I handed Eric his clothes and dressed myself slowly, putting off what was now inevitable; telling him we were going to have a baby. The guilt I felt was radiating through my body. I swore to tell him the truth, but by keeping this secret from him until now, I felt no better than Quinn. I betrayed him by lying through omission and now I had to pay up.
I wanted to blame the pregnancy hormones for why I’d given in so easily and had sex with him again, but the truth was I needed to feel that closeness; to share the intimacy between us that had become such a large part of our lives before the accident. I missed him and even though I felt selfish for going through with it, I didn’t regret it. My sexual history was limited, but I knew no one could make me feel like Eric did and now I had to wonder if our third first time together would be our last.
I didn’t realize I was done dressing or how long I’d been standing there lost in my thoughts when Eric’s voice broke through the fog asking, “Sookie?” His fingers lightly trailed down my arm, leaving goose bumps in their wake, but I couldn’t find the words to answer him. My brain had pulled an Elvis and left the building.
He tugged on my hand, attempting to pull me back onto his lap, but I knew I’d never get the words out if I took him up on his offer, so I sat on the table in front of him instead. I wondered if it would’ve been easier for me to tell him I was pregnant if I could say it in another language. I knew he could speak a little Swahili, but I couldn’t even remember what the word was he’d said to me at the premier party. I knew it had meant ‘Surprise’ and figured it would be appropriate in this situation, so in an attempt to stall him without giving anything away, I asked, “Tell me some of the Swahili words you know.”
His eyebrows furrowed as he looked confusedly back at me saying, “I don’t know any Swahili.”
“Yes you do! You said something to me in Swahili the night we went to the party for your show.”
I know he did. ‘M’ something.
He smiled back at me asking, “Did you have a little too much to drink that night?”
Not THAT night.
I shook my head ‘no’ while I developed a sudden case of ADHD with my brain running through every language I could think of trying to remember anything that had to do with ‘surprise’ or ‘pregnant’. If Eric was anything like Jason I could just use pig Latin and he’d be sufficiently stumped, but my conscience would be free and clear because he couldn’t say I hadn’t told him.
If I had some sidewalk chalk I could draw pornographic hieroglyphics on his patio pavers and be done with it.
“Sookie?” he asked again.
“Do you have any sidewalk chalk?” I asked, still stalling.
His eyes narrowed back at me asking, “If I did, would you tell me what’s wrong?”
My eyes dropped to the flip flops dangling from my feet as I hedged, “Nothing’s wrong.”
I saw Eric’s hand come into view as he lifted my chin until I was looking back into his eyes and he asked, “Then what is it?”
I had no idea if it was the stress or morning sickness, but a wave of nausea hit me and my body swayed as Eric grabbed my arms and looked back at me with concern asking, “What’s wrong?”
His question probably had more to do with my sudden green pallor than why we didn’t need condoms, but the answers were one and the same so I blurted out, “I’m pregnant,” as leapt off of the table and took off for the bathroom. I barely made it to the toilet when I lost my dinner and didn’t know whether to thank the baby or give it a timeout for making me run away like that. I didn’t realize Eric had followed behind me until I felt him gather my hair in one hand and rub my back with the other, but just the fact he did either of those things made me feel like maybe everything would be okay.
Once I was done, I washed up and quickly brushed my teeth, thankful I’d had the forethought to keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in every bathroom in the house for occasions like this. When I was done, I turned to thank him, but seeing he was gone made my stomach fill with dread. I found him in the den, sitting on the couch and staring at the TV that wasn’t turned on, so I sat down on the end opposite from him and waited.
I didn’t have to wait long.
“You’re pregnant,” he said without any emotion; without looking at me.
“Yes,” I answered, mimicking his emotionless state.
“Is it mine?” he asked, with his eyes finally looking into my own.
“Yes!” I answered without hesitation, no longer mimicking anything. I knew he didn’t remember how we’d woken up that first morning, but I was still incensed he’d even question the paternity.
“How?” he asked, seeming to not believe either that I was pregnant or that the baby was his.
Either or, they both pissed me off, so I defaulted to my ‘bitch state’ and took the smartass road, answering, “You see, every twenty-eight days or so a woman’s body releases an egg from one of their ovaries and it travels down their fallopian…”
“Not funny,” he interrupted.
No shit. Do you hear me laughing?
“Did I know?” he asked. “Before the accident?”
“No,” I answered calmly. “I found out in the ER after my accident and you were brought in a few minutes later.”
He didn’t say anything else for a moment, but I could see the color rising on his face along with his angry expression before he even opened his mouth to say, “Why didn’t you tell me before now? How could you let me…” He paused before adding, “You should have told me!”
His voice was starting to rise as well and it was only egging my own anger on so I took off my flip flops and threw them down on the floor in front of him saying, “Why don’t you go for a stroll in those before you start throwing stones. What should I have done Eric? How would you have felt after waking up, not remembering me at all, and me saying, ‘Hi. I’m Sookie. We’re married and expecting a baby in about 8 months.’” Feeling more defeated than ever, I admitted, “I didn’t know how to tell you.”
He sat there quietly while the wheels were spinning in his head before he asked, “How did I get you pregnant when I never fuck without a rubber on?”
