Living with another person was never always easy, I liked my space and he liked his as was to be expected from time to time, but I was particularly set in my ways having been so single for so long. It got to the point that even being around Jason and Gran too much set me on edge. A year before during a particularly big storm when they all came to stay with me, my teeth were almost ground down from holding what I really wanted to say in so much! I was great with people, just in rather small doses and at a time of my choosing. And I really wondered why I had remained single for so long.
Being married meant that being with that someone all the time was kind of part of the deal, and majority of that time it was fantastic and I loved being with him. However, there were times when I just wanted to kick back alone, and I knew he did too. It had taken us a little while before we got into a rhythm of sorts. He would go for his run, or work in the garage or the garden and I would catch up online and on some books or with friends on the phone before we would congregate together again for dinner, drinks, or whatever we had planned for our evenings. We had spent days and days just the two of us, and like any normal couple that just was not normal! There needed to be minor periods when we were apart to come back and have something else to talk about, at least that is what I knew from my point of view.
So, when Isabel asked me to go shopping with her, and Jason suggested they go to Gran’s and fix her garage doors for her, we both jumped at the chance.
“Come on, flaws. His fine ass has to have some.” She said as we took our purchases to the checkout, Sephora and I just got along too well. Oops.
I just laughed.
“I don’t like to focus on flaws; it doesn’t make for positive energy.” I said calmly and she just rolled her eyes.
“Okay, white Oprah.”
“Excuse you, White Oprah is Lindsay Lohan’s mother.” I don’t know how I knew that. It garnered me another weird look but I just ignored it.
“I’ll give you one flaw. He’s leaving in a few weeks, that’s majorly flawed.”
“Yeah Hun, that’s got to seriously suck for both of you. Pam knows a lot about things like that, she’s hooked a few people up from out of the country, and it’s always hell on the couple when that time comes for processing.”
I agreed wholeheartedly. While we needed our space, an entire ocean and several countries away was not the kind of space any couple really needed.
“It does suck, I mean we’re really just getting to know each other… such a weird thing to say really after we’ve ‘put a ring on it’ but it’s true. I love him to bits, but the truth is we’re just starching the surface.”
“Does that scare you?” We took our seats at chipotle, and decided we would just pig out. Shopping did that to a girl. I balanced out my order with a diet coke, as you do.
“Terrifies me, I’ve gotten so used to him being around, so used to him just being there when I wake up that the idea of him not being there now… it doesn’t seem right.”
“Any way you could go with him?”
I shook my head mid-bite.
“No, we discussed it and if I did, the business just wouldn’t survive, I mean we’re hanging in there financially, but realistically, if I left for months, we’d be done.”
“Pam says she’s calling to see you guys this week, right?”
“I think so, she sent an email… does she ever leave her desk?” I laughed trying to get away from that subject. We still hadn’t told Isabel, or anyone really, the full truth of how we met. We weren’t sure we wanted to, we weren’t sure it was anyone’s business.
“No, she doesn’t. She’s so busy setting herself her people up she forgets she needs to start on herself too.”
I nodded. That was true, I knew how getting buried by work, or family or ‘other things’ got in the way of dating faster than anyone.
“Have you guys had your first fight yet?”
I smiled before taking a sip of my drink. We had, and a few more after that.
“Yeah, it was stupid in the end, but it’s a huge adjustment you know?”
“For sure, Sook, you married a dude after mere weeks of knowing him. Married. For life. If that doesn’t scream adjustment I don’t know what else does!” She laughed. “But there aren’t any red flags so far right?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean.” She sounded out. “Like worshiping alien gods like Bill, or being overly, overly attached to his family like that one guy, or being weirded out by your virginity like… all of them.”
“Well, the virginity thing is no longer an issue…”
She smiled then, she was relieved. Why, I wasn’t sure.
“I am glad; the others that acted like it was some problem were total assholes. He was sweet about it?”
“He didn’t actually know until after we were married and had been sleeping together fairly often.” I cringed.
“I know, I know. But after, when he got over the shock of not being told, he didn’t seem to mind at all that I had zero experience, if anything he said it made us more special because he got to sort of start fresh – literally – with me.”
