It took every last shred of willpower I had to leave Sookie lying there in bed to go and take a shower; a cold shower. She had left me nothing but completely sated the night before, so I was left wondering why I felt so blue balled now.
It had nothing to do with the cold shower, of that I was sure, but we sure as hell were stopping to pick up condoms at some point today.
That thought put a little bounce in my step and kept a smile on my face all the way downstairs. Sookie’s excitement when she spoke of my surprise and insistence we take her car to the shelter, so she could drive us to our mystery destination afterward, had me racking my brain wondering what she had planned, but I couldn’t’ think of anything. If we’d only been dating, and not living together, I might have hoped she was taking me to a hotel where we could fuck each other all night long, but after my less than stellar longevity the night before she might have reason to question my stamina.
If so, I planned on setting her straight later on.
Once we got to the shelter and I got to meet Lafayette I understood why Sookie had been nervous about me meeting him…her, but I’d grown up in the business and had met bigger Divas in the past. Lafayette and his prancing ass was nothing but amusing to me, at least until we’d walked into the kitchen alone. His exaggerated swagger and the feminine lilt to his voice disappeared in an instant, replaced with bowed up shoulders and steely eyes staring back at me as his voice dropped three octaves and sounding like a menacing street thug he asked, “You see those eggs?” as he pointed at the counter.
“Yes?” I swallowed, wondering what happened to piss him off.
I watched as he violently crushed one in his hand over the sink without ever taking his eyes from me and said, “If you hurt my girl that’ll be your balls. We straight?”
“Yes,” I replied having no doubt he meant every word. Sookie had somehow bewitched not only me, but everyone she came across it seemed. At least every male she came across, regardless of their sexual orientation, but I couldn’t fault him for wanting to protect her; I’d felt the same need since day one.
“Good,” he replied. “So long as we have an understanding then we’ll get along just fine.” He then went on to tell me to start cracking the eggs to scramble them, but had to show me how since crushing them in my fist as he had done didn’t seem to be the preferred method.
It would be like crushing my OWN balls and I needed them for later on.
Lafayette turned back into RuPaul’s twin sister a second later and when my head turned at the sound of Sookie’s laughter coming from the doorway, I thought I understood why. Watching her move around the kitchen like it was her own fascinated me to no end and I don’t think the smile on my face ever left. Once we actually started serving the people their food I found I actually enjoyed it. The feeling surprised me considering I’d only tagged along for my own selfish need to be close to Sookie, but the people I briefly met as they moved through the line all seemed nice; normal. It was an odd character trait I’d only witnessed firsthand on a studio set and the dialog was scripted, but they were real people with no agenda; not regurgitating lines back at me.
I really needed to get out more.
The bouncing little redhead caught my eye before she ever made it in front of me, but when she finally did I couldn’t help returning her huge smile. Maybe it was due to her young age, but she didn’t look as though her life’s unfortunate circumstances were weighing her down any given the happiness that practically poured out of her little body. I couldn’t remember ever feeling that carefree, even at her age, but her jovial attitude was contagious.
I felt myself falter learning she was deaf and it made me even more shocked seeing her so joyful. I’d never been around kids unless they too were actors with the majority of them being tantrum throwing little shits whenever they weren’t acting, but the little ray of sunshine in front of me couldn’t be more different. In a way she reminded me of a little Sookie and my reaction to her was the same; I wanted to keep the smile on her face.
I was grateful the sign language I’d learned years earlier came back to me with ease and her delighted response made me just as pleased as she seemed to be. Seeing Sookie’s tender expression on her shocked face, once they walked away, contented me even more and I knew then that my Sunday mornings were now spoken for.
Once the food was gone I sought out Jessica and as I made up a silly little story about Princess Sookie for her I spoke with her mother, Holly, to find out a little more about them and what brought them there. I found out Jessica had been born deaf and her father had taken off when she was just a few months old because he couldn’t handle the pressure of being a parent. Holly had been a waitress and was going to school at night to get a degree in business administration, but had to quit when she became a single parent over night. As Jessica got older it became more difficult to find babysitters for her due to her hearing impairment, so Holly was forced to stay home to take care of her until they finally had to go to a shelter, no longer being able to afford their rent.
The similarity between Jessica and I wasn’t lost on me and I recalled hearing one of the producers on my show was looking for a new assistant, so I called him while we sat there and by the time I hung up she had the job. It didn’t pay a lot and she’d have to learn pretty quickly, but she seemed bright enough to be able to handle it. There was also a free onsite daycare for the employees and they would make accommodations for Jessica, but as Holly hugged me, thanking me for it all, I couldn’t help feeling a twinge of guilt knowing I was doing it for myself as well. I may not have been homeless as a child, but I lacked the attention from a loving parent like Holly seemed to be and wanted Jessica to have every opportunity possible for my own peace of mind.
Once Sookie and I were back in the car I tried to get her to give me a clue as to where we were headed, but she refused and attempted to distract me with small talk telling me more about Sam and Terry and their rescue dogs. I’d noticed we got on Interstate 5 heading south and after a while I suggested we stop for lunch, but Sookie put it off saying we would eat after the surprise, which seemed odd but I didn’t argue about it. As we neared San Diego I thought perhaps she was taking me to Sea World so we could see something other than bird activity, but when she took the wrong exit and I read the sign as we got onto I-805 my heart sped up.