“Really?” I asked with my eyes moving to look back onto the patio where we’d just fucked without a rubber on. I had half a mind to take off my cum filled panties and smack him in the face with them. Instead I filled him in on what he couldn’t remember and said, “We woke up together in Vegas, naked and crusty, with an unopened box of condoms and not a wrapper in sight.”
Ignoring the second part of my comment, he went right back to the first and accused, “You did that! I was thinking I’d have to wait for you to run and grab a rubber, but you took over. Is that how you got pregnant? Did you plan it all? Did you plan on trying to trap me into marrying you or to get child support?”
Now I regretted having sex with him again because it was so much harder separating This Eric from My Eric. I felt the tears falling down my cheeks, but I didn’t know which emotion was stronger; hurt or anger, so I stood up, knowing he needed time to process everything he now knew and hopefully calm the fuck down before I broke his other leg, and said, “I’m nothing like your mother.” The last thing I saw before I turned and left the room was his gaping mouth.
I stayed away from him for the rest of the night, not that it was difficult since he disappeared into his office, and after cleaning up the dinner dishes I went upstairs to my room and took a shower, hoping the hot water would ease the tension my body was racked with. I thought over everything that had happened that day, from me getting another job to us having sex again and ending with the baby reveal. It was a lot to deal with and even though Eric had been angry and accusatory, the fact that he’d followed me into the bathroom after knowing I was pregnant kept coming to the forefront of my mind. Underneath it all I knew he cared about me and I put all of my hope into that one truth knowing I’d need it to get through The Return of Prick-ric.
My eyes kept straying to my still flat stomach and when I eventually climbed into bed my hands came to rest on top of it, as if they were trying to shield the baby from the pain I was in. With nothing left to distract me from my feelings, I cried myself to sleep.
I don’t know how long I sat there with my mouth hanging open after Sookie had left the room before I finally got up and retreated to my office, needing to be alone to make sense of the bomb she’d just dropped on me.
With MY baby.
I felt like a complete and utter shithead the moment I accused her of planning it all; planning to trap me and felt sick to my stomach knowing I sounded exactly like my father. It was another slap to my face when she said wasn’t like my mother.
Did she know? Had I told her?
I didn’t know up from down anymore. The news of the baby was a shock, just like when I found out I’d gotten married, but I knew I would have to find a way to deal with it. It didn’t take long for the idea of being married to Sookie to settle into my psyche and even seem like a good thing, but deep down I knew my real problem was the idea of me being someone’s father. It scared me more than anything else I’d ever experienced. I was afraid of repeating my own father’s mistakes. It seemed inevitable. After all, I couldn’t stop myself from repeating his favorite accusation to Sookie.
It would be easier if I could make myself believe that she actually had planned it all. How in the hell could I have even gotten it up, much less actually finished, if I’d been so drunk that I couldn’t remember anything the next morning? If I could believe I’d been duped by a con then I could try and cut my losses.
It wouldn’t be the first time I had to do it, but it seemed a hell of a lot more daunting prospect to try and let go of Sookie than letting go of my mother.
Even though I was already questioning my ability to do so, I could still try to cut her loose from my life, even if it already felt like she would be a part of me forever. The only things I knew about her were the things she’d told me, so I had no way of really knowing who she’d been sleeping with before I came along.
But was she THAT good of an actress?
I’d always prided myself on being able to spot a bluff a mile away (it came in handy when playing poker), but she’d never seemed to be anything but genuine with me. I wanted to believe her and not believe her all at the same time. Ever since I woke up from the coma she had my emotions jumping all over the fucking place and I couldn’t get a grasp on anything anymore.
I couldn’t exactly ‘run home to momma’ with my problems, so I settled for the next best thing and called Pam. As soon as she answered, I asked, “Did you know?”
If SHE had kept this secret from me, I’d take out all of my frustrations on her shoe collection.
“I know lots of things Eric. Knowledge is power. It’s what makes me good at my job, but I’ll need you to be more specific,” she said in an annoying singsong voice.
“Specifically,” I gritted out, “did you know that Sookie is pregnant?”
I was met with nothing but silence until she finally replied, in a much more subdued voice, saying, “Shit. I didn’t know that.” When I didn’t say anything else she continued, “Well, that explains all of her disgusting retching at the hospital.”
She wasn’t sick; she had morning sickness and it only made it all the more real that I might possibly be a father in another eight months. Hoping Pam might question the paternity, if only so I would feel better doing so, I said, “She said it’s mine.” I had already started liking the thought of Sookie being mine, but now there was more than just Sookie added to the equation.
“Well whose baby would it be?” she asked, as though the idea of Sookie trying to falsely pin her pregnancy on me hadn’t even entered her mind.
“How in the hell should I know? I don’t remember, but I’ve never fucked without a rubber before so why wouldn’t I question it? All I’ve got to go on is what she’s telling me!”
Nonplussed, Pam replied, “Well thank fuck there’s not a video of your wedding night to go along with your wedding on the internet, but even if you had used a condom, shit happens. They break. Get over it and move on. I have no doubt that baby will be a little blonde haired blue eyed version of you when it comes ripping through Sookie’s crotch, so instead of dwelling on what can’t be changed, let’s discuss names. I think Pam is appropriate, don’t you?”