“Good man, I like that twist on things, it’s sweet.”
“The first fight actually involved Tara if I’m being honest, and I haven’t seen her since the wedding a few weeks ago. I don’t know what’s up with her.”
“I don’t know, she’s been acting weird lately, and then she tells me at the wedding she expect me to go with them because it’s what I usually did, which was a lie, I usually had a date to things… not all the time but more often than not.” I spat, a little bitter that she was painting as lonely Betty in this story of hers. “And then some shit about ‘forgetting’ that I was married. She’s hung out with Erik on more than one occasion, so its bullshit and its nonsensical bull at that.” I sighed taking a huge bitter bite out of my chipotle.
“Maybe she’s jealous.”
“Well, you were meant to be the one helping her plan her wedding –“
“I still am if she wants me to, she has months and months and months ahead of her Isabel.”
“I’m just saying, maybe she’s jealous that you beat her to the punch, so to speak. That you just up and found yourself this perfect guy –“
“No one’s perfect…”
“From the outside looking in etcetera, you know what I mean. It’s like this little fairy-tale you’ve got going on and there she is, stuck with JB.”
“Aw come on, he’s not so bad.”
“No, he’s not, he’s great even, but you know Tara. They have been rocky ever since they started dating and that was years ago, this wedding thing seems more like a ‘have to do’ rather than ‘really want to do’ for them, since she wants kids. You know ‘before it’s too late.’” With that she rolled her eyes. “Kids, those two, there’s a bad idea if ever there was one.”
“I think she’d be a good mom, her mom was the shittiest of them all, so I mean really you can’t do much worse.”
“I guess, but who’s to say she’s learned from her time with her crazy mother, I just don’t know, she’s hot and cold with me so…”
This was true there was always a slight edge to Tara and Isabel’s friendship, no one ever really knew why, and if they did, they did not say.
“Either way, I think you should just talk it out with her.”
We hadn’t really been in contact, no calls, texts, no facebook-ing even and I knew her ass was on there too, she was addicted to instagram-ing everything in her damn store.
“Carpe Diem, Sook.” She said as we finished off our incredible and even more incredibly fattening meal. I regretted it instantly.
“I hate that phrase.”
“Why?” she laughed.
“It’s just annoying, how are you supposed to plan a life or plan anything at all, if you’re always carpe-ing the Diem? I mean think about it, if all we did was carpe, we would all be broke, homeless artists or something. I think people need to be a little more ‘refrenatis’ with the carpe.”
With that, she burst out laughing as we made our way out of the restaurant and through the mall again.
“Sookie, coming from you of all people that’s just a tad redonk.”
“You out of all of us seized that day, you were unhappy with where your life was going and so you packed your bags and made it change. You have no idea how much I admire that, I’m jealous of it, beyond.” She winked. “But I admire it, the courage it took to pull yourself out of that runt, that comfortable safe routine of yours and do something so huge that led to such amazing life changes for you. If anything, you should be the poster child for it.”
I smiled then, never having really looked at my actions in such a way before, but the more she spoke the more I realised that she was right. It took serious balls to do what I did, Erik too. If I could find the courage to cross an ocean to meet a stranger and marry him, I could find it to confront my friend on her shit-tastic behaviour. Right?
As much as I missed Sweden and my family and friends, Sookie’s family and friends really did make a huge effort in order to make me feel welcomed and wanted, and for that, I would be forever grateful. Life wasn’t like the American movies really when I got down to it, but it was still full of goodness and nice people. Of course, there were the few bad apples, as Sookie’s Gran would say. Like the old men at the grocery store who asked me why a foreigner had married one of ‘their local girls’ and if I planned to take her back to my country and keep her locked in a basement.
I had no idea where thy got these ideas from, but I would say no, of course not. If anything, she would keep me locked there, willingly. Their faces were pictures, and Sookie’s more so but hers more of being mortified than anything else. Either way I rather enjoyed putting their judgmental selves in their place.
