I felt conflicted while sitting in Mr. Beck’s office and holding onto Eric’s hand, both out of gratitude for his offer to help me and to keep me anchored since it felt like I was jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. The thought of teaching high school aged kids still terrified me, but I also thought I might have something more to offer these kids, having grown up with little to no extra money to spare myself, and thought I might be able to relate to them better. It would be a far cry from the snotty little brats I’d faced at The Brigant Academy, that’s for sure, and as Mr. Beck gave us a quick tour of the building and I saw the faces of the students there, my resolve to accept the job only deepened until we were once again standing in the main office and I took the stacks of forms and course work from his hands as I said, “I’ll see you on Monday morning.”
Eric had remained quiet throughout the tour and I’d thought he’d gotten over his ridiculous demands about not wanting me to work there when he’d agreed to help me with the Drama Club, but as soon as we were in the car he started up again, saying, “I don’t like the idea of you working there Sookie.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Isn’t it obvious?” he asked with his arms flailing around the car.
Thinking he meant his car might get damaged, or worse, I snapped, “I told you I’d drive my car if that’s what you’re worried about.” I had enough to worry about and Prick-ric was getting on my last fucking nerve at the moment.
“Sookie,” he sighed exasperatedly. “I don’t give a shit about the car. I give a shit about you and Compton is too fucking dangerous for you to be working smack dab in the middle of it!”
Any other woman probably wouldn’t have romanticized the fact he’d said he ‘gave a shit’ about me, but given our current circumstances he might as well have hired a turbo prop airplane to have written ‘I love Sookie’ in the sky above us and my eyes clouded with tears as I asked, “You give a shit about me?”
I couldn’t hold back the tears and whispered, “Aww…” with a smile when he gave me his ‘Duh!’ face.
“Stoooopppp,” he begged. “No crying! Your tears are playing dirty and it’s not fair!”
I wiped my eyes, waiting for him to stomp his good foot, but when he didn’t, I managed to chuckle out, “Then should I distract you with my boobs?”
“Sookie,” he warned, completely serious.
I glanced down at the girls wondering when they’d lost their powers and asked, “What do you have against Compton other than it’s the name of your asshat co-star?”
Lafayette grew up in a neighborhood similar to Compton, so I knew it could be a dangerous place to be lurking about, but I didn’t plan on going door to door throughout the area and introducing myself. How dangerous could it be getting from the parking lot to the school building when they had guards there? Besides, during the tour of the school Mr. Beck had said the job would only last until the early spring when Mr. Ocella returned, so it wasn’t a permanent spot. It worked out well for me since I’d get the teaching experience I needed and would be done well before the baby was due to arrive.
My question seemed to raise other questions in Eric’s mind because he asked, “You know Bill?”
“Yes,” I sighed, realizing just how much of our relationship we’d have to go over before he’d be caught up, not including the little bundle of Northman currently wedged underneath my seatbelt.
“From the show or did you know him before we met?” His tone implied that he hoped for the former and despised the thought of the latter, so I set his mind at ease and said, “Neither. I met him when he came over for one of your poker games.”
“Oh,” he replied and sat there quietly as I got back onto the freeway. Before I could muster up the courage to tell him what had happened that night, afraid he might go all caveman again, he asked, “Do you think he’s an asshat because I think that or did you come to that conclusion all by yourself?”
I had to laugh and asked, “If you think he’s an asshat, then why did you invite him over to play poker?”
“Because he’s a better poker player than he is a human being.” There seemed to be more to the story and I wondered if maybe he’d gotten one of his memories back, but my hopes were dashed instead when he said, “Quid pro quo Clarice. Why don’t you like him?”
I really needed to start keeping a better grip on my shrugs because I saw Eric’s eyebrow rise up into his hairline when I accidentally discharged one and was pissed at myself for wasting one on Bill Compton, but mentally brushed it off and answered, “He got a little fresh with me when he came over to the house.”
“Fresh? What in the fuck is a little fresh?” he demanded. The case of baby brain I had going on at the moment was making my memories a little murky and while I tried to remember it all Eric gritted out through his teeth, “Did he put his hands on you?”
Hearing him say that phrase unlocked the events of the night from my mind and a smile formed on my lips over the fact he’d said the identical thing back then. I glanced at Eric again and knew his blood pressure must’ve been through the roof because his whole face was red and his fists were clenched, so I quickly said, “You asked that same question back then.” Only he’d asked Bill, not me.
Eric didn’t seem as excited over the fact that he was still the same now as he was back then and only said, “Sookie…”
Fine. Be that way. “No, he didn’t put his hands on me. He just had a bit too much to drink and got mouthy when he cornered me in the kitchen. I kneed him in the balls and you charged in a second later and kicked him out.” I cringed all over again hearing Bill’s voice in my mind saying, ‘Sookeh.’
