well, that’s good… that it wasn’t as bad as the first time.”
“Yes, but then she left and I then found her talking with the older fisherman Mike, outside that night, it was odd.”
“Why was it odd?”
“He gave her money.”
She was silent for a second and then she spoke.
“Did… she leave when he gave her some money?”
“Yes? How did you know? She got into a taxi and they drove away.”
Sookie pouted again, this time leaning in to kiss my cheek.
“You poor baby.”
“What is it?”
She looked even sadder for me now.
“Honey, I think she was a prostitute.”
No…that couldn’t be.
“No that is imposs…. Oh my GOD.”
She sat up with me, the same look on her face.
“I’m sorry Erik that sucks.”
“She was a hooker!!” I exclaimed. “Jesus Christ, they set me up that is why they all laugh so much when I talk of her at the time. Those bastards!”
With that she laughed, she tried to contain it but it didn’t work.
“Oh this is funny?”
“This is a little funny… I mean it sucks for you that your sexing record is so… sad. But it is kind of funny. And, in a way, those guys were just being nice to you.”
“Yes.” She laughed. “Nice, like some kind of brotherhood thing you know, getting the kid laid before you head out to sea for months. It was kind of … you know… weirdly sweet.”
We were both sat up now, and I was thoroughly annoyed.
I folded my arms and sat against the headrest. . I hated the mood I was in now, after our morning of making up and confessions, but I felt sad that the first women I had been with hadn’t been such positive experiences. I wanted to forget it, and I was sure to be distracted soon and move on, but as it stood I felt burned.
“This is just awful. Awful, Sookie! I thought she really wanted me.”
She frowned again, sliding closer to me and unclasping my arms and taking my hands in hers.
“Maybe she did want you, you’re cute and I’m sure in her line of work that doesn’t really happen often? And besides, you moved on right? To other girls?”
“Yes… in time.”
“See? Not so bad, and it taught you to be slower during sex so that’s good too, right?”
I squinted at her, really wondering if the words were coming from her mouth. This woman, my Sookie who was so shy in sex and life was completely okay with her husband having accidently fucked a hooker.
Most surprising indeed.
I was still nursing my bruised ego.
“And besides, you eventually even moved on from all Swedish girls…” she smiled her happy Sookie smile and I loved it. “To me and this American girl knows what she has and loves it.”
“Psh, as if you didn’t know.”
I then became less annoyed. She was right and I think there was not much point in dwelling on the past even if it hurt to know what I did not realise before.
“That is true, and as we said it is good times because I know you only have been with me and that it is much more special than… all other failed times with failed people who I did not love as much as do when I love when I am with you.”
She petted my hair again before snuggling against me.
“We kind of sucked didn’t we? Apart, I mean. We kind of sucked at this thing.”
I chuckled because she was right; we were awful at finding people on our own.
“I think we have many things to thank Pamela for, even if it was in a roundabout way and I was not expecting this, I have a lot to thank her for.”
“Yeah for not sending you a hooker for one thing,” She smiled, “I just think we need to discuss a few things with her first, my payment to her for one thing. She said she’d call over soon, I should email her and figure out a time.”
“I do not want you paying her.”
“Honey, she did her job, she sent me to you… either way she deserves to be paid, but then again so do you.”
“I do not want any money for this; it feels wrong it makes me feel like the prostitute.”
“We can’t make this an issue, really because it’s just not.”
It was a little bit of an issue. I did not want her paying for such things.
“And you are not the prostitute in this situation; it is just an unconventional way of doing things. It took me some time to come around to her suggestion of even doing this, but, I am so glad I did.”
“I am glad too. I know I should not feel this way, since really she was just being … you know… nice.”
“She was. Trying to help the helpless with their love lives, it’s not a bad thing if she happens to make a living doing it, right?”
“Aw honey. I think we’ve talked too much this afternoon about hookers. How about I go and make us some pancakes and bacon with some coffee, we have yummy baked goods for afterward too.” She smiled attempting to cheer me up.
“That sounds nice. Do you need help?”
She shook her head as she tore herself away from my embrace.
“Nah I’m good. You spent the night in a cramped couch, how about you just chill for a little bit and let me do this, huh?”
