I lingered in the hallway, after leaving Eric’s room, hoping to hear him call out my name and ask me to come back. I wanted him to ask me to stay and talk, or even just lie there next to him silently staring at one another, but when he didn’t I had no choice but to go to the spare room.
Climbing into bed, a bed I couldn’t remember the last time I’d slept in, I tried to convince myself it was for the best anyway. Lord knows I had a hard enough time trying to wash his naked body in the shower and if he hadn’t made the joke about the bird being the word, I might’ve ended up washing his hair another ten times, afraid to allow Wicked and Immoral any lower on his body. Him confusing Jason for my ex sealed the deal and it was those thoughts, along with remembering Eric’s and Quinn’s pick-up games had nothing to do with basketball, that allowed me to finish the job. Mostly anyway.
There was no way Wicked or Immoral were going to reacquaint themselves with the Kraken.
Not yet anyway.
I don’t know how long I lay there, tossing and turning, with my eyes watering because I was so desperately tired. Dr. Ludwig had told me what I should expect over the next few weeks and she wasn’t kidding when she’d said I’d feel like the Sandman was stalking me, but I just couldn’t settle my mind or my body long enough to go to sleep. Opening my eyes I spied the laundry basket I’d dropped just inside the doorway and, with my ears peeled for the slightest sound and my eyes darting to the open door like I was on my own mission impossible, I climbed out of bed.
Pulling Eric’s shirt from the pile, the one I hoped he didn’t notice me taking from his room earlier after his shower, I removed my nightgown and pulled it on. I’d kept it like a closet smoker keeping a hidden pack of cigarettes; a ‘break open in case of emergency’ pack and took a long drag of Eric’s scent into my lungs. Even as I did it, I berated myself for being so weak. I couldn’t keep fooling myself knowing things might not work out between us, but I was desperate. As I lay back in bed my desperate mind clutched at straws wondering what it would take to get My Eric back. I wished I was Mr. Spock because then we could perform a Vulcan mind meld and he would see it all; he would know that he loved me and I loved him back. Of course he might not find me as attractive if I looked like Leonard Nimoy, but as I finally drifted off to sleep a part of me thought he probably wouldn’t mind it if I had dainty pointed ears.
I woke up the next morning feeling surprisingly well rested and thought, just maybe, I would be able to manage getting a good night’s sleep even though Eric wasn’t at my side, but I wasn’t ready to tempt fate and try to get through the night without my emergency Eric shirt. However, my internal kudos over my tiny accomplishment were halted as soon as I realized I wasn’t alone in the bed. I could feel his breaths at the back of my neck, the heat of his body along my back, and when I shifted slightly, his arm tightened around my waist as he mumbled, “Morning.”
I wondered what made him seek me out in the middle of the night.
Had he called out for me and I didn’t hear him?
Why didn’t he wake me up?
Should I be mad at him for getting into the bed uninvited?
Oh God…was he NAKED?
Should I be mad if he was?
Should I be mad if he wasn’t?
Wicked was clearly happy he was there and showed her affection by lacing my fingers with his own, as my traitorous body inched ever so closer to his, while I said, “Morning?” It took a minute for my mouth to catch up with my brain when I finally asked, “Eric? Is something wrong? Why are you in bed with me?”
I couldn’t even bring myself to say ‘my bed’ because it didn’t feel like it was, but I was left utterly confused when he ignored my questions and asked his own. “Who’s Scotty?”
“What?” I didn’t know anyone named Scotty.
“Scotty. You were talking in your sleep and said something about Scotty and power and when I came in here to see what was wrong, it looked like you were having a cage match with your sheets.” He took a deep breath and yawned out, “Your sheets were winning.”
I vaguely recalled pieces of my dream and figured my Vulcan mind meld thoughts right before falling asleep explained the Star Trek overtones in my dreams from the night before, but unwilling to share that little tidbit I asked, “But what are you doing in bed with me?”
His arm tightened around me once more and I felt his lips smile against my neck as he said, “I’m saving you from your sheets.”
Dammit all to hell.
I couldn’t help smiling in return and hoped like hell he wasn’t naked because it was hard enough resisting him when he wasn’t being so sweet.
Speaking of hard…
The beast was clearly stirring behind me and I wanted to simultaneously bolt from the bed and ride him like a bucking bronco, but I refrained from doing either and hesitantly asked, “Um… you’re not naked are you?” while not really knowing which way I wanted him to answer that question.
I could feel his lips change from a smile to a smirk at my neck as he said, “Well, when I walked in here I noticed my shorts were in the laundry basket and I slipped them on before coming to your rescue.” I sighed, a mixture of relief and disappointment, until he continued, “I would’ve put on my shirt, but I couldn’t find it. That is until I saved you from your sheet and saw you were wearing it.”
