“I’m moving out.”
“What?” I asked, caught completely off guard and floundering even though I’d known it was coming.
“I’m not happy anymore,” he said, looking – as he’d just declared – unhappy. It felt ten times worse considering he looked identical to the man I had married three years earlier and yet now it felt like I was looking at a complete stranger at the same time.
He was Eric and yet he wasn’t.
“Wha…what?” I stammered again, while fighting off the tears I could feel welling in my eyes, despite telling myself – I. Would. Not. Cry.
“I’m not happy,” he repeated just as coldly. His eyes held all of the warmth of an ice cube when he bitingly specified, “I’m not happy with you.” He appeared to swallow the lump building in his throat, while his eyes darted away from mine to regain his composure. I watched as he took a deep breath and stole the very air from my lungs when he straightened his shoulders before turning back to stare down at me, declaring quite vehemently, “I don’t love you anymore.”
“Bullshit,” my mouth and heart yelled back, with each of them choking on the word.
“I…I don’t,” he stammered, getting choked up in spite of himself. I could see him shutting down his own tumultuous emotions. It was like watching candles flickering out one by one, before he let his eyes sweep over me and gritted out, “I’ve changed. You’ve changed and we both know it. You’re not the same woman I married. I don’t love who you’ve become. Christ, I don’t even know who you are anymore.”
My eyes unwillingly darted down to see what in the hell he was talking about and I cringed seeing the truth of his words. I had changed. Gone were the days of tiny short shorts and fitted tank tops with them having been replaced by baggy tees and stretchy yoga pants. There hadn’t seemed to be any point in dressing up anymore since Lilly viewed me as not just her mother, but her own personal tissue. And the forgiveness of elastic allowed me to put on more pounds than I cared to know about. I avoided scales as much as I seemed to avoid makeup these days and even now there were the crusted remains of her jam covered handprints on the hem of my shirt.
What in the hell happened to me?
The tears started flowing down my cheeks and lost in my own pity party, I initially fought off his grip on my chin. But Eric was never one to back down so easily and he held tight until my eyes had no choice but to meet his own. There was a mixture of remorse and amusement in them that I unfairly wanted to slap off of his face, until he started wiping away my tears with his thumbs and softly chuckled, “Ad lib much? I knew this was a bad idea.”
“It’s not,” I tried to say, but thanks to my choking sobs it sounded more like, ‘S’not,’ which was what I was quickly becoming covered in.
So. Not. Sexy.
Sexy, like he still was.
His arms trapped me in a bear hug that choked the rest of the air out of my lungs and I would’ve yelled at him for it, but I had a sneaking suspicion it was his way of taking the argument right out of me.
How could I yell at him when I couldn’t even breathe?
Unlike me, Eric hadn’t let himself go at all. He still went to the gym on a regular basis and was even sexier three years into our marriage. It was how he managed to still be able to lift my fat ass up into his arms and sit us both down on the couch while I cried into his shoulder. When the soft sobs finally quieted, he laughed, “Maybe you should be the one reading for the part. You’re much more believable than me.”
“Bullshit,” I said again, repeating the line I’d added to the script.
The very same one I’d just been helping him read for his audition later on that afternoon.
It had been my dumbass idea to begin with. I’d helped him read his lines a thousand times before now, but this time the script struck too close to home.
And it was too easy for me to believe one day those same words wouldn’t be spoken from any script but from his heart.
“What’s this all about?” he asked when I finally looked up at him.
“You’re too good of an actor,” I bitingly and unfairly accused, but that didn’t make it any less true.
‘And sexy’ I silently added. Also true, but I didn’t want to feed his ego even though that want apparently didn’t carry over to me feeding my own fat ass.
I tried to squirm my way off of him, but he held tight and waited for me to huff in his face. Only to be greeted by the sight of his eyes rolling into the back of his head while a smile played on his lips, as he playfully asked, “Really? Do you think I’ll get the part? Or maybe even an Oscar?”
“I think you’re in danger of suffering deadened limbs. None of the blood can make its way to the lower half of your body so long as I’m on your lap,” I sighed. Again, unfairly.
And again – just as true.
“Hmm…” he pondered, while gripping my hips and moving his own against my ass. “I think your worries are unfounded, lover. There seems to be plenty of blood flow down there.”
I couldn’t even deny it.
‘It’ was poking me in the ass.
