I woke up, disoriented for a minute, before realizing Eric and I had fallen asleep on the couch the night before. It was almost an exact replica of what we’d done weeks earlier, except this time we’d fallen asleep sitting up because of Eric’s injuries. I moved slowly thanks to my stiff neck, but eventually turned enough to see Eric slumped over into the corner of the couch with his head lying to the side. His hair was pushed up at odd angles and a small trail of drool was coming out of the side of his mouth, but he was still the most handsome man in the world to me.
I loved him.
And deep down inside I knew he loved me too, even if he couldn’t remember. His rant from the day before solidified that fact to me, but knowing what I did of his past, I knew he wouldn’t recognize his feelings. Without his memories of me or our time together it was understandable that he felt confused. I was just happy he felt anything for me other than lust. We shared that feeling for one another in spades from day one and even though I shamelessly teased him the night before with my popsicle, I knew it was too soon for us to go any farther. Fucking him was a spectacular experience, but I needed him to make love to me first and I knew he didn’t feel the same just yet.
His arms were still around me with his fingers loosely laced together around my waist and I wondered how much longer we’d have before that became more difficult. I couldn’t stall for too long because my body would be giving away my secret even more so in the days to come, but I was afraid of his reaction. The guilt I felt keeping it from him was eating me up inside, but I hadn’t yet mentally prepared myself to face whatever his reaction was going to be.
I didn’t think it would be good.
But how long could I possibly put off the inevitable? I kept hoping something would trigger his memories, but it wasn’t like I had an eternity to wait until the great reveal. My pregnancy symptoms were already evident and if I was lucky my morning sickness would go away or at least wait until I wasn’t dry humping him before making itself known. God knows I probably wouldn’t have stopped otherwise. It had only been just under three weeks since the last time we’d had sex, which in the grand scheme of things wasn’t that long considering it had been a year for me before I’d met Eric, but my body had become accustomed to frequent multiple orgasms and it was demanding we make up for lost time.
With compound interest.
Emphasis on the ‘pound’.
I didn’t know whether or not my libido had kicked into overdrive because of the lost time or the pregnancy, but I was having a hard time not giving into my desires. While I knew it was too soon, I also didn’t want to be intimate with Eric again without him knowing about the pregnancy. It felt wrong to keep that from him on many different levels, but I definitely didn’t want to have that secret between us when we made love again for the third first time. It would feel like I was lying to him.
Because I was.
I had a week and a half until my next appointment with Dr. Ludwig so I decided that would be my mental deadline to tell him, with or without his memories returning. While I expected him to freak out over the news, I didn’t want him to find out because the paparazzi had followed me there. Besides, this was his baby too and I wanted him to share it all with me.
Needing to stretch my legs, I slowly peeled myself away from Eric and stood up, heading into the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee for him. I missed my morning shot of caffeine, but since it was on my ‘Don’ts’ list I didn’t want go against the doctor’s advice. As I watched the pot fill, trying to get my fix from the aroma alone, my hand settled on my abdomen and I wondered about the little person inside. Would it be a boy or a girl? How long did it take before those parts formed? When would I feel the first kick? How soon until I could hear their heartbeat? They were questions I wanted answers to, but hadn’t had the time to research and while I still dreaded Eric’s reaction to the news, I hoped when he calmed down he would be as excited and happy as I had come to be. We hadn’t planned on having a baby; hell, we hadn’t even discussed having children period, but I wanted it now that I knew it was there.
And I wanted him to want it too.
Once I had Eric’s cup of coffee ready I went back into the family room and saw he was already starting to stir back to life. His eyes fluttered open as he stretched out and when he saw me standing there with his coffee in hand he frowned, reaching towards me with both hands, and said, “You’re supposed to be next to me when I wake up.”
I was secretly thrilled inside, but rolled my eyes in mock exasperation before carefully sitting down next to him and handing him his coffee, as I said, “And you’re a demanding Mr. Bossy Pants when you wake up.”
