Why did he have to use his sexy voice?
Why did he have to look like My Eric when it was clear it was mostly Asshole Eric that still held the reins?
I tried not to be upset with his assholery remembering how pissy we’d been with each other, after waking up together, the day after we’d gotten married. I’d been a complete and utter bitch to him then, so I knew a little of what I should expect from him before ever walking through the door. As I’d walked down the corridor towards his room I kept chanting in my head, ‘He doesn’t know you,’ over and over trying to prepare myself.
I wasn’t prepared.
I’d fooled myself into believing I’d easily be able to separate the two Eric’s in my head; mine and the one I’d met for the first time five weeks earlier, but it was nearly impossible. Just the sight of him made my heart flutter and I longed to wrap myself around him, finding the comfort only he could give me, so hearing him snap at me so harshly hurt more than I was prepared for. My hormones were already all over the place thanks to the pregnancy and the tears I seemed to perpetually shed lately made an instant appearance. My only saving grace was when he appeared contrite for causing them.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.
He’d never liked to see my tears, even from day one when we could barely tolerate each other, so it stood to reason he wouldn’t be too much of an asshole if he knew I would cry. Inside I giggled picturing Asshole Eric as the evil comic book villain with me as the heroine and my Super Sookie tears being his kryptonite.
His ass would look great in spandex.
“Sookie,” he growled, bringing my attention back to his face instead of his ass, which I’d already committed to memory. It also brought to my attention the fact my panties had dampened hearing him say my name that way.
“What were we talking about?” I asked. I’d heard of ‘pregnancy brain’ where your attention span was slightly hampered and wondered if that was the cause or if it was the fact my hormones were now practically screaming at me to fuck him six ways from Sunday. Whatever it was I couldn’t afford to lose my focus now. I had to focus on helping Eric get his memories back before I could focus on any of my own desires.
His eyes were hooded, staring back into my own and I’d seen that look on his face plenty of times, but today it seemed just a little different. Something in his gaze was different; detached almost and it was all I needed to see to cool my jets and remember that it wasn’t My Eric in front of me, but Manwhore Eric who’d wanted into my pants from the get go.
“You were about to tell me about the first time we had sex,” he reminded me.
I chewed on my lip wondering if I would be able to become detached enough myself to be able to tell him the story, so while I worked up the courage to do just that, I stalled by saying, “Actually, the first time we had sex was in Las Vegas, but neither one of us remembered it.”
“Then it doesn’t count,” he offered. “Tell me about the first time you do remember.”
Oh, it counted. You’ll see how much in roughly thirty-five weeks.
“Um…well, we were at my Gran’s house,” I started, but he interrupted me.
“In Louisiana. Bon Temps to be specific.” My mind wandered back to that time and how happy I’d been to see him the morning he’d arrived. I hadn’t realized just how much I’d missed him until I opened the front door and saw him standing there. It was ironic considering I missed him even more now, but he was right in front of me.
“Why were we there?” he asked.
All of his questions were putting off the inevitable ‘sex’ talk, so I gladly answered, “She had a heart attack. I’d gone home to help take care of her and when you found out you didn’t have to work that week, you took the first flight you could to come and be with me.” His eyes narrowed, as though he couldn’t believe he’d do something like that, so I quickly added, “It was very sweet of you. We’d only been apart for a little over a day, but I missed you more than I would’ve thought possible.”
I could see his mind wrestling over my words, so I waited patiently to see if my admission would bring Asshole Eric to the forefront and was relieved when he asked, “How long ago?”
“When we were there?” I clarified. When he nodded his head I thought about it for a minute and said, “About a month ago. It was around two weeks before the accident.”
He sat in silence for another minute with me wishing I could read his mind. Then again, maybe it was for the best that I couldn’t. Finally he asked, “And we had sex for the first time while we were there? Why did we wait for so long?”
The concept seemed so foreign to him I almost laughed at his expression, but kept myself in check as I said, “So long? By then, we’d only known each other for like a week and a half. You’re lucky I didn’t make you wait longer,” I teased, playfully smacking his arm.
Yeah right. I was just lucky I didn’t pounce on him on Gran’s front porch with her as a witness to our… marital relations.
“I don’t believe you,” he said, shocking me back into the present. At my confused expression, he said, “I wouldn’t have entertained you for that long without having sex. I don’t do relationships and if our whole marriage was completely for show, then why would I have been willing to wait for that long?”