“And I said to Maxine Fortenberry, you mind your own business my Sookie will make babies when she is good and ready, of course she wasn’t none too pleased with that. You know she had the gall to say that it was a shotgun wedding between y’all. I mean, really.” Adele rambled on as Jason and I took our seats after a half a day fixing up her yard and doors, and every other little thing she found for us to do that day.
“Gran you told me you thought the same thing when she came home married, you said you thought –“
“Yes well never mind that now, Jason.” She chided quickly with a sheepish look on her face, as if I wouldn’t notice. It was funny because Sookie had said something similar to me in Sweden that everyone in her town would think the only reason she got married so fast and to a ‘stranger’ was because she was ‘knocked up with no plan b’. She was insulted by the imaginary insinuation, but it was funny how her notions of the people and their small minds were accurate.
“We have talked on it a little bit, but it is still very new days you know?” I said hoping they’d understand Sookie and had only known each other since Summer, and while I did love her, I knew and she knew that there needed to be a foundation built first before we added more people to our little family. I hoped to, one day, but as things stood, I was happy being a newly wedded man to a newly wedded wife.
“Have you thought about what you want to do when you return honey?” Adele asked pouring me more iced tea; I sniffed this one because after my accidental drunkenness at the wedding I wasn’t so sure if I trusted this supposed non-alcoholic drink.
“We have talked of that also, Sookie maintains that I need to use my wood working skills somehow, perhaps finding something within manufacturing here like my Grandfather and I in Sweden, but until the paperwork comes back there are very little steps I can go to take to make things go ahead.”
“Yes, it is a shame that isn’t it?
“It is but if we want to make things proper and above the board then it has to be done. I do not like the idea at all but after it will make things easier in the longer run of things.”
“Well that’s smart I think, I knew a guy that came in from Mexico illegally, settled here, had kids the whole nine and then got sick… it was a mess and his whole family suffered, even his kids who were born and raised here. It’s just not worth the risk.” Jason added, downing his drink and then stood.
“I hate to hit and run, Gran but I got to go get ready for work tonight.” He said before looking down at me. “You want a ride back, Erik?”
I did, I had not brought the bike.
We said our goodbye’s to Adele and left in Jason’s truck, it was coming into fall and yet the Louisiana weather meant it was still balmy and in need of windows the whole way down. It was never like this back home at this time of year.
“Honestly though man, don’t go rushin’ into having kids just ‘cause it’s what my Gran wants, she volunteers at the church day care, she has her fill of babies every week but it makes her wish Sookie and I would give her grandbabies. It just ain’t happening for me for a long while yet, course I have to be careful, but with Sookie… she was so single for so long it was never really a worry, now though she wants it badly, just don’t cave is what I’m sayin’.”
“We won’t, we have to sort many things before we start to make more people, Jason, it will not be soon I promise.”
“Good, I ain’t ready to be an uncle yet anyway.” He smiled.
I knew I wanted children one day, but it was the truth in that she and were just starting out and barely six months into our relationship, there were many hurdles to overcome before we did any baby making. My stay in the country for one thing!
When I got home, I let Sam out to do his business and got back to the garage to finish off the bed. I had finished the frame weeks before, but then the headboard and base had to match it – it was my own personal preference to have things look streamlined even if it was to be covered with a mattress.
We had picked out the mattress the week before, it was expensive and I insisted on paying for half of it, even if Sookie wanted to pay full. But even thought I didn’t have current employment my savings were still there and I had money from fishing sitting for a long time, my life in Sweden was fairly simple with little to no large expenses, it meant that I could use it up until I found something here that would supply me more money.
What that would be or when were questions I had no answer to.
I brought the old bed out into the garage, vacuumed the floor in the bedroom and then brought in the bed before attaching the newly finished headboard to the bracket. I took a second to admire my work, it was beautiful and one of a kind, unlike many of her Ikea reproductions! I did so hope she would love it, I knew she would though as it was personal to us in many ways.
When it was all put together, I set about making it up. Fitted sheets were always a mystery to me, and they never really ‘fitted’ either, not after a few washes, they all shrunk up and sprung off the bed around each end when you would attempt to fit the fittedness of the fitted sheet. I failed several times before giving up and finding a flat sheet in the linens closet. I picked the white bedding with the tiny yellow flowers along the top with the white pillowcases. She had many crazy coloured bedding sets in that closet but I felt fresher and less manic sleeping in white rather than the purple/pink/blue hybrid mess she once had on.