I heard Eric huff out a breath right before he asked, “And where was I when he was getting mouthy and cornering you?”
“Playing poker!” I really hoped the baby didn’t come out with a ‘Duh!’ face since Eric and I seemed to be making them a lot lately, not to mention the genetic connection it would have to Jason.
“And if the poker table had been in the kitchen where it belonged then it never would’ve happened!” he yelled.
I bit my tongue, biting back my first instinct to lash back, knowing our fight had nothing to do with which room the poker table was in. Just like our earlier fight had nothing to do with his fancy schmancy car. “You’re worried about me.”
Eric’s hands were still clenched into fists, but I reached over anyway and covered as much of his hand with my own, letting my fingers trace along his skin until he finally laced his fingers with mine and admitted, “Yes.”
I could understand why he felt that way and acknowledged his fears, saying, “I get it Eric. It’s a rough neighborhood, but there are guards all over the place. I’ll be fine.”
“You don’t know that. Why do you think they have guards there Sookie? It’s because it’s dangerous there,” he said with his grip on my hand tightening. He turned to face me before adding, “I don’t want you working there. You don’t need to work.”
Seeing the concern etched onto his face, I was glad he hadn’t been this rational before we’d gotten to the school because I would’ve had a hard time going against his wishes, but now…”Eric. Did you see the kids that were there? I’m sure they have a few troublemakers, every school does no matter what the per capita income is, but the ones I saw were all paying attention to their teachers. They want to be there, more than likely because they know getting an education is their way out. It was my only way out. It’s a good way for them to do something with their lives that doesn’t involve a rap sheet or working two jobs seven days a week. They can do and be anything, but they need the opportunity and an education is the first step to get them there. Bon Temps is no Compton, but we’re just as poor as them and if it wasn’t for the encouragement I received from Gran and my teachers to study hard then I wouldn’t have gotten the scholarship I needed to go to college and I’d probably still be waiting tables to this day.”
Eric had his own childhood issues, but a lack of money and opportunity wasn’t one of them. What he’d needed was an adult in his life that emotionally supported him on a continual basis and I hesitated before opening that can of worms as I said, “A lot of those kids might not have someone at home that are pulling for them. They might have a parent like Tara who’s an alcoholic, or maybe their parents are too busy working nonstop trying to keep food on the table and don’t have the time to sit down and talk to them. Teachers, a good teacher that cares, can fill a little bit of that void in their life just by listening and being there for them, just like the teacher that gave you The Whales’ Songs book.” I paused, letting him digest that little tidbit before adding, “Besides, it’s only for a few months.”
I got worried that I’d overstepped the line by bringing up his childhood when Eric’s eyes closed and his fingers loosened in my hand, but he took a deep breath and tightened his grip once more as his eyes opened to meet mine and he said, “I get it Sookie, but why does it have to be you?”
His entire demeanor was calmer, as though he’d come to accept my decision, so I took a chance by lifting his hand and placing a kiss on the back of it before setting it down in my lap and smiled saying, “Who else has an amazingly talented professional actor for a husband that offered to help out with the Drama Club?”
He quietly sighed out, “You do…”
The rest of our drive was spent in silence with me having my own little internal freak out over the thought of teaching teenagers, but Eric’s wandering hand pulled me out of my reverie every now and again as I situated it farther down my leg each time it meandered farther up. The stolen glances in his direction told me he was trying to work his way out of his funk and seeing the small upturn of his lips whenever I pushed his hand away, I decided if it took him trying to cop a feel to help him along it was a sacrifice I was more than willing to make. Since Wicked was stuck pulling steering wheel duty, I had to keep track of Immoral or else she just might help him into my panties.
Was it wrong for me to want to let her?
I was still wrestling with my immoral dilemma, and Eric’s hand, when we pulled into the garage and just as I thought to distract us both by offering to make a late lunch, Eric looked around and asked, “Is that your car?”
He’d thrown a tarp over it at some point a few weeks ago and when I couldn’t get it to start a couple of days earlier, I covered it again while waiting for Alcide to come and get me. “Yeah, I need to call a tow truck or something to haul it away and get it fixed this week.” I’d be a nervous Nelly driving Eric’s car back and forth to work. It screamed ‘expensive’ from their parking lot and stuck out like a sore thumb, when it had blended right in at The Brigant Academy.
We both got out with Eric lifting the tarp off of the front of my car and said, “This isn’t a car. It’s a death trap!”
Good Lord. Do we need to repeat every conversation we ever had? Do we need to re-hang the porn posters so he can rip them down the minute I’m out of the room too?