All of the fight left me then with me melting into Eric’s chest. We hadn’t spent more than seven days apart since we’d gotten married – it was our Number One Northman Family Rule – so he’d been there to see every pound I’d put on and not once had he ever made me feel undesirable. Not once had he ever even looked at me with anything less than love in his eyes – unless you counted five minutes earlier, which my irrational side had unfairly taken to heart. Nothing about him had changed and I knew he still loved me just as much now as he did way back when. It was the little things he still did that had made me feel safe and secure in our marriage. He still groped and chased me around. He still looked at me like I was the only woman in the world and not once had I ever caught him looking at anyone else, so I hadn’t given any thought at all that one day that might change.
What was wrong with me?
I had the sexiest husband on the planet. Women gawked and fawned all over him at every opportunity. Even if they were gracious to me as well, I didn’t believe for one moment they wouldn’t give their right ovary to have him in their beds.
Or showers. Or on their dining room tables. Or up against a wall.
He was that kind of sexy.
And he was all mine.
I was certain Eric loved me – all of me – but I would be a fool if I continued down the path I was on. He’d brought up wanting to try for another baby over the summer – yet another sign he had no plans on leaving me – so I’d officially been off of the pill since our birthday. Subconsciously I must have decided to give up on watching what I ate too, knowing I’d be piling the pounds back on anyway. But with no baby in utero yet, there was no excuse for letting myself go. And the fact it was now the week after Thanksgiving didn’t help matters any, nor did Lilly’s newfound love of baking, but it had been easy to put the pounds on.
A cupcake here, a slice of pie there, and suddenly elastic waistbands weren’t just convenient, but necessary.
I wanted the old me back. Not the neurotic me I’d been when I was with Quinn, but the me Eric had married. And when I really thought about it, I realized I didn’t want to do it for Eric at all.
I wanted to do it for me.
Because I didn’t know who I was anymore either.
Wife. Mother. Maid. Nurse. Playmate. Snotty-nose/shitty-ass wiper. That was what my life had boiled down to over the last couple of years. I always put myself last on the never ending list of things to take care of and while I wouldn’t give up any of it, I needed to find a way to squeeze some time for me back in there too.
And speaking of squeezing…
My uterus felt like it was trying to wind itself around my lower spine, sending me the telltale signal my period was about to start, so I guessed baby making month number five was another bust.
At least I could blame my weepy episode on that.
I knew reading those lines with Sookie was a bad idea, but at the time I thought it would’ve been because I would be the one to lose their cool. And I nearly did. It had been hard to look into the face I loved and say the things written in the script, but I figured if I’d been able to say them convincingly while looking at her, I could say them to anyone and be believable.
Who knew they’d bite me in the ass?
And not in a good way.
She, of all people, should know how I really felt, so I could only hope hormones were the cause for Sookie’s meltdown and secretly prayed she was pregnant. We’d been trying for another one for the last few months, but no such luck so far. I wasn’t worried though.
And it was a hell of a lot of fun trying.
Now that Lilly was older – and mobile – we couldn’t just arbitrarily fuck each other whenever the mood struck, which was a shame since her yoga pants just begged to be ripped off of her all of the fucking time. Even now my hand was already sliding into them, with me silently cheering the greatness that was elastic waistbands. But my hopes for getting the chance to try again for another baby right now were dashed by the sounds of “Daaaddyyyy,” echoing down the stairs, ironically interrupting my shot at being a daddy again.
Begrudgingly, I pulled my hand from her pants and pulled Sookie’s face to mine, kissing her breathless again, before saying in a mixture of sex and a whine all rolled into one, “More than one monster has awakened, so I’ll have to take a rain check, lover.”
But Frankencock would be storming her gates before the night was through.
I waited until her smile was a genuine one before I let her stand up to get lunch started, while I answered the call of my other little monster. Her door had a childproof cover over the knob, so she couldn’t go on a walkabout in the middle of the night – again. And when I opened it I found her standing buck ass naked in the middle of her room. No sooner had the door swung open than she streaked by me, leaving behind a trail of giggles and the sight of her bare ass rounding the corner. So I grabbed her clothes and took off after her, calling out, “Get your lily white aa…butt over here right now young lady!”
“Nooo!!!” she called back, using her favorite word. And from the direction and distance I knew she was already halfway down the stairs.
By the time I reached the top of the landing she was already jumping off of the bottom step, so I took them two at a time, huffing out, “Yeeesss!” while hoping the front door was locked so she wouldn’t run out and give our neighbors a show.
I found my little she-devil in the family room and she turned to face me, putting her hands on her hips with a scowl on her face – all the more comical since she was naked – as she stomped her bare foot and harrumphed at me wearing a familiar look.