With great effort, I swallowed my desire to beat the ever loving shit out of him (I’d leave that task to Pam) and said, “Because we decided to give our relationship a chance. We had feelings for one another from that very first day that neither one of us could explain. Before you, I’d only ever been with one other man and we were together for three years. We even got engaged, but he cheated on me so I ended it.” I took a much needed deep breath before adding, “I’m not the type of girl that sleeps around which was why I couldn’t believe we’d actually gotten married after knowing each other for a couple of hours, but, eventually, we did fall in love. We promised each other we’d always work out our problems, and this one is a doozy, but I’m not going anywhere. You made me promise you I’d never leave you and I have every intention of keeping that promise, but Eric,” I looked into his eyes so he’d feel the weight of my words, “even I have limits. I know you don’t remember, but you do love me and I love you. But, if you decide to run off and fuck the next wet hole that comes your way, I won’t overlook it; I won’t forgive it, memories or no memories. It’ll be a deal breaker and I’ll be gone from your life forever.”
I tried to hold onto my anger over just the thought of him having sex with someone else, if only so I wouldn’t cry again, but he had to know where my line in the sand was drawn.
That line was his waistband.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from him; from this Eric. Anger was near the top of my list, but he gave me no clue from his blank expression. Mentally, I started packing my belongings and was thankful I still had my key to Amelia’s condo. The Eric in front of me wasn’t mine; this one was at square one and I remembered all too well his freak out over my demand for his fidelity on that first day, so it stood to reason this Eric would tell me to hit the road.
I wouldn’t go back to Hogwarts, even if I could, but maybe I could get my job back waitressing at the diner?
Maybe I’d move back home and live with Gran?
Maybe I could stay on his health insurance plan until after the baby was born?
We’d probably have to postpone the divorce until then.
The more time I sat staring into this Eric’s eyes, the easier it became for me to separate him from My Eric. My pragmatic side was kicking in so my emotional side could cower and hide. Maybe, if I tried really hard, I could almost pretend he’d been nothing but a dream, at least until I felt the first kick in my abdomen anyway.
I could do it alone if I had to; raise our baby by myself; women around the world did it every day. I just hoped I wouldn’t be forced to.
“I saw the pictures,” he said quietly.
Confused, I asked, “What pictures? The paparazzi ones online?” I avoided them at all costs after seeing that first one on the cover of the magazine, in the checkout line, with Eric carrying me out of the casino on the morning after our wedding.
“No, the ones taken by the photographer for GQ,” he answered.
“Oh.” I hadn’t seen them yet and I didn’t think I was ready to now, especially not knowing where this Eric and I stood. He definitely wasn’t ready to hear about the baby and I wasn’t ready to tell him. If he chose to not even try to recapture what we’d had together, I doubted I would ever tell him.
“There was something… there, something between us that could be seen through the lens.”
He didn’t sound angry, which I took as a good sign, but I was still cautious, throwing up every shield I could form around my heart, as I admitted, “We’d finally just admitted we were in love with one another the night before those pictures were taken.”
I physically cringed after saying the words, with my eyes slamming shut and my hands balling into fists, waiting for his denial; waiting for Asshole Eric to lash out and ruin my fondest memories, but it never came. Instead I felt his hand pry one of my fists open and his finger traced my now open palm. When I felt him twist my wedding ring, raising it higher up my finger a little, I opened my eyes to see him staring down at my tattoo. He traced that as well before his eyes shot back to his own tattoo and then finally rose up to meet my own as he said, “It showed.”
I didn’t know what to say to that having already began trying to mentally prepare myself to move out of his house; out of his life. I didn’t want to get my hopes up thinking he’d be willing to give us another shot when he might rip my heart out instead, so I just silently waited to hear the verdict and shored up my shields.
“I…” he hesitated, as though English was a second language for him and he couldn’t find the words he wanted to say. Finally he admitted, “I want to remember. I want to know why it is I feel the way I do whenever you’re around.”
“How do I make you feel?” I asked, almost afraid to know the answer.
His gaze dropped back to our still connected hands, Eric’s and Sookie’s each prominently displayed, before looking back at me and saying, “Better.”
Eric’s free hand rose up and wiped away the tears I didn’t know were falling down my cheeks, almost whining as he pleaded, “Stoooppp.”
It was enough to make me smile and I felt a small piece of the shield around my heart chip away when I admitted, “You make me feel better too.” It wasn’t a lie; just being in his presence was soothing, but it also seemed to tame my morning sickness since I hadn’t felt queasy once after walking through his door.
Eric smiled in return and said, “I want to try. Us,” he muttered like it was another foreign word. “I promise I won’t cheat on you in the meantime.”
I almost gloated that he wouldn’t be able to anyway, with his leg in a cast and no car to go anywhere, but then I reminded myself who was lying in front of me. Eric Northman. He could probably charm one of his nurses into more than just a sponge bath, but before that green-eyed monster had the chance to rear its ugly head, I squashed it back down. He’d made a similar promise to me once before and had kept it, so I’d have to give him the benefit of the doubt now, if only for my own sanity.