“Yeah, yeah…beware of hummingbirds. There’s nothing wrong with my car…except that it doesn’t run, but I’ll call a tow truck and get it fixed!” I huffed and coming to stand next to him.
“No, we’ll call a tow truck and give it a proper burial,” he said as he threw the tarp back over it.
If the Wonder Twins hadn’t lost their powers I would’ve been tempted to take off my shirt just to get out of yet another fight, but knowing we would just be repeating our earlier argument over him worrying about me, I decided to use another weapon at my disposal. Eric’s body was rigid, braced for a fight that I didn’t have the energy or inclination to give him, so he wasn’t expecting it when I pulled him down for a kiss instead, but he didn’t resist it either. As a matter of fact, I’d say he quite enthusiastically joined in because he let his crutches fall to the wayside as his arms wrapped around me and I let myself get lost in him. I also let myself get laid back onto the hood of my car with him on top of me, while my reason for even starting down this slippery slope was lost on me as well. My body responded to his like no other and while I missed the intimate moments we’d shared, I thanked my lucky stars he was still too banged up to follow through on banging me on the hood of my car.
When we both needed to pull away for air, Eric continued to kiss and lick his way across my neck before his lips settled over my ear, causing a shiver to run down my spine as he breathed out, “You’re still not driving this car.”
The only thing I was up to fighting him over was getting his shorts down over his cast, so I tried to calm myself and laughed, “Well, it was worth a shot.”
He licked the rim of my ear while grinding his hips against me and said, “Feel free to continue trying to convince me though. You gave up too easily.”
“But my boobs don’t distract you anymore.” Apparently my brain/mouth filter gave up just as easily as the rest of me.
His hands slid down my sides and back up underneath my shirt before coming to a rest on top of my bra and he timed the thrust of his hips with the gentle kneading of his hands, making me arch into him as I gasped at the dual sensations. His lips were back on mine with him stealing the air from my lungs and my legs wrapped around him automatically, trying to keep him there, but when he hissed in pain our impromptu groping distraction was brought to an end.
“Sorry…” I repeated for the second time that day.
Eric pulled his hands from underneath my shirt as my legs fell away from his body and he braced himself over me before leaning down for one last chaste kiss as he said, “There’s no need for you to be sorry.” He smiled adding, “I just got distracted by your boobs.”
“Good to know they still work,” I laughed, so I wouldn’t cry as he straightened up. My whole body was still tingling and I seriously considered just throwing him down and riding him off into the sunset, but my stomach chose that moment to growl. I doubted a breakfast of nothing but candy was on my pregnancy ‘Do’ list, so I said, “Are you hungry? I can make us a late lunch.”
He eyed me like I was a juicy steak with his eyes resting on my crotch as he asked, “Is lunch the only thing you’re willing to let me…”
“Don’t you dare finish that question Eric Northman,” I quickly interrupted because I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t have stripped off my shorts and written ‘Welcome to Chez Sookie’ across my abdomen with an arrow pointing down for his party of one.
He looked just as disappointed as I felt as we walked into the kitchen and I stuck my head into the refrigerator hoping the cool air would cool my libido as well. Once I was sure I had a grip on my sanity I looked at the contents and said, “How about we barbecue up some burgers?” Beef wasn’t the meat I was craving, but it would have to do for now until I could have the Eric-meat I really wanted.
I glanced over at Eric and saw him shift slightly in his seat as he looked down and admitted, “I don’t know how to work the grill.”
“HA!” The sound escaped me and was followed by a chuckle at Eric’s confused expression.
“What?” he asked. “You’ve met my father. Do you think he stood outside with a spatula in his hand every Saturday afternoon wearing a ‘Grill Master’ apron?”
I laughed again saying, “Well thanks to you, he’d certainly know his seasonings by now.” Eric chuckled as I clued him in explaining, “The first time I suggested barbecuing you didn’t tell me you’d never worked a grill and damn near burned your face off. I should’ve known better since your kitchen skills began and ended with working the toaster to make Pop Tarts.” I started pulling out the items to make the potato salad and said, “I think I can figure it out. If nothing else, I know what not to do.”
Eric watched me get everything together, asking questions here and there about things like my childhood. When we got to the Quinn portion of my history I could tell it bothered him, but he didn’t say anything and I was thankful when I found a way to change the subject because I didn’t trust myself to not kiss away his troubles again so soon.
While the potatoes were boiling I made the burgers and suggested to Eric that he call his doctor and schedule a follow up appointment which he got for the following day. When he told me where his doctor’s office was located, I knew right away where he was talking about. It was the same medical center where Dr. Ludwig was based out of, but I remained a chicken shit and didn’t use the opportunity to tell Eric about the baby just yet. We were getting along so well, for now at least, and I didn’t want to potentially ruin what was left of our day.