Familiar because she’d most definitely inherited it from her mother.
She pushed her glasses back up the bridge of her tiny nose and thumped her chest, eying me in a way that said very clearly I was an asshat, and hotly informed me, “Lilla Adayul!”
Sookie was blind to not see the resemblance between them. Attitude and all.
She was still a tiny little thing and her legs might’ve been the length of my forearm, but it was just an optical illusion. I was certain she had invisible wings because she could fly faster than the speed of light.
All I had to do was blink and she’d disappear into thin air.
Bubba, the traitor that he was, stood in between us. Not out of circumstance or even to be near his favorite human. No, in these times he was her accomplice, both ready and willing to dart in front of my feet if I got too close and send me sprawling into a wall or a tree.
“You need to get dressed,” I said calmly, while taking a small step forward, trying to not use any big movements that would send her off on another sprint around the house.
I was getting too old for that shit.
“No fanks!” she giggled and took a huge step back. “I’s like bein’ nakey!” she announced and then turned to shake her lily white ass at me.
This had to be God’s punishment for my pre-Sookie lifestyle. My daughter liked dancing naked.
And I hoped like hell she would grow out of it – like within the next hour.
She was two going on twenty-two and while I’d heard the term ‘the terrible two’s’ before, it was one of those things you couldn’t truly understand until your kid went through it.
You know…like passing a kidney stone the size of Mount Rushmore.
“Baby,” I whined. “Come on. We don’t have time for this. Come to daddy!”
Lilly was definitely a daddy’s girl, but only when it suited her – like when her mother was making her do something she didn’t want to do like brush her teeth or take a bath. Right now, however, she wanted no part of me or her clothes.
“Not a baby!” she glared back at me. “I’s a big girl!”
She even made a ‘hmph’ sound which elicited a round of quiet chuckles from the peanut gallery who were now passing through on their way to the kitchen. Rasul and Mustapha must have come in while I’d been upstairs and they seemed delighted by our Mexican standoff, but they’d been around long enough to know who really wore the pants in this family.
Or didn’t wear the pants, as the case may be.
They did their jobs well – no one could get near us if we didn’t want them too, but when we were safe and secure at home they were like any other member of our close knit group of friends. Sookie wouldn’t have had it any other way and was even teaching Mustapha how to cook now that he had a new girlfriend he was trying to impress. But the truth was Lilly held the strings and they were her willing puppets. We hadn’t gotten any new threats or even a single sign any of us were in danger of falling prey to a new stalkerazzi, but that didn’t mean I would be comfortable with letting our guard down by letting our guards go.
It was a shitty way to live, but it was a fact of life for us. Lilly didn’t know life to be any differently and she likely wouldn’t until she tried sneaking off at some point as a teenager and found herself surrounded by guards.
Maybe they made sparkly ankle bracelets that doubled as LoJack’s for teenagers?
I’d have to ask Pam.
“Lilly!” I barked out, halting her yet-to-be-fitted-for-a-GPS-locator lifted foot, as she prepared to skitter away again. I made a mental note to check the soles of her feet to see if they’d sprouted roller blades during her nap and ordered, “Come. Here. Right. Now.”
I hated using that tone of voice with her, but I needed to get her dressed. Sookie was taking Lilly with her to go shopping for bridesmaids’ dresses with Amelia and I had an audition to get to.
And after her little display earlier, I was just thankful I wasn’t up against Sookie for the part.
It was easy to see Lilly had inherited some acting abilities from me because her defiant expression changed into one worthy of Oliver Twist as her lower lip jutted out – just like her mother’s – while she asked, “Cookeh?”
It made me cringe because it only served to remind me of that fuck stain Compton.
Just how much could she have she heard in utero anyway?
She batted her baby blues back at my narrowed ones from behind her tiny pair of eyeglasses and Rasul didn’t even bother to lower his voice when he told Mustapha, “Ten bucks says he caves.”
But before I could undoubtedly make him ten bucks richer, Sookie walked into the room and scooped up an unaware Lilly from behind. She handed the ‘likes to be nakey’ squealing girl to me on her way by, laughing out, “Honestly Eric. You must be losing your touch if you can’t convince a naked female to come to you.”
Was that a challenge?
