I felt the Bean kick!
I’d never felt such a rush of exhilaration and considering the amount of drugs I’d used in my past that was saying a lot. Seeing the Bean flailing around on a monitor looking like it was doing an interpretive dance of its mother’s god awful singing was one thing, but to actually be able to feel it happening was something entirely new and brought with it a fresh wave of love and excitement.
And I was left feeling overwhelmed by it all.
For a day that had started out pretty well, the news I’d received in the middle of it had left me in a fucked off mood for rest of it and I needed to tell Sookie about it, but I didn’t want our little moment to be spoiled just yet. It was probably why I ended up getting unfairly bitchy with her as soon as she walked into the house, although I’d make a mental note that getting her pissed off led to really hot sex, but I really had missed her and considering how shitty I’d been feeling when I’d still at least been able to see her when I got home at night made me even more put off about going away on location. Homesickness was never something I’d had to deal with in the past because I never really had a home to miss, but now I had Sookie and couldn’t imagine what it was going to be like not being able to hold her every day, even if I could only do it while she was asleep. And, of course, there was the Bean too. It was growing and kicking and now I was going to miss out on six weeks of feeling and seeing it.
Now I felt even more overwhelmed.
It hadn’t seemed like that bad of an idea a couple of months earlier when I’d signed the contracts and the thought of having to go away was an abstract one, but now that the time for me to leave was getting closer and closer, it felt like a noose was slowly tightening around my neck. If I took a step back and looked at it objectively even I could see how ridiculous I was being, but it didn’t change how I actually felt. I would miss her more than I could ever imagine.
Because I’d become the world’s biggest pussy.
I’d learned admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, but I doubted they had a Pussies Anonymous group I could join and wouldn’t want to sit next to either Pam or Jason if they did anyway, although they’d have to join for different reasons than my own. Seeing Sookie now happily getting ready for bed, I didn’t want to ruin her good mood, so like a chicken shit, I put it aside and chose to go the more neutral route by asking, “Did you go to that Mexican place we went to before?”
Where all the men salivated more over you than their meals?
When I wasn’t with you to beat them off?
Maybe that question wasn’t as neutral as I thought.
For all I knew the fucking place had been built in 1957, so my little smartass could very well have had dinner with Wally, the Beav, and Marty McFly, but I had my doubts because I had enough of a man card left that I would’ve recognized the sound of a DeLorean outside.
“Yes,” she answered softly, burrowing into my side right where she fucking belonged. “Amelia invited me out at the last minute. Did you know that Tray proposed to her?”
I knew Tray was serious about her, but I didn’t know he was that serious and answered, “No.”
“It was so romantic,” she sighed. “He surprised her at work wearing a ridiculous panda costume and danced around to Train’s ‘Marry Me’ song before dropping down to one knee and proposing.”
“Oh yeah?” I asked, all the while thinking I’d better come up with something just as romantic, if not more so. I’d gotten an idea on the perfect ring to give Sookie from Gran while she’d been here for the holidays and with her and Jason’s help, I now had the perfect one hidden away in my office. I’d had to get it made though, so it took some time before it was ready and I’d only gotten it earlier that morning which was what had put me in a good mood, but I really hadn’t given much thought on how I was actually going to give it to her. It seemed kind of weird to ask her to marry me considering we were already married and I’d thought I might just try and find the time to take her out on a date and give it to her over a romantic dinner, but now I had to come up with something better than that.
She deserved better than that.
“Mmhmm,” she yawned. “They’re getting married next spring and she asked me to be her Matron of Honor, which I of course agreed to, and then she tried to talk me into letting her throw me a baby shower, but I told her no, since Pam is doing her part in making sure the economy recovers by buying every conceivable piece of gender neutral designer baby clothes known to mankind.”
Pam was really pissed at us for deciding not to find out if the Bean was a boy or a girl, but I just told her to have her own damn baby if she wanted to ruin the surprise and I cringed at the thought of us possibly having any sort of blood tie when Jason had come home from his night out with her telling me with a sly grin, “Mission accomplished.”
I was just better off not knowing some things and that was at the top of the fucking list.
But I knew baby showers were a tradition, God knows I’d kicked in cash for enough of them at the studio whenever somebody turned up knocked up, so I asked, “You don’t want one? Don’t all women want one?”
