I don’t know how long I stood there after Sookie pulled out of the garage, but I couldn’t seem to make my feet move with my mind completely dumbstruck from her kiss. A simple peck on the cheek was all it was; I’d received and given a million of them over the years as a part of the artificial Hollywood scene, but hers was different. I could still feel the heat of her lips pressed against my cheek; the scent of cherries, that for whatever fucking reason she didn’t like the taste of but always smelled like, invaded my senses; my body reacting like she’d stroked my cock with her lips instead of my whiskers.
What the fuck?
The effect she had on me was a little frightening, but it was overridden by my imagination wondering if a simple kiss could get that kind of reaction out of me, I might just die once I was actually inside of her.
I’d die a happy man.
Even with a full stomach, I’d barely gotten any sleep for the second night in a row racking my brain on ways to woo Sookie. The concept alone was completely foreign to me, but researching character portrayals wasn’t so I turned to the internet. I read article after article, blog after blog, on ways to be romantic. I watched clips of romantic movies on YouTube and almost called Pam at 3 a.m. for advice, but thank fuck I was able to catch myself beforehand. She’d never fucking let me live it down, nor did I want to know Dear Abby’s take on things.
Ultimately I decided to work with my short term goals and what little I could do in the middle of the night. I sure as hell didn’t want her driving her car to work (it would be impossible anyway thanks to Pam) and I already knew confronting Sookie over anything wouldn’t work out well, but making her laugh hadn’t failed me yet, so I got out of bed and made a poster to leave on her car hoping it would work to get her to drive my car instead of that deathtrap. I thought it turned out well, although the hummingbird probably resembled a piece of Smurf shit, but I didn’t think she’d mind. If she did, I thought could always take off my shirt.
I eventually wandered back inside and stood in the kitchen at a loss. I’d lived alone from the time I’d turned eighteen, both to my own and my father’s relief/delight, but at that moment I felt neither relieved nor delighted.
I felt empty.
Both me and the house were empty, suffering the loss of the little blond woman I hadn’t even known existed until 48 hours earlier. The kitchen still held faint traces of the dinner she’d cooked the night before and I tried to soothe myself by eating another piece of pie, but all it did was leave me hungry for something else; something that smelled like cherries.
I decided to head out early rather than risk turning into a complete fucking pussy and rolling around in her sheets, inhaling them like a junkie desperate for their next fix. The horde of paparazzi at the gate wasn’t as bad as the day before so I hoped Sookie didn’t run into too many of them when she’d left earlier. I stopped at a florist, cameramen in tow, on the way to the gym to have flowers delivered to Sookie at the school thinking while it was cliché, it couldn’t hurt and she seemed sentimental enough that she would probably like them. After picking out the floral arrangement I wanted to send, I stood there staring at the card wondering how to sign it. The word ‘Love’ wouldn’t be true and I didn’t want her to get the wrong impression, but ‘I can’t wait to fuck you blind’ would probably be a little too honest. The glint of my new wedding band caught my eye, so I settled on drawing a simple heart and figured if it was good enough for our tattoos, it was good enough for now.
I got to the gym early, but Tray was already there so I met up with him in the weight room and got started on my normal routine.
“I ate a lot yesterday, so I should probably do some extra cardio,” I grunted to him as he spotted me from behind while I did bench presses.
“Seriously?” he asked.
“Yeah and I had Pop Tarts and apple pie for breakfast too.” I had a feeling I’d have to do a lot of extra cardio as long as Sookie kept on cooking like she had the night before, but I’d rather burn it off with her between the sheets than at the gym.
“Dude, that’s all you’ve got to say? You need to put in extra time on the elliptical?”
“Was there something else I should’ve said?” Our conversations at the gym mostly consisted of whatever I might be working on at the time, if it was interesting, or whatever hot chick might be working out in close proximity to us. I hadn’t even noticed any other women when I walked in, so once I’d completed my set I put the bar back in its holder and took a look around seeing what I might have missed. Like always, there were women scattered around and while they could be considered pretty, I didn’t think any of them were worth noticing. My attention was currently being monopolized by thoughts of Sookie in her bikini from the day before and none of the other women around me could hold a candle to her.
He tapped my wedding band saying, “You fucking got married over the weekend! To Quinn’s ex fiancé no less! You never even mentioned knowing her much less getting serious with someone.”
Oh, that. I should’ve expected it, but I was distracted by thoughts of Sookie’s tanned skin (more specifically wanting to see her tan lines) and cherry scent. I tried to shrug it off like it was no big deal and smirked, replying, “What’s there to say? I came; I saw; I conquered, just not in that order.”
“Dude,” Tray replied and when he paused, if I didn’t know him better, I would’ve thought he could be the L.A. stand-in for Sookie’s brother. “Married.”
I knew what he was getting at since he knew me well enough to know I was a love ’em and leave ’em type of guy, but I had a script to follow, so that’s what I did with a little bit of inspiration. I thought about everything Sookie and replied, “What can I say? There’s something special about her, addictive even. She’s not like the others,” I let my eyes sweep across the room where the women whose surgically enhanced tits were just as fake as everything else about them (I would know having been with several of them in the past), and knowing I was speaking the truth. Sookie was nothing like them.
Before either one of us could say another word my eyes were temporarily blinded by the bald head approaching us, but my fists automatically clenched when he opened his mouth.
“I guess you’re the one going after my sloppy seconds now, eh Northman?”
My fist connected with his face before I even had a chance to fully straighten my legs as I stood up and the spray of blood from what looked like his now broken nose peppered the front of my shirt. If only Sookie was there, I’d have a reason to take it off.