Like Pavlov’s dick, my feet took a step in her direction because the cocker spaniel in my pants wanted us to chase after her, when my brain finally caught up to what my little head was set on doing. I was still amazed after all of this time I still couldn’t get enough of Sookie. It was almost like an addiction – one I had no desire to overcome – and instead I was just happy I hadn’t fucked up enough for her to realize she could do so much better than me. Our marriage wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. We still fought, but that was mostly because we liked making up so much. We never went to bed angry unless it was to have angry sex and sleep didn’t come until we both did, which was what usually ended the argument. I thanked God every fucking day I had her in my life and tried my damnedest to let her know it. I didn’t want her to ever question how I felt about her, but after her earlier breakdown I had to wonder if maybe my efforts were falling short.
It was something I would have to think on later, but there was no time for it now. So I strode from the room with a still squirming Lilly in my arms, telling her, “Time to get dressed little girl.”
“No fanks,” she giggled in her two-year-old way of politely telling me to fuck off.
If nothing else, at least she would be a polite stripper. Surely, at least Gran would still be proud.
She grabbed onto my face with both of her hands and blew a slobbery kiss onto my cheek before letting loose with another round of giggles and I couldn’t help but grin back at her. I loved her more than I ever knew was possible and considering she was Sookie’s mini-me, it only made me love her that much more. Lilly had had me wrapped around her little finger from the start and it had only grown from there. I remembered hearing other people talk about how the kind of love you had for your own child was indescribable and they were right. I wouldn’t ever be able to accurately describe the sheer force of the love I had for her and never imagined something so small and frail could literally bring me to my knees with nothing more than a look. And looking back now, remembering how scared shitless I was when Sookie first told me she was pregnant, it all seemed so silly.
It was the second best thing to ever happen to me.
We’d only gotten back from Bon Temps the day before, having spent the Thanksgiving holiday with Gran and Jason, and it usually took Lilly a day or two to get her bearings again. But considering she was a seasoned traveler by now, she was starting to take it in stride. The main cause for her want to be naked was because we were trying to potty train her and found that if she wasn’t wearing anything from the waist down, she wouldn’t go. So for the last few weeks, whenever we were at home, she’d spent all of her time in nothing more than a shirt. I’d noticed the dry pull-up she’d been wearing during her nap on the floor next to her bed when I’d grabbed her clothes, so I took her into the bathroom and plopped her down on the toilet, saying, “Go pee.”
“No pee,” she argued.
“Yes pee,” I argued back, with a part of my brain wondering if I was getting a preview of how she’d be when she was a teenager.
Maybe Never Never Land was real? If we moved there then she’d never have to grow up and I wouldn’t have to deal with it.
But remembering the ratio of boys to girls there had me discarding the idea just as quickly.
And with my luck, Sookie would take a liking to Captain Hook since she lusted after pirate mother fuckers.
It was my sense of smell more than my hearing that brought me back from Never-Fucking-Going-There Land when Lilly jumped off of the toilet and started digging into my pocket where my phone was.
“What are you doing?” I asked, when she gave me the-you’re-an-asshat-look again and pointed at the end product of her breakfast in the toilet.
“I make a sheet!” she happily proclaimed and started chanting, “Pit-cher! Pit-cher! Pit-cher!”
“Come on Lilly. Finish your lunch so we can go.”
At the moment she and Bubba were doing their Harlem Globetrotter routine, with Lilly bouncing chicken nuggets off the tray of her high chair, while he circled around and made impossible catches in midair to her wild cheers and applause.
If Eric’s career ever went into a tailspin, we could always put their little act on pay per view to pay for her college.
“Cookeh!” she announced to her partner in crime and got his tail wagging approval.
“Cook-eee,” I over enunciated, wondering just how much she could’ve heard from the Bean Bump. At least her father wasn’t there to hear her, so he could start muttering ‘Fuck stain Compton’ under his breath. If her hearing had been good enough while still in the womb, then it wouldn’t take long for her to pick up the phrase, ‘Fuck stain.’ We learned that little lesson when we’d visited Gran over the summer and to our horror she yelled out, “Fuck’en ay!”
Fuck’en Uncle Jay…
Her wispy white-blond hair stood up on end like she’d stuck her finger into a light socket and her blue eyes danced with happiness from behind her smudged glasses that were askew from her halftime show. But I still thought she was the most adorable baby on the planet.
But, she wasn’t really a baby any longer.
She was still smaller than an average almost-three year old thanks to her premature birth, but she acted like she was going on twenty-three anyway, so I could only hope one day it would all even out. In the meantime we got to deal with our very own tiny Sybil, ready to change personalities like Pam changed shoes.
“Cook-eehh,” she smiled back at me and then morphed into her Oliver Twist face.
Eric was blind. That little girl was a Northman through and through. And she definitely inherited her father’s acting abilities.