I could see her point that there wasn’t anything we needed that we couldn’t buy for the Bean ourselves, but I still thought she would be missing out on some sort of mother’s rite of passage when she answered with a soft laugh, “No. The only traditional thing about our relationship has been that we actually got married before getting pregnant and even that we only did by the skin of our teeth. We didn’t date. We didn’t get engaged. We didn’t have a bridal shower or any of the other things that go along with it. Hell, our two witnesses were complete strangers. Why ruin our streak now and let our family and friends in on the bizarreness of our lives? But I still don’t think we went wrong with Bubba/Elvis doing the ceremony,” she ended with another yawned out chuckle.
Seeing as how we’d gotten married two hours after meeting one another, I knew she wasn’t making any sort of dig at my lack of romanticism, but I couldn’t help feeling like complete and utter shit about it all and it only brought back the snide comments Tara had made at rehearsal. The fact she was even claiming there was no need for us to have any of the traditional relationship milestones told me she’d at least thought about them and I knew she’d never admit to feeling slighted even if she really did. Sookie might talk like the sailor I was portraying in the movie, but she was so fucking girl-next-door otherwise that she might as well shit apple pies and piss ice cold lemonade. She should be treated like the princess I saw her as even if she still sometimes thought of herself as the pauper doomed to spend her life watching everyone else around her getting to experience the things she deserved as well.
Beyond the fact Sookie didn’t have a materialistic bone in her body, no amount of houses, cars, or jewelry could ever make up for what she’d missed out on, but I needed to find a way to give her back at least some of it. A decent proposal was my only shot because there was no way I’d be willing to divorce her only so I could have a second chance at doing it the right way and when I heard her breathing slow down, letting me know she’d finally fallen asleep, it was my only thought as I drifted off too.
The next morning at o’fuck early I was in the kitchen getting Bubba’s bag of food, toys, and treats, ready to go to the studio when I spotted what turned out to be Sookie’s passport on the counter. Seeing it only reminded me that I still had to break the news to her that she wouldn’t be able to visit me like we’d planned on and the knot in my stomach only twisted more. Learning that little gem is what had set me off the day before, but there was nothing I could do to change it.
I’d still be leaving in the middle of March as planned, but instead of going to Sweden for six weeks, we were now filming in fucking Greenland of all places. Madden had been able to kiss enough brass ass to get permission for us to film at Thule AB, but it was an isolated area and any Americans going or staying there had to get the military’s approval, so Sookie wouldn’t be able to come and see me. There weren’t even any commercial flights in or out of there with everyone having to fly on a plane contracted through the Air Force. When Madden told me about the change in location I’d voiced my dissent, or perhaps snarled would be a better term, but the military base and its location went hand in hand with what we would be filming and would save the studio on the costs of building sets that would be damn near identical to where we were now going.
There wasn’t a fucking thing I could do about it now, so I grabbed Bubba’s bag and called for him to come, but I felt like I was forgetting something and when I couldn’t find where Sookie had stashed my costume I figured that had to be it and just added it to the ever growing list of things I needed to talk to her about. We pulled up to Starbucks a few minutes later, as was our routine now, and I thanked every god I could think of they were open twenty-four hours since the smell of coffee in the house just made Sookie cranky because she couldn’t have any, but as we were walking towards the door I had to stop and do a double take.
If I hadn’t just left her asleep in our bed, I would’ve sworn I was looking at Sookie sitting on the bench next to the bus stop. From the way her blond hair was styled to the clothes she wore over her pregnant body made me shake the cobwebs from my head and stare. I recognized the outfit she was wearing as one of Sookie’s favorites and I blamed their similarity in appearance on why I felt the need to walk over and check on her as soon as I realized she was crying.
“Hey,” I said softly hoping I wouldn’t startle her since it was still dark out with no other people around. “Are you alright?” I asked.
As soon as she looked up at me I could see where the similarities ended. Sookie was just too beautiful for her own good, but she was mine so it worked out really well for me. This woman was okay, but no one could ever compare to who I had at home however I was still taken a little off guard hearing her southern accent as she said, “I guess so.”
Something about her seemed familiar, but before I could try and place it I heard Bubba’s soft warning growl at my feet, so I shushed him wondering what was wrong. The only times I’d ever heard him growl was when he was playfully trying to tug whatever toy I happened to have out of my hand, but now he just sounded menacing. He always seemed to love everyone he came across and it was completely unlike him, but I brushed it off to him still being young and tightened my hold on his leash before looking back at Not-Sookie, saying, “Sorry. I don’t know what’s gotten into him.”