Eric broke me from my thoughts by asking, “Can we watch that video together later on?” He paused, adding, “The one from the photo shoot?”
I knew Pam had given him everything while he was still in the hospital; I’d packed it away with his things when he was discharged and thought maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to watch it now that Eric and I were getting closer again and agreed, “Okay. Did you not watch it yet?” I figured he would have with the temptation being too strong to resist seeing with his own eyes what he couldn’t remember.
“No, I did, but I had questions when I watched it that only you can answer,” he admitted.
“Uhh…okay.” I couldn’t imagine what he’d want to know, but I’d answer his questions if I could.
Since I hadn’t had the chance to shower yet, I left Eric sitting in the kitchen and ran upstairs to take a quick one while the potato salad chilled in the refrigerator. When I came back down I found him out on the patio tinkering with the grill and brought the burgers out with me as I said, “I’d feel better if you let me do that. I don’t think your reflexes will be as sharp this time since you’re all banged up.”
He turned around and huffed, “It’s fire. Men have been cooking with fire since the dawn of time.”
I smiled while setting the tray down next to the grill and said, “And at some point, for the most part, women seemed to have taken over those duties. It was probably because the men were dying off having been burned to death and we needed to so mankind wouldn’t die off like the dinosaurs.”
Eric jokingly scoffed, “Women cook the babies and men cook the brontosaurus burgers. That’s how it works.”
I struggled to just tell him right then and there about the little Pebbles/Bam Bam that was currently in my oven, but like a chicken-a-saurus I kept quiet and deflected my own thoughts by saying, “I seem to remember Wilma Flintstone doing the majority of the cooking, so your theory is lacking.”
“Well then, your memory is lacking because I clearly remember Fred did all of the grilling,” he smiled.
I walked over and shooed him away from the grill saying, “And Fred also got pwned by the cat every night.”
I nearly choked on my own spit when I heard him say from behind me, “There’s nothing wrong with a man getting pwned by a pussy. I’m sure I’d be pwned by yours. We should give it a try and see.”
My head nearly exploded, along with my panties, and I’d been so dumbfounded by his response that I barely had time to duck out of the way as I yelled, “Shit!” when I pressed the ignition switch on the grill. The gas had been building up underneath the closed lid while I’d tried to douse the fire in between my legs and nearly set myself on fire for real.
“Are you okay?” he shouted, checking my limbs for scorch marks while my eyes traveled down to my crotch to make sure there wasn’t any smoke billowing out of my shorts from Eric’s comments.
Seeing that my hoo-hah wasn’t sending out any smoke signals, I answered, “Yeah, I’m fine.” Our eyes met and the ridiculousness seemed to hit us both because we nearly fell over each other laughing our asses off.
Once we both caught our breath Eric choked out, “Maybe the next time you want burgers we should just run to McDonald’s.”
While I secretly agreed with him, I just rolled my eyes instead and put the burgers on the grill. After making several trips in and out of the house, Eric and I were finally sitting at the table outside eating our late lunch/early dinner. As soon as he swallowed his first bite he said, “Forget what I said about McDonald’s. I’d rather have these so I’ll just have to learn how to use the grill.” My mouth was too full to respond, so I just tried to smile with a full mouth instead when he asked, “So how is it that nobody laid claim to you before I came along?”
When I was finally able to speak without food coming out of my mouth I asked, “What do you mean?”
He’d taken another bite in the meantime, so I waited until he swallowed and said, “You’re beautiful, smart, sweet, and you can cook. Why were you still single?” When he saw my eyes misting up he jokingly asked, “Do you have a third nipple that I didn’t feel earlier?” His face then twisted into mock shock as he added, “You’re not a hermaphrodite are you?”
It worked because I laughed out loud and said, “Yes. I’m hung larger than you, which is saying something,” I winked, “but don’t worry. You won’t give a rat’s ass once you’ve experienced my baking skills.”
He leaned forward on the table with both of his elbows planted on either side of his plate as he said, “Oh, but I’ve already had your pie.”
That ‘Welcome to Chez Sookie’ sign was flashing like a mother fucker in my shorts.
“Huh? Did you remember something?” I asked.
Because I certainly remembered it. Too well.
It didn’t help that we were out on the patio where we’d already been all up close and personal with each other’s baby-making bits. Didn’t. Help. At. All.
Eric smiled and said, “I was talking about the cherry pie you made the other night.” His eyebrows rose up as he asked, “What did you think I was talking about.”
“Really?” he asked before sliding his plate across the table. His eyes smoldered as he patted the empty spot in front of him and said, “Hop up. I’m ready for dessert.”
I can only imagine how red my face was, feeling it burn hotter than when the grill tried to take me out, as I realized I hadn’t thought ‘Sookie pie’.
I’d said it out loud.