“Okay,” I smiled back.
His smile turned lustful, as he said, “Now… tell me about the second first time we fu… made love.”
Quit choking on the concept! It wasn’t ‘fucking’!
No. Definitely not.
“Well…” I steeled my resolve, trying to come up with the most clinical terms I could think of, like ‘fornicating’ and ‘copulation’, when I was saved by Dr. Lee walking into the room.
“Mr. and Mrs. Northman. How’s the patient feeling today?” he asked.
I saw Eric’s look of unease hearing the term ‘Mrs. Northman’ and to be honest; I still wasn’t used to hearing it either, so I didn’t get upset at him. Eric just responded, “Fine.”
Dr. Lee flipped through his charts and performed a brief exam on Eric before saying, “Well, everything seems to be in order physically. Have any of your memories returned?”
Eric looked at me before looking back at Dr. Lee and saying, “Maybe. I had a dream last night that… my wife thinks might be part of a memory.”
Dr. Lee’s smile brightened as he said, “That’s good. It’ll most likely come back to you in pieces, like a jigsaw puzzle, but in random order. It’ll be up to you to put them into sequence with the help of your family and friends.” He glanced back down at the chart as he said, “I don’t think there’s much more we can do for you here other than to charge you for another day, so how would you like to get released this afternoon?”
I smiled thinking there’d be no slutty nurse sponge bath for him tonight and Eric immediately replied, “That sounds great.”
“Okay, well I’ll go get started on the paperwork and you should be out of here in a couple of hours,” he responded before walking out the door.
Eric looked at me with a small smile saying, “Well, I guess I’m coming home.”
He almost looked like My Eric and I couldn’t help smiling in return saying, “I guess you are.” When neither one of us said anything else, I called Alcide to tell him we’d be needing a ride soon and began packing up all of Eric’s things into the duffle bag I’d left in his room. I’d spoken to Pam earlier that day, so she knew I would be coming to visit Eric and when she called me to see how it was going, I could tell it irked Eric that she was checking on me instead of him.
‘That’s right,’ I wanted to say. ‘She’s Team Sookie!’ but I kept my thoughts to myself.
I’d already made sure Pam had brought a change of clothes for Eric to wear home from the hospital when she’d stopped by the house two weeks earlier to get clothes for me and after some awkwardness (on my part because any and every side of Eric had no problem with nudity) I helped him change into a pair of basketball shorts and a t-shirt. I even almost made myself believe he wasn’t going commando under those shorts.
Alcide arrived just as I finished packing the last of his things and took the bag down to his truck while we waited for an orderly to bring a wheelchair for Eric. They must’ve figured he would be grumpy about it because the man they sent would’ve towered over Eric even if he could stand on his own, so he only grumbled a little over the ‘retarded hospital policy’ on the way to the underground parking garage. There was a private entrance/exit at the hospital so we didn’t have to worry about cameras being shoved into our faces coming and going, and, according to Alcide, someone had already leaked to the press Eric was being released the following day so no one expected us to be leaving. Alcide’s windows were tinted dark and we made it home shortly thereafter without any fanfare.
I could tell Eric was tired and not long after Alcide deposited him on the couch in the family room, he was sound asleep. Alcide found a pair of crutches in Eric’s garage that I left leaning up against the couch and after I assured him I could take care of everything else, Alcide left to go get another Audi, per Eric’s orders on the way home. He wouldn’t be able to drive anytime soon so he was holding off on replacing his corvette for the time being. I made myself busy doing laundry and since I hadn’t felt nauseous at all, I thought I’d tempt fate and try cooking dinner for us. I resorted to making the same dinner I’d made for him the first time, fried chicken and home fries, hoping it might trigger another memory while hoping I wouldn’t get sick from the smell. The only thing I did differently was, instead of making another apple pie; I made a cherry pie per orders from Baby Northman.
They were both very demanding.
It felt good, doing something so normal, and I was happy knowing Eric was home, no matter what version he was. It was the first time, in what felt like a long time, that my world seemed right again. I was just pulling the last of the fried chicken from the pan when Eric hobbled into the kitchen on his crutches asking, “What smells so good?”
“Dinner,” I said, turning and smiling at him as I carried the dish to the table. “Are you hungry?” I asked. Seeing him struggle to make his way to the table, I hurried over to him, but was unsure of how I could help him. “Are you okay? Maybe you should’ve stayed on the couch.”