The way she was staring up at me was starting to weird me out, which made me feel like an even bigger pussy than the night before over being creeped out by a pregnant woman who was half my size, but seeing her intense gaze boring into me, I wondered if she even noticed Bubba’s presence, so I started to slowly back away from her and said, “Well, I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
She smiled back at me with a dreamy expression, saying, “It was really kind of you to worry about me. You’re a good man.” As I continued to back away from the crazy pregnant lady I was now only worried about in the sense she was batshit, I forced myself to smile and wave halfheartedly, but when I had to stop and tug at Bubba’s leash since he seemed to want to just stand there with his hackles raised up staring at her, I could’ve sworn I heard her say, “You deserve a good woman.”
Since she was clearly a nut job, I didn’t bother to tell her I already had the best woman at home and pretended I couldn’t hear her while dragging Bubba into Starbucks. We were in there so often, the staff already knew and loved him and I rarely ever held his leash inside, so he’d normally sit next to the counter where they’d always give him a small cookie while I waited for my coffee, but when I dropped his leash this time he went straight back to the glass door and stared out of it still growling lowly.
“What’s wrong with Bubba? Is there a stray cat out there?” asked the barista who I knew was named Bill, but since I hated all things Bill and didn’t want to hate the guy that made my coffee every morning, I’d named him Edward in my head because he looked sort of emo and even though I hadn’t seen him in the daylight yet, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he sparkled.
“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “There was some pregnant lady out there on the bench crying and when I went to see if she was okay, he started acting up.”
“A blonde?” he asked while trying to entice Bubba away from the door with his favorite chunk of un-iced carrot cake they sometimes kept off to the side for him. Seeing my nod and Bubba’s odd indifference to his favorite treat, he gave up and said, “Yeah. She’s in here a lot lately, normally around this time. Gets the double espresso.”
“Really?” I asked feeling a little shocked. “You’re not supposed to drink caffeine when you’re pregnant,” I babbled on. It was a major peeve of Sookie’s that she couldn’t have any and I’d heard her complain about it enough that I’d likely never forget it.
Future comas notwithstanding.
My opinion of the crazy lady with the Norman Bates vibe dropped even more if she wasn’t willing to sacrifice her caffeine fix in order to have a healthy pregnancy and made me lump her in with my own mother. I couldn’t even redeem her standing by blaming it on pregnancy hormones which, in Sookie’s opinion, gave her free reign to act up at the drop of a hat, and even she still gave up her ‘coffee bean bliss.’ Since I preferred my balls where they were and didn’t want them nestled firmly underneath my sternum, I let her have that opinion without any verbal complaints from me and was just happy she wasn’t telepathic.
By the time my coffee was handed over Bubba was back to sitting by my feet, but I grabbed his leash anyway and on our way back to the car I noticed Mrs. Bates was gone from the bench and spotted her farther down the street leaning down to talk to someone through the passenger side window. From the sounds of it, I assumed it was Mr. Bates because she was yelling that he wasn’t the boss of her and she could do what she damn well pleased. That definitely reminded me of Sookie and I guessed she wasn’t immune to the hormones either, but I’m ashamed to say I felt chills run up my spine when her head whipped around and her eyes landed on me again, so I hurried up and got us in the car before driving away.
I really was a pussy. Maybe I should look into that support group after all.
And I was really glad Sookie had given up coffee because the thought of her running into Mrs. Bates would scare me even more, especially if they were both in a hormonal mood, but I had pretty much shaken it off by the time I reached the gym. With the crazy hours I was putting in thanks to the shooting schedule I would gladly forego my workouts, but I’d needed to gain more muscle mass for the movie in order to fill out the costumes properly. Padding could always be sewn into them, but that wouldn’t do me any good when I’d have to do a scene without my shirt on and it had the added benefit of making Sookie drool whenever she saw me, so Tray had been meeting with me every morning at four just so I could get an hour in on the weights before going to the studio.
How the fuck he could be so awake at this ungodly hour never ceased to amaze me, never mind the fact it was a fucking Saturday, when I heard his booming voice the moment we walked in, shouting, “Bubba!”
As had become their routine, Bubba ran over and pounced on a squatted down Tray knocking him over onto the mat with the two of them wrestling and only highlighted how odd his behavior had been earlier. If anything, I would’ve thought he would’ve been more receptive to a pregnant woman since he seemed to instinctually know not to be rough with Sookie. He didn’t even tug toys out of her hand as hard and more often than not, simply let go of them and waited for her to just toss them.
He also instinctually knew not to jump on Pam, but that was probably more survival instincts than anything else.
But it didn’t stop him from standing in front of her and giving her his puppy dog eyes with his tail wagging. Sookie claimed he had the power to bend people to his will with that look and blamed it on her inability to not feed him table scraps, and it seemed she might be on to something when even Pam couldn’t resist petting him.