Eric set the coffee down on the table untouched and pulled me closer, nibbling on my neck and making goose bumps spread across my skin, saying, “Guess what my pants are demanding right now.”
I had eyes and there was no missing the morning wood he was sporting, but knowing now wasn’t the time for me to turn into a slutty lumberjack, I tried to diffuse the potential morning romp by asking, “Umm…Are they demanding to know what in the hell the writers of ‘Lost’ were thinking with that last episode?”
Really, what in the hell were they thinking?
Completely undeterred from his morning seduction he ignored me in favor of nibbling just underneath my ear, so I tried to shake off the urge to just give in to him already by asking, “Are they demanding J.K. Rowling write a continuation of the Harry Potter series?”
Really, that would be a brilliant move on her part and I’d be first in line to buy it.
I felt him shake his head ‘no’ as he moved on to kiss a path down my shoulder and clenched Wicked and Immoral into fists, lest they rebel against me, and dug deep into the recesses of my brain trying to find a way out of the sextuation we were in. Remembering what I’d seen the last time I bothered watching the news or glancing at a magazine cover, I asked, “Are they demanding the entire Kardashian family to just go away already?”
Really, just go away.
That seemed to do the trick and I watched the outline of the Kraken begin to settle back down into the depths of Eric’s shorts as he sighed, “Ugh…” against my skin, asking, “Are you trying to spoil the mood?”
“Yes. Is it working?” I tried to shift away from him and inadvertently pressed against his side harder than I’d meant to making him hiss in pain which made me squeak out, “Sorry…sorry…” and patting his chest like that would make the hurt magically disappear. “Do you want one of your pain pills?” I asked. He hadn’t asked for or taken any since we’d gotten home from the hospital.
I could see the hesitation written across his face and thought it probably had to do with his stint in rehab, but since he didn’t remember telling me about it I didn’t want to say anything and make him uncomfortable. I waited silently for his answer until he finally said, “Actually, my side felt better when you were leaning against me last night,” while he tried to pull me close again.
At first I thought it was yet another ploy to get me naked, but then I remembered the doctor saying heat would help and figured that was the cause. As much as the idea appealed to me, I couldn’t stay pressed against him all day long (my willpower to resist him wasn’t that strong), so I asked, “Do you have a heating pad?”
He furrowed his eyebrows at me like I’d asked him if he had any maxi-pads and I internally snickered at my own little joke knowing neither one of us needed them, not yet anyway, as he replied, “No.”
I quickly stood up before Eric could try and convince me to stay there on the couch with him, saying, “I’ll run to the drugstore around the corner and pick one up for you.” Maybe I’d pick up some over the counter pain medication too since he seemed a little leery of taking the prescription medicine.
“What? Now?” he asked.
“Yes, now.” I needed to get out of there before I ended up giving him a tongue bath or worse. Or better? One of those.
“Just call Alcide and tell him to go get one. That’s what my father is paying him for,” he offered.
Didn’t Pam tell him?
“Uh…Eric. You fired your father. Alcide actually works for you now.” He’d told me the whole story on the airplane on our way back to L.A. and I was glad he’d decided to keep Alcide employed. He was a really nice guy and I could tell he seemed to have Eric’s back from the first time we’d met and now that I knew him better I knew it was because he considered Eric a friend, not just his employer.
“Oh yeah,” he frowned, rubbing his face. I was worried he would get frustrated again over losing his memories, but he surprised me instead by smiling at me and saying, “Then call him since that’s what I’m paying him for.”
His hands came to rest absentmindedly on his abs, which were peeking out from underneath his shirt that had ridden up, and I knew I’d be a goner if I hung around them, him, for much longer. A little bit of fresh air would do me some good. Panty liners would do me some good too.
I mentally added them to my shopping list.
“Don’t be silly,” I replied, while stepping further away from the abs that were calling my name. “It’ll only take me a few minutes to run to the store and back again. I’ll bet you won’t even notice I’m gone.”
But the trail of clitty litter leading out to the garage will give you a clue as to the direction I’ve headed.