I nodded, she was such a good person and the idea of her suffering in silence because of what other men had put in her head made me sad for her. I didn’t want to be one of those men that fucked her up. I would try hard not to be one of those men in her life.
By that evening Sookie and I had found ourselves eating pancakes in bed before Sam joined us for a nap, afterward we finally picked ourselves up and managed to shower, I had my mind on taking my wife out to dinner alone. Thankfully she agreed, but we went for fun over formal and somehow ended up at one of the many steakhouses in the town, it wasn’t that far from the house – maybe a few blocks at most, so we walked.
“This time of year is colder in Sweden.” I commented as we walked. The sun had long set, but the night was mild and calm and really perfect for a short stroll. We’d just hit the last week in September, and at this stage back home, the chill would be starting to settle in for sure. I had been in America a month and so far what I had seen, I had liked. I hoped that continued.
“That’s the one thing about here, the weather is usually some variation of warm, even in winter it’s not as cold as other places up North might find it. I think the milder winters might suit you.”
“Yes. No longer needing snow boots to my thighs to walk and clean the driveways.” I smiled. Winters did end up rather harsh from time to time back home, that’s for sure.
“You know, maybe we can take a trip next weekend maybe? I mean we have Mike and Mary’s wedding next Saturday, we don’t have to go to the rehearsal dinner thank god. But maybe after that, we could just take the weekend away somewhere else.” She suggested, and I liked the idea. A change of scene would be nice to see more of places.
“That sounds very good for us, maybe somewhere with dogs for Sam too.”
She smirked before linking her arm with mine as we headed inside the restaurant, it was almost full up.
We ordered some drinks at the bar before we got called for our table. I liked the busy atmosphere of the place, it reminded me of home. Busy bars and cafes full of friends catching up. I missed that.
“I never did get around to asking you how the fishing went, I mean between being drunk and the yelling and then the making up…” she smiled. “I never got around to asking how it went, with the guys.”
I took a sip of my beer before I began. It had been a good day over all, but with wonky beginnings.
“It was good. There was Jim-Bob which I was told was his first name, all in one go.” I smiled as she laughed nodding. “Jason of courses, Hoyt Fortenberries, and Jack and Joe-Bob no relations to Jim-Bob funny enough.”
“Hoyt was there?”
“Yes, he talked often of you and questioned how … and I quote ‘how the foreigner managed to land Stackhouse’s sister’. I wanted to punch his face often.”
Her eyes widened.
“I’ll bet. I didn’t know that Jason was still in touch with Hoyt. They had a falling out a few years ago. I guess they made up.” She shrugged looking at the menu.
“It went well though, even if for most of the morning I was getting funny looks for how I talked.”
“I’m sorry if they were rude.”
“No it is fine. They talk funny too, so it was not so bad on my part…” I smiled.
“That’s good; I mean that you see that as good, I just hope they weren’t too rude. They can get a little too country when it comes to outsiders. Not that you’re an outsider, I just… think that that’s how they might think.”
I nodded. She was right. There were a lot of questions on what my intentions were towards Sookie and American in general. Jason had to explain to them that Sweden was a neutral country with little to no terrorist relationships that may harm America. It made me sad that they just automatically assumed that someone foreign was a threat.
“One of the things that caused me to question things however.”
The waitress came to take our orders before I could get it out. We ordered and thanked her; she smiled at me more than Sookie, making Sookie roll her eyes.
“They don’t make many like you around here, I guess I should get used to them paying attention to you.”
“Other women,” She said casually as she sipped her cocktail.
“Sookie it will not happen again.”
She just shrugged.
“It will not. I know now how wrong it was of me to even dancing with those women, I am not longer a single man with girlfriends, and as such I should not be giving them ideas. Even if ideas is all I would be giving them, it is wrong of me. I would not think I would be so understanding as you if the shoes were on the other feet.”
She paused mid-drink to smile, as if she was stopping herself from laughing.
“It’s fine, really. I know that you’re not so stupid as to cheat on me. I know that.”
I nodded firmly, I hope she knew that.
“I hope so.”
She swirled the straw in her icy alcoholic drink before she continued.
“What was it you were gonna say? Something that happened on the boat?”
“Oh, yes. Hoyt, another reasons I wanted to very much throat punch him.”
She looked concerned.
“Did you know he is dating the girl form your shop? The tall red headed one?”