I really was in the fucking Twilight Zone.
“Why aren’t you freaking the fuck out?” I asked. Just in case she was unaware, I clued her in to my mental state and added, “I’m freaking the fuck out!”
My ass automatically puckered out of habit hearing her tone of voice when she said, “Tell me you weren’t Prick-ric when she told you.”
I’d seen the tears; I’d heard the accusations flying out of my mouth with no filter. I was Prick-ric to the Nth degree, so I repeated my only defense, saying, “I was freaking the fuck out!”
Instead of lashing out at me, like I’d expected her to, I heard her inhale deeply before saying, “You know, one of these days you’re going to push her too far and she’ll leave you.” The idea of her walking out on me brought me back down like a lead balloon and Pam surprised me again when she added, “Maybe it’s for the best. Neither one of you planned on falling in love and since you don’t remember it, maybe she should just cut her losses now.” SHE should cut HER losses? “The stress can’t be good for her being preggo and all and you only seem to want to question her every motive in being with you, so I can call your lawyer and have the papers drawn up. You can go back to fucking your mindless bimbos and she can get on with her life and find someone that deserves her.”
My lead balloon deflated completely hearing Pam talking about Sookie being better off without me. It was my job to take care of her. I didn’t want to fuck mindless bimbos; after being with Sookie earlier I knew I only wanted to fuck her. I might not deserve Sookie, but she was mine!
“Don’t call any fucking lawyers,” I ordered before hanging right the fuck up, but not before I could hear her chuckling in the background.
That was easy. Fucking possessive prick.
It was déjà vu all over again the next morning. I woke up trapped in Eric’s arms and before I could wonder whether or not he was awake, he tightened his hold on me and said, “I don’t like this bed. It’s too small.”
Really? That was ALL he had to say to me after last night?
“You have your own,” I retorted. I tried to loosen his grip from me, but he was unrelenting so I added, “Consider your invitation to come into my bed officially rescinded.” I knew I couldn’t uninvite him from a bed or a room in his own house, but I didn’t really give a shit. I was bitchy on principle alone.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered into the back of my neck.
At least I wasn’t facing him and his potentially bare chest, but since I was still angry and hurt, I spat out asking, “For what? Are you sorry that I’m pregnant? Or sorry that you’re the father? Because you are the father.”
He didn’t answer any of my questions and instead said, “Pam thinks we should name it Pam.”
That brought me up short, making me ask, “You told Pam?”
I felt him nod before he said, “You didn’t.”
“I didn’t tell anyone. I thought you should be the first to know.” It had been a hard secret to keep and an even harder one to tell without sidewalk chalk.
I felt him take a deep breath as he began, saying, “You were right. You’re nothing like my mother, but I’m exactly like my father. The idea of being one scares me, but I shouldn’t have lashed out at you. I’m sorry for everything I said last night.”
How could he possibly think he was anything like that asshole?
All of the anger left me and I moved my hand on top of his, lacing my fingers through his own and moved it down to rest on top of my stomach, saying, “You’re nothing like him. You’re sweet and kind and you have a good heart.” At least when he wasn’t being Prick-ric, but I was hoping to break him of that habit over the next eight months. It hadn’t taken but a few days the last time, so I knew how he really was underneath it all. I tried to keep my voice even, even as the tears welled in my eyes, and added, “You’ll be a great daddy.” I was full of doubts, but that wasn’t one of them. I only had to recall him meeting Jessica at the shelter and knew he could never be like his own father. Eric was completely still behind me and when he didn’t say anything after a bit, I jokingly asked, “But you don’t have your own Paprika hidden away somewhere, do you?”
My question seemed to thaw him out because he pressed his body against mine even closer than before and softly said, “No, but I’m still afraid I’ll fuck it all up.”
“I’m scared too,” I admitted. “I’d make a kick ass Gran, but I don’t know how to be a mom.”
With my lack of brain/mouth filter, the kid’s first word could conceivably be ‘fucktard’.
Eric’s hand moved to my hips, pulling on me until I rolled over and he chuckled when my eyes didn’t stray from his bare chest before saying, “You’ll be a great mom.”
“How can you be so sure?” I asked his chest.
“Because I’ve already seen how well you take care of me, even when I’m being an ass.”
But I was already a fan of his ass. He had a great ass…
“But…” I started to protest that I hadn’t done much to help him and it certainly didn’t equate to caring for a baby, but he cut me off by kissing me. Me + Eric’s naked chest + kissing + a bed equaled the rapid subtraction of our clothes, which was why I could never be a math teacher. The numbers just didn’t add up, but something else was up and we lost no time in making up. I didn’t know if it was the fact it was makeup sex, the pregnancy hormones, or the that there was literally nothing between us anymore, but it was, without a doubt, the best sex I’d ever had and when it was all over, I gingerly flopped down onto his chest, mindful of his broken ribs, with both of us a sweaty mess, and heard Eric whisper into the hair on top of my head, “This is right.”
I couldn’t have agreed more.