Seeming to sense I wasn’t going to back down, just like my libido, he sighed out, “Fine.”
Before he could change his mind, or take off his shirt, I practically ran from the room saying, “I’ll be right back!” I ran up to my room and threw a hoodie over my tank top and took the time to brush my teeth and pull my hair into a ponytail before grabbing my purse and slipping back out to the garage. The new car was identical to the old one and I was fine until I drove through the gate and turned onto the main road. It was the first time I’d driven since the accident and when I noticed the trail of paparazzi behind me I suddenly wished I’d just listened to Eric and called Alcide.
I was practically hyperventilating by the time I made the short drive to the pharmacy and I wouldn’t be surprised if I had added to my bruises when I tried to jump out of the car without unlatching my seatbelt. A couple of them had managed to shout some questions at me, but I ignored them and headed into the store, knowing they wouldn’t follow me in, and practically ran over the customer standing just inside.
“I’m so sorry,” I said, with my hands automatically grabbing onto their arms to steady us both.
I recognized the voice immediately and looked up to see the elderly woman I’d come to look at like a second grandmother. “Mrs. Beck?” I smiled. We’d met at the Senior Citizens Center when I’d been volunteering there and had gotten along instantly. She was a retired school teacher and loved to tell me stories about her former students.
Her arms wrapped around me as she said, “Oh, how I’ve missed you! How are you doing?”
“Better,” I admitted.
We moved over into a corner of the store and quickly caught up with each other’s lives and once we were done she smiled at me saying, “Well married life obviously agrees with you. You’re practically glowing.”
Shit. Was I?
Wondering if that whole ‘pregnancy glow’ was real or not I tried to place the blame squarely on Eric, which was true since he was the one that got me pregnant, and said, “It’s good. He’s a good man.” He was a good man. I good fertile man.
“I’m glad to hear it,” she smiled back. “I’m sorry to hear that your teaching job didn’t work out, but if you’re looking for another one, my Alcee has a spot that needs to be filled at his school.”
Her son Alcee was the principal at a high school, but that was all I knew about him or the school. The thought of teaching high school aged kids made me nervous, but I did need a job and really wanted it to be in my chosen career field, so I asked, “Really? Do you know what subject I’d be teaching?”
I’d told her previously about being apprehensive to teach older kids, so when she shrugged with her eyes darting to the wall behind me as she said, “English,” I was wary.
“English?” I asked, like she hadn’t just spoken English.
She started digging in her purse and pulled out a slip of paper, writing on it and handing it to me, as she said, “Here’s Alcee’s phone number. I’ll tell him to expect your call.”
“Mrs. Beck…I don’t know…” I stuttered.
“Sookie,” she said almost sternly before her eyes softened and she continued, “you’ll do fine. I knew from the very first day I met you that you were special. You have a lot to offer and you’ll do those kids a world of good. You just need to believe in yourself and then teach your students to do the same.”
She ended her pep talk with a wink and a smile before telling me to keep in touch and excusing herself and I was left standing there all alone with a potential job in the palm of my hand. But could I summon up the courage to deal with mouthy teenagers all day every day? I could barely tolerate the snotty kindergartners at The Brigant Academy, but I knew Mrs. Beck’s son worked at a public school, so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad? I’d had such high hopes when I first decided to be a teacher and when my first job wasn’t all it was cracked up to be I was admittedly defeated, but I didn’t want to throw away everything I’d worked so hard to accomplish either, so I shoved the slip of paper into my pocket and decided I’d give him a call when I got home.
Speaking of home, I glanced at the clock on my phone and saw that I’d been gone much longer than I’d planned to, so I went in search of a heating pad and grabbed some ibuprofen before heading to the checkout counter. While I was waiting in line I studiously ignored the gossip magazines and noticed the small display of Halloween candy. Time was just flying by lately and I realized the holiday was just around the corner. I grabbed a couple of bags of candy, not knowing if Eric’s neighborhood had trick-or-treaters and chuckled softly when I spotted a display of lollipops. The sticks were attached to a small handheld device that spun the lollipop when you pressed the button and I added two of them to my basket; a Frankencock, I mean Frankenstein, for him and a Disney Princess one for me.