“You broke my fucking nose,” he sputtered.
Tray got in between us, not that it appeared as though the fucking douche bag was going to retaliate, but I leaned around him looking Quinn in the eyes and said, “If you ever speak about my wife like that again I’ll do more than just breaking your fucking nose.” I was seething inside, barely able to control my instincts to beat the shit out of him, but all he did was wander away mumbling he was going to sue me.
“Well,” Tray said as he turned around to face me with a smile and followed up with, “your break’s over.” He pointed at the treadmills saying, “Run. When your fists relax we’ll move onto something else.”
Six miles later and the rage I felt had just barely diminished. All I could think about was kicking Quinn’s pathetic ass up one side and down the other. During the seventh mile I started thinking over how I’d tell Sookie about my encounter with numb nuts. Would she be mad at me for hitting him? For not telling her beforehand I sort of knew him? She’d never asked and I really hadn’t wanted to volunteer the fact I used to steal the majority of his hook-ups out from under him, figuring it would be a reminder she didn’t need about my past or hers. While I didn’t want to spoil our evening with reminders of either, I couldn’t keep it from her if he planned to sue me and decided I’d just feel out her mood when I got home. If she seemed bitchy at all, I’d just talk her into taking another swim in the pool and tell her after my shirt was off.
Tray officially declared me a lost cause when my hands hadn’t loosened up by the start of mile eight, so I hit the showers and drove to the studio. We were doing fittings and rehearsals that day in preparation for the Tuesday night taping in front of a live studio audience and the season premiere would be airing that Friday. It had already been filmed a couple of weeks earlier, but there was a party of sorts that night I would have to attend and made a mental note to tell Sookie later on that night.
I was heading towards my dressing room when I caught sight of the brunette I’d fucked a couple of weeks earlier coming down the hallway towards me and looking like she wanted to talk. I still couldn’t remember her name and I’d seen the look she was wearing before: it was always worn by the women I’d previously fucked after they found about the woman I’d last fucked. Those were conversations I had no interest in, just like I had no interest in her, and when I saw one of my co-stars hanging around near the door to my dressing room, I started talking to him hoping she’d go the fuck away.
“Are you still good for our Wednesday night poker game?” I asked. While I didn’t consider Bill Compton a friend, he was a worthy opponent in the game of poker and I enjoyed playing against him. It was another thing I’d have to remember to tell Sookie and hoped she wouldn’t give me too much grief about having the weekly games.
Bill followed me into my dressing room and when he didn’t answer I looked over at him seeing a confused expression on his face before he said, “Uh, yes?”
“Did you have other plans? You don’t seem too sure.”
“I just thought perhaps your new bride would want to forego our weekly tradition.”
Why the fuck he always talked like he was from another era was just one of many reasons why I didn’t really like him and if it wasn’t for his stellar poker skills I’d have nothing to do with him. Now, however, he also served the purpose of blocking the brunette behind him from being able to say whatever the hell was causing that glare on her face. I gave her an ‘I don’t give a fuck’ look, because I didn’t, and motioned for him to close the door.
He cocked an eyebrow at me when she made it apparent that she had something to say, so I got up myself and shut the door in her face not giving a shit. Avoiding not only her, but his inquiring look as well, I responded, “I’ll talk to Sookie tonight, but I don’t think she’ll mind.”
I was again left dumbstruck hearing myself saying the words. I clearly remembered two days earlier thinking I could care less what she thought about the weekly games and hoping she’d find something else to do outside of the house on those nights. Now, however, I hoped she would want to stay having already learned I didn’t like it when I was home and she wasn’t.
Maybe she drugged the pie?
I flexed my hand, still sore from punching Quinn, and knew my fascination with her had nothing to do with her pie.
Well maybe, but not the kind that gets baked in an oven.
“Weren’t you scheduled to participate in the celebrity poker tournament on Saturday night in Las Vegas? I didn’t see you there so I just assumed it was because of your new bride.”
I looked over at him forcing myself not to think of Sookie’s pie and noticed something seemed off. Bill wasn’t very demonstrative with his emotions and it served him well while playing poker, but relegated him to playing the straight man in our sitcom and, as far as I knew, he’d only ever acted in serious roles before that. From the slight sneer on his face and the narrowing of his eyes I would almost say he was pissy.
“Something wrong Bill? Do you have something against marriage?” I knew he had a habit of picking up my castoffs around the set so I would think he’d be happy I was off the market.
“Not at all, I just never thought you’d be one to settle down. Weren’t you just with Dawn the other week?”
He pointed at the door saying, “Dawn Green.”
I assumed he meant the brunette on the other side of the door and just shrugged, wondering when he’d become so interested in my sex life, saying, “None of them were anything more than relief. I guess you could say ‘I saw the light’.” I did too; it shimmered over Sookie’s wet golden skin; skin I wanted to see more of and the thought of it was making my pants tight.
Bill still didn’t look convinced, but I didn’t give a shit what Bill thought so I picked up my script and headed out for rehearsal without another word. The rest of the day got progressively better, so long as I avoided Dawn, and the producers of the show gave me halfhearted congratulations on my weekend wedding. Luckily for me I’d married a kindergarten teacher and not a Vegas showgirl or else the conversation might have been a little more strained.
When I headed back to my dressing room to get my things at the end of the day I noticed I had a text on my cell phone from Sookie thanking me for the flowers and a kissy face emoticon.
It brought back the feelings I’d had earlier that morning when she’d left for work and I barreled past Dawn, nearly knocking her over in the hallway, as I sprinted for my car hoping that emoticon was a hint of what my evening had in store for me.