He eventually plopped down into a chair, letting out a large sigh, and said, “I’m fine. Just weak I guess, but I couldn’t not follow the smell wafting out of the kitchen.” His eyes glazed over seeing all of the food on the table and asked, “You cooked this?”
I smirked feeling at ease seeing that we were back to reliving what were now ‘the good ole days’ with him asking the obvious. “Yes Eric, I cooked this. As a matter of fact, this is the same meal I made when I cooked for you the first time.”
“Really?” he asked with a mouth full of chicken.
He was so lucky I already loved him.
I just rolled my eyes at him so I wouldn’t have to see the food he was chewing and sat down, filling my own plate and affirming, “Yes, really.”
I couldn’t help moaning in delight as soon as my tongue tasted the first bite of chicken I put into my mouth. It had been forever since I’d wanted anything solid to eat, much less take any pleasure in it, so I set aside all of my fears of it possibly reappearing later on and enjoyed the feeling while it lasted. It wasn’t until I was licking a trail of honey that dripped from the biscuit in my hand, down my arm, that I noticed Eric had stopped eating to watch me. I had probably looked like a pig scarfing down everything on my plate and suddenly feeling self-conscious, I asked, “What’s wrong?”
He swallowed, even though there was nothing in his mouth, and said, “Nothing’s wrong.” His tongue darted out and licked his lips as his eyes narrowed when he said, “I’m just wondering what other noises you make.”
My libido hopped up and down in time with my now staccato heartbeat, but I tamped it down saying, “We’re not going there Eric.”
Do you hear me Wicked and Immoral?
Not. Going. There.
“Going where Sookie?” he purred, while he eyefucked the Wonder Twins.
He’s not My Eric. He’s not My Eric.
“Down the Northman Happy Trail,” I answered. “By the way, my eyes are up here,” I said, pointing at me face. “Not down here,” I said, pointing back and forth between the girls.
“But they’re staring at me,” he replied. “I think they’ve missed me,” he said, gesturing with his eyes towards my breasts.
Looking down, I could tell my bra did nothing to hide the fact that my nipples were hard, but they couldn’t be held responsible. They did miss him, but they weren’t in charge. Not yet anyway. “Eric,” I huffed. “Of course I’m attracted to you,” I admitted, feeling the blush rise up on my cheeks. “But I’m not going to have sex with you.”
“Why not?” he asked. “You’ve already admitted that you love me; that we’ve been intimate. Why stop now?”
“Because you’ve already admitted I only make you feel better. It’s a good start, but it’s not enough. I need to know you feel more than that for me to be able to be with you like that again.”
God, I hoped he felt it soon.
“But why? Maybe if we have sex, it’ll make me remember.”
“Because Eric,” I huffed angrily as I stood and started clearing away the dinner dishes. I stopped and leaned against the counter with my back facing him and whispered so low I wasn’t sure he’d hear me, “Because I do love you. Because it would mean everything to me and I couldn’t stand it if it meant nothing more than a good time to you when it was all over.”
I took a deep breath and wiped away the stray tear or two that had leaked from my eyes before breaking the ever growing silence between us by asking, “Dessert?”
I made myself load the dishwasher while he remained silently seated at the table until there was nothing left for me to do and I had no choice but to turn and face him. He opened and closed his mouth several times, swallowing whatever he was trying to say, before finally answering, “Yes. Dessert sounds great.”
I released the breath I didn’t know I’d been holding and carved out two slices of cherry pie before carrying the plates over to the table. Rather than address the white elephant, which was not only standing in the room, but was practically shitting at the table and shouting ‘Look at me!’ I shoved a forkful of pie into my mouth. I figured if I couldn’t make Daddy Northman happy, I could at least make Baby Northman happy and it was very happy as soon as the pie hit my taste buds. It was still so odd to be salivating over something I couldn’t stand the taste of until just a couple of weeks earlier, but my hands couldn’t shovel the pie into my mouth fast enough. I finished eating before Eric and stood up to rinse my plate off as he stated, “I guess we have that in common.”
Ignoring table shitting white elephants?
With my raised eyebrow he elaborated, “Cherries. They’re my favorite fruit.”
Your baby’s too.
“Yeah, I guess we do,” I answered evasively, mentally adding ‘now‘. When he released a giant yawn that brought tears to his eyes I suggested, “Why don’t you go and lie down on the couch for a bit?”
He thought about it for a second before saying, “I’d rather take a shower first, but…” he gestured towards his leg cast. His eyes found mine again before dropping to the table in front of him as he asked, “Would you… help me?”
I could tell it cost him some of his pride to ask me for help, so I swallowed my own and said, “Of course I’ll help you Eric.” When his now flirty eyes found my own again, I sent another stern warning to Wicked and Immoral while wondering, who was going to help me?