Heat flooded my cheeks and I buried my face into my pillow, thankful he was behind me, and was completely mortified at having my Eric Northman addiction outed by the man himself. My hopes that he would let the issue drop were dashed as he asked, “Why are you wearing my shirt Sookie?”
Scotty? Feel free to beam me up! Right fucking now would be great!
My mind was once again grasping at straws looking for a way out of the predicament I was in. I knew the power the Wonder Twins held over him and half thought about whipping his shirt off and handing it back to him, but that would only lead to that rodeo ride I was trying to avoid, so instead I blanketed myself in my cowardice and ignored his question completely.
“Do you want me to make you breakfast?” I asked.
Food is a good distraction, right? He likes food.
“Are you going to answer my question?”
“Do you want eggs? Or I could make pancakes. I think there’re some fresh blueberries in the refrigerator. Do you want blueberry pancakes?”
My clutching and grasping found nothing but air…
Undeterred and slightly unhinged, I asked, “Bacon or sausage?” I scooted from the bed and ran into the bathroom saying, “Never mind, I’ll just make both,” before shutting the door behind me. I took my time washing my hands, going pee, washing my hands again, brushing my teeth, brushing my hair, washing my hairbrush, and picking lint from the towel before I finally took a chance and opened the door just enough that I could peer through the crack.
I needed a peephole installed on my bathroom door because he was still lying there.
Picking right back up where our dual conversations had left off, like I hadn’t been hiding in the bathroom for thirty minutes, he asked, “So are you going to tell me why you’re wearing my shirt?”
I refused to give in and crossed my arms in front of me as I huffed, “If you don’t want blueberry pancakes, I could make chocolate chip ones instead.”
His raised eyebrow was either appraising me or mocking me, I couldn’t be sure, but he eventually said, “If I pick one will you answer my question?”
“I doubt it,” I smirked back. “You see, you’ll either eat whatever I cook or you won’t, but there’re some cherry PopTarts downstairs so you won’t starve to death in the meantime.”
“Stubborn…” he mock glared at me.
“Is spelled S-O-O-K-I-E,” I mock glared back. “If you forget how to spell it, just look down at your left hand.” Another piece of my newly formed shield around my heart fell away as I saw him fighting uselessly against the grin that eventually took over his face.
I missed that grin and his adorkable overbite.
When he started to sit up on the bed, I held his crutches out in front of him so he could pull himself up and we slowly made our way downstairs. As soon as we reached the kitchen he said, “Blueberry.”
“Blueberry it is,” I smiled back at him.
I started gathering the ingredients together when he mumbled through another yawn, “I could really go for some coffee.”
“Oh!” I’d begrudgingly given up coffee since caffeine was a no-no item on my Do’s and Don’ts pregnancy list, but offered, “I’ll put a pot on for you.”
“Thanks. Do you not drink coffee?” he asked, a little surprised.
Was shrugging my shoulders considered telling a lie?
I shrugged my shoulders and started the coffeemaker before pulling out the bacon and sausage from the refrigerator. Initially, the only sounds in the kitchen were of the food cooking and the coffee brewing, until I fixed him a cup and brought it over to him where he sat at the kitchen table. Taking it from my hand, he glanced into the mug studying the contents before looking back at me and said, “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome?” He had a funny look on his face that made me ask, “Everything okay?”
“Yeah…it’s just, you know…weird? You knew how I liked my coffee without having to ask me.”
That’s not the ONLY thing I know how to do that you LIKE.
“Sookie?” Hearing him say my name, I snapped out of my porn haze and saw Eric was waving his free hand up and down in front of me. “Why are you blushing?” he asked.
Flushed was the more appropriate term, but when coupled with ‘awkward’ and ‘dirty mind’ it was no wonder I knocked down his crutches from where they’d been leaning against the table as I tried to escape back to the safety of the stove. I bent over and quickly set them to rights again before heading back over to the frying pan to turn the meat where I was much safer with the splattering grease than I was anywhere near him.
“Sookie? Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just hot I guess.” I thought about how that might’ve sounded, given my bow-chicka-wow-wow thoughts, and quickly added, “You know… from the stove and cooking, where there’s heat… and grease… and stuff.” I threw in another shrug because shrugs equaled ‘not lying’.
Damn the Northman sexified genes already wreaking havoc with my hormones.
He thankfully let the topic go and, aside from him accidentally knocking his crutches over a few times and making me stop whatever I was doing so I could pick them up again (which seemed to amuse him to no end), I was able to cook in peace and quiet. My appetite was returning with a vengeance and I hadn’t felt sick at all since I’d gone to visit Eric at the hospital the day before, so I took advantage of the let-up from my upchuck by clearing my plate and going back for seconds.
Baby Northman had officially given their seal of approval where blueberry pancakes were concerned.