I knew I shouldn’t give into her demands, but I was pressed for time. So I handed her a cookie and grabbed the two remaining untouched chicken nuggets from the tray, shoving them into my mouth without thought, and then wiped her down with a wet cloth. I only realized what I’d done as I was swallowing and internally chastised myself.
Little things like that were one of the reasons why there was so much more of me.
I knew it was a throwback to my issues over being wasteful and it was a habit I needed to break before I broke the scale. But all I could do for now was vow to myself I’d do better and just kept moving because we were supposed to meet Amelia at the dress shop in a half hour. We were both getting fitted for dresses for her Christmas Eve wedding to Tray, with me as her matron of honor and Lilly as a flower girl. Their planned yearlong engagement turned into two and a half when her father had a heart attack four months before the big day. Amelia joked that he’d done it on purpose to keep her from marrying a personal trainer, but I knew deep down it had really shaken her. They may have fought a lot, but she loved him and having already lost her mother, she’d been terrified of losing him too. After he’d recovered from his double bypass, the wedding was back on again when she then discovered she was pregnant.
And I couldn’t help it. I laughed.
She was a great aunt to Lilly, so I knew she’d be a great mom too. But it took seeing their son Copely for the first time for her to believe me. He was huge – just like his father – and weighed in at over nine pounds when he was born, which was why they put off getting married until now. Amelia had been huge too and didn’t want to waddle down the aisle, but she’d already dropped all of her baby weight, so the wedding was back on.
We arrived only five minutes late – a new personal record – and the apology was already tumbling from my lips as I scooped up Copely from his car seat and said, “He’s getting so big!”
Just like his Aunt Sookie.
He probably only weighed half of what Lilly did, but she was all limbs and seemed lighter. Holding Copely was like holding a sack of potatoes, but smelling him made my ovaries tingle and I mentally chastised my uterus for not cooperating.
“I can’t believe you want another one so soon,” she sighed. When I was finally able to tear my lips away from giving Mr. Cheeks his special Aunt Sookie om nom’s and really took a good look at her, I could see that she was tired.
I remembered in theory what that was like, but that didn’t make the ache I had for another baby lessen any. Maybe it was selfish, but I wanted to experience an entire pregnancy. I wanted Eric and I to be able to have all of the milestones that we missed out on because of Lilly’s premature birth. I wanted to give her a sibling so she would know what it was like to have someone who would always be in her corner, no matter how much of a dunderhead the other could be.
But this was Amelia’s day, so instead of saying all of that, I gave her an understanding and sympathetic smile, saying, “It gets easier, Ames. He won’t always be so dependent.”
Like Tray and Amelia, we never did the nanny thing. It made no sense when I was a stay at home mom and I wanted to be the one to do everything for Lilly anyway. I was grateful we were fortunate enough that we could afford for me to stay home with her. And we were lucky enough to have great friends like Sam, Terry, Alcide, Holly, and Tara who were always willing to babysit so we could have a few hours to ourselves once in a while. But it was Eric’s dad who truly lit up Lilly’s face.
The world revolved around Pop-pop as far as she as concerned. And he would say the same thing about her.
And now that I thought about it,
I realized it had been a long while since we’d had a date night.
I didn’t have time to think on it long though because as if to prove my point that children inevitably do grow up, Lilly came flying up in between us a moment later, with Rasul shadowing her every step. Now wearing a rhinestone – at least I hoped they were rhinestones – encrusted veil, she smiled up at us from behind the sheer white fabric and declared, “I’s gettin’ married!”
Now her father would have a heart attack too.
“I want to stop at Jasmine’s Gardens on Hillhurst before we go home,” I told Mustapha as we climbed into the car, leaving the studio’s office complex.
The reading went well and the director seemed to be happy with my performance, but I could never tell just how well I’d done until there was an actual offer on the table.
After all, I wasn’t telepathic.
And my bluff-spotting poker prowess was MIA when it came to guessing what anyone else thought of my acting abilities. Poker games still happened here and there, but not as frequently as I’d once had them. Before Sookie, I’d used the weekly games as something to do instead of going to the clubs so I would stay sober. Now she was the reason – and had given me yet another one in the form of our daughter – to never touch the stuff again. I didn’t even drink more than the occasional beer anymore and that usually only happened whenever we would visit Louisiana.
Shitter – The Movie now had more imaginary sequels than Friday the 13th. And all of them were just as bad.