Her eyes widened.
“No, no… she’s dating Hoyt Sanders; he’s a boy in her class…”
Hmm, that didn’t sound like what I had heard at all.
“No, he told them all, and myself. He is dating Jessica Hamby. That is her last name isn’t it? I hear you say it sometimes. It reminds me of ham, which makes me hungry… so it sticks in my head.”
Her eyes widened even further.
“Are you serious?!”
“Yes, I really like ham.”
“No, love, that he’s dating her? She’s only seventeen! He’s like… a year older than me. Oh my God!” She whispered still looking stunned.
“That is not so acceptable.” I nodded. “Even in Sweden, I mean men marry women half their age all the time, but this … as so under the age of adult? It is frowned upon.”
“You’re telling me.” She sighed.
“Yes… I am telling you?”
She shook her head.
“Just an expression.”
“Oh… of course.”
There were lots of unnecessary expression in English, it got confusing.
“I can’t believe this. I mean I’d never met him, and the last thing I would ever have assumed was that she was dating Hoyt. Christ this is so bad. I don’t know what she’s thinking!” She sighed to herself taking another large drink from her glass.
“I’ll have to talk to her about it at work, he’s only going to hurt her.”
“He said you both dated each other.”
“Yeah, years ago for like five minutes. He was cheating on me after a week, so that just shows you what kind of guy he was then, my guess is it hasn’t changed much.” She shook her head as our food arrived. It smelled so good and the portions were massively different from back home, too.
Chicken fried steak was a thing of beauty.
“Women are like human piñatas.” I mused making her laugh.
“How so? You whack us and candy comes out?”
“No, but you nudge them and more secret things come out, like secrets or in Jessica’s case secrets,” I took bites of my food and she just looked at me perplexed.
“You’re a very complex man underneath that chill persona aren’t you Erik?” She asked smiling.
“Maybe,” I grinned.
“I think you are.” She smiled again, nodding while she tucked into her food.
“I posted off the last of the letters today also.” I added. We had been filling in my paperwork as we got it. I had three, maybe four more weeks in the States before I had to leave. But because of it all being filed it meant I could return and hopefully start the process of really settling in, and most importantly finding a job for my sanity and our security.
“Oh! That’s great, I was glad we got most of them done quickly, the girl on the phone said it would take three to six weeks for processing and then we get the appointments sorted out for your stay.” She smiled. She was right we had got them done quickly considering how many there were and just how many questioned were asked – repeatedly.
“It is good times.”
“It is. That reminds me I made an appointment last week for this week so we can go down to the courthouse and file for our licence here. It shouldn’t take too long though, but it’ll get the ball rolling faster I hope!”
We discussed the plans for the documents and our marriage a little further before we dissolved into silence both of us enjoying our very large servings of food and drink before we began to converse again. This time it was my turn to bring up the topic she and I had been avoiding since we had arrived back from Sweden.
My necessary return.
“How does the feel sit with this? My having to return back there without you?”
“I mean, I guess we both knew it was coming and to process the applications you have to be there… I just wish it was avoidable.”
“Me too, since it means many weeks apart, I am just not so happy about that time being so long away, you know?”
She nodded twirling her fork in her food before she spoke.
“I know, I know. The laws are insane but I guess they’re there for a reason, right?”
“Yes like many laws… but not the gun law. I find it funny, you cannot have a foreign husband without all kinds of letters and documents and interviews but a weapon of death is fine with just some hand signatures.” I chuckled.
It ran anywhere from six weeks to ninety days of processing, so we were to wait in tenterhooks until we were told exactly how long before I could return legally. I would be leaving by mid-November and the idea of leaving Sookie at all pained my heart.
“But I think if we just… enjoy this… for this then when you go –“
“It will be somehow less heartbreaking and awful?” I added and she took a long sip of her drink. I don’t think either of us was willing to fully realise how odd it would be to be apart for so long, having spent weeks going into months without being apart at all.
We ordered our dessert to go because I sensed a sadness wash over my wife as she finished up her dinner, and we both finished up more drinks. By the time we wobbled home, each relying on the other to hold ourselves and our boxed treats up, it was safe to say we were just a little drunk.
Only this time our drunkenness resulted in lots of giggles and lots and lots of sex.
This time was so much better than the last time!