By the time I was done, I was a sweaty mess, but the room looked so much better now.
“Honey you in?” I heard from the door and then her greeting Sam with her usual Sookie-enthusiasm.
I walked out, without bothering to put a t-shirt on, I had to shower first before I ruined any more clothes. I stuffed my hands in my pockets, suddenly nervous that she would hate it.
“I got you some things while I was out, just some new shirts and a few sweaters, there was a sale –“
She stopped to look at me from the couch. “Well hey, what was I thinking with shirts, it only covers all a that up.” She grinned before coming over to where I stood to stand on her toes to kiss me. I loved this part of our day.
“That is nice, thank you.”
“Aw, you are welcome. What is with all the –“she indicated to my chest, “you been working out?”
“No, moving things.”
“Oh?” She looked around the living room but saw no change.
“The bed is finished.” I said finally, still nervous.
“OH!” Her eyes lit up, “really?! Lemme see! Lemme see!” She said bouncing slightly.
“Okay but if you don’t like it –“
“Oh hush, you know I’ll love it!” she said happily, but I was still apprehensive. I walked behind her, putting my hands over her eyes and walking us both, in a rather wonky fashion might I add, to our room. She laughed the whole way there, and of course Sam followed, jumping up on the bed as soon as we walked in.
“Ta-daa.” I stated taking my hands away.
Her mouth went agape and I assured myself it was for a good reason.
“You like?” I asked trying to gage her reaction.
“Oh, my God, Erik. It is … it is stunning. I can’t…. the detail on this is amazing!” She got down on her knees to check, and around the frame of the bed was carved, intricately carved, painfully slowly carved. Little images of our life and how we met, our story was on our bed in tiny carved pictures. At first glance it just looked like designs, but when you looked closer you saw that it was us, the story of us, so far anyway.
She went around and around and the more she looked the more emotional, she got. At first it was just ‘it’s so pretty’, then it moved it ‘oh God I understand this now!’ I knew she got where I was going with it.
“Erik this is outstanding, really.” She got up and came to hug me tightly before pulling back. “I think I get it, but… “She offered and then I took her hand and showed her where to start.
It started with the letters, carved in parchment form beside little envelopes with the American stamp, which had taken me ages to get right. Then it moved to the Swedish flag where we met, the boats of Stockholm, the buildings, then home smaller boats, lots of waves, waves were a theme right around the bed-frame and into the headboard, it’s what held the story together almost. There was my Grandmother’s little house, the stars under which we made love for the first time and then the airplane that brought us to here, the shape of the state of Louisiana. Sookie’s little house followed, there was a small dog, the flower she used in our wedding then was engraved at each corner, by the time I was done explaining it to her, she had tears in her eyes as we sat on our bedroom floor.
“That is… THE nicest, sweetest, most amazing thing anyone has ever given me.” She sniffled. “Seriously, I don’t even know what to say.”
“You do not have to say a thing…” I mused as I held her next to me. “Well maybe one thing.”
She sniffled again.
“That this is better than any or all of the Ikea replicate.”
With that, she burst out laughing.
“Any day, any time, a hundred thousand times better.” She coked out, still laughing and crying at the same time. “It’s so beautiful…” She said as she ran her hand along the side. I pulled us both to our feet.
“Let’s test it out?” I offered, because why wouldn’t I?
“No really, this is just so beautiful; this needs to be your thing. This is your thing… it’s just…” She kissed me once, and pulled me back a few steps until her legs hit the side of the bed; she took a seat slowly before pulling me with her.
She whimpered breathlessly against my ear, moving her lips to my temple, turning her head to meet my lips. She pulled my hips closer to her, moving her body with mine before wrapping them around me. Her legs rocked back and forth along my sides; panting quicker, we made quick work of our clothes, throwing them in tiny piles around the room. Soon, her breath hitched higher as she took more of my unyielding length inside her. She slipped her tongue past my lips, not that I would have put up much of a fight to let her inside, in any regard.