But considering how badly Valhalla had been panned by the critics, I couldn’t really throw stones. I felt as though I should carry some of the blame for that, but in reality I knew the majority of it lied with Madden and Sophie-Anne. His obsession with her reached near Compton levels and it showed in the editing, which was then reflected in the box office receipts. I had the majority of the dialog in the original script and yet she somehow managed to surpass me in onscreen time. It was ridiculous how much of what we filmed ended up on the editing room floor, only so she could appear to be the main character.
And according to the behind the scenes scuttlebutt, Madden had managed to edit himself out of a career too.
Of course Sophie ended up cutting him loose as soon as the movie was done filming. It only came as a surprise to Madden and I suspect that was a big reason why he’d had the movie edited the way he had. He’d been trying to woo her back.
Instead, he’d ended up getting the film nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award, with Sophie getting her own Razzie for worst acting.
It was an honor no one in the business wanted.
But if she’d been smart, she would’ve played along like Halle Berry did during her Catwoman fiasco. Everyone would’ve seen her as being a good sport about it all. Instead she railed like a lunatic to anyone who shoved a microphone in her face that it wasn’t her fault. Madden cut the film to shreds and left her looking like an idiot.
Made even harder to believe when she was doing such a fine job of looking like one all on her own.
But because critics were in the know as well, I wasn’t held accountable in their critiques for the shitastic end product. I suspected I had Sookie to thank for being viewed as likable. She was the difference that had brought me up from being the punch line on the late night talk shows, to being seen as a respectable human being.
And I was.
Because of her.
And I was grateful for all of it because I was still getting scripts sent to me. My popularity had peaked at the height of the fuckedupness that forced Lilly into the world much too soon. Thankfully the frenzy following her birth had ended within a few months of her coming home and now we were as normal as we were likely to ever get. But with Debbie Pelt’s trial on the horizon, I knew it was only a matter of time before we were forced into the spotlight again.
She was still locked up and had gotten the treatment she apparently needed so she could stand trial. I had enough distance from that time that I wasn’t as enraged as I once was. Not at her. She was legitimately sick.
My mother, however, could rot in fucking hell.
But both of my girls were fine so I didn’t care what happened to Pelt as long as she didn’t come near any of us ever again. And maybe my peace of mind stemmed from the fact she’d already been found guilty of murdering her sister in Mississippi. The upcoming trial in California for her crimes against us almost seemed redundant, but we would do whatever we needed to do to keep her behind bars.
“Flowers, huh? Did you do something wrong?” Mustapha chuckled, pulling me from my thoughts.
He and Rasul were in the know too, to what went on behind the scenes in our home. So his question wasn’t all that surprising.
They frequently took bets on who would win our sometimes heated debates.
“No,” I glared back at him. “I just want to get my wife a bouquet of flowers. Is there something wrong with that?”
After her little mini-meltdown earlier it made me wonder if maybe I wasn’t doing enough to let her know she was still my whole world. It was easy to get wrapped up in the everyday minutia of living our lives with a toddler and forego the little things to show that we still cared about one another. Sex was a great way to show we cared and one we utilized a lot. That part of our relationship hadn’t slowed down much at all – Lilly’s interruptions, notwithstanding – but I didn’t want Sookie to think that was all I wanted from her. I didn’t get the chance to properly woo her into marrying me. We never got the chance to do much of anything like a normal couple would and even if she never acted like it mattered to her or said anything about it one way or the other, it mattered to me.
I wanted to give her everything she deserved.
I wasn’t blind to all that she had done both for and to me. Sookie had given up everything to be a stay at home mom to Lilly. She followed me around to sometimes shitty locations so I wouldn’t have to be without either one of them for more than a few days. She never once complained about anything that had to do with keeping our family together. And I knew it was only because of her that I got to have the best of both worlds.
A family I loved more than anything and a career I was still passionate about.
Another reason for my spur of the moment idea could’ve had something to do with the movie I’d just read for. It was – in part – based on a married couple who had lost their way. Lost some of their fire for each other and who had just been going through the motions of being married, but acted more like roommates. That is until a life altering event forced them to see they did still love each other.
Sookie and I had had enough life altering bullshit to last ten lifetimes, but I didn’t want that same sort of disconnect to happen in my own marriage.
So what better way to say that than with flowers?
I. Will. Not. Cry.
But if I did, they would be angry tears. I was furious with myself for letting things get so out of hand. And while I didn’t look quite like a watermelon in my green matron of honor gown, it was only because the shade was all wrong.