I didn’t dare hope because there was no fucking way she could’ve pulled off something like that, but when it became obvious where we were going by the huge gate in front of us and she pulled over into the parking area off to the side of Miramar Marine Corp Air Station, I again refused to believe why we were there until I saw Sam and Terry waiting for us. Sam was holding a pilot’s helmet and Terry had a flight suit in his hands and one of their dogs at their feet.
My head shot back to look at Sookie and she nodded to my unspoken question making me yell in disbelief, “NO FUCKING WAY!” We were at Top Gun. She smiled at my ecstatic reaction and nodded silently again which begged the question, “How?”
“Terry,” she replied. “He’d mentioned working with some of the military stationed here and he’s training one of his rescue dogs for one of the pilots who had a bad time overseas. He became close friends with the other pilots and one of them agreed to take you out for a training flight this afternoon if you’re game.”
I mentioned my childhood dream once in barely more than a whisper only the day before and the beautiful woman in front of me, who’d declared herself a nobody that very same evening, had made it come true overnight.
Maybe she was more of a Fairy Godmother than a Princess.
I practically lunged over the center console and poured every ounce of feeling I had for her into the kiss I’d attacked her with. Her lips eagerly responded to mine before pulling away to catch her breath as she said with a smile, “I take it you’re game then?”
“I’m game for more than a plane ride,” I growled, moving in for another kiss, but she pushed me back with her hand on my chest.
“Even if we had any condoms I wouldn’t be doing that with Sam and Terry watching,” she laughed.
Condoms. We needed condoms.
Shaking the lust from my brain we got out of the car and met up with Sam and Terry before following them into the Visitor’s Center to get passes to enter the base. Once inside we met up with the pilot who I’d be flying with named Tommy Mickens and I thought he looked to be around my age. I felt a twinge of jealousy that he’d been able to live out the dream I’d had as a young boy, but my excitement overrode that emotion before it had time to take root. We left our cars there and climbed into a van that drove us out to one of the many hangars near the flight line and I caught Sookie trying not to laugh at me as I bounced in the seat next to her, but it was my turn to not laugh at her when her jaw dropped seeing me come out of the room after I’d changed into the flight suit.
Maybe they would let me keep it.
Tommy gave us a brief overview of the base telling us it had originally belonged to the Navy, but with the military downsizing it had been turned over to the Marines. The TopGun US Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program from the movie was now taught at NAS Fallon, Nevada, with this base now home to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. The fighter jets they flew, the F-35B Lightning, were the newest ones on the market and replaced the F/A 18 Hornet. They were capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings so they didn’t need landing hooks to land on aircraft carriers when they were out at sea.
After his informative speech Tommy gave me a quick safety lesson on what to do if something went wrong while we were in flight, but I wasn’t worried in the least. Sookie was though because she piped up with a fearful edge to her voice saying, “Maybe this is a bad idea.”
“It’ll be fine Sookie,” I said, pulling her into a hug. “Don’t you want to go for a ride too?” I asked.
“Oh hell no,” she replied quickly. “I have a hard enough time riding on a commercial plane. There’s no way I’d get into one of them,” she gestured towards the fighter jets.
Tommy chose that moment to say, “A good landing is one you can walk away from, but a great landing is when someone can use the plane again. I plan on using that plane again, so you have nothing to worry about ma’am.”
Sookie didn’t seem any calmer, but she stayed quiet and hugged me tighter before saying, “Good luck.”
I leaned down and kissed her and as I moved to follow Tommy to the plane I said, “It seems I’ve had nothing but good luck since I’ve met you.” Her only response was a blush and a smile, so I turned and caught up with Tommy on the tarmac.
As soon as we got up next to the plane and I read his call sign painted on the side I looked at him asking, “Really?”
It read ‘Maverick’ just like Tom Cruise’s character I’d idolized years earlier.
“Yes,” he replied with a joking huff. “But I don’t buy into that Scientology bullshit and my wife isn’t young enough to be my daughter, so the comparisons stop with the name.”
I laughed saying, “Well I’m not gonna be Goose because he dies in the movie and my wife might take exception to that.” She’d definitely smack him; her hands flew faster than the fighter jet in front of us.
He thought for a moment and said, “What about Iceman?”
A Marine nicknamed Iceman? Yeah, that sounded like a character I could play. Once we had that not-so-important detail worked out he showed me how to climb into the cockpit seat behind his and once he’d double checked I was strapped in right, he climbed in himself and lowered the door. I looked over and saw Sookie fretting off to the side, standing next to Sam and Terry, and waved at her hoping it would help calm her nerves. It really was the best surprise she could have ever given me and it made me want to do something really special for her. I just hadn’t figured out what that was yet.
Tommy’s, or Maverick’s (now that we were in the plane) voice came through my ear piece and he asked, “Are you ready?”
“Yep!” I replied with a huge fucking grin on my face.