My fork, dripping with pancakes and syrup, paused halfway to my mouth when Eric broke the silence saying, “You sure eat a lot.”
Echoes of Quinn floated through my brain as I looked back at him and slowly set my fork back down on my plate. I can only imagine what my face looked like, probably a mixture of hurt and angry humiliation based on what I was feeling, when Eric’s face turned into one of horror saying, “No! Fuck! I didn’t mean it like that.”
Unfortunately, my brain stopped listening after hearing, ‘You’re a big fat pig!’ , no matter what words he’d actually used, and knowing I would only be getting bigger over the next eight months didn’t help prevent my tears from falling. It seemed Eric’s strength had returned because the next thing I knew he had leaned over, lifted me from my chair, and deposited me in his lap as he said, “Really! Please stop crying.” My face buried itself into his shoulder, without asking me where it should be, and his hands rubbed up and down my back while I tried to control my rasping sobs.
Stupid fucking hormones.
Stupid amnesiac man with stupid big fat mouth and super sperm.
“Sookie,” he pleaded. “All I meant was that I liked seeing you eat.”
The sound I made resembled, “Pfff…” which was ‘Sookie-speak’ for, “Bitch, please…”
Maybe I should call Lafayette to translate.
Eric must’ve learned to speak Sookie when he’d learned Swahili because he answered, “I swear Sookie. All I meant was I like that you’re not trying to pretend to be someone else, or eat nothing but a raisin and celery stick as a meal. I never understood why women do that, but I like that you don’t try to hide who you are around me.”
You haven’t seen Jason’s old football jersey I plan on wearing to hide my baby bump.
The fear of hiding my pregnancy from him, no matter how long I could do it, was enough to scare my tears back into hiding. I knew I would have to tell him one day soon, but I quickly decided that day was not today. I pulled back to face him and could tell he didn’t like seeing me so distraught, but, while my tears had stopped, I was still angry and didn’t quite believe what he was saying. My old insecurities flooded through me as I tried to squirm from his lap, giving him the universal female ‘fuck off’ sign, saying, “Whatever.”
Eric’s arms only tightened their hold around me saying, “I’m not letting you up until you believe me.”
“Are you sure about that? My fat ass might break your other leg soon if you don’t let me go,” I bit back.
“Sookie…” he sighed. He strengthened his grip and said, “Your ass isn’t fat. It’s perfect actually.”
My mouth was already on a roll, so I ignored him and said, “And then you won’t be able to get into the shower because your wheelchair won’t fit, so I’ll have to take you out back and hose you off like a dog, unless you really piss me off and I just push you into the pool.” The images my mouth were creating were starting to amuse me, but I looked at him seriously as I said, “I doubt they make water wings for leg casts.”
Undeterred by my rant, Eric just leered back at me saying, “Then it’s a good thing other parts of me are inflatable.” He moved my body on top of his lap and I could feel the Kraken stirring beneath me.
I was equal parts pissed and flattered, but since we weren’t going there, pissed won out as I said, “How are you getting aroused over my fat ass?”
His eyes flashed with anger, at me or my fat ass I wasn’t sure, but his lips turned into a smug grin as his leg darted out from underneath the table knocking over his crutches. They clattered to the floor while I looked back at him incredulously as I said, “I hope you’re not expecting me to pick those up again.”
He could fucking crawl; hobble. I didn’t care at that point. I’d roll an apple across the floor to him later on if he was hungry.
His hands slid up my bare legs, but I pushed them back down as he asked, “What are you wearing Sookie?”
“Fine Eric! I’m wearing your shirt! I like wearing your shirt because your scent makes me feel better, but right now your attitude is making me feel like giving you a dick punch! Are you happy now?”
His eyes softened again and when I took a moment to run over everything I’d just said, I figured it wasn’t over my threatened dick punch. I wasn’t in any shape to have any deep and meaningful discussions over how I felt about him right now, so I was thankful, but confused, when all he said was, “That’s all you’re wearing.”
Thank God he hadn’t said many words because I picked apart every one of them and my brain was kind of scattered.
That’s. All. You’re. Wearing.
Sweet ten pound baby Jesus…
“Eric Northman!” I shouted and when I realized just how high his hands had crept back up my thighs, I bolted off of his lap while pulling his shirt down lower on my body. The shirt which was the only thing I was wearing. I’d been in a hurry when I’d changed the night before and hadn’t bothered with underwear when I put on my nightgown. Both it and Eric’s shirt covered my body down to the middle of my thighs…when I was standing.
Stupid pregnancy brain.
His laughter echoed throughout the kitchen when I realized he’d been knocking over his crutches on purpose because I would bend over, in front of him, to pick them back up and I pointed at them while glaring back at him accusing, “You did that on purpose!”