And because I was a glutton for more than just southern fried comfort food, as soon as we got home I made sure Lilly was content with a juice box and a stack of coloring books before trudging to our closet. It took a few minutes before I found them and I knew it was a bad idea just holding them up. But that didn’t stop me from unbuttoning my once favorite pair of short shorts and trying to pull them on.
I looked like an overstuffed sausage that had broken through the casing.
Ground up mystery meat falling out of a shit maker. That was me. And it was no mystery how I’d gotten that way.
But hearing the telltale sound of an approaching giant thundering up the stairs, I slammed the closet door shut and leaned against it, yelling out, “Don’t come in here!”
“Why?” he purred from the other side of the door. It was no Fee-fi-fo-fum, but it was close enough. “Are you hiding the naughty schoolgirl outfit you picked up today that you’ll be surprising me with later on tonight?”
If I had, his surprise wouldn’t be nearly as sexy as he was imagining. Instead of a Catholic schoolgirl, I’d be a Fatholic schoolgirl.
Big difference. Emphasis on the big.
I ignored his porny hopes and peeled the shorts off of my body, changing into my standard uniform of sweats and a tee, before opening the door and sighing, “Sorry to burst your bubble, but you won’t get to bust a nut over that. I don’t think that outfit would come in my size.”
Eric’s eyes narrowed for a moment before he seemed to pick up what I was putting down. Then those same baby blues rolled up into his head as he joked, “Hang on. Let me go get my iPad so I can translate your Swahili. Oh wait! I know! All of that gibberish means ‘bullshit’, right?”
Oh, it was bullshit alright. Just not how he meant it.
And while I appreciated the fact Eric loved me no matter what size I was, I refused to let either one of us drown in the river of denial. I just couldn’t ignore it anymore and didn’t see any reason why he should either when I said, “I’m glad you still find me attractive, Eric. I really am, but I can’t stand the way I look now. I let myself go and now I need to do something about it.”
“Does this have anything to do with the lines we read this morning?” he asked suspiciously.
“Yes and no,” I shrugged. “I know you weren’t really saying those things to me, but that didn’t make them any less true. Like your character, I’m not happy.”
His entire face froze and paled as he asked, “What do you mean, exactly, that you’re not happy?” Everything about him seemed to seize up when he whisper added, “With me?”
Five mother fucking times, three years, and a tiny little monster later and he could still be so insecure. It boggled my mind.
And I blamed his mother.
But the mere fact his first thought was he was somehow responsible for my unhappiness made me want to show him just how happy he made me.
So I decided I would start by boggling his mind.
On my knees and with his cock in my mouth.
I pulled him into the closet and shut the door in case we got an unexpected visit from Cum-Miss Interruptus – Latin for Lilly – and pushed him against the door, while I pushed my tongue into his mouth. And in case he wasn’t picking up what I was now putting down, Wicked worked his jeans open while Immoral dove inside and picked up his rapidly growing realization.
“Are you trying to distract me?” he asked in a hoarse whisper, while I chewed open each button on his shirt on my way down his chest.
“Not especially,” I smiled up at him. Sliding down to my knees, I asked, “But is it working?”
As soon as my lips wrapped around his lower head, his upper one smacked against the door, with him asking, “Is…is what working?”
I swear. It was like taking candy from a baby.
Well, maybe not. Lilly was not easily de-candied.
I knew his cock in my mouth as well as I knew my own tongue by then. I also knew exactly how to make his knees buckle and I went to work on getting that very thing to happen.
“Soo…ah…uh…fuckthat’sgood, ” he gruttered and gave up talking now that he was doing all of his thinking with his little head. It was probably for the best since he’d reverted to his own special language made up of growls interspersed with stutters and forgotten spaces.
But I didn’t need an iPad app to decipher those.
It had been a while since I’d done this for him. Baby Northman’s would never be made with me swallowing their only cum shot at being formed. We still had a lot of sex and while it was always great, lately it was always in the back of my mind we had another purpose in doing it. Now though, I was doing it for no other reason than to make us both feel good.
And I was starting to feel really good. Anyone who didn’t get turned on by making their partner weak in the knees needed to find a new partner.
And now that there was nothing in the back of my mind, there was nothing stopping me from taking Eric down into the back of my throat. Swallowing and humming around his shaft got me a whole slew of new grutters coming from Eric’s mouth right before he came against my tonsils.
I couldn’t help smiling up at him, while I tucked his not-so-little mister away, and stood up to give him a peck on his cheek. Only he turned in time to catch my mouth with his, doing a bit of his own pushing until I was the one up against the door. His hands were already moving for my waistband, so I made sure Wicked and Immoral were set to stun in order to stop him.