Maybe Jason had puppy dog eyes and I hadn’t noticed?
It was a possibility since I hadn’t noticed Pam had a cooter box.
I snickered out loud like the prepubescent tween Pam still accused me of being remembering my conversation with Jason and started my routine of stretching while Tray continued to lend credence to the idea he had a little bit of canine DNA in him somewhere. When he finally strolled over to spot me on the weight bench, I said, “I heard congratulations are in order Ling-Ling.”
“Yep,” he smiled wide. “That one’s a hellcat in bed. What’s not to love?”
“TMI Tray, TMI,” I laughed. “Sookie said you all are getting married next spring?”
“Yeah, she wants a year to rub it in her father’s face that she’s marrying a personal trainer and figures it’ll take him that long to get over it and walk her down the aisle anyway.”
From what Sookie had told me about Amelia, it seemed she knew what buttons to push to get her way with her father, so I was sure this was no different and went on with, “What in the hell made you dress up as a giant panda? Didn’t you have any better ideas than that?”
And would you care to share what they were so I could get some ideas?
“Eh…” he shrugged and smiled. “How could she say no after I made a jackass out of myself in front of all of her co-workers? Besides, it’ll be a great story to tell the grandkids one day.”
Grandkids? The Bean had better be a boy…or else Sister Bean would just have to get her fill of the little kids at whatever Catholic orphanage she was running.
Tray was no fucking help in giving me any ideas on how to give Sookie the ring, but then that could also be because I didn’t tell him about it. I hadn’t told anyone about it because I didn’t trust any of the dolts in my life to not say something to her and my earlier scowl over the thought of a baby girl Bean being defiled in order to give me grandkids returned once I got to the studio.
Today Sophie Anne and I would be filming a love scene of sorts and while she hadn’t done or said anything inappropriate in the short time we’d been working together, I was still leery, but it had to be done. If there was ever a time for me to put all of my years of experience in acting to use, it would be today when I had to look like I actually wanted her. Sookie had already read the script so she knew it was in there and had given me the hairy eyeball when she discovered it, but I tried to reassure her it was just acting. Nothing about those scenes were romantic in real life when you had ten other people standing around with cameras, makeup and making sure the lighting was just right. Her hormones had even worked to my advantage because she’d ended up ripping my clothes off and claimed me as hers by doing her best to fuck me to death.
Ahh…that was a great night.
A couple of hours later Bubba and I walked out of makeup and onto the set where Sophie Anne and Madden were waiting. Sophie Anne immediately crouched down, crooning, “Bubba!”, but it seemed Bubba’s instincts were better than I gave him credit for because he had yet to give her any attention. He’d never growled at her like he did Mrs. Bates, but him and Sookie must have had a little chat because he wanted nothing to do with her.
“Your dog is so standoffish,” she scowled at me while standing back up.
A second later one of the cameramen called out, “Bubba!” and he went happily trotting over to him, so I looked back at her and smiled, saying, “I wouldn’t call him standoffish so much as I would say he’s discerning.”
Fuck it. I didn’t care if she liked me. She could join the club and just had to ACT like she did.
Once we did a run through of what scenes we were doing and our places on the set, Madden called, “Action,” and so started my attempts at an Oscar worthy performance. Even though I’d been the one to tell Sookie it was just acting and it didn’t mean anything, I found myself wanting to balk over the thought of having to touch her or letting her touch me, but I went through with it anyway. It was the first love scene of any type I’d had to do in the time I’d been with Sookie and it just felt wrong, but I was a professional.
And also a giant pussy.
I tried to make it as believable as possible hoping we’d only have to do one take and I had a feeling Madden wouldn’t be too keen on multiple takes anyway since him and Sophie Anne were seeing one another, so I forced myself not to flinch as she slowly unbuttoned my shirt and slipped it off of my shoulders. I didn’t cringe at the feel of her hands sliding their way up my chest. And when I pressed my lips to hers and slipped my tongue into her mouth while my hands held her face as though I loved her, I didn’t vomit.
Because I hadn’t eaten anything yet, just in case.
I ignored how breathless Sophie Anne seemed to be when I pulled back and did an internal happy dance when I heard Madden yell, “Cut!” and was even happier hearing him add, “Well, that certainly looked believable, so I think we’re good with one take.”
I sighed with relief, but that relief was short lived when I turned and saw Sookie standing there off to the side and based on the look on her face, she didn’t like whatever she’d just seen. Bubba was sitting next to her with his body pressed against hers, but she remained standing there stiffly staring back at me, so I hurried over to her saying, “What are you doing here?”