His expression had already given me my answer as he confirmed, “Yep! Worked like a charm too.” His face positively beamed and I couldn’t muster up enough indignant anger to really let him have it seeing him so happy, so all I did was try to keep my glare in place. When I said nothing about his pervy ways, his eyes warmed even more, as he continued, “If I didn’t like your ass, I wouldn’t have kept trying to get a good look at it.”
I’d known from day one he’d liked my ass; he’d groped it and told Paprika it was spectacular, so I wasn’t really mad at him and tried not to smile as I admonished him. “Pervert.”
His face took on an instant innocent look, giving testament to his acting abilities, as he asked, “Who? Me?”
“Yes you,” I shot back. “You’re not fooling me with your innocent act.”
“Your tan lines look…edible,” he said with a low growl.
I flopped back down in my chair, careful to pull my shirt down with a napkin placed in my lap like it was an anti-Eric hoohah device, and picked up my fork while pointing at his plate and said, “That’s the only thing you’re eating in here.”
I nearly choked on my pancakes when he asked, “So if we go back upstairs I can eat you?”
Thank. Fucking. God my mouth and brain held hands at that precise moment.
“In another room? The den perhaps?”
I didn’t trust my brain and mouth to remain handholding friends for long, so I figured I’d better try and change the subject by asking, “Was there anything you wanted to do today?” His cocked eyebrow told me exactly what he wanted to do today and it had to do with edible tan lines on my naked ass, so I added, “Pam said she was going to stop by sometime today to see how you’re doing and fill you in on what’s been going on.”
My attempts proved successful when his brow furrowed while he chewed on my words and a piece of bacon at the same time. Once he swallowed, he asked, “Did you and Pam know each other, you know…before Vegas?”
I was sure my look said it all, but I voiced my answer out loud replying, “No. Why?”
When he shrugged I wasn’t sure if he was about to lie since shrugs were on the fine line of truth and paid close attention when he responded, “You two just seem close.”
‘Close’ sounded like a bad word so I explained, “I guess we are, sort of. She helped me out a lot when you were in a coma. If it wasn’t for her, I probably would’ve been a basket case.” I really did owe her a lot, but short of setting her up with Angelina Jolie (she’d told me she was going through a brunette phase) there wasn’t much I could offer her.
My answer seemed to satisfy Eric and as I started clearing the dishes away he said, “I guess I should go through my emails and see what’s been going on until she gets here.”
“Okay,” I replied while scraping the plates over the trash can.
“Uh…Sookie?” he asked. When I looked over at him, he chewed on the side of his mouth while fighting off a grin and asked, “Would you mind?” His arm extended with his finger pointing at his crutches, sprawled across the floor from where he sat, too far away for him to reach.
I eyed him like he was the devil and walked into the laundry room where I pulled on a pair of clean underwear and shorts before going back into the kitchen, only instead of bending over to pick up his crutches, I slid them next to his chair, where he could reach them, with my feet.
“Gee…thanks,” he said unenthusiastically.
“You’re welcome,” I replied just as unenthusiastically.
I pretended to ignore him while I put the dishes into the sink, but I kept sight of him in my peripheral just in case he really did need my help. Once he was finally on his feet he huffed out, “I don’t know what the problem is. You got to see me naked. It was just quid pro quo and I haven’t even gotten to see all of you naked.”
I waited until he was almost through the door before saying, “Oh Eric?” When he turned to face me, I gave him my most sultry look and said, “Trust me. You’ve seen all of me naked and when you remember it you can see all of me again.”
His eyes searched mine before rolling up into his head and I panicked when his body slumped against the doorframe as he said, “Sookie! I remember!” I was halfway across the distance between us making sure he was okay when he smiled and held out his arms to me saying, “Now take those clothes off.”
I hadn’t really believed he’d remembered anything, but he’d still made me worried when he’d slumped over, so I threw the soapy wet sponge I’d been holding at him saying, “You asswipe!”
He batted the sponge away laughing as he said, “Not yet, but if I need you for that I’ll give you a yell.”
I couldn’t help laughing in return as I turned back towards the sink saying, “Bring a magazine because you’ll be waiting for a long time. Got a Kindle? You might need to download new material while you’re waiting on half-past never.”
I’d have plenty of Northman ass to wipe soon enough.
Eric chuckled and disappeared into his office while I went about washing the dishes. It took me a while to get the kitchen back into shape and I ran upstairs and took another shower, making sure to put on a pair of underwear as I got dressed and brought a load of laundry down with me. Once the machine was running I poked my head into Eric’s office to check on him and smiled asking, “How are you doing? Do you want a drink or anything?”
His eyes were cold staring back at me and seeing it wiped the smile from my face as he said, “No. I just want to be left alone until Pam gets here.” He looked back down at his desk, covered in papers spread out in front of him, and I shut his door without another word wondering what in the hell happened.
Were pregnancy hormones contagious?