She wrapped her arms around my neck as the kiss intensified with each passing second.
My body flushed all over with that all too familiar craving as Sookie’s lips worked down my throat. I couldn’t help it when I groaned quietly into her kiss when she gripped my hair, giving my dirty blond strands a playful tug in the process.
I smiled down at her, as our bodies worked intertwined with each other, producing such pleasure that it was hard not to feel happiness. Sure sometimes it was awkward, sometimes it was faster than I would like, sometimes she wasn’t in the mood, but that was life, nothing was perfect all the time, but for short periods of time like this, it was. It was perfect. Our perfect. I took mental note of her sweet smile, her cute little nose, and her beautiful blue eyes, a shade that almost certainly matched up to my own. “Let me help you out of your bra,” I offered, leaning over her, sliding his hands up along her thighs, up her back and unsnapped her underwear before I peeled it off her soft hot skin as gently as I could given our thrusting and constant movement.
She held her breath as my hands ran up her thighs, caressing her as much as I could, feeling every inch of her and encouraging her to feel me, and sometimes, herself. I loved it when she would touch herself, it almost seemed accidental now, but she would touch me where she wanted to be touched but would never say it aloud. I longed for the day to come when she would have the courage sexually to voice her wants and needs to me.
She wrapped her legs around me again, tighter this time as my rhythm grew faster and faster, chasing that feeling for both of us, hoping against hope she was having as good a time as I was, as I always did with her like this. The soft pink, lacy push up bra that once hugged her breasts together was now long forgotten on the floor with the rest of her clothes, all that remained was her underwear and that was already off her legs, hanging just to one ankle as we fucked.
My mouth all but watered as she sketched her fingertips over my chest, grazing my nipple just so each time she would pass, it drove me nuts, in the best possible way. I just couldn’t take my eyes off of her, and seeing her like this, it wasn’t as new as it once was, but it still held some sort of lovely fascination for me, to see her like this, like this because of me.
I was the only one who ever got to see her like this, so stunning and powerful and yet she didn’t even know it. So beautiful and perfect, but my guess was she would tell me I was crazy if I said those things to her aloud.
Sookie’s hands pressed against the mattress as she moved up the bed slightly, I moved with her in sync, and she rolled right over and was suddenly on top. I liked her like this, being able to see her all out there, nowhere to hide. I of course knew she liked it less, still not a hundred per cent in her confidence, but either way she gave it all she had every time, before bashfully twisting us so I was back on top again, or we were side by side but still inside each other so beautifully.
I felt her nails dig into my back and her lips slip through her teeth and I knew she was climbing the wave, as it were, and it made me go harder and slow down as much as I could which at times wasn’t all that slow given how badly I just wanted to never stop.
“Erik… God damn please. Erik!”
I was close.. so … so …
So when a knock came to the front door and Sookie lost it and just grabbed me closer to ride out her orgasm silently, I knew mine wasn’t going to come… pun intended, how I really wanted it to.
We froze then, the knocking got louder, and I just pulled out of Sookie, more annoyed at myself for not being able to just let it go once I was distracted.
Fuck, I was still hard.
“We can ignore it…” She said as she pulled me closer, but then must have realised.
“Shit it’s Pam”
“What, why now?”
“To discuss ‘things’.” She finger quoted before sliding away from me. “Jesus Christ, I’m a mess.” She panicked going into the bathroom and I heard water running. I stared at my hard dick with disdain, why wouldn’t I just come that little bit quicker this time? I asked myself to no avail.
Sookie came out of the bathroom a few seconds later smelling like soap with her hair scraped back and a tank top and yoga pants on. She changes so fast for this, but when we go out to eat she takes hours.
I did not think I would ever understand.
“Honey… um… you might want to um… handle that.” She nodded before whizzing out the bedroom door, shutting it behind her and leaving me to ‘handle myself’ literally.
I guess it would not be the first time I’d done it. I opted for the shower, no doubt realising I had to talk with Pam too, may as well do it fresh and not smelling like sex.
I had no idea how to handle things with Pam, so instead I handled myself first.
Seemed like the best option.