By the time I made it back outside, even more of the paparazzi had gathered and I quickly dashed through the crowd before locking myself inside of the car. I had to back out slowly so I wouldn’t hit any of the ones standing there, but I noticed several of them jumping into waiting cars and it only added to my nervousness over driving. If I wouldn’t have to wait so long for him to arrive, I’d call Alcide to come and get me, but knowing I could make it back to the house before he could get there I pulled back onto the main road and kept one hand over my abdomen praying none of them would get close enough to cause another accident. I had the baby’s wellbeing to worry about now and its secret existence would definitely get spilled if I had to make another trip to the ER.
I was still shaking from the drive home when I walked into the house, barely acknowledging the car I didn’t recognize in the driveway, when I called out, “Eric?”
Needing the comfort of his arms, I automatically headed towards the sound of his voice when I heard him say, “We’re in the living room.”
I breathed a sigh of relief as soon as my eyes landed on him and immediately noticed he must’ve taken a shower while I was gone since his hair was still wet and I frowned seeing the sad look on his face, but instead asked, “You took a shower without me here? What if you fell?”
“Out shopping? Why am I not surprised?” My eyes had only been for Eric so I hadn’t noticed his company until I heard the sneer of his father’s voice and looked over seeing him on the couch with his unfaithful cocksucker at his side.
My feet had carried me towards Eric without thought and I dropped the shopping bags onto the coffee table as an added buffer between us before looking down at Eric. His expression was a mixture of sadness and worry, so I reached out intending to gently cup his face, but before I could his eyes locked onto my shaky hand and he grabbed onto it, pulling me down into his lap with his arms wrapping around me, and nuzzled his face into my neck, asking, “Why are you shaking?”
I turned my body into his, feeling calmer as each second passed with his arms around me, and whispered, “The paparazzi. They were everywhere and I got nervous when they were following me because of what happened the last time.”
His hold on me tightened, but he said nothing at first until finally sighing out, “Next time call Alcide.”
Even though I had been thinking the very same thing earlier, I wasn’t going to be a prisoner in my own house, or his own house, but not wanting to fight in front of our guests I just shrugged my response. One of these days he’d figure out what shrugs meant and I’d be screwed.
Before I could offer them a drink, or a swift kick in the ass on their way out, his father spoke up as though I wasn’t in the room and said to Eric, “This is what I was talking about,” pointing to the shopping bags I’d left on the table. “The ink was barely dry on your marriage license and she went and quit her job and now she’s leaving you here all alone to go out shopping when you can barely walk!”
“I’ll have you know I have another job lined up and those things are for Eric!” I lashed back, unable to sit quietly like I had the first time we’d sat down together.
He leaned over and rudely started pulling items out of the bag, frowning at the contents he found, but Alfalfa looked at the bags of candy and spoke up saying, “Well I can see why you’ve fattened up.”
While I wasn’t showing yet, I’d noticed the waistband of my shorts getting a little tighter and if I pushed down on my abdomen I could feel my hardened uterus inside, but since I couldn’t throw the secret baby in her face there was nothing I could say. Fortunately, I didn’t have to since Eric joined into the fray and added his own two outraged cents saying, “Fuck off Fennel. Sookie isn’t fat, she’s perfect while you’re just an infected cunt.”
An unbidden image of her girly parts oozing out pus, and giving a whole new meaning to the word pussy, had me wondering if I could actually giggle while barfing, but instead I just saw red when she eyefucked Eric saying, “My name is Ginger.”
I tried to center myself and infuse some calm into my body, knowing the added stress wasn’t doing the baby any good, and thought, ‘What would Jesus do?’ Seeing her undress Eric with her eyes I knew exactly what he would do.
He’d smite the bitch.