Boy was I wrong. There was nothing to compare to the feeling of taking off that fucking fast and it felt like I’d left my balls back on the runway. Hopefully Sookie would see them rolling around and put them in her purse before Terry’s dog took off with one. We continued to climb into the sky with Maverick telling me she (the plane) could reach speeds of 1200 miles per hour and fly at altitudes up to 60,000 feet and when he did a loop in the air I was able to see the Pacific Ocean beneath us. The adrenaline coursing through my veins was un-fucking real and was better than any drug out there. I’d never felt so alive in my life and cursed my father for shitting all over my dream knowing this could be my life.
No sooner had that thought crossed my mind when I immediately dismissed it again. If I hadn’t lived the life I had, I never would’ve met Sookie. No job was worth that to me anymore, so I just sat back (more like remained pinned in my seat from the G-force) and enjoyed the ride.
We stayed in the air for about 30 minutes with Maverick explaining some of their drills and talking about a few real life missions he’d flown before flying us back to the base. Just like he’d said earlier, the plane was able to hover over the tarmac and vertically land like a helicopter which I thought was really fucking cool. As soon as my feet were back on the ground I ran over and swept a waiting Sookie into my arms, twirling her around and shouting, “THIS IS AWESOME! THIS IS FUCKING AWESOME!”
Sookie laughed and tried to convince me to put her down saying I was making her queasy, but she could’ve puked all over me and it wouldn’t change my opinion of her at all. She was the best!
I eventually put her down so I could go change and caught Sookie’s flash of disappointment, so I made a mental note to procure a flight suit of my own at some point soon knowing it would end with me yelling out words very similar to, if not the same as, ‘fucking’ and ‘awesome’. That was a win/win in my book.
We spent the rest of the afternoon meeting with the airmen and soldiers on the base, stopping to sign autographs and take pictures. It was tough meeting up with the pilot for whom Terry was training a dog for and hearing his voice shake just as much as his hands as he told us about his experiences overseas was a difficult thing to witness. Without any cues from Terry, his dog Dean got up from where he’d been lying at his feet and went over placing his head into the pilot’s lap and I saw how immediate the effect was. The tension in his shoulders lessened and with every stroke he gave down Dean’s back his trembling hands eventually trembled no more. He even smiled.
It seemed so unfair that there were men and women, like him and Terry, who’d sacrificed so much of themselves, for so very little while I got paid a fuckload of money for something as inconsequential as acting. I said so to Sookie when we were finally on our way back home a few hours later and I’d expected her to agree with me, but instead she said, “That’s not true. I mean, I think our military deserves a lot more than they get considering they’ve voluntarily joined the service to protect and defend our country, but that doesn’t mean what you do is any less important.”
“Sookie, I act in a fucking sitcom. It’s not like I’m looking to cure cancer.”
She smiled back at me from the passenger’s seat and said, “But what you do can affect millions of people. The characters you play can bring people joy for a brief time and give them a laugh when they might need it most or an excuse to cry when they’ve had to hold it in. Or your character might inspire a young boy or girl to grow up and be the next Maverick,” she ended with a knowing look.
Dumbfounded again I asked, “How is it you always know just what to say to make me feel better?” I did feel better, but I’d be making a sizeable donation to Sam and Terry’s rescue organization the next day too. Also a win/win situation in my book.
Sookie gave me a coy smile and shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly saying, “I just got it like that.”
She most certainly did. We stopped along the way home to get something to eat and I was glad Sookie had put off lunch because I probably would’ve been plastered in my own vomit during takeoff, so we were both starving and stopped at a little Mexican place for dinner. The little vixen was playing footsie with me under the table and hearing her moan while watching her eat her burrito brought to mind something else I’d learned she could swallow whole. Given her little display I was mshangao’d seeing her blush when I took her hand on our way out of the restaurant and pulled her into the pharmacy next door where I grabbed the biggest box of condoms I could find.
“Thirty-six?” she asked in a hushed voice on the way to the register. “Not the three or twelve pack. We need the jumbo box of thirty-six?”
Apparently I DID have to set her straight.
She was right, so I turned back and grabbed another box just in case which only made her blush deepen even more. She didn’t seem to appreciate me laughing at her either, but I knew I’d get back into her good graces, and her pants, as soon as we got home.
The silent tension in the car during the remaining ten minute drive back to the house was palpable with neither one of us saying a word. There really wasn’t much to be said; it was happening and we both knew it. We were approaching the gate when Sookie’s cell phone rang from her purse in the backseat and when she pulled it out she said, “Uh oh…it’s my brother.” She smiled up at me saying, “He’s probably calling to see if he can have your little black book.”
I didn’t have one of those, but my cell phone still had a bunch of fuck buddy contacts in it. I’d been ignoring the numerous text messages and phone calls I let go to voicemail every day since I’d woken up with Sookie in Vegas and made a note to pick up a new phone with a new number the next day. I had no need for any of them anymore, but I certainly didn’t want her seeing one of their dirty texts or answering their calls.
“Hi Jason,” she answered cheerfully into her phone. The sound of her gasp made me turn only to see the color drain from her face as she uttered, “Gran?”