She’d been to the set with me before and after one day had declared it boring as hell, so I hadn’t expected her to show up again, but I also should have chosen my words more wisely because she glared back at me, hissing, “Oh, I’m sorry. Did you not want me here? Is that why you didn’t mention what scenes you’d be filming today? Because my presence would mess with you getting your groove on, Captain?”
I was wrong. Sookie wasn’t here. Hormonal Sookie was here.
“Sookie,” I sighed and wrapped my arms around her stiff body. The Bean was apparently pissed at me too because no sooner had I pressed myself against her than I felt a kick aimed right at me, but I pressed on anyway, saying, “Of course you’re always welcome to drop by. You knew about that scene being in the script. I explained that it was just work. It’s nothing like what we have together. That is real. This is pretend.”
“Looked pretty real to me,” she mumbled into my chest, but I felt her body slowly relax in my embrace so I knew she wasn’t too upset.
Hoping to get her to at least smile, I whispered to her, “Did it look like I wanted to throw up? Because I did.”
Thanks to my still open shirt that I’d barely had a chance to throw on when I noticed Sookie, I could feel her lips curve into a smile as she asked, “Does she not taste like cherries? I could loan her my lip gloss.”
“I don’t think it’ll help,” I chuckled and leaned down to whisper into her ear, “She tastes like famewhore. Very unpalatable.” Sookie snickered and finally wrapped her arms around me, whispering back, “Well, I can think of a few ways to remove the awful after taste from your mouth.”
“Really?” I asked and automatically rubbed against her while picturing all of the places I could fuck her in my trailer. “I’m sure I’m due for a break right about now.”
I grabbed her hand to start leading her away, but she dug her heels in and laughed, “Well, you’re just going to have to suffer for a little while longer. The reason I’m here is to get Bubba. Did you forget he has an appointment at the vet’s office to get his shots today?”
Fuck…I knew I was forgetting something this morning and I felt myself pout as I said, “But he’s always with me.”
Sookie’s face contorted into mock anger as she said, “Eric Northman! Are you trying to tell me that you trust me to carry your child, but you’re afraid to leave me in charge of your dog?”
Since I knew she was playing, I wasn’t afraid to answer, “Yes.” At her gasp of mock outrage, I said with more honesty than I’d ever admit to, “You’ll only take him there, but if you stop somewhere for anything, you’ll just leave him in the car when he’s allowed by law to go into any place of business.”
She looked back at me with a cross between a smile and a scowl on her face, saying, “He might be a Service Dog, but you don’t really need him with you everywhere you go! It would be the same thing as going everywhere in a pair of sunglasses and pretending you’re blind just so you could knock people around with a walking stick. You’re just spoiled.”
I rolled my eyes pretending to pout and said, “And you ask me why I don’t trust you with my dog.” I loved taking him everywhere with me and he seemed to genuinely like going everywhere and, up until this morning, he generally liked everyone he met.
“Keep it up mister,” she scowled back at me, “and you’ll come home to find your dog’s been replaced by a hamster. At least that would be less conspicuous to carry around everywhere.”
I pretended to think about it before asking, “Will it be one of those ones that dance in crappy car commercials? Or maybe one of the ones that row a boat?”
She shook her head laughing, “You watch too much TV and the ones that row a boat are guinea pigs.”
I took her back into my arms and kissed her, saying, “You must watch just as much TV if you’re correcting my commercial trivia knowledge.”
Before she could respond, we were interrupted by she-who-tastes-like-famewhore, saying, “Sookie! What a pleasant surprise. I’m sorry you had to see that. I hope you don’t mind me having to borrow your husband’s lips today.”
She stiffened in my arms and I was ready to tell Sophie Anne to fuck off, when Sookie replied, “Of course I don’t mind. I know it’s just acting. If anyone should be apologizing, it should be me to you.”
“Why is that?” she asked.
“Well, I saw how Eric kissed you and that was clearly acting because the real thing would’ve left you crying out for more. His kisses are better than chocolate and from the looks of what he gave you, you got broccoli. I hate broccoli, so I’m sorry for you.”
I could feel Sookie’s fingernails digging into my back and knew she was pissed, but you’d never know by her friendly tone. Sophie Anne would only be doing it to herself by poking the hormonal pregnant lady and I wasn’t about to stand in her way, but I wished I’d dragged Sookie away when Sophie Anne smiled back at her, saying sweetly, “Well, then I guess you’ll have to stock up on six weeks’ worth of chocolate when we go away to Greenland, huh?”
Fuck my life…