Since I couldn’t make balls of lightning shoot out of the palms of my hands I was left just shooting daggers at her out of my eyes when Eric spoke up again saying, “I think you both should leave now.”
That sounded like a great idea to me and I made no move to stand up, but neither did they, with Eric’s father trying to look apologetic (from the unrealistic expression it was no wonder his acting career never took off), and said, “But we only just got here. I wanted to spend some time with my son since I wasn’t allowed to visit you in the hospital.”
That was news to me, but had Pam written all over it. I was thankful for it since I wouldn’t have been up to dealing with the two of them while Eric was lying there in a coma. Eric didn’t hesitate, saying, “It wouldn’t have done you any good anyway. I was in a coma, so I wouldn’t have been able to deny your request for money like I am now.” His voice deepened to a scary level when he added, “Leave.”
I watched his father’s face redden and his hands formed into fists. Eric was in no shape to physically fight his father, nor had he ever told me whether or not they had come to blows in the past, but I reached out and grabbed onto one of Eric’s crutches, pulling myself free from his grasp so I could stand up, and prepared to swing for the fences if he took one step towards us. There was no way I’d let him hurt Eric.
Thankfully all he did was stand up and growl out, “Come on,” to Pus-sy as he stomped out of the room. She gave Eric one last lustful look before sashaying her skinny ass out of the room and I followed behind them to make sure they were actually gone. When I walked back into the living room and saw Eric sitting there, just staring at nothing, my heart broke for him all over again. I couldn’t imagine being raised by someone like his father and was still shocked knowing how loving Eric could be. I had no doubts he’d make a great father; all he’d have to do is continue being the man he was, the exact opposite of his own.
I couldn’t stand seeing him like that, but having no pearls of wisdom to offer him I just took up residence in his lap again with my fingers lacing through his own. His face reburied itself in my neck and I smiled when I felt him inhaling deeply thinking if I couldn’t offer him any words of comfort at least my cherry scented shampoo could soothe him. My thumbs tickled across the tops of his hands and his body slowly relaxed underneath me when he finally spoke up, asking, “It was Pam, wasn’t it? That wouldn’t let him visit me in the hospital?”
I couldn’t shrug, from my Eric-embraced prison, so I answered, “Probably. She never said anything to me about it though. I didn’t know.” Seeing his mixed reaction to his father, I had to ask, “Do you want to hire your father again? I know you only fired him before because of how he acts towards me, but I’d understand if you still want him around. He is your father.” I’d hate it, but I’d suffer silently if it made Eric feel better.
“No. I should’ve gotten rid of him as soon as I turned eighteen, but…I don’t know. It’s hard, you know? He’s my father and I spent my whole life waiting for him to act like I was his son, but I’ve always known I was nothing more than a paycheck to him.”
I wanted to grin like a fool because This Eric was sharing something so personal with me, but I also wanted to cry for him hearing the sadness in his voice. Instead of doing either I turned to face him and gently placed my lips on his forehead; I kissed each of his eyes, his cheeks, and then the tip of his nose before settling on his lips. Our kiss wasn’t driven by lust, but by my desire for him to know just how special and worthy he was. He seemed to know what I was attempting to convey because he didn’t try to take things any farther and when we finally pulled apart I looked into his eyes and said, “You are loving; kind; smart; sweet; the list is endless and if your father can’t see any of those qualities in you then it’s his loss, but I see them in you and I know I’m not the only one.”
Eric’s eyes filled with unshed tears which only made mine spill out of me, but he brushed mine away while he blinked back his own and smiled, trying the lighten the mood, by asking, “But what about sexy? Do you think I’m sexy Sookie?”
Duh! There was more cumfetti flying around here than at the Playboy mansion on New Year’s Eve.
Since he didn’t need his ego fed by me, I opted to sort of answer him in song. I smiled watching Eric cover his ears while I screeched out my answer, in the form of Rod Stewart lyrics, into my Disney Princess lollipop turned makeshift microphone and used one of his crutches as my dance partner. His answering smile only made mine wider.
I loved that smile.
I loved that man.