I didn’t want them to annihilate Eric. But I couldn’t pick up what he was putting down.
Because Aunt Flo had already leased my womb for the next week.
“Why?” I asked, but not really sure what I was asking exactly.
Why wasn’t she happy?
Why was she stopping me from finishing what she’d started.
Why was she still dressed?
Sookie had managed to blow both of my minds.
“I started,” she replied, looking sad again.
I was okay with starting in the middle of my why’s, so I smiled and said, “I know you started.” Leaning down to kiss her silly, I added, “Now let me finish it.”
“No, Eric,” she giggled and tried pushing me away. “I mean I started. Your sperm stood up my ovum – or maybe she was just a standoffish bitch. But she threw her resulting hissy fit in my uterus and now the red refugees are fleeing on the crimson tide down my canal.” Locking her now amused eyes on mine, she asked, “Get it?”
“Got it,” I smiled. “Gross, but you certainly got your point across.” Wrapping my arms around her, I let my expression grow more serious as I asked, “Now tell me why you’re not happy. We can go have sex in the shower if that’s what’s bothering you.”
It certainly wouldn’t be the first time I’d earned my red wings with her.
But hearing her say those three little words was like my worst fucking nightmare come true. Well, not my worst nightmare. We’d already lived through my worst fucking nightmare, but this wasn’t much better.
“You’re feeling it now,” she offered offhandedly.
“No I’m not,” I argued. “I’m happy. I love you. I love Lilly. I love our whole fucking life.”
And it was all my fault. I’d known on some level that I wasn’t doing enough to show her how much she meant to me. How much I appreciated every little fucking thing she did for us.
“No, Eric,” she repeated, sans giggle. Wiggling around in my embrace, she said, “You’re feeling it. Physically feeling it. I’m not happy with how I’ve let myself go.”
I wanted to roll my eyes and yell at her for scaring the shit out of me. And then drag her into the shower so we could have angry makeup sex. But seeing her look so forlorn over her cockamamie belief that she was anything less than stunning made me stop myself. I didn’t want to ridicule her – even if I didn’t agree with her. But I didn’t want to lie to her by agreeing either and I had a feeling that would only make things worse.
Not lying. Agreeing.
I’d been a husband for three years now and I knew I still had a lot to learn. But knowing not to concur with my wife that she was fat – even if she was, which she wasn’t – wasn’t one of those things.
“Sookie,” I sighed, not knowing quite what I should say to make her feel better and deciding to just go with the truth. “You’re sexy. You’re beautiful. Both inside and out. Every part. Every pound. I love all of you. When I look at you I don’t see whatever imperfections you’re seeing. I see the woman who gave me more than anyone else ever could. More than anything money could buy. You gave me a new life. You gave me your love. You gave me our daughter. How could I not love every bit of you?”
I hated when they appeared, no matter what caused them. But at least this time she tried to smile through them when she leaned against me and said, “People are wrong about you. Anyone who doesn’t know you, thinks it’s your looks or your career or your money that makes you so great. But none of that is true.” Putting her hand over my heart, she whispered, “This is what makes you great Eric Northman. I love you, even if you are blind.”
Maybe I was blinded by my love for her, but I didn’t think that was necessarily a bad thing. Not in this case anyway, but before either of us could say another word we both heard a gasped out, “Fowlers!”
I spun Sookie around so I could open the closet door, but it was too late. The she-demon had already gotten her little petal pulling paws on the bouquet I’d dropped onto the bedroom floor when Sookie pulled me into the closet.
Her pulling my cock into her mouth is what made me forget all about them.
“No Lilly,” I chided and grabbed what was left of them. “Those are for mommy.”
Now I had two pouty lips pointed my way.
“You got me flowers?” Sookie asked, looking weepy all over again and with her lower lip wobbling.
“My fowlers,” Lilly sniffled, with her lower lip wobbling too.
Mirrors. Fucking mirror images of each other.
Justin Timberlake would be singing all over this shit if he were here right now.
It was all I could say. To either one of them. And so I wouldn’t be a liar to at least one of them, I pulled a single stem from the bunch and handed it to Lilly before giving the rest to Sookie.
She attached herself to my side, while Lilly attached herself to my leg, with both of them hugging me like I’d just come home from fighting a war, and said a heartfelt, “Thank you,” in unison.
Well, a ‘thank you’ and a ‘fank you’, but the sentiment was the same.
They were both acting like I’d just given them their one true heart’s desire. But that was silly though.
Flowers were just a little thing.